That horrible time has come. You need to give your dog away.
Maybe someone new is coming to the family, and you don’t think the dog will behave well. Probably you don’t have the resources to take care of your dog anymore. Or maybe you’re moving away and can’t take him with you.
Either way – you need to know where to surrender the dog for free. Your beloved friend mustn’t go just anywhere, but the BEST PLACE. And more importantly, in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE.
Below you’ll find some of the best places you can surrender your dog for free. There’s also extra information on how to do it correctly to avoid unnecessary situations. Check it all out below!
Is Surrendering the Best Solution?
Before you go deeper into this article – think about this…
Do you really need to surrender your dog?
You’ve probably thought of all alternatives and didn’t find any good enough not to do this. But if you haven’t, here are some better options than surrendering to a shelter:
- Find new parents in people you know – preferably good friends or family that you’re confident will treat your dog right
- Find a part-time owner to help you – do you have neighbors or people close by that could take care of the dog while you can’t? That’s a million times better than giving away to shelters.
- Find strangers and perform a deep background check – most people are good-natured, but some aren’t. You need to filter out abusers by checking their backgrounds as profoundly as you can (if they have other dogs and they’re all healthy (similar to yours), that’s a huge plus)
- Train your dog well – if you’re giving the dog away for behavioral issues, why not try training first? If you can’t invest the time, a professional trainer may help you get rid of any unwanted conduct in no time (and you’ll decide to keep it)
These are just a few of the many different alternatives you have for free. In some cases, you can spend a bit of money on your dog – like paying someone to care for it (remember background check).
But if none of these alternatives work for you… Don’t fret! There’s still a lot more you can do!
6 Common Reasons to Surrender a Dog (+Solutions)
We know how many different things you could experience with your dog that make you think of surrendering. But we also know many of these things are partly solvable if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
At the end of the day, dogs start as pets and slowly become part of your life in such a significant way that they feel more like family. And when that happens – giving your dog away feels like treason.
Here’s how you can prevent that depending on what’s happening with your dog:
1. Bad Behavior
One of the main reasons people take their dogs to the shelter is behavior.
Some dogs are simply too aggressive or anxious to the point they cause damage to the owners. This may be something as simple as just looking menacingly as he eats his dog food and not letting anyone get close. But it could also get as dark as bites and physical damage directly.
SOLUTION: Instead of giving your dog away, you can spend a few months try teaching new behavior. Training sessions may change your dog’s way of doing things COMPLETELY.
2. Newborn Upcoming
Say you live in a small apartment or house, and a baby is coming to the family. This may seem like the worst way to keep a dog around, as the experience could get a lot more complicated (you’re scared of what the dog may do).
SOLUTION: Try keeping your dog in a crate or dog run when the baby is nearby. Don’t leave your baby unattended or get too close to the dog. Tell someone else to take care of your dog until the baby is big enough.
3. Dog Allergies
It sometimes happens that someone you live with has allergies triggered by pets. That could make it difficult, to say the least, to live normally (for that person). You may think of surrendering the dog for that reason – but believe it or not – you can do many different things.
SOLUTION: Whether a person at home or you suffer from allergies, there’s a chance you can avoid giving the dog away by testing new anti-allergies solutions. These include:
- Consult an allergist for solutions – they may recommend medications that fix the problem
- Groom the dog consistently – groomed dogs are less likely to shed and cause allergies
- Keep the dog off furniture – anything that has fabrics in it is a place you shouldn’t let your dog stay
- Clean more consistently – maintain floors and areas where the dog hangs free of hair
Your beloved pet doesn’t have to go – try these solutions first!
4. Moving Away
Maybe you’re thinking of going to another country or place where your dog can’t stay (like a military academy or college dorm). These situations can be devastating, especially if you’ve had the dog since young. Luckily, surrendering doesn’t have to be the way to go.
SOLUTION: You can always think of leaving the dog with a friend or family member. Better yet, you can find a new place wherever you go and take your dog with you (it could be more complicated and expensive but worth it).
5. Disease or Incapacitation
You may not be thoroughly healthy – which makes it difficult to take care of your dog. From baths and grooming to playing, even the simplest of food-serving may become a huge problem. In cases like these, surrendering becomes an attractive idea when people can’t care for their dogs. But it shouldn’t.
