Many of us grow up with pets that become part of our family. No one adopts a dog or cat with the intention of giving it away, but sometimes circumstances beyond our control force us to part ways with our beloved family pet. Sometimes a young person within the family develops a terrible allergy or it becomes necessary to move somewhere that absolutely won’t accept animals. In some situations, pets develop chronic illnesses or conditions that necessitate constant care, which costs thousands of dollars (if not more) to treat.

Before thinking about giving up your pet, you should explore financial pet aid. There are many organizations like Frankie’s Friends and The Pet Fund that provide much-needed financial assistance to pet owners who want to keep their furry friends but are unable to afford the cost on their own. If you’ve exhausted your options for financial pet aid and feel that you’re unable to care for your beloved pet on your own, it’s best for everyone involved if your pet is rehomed.

Fortunately, there are ways to make this transition easier on everyone involved. Preparing your pet in advance and working carefully to get them adopted will ease your mind and will ease the stress of a move on your pet.

Preparing Your Pet for Adoption

Before you put your pet up for adoption, there are several steps that you should take first, in order to ensure that your pet goes to a good home. The better prepared you are, the easier the process will be on both you and your pet. If you put some effort into preparing your pet for the adoption process, it’s much more likely that they’ll spend less time on a waiting list and will be able to go home with their new forever family much sooner.

Here are a few steps that you can take to prepare your pet for adoption.

Spay or neuter your pet

If your pet is of an appropriate age and isn’t already spayed or neutered, this should be your first priority. Spayed and neutered pets live an average of one to five years longer than non-spayed or neutered animals, and these processes make them less likely to roam or get aggressive with other animals. Many adoptive pet parents will only look at pets that are spayed or neutered.

Spaying or neutering your pet at a private veterinary office can be expensive, but there are resources for low-income families to help them afford this important procedure. Voucher or referral programs exist to help qualified families or you can take them to a spay and neuter clinic, many of which operate through local shelters.

Up to date on vaccinations

Before they’re rehomed, you should make sure your pet’s vaccines are up to date. Pet vaccines are critical to helping prevent the spread of diseases that can affect both humans and animals. The vaccine protocol will depend on the breed of your pet, their age, and where they live. If you’re unsure of whether their vaccines are up to date, check their paperwork, or schedule an appointment with a local vet to check them out.

Cleaned and groomed

Appearance is everything — especially for animals!

If you want to increase your pet’s chances of being picked by a loving new adoptive family, you should make sure they’re clean and neatly groomed before you take their pictures for your adoption flyer. Even if they’re the most docile creature in the world, untrimmed nails and long, scraggly fur can make them look feral and unfriendly. A nice grooming makes them look their best, so they can put their best paw forward.

House trained

Unless you’re rehoming a brand-new puppy or kitten, you should make sure that your pet is house trained before handing them off to their new family. Most adoptive families will assume that any animal who has been living with a family will be house trained and should be able to respond to basic commands. The better behaved your pet is around new people, the better first impression they’ll make on prospective adoptive families. If they behave badly, you can take them to an obedience school or find resources online and train them yourself.

Creating an Adoption Profile and Flyer

After making sure that your pet is spayed or neutered, up to date on their vaccines, freshly groomed, and well-trained, the next thing you’ll need to do is make a compelling adoption profile. This is your chance to tell everyone about how great your pet is, praise their best attributes, and make it easy for adoptive parents to find them.

Start with photos of your pet. Find a spot with lots of good light and take some current photos that you can upload to their profile and put on their flyer. Write up a profile that lists their positive attributes, but make sure you’re being honest about your pet’s personality. If they’re uncomfortable around other animals or avoid children, make sure to write that down as getting them adopted by the right family is more important than them being adopted quickly. Make sure to cover what kinds of food they eat, whether they have any health issues, and whether they’re an indoor or outdoor pet. 

Getting the Word Out

Once you’ve written up a compelling profile of your pet and have some high-quality photos that you can use, the next step is to get the word out. Ideally, you should try and keep your pet out of a shelter. The better you advertise, the more likely it is that the right family will see your post and adopt your pet immediately.

Here are some places where you can post your pet profile.

Adoption websites

There are many websites out there that are designed for adoptive pet parents. Many list pets by species, as well as location, and some even have sections for small animals like rabbits.

Wagaroo Animal Partners is a free rehoming resource for both owners and shelters, and it’s super easy to use. Rehome is another free site that allows pet parents to post their pet’s profile and gives them assistance in picking the right adoptive parents. Petbond helps prospective adoptive parents find their perfect pet by location. You can also post on social media and ask your friends to share the post.

Rescue Groups

If you’re waiting for your pet to be adopted and absolutely cannot have them in the house anymore, the best thing you can do for them is to bring them to a caring rescue group. These non-profit groups exist to provide loving homes to pets who are waiting to be adopted.

Finding the right rescue group requires a bit of research. You’ll need to make sure they’re reputable and treat their animals well. You can use the great resources at to find your nearest rescue group.

No-kill shelters

Another place that will take your dog while it’s waiting for the right adoptive parents is a shelter. Ideally, you should find a private, no-kill shelter which specializes in finding adoptive parents for unwanted pets from private homes. The last place that you should put your pet is in a large municipal shelter, which is often overcrowded. Typically, these larger, government-run shelters can only control their population through euthanasia — a horrible fate for any beloved pet.

What to Ask Potential Adopters

Once your ad is online, you should hopefully get responses from prospective adoptive parents immediately. They’ll want to meet your pet as soon as possible, so they can see for themselves whether it’s a good match.

When you first meet prospective adoptive parents, you should ask them questions to determine whether they’ll be good parents to your pet. After all, you know your pet best and should make sure that they’re being adopted into a loving home.

Here are some questions that you can ask during your initial meeting.

  1. Have you ever had any pets before?
  2. What is your daily schedule like?
  3. Are you financially able to support a new pet?
  4. Do you have other pets at home?
  5. Do your pets get along with other animals?
  6. Who will be at home with the new pet?
  7. Are there any children living at home?
  8. Is your house suitable for a new pet?
  9. Do you have any outdoor space available?
  10. Have you made any preparations for a new pet?