How to advertise and rehome your pet via social media (2023)

Some of the best homes are with people who already know and like your pet. Friends and family may be willing to offer your pet a new forever or temporary home, so ask around your immediate circle and share your pet’s profile via social media.

Give yourself plenty of time

Accept the fact that it can take a while to find the right home for your pet. If your pet is old, a large breed dog, has health issues or is unfriendly towards other pets and strangers, it may take many months to find a new home for your pet. Give yourself plenty of time to place your pet responsibly, seeking out the right family who are willing to care for them for life.

Identify the ideal home for your pet

Make a list of what you feel is most important for your pet. What kind of environment does he need? Is he ok with children? Is he OK with other pets? What kind of people would suit his personality and energy levels? Once you have a firm idea of what you're looking for, it will be easier to manage your search and get the results you want for your pet.

Get your pet ready to be rehomed

Get your pet desexed to eliminate the risk of it falling into the hands of a backyard breeder or puppy farm. If you have no records or knowledge of your pet being desexed, make sure this is the first thing you do. If you’re unable to afford the cost of desexing, there are many organisations offering discount programs. Visit the National Desexing Network for more information.

Get your pet’s health checked. Your pet will be much more appealing to adopters if he's healthy. So book him in for a full health check at the vet and make sure he’s up to date with his vaccinations (and heartworm treatment for dogs). Ask your vet for a printout of his medical history and start a folder of information about your pet.

Groom your pet. A bathed pet with trimmed nails, clean ears and a well-groomed coat is much more desirable to potential adopters than a smelly, messy-looking one.

Prepare a pet profile

Your pet’s profile needs to be positive. Feature the best things about your pet and give people an idea of your pet's personality.

  • Accurately describe the appearance, size and age of your pet.
  • Include the pet's name and a good photograph.
  • Mention that the pet is desexed.
  • Describe his/her nature and appealing qualities.
  • Define any limitations the pet might have (e.g. not good with cats or small children).
  • Don’t advertise your pet as a guard dog.
  • Don't forget your phone number and the times you can be reached.

Take a great photo. While your pet is clean and freshly groomed, take his photo to place on his profile. A good photo plays a big part in helping potential adopters connect with your pet, so make sure your pet is relaxed and doesn't look anxious or scared. Ideally, the pet should be looking at the camera, with a focus on the face and eyes.

Prepare a general history

Add your pet’s history to their profile, including details about their food preferences, favourite treats and toys, relationships with other animals and other likes and dislikes. All this information will help potential adopters get acquainted with the pet and make the transition to a new home much easier.

Set an adoption fee

Set a reasonable price for your pet based on age and health etc. Check the listings on PetRescue to get an idea of what fee might be right for your pet.

Post your pet's photo and profile on Facebook

Give a brief and genuine explanation of why you have to rehome your pet but keep it all positive. Ask your friends and family to share the post as widely as they can.

Spread the word out and about

Do you visit a dog park? Ask around to find out if anyone is looking for a new pet. If your pet stays at a boarding kennel when you go on holiday, ring them to see if they can ask around. Ask your vet, ask neighbours. Dog washers and dog walkers are also good contacts to find out who’s looking for a new pet. Ask pretty much everyone you deal with on a daily basis – you never know who might come forward!

Club newsletters and community noticeboards

If you're a member of a church, club or group, ask if you can place an advert in their newsletter or on their noticeboard.

Screen your respondents

You have every right to screen all potential new owners who enquire about your pet. Think of it as an adoption, not a sale. Choose the person you think will make the best companion for your pet.

If someone responds to your advert, a phone conversation is a great way to get an idea of whether they are likely to be a great match for your pet.

To start, you might say: "This dog/cat is very special to me, and I am looking for just the right home for him/her. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about yourself and your home?"

Let all applicants know you will be checking references and need to speak to their vet (if they've had pets before).

Arranging a meeting and home check

Once you've chosen a family (or families) that you feel are good candidates, arrange two meetings with the potential new owners – the first appointment for them to meet the pet, and the second for you to see their home.

Trust your instincts

If you have any concerns, don't be afraid to discuss them or to reject them. To make a non-confrontational exit, tell them other people are also interested in meeting your pet and that you'll get back to them.

Important things to mention to the new owners

  • All rehomed pets go through an adjustment period as they get to know their new people, learn new rules and mourn the loss of their old family. Most pets adjust within a few days, but others may take longer.
  • Advise the new family to take things easy at first, avoiding anything stressful, such as bathing their new pet, attending obedience training classes or meeting too many strangers at once. Assure them this will give the pet time to settle in and bond with them.
  • Tell them not to worry if the pet does not eat for the first day or two, he'll eat when he's ready.
  • Some of the best house-trained pets can temporarily forget. Assure the new owners that it’s not unusual for rehomed pets to have an accident during the first day in their new home and it rarely happens more than once.
  • Keep cats indoors for at least four weeks after a move.

Keep in touch

Tell the family they should call you if the adoption doesn't work out. Let them know you want to keep in touch and will call them in a few days to see how things are going. Tell them to call you if they have questions or problems. Be willing to take the pet back if things don't work out the way you both expected.

Transferring the paperwork

Update your pet's microchip details, council registration and change of ownership papers.

If you find a stray animal, see our advice articles for help…

Help! I’ve found a stray dog. What do I do?

Help! I’ve found a stray cat. What do I do?

Help! I’ve found a stray cat family. What do I do?

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