Giving Up Your Pet?


If you think you can’t keep your pet any longer, we would like to help you think again.  We’ve got some tools and tips to help you make the most informed decision.  You’ll be surprised at the good alternatives that abound.  This website is not a source for taking in animals, but we hope to help you make the most informed decision, help you keep your pet if possible and give guidance if you do give up your pet on the safest way to re-home them. 

However, please first remember that your pet, like a young child, is helpless without you. He or she is solely your responsibility.  Remember too, that if you must give up your pet, it may take much longer than you anticipate to find a good home that will keep the animal for the rest of its life.  Yes, you can call a shelter, but approximately 1,000 animals are destroyed at Los Angeles shelters every week and the number are similar across the country (per capita).  Animals brought to these facilities by their owners generally have only three days before becoming available for adoption or euthanasia.  With so many animals competing for love in these overcrowded venues, three days is hardly any time at all, and depending on your pet’s age, health, breed, temperament and how well they handle such a stressful environment, it could be even less.

Private no-kill animal rescue groups and breed specific rescue groups may try to help you find a home, but are usually too overwhelmed with their own animals to accept any more.  So you really have to take on the majority of the work in re-homing your pet, rescues can try to guide you as much as possible.  It is your pet so this is your responsibility.

How to begin

Start by reviewing your reason for giving up your pet.  Remember a life is at stake.

Your moving and the new abode doesn’t accept pets

It’s a dilemma rescuers hears often. However, many apartments, rental homes and condos allow pets and there are an abundance of excellent resources to help you find a pet-friendly rental.

You might have to spend more time on your search, pay a higher rent or live a bit farther away than you initially envisioned. On the other hand, you may not. If you fall in love with a rental condo or home that doesn’t accept pets, suggest a refundable ‘’pet deposit,’’ which is common procedure. Landlords are often open to such negotiation. You might even suggest that the landlord inspect the place quarterly.  That sort of openness on your part goes a long way.

If you’re a dog owner, trying bringing your pooch to meet prospective landlords. A well-groomed, well-behaved animal can mitigate concerns.  So maybe take a copy of your pet’s obedience-class diploma or, if you have a pure breed, certificate from the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program.  You might also bring references from previous landlords, neighbors or your vet.  For websites that help find rentals that allow pets click here.

Resources for pet owners facing foreclosure:

  • Lost Our Home Pet Foundation                                      

  •  No Paws Left Behind - Helps pay pet deposits for rentals. 

  • 2nd Chance 4 Pets - Provides information on what to do if you can no longer care for your pet.                            

  • Foreclosed Upon Pets: 

*You can look into making your dog or cat a "service" animal.  Landlords are suppose to allow "service" animals so getting your pet registered as one is a huge benefit.

You don’t have time for a pet anymore.

If you’re concerned that your pet is lonely because of your busy schedule, consider doggie day care, a dog walker or if another pet would help.  Maybe a friend has a pet that yours can spend time with while you work.  Reach out to friends and family for ideas and help.  You should also look around you because there might be somebody living near who’s aching to deliver the very service you need and would love some play time or companionship during the day.  And if you live in an apartment and think Fido must have a yard, don’t worry.  Happily, daily walks (which, like daily play and affection, are a must) suffice for most breeds.  Most pups whose owners have yards spend the bulk of their day sleeping in the space, not gallivanting around it.

Many people assume that their pet will be happier elsewhere.  Sadly, they’re often wrong.  Adjusting to a new home can cause stress, which in turn can cause separation anxiety, fearfulness, destructiveness and other behavioral issues.  These problems, which rescue groups encounter in rescued dogs and cats all the time, may lead the pet’s new owner–the person you thought would solve your problem — to likewise abandon the animal.

Baby on board

A baby on the way is another reason people site for giving up pets. However, in most cases, unless you’ve got problems with extreme animal aggression, child and animal can co-exist. In fact, recent studies in several respected medical journals show that early childhood exposure to animals decreases a child’s risk of developing allergies and asthma. Also, there are many excellent how-to’s on acclimating a pet to a new child. Specialized trainers can help, too.

Less severe behavioral problems such as jumping on people, escaping the yard and pooping inside the house can be exasperating. However, studies show that people often abandon pets for behavioral problems that could have been solved with help from a trainer and a commitment of time and effort by the owner. Toxo plasmosis is not a real threat, but if you are concerned you can always have you’re animal tested for it.


If your dog or cat develops a medical problem and you can’t afford the bills, many humane groups offer some financial assistance.  Click here for resources provided by HSUS.

Placing a sick animal in a shelter is cruel. He or she will be confused and scared at best, euthanized at worst—and may well infect other animals.  If your pet is terminally sick and/or sick to the point that he/she needs to be humanely euthanized but you can't afford it, there are groups that will cover the cost.  Do not take your pet to the shelter or pound to be euthanized.  You will not get to be with your pet while they are put down so they are surrounded by strangers in their last moments and the process in most shelters is not humane.  They do not sedate the animals before stopping the heart. 

Recommended tips for re-homing a pet

See “Step 2:  Finding the animal a new home” under “what to do if you find a lost or stray animal needing help”