“I can’t afford my dog any more” is always a heartbreaking situation. And there are many reasons that someone may be forced to consider looking for help to afford their dog.
But luckily, when times are hard, there are so many resources that can help you. So, if you can’t afford your dog any more, you don’t necessarily have to give them up.
Before you look at choosing a shelter, or a new permanent home for your dog, you can take a look at adjusting your lifestyle, seeking help, and temporary homes.
This guide will take a closer look at these options for you, and guide you to some useful resources.
Can’t Afford to Keep my Dog Anymore
There are a lot of reasons why people find themselves in situations where they can’t afford their dog.
Veterinary bills can quickly add up if your dog is experiencing health problems. But so can daily care, such as grooming costs and food bills.
Sometimes your own circumstances will change, meaning you no longer have as much to spend on your dog.
Some people face unemployment, or even health problems of their own that have a huge impact on their financial lives.
No matter what the reason, it’s stressful when you think you can’t afford to keep your dog anymore. But we are here to help.
Consider all the Options
Before sending your dog to a shelter or rescue center, remember there are a lot of options available to you.
Many organisations and charities will be able to offer and provide support to you. Whether this is to help with general care or costly veterinary bills.
These places can often help you temporarily until you are able to afford your dog once more.
Alternatively, you can find a temporary home for your dog until you are able to care for them again.
It’s easy to feel hopeless when you fear you need to give up your dog. But it’s really important to consider all options first.
We will start by looking at potential solutions to common problems.
Can’t Afford My Dog’s Food Anymore
One common reason that people can’t afford their dog anymore is daily costs such as food. But there are a few ways to solve this problem.
Firstly, you can try transitioning to a cheaper brand. In fact we have an entire article dedicated to switching dog food for more help.
If you’re feeding your dog with wet dog food, it may be cheaper to transition to kibble foods. These are usually cheaper and easier to buy in bulk. Plus, they often have a longer shelf life, so will last longer in your home.
If it is healthy for your dog, you can also try stretching his food rations. But, you should always speak to your vet before doing this, if you can afford to do so.
There are places you can go to get help if you’re struggling to afford your dog’s food.
For instance, your vet may be able to suggest ways to help. You can also reach out to animal organisations near you – as these will be different for each person.
Sometimes soup kitchens and other charitable organisations also have pet food. So, it’s worth checking with these if you’re temporarily struggling and need food for your dog as soon as possible.
Can’t Afford Dog Grooming Anymore
To people with short-haired breeds, this might not seem like a big deal. But to those with long haired breeds, or high maintenance breeds, it can be problematic.
Grooming your dog at home can be hard, and it is easy to accidentally hurt your dog with scissors and clippers if you don’t know how to properly use them.
Whilst some dogs can last quite a while without grooming, you will need to ensure they can see past any fur that grows around their eyes. Their nails will also potentially need to be trimmed.
Learning how to groom your dog from home is a good way to cut costs in the long run. You will need to buy the appropriate grooming tools. But once this cost is paid, you won’t need to spend any more unless they need replacing.
Useful Guides for Grooming at Home
Take a look at the following guides for more help and information about how to groom your dog at home.
- Bathing and Grooming Your Labrador
- How to Groom a Dog with Long Hair
- Dog Grooming Supplies For Labradors
Can Afford My Dog’s Veterinary Care Anymore
If your dog has an ongoing health problem, or has suddenly developed a medical issue, you’ll know how expensive vet bills can be.
Pet insurance can help to cover certain medical expenses. So make sure to check your policy if you are struggling to pay for your dog’s care.
If you’re still unable to afford your veterinary bills, you should speak to your vet as well as other animal organisations.
It can also help to explain your situation to rescue centers, in case they can offer any assistance.
Many places will try to help you as much as possible to ensure your dog can stay in its loving home.
Seek Second Opinions
Some vets will charge different amounts for the same care. So, it might be worth getting a second opinion if your dog has a non-urgent medical problem.
If you live in the city, try to find a vet a little further out. It may be possible to reduce your vet fees this way.
But you will need to weigh up the balance with travel costs.
Dealing with Vet Bills
Some vets will allow you to split the cost of their bills over multiple payments. So, if you are struggling to pay for a large single vet bill, you should see if this is possible.
The RSPCA in the UK are also able to offer help to those who are in the most need. You can read more about this here.
They recommend checking with your local RSPCA hospital for more assistance.
As well as this, PDSA (also in the UK) offers free and reduced cost veterinary care to people in certain situations.
In the US, the ASPCA are another organisation that works to ensure clinics are able to provide affordable care and routine treatments.
So, always check with local organisations and animal charities, or see if you can work out a payment plan with your vet.
Preparing for the Future
If you can’t afford your dog anymore because of a one-time large vet bill, you might find help with the above organisations, or even breed specific organisations.
But, if you find this help, it’s important to try and prevent the same issue happening in the future.
You can try to set aside a small amount of money when possible to put into an emergency fund for your dog.
This may not be a huge amount, but can soon add up. And even a little will help if you find yourself in a similar situation in the future.
Temporary and Foster Homes
If your situation means you can’t afford your dog now, but know you will be able to in the future, you can look into temporary homes and foster home schemes.
