When any person gets a dog, they think they would never give the animal up. You buy a dog with the idea that it is going to be your friend and family member for many years. While that may work out for most dog owners, the relinquishment of pets is a very serious reality.
Millions of dogs enter shelters every year and many of these dogs are being surrendered by their owner. This not only puts a huge burden on the shelter system, but it also has significant consequences for the dogs. It is not easy to find homes for all of these animals and many of them end up being euthanized because they can’t find a good home.
The issues surrounding owners needing to relinquish an animal are complex and often misunderstood. In some cases, the reasons are beyond the owner’s control, but there are many situations where the dog is a victim of the owner’s poor decisions or inability to provide the necessary care.
While the data concerning dog relinquishment is sparse, some studies have found answers as to why some people surrender their dogs. In this post, we are going to look at some of the insights that have come from research into the relinquishment of pets.
Reasons Why Dogs are Given Up
The following are the top ten reasons why dogs are given up by their owners:
- Owner is moving
- Landlord doesn’t allow pets
- Too many animals in the home
- Cost of caring for a dog
- Personal problems
- Inadequate facilities for the dog
- No available home for litter mates
- Owner has no time for the dog
- The dog’s illnesses
- Biting or other aggressions
About the Dog Owners
The research also looked at some of the characteristics of those who were surrendering their dogs. The findings show that the dog owners came from all age groups, different income levels, ethnicities and different levels of educations. With there being very little in common between these owners, it means that more research is needed to identify factors that may cause dog owners to give up their pets.
About the Dogs Being Relinquished
When it comes to the dogs being surrendered, there are a few factors that seem to increase the risk of the owner deciding to give the animal up. Notably, 96% of these dogs did not receive any obedience training. This indicates that obedience training can make a significant difference.
About 43% of the dogs were not neutered and 33% had received no veterinary care. Dogs that were with the owner for 7 months to a year were the most likely to be surrendered (37.1%). As it concerns age, dogs that are between 5 months to 3 years of age (47.7%) are the most likely to be relinquished.
As a final point, dogs that were acquired from friends at little to no cost (31.4%) were more likely to be relinquished than dogs that came from any other source.
Owning a dog is a big responsibility and it should not be taken lightly. People need to think about the reasons why they are getting a dog and consider the commitment that comes with being a good dog owner. Buying a dog should not be an impulse purchase. If you are not ready or insufficiently committed, having a pet will not be a good experience and the outcome will be unfair to the animal.