How to Know if You Should Give Up Your Puppy

Only give up a puppy in serious situations where behavior modification is not working, such as:

  • You cannot stop them fighting with another dog in your home,
  • The puppy is a danger to you or the community
  • A change in your life means you cannot be a good dog owner

Decide with logic not emotion.

Sometimes, you might think that you cannot handle your new puppy, and your only choice is to take them to a new home.

However, this is not a decision that you should make lightly. As you likely already know, a puppy is not like an appliance that you can simply take back to the store if it is not what you expected. This is a living, feeling being who has likely developed a bond with you.

Of course, there are some situations in which it may truly be best to give up your puppy. It is definitely a judgment call, but there are a few basic guidelines that you can follow.


Good Reasons to Rehome a Puppy

Whether or not you should rehome your puppy depends entirely on your situation. There are some situations in which it would be best to keep your puppy and make adjustments, and there are others in which there is really not enough that you can do to make your home a better place for your puppy.

Of course, there are some situations in which people give up dogs for frivolous reasons. However, there are some completely legitimate reasons to give up your dog or puppy.


Dog Fighting in the Home

One situation where it would be a good idea to rehome your puppy is if they are consistently fighting with one or more other dogs in the home.

It may not be too serious if the dogs are play fighting or having occasional conflicts, but if they are playing too roughly or actually getting into battles on a regular basis, one or more of the dogs could actually be at risk of severe injury or even worse.

If you have brought a puppy into a home that has one or more dogs already, this could be particularly bad for the puppy. If two dogs are fighting, typically, the smaller one is the one who is going to be at most risk.

Your puppy could be in danger that can only be alleviated by your decision to remove them from the situation.

If you are dealing with this kind of situation, you do not need to rehome your puppy instantly. You might want to consider fixing the situation or putting a behavior modification program into place. However, if this does not work, the only way that you might be able to prevent tragedy is to give up your puppy.


 The Puppy Is a Danger to You or the Community

If your puppy happens to be a danger to someone who lives with you or the community at large, it might be a good idea to give them up.

In many cases, this means that the dog is aggressive. However, this is not always true. In some situations, the owner is simply not able to give the puppy what they need and can put themselves in danger trying to give the puppy the appropriate exercise, for example.

Sometimes, the dog will be overly rambunctious and can be a risk to any small children that are living in the home. In many cases, children will mistreat the dog because they don’t know any better, and the dog can potentially cause serious harm to them.

Just because a dog exhibits some aggressive behaviors does not mean that you need to rehome them. If you are able and willing to take the steps that will keep your dog, your family, and your community safe, it may still work out. In some cases, this might include intense training of the dog.


Life Changes Mean You Cannot Be a Good Owner

No matter how much you love your dog, there are some situations where you just may not be able to care for them anymore. You may have gotten the puppy with the strongest commitment you could have had to raise them, but you might then have to deal with some circumstances you can’t control.

For example, if you have an unexpected illness that makes it so that you can no longer care for your puppy, it might be best for them to rehome them. If you have to move to a long-term care facility or have no option but to move to a place that does not allow dogs, you might also have no choice.

Of course, you should not give up your dog for some frivolous reason, such as wanting to go on vacation instead of paying for dog food. You should make every effort to keep your puppy if you can.


You Cannot Manage Their Health Problems

Sometimes, people get puppies assuming that they will not have to deal with any unusual issues. However, these issues happen in some cases. For example, your dog might have a severe health problem that you did not anticipate. Even though these happen more often to senior dogs, there are cases where they happen to puppies.

If your puppy has a health issue that you cannot handle within      your own means, you might end up having to make sacrifices that are bad for you or your dog. There are medical procedures that cost tens of thousands of dollars just for a mere chance that a dog will survive.

In some of these cases, giving up the puppy will be the best thing for both you and the puppy. It will be better for your puppy to have an owner who is actually able to manage their health problems.

There are also behavioral problems, such as aggression, separation anxiety, and other anxiety disorders that can be very hard for an owner to deal with. If you cannot handle this, you and your puppy might have a severely diminished quality of life.


Wrong Puppy for the Intended Purpose

There are some cases where a person will get a puppy or dog for a specific purpose. They might want that puppy so that they can train them as a service dog, for example. There are also other types of working dogs, such as dogs who specialize in narcotics detection.

