Rehoming a Dog: A “How To” Guide

Rehoming a dog is on no one’s bucket list of things they want or expect to do. But if circumstances make it unavoidable, look to Get Your Pet for help. Start with this “How To” guide to rehoming a dog we created to help you make the process as smooth and successful as possible.

A photo of a man faced with rehoming a dog, snuggling with it.

Preparation is Key — Things to Do Before Rehoming a Dog

Before rehoming a dog, make sure they are set up for success. See that your dog has been to the vet recently and is healthy. Have their vet records on hand, as they will make the transition easier. Spay or neuter your dog before rehoming them. This will eliminate the possibility of them creating unwanted litters, reduce undesirable behaviors such as mounting, and even possibly prevent cancer later in life. Be sure to give them a bath or have them groomed so they look their best for potential adopters!

When Rehoming a Dog, Put Your Dog’s Best Paw Forward

Rehoming a dog quickly starts with having high-quality photos in the dog’s published profile. You don’t need a professional camera for this; just make sure your pictures have good lighting, aren’t blurry, and that they showcase your pet well. Try a variety of “poses” – one facing the camera, one of them engaged in their favorite activity, one that shows off their personality. DO NOT show your dog in a cage, behind a fence or wearing a heavy chain.  If possible, add a video to your dog’s profile. A video allows adopters to see your pet in action and get an idea for how they behave around people. We have even more photo-taking tips and tricks and even more tips for making your pet into a video star!

Make Your Pet Stand Out

Get specific about your pet in the “Story” section of the profile. Tell adopters something that goes beyond the hard facts of their weight or age. For example, the profile might say that Sparky gets along with cats. But, does Sparky secretly seek out feline snuggles? Information about your dog’s personality and funny traits will pique potential adopters’ interest much more than a rehash of their vital statistics. What qualities does your dog have that would make you want to bring them into your family, if you could?

Spread the Word that You’re Rehoming a Dog

When rehoming a dog, you will need to make sure the dog is seen by as many people as possible.

  • Create a digital adoption advertisement to expose your pet to as many interested adopters as possible. Post on a website like ours,, and others, like Rehome. Post on social media sites like Facebook.
  • Talk to your family and friends. Tell everyone who will listen that your dog needs to be rehomed – you never know who may be interested!
  • Post flyers in your community. At, you can combine your pet’s photo and profile into a flyer by following the simple instructions. Be sure to add your contact information. Post the flyers at your veterinarian’s office, grocery stores, libraries, churches, and gyms.
  • Contact local no-kill shelters and rescues. Surrendering your pet to a shelter should be your last resort but calling/emailing a local shelter to see their intake availability well before you need to find your pet a home will allow you to plan ahead. Ask if they schedule intake appointments and book one on the very last day you must rehome your dog, just in case. Here is a list of local rescues/shelters.

Lastly, respond quickly to interested adopters. This sounds obvious, but if a potential adopter doesn’t hear back from you promptly, there’s a good chance they will move on to the next pet in need.

Already found an adopter? Here are more tips and all the questions to ask them!

Need specifics on what to do next? Learn how to rehome a dog or cat step by step.