How to Safely Re-Home A Pet On Craigslist

Craigslist.org is an online forum where users can place classified ads for just about anything. The site allows users to post ads to re-home, but not to sell, pets of all kinds.

While thousands of users peruse this resource daily, giving your ad a lot of exposure to potential adopters, you'll have to carefully screen candidates to ensure that your furry friend receives a good home.

Place the Ad

Craigslist allows users to post ads online for free with or without an account, using a valid email address. Post your ad in the city you live in or the city closest to you. Place your ad in the "community" section of the website. Include several clear pictures of your pet to give potential adopters a good idea of what he looks like.

List your pet's age, physical characteristics, vaccinations and information about his temperament. State that you will charge a small re-homing fee around $60, and for a small purebred pet $150. This discourages potential animal abusers, those involved in dog fighting and hoarders from responding to your ad warns craigslist.  NEVER give your pet away for free!!!

Question Potential Adopters

Craigslist users can respond to your ad directly, via email or phone. Ask potential adopters why they want to adopt your pet and what kind of home they can provide for him. Always check their drivers license and take down the numbers.

Ask them if they live in a rental or own a home. Renters move much more than homeowners, so your pets situation is much less stable since a lot of places do not allow pets and are breed specific.

Advise them that they are subject to a criminal records search, (this will ward off the "baddies"). If you'd like to obtain a free criminal check on your potential adopter click here for a free search. Have them fill out an "adoption contract" with all their information and their vets phone number.

Question them about their past experience caring for a pet similar to yours, especially if you are trying to re-home a pet with behavioral issues or an exotic pet who requires special care, such as a reptile or parrot. Rule out potential adopters who give you vague or sketchy answers about why they want the pet. 

Perform a Home Check

Request a home visit with a potential adopter. If an adopter refuses, don't re-home your pet with her, as she may have something to hide or may have improper intentions for your pet.
Never go alone to a potential adopter's home, for safety's sake bring along a friend. Ensure the home's clean and safe; ask if the adopter has the approval of her landlord to have a pet like yours. If she rents, request the contact information for the landlord to confirm this. 

If the potential adopter has young children or other pets, re-home your pet with her only if you feel your pet will get along with them and will be safe in their company. 

Re-Home and Follow Up

Bring your pet to the home of the adopter. Allow the pet to interact with the potential adopter and family. If all goes well, explain your pet's routine to the adopter so she can use it to ease his transition into his new home. 

Have the adopter sign a contract stating that you will take the pet back if things don't work out. Accept the adoption fee in cash or through an electronic payment service. Give the adopter copies of your pet's veterinary records. Check back with the new owner after a week to determine if the pet is doing well. Delete your ad from  ads automatically expire within seven to 45 days.


Check below for a rescue group before giving away your pet. They have the help you need.

How a reputable nonprofit rescue can help you at no charge to you...

They do get a lot of requests for help and cannot help everyone so the best way to get their attention is to personally go to their weekly Saturday or Sunday adoption event with your dog or cat and his medical records ( if you have any) and ask them to help you. 

Since rescue groups don't have a lot of money and their foster homes are usually full with pound dogs and cats they are trying to save, they are much more likely to say YES to working with your pet if it has all medicals done (has rabies and distemper shot, is spayed or neutered, and has had a recent heartworm test showing it is heartworm negative) and you can foster until adoption if they have no foster space at the time. 

Ask for help even if the above is not true, but more importantly that you can foster until adoption and bring your pet to the adoption events. Let them know that up front!!!

They can let you show your pet at their weekly adoption event, so the public can meet him/her and fall in love. 

They will also post for you on Petfinder's which is a place where nonprofits post and people expect to be carefully screened, unlike the people on Craigslist who hate for you to ask any questions and don't see the value to the dog of careful screening. They will also help you screen the home, do the home visit, and the dog will get adopted with their contract- and all the legal protections that come with it.

Good luck to you. Lots of people want dogs and cats for the wrong reasons. The quality of your pets life for the next years depends on you making smart and compassionate choices for him now.


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