SOLUTION: First, check whether your health will improve soon. If that’s the case, either find someone to temporarily take care of your dog or pay for dog care. Second, find an organization that temporarily takes care of the dog (for free) – there are tons of those.
6. Pet Illness
Some dogs may get sick out of nowhere with diseases that are often too expensive to cure. Otherwise, it could just be an accident or a physical condition you don’t have the resources to heal. You immediately think of surrendering your dog because you can’t pay.
SOLUTION: Don’t be afraid of asking people to help you with your dog’s ailments. Family and friends may not hesitate to care for pets (especially if they have at least one). Also, many organizations are willing to cure your dog for free – find those in your area.
How Much to Surrender a Dog?
Now, say you have no alternative than to surrender your dog.
How much would that cost at first?
Well, you’d be surprised it’s actually not that expensive. Foundations that receive dogs for one reason or another charge no more than $200.
In case your dog needs medical attention or specific training to withstand the situation, there’s a chance they will charge you a bit more.
But overall, it’s decently affordable for most people – so you shouldn’t fret about that.
Tips For Properly Surrendering or Rehoming A Dog
Rehoming or surrendering a dog is never an easy task. While it can take a physical toll on the dog, it can be emotionally draining for it as well. Even if it is for its good, your dog will be heartbroken and feel that you have betrayed it.
- First, take some time to find a suitable place for your pet to live. Your dog trusts you the most in this world, and this is the least you can do for it. If the new place is at least comfortable for your dog, it will be easier to adapt to this transition smoothly.
- It would help if you also tried to advertise the qualities of your dog. Take some colored snaps. Try to highlight its best qualities and the activities it loves. It enables the adopter to better understand and connect with your dog.
- You can also choose to advertise your dog in some local newspaper. Attach a nice photo and write a witty description of your dog. Mention your phone number or address, and pet lovers will contact you. But do screen those carefully and determine if they are suitable for adopting your dog.
- Make posters and fliers of your dog, and put them at various places, like daycares for dogs, vet clinics, and pet stores. Dog owners visit these places, and there is a good chance that they will notice you.
- Don’t forget to mention your phone number and address so interested dog parents can get in touch with you.
- Another creative idea is to print a t-shirt for your dog saying, “Adopt me!” and then take it for a walk. Engage in more outdoor activities, and dog lovers are bound to notice your dog and may show interest in adopting it.
- Also, charge a fee for your dog. While this may sound crazy, this method can eliminate anybody with bad intentions. People like illegal breeders are far less likely to pay a fee to adopt a dog. On the other hand, a genuine dog lover won’t mind paying a nominal amount to adopt your dog.
5 Places to Surrender your Dog for FREE
Don’t have the money to surrender your dog to a private organization? That’s where the free alternatives come to mind.
Here are some to consider:
1. People You Know (Totally Free)
This may feel like a repetition of possible solutions – but give it a second and third thought!
It’s not easy to give your dog to someone else either, but at least it is not a shelter. More importantly, that person is possibly someone that will also love and care for your dog like you do.
HECK! That person may even care and love your dog much better than you did.
So why don’t you think several times beforehand? Surrendering your dog to someone you trust is probably the best place BY FAR.
ALSO CONSIDER: Look for people already familiar with your dog (and have no history of abuse or neglect), preferably someone who loves animals. People with other dogs are sometimes great alternatives because dogs like to be accompanied (they won’t miss you that much).
2. Animal Humane Society (Totally Free)
Another 10/10 place to surrender your dog is Animal Human Society (AHS).
They offer a superb rehoming service that takes care of your dog (and almost any other pet) for free.
Sure enough, your dog needs to match all their demands – for which they will take your appointment first and check your dog before receiving him.
This appointment doesn’t take more than an hour. They will tell you EXACTLY what they can do for your dog and how they will do it.
This is by far the best solution apart from giving your dog away to someone you know as they take care of EVERYTHING.
Plus, they tell you whether your dog is ever adopted or taken to a rescue group partner (more on these below).
BY THE WAY: More than 90% of all animals taken to the Animal-Human Society are adopted every year. And they make sure every home is PERFECT for the dog before giving him away. You’ll have nothing to worry about.
3. A Rescue Group (Generally Free)
Finding a rescue group to take your dog may not be easy, as most of these groups are often saturated or simply have not enough resources.
