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I Have to Rehome My Pet: What Now?

(June 19, 2023)

Deciding to rehome a beloved pet can be difficult, but once you commit to it, the work has only just begun. It can be even harder to find them the perfect new home.

With adoptions slowing down and shelters around the area full, we try to help pets stay with their families whenever possible. However, if it isn’t, we have some tips to help the process go smoothly and as quickly as possible.

Common Reasons to Rehome a Pet

Our Rehoming Center answers thousands of calls per week. Here are some commonly cited reasons for rehoming pets in Houston.

  • Moving to a new residence where pets are not allowed
  • No time to adequately care for the pet
  • Incompatible energy level
  • Cannot afford veterinary care or upkeep
  • Doesn’t get along with a resident pet

If in a perfect world, you’d prefer to keep your pet, there are some steps to take before you have to make the difficult decision to rehome depending on the circumstances that are leading you to consider this outcome.

A boxer mix looks up at the camera in his suite, water bowl visible in the background.

Your Pet Doesn’t Get Along with Your Resident Pet

If you’ve just adopted a new pet and they don’t hit it off right away, there’s good news. This doesn’t have to mean you need to rehome your new pet immediately. It can sometimes take several months for pets to settle in and become comfortable with each other.

Be sure to follow instructions for a safe and proper introduction. Allowing your pets a safe environment to adjust and space to become acclimated is critical to a seamless adoption. The key is not allowing the pets free access to each other right away, especially in the resident pet’s home. Leashed interactions in neutral areas for dogs and confining new cats for a settling-in period are critical.

Cannot Afford Veterinary Care

If your pet’s preventative care and wellness visits prove to be more expensive than expected, there are resources in our area to help your pet stay happy and healthy for a lower cost.

Visit Emancipet.org or ThriveVet.com for assistance in locating a low-cost clinic.

Incompatible Energy Level

Breeds that we commonly see at Houston SPCA can sometimes prove to be higher energy than some might expect, like German Shepherds or huskies. Although pets like this do require some maintenance and training, they can be acclimated to a family household.

If your high-energy pet is exhibiting behaviors characteristic of boredom and you haven’t tried many enrichment activities, the good news is that progress can be made! You don’t have to take your lab mix on a 5-mile run every day to burn off energy. There are plenty of activities you can do right at home to enrich your pet.

If you adopted an adorably fluffy puppy that is now a rambunctious, nippy large dog at eight months old, taking a bit of time to work on some training is a great way to redirect and teach them more desirable behaviors.

At the end of the day, you and your family know best what you’ll be able to provide for your pet in the way of finances and training. If it truly isn’t a good fit, see below for help placing your pet in a new home.

Finding a New Home

So you’ve gone down every avenue and have decided there are no other options. It’s time to find your pet a new home. What do you do now?

If you adopted your pet from Houston SPCA, the answer is pretty simple. Call us at 713-869-7722 to make an appointment to drop your pet off at our Rehoming Center. We take back any pet adopted from us, no questions asked.

Do your due diligence

If you rescued this pet as a stray, have you had them scanned for a microchip and scanned local lost pet ads? Before moving forward with adoption, be sure to cross out all possibilities that this is a missing owned pet.

If you adopted your own pet from an animal rescue organization or a breeder, contact them for assistance. You may be able (or required) to take your pet back to their adoption program. If your pet is a Houston SPCA alum, our adoption contract states that the pet be returned to us if you can no longer care for them. Call 713-869-7722 to make an appointment with our Rehoming Center.

Contact local organizations

Check with local animal rescue organizations for admissions availability. This takes much of the legwork off your plate when it comes to the adoption process. At Houston SPCA, pets entering our adoption program will be up-to-date on all vaccines and spayed or neutered at no cost to you.

Due to the crisis of unowned pets and animal neglect in Houston, this might be challenging. Your luck will depend entirely on the space each organization has at any moment in time. If your pet is not a Houston SPCA alum, appointments at our Rehoming Center are subject to availability.

If we don’t have appointments available, you can also check these other local organizations for availability:

  • Citizens for Animal Protection (281-497-0591)
  • City of Houston, Bureau of Animal Regulation & Care (BARC) (713-229-7300)
  • Harris County Animal Control (281-999-3191)
  • Houston Humane Society (713-433-6421)

Prepare your pet for adoption

Whether you’ve taken in a stray animal or are trying to rehome your own pet and have tried the above avenues, make sure they’re up-to-date on all vaccines and spayed or neutered. This not only prevents unwanted litters in the future and the spread of disease, but makes your pet more appealing to a potential new owner.

Marketing your pet

When your pet is ready for adoption, take many photos of your pet and write up a profile with information about their personality, likes and dislikes, routine, as well as their silly quirks!

Turn your pet into a model! Have a photo shoot and take at least one clear headshot of your pet. Include lots of action photos of them doing activities they enjoy. The more images and information available, the easier it will be for a potential adopter to envision your pet in their lives.

Never Abandon a Pet

We understand that it is a hard time to be trying to find a home for a pet you’ve found or care very much about. However, abandoning them is not an option.

It is against the law. You could find yourself facing criminal charges if you abandon your pet. Our investigators have responded to a seemingly infinite number of animals abandoned in circumstances that left them starving and alone. Many times we’ve arrived too late.

We know you love your pet and want the best for them, so keep making calls and looking for resources. Feel free to call us at 713-869-7722 to discuss options.

Since 1924, the Houston SPCA has been the leading private, nonprofit animal welfare organization in the greater Houston region. We are one of the only organizations in the country able to care for animals of all kinds in one location.

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