Rehoming a beloved pet is never an easy decision. On top of the emotional toll, you have to worry about the actual process too! We strive to make things as easy as possible for Guardians on Get Your Pet. Please know that we are here to help. Keeping your pet out of an animal shelter or rescue situation and placing them directly into a new, loving home is the kindest, smartest and most humane thing you can do. Check out the following tips for Guardians when looking to rehome your pet.
Create a Profile that Gets Attention
Adopters are drawn to pets whose profiles have great content. Make your pet’s story long enough and specific enough to make your pet stand out. Add as many clear photos as you can to show off your pet’s personality. Make a video of your pet in action and add that, too — videos get 140% more attention from Adopters.
All of this content is free. If you want to do even more to draw attention to your pet’s profile, consider Boosting!
Share Information with Potential Adopters
The more insight you can give an Adopter into your pet, the more likely you are to find the right new home for them. We recommend you try to cover these points somewhere in your pet’s profile, in your messages with Adopters or at your meet-ups.
- Your pet’s full history, including how long you’ve had your pet, how you got your pet and any previous history you may know.
- Why you need to find your pet a new home. Having this information will help Adopters decide if the pet will fit into their life.
- Who your pet has lived with before. Describe the people living in your household. Be sure to include details about any other pets they are living with or have lived with.
- Your pet’s favorite activities. Make a list so the Adopter can include these in the pet’s future.
- Anything your pet is fearful of. Many pets are frightened by thunderstorms, fireworks, loud noises, car rides, trips to the vet, people in uniforms, children or other animals. Let potential Adopters know any of these or other things that trouble your pet.
- Any allergies your pet has. Bee stings, certain types of foods, flea/tick prevention and grooming products are the most common allergies pets have.
- What type of food your pet eats. Changing a pet’s diet dramatically can cause major gastrointestinal issues. Be sure to give the brand name to the potential Adopter.
- Any behavioral issues your pet has. It is crucial to be honest about any less-than-desirable behaviors your pet may exhibit. Cover any important topic, such as aggression towards people or other animals, potty issues, and off-leash behavior.
- Any medical conditions your pet may have. Share current and past medical history and any veterinary documents you may have.
- Your pet’s spay or neuter status. Spaying or neutering is one of the most important things you can do for your pet, and is extremely desirable to potential Adopters. Get Your Pet can help you find a low cost resource for this service, but please know that this will most likely cost you something.
- Your pet’s vaccination status. Vaccinations are critical to a pet’s health. If your pet is up to date on vaccines, make sure to bring proof of this.
- Your pet’s flea/tick prevention status. If you’ve been providing flea/tick prevention regularly, make sure to tell the potential Adopter the type you have been using, so as to avoid any bad reactions.
- Whether or not your pet has been de-wormed or had a fecal test performed recently. Many intestinal parasites that dogs and cats have are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted to humans. De-worming is relatively inexpensive and well worth it.
- Your pet’s Heartworm Prevention status. This is most applicable to dogs, but cats can get heartworm as well. Heartworm is exactly what it sounds like – a parasite that lives in the heart. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and can be fatal. If you’ve been providing heartworm prevention regularly, make sure to tell the potential Adopter the type you have been using to avoid any reactions.
- Is the pet micro-chipped? This is important because the new Adopter will need to make sure the microchip company is updated with the pet’s new address.
Questions to Ask A Potential Adopter
- Tell me about your previous experience with pets. Have you ever had another pet and/or do you have any pets now? If the answer is yes, great! Then they already know what is involved with pet ownership. Ask how long they’ve had their pet(s). In general, the longer the better. If the answer is no, don’t worry! Plenty of people adopt pets for the first time and are fantastic pet parents. If the Adopter had pets that they no longer have, ask for specifics – the most desirable answer is “He passed away at age 18.” Answers that should be concerning are that he/she died of a preventable disease such as parvo, ran away, or was turned in to a shelter.
- Are your current pets spayed/neutered? The best answer is yes. Spaying/neutering prevents unwanted pet births and reduces euthanasia in crowded shelters. It also has medical benefits, such as decreasing the chance of mammary cancer and eliminating the risk of testicular cancer. And spaying and neutering make it less likely that a pet will run away from home or get into fights. If the answer is no, and your pet is already spayed or neutered, the decision is yours. However, if your pet is not spayed or neutered, Get Your Pet strongly recommends you get your pet altered and/or look for another Adopter.
- Do you have children? How old are they? Have they ever been around pets? Use your judgement here. Does your pet like children? Will your pet be happy to have children around? Children should never be expected to be a pet’s primary caregiver. If the potential Adopter indicates that’s the plan, you should reconsider. In any case, it is a good idea for you and the pet to meet the kids!
- Are you allowed to have pets where you live? Of course, the answer has to be, “yes.” Fenced yards are best, but aren’t always possible. In some parts of the country they aren’t always necessary (very rural farmland). Make sure the potential Adopter is interested in exercising their new pet. Some dogs should get up to three or four miles of exercise a day. “My apartment doesn’t allow pets” is one of the top three reasons that pets are taken to shelters.