Luckily, they’re much better than shelters and often don’t have any problem caring for your dog for free (until someone adopts the animal).
These rescue groups are often non-profit organizations run by local municipalities or companies willing to lend a hand to animals in need. While they’re often under-budgeted, they are also full of hope and willingness to care for your dog.
These places are visited by thousands of people every month, so it wouldn’t be a surprise your dog gets adopted soon. Sometimes they even have waiting lists of people looking for dogs – so it may not even take more than a week for your dog to find a new family.
TO CONSIDER: Small and pure breed dogs will find a home in little to no time in shelters. Strays and old dogs may take a bit more time, but they will sooner or later get taken too.
4. Adopting Services or Companies (Often Free)
You may think the only way to give your dog away is to find a non-profit organization… but that’s not always the case.
Some companies actually offer many for-profit services where they take your dog and take care good care of him until they find an owner.
How do they make money? They either charge a small fee to the new owners or get advertising/sponsorships deals that help them perform their service.
Others are just applications that help owners connect with adopters. Both sides need to go through deep background checks to become part of the community (and adopt or give away their dog).
Some of these companies and/or services include:
- Rehome – as easy as signing up your dog and looking for adopters, meeting them, and deciding whether they’re fit for your pet.
- Getapet – works directly with veterinarians and guardians willing to offer their services and home for the dogs. It also connects owners with adopters for free.
- Petfinder – a straightforward way to publish a dog to find a possible new owner in no time. This site gets thousands of visitors every month willing to adopt a dog.
There are many other services out there to consider, and most of them work similarly. In the end, it’s all about giving your dog away to the best owner possible – so be VERY CAREFUL before surrendering your animal.
TIP TO CONSIDER: Some websites may offer extra services like medical tests and adopters’ background checks. You can take advantage of these to avoid spending any money.
5. Local Community Groups (Mostly Free)
These aren’t shelters, companies, or non-profit organizations. But they are often a great solution too.
Many people love pets and have enough resources, time, and willingness to take care of all those dogs people don’t want or can’t have anymore.
They’re run by locals and community helpers who don’t mind caring for such amazing animals.
These places are difficult to find, and many cities or towns don’t even have one of these. But probably yours does – so don’t hesitate to look for it!
You may find one nearby or close enough to get there within a few hours. If that’s possible, don’t hesitate to consider this option.
It’s important to remember they work pretty much like shelters but are run by individuals. These individuals NEED to have permits and licenses to take care of so many dogs. Otherwise, it’s better to avoid them.
Here are some extra factors to consider when looking at community groups:
- Who takes care of the animals? Once again, check the background of the people who take care of the dogs. You don’t want to be giving away your pet to someone with a history of abuse.
- How do they feed the animals? If they receive monthly donations or fees from owners/helpers – consider them. Otherwise, research further as they may be doing weird stuff.
- What are the housing conditions? They will likely receive several dogs at once, so you need to ensure they have suitable installations to host them. This is why you’re most likely to find them outside the city in places with tons of space (like fields or farms).
- Do they house too many dogs already? While other healthy dogs may give you the idea that people care for them well, it’s also a red sign. Too many dogs mean no one is adopting them and/or they’re already saturated (which may come with downsides like disease and/or physical damage)
After asking all these questions to yourself and the people hopefully taking your dog for free, decide whether they fit your demands. It’s VITAL to give your dog away ONLY if they are capable of taking care of it.
What Should Never Be Done When Surrendering A Dog
Before re-homing or surrendering your dog, invest a reasonable amount of time carefully planning the steps. You don’t want your best furry friend to suffer an agonizing and painful end, right? And to ensure that, you should be careful when surrendering your dog.
So, here, let’s see the things that you should avoid while surrendering your dog.
Dumping Your Dog
Even if keeping your dog might not be possible for you, never dump them at the side of the road or near some dump yard, as some dog owners do. Your dog doesn’t deserve such inhuman treatment.
There is a good chance that your dog won’t survive there and will die of either starvation or injury.
Leaving Your Dog Far From Your Home
If you think your dog may come back to you, and so you plan to leave it far from your home, reconsider it. Not only will your dog feel miserable in a strange land, but it also will probably not be able to adjust to the new surroundings.
In either case, the chances of it surviving are very low.
