Where to Surrender Dog for Free? 5 Best Places

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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?

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

Newborn Upcoming
Dog Child Childhood Toddler Baby Boy Kid Field

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

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

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.

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)

People You Know

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)

A Rescue Group

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)

Local Community Groups

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.


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)!

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