dog in a cage

How to Know Whether or Not to Bring Your Dog to Rehab


Sober Recovery Expert Author

dog in a cage

Dog-friendly treatment centers are a comforting alternative to leaving your dog temporarily or permanently as you begin your recovery process. Although this is an obvious first choice for many, the reality is it may not be the best option for you or your pup. There are many factors to consider before bringing your four-legged companion to rehab. This includes your finances, rehab availability and exploring possible alternatives. It's a scary and heartbreaking thing to consider leaving your pup to enter rehab but, at the end of the day, you are the only one who can take care of yourself.

Before you completely forego treatment because a facility doesn't accept dogs, ask yourself these honest questions to make sure you're making the best choice for both of you.

While dog-friendly rehab centers are an option, bringing your  best friend with you, sadly, may not be the best thing for either of you.

1. Are you neglecting yourself for the sake of your pup?

Are you putting off recovery because of your pooch? If so, you're not doing you or your best friend any favors. Giving up my dog was the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. I struggled with this decision for months. But the day finally came when I had to admit that as much as I loved my pup—and as much as he loved me—he deserved much better than what I was giving him. As someone who already had a long history of self-neglect, I gave up my dog in order to give myself the attention I deserved. In turn, this decision freed my dog to have a life far better than the one he knew with me. Your decision to enter into treatment is a big first step, so don't neglect yourself for the sake of your dog. After all, your dog wouldn't want you to do that either.

2. Can you afford it?

Unfortunately, our decisions can't be determined just by our emotions, but must include careful consideration of our resources. Your financial situation may be one of the biggest determiners of bringing your dog with you to rehab. When exploring treatment centers, ask your insurance whether or not there are stipulations to certain facilities. For instances, is there a limit to what you can spend? Are dog-friendly facilities included in their coverage? If you have found a good dog-friendly rehab center, you should ask about any limitations, restrictions or standards they have for your dog being there. For example, will you need to supply the food? Are you required to purchase pet insurance? Is doggy care included in case you can't be with your dog? These are all things that should be considered because more services most likely means more money.

3. Are there any alternatives?

There are always alternatives that exist to keeping your dog. First, you'll want to see if any trusted family members or friends are able to provide your dog a temporary home. If you are homeless and don't have any connections that could possibly do this, you may have to consider surrendering your dog to a no-kill shelter. Another option is to bring the dog to a local church and explain your situation—maybe someone can help find the dog a good home, or at the very least a temporary one. Re-homing your dog is the best alternative to keeping him. It takes a lot of diligence, time and guts, but if you find a good home for your dog, you will be better able to focus on yourself. The last thing you will need during recovery is guilt or stress from putting your dog in an unsafe situation, so do your research to find alternative housing or care that won't compromise his or her safety or health.

Pets are part of the family, but they shouldn't hold you back from entering rehab. If you need help finding a dog-friendly center or would like to talk about your options for entering treatment without your dog, call us at 800-772-8219.

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