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Can You Rent a Puppy? Pros, Cons & Alternatives

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

young happy couple holding and hugging golden retriever puppy

Can You Rent a Puppy? Pros, Cons & Alternatives

As many of us would enjoy the benefits of dog ownership, our living situations don’t always allow us the opportunity. But now, there might be a way for anyone to get a puppy without a full-time commitment.

Puppy rentals is a burgeoning business. If you’re considering getting a dog or need a companion for quick fun or emotional support, numerous organizations provide temporary pets while promoting animal welfare and adoption. Is this a practical choice for you? We’ll help you decide by breaking down the pros and cons of renting a puppy.

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Can You Rent a Puppy?

Puppy rentals are a relatively new trend. In some areas, companies and nonprofits that specialize in renting puppies have appeared in recent years, placing puppies with renters for hours at a time in numerous settings, including:

  • Date nights
  • Yoga classes
  • Corporate events
  • Birthday parties
  • Weddings
  • School events

A popular plan is the puppy party, where a puppy group comes out to play for 1–2 hours at a time. In most cases, puppies come from rescues and shelters, though some breeders may offer rentals for young litters. An essential goal is to garner interest and inspire adoptions by putting puppies in front of community members.

Rescues and shelters also use puppy rentals and parties to find forever homes for stray and surrendered dogs. Shelters host events and invite community members to mingle with one another and with adoptable puppies. Many have found significant success through these programs, which has inspired more shelters to set up meet-and-greets.

Curios pitbull puppy sitting and looking up at camera
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

Benefits of Renting a Puppy

No matter how they find their way to you, whether as a permanent adoption or temporary rental, puppies provide several mental and emotional benefits.

Decrease Stress, Increase Happiness

Studies have found interactions with dogs lower stress in children and adults, decreasing cortisol and increasing oxytocin, dopamine, and other happiness-boosting hormones.1 While they improve our mood, dogs can normalize blood pressure and heart rate.

Introducing dogs in schools and corporate settings has become a therapeutic practice that improves scores, morale, and productivity. Puppy rentals for events can provide the same benefits.

Socialize a Dog

Nowadays, many puppy rentals and parties incorporate dogs from foster programs, shelters, and, in some instances, kennels, with the ultimate goal of finding homes for the puppies. One priority in making dogs more adoptable is socialization.

With more exposure to new, positive situations in their early life, dogs will be more outgoing, calm, and well-mannered. Puppy rentals are one novel way to ensure puppies needing a home gain that experience.

golden retriever puppy eating ice cream
Image Credit: Mariana Alvarez Calvo, Shutterstock

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Drawbacks of Puppy Rentals

Spending time with puppies can make any event even more memorable. But the overload of cuteness can sometimes make us blind to the downsides of many rental schemes.

One unavoidable drawback is the cost. Whether through a puppy rental company, a broker that works with local organizations, or a shelter/rescue, the price of hosting a puppy party is often a few hundred dollars for only one hour. And then there are the ethical concerns.

Unethical Business Practices

When puppy parties came into vogue in the mid-2010s, numerous specialty companies let customers arrange parties or rent single dogs for several hours. Puppies became a product, and the focus was on profits.

Before long, many names in the industry came under scrutiny. They faced accusations of poor conditions and working with puppy mills to keep up supply and sustain their business.

While the arrangement was fun for renters, the dogs often suffered, and rental companies further promoted irresponsible breeding and abuse.

Is It Good for Dogs?

Socialization is crucial for dogs to blossom into friendly adults if done correctly. Unfortunately, puppy parties don’t guarantee favorable environments.

Dogs can feel overwhelmed in a party situation, as loud noises, repeated and potentially harsh handling, and mobs of people increase their stress levels. At this crucial life stage, a few hours at a rowdy kids’ birthday party may hinder a puppy’s emotional development.

morkie puppy dog being fed food or a treat outdoors
Image Credit: Cavan-Images, Shutterstock

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Alternatives to Puppy Rentals

Today, most organizations specializing in puppy rentals are nonprofit organizations that pull puppies from high-kill-rate shelters or work with local foster groups and shelters to host adoptable puppies.

Puppies typically arrive with a supervising staff member, toys, and other supplies to entertain the dog and keep them comfy. While rental programs appear more ethical these days, the cost and questions around the dogs’ welfare and the organization’s goals can still be an issue.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to spend quality time with a puppy, even if you can’t commit to long-term ownership.

Dog Foster

Local animal rescues always need foster parents to house and care for stray or abused animals. Though it’s a longer commitment than a typical hours-long puppy rental, dogs have a chance for wholesome, constructive socialization in a controlled environment.

The only costs are the supplies for the few weeks the dog stays with you, and you can feel good about the impact you’re making for them and the rescue.

two puppies in a cage puppy mill
Image Credit: khlungcenter, Shutterstock

Shelter Volunteer

Volunteering at a shelter is another free way to spend a few hours with a puppy. Nonprofits depend on volunteers to promote, care for, and socialize their animals. Contact your local organization about opportunities.

You’ll usually need to complete an application and commit to a few hours of volunteering each month that work with your schedule.

Contact a Local Shelter About a Puppy Party

If you’re dead set on hosting a puppy party, your local shelter can again be an excellent resource. They may not always advertise, but many organizations will gladly work with you to give their dogs meaningful social time.

Bear in mind that hosting these events will often cost a few hundred dollars. Going this route, it will be up to you to ensure a comfortable environment and positive experience for the dogs.

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Final Thoughts

Renting a puppy sounds like a dream, but it’s still far from a perfect scheme. Any rental service in your area deserves scrutiny, for the dogs’ sake and yours. If quality time to experience the benefits of a dog’s companionship and making a positive impact on their life is your priority, consider the many opportunities your local shelter or rescue group can provide.


Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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