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Home Pet Q&A Dog Questions How Do I Surrender My Dog?

How Do I Surrender My Dog?

You can surrender your dog by taking him to an animal shelter or rescue organization. It's important to know what will take place once you relinquish your pet to a shelter or rescue and also to be aware that there are alternatives. Some facilities don't allow walk-in surrenders and almost all charge a fee. This varies by location, so it's important to call ahead to learn the procedures of the animal welfare organizations near you.

How to Surrender a Dog 

The first step is making a phone call to the organization to let them know that you would like to surrender your dog. In some cases, they will ask you several questions about the dog and about your reasons for surrendering him. If the facility does not answer, you can move forward with bringing the animal in the shelter or rescue.

As more animal welfare facilities are learning the importance of trying to keep dogs in their homes, they may offer or suggest talking with someone who could help you work on the issues that are making you want to surrender the dog. They may offer advice about animal training, day care facilities, where to find financial assistance, and other concerns. You can also refer to our Dog Tips guide if you are interested in learning more about how to help some common dog ownership questions.   

Once the decision to surrender is final, and the shelter has agreed to take the pet, you'll bring the dog to the facility, pay a fee, and sign the pet over to the organization.

When you leave, the fate of the pet is out of your hands. Sadly, many healthy pets are at risk of euthanasia after being surrendered. Some are afraid of the shelter environment which can cause a normally well-mannered dog to behave aggressively out of fear. Such behavior decreases the chances the dog will be adopted. The lucky dogs will find new homes, but you'll have no input into the type of family that is allowed to adopt your pet.

Other Options 

If there is no way to keep your dog there are options other than surrendering him that give your pet a better chance for a positive outcome.

Find a Rescue Group 

A rescue is different than a shelter, such as the city pound, in that they are privately run groups that give dogs as long as it takes to find their forever home. For that reason, it can be difficult to find a rescue that has the space to take your pet, but it is something worth trying.

Rehome the Dog Yourself 

If you are willing to take the time to find a new home for pet, this is often the ideal option. When going this route it is extremely important:

  • To think twice about giving your dog away on sites like Craigslist or Facebook pages. There are people who scour these sites looking for pets to sell to a lab, use for dog fighting, or other bad things. You should use caution and properly screen all applicants if you decide to go this route.
  • NOT to give your dog "free to a good home" (Always charge a rehoming fee.)
  • NOT to give your dog to a family without checking references and further screening them.

    The process of properly rehoming your dog might seem overwhelming, but there are resources to make it easier and to ensure your dog will be safe, happy, and loved in his new home. Rehome is a website that is dedicated to helping responsible pet owners find loving homes for their pets. From advice about screening adopters to creating a profile to get your pet noticed, Rehome is a great resource. 

    Surrendering or rehoming a dog should be a last resort, but sometimes even loving pet owners have no choice. If that's the case in your situation, consider taking the steps to find your pet the perfect home, so you'll know you did your best for him or her. 

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