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Where Do The Pets Go When A Family Separates? 3 Tips to Help

By: Tona Miller

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So many things go into making a good choice about your new pet's life in the beginning. When you decide to get a pet, you come up with a list of things that your pet will need in order to be happy and healthy. You spend time deciding which food is best, and argue over how many treats your pet should get and who is going to be the best veterinary fit for your new pet family member. Toys can be an argument all on their own! Do you want a specific type or toy, or do you want to stay away from a specific material?

During your pet's adolescence, you trouble over obedience, and training. We debate about whether or not we should fix our pets, and what vaccines are actually necessary for our pet's well being. All of these arguments happen with our pet's best interest in mind.
The only thing the doesn't seem come up when planning on getting a pet, and maintaining their care is what to do when a family goes two separate ways.

As sad as it is, pet families are often broken up, and even though as pet parents we can have the best intentions, our beloved animal family members can get caught in the middle of everything happening. Unlike with children, the law generally doesn't get involved in deciding who should or shouldn't get the pets.

How do you decide who gets your pet if your family unit is changing?
It is a tricky question for sure, but there are many factors to consider when making the decision. Below are three some factors to consider.

1. Where did the pet live first?

If the pet in question came with one person, and was not adopted into the family after the relationship started, it is probably best for the pet to remain with its original owner. There are always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, this may be the fairest and best choice.

2. Where will the pet have the best lifestyle?

Pets need a routine in order to stay happy long term. When considering where your pets should live after a split it is important to take into consideration which new environment will be more conducive to your pet's lifestyle and over all happiness.

If you partner has the bigger yard for your dog, and is there more often to see to your pet's needs, the choice should be clear. If on the other hand your lifestyle is more accommodating for your pet, it should go with you.

3. Where does your pet WANT to go?

As much as we hate to admit it, all pets have a favorite person, and it just might not be us. If you have a dog, or a cat who is very bonded to you, your former partner should be responsible, and let the pet(s) stay with you, while on the other hand, if your pet loves your ex, you might need to be the bigger person and let the pet go.
Remember though that just because you and your partner split does not mean that you cannot still se your pets. Work out a time schedule that allows you both access to your beloved pet, and spend quality time with them whenever you can. Talk to your vet to see if they can help you come to the right decision.


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