Looking to adopt a pet? Click here to find your perfect pet.
Looking to adopt a pet? Click here.
Looking for a new home for your pet?
Home Pet Q&A Dog Questions What Does It Mean to Surrender a Dog?

What Does It Mean to Surrender a Dog?

Surrendering a dog means that you are relinquishing ownership of the pet to a shelter or rescue. Some pet owners think that when they surrender their pet to a shelter that the pet will be loved and spoiled for as long as it takes to find them a home—the truth is often quite different. Depending on the facility, it can be hard to find space to properly care for the dog. When shelters run out of kennel space, sometimes even healthy adoptable dogs are put to sleep. Some shelters simply don't have the manpower to spend time with each dog, so they spend most of their time alone in a small cage. Of course, many shelters are wonderful places that do have the resources they need to provide a loving environment, but some do not. What is true at every shelter is that when you surrender a dog, what happens to him is completely out of your hands.

The Shelter Environment

After you pay the fee for surrendering your pet, you relinquish all rights. Even in the best shelters, some pets suffer from separation anxiety, fear, and confusion. Ideally, your pet will be placed in a loving home but, sadly, this is not always the case. Your pet was part of the family, so when you surrender them, it can be hard to know you have no control of what happens to him. Consider these alternatives: 

Keeping the Pet 

This should always be the first choice. Whatever is causing you to consider not keeping the pet, including behavior issues or financial problems, you may be able to find help. Shelters are a great place to find such resources as the shelter staff's goal is always to help the pet owners keep their pets. You can also view our Keep Your Pet guide here. It may not be possible, but responsible pet owners will try. 

Finding a Rescue

When a rescue takes your pet, you are still surrendering him, but you are surrendering him to a private group that will give the dog as much time as he needs to find a new home. It can be difficult to find a rescue with space, but this is certainly an avenue worth exploring. If your dog is purebred, look for a breed-specific organization as this may increase your chances of finding a quality rescue that will take your pet.

Rehoming the Dog Yourself 

If you're willing to put in a little time and work, you can find a loving home for your dog yourself. This is a great option because you remain in control of where your dog ends up, you're able to choose the family, and you'll have peace of mind knowing your dog is in a safe and loving home. Our program called Rehome can assist with the process by allowing you to create an online profile that will be seen by people looking for a pet. If keeping your pet isn't an option, this is the next best solution. 

What does it mean to surrender your dog? Uncertainty. Instead, consider one of the other options above so your loving dog can go on being loved.  

Have More

Contact Us

How Can We Help?

Rehome by Adopt-a-Pet.com is the safe, reliable, and free way to find a loving new home for a pet. Our dedicated team of experts is here to support you with resources to help you keep your pet when you can and find the perfect new home for your pet when you can’t. Learn more.