Should I Get Rid of My Dog?

A sad-looking dog looking up at his owner.

Unless you’re fostering a dog for a rescue, you probably entered into dog ownership with the intention of having your dog forever.

However, thousands of dogs are rehomed every year when people decide that they can no longer care for their pet. 

You do not need to be ashamed of the decision to get rid of your dog, but it is your responsibility to be sure that you rehome him responsibly. 

Should I get rid of my dog? Several factors should be considered before deciding to rehome your dog, such as the reason behind the decision; the breed, size, age, health, and behavioral history of the dog; and whether the dog is likely to adjust well to a new home and family.

There is plenty to consider if you are thinking about getting rid of your dog but have not yet made a decision about the right way to go.

Hopefully, the following will help you decide what is best for you and your dog.

Considerations When Deciding to Get Rid of Your Dog 

Think through each of the following carefully to help you decide whether it is time to get rid of your dog or not.

Why Are You Considering Rehoming?

There are all kinds of reasons why you might decide to rehome your dog.

Your dog may no longer fit into your changing lifestyle due to work or family commitments.

Changes may have occurred such that your dog is no longer safe in your family.

Behavioral issues might be a concern. 

Some people decide to rehome a dog when medical issues arise that they cannot afford.

None of these reasons to re-home are necessarily wrong, but it is very important that you think about the welfare of your dog as well as your needs when you make your decision. 

Where Did You Get The Dog?

If you got your dog from an AKC registered breeder, they very likely would prefer to have the dog back or be part of the rehoming process.

Talk to your breeder about what they want you to do in regards to rehoming your dog.

If you got your dog from a rescue organization, talk to them before you rehome.

Many rescue organizations will take the dog back and rehome him themselves.

Breed

Purebred dogs, especially of highly desirable breeds or those that carry a pedigree or registration, may be much easier to rehome than others.

Contacting a breed club or breed-related rescue organizations is a good way to find people to help you rehome your purebred dog safely with someone who loves and understands the breed.

Some breeds are not as easy to rehome as others.

Dogs that are considered a Bully breed, including Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Boxers, Rottweilers, and Mastiffs may be more difficult to rehome even if they are purebred.

Mixes of these breeds are often even more difficult to rehome.

Other breeds that may be more difficult to rehome include German Shepherds, Chow Chows, Akitas, and Northern breeds like Huskies and Malamutes.

Size

As a rule, smaller dogs are easier to re-home than larger ones.

Regardless of breed, if you have a little dog who needs a new home, your chances are good of finding a great place for him.

Contact a rescue in your area that works with little dogs to help you find the ideal next home for your small dog.

Medical History

Dogs with existing medical problems are often more difficult to rehome than those without.

That said, do not pass up on the possibility of rehoming your dog just because they have medical issues. 

Large and dedicated communities exist for the rehabilitation of dogs that may have severe medical problems.

Some rescue organizations, especially those centered around particular breeds, may be willing to fund medical procedures in the process of rehoming your dog.

Behavioral History

Dogs that have a history of behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, reactivity or aggression towards cats, other dogs, or people may be more difficult to rehome.

If you have not been able to solve the problem yourself, it is improbable that you will be able to find a new home committed to solving the behavioral concern. 

Dogs who may have aggression toward people or other animals can be dangerous when rehomed without sufficient screening and understanding of the problem. 

Age

Not surprisingly, puppies are much easier, on average, to rehome then older dogs.

In general, the older your dog is, the harder it might be for you to find a new home for him. 

Furthermore, the older your dog is, and the more settled he is with you, the more traumatizing it will be for him to have to go to a new home.

You should put serious consideration into whether it is the best thing for your older dog to be re-homed or whether you can make accommodations for him to wait out the rest of his life with you.

What to Do Before You Rehome

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do besides rehome your pet.

If you have had changes in your housing or situation that are beyond your control such that you can no longer provide a quality life for your dog, it may be the right thing to rehome. 

However, some owners decide that it is worth working with their dog instead when they consider how difficult or risky it may be to rehome.

For example, many owners have found that for dogs suffering from extreme anxiety, the answer was not to get rid of them but to help them with prescribed medication or natural calming treats.

Here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself before you make the choice to rehome.

Have I Done All That I Can Safely Do to Modify Behavior?

Is the reason that you’re rehoming your dog because they are expressing behavior that is unacceptable in your life?

If you believe you need to modify that behavior to continue to live with your dog, ask yourself if you have done all that you can. 

Not everyone can afford to hire a professional behaviorist or trainer to work with their dog.

However, before you rehome, you should at least feel confident that you have tried the recommended techniques for modifying behavior before you give responsibility for your dog to someone else.

Is My Dog Dangerous?

If your dog is showing aggression toward you or other people in your family, you may not want to have to face the possibility of needing to euthanize your dog.

However, sending that dog into another family may not be the most responsible thing to do. 

Even if you can find a family that will accept your dog, mishandling may result in an injury to somebody or their pet down the road.

If your dog is a potential threat, you need to talk to your veterinarian in a very serious way about whether rehoming is an option.

How Easy Is My Dog to Rehome?

For many people, the final determining question about whether to rehome a dog or not comes down to how easy it will be to do.

Purebred dogs of desirable breeds, small breed dogs, and dogs without a medical or behavioral history that can get in the way are easier to find new homes for.

If you need to rehome one dog in your household, it is best to choose a dog that fits these parameters rather than trying to rehome a dog with behavioral or medical problems.

What Effect Will Rehoming Have on My Dog?

Some dogs are happy go lucky and seem able to switch homes without much stress at all.

This is especially true if your dog is young, generally outgoing, and has not previously undergone trauma. 

However, if your dog is extremely attached to your family, has been with you for a long time, or suffers stress when he is away from you, rehoming may be more challenging.

Some dogs never seem to fully recover from losing their family, especially if they have been with them for a long time.

They may keep trying to escape their new homes to find their way back to the original home, which can be frustrating for the new owners and very dangerous for your dog.