Rocky the lurcher at Burford rehoming centre

What if I need to give up my pet or horse?

Do you need help to rehome your dog, cat, rabbit, small pet or horse? We know that sometimes people’s circumstances change. Our team is here if you need to give up your pet.

Making the decision to find a new home for your dog, cat, small pet or horse is never easy, even though you know it might be the best option for you and them. Circumstances change, and now the cost of living is forcing families to part with their pets too. At Blue Cross we never judge anyone for making the responsible decision to give up their pet and we’ll do what we can to help.

Hard times can happen to anyone, and with pets in the family there are more bowls to fill when money is tight. Before making the heartbreaking decision to rehome your dog, cat or small pet, check Blue Cross's and other pet charities' services to see if they could help. We provide pet food banks, animal hospitals for low cost vet care and free advice with tips for pet care on a budget. If you do sadly need to find a new home for them, read on.

Where do I start?

The first thing to do is contact our rehoming admissions team. You can get in touch by calling on 0300 790 9903 or emailing us.

The team will ask a few simple questions and listen without judgement. At this stage we ask for some basic information regarding you and your pet(s). We'll then send you a form which will ask for more detailed information to help our team see how we can best help. This will need to be returned to us before we can progress your request.

If you're looking to give up a horse

Contact [email protected] as soon as possible. Our experienced team will be able to provide help, support and signposting appropriate for your circumstances. Once you’ve spoken to our team, we’ll tailor our support to your situation and horse.

Sometimes we’re unable to help but we’ll give you advice on what you can do next.

No matter how desperate you’re feeling, please do not abandon your pet, even outside a Blue Cross rehoming centre or animal hospital. This is incredibly traumatic for them and also very dangerous – they could become seriously ill or they could escape and be hit by a car. It also means that even if they are found and brought to us, we won’t know their history, which makes it a lot harder to find them the right home.

What happens to my pet once they’re in Blue Cross care?

Dogs, cats and rabbits will be carefully assessed by a vet, and all species are assessed by a member of our experienced team so we can give them any special care they need and match them to the right home.

After the assessment period they will be ready for rehoming, providing there are not any veterinary or behaviour issues that we need to address. Their profile will appear on the Blue Cross website and we will start our search to find them a loving home.

What if I can’t keep my Blue Cross pet?

We never forget a Blue Cross pet and we understand that your circumstances can change. If you need to give up your Blue Cross pet, please contact our rehoming admissions team on 0300 790 9903 or email us and we will put you in touch with our rehoming teams who will be able to discuss the options available with you.

What if I need to give up my horse?

We know that having to find a new home for your horse is a very difficult thing to do, but we're here to do all we can to help.

If you're thinking of giving up your horse due to the increased cost of living, we have lots of helpful advice and ideas on cutting costs without compromising care.

Rehoming support for you and your horse

If you do need to give up your horse, we have a range of ways we can support you: 

  • We may take your horse into one of our rehoming centres or foster yards
  • Our Home Direct Scheme may suit you and your horse. This is where your horse will remain with you until we have found them a loving new home.
  • If we are unable to take your horse in, we will do all we can to redirect you to another NEWC (National Equine Welfare Council) member organisation who may be able to help

If you are unsure about whether you will be able to continue caring for your horse, email us as soon as you can. We’ll give you tailored information based on your circumstances. The earlier you contact us the more likely we are going to be able to help you find a home for your horse.

Abandoned and fly grazing horses

If you need advice regarding an abandoned horse, follow the information on abandoned and fly grazing horses.

Returning a Blue Cross horse

If you need to return a Blue Cross horse or pony you have previously adopted, then please contact your Horse Welfare Coordinator or email the team.

I’m worried my pet will outlive me

Many people worry about what will happen if their pets outlive them. If you feel there’s no one you can ask to take on your companion, our Pet Peace of Mind service might be for you.

I am feeling really sad about giving up my pet

Parting with a pet is really upsetting, particularly when you have no other option. We run a free and confidential helpline for people who are struggling with being separated from a pet. All of our specially trained team have experienced pet loss and they volunteer their time to help others during this devastating time. Contact Pet Loss Support if you'd like to talk to, or email, our understanding team. We're here for you.