These are often possible through animal organisations like the RSPCA.
What is a Foster Home?
A foster home is a temporary home for your dog. Fostering can also happen to rescue dogs, to provide them a place to live until they find their forever home.
This means your dog will be living in another normal family home, as opposed to a shelter.
Choosing a foster home through a pet welfare organisation is a good idea, as they will ensure volunteers meet the appropriate criteria, and are able to take care of your animal.
They can also provide you with updates, pictures, and videos whilst you are getting back on your feet. So, you will be able to see how your dog is getting on.
Importance of Finding an Appropriate Home
If you’re looking into temporary foster homes because you can’t afford your dog anymore, we must stress the importance of finding a loving home to care for your dog.
Rehoming is a stressful experience for any dog. So, the best family is one that can completely support your dog through this experience. This is often a family who already has experience with foster dogs, or pet dogs.
Not only do you need to choose a family who are emotionally able to support your dog, but also one that can financially support your dog.
They must be able to cover any food or veterinary bills that arise in the time that your dog is living with them.
So, as much as friends and family may want to look after your dog, make sure they are ready for this commitment. If you don’t think they are, look for temporary homes through animal organisations such as the RSPCA.
Can’t Afford My Dog Anymore – Seeking Help
There are lots of places that you can go to for help if you are struggling to afford to keep your dog. Many of these places will be keen to help if it means your dog can stay in his loving home.
Let’s take a closer look at some of them now.
Speak to your Vet
The first person you should speak to is your vet.
This is a great first call because your vet can offer advice specific to your situation. For instance, they may be able to suggest ways you can cut the costs of looking after your dog.
Alternatively they can point you in the direction of reputable local organisations and animal charities that may be able to offer you financial help.
Local Organisations and Charities
Look for local animal organisations and charities for help and assistance if you are struggling to afford your dog. You can also see if local animal shelters can provide any help.
You can find these through your vet or by searching online. Many animal organisations, even small ones, have websites or social media pages.
These places may be able to offer financial help, or they can suggest other methods of support.
Look Outside Your Immediate Area
If you’re struggling to find any help in your local area, try to expand your search a little.
Looking outside your local area is easier than ever thanks to the internet. Most places have contact details online, so you can easily get in touch with them.
This is especially helpful if your local organisations are unable to offer help. Those further away might have larger budgets set aside to help people in need.
Family and Friends
You should also consider turning to your family and friends if you are in need of help. There are plenty of ways people close to you can help.
A 2015 study found that rehoming pets with friends and family was the most common solution when someone was no longer able to care for their dog.
But, even small things like helping you find deals on pet foods and products, or looking after your dog a couple of days a week may be possible.
Family and friends are often the people most willing to help us out in times of trouble, so it’s always worth asking.
Can’t Afford My Dog Anymore – Choosing Shelters
If you’ve explored all the above options and are still unable to find a solution, you will need to look at dog shelters. Shelters will rescue dogs in need and try to rehome them with new families.
But, don’t just hand your dog over to the first shelter you find. It’s really important to do plenty of research so you can choose the best possible place for your dog.
How to Find a Shelter
You can search for rescue shelters online. Take a good look at the websites and social media pages of these shelters.
If your dog is purebred, ask your local or national breed club to put you in touch with breed-specific rescues.
Many of these will show their success stories. So, you can see if it is likely they will be successful in rehoming your dog.
You should also visit and speak to them in person. This way, you can ensure they are offering the best support and care to their animals.
You can also talk to them about how they choose new homes for their animals. Most good rescue centers will ask new adopters a lot of questions to make sure they are suitable and able to care for their animals.
Once you’ve looked at a few local shelters, you can narrow down your search to choose the best one for your dog.
What to Avoid if You Can’t Afford Your Dog
It is a stressful experience to realise you can’t afford your dog anymore. But, even so, there are some things you should never do.
Never list your dog on social media. It’s much harder to ensure your dog is going to a good, loving home if you send them off with a stranger or an acquaintance you found through social media.
This experience will be just as hard for your dog as it is for you. So you need to put a lot of time and effort into ensuring their new owners are loving and able to fulfil all care needs.
More importantly, never just leave your dog on the streets. This includes leaving them outside shelters and rescue centers in the hopes that they can take them in.
If you do this, anyone could pick your dog up – including people with bad intentions. Plus, some shelters may not have space for new dogs.
Stick to the guidelines and advice we gave above. Spend time looking for the right home for your dog.
Finding useful resources can be hard, especially when you are in a stressful situation. So, we have gathered together some links that you might find useful.
Take a look at them below.
Can’t Afford My Dog Anymore – Summary
So, as we’ve seen, there are many reasons that you might need to consider financial help when looking after your dog.
Luckily, there are lots of organisations that will offer help before you need to consider giving up your pet.
Take a look at some of the links above, and speak to organisations in your local area to find more help.
If you know of any other great places to go for help, we would love to hear about them in the comments.
References and Resources
- Weiss, E. (et al), ‘Goodbye to a Good Friend: An Exploration of the Re-Homing of Cats and Dogs in the U.S.’, Open Journal of Animal Sciences (2015)
- National and State Resources, Humane Society of the United States
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website