Rehoming your pet

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The following post explains some of the steps you can take if you are thinking about rehoming your pet.

We understand that sometimes things happen and there is no other option, but in most instances your pet will be better off with you, in familiar surroundings, than going through the stress of rehoming.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties which make keeping your pet a problem,

If you have no other option than to find a new home for your pet, please start the process as soon as you can. The more time you have, the better the chances of finding a good home for them.

Evaluate your reasons

If you can find an alternative solution to whatever problem is preventing you from keeping your pet, it will mean one less pet that needs rescuing or rehoming. While organisations do their best, there are always far too many pets to rescue. Please seek advice or help if you can. There is some good information available online.

See: Can We Help You Keep Your Pet (

If your pet has behavioural issues which make them hard to live with, you’ll probably find that seeking some professional advice will go a long way to moderating annoying behaviours. Your local obedience club is a good place to start, and they will be able to suggest an experienced trainer or behaviourist in your local area who can help get your relationship back on track.

The Lort Smith Animal Hospital has a special offer for a three day training program with Hanrob which might help you keep your pet.  The Lort Smith Emergency Welfare Assistance program provides support for people in crisis, who need emergency temporary boarding for their pets.

If you are having difficulty affording veterinary care for your pet, the Lort Smith Hospital may be able to assist you.

Rehome your pet yourself

This is really the best option for you and your pet. You are, after all, the one who knows your pet best, and are in a really good position to judge what is a good home for them.  Make sure your pet is desexed, microchipped and up-to-date with vaccinations.

Take a good photo

A picture speaks a thousand words. When you take a photograph, use a background that is in contrast to the animal in order to highlight his/her best features. Keep it simple and clear with few background distractions.

Use a person, a hand or some other means to show the scale of the pet. Take the time to get a calm relaxed photo that does not present the pet as aggressive or scared.

Check out Pet Rescue’s advice on “how to snap a great pet photograph“.

Write a description which is honest, but which emphasises your pet’s best points. Be clear about the kind of home they need, whether it is one where they will get more exercise, or one without other pets. Here’s some advice on writing a great profile.

It doesn’t matter if you charge a fee for your pet or not, what matters is that you are willing to evaluate carefully applications. Don’t hand your pet over to the first person who asks about the – be willing to ask questions about how your pet will be kept, the kind of life they will lead and the kind of people who want to adopt them. Finding a good home for your pet will help reduce the level of guilt you are likely to feel at rehoming them.

When someone responds to your flyer or advertisement, you have an opportunity to interview them over the phone before introducing them to the animal. Ask questions about the person’s home environment to help you decide whether they can provide a suitable and loving permanent secure home. Make sure you transfer registration and or microchip details when you transfer ownership of your pet.

Prepare your pet

It is very important to desex your pet before you rehome them. Update the pet’s vaccinations and prepare a history of your pet. Include as much information as possible about his/her likes and dislikes, current food preferences, relationship to other animals, whether he/she likes to play with certain types of toys etc. All this information will help make the transition easier on the animal. Groom and bathe your pet so that he/she looks their best.


Place an advertisement in the your local newspaper and on Internet advertising boards such as Gumtree or the Trading Post.

Prepare a good flyer

Describe the appearance, size, and age of the animal. Describe his/her nature and appealing qualities. Include the pet’s name. State that the pet is desexed. Define any limitations, e.g. not good with cats/small children/ other pets/other cats. Use a good photograph. Be sure to put in your phone number, and time you can be reached.


Take your flyers everywhere:

  • To your veterinarian
  • To your work
  • To pet supply stores
  • To community bulletin boards
  • Show your family and friends.

Try contacting the pet’s breeder or rescue group

If all the available alternatives fail, and your pet is a pure bred pet from a reputable breeder, you should try to make contact with the breeder to see if they are able to take the pet back for rehoming.

If your pet came from a rescue group or shelter, you should contact them. Reputable rescues will take rehomed pets back or will offer you assistance in rehoming them.

Contact rescue groups

If the breeder or rescue group cannot take the pet back, try to contact a breed-related rescue group. This can be difficult; most rescues are full and concentrate on pound pets who have no other options. To give your pet the best possible chance at finding a rescue place make sure that they are desexed and that vaccinations are up-to-date.  If they have significant behaviour problems you need to be honest about this – some rescue groups have the capacity to offer rehabilitation and retraining.

Because rescue groups are always full, if you want a group to take your pet or cat, contact them with lots of lead time; rescue groups won’t be able to fit your pet in immediately and might need several weeks to free-up a carer.

You can find a list of Australian rescue groups here.

Surrendering to a pound or shelter

If your pet is young, an appealing breed, is healthy and has a good temperament, then surrendering them to the pound might be an option. Please bear in mind that surrendered pets have no mandated holding period, so if the pound or shelter believes your pet will be difficult to rehome, they can euthanize them at any time.

You can ask the shelter to let you know if they are going to euthanize your pet and you might be able to reclaim them, but remember that once you have signed the surrender form, your pet is no longer yours.

Some shelters have waiting lists for surrendered pets, so again, make sure you prepare well in advance to make sure your pet has the best possible chance of finding a new home.


Realistically, if your pet doesn’t stand much chance of being adopted, take responsibility for your pet and take him or her to your own vet for euthanasia. Stay with him or her to the end, as painful as that might be for you. It will be the last great gift of love you can give.

Never abandon your pet

Whatever you do, do not turn your pet loose ‘in the street’ or ‘out in the country’. This is one of the cruellest fates any domestic pet could meet. The danger, fear, and suffering they will encounter is heartbreaking even if they manage to survive at all.

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