The truth is that not all dogs are suitable working dogs. Sometimes, the puppy that you get is simply untrainable for the purpose for which you got them. As attached as you may have grown to your puppy, you may not be able to keep both your puppy and the other dog that you need to find for the original purpose you had in mind.


How to Decide Whether or Not to Give Up Your Puppy

If you are contemplating giving up your puppy, you likely know that this is not going to be an easy decision. This is why there are many things that you should take into consideration here.

Even though it is never ideal to have to give up your puppy or dog, if you absolutely have to, this might be the best thing for the dog at the end of the day. In some cases, you might be sending your puppy off to a home that will make them much happier.


Make the Decision with Logic Rather Than Emotion

It can be extremely difficult to give up a puppy when you have bonded with them. This is why if you are making this decision, you need to make a logical decision rather than an emotional one.

As attached as you may be to your new puppy, there may be very good practical reasons why your home is not the best place for them. You need to take these into consideration while making this decision.


Make a List of Pros and Cons

Of course, there is no way that you can make this decision solely based on a list of pros and cons. However, it can be a helpful tool.

You should consider which pros and which cons carry more weight when you are looking at your list.

If the cons of keeping your puppy seem to outweigh the pros, this may be a sign that you should consider giving up your puppy.

When you are figuring out the pros and cons, make sure that you are honest with yourself. Listen to how you feel and what you know is best for your household.

Other people can make judgments all they want, but at the end of the day, they don’t truly know your situation. You should make sure that you do what is best for your family and your puppy.


Figure Out How to Deal with Guilt if You Need to Give Up Your Puppy

If you come to the conclusion that you need to give up your puppy, you might be feeling a lot of guilt. After all, most people cannot have a puppy in their home for days or weeks without getting attached. However, if you have come to this conclusion, you have decided that this puppy would be better off in a place other than your home.

Even though you are likely going to miss your puppy very much, you should keep in mind that they will be better off in a different home in the long run.


Alternatives to Rehoming a Puppy

Of course, if you have the option not to rehome your puppy, this is what you should do. In some cases, it is going to take quite a bit of effort to be able to keep your puppy, but it will be well worth it if you are able to do this.

Sometimes, no matter what you look into, you are going to have no choice but to give up your puppy. However, you want to do your best to avoid this situation at all costs.


If You’re Moving to a Place That Doesn’t Allow Dogs, Try to Make Adjustments

If your reason for giving up your puppy is that you are moving to a place that does not allow dogs, you might want to make a bigger effort to find a pet-friendly apartment building. It might not be easy, and you might have to spend more money, but it will definitely be best if you can keep your puppy with you.

If you need to move immediately and cannot find a place that will take your dog, you might be able to find a loved one who will keep your dog for some time while you search for a pet-friendly residence.


If You Are Having a Baby, Do Not Automatically Give Up Your Puppy

Many people assume that they need to give up any animals they have as soon as a baby comes into the picture. This is somewhat understandable; as we mentioned, children and dogs are not always the best combination. However, you do not need to assume that this is going to be the case.

Sometimes, growing up with a dog can be wonderful for a child. If you handle the situation correctly and make sure that you train the dog and the child to be around each other in a safe and happy way, this can be a great situation for everyone.

Make sure that your dog is aware of their place in the family, and that they are included in as many family events as possible.


If Your Puppy Has Issues, Don’t Give Up Easily

Health problems and behavior problems can be major reasons to give up a puppy. However, if it is within your means to take care of the problem, you should do your best to do so.

You should make sure that you find a veterinarian who is happy and willing to work with you and your puppy. If current treatments are not working, you should ask for referrals and second/third opinions.

If your dog has a behavior problem, you should take them to a veterinarian to rule out any health-related cause. If there is none, you should find a behaviorist or trainer who can work with your dog. Alternatively, you can try to work with your dog on your own.

In some cases, a careful rehoming might be necessary. However, you should always do everything possible to keep your puppy before deciding to give them to someone else.


If You Have Financial Problems, Work Out a Budget

Many people find that they cannot afford a puppy, especially if unforeseen expenses come up with dog ownership. It might help to make a budget that will include all of the necessary expenses for your dog. You might actually find that you can afford your puppy with wise financial choices.