- Do you have a fenced yard? Fenced yards are great, but certainly not every dog needs one. Consider your dog’s activity needs and whether or not that is a deal-breaker. Maybe the Adopter is an avid walker who will give the dog plenty of exercise without a fenced yard.
- Will you provide references? If you are reluctant to take someone at their word, asking for references is a great way to find out more about the prospective Adopter. Their veterinarian, family member or friend may be able to give you confidence that you are making the right decision.
- Will the pet be a member of your family or a gift for someone else? It is important that everyone who will be living with your pet meet them , so that you can see how they interact together. This maximizes the chance of the adoption being a success.
- Are you willing to allow a home visit? It can help you to see where your pet will be living, and most potential Adopters will have no problem with this. It’s a good idea to take your pet along, to see their reaction to the home and the people. Important: NEVER do a home visit alone! Always take someone with you and let the Adopter know you are bringing a friend.
- Do you plan on crating the dog? For how long each day? Using a crate is a good way to introduce a pet to their new routine and to avoid accidents in the house, especially if your pet is accustomed to it. On the other hand, 12 hours a day alone in a crate signals a neglectful situation. Use your judgement here.
- If the pet has an accident in the house, what type of correction do you plan to use? You are looking for an answer that suggests patience, consistency, and perhaps even some knowledge about training. It is never acceptable to hit, spank, slap, poke, kick, or humiliate a pet that has had an accident.
- How many hours per day will the pet be alone? You know your pet best, and can decide how long they will be able to tolerate isolation on a regular basis. The average person works 8 hours a day, so use that as a reasonable benchmark.
- Will the pet be going outside at all? Cats that go outside have a significantly reduced expected lifespan because they are exposed to a whole list of dangers, including diseases transmitted by other cats. Spending time outdoors is okay for dogs, but remember that dogs typically want to be where you are. It is never acceptable to tether or chain a dog outside unattended.
- Will you be declawing the cat? Cats can live happy, healthy lives after being declawed, but the general recommendation is to adopt a cat that is already declawed or declaw when the cat is a kitten.
- Has another cat living in your home been tested for FIV (feline AIDS) or FILV (feline Leukemia)?
If either cat is positive for one of these diseases placing them together can have fatal consequences for the unaffected cat. Cats who are positive for the same illness can live together.
Tips for the Meet-Up
Meeting a potential Adopter can feel a bit awkward, but keep in mind that they are there to give your pet a second chance at a loving home, so their motivation is good. Here are a few ground rules to make a first meeting go smoothly.
- Remember that while this is a very difficult moment for you, it is likely a very exciting and nervous-making decision for them – they are expanding their family!
- Answer all of the Adopter’s questions truthfully. If you’re not sure, say so. This isn’t a process where there are “right” or “wrong” answers. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if the Adopter is the right fit for your pet. Your best chance of finding the right home for your pet hinges on your being honest with the Adopter.
- Ask questions. You have a right to know all about the person who will be caring for your pet. Use this opportunity to learn everything you can. Ask open-ended questions, ones that need more than a yes or no answer. And trust yourself to make a good choice about who your pet goes home with. For specific questions, see Questions to Ask A Potential Adopter, above.
- You and the potential Adopter may decide to transfer possession of your pet right there at the first meet-up. You are, of course, entitled to do this, but you should not feel that you have to do so. The decision is yours to make.
- If you do transfer possession of your pet, be sure to sign in to your dashboard and follow up your meet-up. This is the only way the Community can know the new status of your pet and see that you receive the documentation that makes your adoption legal.
Tips for the Exam / Adoption
You’ve found the right person to adopt your pet, and while it’s a difficult decision, you know it is for the best. You will be sparing your pet the misery of living in an animal shelter, the risk of illness and, quite possibly, death. If you haven’t transferred your pet to the potential Adopter at the meet-up, the exam is last step before doing so.
Here are some tips to make the exam (and adoption) go smoothly:
- Make sure that you and the Adopter have your time and location coordinated. The Adopter should arrange the adoption exam and keep you informed via the getyourpet.com website.
- Bring anything you want the Adopter to take home with them, such as your pet’s favorite toy, a leash or carrier, your pet’s food, bowls or crate.
- Be aware that if there are medical issues discovered during the exam, the next move is up to the Adopter. If they have not accepted physical possession of the pet yet, they are under no obligation to do so. And you don’t want them to do so unless they are willing and able to accept responsibility for the pet’s medical care.
- When the exam is successfully completed, it is time for the actual adoption to take place. Transferring the pet into the Adopter’s care will probably be a moment that is emotional for both you and the Adopter.
- You may want a moment to say your goodbyes to your pet or you may just want to leave. The Adopter will give you some space to do what’s right for you.
- If you wish, you can take a moment in the office to log onto your Get Your Pet dashboard and click the button that confirms you have transferred ownership of your pet to the Adopter. Follow the steps indicated to make your adoption legal and documented. Or, you can wait until you get home. Just don’t forget to finish the process to make it official.
- You and the Adopter can decide whether or not you want to keep in touch. That’s one of the great things about Get Your Pet: what you choose to do is up you and the Adopter.
- Whatever you decide, you will have done a wonderful deed, one both you and the Adopter should both be proud of. Together, you have just given the pet you love a new lease on life.