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There are many reasons why a person considers giving up a beloved family pet. Maybe it’s due to unforeseen circumstances. A house fire, flood, loss of a job, and having to move to a place that does not allow pets are all unfortunate and could mean having to surrender your companion pet to a shelter or a new family. Or perhaps you find yourself allergic to your dog, you’re in the military and are deployed, or current pet behavior issues cannot be handled on your own anymore.

But if you can help it, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to keep your companion with you? Why give up your dog, cat, or other pets when there are ways to prevent such a heartbreaking split? Here are ten ways to prevent having to give up your pet:

1. Do Your Homework Before Adopting

Everything from the cost to raise a pet to educating yourself on being a good pet guardian — having a pet requires time, patience, and money, so make sure you are ready for this kind of responsibility before adopting any pet.

2. Take Pets to Behavior Training

Having a behavior issue is a top reason for owners to surrender pets at a local shelter. Poor behavior ranges from jumping and potty problems to barking and biting; don’t give up on him or her so easily. If you are dealing with pet behavior issues that are difficult for you to manage, call a pet behavior hotline for professional help. Check out a number of pet behavior hotlines across the U.S. on OGP’s Animal Rescue Hotline directory!

3. Check With Landlords Before Moving

If moving to a new place isn’t already stressful enough, try moving with pets. Check with potential landlords about their pet policy and, if possible for your situation, do searches for housing that allow the specific pets and animals that are in your family.

4. Change Your Lifestyle; Don’t Change a Pet

Accommodate animal companions into life’s changes. This includes moving, a new job, job loss, marriage, divorce, or having a baby. Excluding a companion pet because you are overwhelmed with life will only cause him heartbreak and feelings of loneliness.

5. Know Your Limit

Never adopt or take in more animals than you can properly care for monetarily or emotionally. Will a new pet get along with current animal family members? Have everyone meet (human and animal) at the shelter or rescue before making a final decision.

6. Be Up-To-Date on City/County Animal Ordinances

Know animal control laws and ordinances for your neighborhood by visiting the county office or the website. Some areas limit the number of certain animals a residence can have and breaking this law could result in you having to give up pets.

7. Find Foster Homes (For Military Pets)

Don’t give up beloved companions. Active duty military members have options for their pets when they get deployed! Check out these Fantastic Non-Profit Organizations Helping Military Families and Companion Pets with finding temp foster families and more.

8. Get Tested for Animal Allergies

It’s best to get tested for animal allergies before adopting a new buddy, but sometimes allergies can be developed over time. If you find you’re allergic to your creatures, try using a hypoallergenic shampoo on pets or if you are sensitive to saliva, have them trained by a pro to not lick.

9. Hire a Pet Sitter

Becoming busy with work or school does not mean you should give up a pet. Your pets are like your children, so hire an awesome sitter or take them to a pet daycare.

10. Look Into Temporary Assistance

Unpredictable natural disasters or fire destruction of your home can leave you financially unable to help yourself and your pets. Crowdfunding sites can raise money for temporary financial assistance with pet medical bills, food, and necessities. For more options, click here for The Humane Society’s list of national and state resources for pet owners in need.

Don’t just give a pet away to a stranger who responds to your ad on the Internet. It’s human to want to see the good in people, but good intentions are not always there. In the event that you have no choice or are out of options, surrender your pet to an animal shelter, find a responsible caretaker to love your pet, or contact an animal welfare organization for help with surrendering.

Image source: mahalie stackpole/Flickr