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Waterford, MI 48327

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When A Couple Splits: Deciding Who Keeps the Dog

How to Do What's Best for Your Dog

When a couple splits, it is painful for everyone involved. Dividing up possessions is a difficult task. Children and pets are often caught in the middle. Deciding who keeps the dog(s) or pets can be challenging. We look at points to consider in ensuring that your pup goes to the home that is the best fit in the long run. Despite your differences, we know you both want what’s best for all of your family members.

In the Courts, Pets are Property

That’s right. In every state but Illinois and Alaska, not all judges see your pet as a family member, or even a pet. In a custody battle, the judge will most likely not consider your dog’s well-being. In some cases, judges have decided who gets the dog by who purchased him, or by who the dog runs to first. Because of this, it’s best for the dog’s sake (and for your wallet) to settle this matter out of court if possible.

Housing Situations

First, consider who is moving out. Many animals struggle with change and the split will be quite a challenge. Add a new environment to the mix and this could bring on a host of emotional and behavior issues for your dog. Second, consider restrictions on breeds and sizes in finding new housing. Buying a house under an HOA or renting from a landlord could prove challenging. Also consider where you will walk your dog. Also, whether you’ll need a fence as some places do not have, or allow, one.

Work Life

Consider your work schedules and who will be home enough or have flexibility. If one person works and commutes long hours, it leaves your pooch alone and unexercised all day. If you find that you are both gone all day, consider who would be willing to pay for daycare, hire a dog walker or discuss splitting the cost of Fido’s care.

The Kids

A split is always hardest on the kids. They need normal patterns and to feel as little change as possible. If your children grew up with your pup, having him suddenly out of the picture can be pretty traumatic. Choosing to let your dog stay with the kids may be the better option.

Of course, there are many factors (age of the kids or the dog, or the dog’s health, etc,) that could affect whether it is best for Fido to remain with the children. The parent who is caring for the kids may not have the time or the money to handle a dog as well. In that case, the person without the extra responsibilities might make the more suitable owner.

Other Pets

What about multiple pets when a couple splits? If pets don’t get along with the other animals in the house, it makes separating pets a lot easier. However, some animals are bonded or simply inseparable. The stress of losing their playmate (along with at least one of their humans) can be too much for them. Keeping those pet companions together can make the transition much smoother for you and your pet in the long run.

Sharing Custody and Finances

One last option to consider is sharing custody of your dog. In many families, both partners truly care for their pets and neither one wants to say goodbye. Some find that a good solution is treating this like you would a child, with one partner having the dog on weekends or whatever schedule works best. This arrangement usually involves sharing responsibilities like trips to the vet or pet care expenses. Vet bills, food and treats, grooming and training expenses add up fast, which can add a layer of stress to an already stressful situation.

Divorce and splits can be tough transitions and we would like to help you and your pet through them. If you find that your pet is having health, behavior or emotional issues in connection with the changes, please talk to us here at Union Lake Pet Services.