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I Gave My Dog Away & Regret It: How to Avoid This Mistake

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on May 28, 2024 by Dogster Team

close up portrait of girl hugging dog

I Gave My Dog Away & Regret It: How to Avoid This Mistake

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but sometimes, no matter how much we love them, we can’t keep them with us. There may come a time when you give your dog away for some reason, and when rehoming a pet, many emotions can arise. One of the big ones? Regret.

However, you can avoid the mistake of giving your dog away and regretting it. In some cases, you may be able to avoid giving your dog away, while in others, you can learn how to cope with the regret (and other emotions). If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’re considering giving your pup up and are afraid you’ll regret it, here’s what you should know.

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The 4 Reasons for Rehoming a Dog

The first thing to recognize is that, in some instances, giving your dog away is the only thing you can do, and it’s best for everyone involved. So, if you’re thinking of giving your pet to someone else, consider the decision carefully to determine if the reason why is one that will lead to minimal regret on your part or whether you’re doing this more on a whim or bad day. If you’ve already given your dog away, consider it might have been the right thing to do, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Here are just a few of the very valid reasons a pup might need to be rehomed.

1. Health Issues

If someone in the family develops health issues, having a dog in the home may no longer be viable. It might be that the primary caretaker of the canine has suffered from something serious, such as a stroke, and can no longer properly care for the pup. Or it might be that the dog’s main caretaker now has to also be the caretaker of someone else in the household, which doesn’t leave them the time to also care for the dog. There are even some illnesses where having a dog in the home could make that person sicker. Illness, accident, injury, and the inability to care for a dog are all valid reasons for giving a dog away.

beagle dog sick sad on bed
Image Credit: Iryna Imago, Shutterstock

2. A Risk to Others

If you’ve adopted a dog from a shelter or someplace similar, the shelter may not always know the full history of the animal. And sometimes, that means a dog you adopt who was terrific when you met them and looked great on paper ends up having behavioral issues that make them a risk to others. For example, some people adopt dogs and bring them home only to discover that they are fearful of men, which leads to inappropriate behavior like snapping or even biting when men are around.

Or a pup might be so territorial of their people that they don’t want to let others into the home or try to attack whoever comes to the door. You might even get a dog home only to discover they don’t like being around children and are snappy with them.

If you’ve brought home a pup only to learn that they have behavioral issues, your first step should be to talk with your vet about how to remedy the behavior. However, if you’ve put in the work with the dog to retrain them and reduce the risky behaviors but nothing is changing, rehoming them is the best idea for all. A canine with issues that result in behavior like biting could seriously harm someone, and chances are they’re unhappy, so giving them to someone capable of handling their behavior while keeping others safe is best for all.

3. The Wrong Fit

Occasionally, a dog is just the wrong fit for you and your family. Maybe you researched dog breeds thoroughly to determine you were getting a pup who fits your lifestyle, only to get the dog home and have them act the exact opposite of how the breed typically acts. Perhaps you ended up with a working dog instead of a lap dog but don’t have a job to give them, so they’re bored or anxious. There are several different ways you could get a wrong fit, and that’s fine. It happens. It’s also another instance when giving a dog away is a good idea, as it will allow both of you to live your best lives.

Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed dog holding its ears back
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

4. Finances

Losing a job can put a dent in your finances, and that can affect your pup. If you’ve found yourself down on your luck and can no longer keep up with vet visits or are having to decide whether to feed yourself or your pet, giving your dog away to someone who can care for them financially is a wise decision.

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How to Deal With Regret and Other Emotions

Thinking of giving your pup away for a valid reason but still expecting to experience regret or grief? That’s absolutely normal, but there are ways you can acknowledge and deal with these emotions so they don’t linger. And remember, if you’ve given your dog away because there was no other solution, you didn’t fail them. You just gave them a chance at a happy life with someone else.

  • See if you can stay in touch with the dog’s new family. Some people will be more than willing to send you an occasional update on how the dog is doing in their new home to set your mind at ease.
  • Remind yourself that your former pet is bringing joy to a new family and that you’ve given them an opportunity to live their best life.
  • Remember all the good times you had with your pup.
  • Take care of yourself. You may find yourself experiencing regret, sadness, guilt, and more, so be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to feel these things, but don’t hyperfocus on them. Acknowledge what you’re feeling, share those feelings with others, and do something kind for yourself.
woman lying on bed holding photo in frame and crying or sad looking at picture
Image Credit: Dikushin Dmitry, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

If you’re considering giving your dog away, you may be afraid you’re making a mistake and will feel some regret over the decision after it’s done. However, if you’ve given your pet away for a good reason, such as sudden health problems or a change in finances, then you can rest assured you made the right decision, which can help you avoid regret. Making the best decision for you and your pup doesn’t mean you won’t feel any regret or sadness, but if you recognize you gave them up because of circumstances beyond your control and enabled them to continue having a joyous life, you can by-step a lot of the negative emotions that may arise.

Featured Image Credit: gabczi, Shutterstock

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