Leaving Your Dog With Stray Dogs
Remember that dogs are extremely territorial and won’t allow new dogs to enter and share their space. In addition, your dog is probably not trained to fight for survival. So, there is a good chance that stray dogs will injure or even kill your dog.
Giving Away Your Dog To Some Stranger
Unless you know a person well, please don’t give your dog away to her/him. You need a kind pet owner to take care of your dog. You don’t want your dog to end up with the wrong person. They may abuse your dog or sell it to a breeder.
Besides, if the stranger is not habituated to keeping a pet, there is a good chance that they won’t be able to take care of your pet dog.
Abandoning Your Dog In Your Apartment And Leaving
If you are moving out of your apartment and thinking about leaving your dog behind, you should reconsider. There is no guarantee that someone will find it on time and save it. Besides, a closed apartment without a proper food and water supply may prove fatal for your dog.
Alternative Approaches for Finding Your Dog a New Home
Even if you have decided to arrange a new home for your dog, remember that it is your own home, where your dog probably has the fondest memories and is the best place for your dog.
Anyway, there are certain situations when keeping a dog with us is no more possible. But banking on shelters and rescue centers should never be your top priority. There is often a lack of resources and space in these places, and your dog may find adjusting to that new place extremely difficult.
In addition, most of the shelters and rescue homes have their own set of rules. Therefore, it might be time-consuming and tiring before you can finally get your dog there. Consequently, we recommend you start visiting these places in person and learn everything possible about them before surrendering your dog there.
This section will discuss some alternative approaches you can apply to find a new home for your dog.
Ask Your Friends And Family Members
Ask your friends and family first, and see if they are interested in adopting your pet dog. They will be in safe hands, and there are some possibilities that your occasional visits to their house will make them truly happy. This will probably be the best option for your dog.
Ask For Help From Your Veterinarian
Ask your vet for help. Sometimes, vets are the best person to reach out to in case you are trying to re-shelter your dog. They can get your dog nice and cozy home where they will be taken care of.
Vaccinate And Neuter Your Dog
Vaccinate your pet, and if possible, get it neutered as well. This increases the chances of your pet being adopted by dog lovers or dog parents who already have dogs.
Use Social Media Platforms
Use social media platforms to spread the word and get the best suggestions. In today’s world, social media is a strong platform, and you may get a lovely home where your dog will probably spend the rest of its life.
Involve People From Other Facets Of Your Life
Talk to people from your daily realm of life. For example, ask your colleagues at your workplace, talk to other parents at your kid’s school, and, if required, speak to the pastor of your church, and let them know that you need a suitable home for your dog. They might be able to help you out.
Sought Help From Rescue Centers And Animal Shelters
This method may seem absurd, but some rescue organizations and shelters may agree to post your dog’s photo on their official website. This is called courtesy listing; during this time, your dog will be living with you only.
This may assist you in re-homing your dog without having it sent there to live.
You can always ask your friends and family members for assistance and see if they are willing to take care of it. You can also consider giving them to some adoption center or searching for a rescue group for your dog.
To quickly rehabilitate your dog, ask your friends or family members if they want to adopt your dog. Also, try reaching out to some animal shelter that would keep your dog. Otherwise, try to find some “no-kill” animal shelter.
If you can’t take care of your dog, you must re-home it. First, try re-sheltering it at some animal shelter or rescue center. Also, advertise your dog in newspapers and see if somebody is willing to adopt it.
Otherwise, you can ask if any of your friends or family members are willing to adopt your dog.
Try to find a suitable animal shelter or rescue center to send away your dog. Otherwise, you can also ask and seek solutions from the people you know. You can also advertise your dog through newspapers and pamphlets and see if it gets adopted.
Yes, red pepper throws off dogs. However, while red peppers can improve your dog’s immune system, they can irritate your dog. Consuming a few pieces of red pepper can result in some serious digestive problems.
With so many places where to surrender dogs for free, you must have little to no problem finding a livable home.
It won’t be easy – dogs get to our hearts to the point they become part of our lives in significant ways. But if there’s no alternative to giving your pet away, you will find the different places above more than ideal.
Just remember, regardless of what place you decide to give your dog away to, checking EVERYTHING you can to make sure the conditions are ideal.
With all that in mind – go find a new place for your dog! It won’t cost you a thing (or at least not much)!
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.