You’re not alone if you love your dog more than just about anything in the world. But, sometimes life changes and you can’t keep your pet any longer. If you are asking the question “where can I surrender my dog for free?” – I have found several options for you to consider.
Whatever the reason might be for needing to surrender a pet, there are options out there!
Read on to find out what options and resources are available for surrendering a pet or finding them a new home.
Common Reasons A Dog May Need To Be Surrendered or Re-homed
While those of us in animal rescue always advocate for keeping a dog for life, we also understand that things sometimes happen that may require you to surrender your pet.
Dogs are not just a pet – they are family. They bond, they feel and they can become depressed or showcase behavioral issues when they lose their families. So, it is important to look for options that will minimize the negative impact to a dogs mental – and physical health.
Below are common reasons dogs are often surrendered by pet owners along with ways you can prevent this from needing to be an option for losing your dog!
Pet allergies – if this is a first pet you may not have known you had allergies. This is common with children. But allergies do not have to mean surrendering your dog! Talk to a doctor to discuss options – you may just find a way to keep your beloved pet.
Behavior issues – if your dog has begun exhibiting behavioral issues that you do not feel safe with, you may be considering finding them a new home. This is one issue that may be easily resolved though with some training or a behaviorist to find what is causing the issues. A few training sessions can easily fix the behavioral issue and have your dog back to their normal selves!
Living situation – if you need to move and you cannot find a pet-friendly home or rental then surrendering may seem like the only option. But, we hope you will consider furthering your home search until you do find a pet friendly option! Reach out on social media and find realtors or community boards for the area you are moving to and ask about options for bringing your dog with you. You can also try to negotiate with the new landlord to see if they would be willing to take an extra security deposit or offer a full cleaning service upon your moving out in exchange for allowing dogs in the unit.
Owner illness – if you become so ill or injured that caring for your dog is no longer an option then reaching out to rescues or organizations that specialize in these types of scenarios are the best option. This is the one reason for dog rehoming that is most accepted and that most people will really help with, so be sure to ask for help on social, in groups you are in or from local resources. If the illness or injury is temporary, you can look to see if there is an organization that can help with animal care until you are back on your feet!
Pet illness – if you recently discovered your pet is very ill and you do not have the funds to care for it, there are options! This is a devastating thing to owners who truly love their pets! But, there is financial help for you to pay your vet bills so definitely try some of those options before deciding on rehoming your dog.
New baby – this is one of the reasons that will get the animal rescue community most upset. A pet is a lifetime commitment and trying to surrender a dog because of a new baby in the home may not be easy. If you feel your dog may not do well around a baby, you can keep them separated. You can also look into training to help the dog adjust. Rehoming or trying to surrender a dog because of a new baby should be a last resort, not the first.
The Average Cost To Surrender A Dog
While you may be able to find some shelters or rescues that do not charge a fee, there are some that do.
On average these fees may run from $25-$200, but are varied based on many factors.
What Is The Difference Between Surrendering + Rehoming A Dog?
Surrendering a dog means you are handing it over to a shelter or rescue without knowing what will happen to it. With shelters often being so crowded surrendering a dog could mean a death sentence. Also some dogs become very stressed and aggressive in that environment which can also minimize their chances of every being adopted.
Rehoming a dog allows you to be in control of the where your dog goes. It gives you – and your dog the best opportunity for a great life with a bright future.
While I really hope you can find a way to keep your dog – rehoming should always be your second option with surrendering to a shelter being the last option.
Below are options where you might be able to find a new home for your dog for free – or at least minimal costs. Some require surrendering, some rehoming – so be sure to do your research to find the one that is right for you and your dog.
Where Can I Surrender My Dog For Free (Or Almost Free)
Below are all the options for finding a new home for your pet. Some are free, some may have a small fee – some are better options than others.
Be sure to find the one that is right for you!
1 | Family & Friends – Free + Best Option
Your family & friends can be a great way to re-home your dog. This is the best circumstance because you will already have a better chance of seeing your dog again and the odds are in your favor the home will be a good one.
Contact your closest friends and let them know you are trying to find a new home for your dog and ask them to spread the word. Post on social media and ask friends and family to share.
Please be sure to ask for a re-homing fee to ensure that the interested party is seriously interested! Dogs that are given away are more likely to wind up in not so great homes.
2 | Rehome: A Service From Adoptapet – Free + 2nd Option
Rehome is a service offered by Adoptapet designed to help you find a new family for your four-legged friend.
While the entire process is free for pet owners, adopters pay an adoption fee which goes towards helping other animals in need through donations and grants from third party charities like ASPCA (American Society For Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals).
One of the best things about Rehome is that it provides dog owners with the ability to choose who can adopt their pet.
The steps to use Rehome are pretty simple:
- Add a profile for your pet which will include information about things like breed, temperament, special needs, activity level etc. You can also upload records for your pet such as medical, paperwork etc.