The best way to minimize long-term expenses is to keep your dog as healthy as possible. Preventive veterinary care, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can be very important here.

It is important that your dog has all of their vaccinations. You might be able to get these at low-cost clinics. You should make sure that they get flea prevention and heartworm prevention as well, although you can shop around for discounts.

In terms of diet, try to avoid generic or economy dog food, as these can lead to health problems in the long run; however, you do not necessarily need to spend a lot of money on premium food either.

A mid-range diet with meat as the primary ingredient or even a homemade diet might be a good idea. You can talk to your veterinarian for recommendations.

It would also be a good idea to avoid buying unnecessary things, such as a new collar or unnecessary treats. You might even try to make your own extras for your dog, such as a dog bed.

Making homemade treats might be a good idea as well.


If You Have an Illness, Raise Your Dog with Assistance

There are some cases where people get puppies and then find out that they have a health problem afterward. If you are in this situation, you might feel like the best thing to do is to give up your puppy.

However, you might have other options. You can try to get help from friends and family.

If you have a health condition, it will likely be good for you to keep your puppy around, as they can be a great comfort to you. There are also outreach programs where volunteers can come and help with your pets.


How to Rehome Your Puppy If Necessary

If you have gone through your entire situation, including all of your options, and have decided that the best course of action is to rehome your dog, there are a few ways in which you can approach this.


Return the Puppy to Where You Got It From

If you acquired your puppy from a responsible breeder, shelter, or rescue group, it might be a good idea to return the puppy to this organization. In fact, many of them will actually require you to do this if you cannot take care of your puppy.

However, this is not always a good option. For example, if you got your puppy from a shelter that is overcrowded and does not have good conditions for dogs, you will not want to force your furry friend to go back there. Neither will you want to do this if you got the puppy from a puppy mill or pet store.


Give the Puppy to a Loved One

If you are not able to take care of your puppy, it might be a good idea to give them to a friend or family member whom you trust. If the dog is healthy and well-behaved, this is going to be relatively simple.

However, if the dog has significant behavior or health challenges, you might have some trouble with this. It is important to be honest with the new potential owner about any challenges, as you do not want to create a situation where the other person is just going to rehome the puppy yet again.

If you can place your dog happily with a loved one, one advantage is that you will likely be able to visit, so that your relationship with the puppy does not have to end completely.


Advertise for Adoption

Sometimes, people can successfully rehome dogs and puppies by advertising using social media, Craigslist, or other online resources. You can also try physically posting fliers at veterinarians’ offices and pet supply stores.

If you do this, you should try to give yourself weeks or months to network, so that you can truly be sure that you have found the perfect place to which you can donate your puppy. You should find out all you can about these people and make sure that they are going to provide a good home for the puppy.

There are situations where puppies can be rehomed with people who appeared to be good potential owners, who ended up neglecting or abusing them. Alternatively, they could simply sell them to someone else without screening the person, and your puppy can end up in bad hands that way.


Find an Adoption Service

There are many options when it comes to great dog adoption services, such as rescues or shelters.

A lot of these places will provide the dogs in their care with the medical treatment that they need. This makes them a great choice for people who are having to rehome their dogs because of medical problems that they could not afford to treat.

Some of them also have behavior experts who will be able to deal with behavioral issues.

If you decide to take your puppy to one of these facilities, make sure to do the appropriate research. You should be able to visit the place before leaving your puppy there. Do not leave your puppy at a place where people are not straightforward with you in regards to what your puppy needs.


Euthanasia is a Very Last Resort

Of course, if your puppy does not have any significant health issues, this is not a consideration.

However, if they are in a great deal of pain and it is not realistic to get someone else to take care of them, euthanasia may be your only option. Of course, you should definitely talk to a veterinarian about this before you make any decisions.


Final Thoughts

As you probably already know, you should do everything possible to avoid having to give up your puppy. This is a living creature who relies on you and likely loves you. It is not like taking any regular item back to the store.

However, this is not to say that you need to keep your puppy at all costs. There are some situations where it really would be best for both you and the puppy to rehome them.

Essentially, what you need to do is evaluate your situation and figure out if there is any way you can keep your puppy with you. If you truly do not believe that you can and genuinely think that your puppy would be better off somewhere else, then you can think about rehoming them.

Writer: Nilani Thiyagarajah

About me