Rehoming a pet

As much as we’d love to live in a world where all pets, adopted or bought, are loved and cared for until their final days – as should be the intention when deciding to care for a pet – the unfortunate reality is that there are instances where pets need to be re-homed, whether it be out of sheer necessity or sheer inconvenience. The Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFI) urges owners who are considering re-homing to do so in the kindest and most considerate way possible. With so many unwanted animals bursting out of shelters already, re-homing really should be a last resort. Issues such as behavioral problems can often be rectified with medical intervention of through behavior modification in consultation with an accredited animal behaviorist. The cost of expensive medical attention may be reduced through the use of rescue medical facilities. Allergies can often be managed with medication or careful cleaning and restriction of pet’s access within the home. Please consider and investigate thoroughly any and all possible solutions before making the difficult decision to re-home.

When re-homing truly is the only solution, the below tips may make the transition as kind as possible.

  • Start by contacting the person or organization where you adopted or bought the pet from. Often, they may prefer to get involved in re-homing to ensure the correct checks are done.
  • Connect with family and friends in case they are willing to take over caring for your pet. Please do home checks to ensure that all of their needs will be met.
  • Networking and time are key but advertising that a pet is “free to a good home” is not advisable as your pet may end up in an unsavory situation, especially if you do not do the necessary background investigations.
    If possible, keep your pet in your home until a new owner can be found to limit the stress of multiple new environments.
  • Do all you can to get your pet up to date with routine care (such as tick and flea control, annual veterinary checkups etc.) to limit the burden on a new owner.
  • Make contact with local vets and rescue groups to find out if they can assist you in re-homing your pet or have the space to take your pet in. Rescue facilities are extremely busy and often have limited or no space, so please do not just show up on their door or worse yet, just drop the pet off unplanned or unannounced.
  • Network with other pet-related professions and persons, such as trainers and pet lovers, as they may know of someone looking to adopt.
  • Be honest about the reasons for re-homing a pet. If it purely a case of no longer wanting the pet, say so. Creating false reasons will reduce the likelihood of finding a new home for your pet or not disclosing issues will increase the likelihood of an unsuccessful match being made.
  • Be clear and truthful about your pet’s personality and individual needs to maximize the chances of finding them the right home. If, for example, your dog does not do well with children, be upfront with the information so that he is not re-homed with young kids.
  • Remember that re-homing a pet will be stressful for you and even more so for the pet. Every precaution and measure that you can take to make the change as stress-free as possible will assist in the transition.