Adoption: When it’s Time To Give Up Your Pet

It's not easy saying 'goodbye', but sometimes it's necessary.
It's not easy saying 'goodbye', but sometimes it's necessary.
It’s not easy saying ‘goodbye’, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Nobody ever plans to give up their beloved cat or dog; but for some unfortunate pet owners, there comes a time when it is necessary to put the pet up for adoption. If you find yourself in a sticky situation and are not sure if it is the right decision to give up your animal, review the list of considerations below to help you come to a conclusion.

Reasons to Give Up Your Pet

If either you, your pet, or someone else in your home is struggling with any of the below experiences, the pet might not be the best match for you and your family.

  • Unhappiness: Despite everyone’s hope for mutual happiness and contentment, in some rare cases, a dog or cat simply does not take to the family they have been purchased by. It is normal to have a period of adjustment and uncertainty, but this should not continue for more than a few days or a week at most. Some homes remind pets of bad memories, or frighten them and make them worries or sad for reasons that are unknown to the owner.  If the pet stops eating of his health or mood is on a downward spiral, it is worth considering that they may need a new home.
  • Unsafe: If the animal’s safety is threatened by one of the humans, or a human’s safety is threatened by the pet, then this is a sign that the relationship is not a good fit. Some families bite off more than they can chew with a rambunctious or oversized large dog that accidently hurts children, or shows signs of aggression by “cornering” or growling at the adults. Though a need for training may be expected, one should not feel unsafe in their own home; neither should a dog or cat feel threatened by anyone in the family. If the two-year old likes to squeeze the kitty’s neck, or the father has anger issues and kicks the dog, then it is no longer a safe environment for the pet. When animals and people simply cannot co-exist peaceably, they should be re-paired with a better match.
  • Unsuited: Behavior problems do occur, particularly with pets that may have been poorly trained, neglected, abused or adopted before. If your pet is acting out, first try to solve the problem with focused training classes, or by hiring a pet trainer to help your dog or cat correct the issue. If the cat’s bad behavior is irreparable, or you and the dog are unsuited for each other, it may be time to help your pet find a better home to suit his needs. There might be other reasons why the relationship isn’t workable: if there is not enough room in the new house for the pet, or if a housing development or apartment does not allow for dogs and cats, then you would be unable to adequately care for the animal.
  • Neglect: Busyness is often an unfortunate deterrent to happy home life. When jobs change, or activities increase, many people find that their pet-care time is significantly limited. Situations (such as destructive behaviors from your pet) will begin to arise indicating that your pet will need to be with someone who can give him the life he deserves. Families might consider enrolling the pet in doggie or kitty day-care, or hiring a dog-walker. If these options are not feasible, then you will have to think objectively about the kind of attention your pet is receiving. Notice if the dog hasn’t been walked in 3-4 days, or the kitty litter box is far too full of feces, or when no one can remember who fed the dog last, or when someone combed the cat. Dogs and cats are dependent on their humans to provide them the right kind of care; if this fails to happen, giving them a better home is the right thing to do.
  • Financial Hardship: When tough times hit and someone loses a job, or develops a disease that requires expensive medical procedures, suddenly it can be very difficult to front vet bills and buy healthy pet food products. If this happens, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to responsibly provide for a pet, it is time to help them find a home that can.

How To Give Up the Pet

  • Call for advice: Get in touch with a local breeder, the breeder you purchased your pet from, your vet, or a local rescue home or shelter. Inform them of the details of your situation and ask for advice about whether or not it is best to move forward with putting your cat or dog up for adoption. Get 2 or 3 opinions and seek counsel on how to go about the process.
  • Help your pet prepare: Give your pet their best chance for adoption by having them spayed or neutered, or and by helping advertise for them. Take appealing pictures of the animal that can accompany any fliers or social media postings where you can alert friends and family about your pet’s need for a new home. Connecting with immediate circles and networking with friends might help your pet find an eager owner long before you have to settle for a shelter.
  • Submit: There are numerous associations, rescue homes and shelters that help save cats and dogs from unsuitable or unstable environments. However, we recommend that because of the amount of inhabitants, the noise, and the limited staff members, that shelters be regarded as a final resort.


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