Finding your pet a new home

Finding A Home For Your Pet

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. Sometimes life deals us surprises and we find ourselves needing to find our furry family member a new home. This experience is traumatic for the caregiver and for the animal, but you can reduce family anxiety and insure a happy ending for your pet.

Make Your Pet Adoptable.
Take your pet to the veterinarian for a complete checkup, update her vaccinations, have her tested for parasites and, if she is older, ask your veterinarian to do a complete blood panel so you can show that she is healthy. If she is not already spayed, have that done. Put all of her medical records and training certificates into a folder for a prospective adopter to review.

First impressions are important. Groom or have your pet professionally groomed so she will be clean and well dressed for her interviews! Remove any mats or tangles and give her a bath. Clean her ear; clip her toenails. This is also a good time for a new collar and lead.

Solve any medical issues and correct any behavioral problems before trying to place a pet. It will be easier to find a new loving home for a housetrained and obedient dog or a well-behaved cat. Obedience training or teaching your dog or cat a few tricks will make your pet stand out.

If you are trying to place an older dog or cat, you may want to establish a medical trust fund for future medical expenses. This will help to level the age playing field and address any financial concerns an adopter may have.

Carefully consider your animalís needs when you begin your search for a new home. Will he be happiest as the only pet, in a home with older or younger kids, or with a senior? Let people know you are looking for a GOOD home. Charge an adoption fee that you can keep or donate to an animal related organization. You want to be sure the adopter values your pet.

Getting The Word Out.
Create a flyer with a great color picture of your pet, a description, and your telephone number. Copy and post these at work, veterinarian offices, groomers, pet stores, grocery stores, animal shelters and community bulletin boards. A quick printer can also create large picture postcards of your pet to send to friends, co-workers, veterinarians and family. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool.

If you got your dog or cat from a breeder, give the breeder a call and let him know you need to place your dog. Many breeders will take a dog or cat back or will have a list of people looking for an adult animal from their breeding program.

If your dog is a specific breed, contact the breed rescue. At you can find a Bay Area Guide to rescue groups and shelters. Senior dogs, mixed and multi-breed rescue groups are also included.

You can run ads in your local newspapers or try free website postings for adoptable animals on and Paid listing services are available on adoption center websites like that gets 9,000 visitors a day looking for dogs and cats.

Screen Potential Adopters.
You know best what your dog or cat needs for a new home. Ask the questions and take the time to be sure you have a good match for your pet. Start as soon as you learn you must place your pet. Finding the right home can take time.

No one wants to part with an animal companion, but you can insure a happy ending for your pet by personally making sure your furry friend gets another good loving home.

Founded in 1965, Pets In Need receives no federal, state or local government support.

Published in the San Mateo County Times, April 27, 2002

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