If you're facing a financial burden or health issue, unable to find  pet-friendly housing  or having a hard time managing your pet’s behavior, you may find it difficult to care for your cat or dog. Since many challenges are temporary, it may be possible for you and your pet to stay together. 

Explore your options

Could you and your pet stay together with help? Before  rehoming your cat or dog, take time to think things through. You know your pet better than anyone, so consider what's best for them—and what's best for you. Local organizations may be able to help you and your pet stay together. Reach out to a local  pet rescue  or  contact 211  to explore your options. Advice on pet behavior, training resources, help finding pet-friendly housing,  free or low-cost veterinary care and food banks that provide pet food may help you keep your pet.

Check with the animal shelter, rescue or breeder where you got your pet. Some organizations require in the adoption contract that you return the pet to them if you can no longer provide care. Even if it wasn’t part of your contract, the organization or breeder may be able to help you find your pet a new home.

Pet behavior issues

Many behavior problems can be caused by a treatable medical condition. For example, a house-trained pet may begin urinating in the house due to a urinary tract infection that a veterinarian can diagnose and easily treat.

If there's no physical cause for the problem, remember that many common pet behavioral issues have simple solutions. Check out our tips below, or consider consulting an animal behaviorist or trainer in your community. Your local animal shelters or rescue groups may offer low-cost veterinary care or training services or be able to refer you to other organizations that offer these services. 

Top 10 pet tips

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Housing problems 

If you are having trouble finding animal-friendly housing, or experiencing other pet-related housing difficulties such as a nuisance complaint, check out our resources on keeping pets welcome in rental housing.

Pet allergies

See our resources on how you can have a happy, healthy life with your furry companions, even if you’re allergic to them.

Trouble affording your pet’s care

Anyone can experience an unexpected financial crisis. Don’t panic: Many national, state and local organizations provide assistance with pet food and other essentials, behavioral advice and training, and low-cost or free spay/neuter and other veterinary care. Your local animal shelters or rescue groups can also be a great resource for free or low-cost pet assistance. 

New baby

You can keep your growing family safe, happy and together. Read our simple tips for avoiding toxoplasmosis exposure during pregnancy and for preparing your pet for the new baby.

Find a new home

If you decide that rehoming your pet is the best option, keep in mind that despite the best efforts of shelters and rescues to care for their animals, your home is usually the best place for your pet while you search for an adopter.

By taking on the task of finding your pet a home, you can also reduce competition for limited space and resources in shelters or rescues. Here are some tips for placing your pet in a loving new home.

  • Make your pet more attractive to potential adopters. Have your pet vaccinated and checked by a veterinarian. Making sure your pet is spayed or neutered may also make them more likely to be chosen by a new owner.
  • Reach out to family and friends. Someone who already knows and likes your cat or dog may be willing to adopt them and your pet may be more comfortable with a familiar person. You will have peace of mind knowing your pet is with someone you know.
  • Post about your pet on social media. If you can’t find someone you know personally who can adopt your pet, share a photo of your pet on social media and explain the situation, making the post shareable. A friend of a friend may be able to help.
  • Set up an online profile for your pet. Rehome by Adopt-a-Pet.com and Home to Home connect pets with people who are interested in adopting them. These free websites guide you through the rehoming process step by step, from setting up a profile to signing an adoption agreement. 
  • Advertise through friends, neighbors and local veterinarians. Your personal network is the best pool of adopters for your pet. Ask your veterinarian if you can place a poster advertising your pet’s need for a new home. Place flyers promoting your pet at work, school, church and other public places you frequent. Include a good-quality photo and appealing description of your pet.
  • Be transparent with potential adopters. Be prepared to share details about your pet's personality and how they get along with other pets and people. Share your pet’s favorite things and not-so-favorite things. And share any medical or behavior issues your pet is experiencing so that potential new owners will have the information they need to determine if your pet would be a good fit for their family.
  • Get help from shelters and rescue groups. Some sheltering and rescue organizations may post your pet’s picture and profile on their website as a courtesy listing, while your pet stays in your home. Your local agencies may have other programs to help you rehome your pet.

As a last resort, you may be able to surrender your pet to a local shelter or rescue organization. Each agency will have a different process for surrendering a pet to their care; learn more by visiting their website or by calling ahead.