A dog sits behind a fence because his owner can't keep him

The dog pound is a lot like puppy prison, except that dogs don’t actually have to have done anything wrong to get sent there — or worse, get killed there. You should absolutely consider other alternatives to taking your dog to the pound.

So, what alternatives can you try? Well, that depends on your situation. The first question to answer is this: “Why do you feel like you have to give up your dog?” Many times, it may feel like saying goodbye is the only option you have, but often it just isn’t true, so below are several potential problems that may make you think about giving up your dog and how you can keep from doing that. If you have to make a difficult decision, here is how to get rid of a dog in the best possible way.

Your Health is Being Compromised

For people who are severely allergic or suffering from a disease that weakens their immune system, owning a dog can give real meaning to the phrase “love is pain.” But it doesn’t have to be that way, and you don’t necessarily have to give up your best friend.

HEPA filters can help a lot, as can keeping your pet out of certain areas of the home. A commitment to cleanliness — both for your living space and by frequently bathing your pet — will also make a big difference. And if you clearly convey to your doctor how important your pet is to you, often they’ll try harder to come up with a treatment that will allow you to coexist in harmony.

The Dog is Misbehaving — Badly

Many dog lovers will say that there’s no behavior that’s so bad it should cause you to get rid of your pet, but that’s not necessarily true. Some people just aren’t able to manage certain dogs, and if you fear that your dog’s behavior is going to cause harm to come to you, another person, or the dog, it’s not unreasonable to think about giving your dog up.

That being said, there are lots of behavior specialists out there who can help you to train your dog out of dangerous behaviors, and oftentimes even extreme misbehaving can occur because the pet is suffering from a medical issue. The first thing to do is to check with your vet.

Dog-friendly Housing isn’t Available to You

If you can’t find affordable housing that allows you to have a dog, that’s a pretty difficult problem to solve. Even the most ardent dog lovers (well, most of them, anyway) wouldn’t suggest that you keep your pet and live on the streets, so if you’ve tried and tried and just can’t find anything, giving up your pooch has to be considered.

Here’s the thing, though. Even if you ultimately do feel like you have to give up your dog, there’s absolutely no reason that the pound ever has to be a consideration. Where should you look for housing?

There are a Few Alternatives to the Pound

Solicit Friends and Family Members

Maybe you can’t keep your dog, but your little cousin would love him. Or you have a dog-loving coworker who can’t say no to a furry face. If you just ask around a little bit, you’d probably be surprised how many people you know would be thrilled to take your dog in and give her a good home. Just be sure that it really is a good home by visiting ahead of time.

Seek Out Rescue Groups

Most areas have several active rescue groups dedicated to “fostering” pets with caring, responsible people until a forever home can be found. The nice thing about rescue groups is that you pretty much know going in that your dog will be entering the home of someone who not only understands how to take care of them (possibly better than you do!) but also how to find a permanent home where the owners will be just as caring and mindful. You have the option of looking for rescue groups nearby or breed-specific rescuers.

Find a “no-kill” Organization or Shelter

You absolutely have to confirm that the organization is “no-kill,” especially if it’s a shelter because sometimes that word is used interchangeably with “pound.” These places will take in animals if they have the room and work hard to find them a good home.

Ask Around

One of these options should work for most people, but if for some reason your dog is still homeless after you’ve tried the alternatives, think outside the box and contact dog trainers and other dog professionals to see if they know of any good homes. For someone who truly cares about their dog, the pound should never even be an option.

By Juliana Weiss-Roessler

Have you successfully rehomed your dog? Tell us how you did it in the comments section below. Maybe other users can learn from your experience. Telling your story could save a dog’s life.

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