Sometimes, an unexpected occurrence or a change in circumstances can put us in the tragic situation of needing to rehome a pet. This is a situation that isn’t always easy, and wanting to ensure we’ve found a good home for our pet can be stressful to navigate. This resource is aimed a giving you the tools to feel confident in rehoming your pet and finding a great family for their future.
Sometimes situations are out of our control, and we don’t have the luxury of time, but if you become aware of your need to rehome your pet then act quickly to get the ball rolling. Your pet may rehome very quickly or may take some time – the longer you have the better chance of an outcome you’re happy with.
Ensuring your pet has all of its vetwork up to date before rehoming them sets them up for the best possible chance of success in their new lives, as well as meeting your obligations as a pet owner. It is against the law in NSW to sell or give away an animal that has not been microchipped, so it’s especially important that this is done prior to rehoming. If you chip the pet in to your name, remember that you and the new owner need to fill out a ‘change of ownership’ form and it’s your responsibility as the ‘old’ owner to submit this form to your local council. Making sure your pet is up to date with its vaccinations, flea treatment and worming sets your pet up for the best possible health before they go to their new home.
The current vaccination schedule recommendations from the Australian Veterinary Association is that pups and kittens need three core vaccines (typically between the age of 6 and 16 weeks), a booster shot one year later, and then no more often than every three years after that. We highly recommend desexing your pet before he goes to his new home. Desexing will knock out any adopters that are only interested in your pet for potential breeding purposes instead of companionship, as well as improving your pet’s health and wellbeing.
If you have any connections to amateur or professional photographers call in a favour and ask if they’ll take a few great shots of your pet. Beautiful and clear photographs will be more likely to draw potential new families in to find out more about your pet. Is your pet good with kids or other pets? Make sure you get them in the photo, too! Do you have any silly sunglasses, scarves or other cute items to dress your pet in? Use them!
Studies have shown that photographing your pet with people, other animals or kids really increases their chances of being adopted and decreases how long they wait for a home. Same goes for silly dress ups – it’s endearing and it lets adopters imagine your pet with their family, and being fun in their own home. If you don’t have any links to photographers, you can give it a go yourself! Make sure they’re the best quality you can muster, and ensure they show your pet (in particular their face) clearly. The ASPCA Pro blog has a nice post with photography tips for adoption profiles.
If you can, snap a video of your pet doing something adorably cute, playing with another pet, interacting with some children or doing some tricks or obedience. All of these things will help prospective adopters imagine your pet in their lives, and up the chances of them making contact.
You can check out our resource to help you with this.
Here’s a few ideas for places to advertise:
It is entirely your choice as to whether you place an adoption fee on your pet, or you choose to give them away to the right home. It is absolutely a myth that pets obtained for free are not valued as much as pets that have been paid for (check out our blog on this topic) and as long as you are screening your homes in the same way it won’t make a difference for your pet’s wellbeing if you don’t charge a fee.
Alternatively, it’s also okay to charge a fee for your pet, especially if you need to do so to be able to afford to desex/microchip/vaccinate them prior to adoption. If you’re not keen on advertising your pet for free, but would be willing to waive it for the right person, then you can do just that, too! Just bear in mind that a high adoption fee, particularly if your pet isn’t vetworked, may limit your opportunities for rehoming.
A lot of this depends on your individual pet and their personality. Try making a list of the things that you think are really important for your particular pet (plenty of exercise, ongoing obedience training, gets along with certain types or sexes of other pets etc). Then make a list of the things that might be nice for your pet but aren’t deal breakers (maybe your dog would love an hour walk every day but would totally be fine with half an hour and skipping a day every now and then).
When you talk to your potential adopters, see if they can meet the needs of your individual pet based on their circumstances. If any of your ‘dealbreakers’ aren’t quite met in an otherwise lovely person – don’t write them off immediately! Maybe you can work with them, or make some suggestions for them to implement before your pet comes home to them. For example, if your dog is very high energy and you hear the potential adopter works full time, you may be tempted to instantly write them off – instead, talk to them further and see if they’d be willing to put in the time and effort to make sure your particularly high energy dog would be happy and satisfied in their household.
Most definitely an emotional time, the goodbye can be very hard for anyone. Try and establish with your adopter beforehand what level of contact they’d be happy with in future. Some adopters will be happy to stay in touch with you and others will prefer to start the pet’s new life afresh and not stay so in touch. While this might be hard for some people, remember that the main thing is that your pet finds a great home, and you are relinquishing ownership of your pet to this great home.
If they choose not to stay in contact with you it does not make them any less of a great owner for your pet. Hopefully these tips will help get you through what can be a stressful time – and end up with some happy out the other side. Please note that Team Dog is not a rescue group and is unable to take on pets for rehoming, nor advertise pets looking for new homes. Could it be possible for you to keep your pet with some assistance? Contact us – we may be able to help.