How To Re-Home Your Pet Safely


When advertising your dog or cat:

  • Do NOT say, “free to good home”. Research labs and animal collectors feed on these ads. I know some of you will disagree, but it is a fact and has happened, and will happen again sadly.
  • Charge an adoption fee to help ensure the new owners of your pet are serious about caring for your dog or cat. A suggestion is to charge at least $50.00 for your dog or $25 for your cat, unless it is a close friend you know well. If someone complains they cannot afford to pay this amount, this is a red flag. You must wonder whether or not they would be able to meet the financial obligations necessary to care for a pet. After all, remember that pet food, vet bills, and other routine care demands that someone have a stable source of income.
  • Put cards up at vet offices and pet supply stores. Make use of “word of mouth” and tell everyone you come in contact with.
  • Have potential adopters fill out an adoption questionnaire form. You can find MANY samples of adoption forms by using Google or Yahoo to search for “dog adoption form” or even by visiting most rescue group websites.
  • Perform a home check.  Make sure they have a home compatible with your dog or cat. Cats/no cats, kids/no kids and ages of children in home, other adults, type of fence needed, activities and if they are interested in your dog for breeding purposes.  A word to the wise, if they are looking to breed a dog or cat for any reason, steer clear of them.
  • Talk to the adopters in person and seek out information on their knowledge of pet ownership, training, the breed and anything else you may feel appropriate.
  • Perform personal reference check and vet check if possible. Make sure the adopters call their vet and personal references, giving them permission to answer your questions.  Check on how responsible and honest they are.
  • Make sure their other pets, past or present, have been up to date on vaccinations, heartworm medicine and have been spayed/neutered.


Have them meet your pet. The meeting should take place in a central/neutral location for the dog or a comfortable place for your cat (which is somewhere very familiar for a cat). Watch how your pet reacts to them. You may want your dog to meet their pets at this time, if possible. It does take time for most pets to adjust to each other. Keep these things in mind during the meeting:

  • Does the potential family seem impatient, controlling, do the people want to rush the interaction and are not willing to take time with your dog?
  • TRUST YOUR GUT!! We’ve found that even when everything seems right, something about a prospective family might not set well with you.
  • Tell the family you are interviewing others who are interested in the dog and you will call them when a decision is made. NEVER LET ANYONE PRESSURE YOU INTO TAKING YOUR PET ON THE SPOT. Always let them have a “cool down” time (24-48 hours) when YOU and they can think about what’s best for the dog/cat.
  • Don’t be shy about asking to come over to inspect their home prior to the adoption and see where your pet will be living. LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION. Your pets LIFE and HAPPINESS depends on it! Remember your pet comes first!


Have a copy of your pet’s medical file ready to be turned over to the new family. Make sure the adopters know as much pertinent information as possible about your pet. Whether it is dog aggressive, food aggressive, in need of training, has had surgery and any medical problems or conditions. If your dog has bitten before, state that and the reason for the bite in the contract.

  • Have them sign a contract that states they have heard and understand all information given to them regarding your dog/cat. Make sure you state that information clearly on the contract and that they agree with your terms and will abide by them.
  • We highly recommend that your pet be spayed/neutered before being placed in a home. Spaying/neutering is particularly important, since unfortunately there are people out there looking for cheap breeding stock. You wouldn’t want your pet to become part of a puppy mill operation or a research lab.
  • You could also have your pet micro-chipped with your information included. In the case your pet is lost or stolen, the shelter/pound would contact you. Give the new owners the option to re-register the micro chip in their name at their expense.