Extra care

I Can't Take Care of My Dog Anymore

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. June 17, 2021
I Can't Take Care of My Dog Anymore

See files for Dogs

At AnimalWised, we promote responsible animal guardianship. This doesn't begin when the animal arrives in the home, it begins long before when making the decision whether one should adopt in the first place. This decision require serious consideration of the responsibility a dog's care will require. This means the practical, emotional and financial aspects which come along with the love we will receive from a dog. However, circumstances can change. In rare cases, we have been able to meet this responsibility before, but something happens which means it is no longer possible.

We look at what happens when I can't take care of my dog anymore. We see what you should do in this situation to ensure the best life for your dog.

You may also be interested in: Caring for a Neutered Cat
  1. Responsible dog guardianship
  2. Don't make rash decisions
  3. Dog daycare
  4. Giving a dog to a shelter

Responsible dog guardianship

The decision to adopt a dog into your home is a big one. We need to be aware of the commitment and responsibility dog guardianship requires. We have heard phrases such as ‘a dog is for life, not just for the holidays’. The reason this phrase exists is because too many people don't make the consideration or are simply incapable of meeting this responsibility.

Obligation in caring for dogs

Each animal should have care which meets the minimum five freedoms of animal welfare. These stipulate that an animal, including dogs, should be free from malnutrition, discomfort, pain and fear, while being allowed to express their own nature. For a responsible dog guardian, we can meet these standards by providing the right diet, giving them shelter, taking them out for exercise and doing everything we can to promote a peaceful coexistence in the home.

While it may depend on where you live, there are certain obligations required on a legal level. Such requirements may require registering the dog with local authorities, microchipping them or even taking out civil liability insurance. Some responsibilities to the individual dog and the wider dog community are not necessarily legal requirements, but are recommended. This is the case with spaying and neutering your dog.

Of course, all of these obligations need to be met without causing injury or harm to the dog. While it can be tricky to prosecute, there is legislation to protect animals against abuse.

We should know that these obligations never change. There need to be met throughout the dog's life. This means we not only need to consider our current situation, but do what we can to imagine whether we can meet the responsibility in the future. We need to think of our practical means and also ensure we have a lifestyle which allows us the time and capacity to care for a dog.

Adopting a dog

It is important we look for an animal that adapts to our lifestyle and living conditions. For example, if we do not have experience with dogs, we should adopt one which doesn't require as much training or adopted an already educated older dog. Similarly, if we enjoy a sedentary life, it is not a good idea to adopt a very active dog.

Once the decision is made, we suggest you adopt, not shop. Animal shelters across the world have dogs in dire need of care. By purchasing domestic dogs from breeders, we indirectly prevent a dog in need from having a home. Although there are many ethical and responsible breeders, there are many others who are not.

However, even if we meet all of these responsibilities, our circumstances can change. For example, if we become ill or physically incapacitated, we might be unable to walk our dog or even get up to feed them. Similarly, we may lose our job, be affected by homelessness. These situations can make it difficult for us to care for ourselves, never mind our dog. In these cases, we can't take care of the dog anymore

Take a look at our article on why adopted a mixed-breed dog for more information.

Don't make rash decisions

While there are certainly reasons why we can no longer care for a dog, they usually derive from completely unexpected situations. This is especially the case if we have been considerate before adopting. There are some situations where circumstances change, leading us to believe we can no longer care for our dog. However, we need to ensure we have considered all options.

For example, if our financial well-being has changed, some people may think they can no longer care for a dog. However, it might be that we can re-organize our finances and make it work. There may be cases where we can get help form loved ones or even have help from social services or animal welfare services. The same can be applied when other roadblocks appear.

Bear in mind that your dog has likely already bonded with you and relates to you as family. Severing this tie should only occur when we have no other option. If this is indeed the case and you can't look after your dog anymore, we show you what you can do below.

Dog daycare

Sometimes our obligations or an unforeseen force means we have to spend many hours or even days away from home. In these cases, we might be able to consider dog daycare. These are like dog kennels which operate during the day and can be used for shorter or longer periods. This way you can have the dog's needs met without having to remove them from your family.

During their stay, the dog is socialized with other animals, taken for exercise, giving lots of attention and has their needs well-met. They can be expensive, but there may also be rates you can negotiate if you use the service on a more regular basis.

If you cannot afford a dog kindergarten, you might be able to opt for a dog walker. These are people who will pick up your dog from your home while you are away and take your dog out for walks. They can also socialize the dog and provide other care. For some people, a family member or friend may be able to take on this role.

I Can't Take Care of My Dog Anymore - Dog daycare

Giving a dog to a shelter

If there truly is no alternative, we may have to give up our dog for adoption. This happens when we are physically incapable, there is no financial recourse or if we don't have any close friends or family who can help. In these cases, we can think of giving the dog to a shelter. But there two main types of animal shelter and only one should be an option for any dog caregiver.

Kill shelters

In kill shelters, dogs are taken in when they cannot be cared for anywhere else. Many will still have an adoption system and will allow dogs to be adopted during a certain period. However, if this does not happen by a given point, they are likely to be euthanized.

Dogs in kill shelters are often also euthanized if they are old or don't meet certain standards the shelter demands. It doesn't mean the people who run these shelters are cruel. It is often the case that they don't have enough resources to care for all the animals which arrive into the system. However, they often euthanize perfectly healthy animals and prevent them from entering a family who could give them the love and care they deserve.

If you can't look after your dog anymore and you give them to a kill-shelter, it is possible you are signing their death warrant. It should be avoided at all costs.

No-kill shelters

The other main type of animal shelter is the no-kill shelter a place where they do not put healthy dogs down. This is the best alternative if you can't look after a dog anymore. In no-kill shelters, employees and volunteers work tirelessly to rehouse a dog until they can be adopted by a suitable family. During their stay, they will have the best care available and they will often be given necessary care in the form of sterilization, vaccinations and deworming.

In no-kill shelters, the adoptive family will need to ve vetted before they can take a dog home. This means the obligations of care we shared above will need to be met. Quality shelters will not stop their care once the dog is adopted. They will often perform checkups and remain a part of the animal's life for as long as is suitable.

If you cannot take care of your dog anymore and need to give them up for adoption, a no-kill shelter is the best option.

If you want to read similar articles to I Can't Take Care of My Dog Anymore, we recommend you visit our Extra care category.

Write a comment
Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
1 comment
Hi i am moving from Pretoria to East London ,the place that im moving to is not pet friendly ,please help me to find a good home for my two dogs
1 of 2
I Can't Take Care of My Dog Anymore