- Potential adopters will then review your pets profile and if interested reach out with questions, which you will be notified of.
- You respond to questions that are asked and can review a potential adopter as well. Screening potential adopters is a part of the Rehome service.
- Meeting the adopter can take place after you have reviewed and approved an applicant.
- If they are a fit you can create an adoption agreement further ensuring your pet is in good hands with their new owners.
It may take a little while to find the perfect fit – so patience will be needed, but in the end will be worth it.
3 | Animal Rescue – Free or Small Fee + 3rd Option
An animal rescue is a 501(c)(3) – or non profit organization that is usually started by someone who loves animals and wants to do more to help. A rescue can be breed specific or general, but they usually have very limited funds and work hard to raise funds to meet the medical and care needs of the animals they take in.
Rescues often use what are called foster families to care for pets they take in until they can find a forever home.
Some will charge a fee if they can take your dog since the cost of care can be high.
If you have a purebred dog then finding a local rescue for your breed of dog is the best option since many usually have a waiting list of adopters. This can help get your dog into a new home quicker!
4 | Animal Shelter Low Cost Fee + Last Option!
Your local animal shelters are usually run by the local government and each one will have their own rules about surrendering dogs. Most are not non profits and funding may come from their local community or from animal rescues who support them.
While some shelters might take your pet for free, others may require a nominal surrender fee to cover the cost of care for your pet. Animal care is not cheap and can include food, medial services, toys, bedding and so much more. If a fee is collected it is usually paid upon intake of your pet.
If the fee is more than you can afford, be sure to let the animal shelter know that, as they may have some kind of hardship waiver to allow you to pay what you can or use other financial resources to help pay your fee.
Once your dog is relinquished to the shelter it will be cared for, assessed for any behavior issues and then wait until a new home and owner can adopt them.
While many shelters are no-kill shelters, there are still some that euthanize dogs for space, aggression and medical issues. If you truly do want the best for your dog – you should ask about their euthanasia rates.
It is estimated that 1.5 million pets are euthanized in shelters every year.
Do you really want your beloved dog a part of that statistic?
Tips For Properly Rehoming or Surrendering A Dog
Many people don’t know what to do when they decide their pets are no longer wanted.
The best thing you can do is try and find a home for them before going through the process of putting your pet into an animal shelter, where there may be hundreds of other animals just like theirs waiting for homes as well.
Surrendering a dog to a shelter leads to an over abundance of pets at these shelters which often ends in euthanasia rates that reach up to 20%.
Do you really want your dog to become part of this statistic? I did not think so.
Below are some options to help improve your chances of re-homing your pet if you can no longer care for it.
- Look for rehoming options for your pet before heading right to the shelter. If a shelter is already crowded it could be a sad ending for your pet.
- A pet is not a thing, but a being. If you took on the responsibility of caring for them – please take the time to re-home them properly by finding a good place for them to land.
- Use Facebook, your network of friends and local businesses to help spread the word that you need to find a new loving home for your pet.
- Be sure to find a family that meets the unique personality of your pet. This means do not let your rambunctious large dog go to a home with babies.
- If you have tried other options but realize that you do need to surrender your dog to an animal shelter or rescue, do your homework. Not all shelters or rescues are created equal and it is important to understand their policies and procedures for dogs that are surrendered. Setting up an appointment to speak with someone is a great way to learn more about how they work.
What Should Never Be Done When Rehoming Or Surrendering A Dog
There are some things you should never do when you are trying to find a dog a new home! While there may be some frustration along the way and you may feel there are no other options, the below are things that should NEVER be done if you cannot keep a pet.
- Never lie or hide important facts about your dog. If they have a behavioral issue or bite history – be honest about it. Lying will only bring more stress to the dog – and potential new owner which will only be more horrific for the dog when they are re-homed again.
- Do not “dump” your dog. If you are having trouble finding a new home for your dog, and feel like the last resort is to dump them in the woods or elsewhere – just don’t. Please keep your pet until you can find them a new loving owner.
- Leaving your dog at a shelter or rescue after hours is also a big no. Tying them to a fence or a door leaves them scared, confused and at risk of harm. While you may think you are doing a good thing by leaving them at a safe venue, shelters are not always able to care for the pet and they may be at risk of euthanasia.
- Never post a dog for free on Craigslist or Facebook or any other online marketplace. This can lead to horrific things for the pet you love. Many use these websites to find bait dogs for fighting, for breeding and sadly some are just looking for dogs to abuse. Not everyone has good intentions. If you use social media or a website to post your pet, please be sure to charge a nominal fee for re-homing. This will prevent most “bad people” from bothering with your pet.
If you are trying to surrender your pet, I hope this article helped! While I truly hope you can find a way to keep your pet, if there is just no other option – please make sure you take the time to ensure your pet goes to a safe home or organization.
Have you ever had to go through the process of finding a new home for a dog? We would love to hear your story and advice for making the process easier.