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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

On Christmas Eve, we want to make our loved ones happy. Perhaps a family member has wanted an animal for a long time or we think a four-legged friend would do him/her good. But why is it not a good idea to give animals as a Christmas present? What would be a better alternative? We talked to the animal shelters Bruck an der Leitha, Tiko Tierheim and Tierheim Brunn about it.

Cats, dogs and other animals as Christmas presents?

Animals are not a Christmas present! And there are good reasons for this:

1. the animal must fit the owner. To do this, the two have to get to know each other and get a feeling for each other. Animals should never be bought for visual reasons, because if their character does not match their lifestyle, neither side will be happy.

2. no time to prepare. You don’t get a pet overnight. You need time to prepare and get everything in place so that the newcomer feels comfortable and you are not overwhelmed.

3. responsibility for a living being. This is something you have for the whole of your pet’s life, not just during the Christmas holidays. As soon as everyday life starts, the animal has to be taken care of. Who looks after it when you are at work or on holiday? Are the finances sufficient to afford food, vet etc.?

4. Christmas is not a good time to settle in. Usually things are rather hectic in our households, many people come to visit us or are visited. After that comes New Year’s Eve, i.e. fireworks and possibly a winter holiday.

5. origin also plays a role. Because the animals should be seriously mediated. Just because you want to give an animal as a present now, you should not choose to buy one on the internet or similar.

6. shortly before Christmas, many breeders and animal shelters do not give away their fosterlings, for the reasons mentioned above. However, the animal shelters Tiko and Bruck an der Leitha recommend the following alternatives:

What alternative Christmas gifts are there?

1. give a stuffed animal as a symbol and choose an animal together when peace has returned and enough thought has been put into it.

2. take over a sponsorship for an animal. Every animal shelter handles this differently. It is a great way to help an animal. Some even let you walk the dog and play with the cats. This way you can be close to the animals, bring them joy and don’t have the full responsibility.

3. a children’s book is suitable for children to learn in advance the body language and the necessary knowledge about how to deal with dogs.

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Why are many animals handed over to the shelter after Christmas?

Unfortunately, the spontaneous purchase just before the holidays is often not well thought out. Due to the hustle and bustle, the animal cannot settle in well and thus causes problems. We are quickly overwhelmed with the undesired behaviour of stressed animals. When work starts again, job and dog have to be reconciled. As soon as the daily routine arrives, it is usually quickly realised that an animal has no place in it.

In the “best” case, the animals are returned to the shelter. Unfortunately, some are simply abandoned. In the meantime, the animal shelters have set up a ban on relinquishing animals in order to counteract this problem. As a result, hardly any animals are brought back after Christmas.

What can you do for the animals?

In addition to sponsorships, donations are especially important for the survival of animal shelters. Since they are not financed by the state, they have to raise the high sums themselves (for example, the Tiko animal shelter needs 1.2 million € annually). Most of the staff work on a voluntary basis, but there are costs for the care of the animals (food, vet etc.) and the maintenance of the shelter. What the animals are happy about at Christmas are donations:

How can you donate?

1. on the websites of many animal shelters there are donation packages that you can buy directly.

2. transfer money

3. bring them in person.

4. order in the TOBALIE online shop and send it directly to the animal shelter of your choice. You can indicate this in the payment process.

What should you donate?

Everything needed in animal care is needed. Especially they are happy about:

1. food (please pay attention to high-quality food, i.e. open declaration, without sugar etc.)

2. toys

3. blan

4. Nutritional supplements (gastrointestinal, articular, etc)

5. Cleaning products

cat and dog under blanket


Giving animals as Christmas presents is not a good idea. But there are great alternatives that are better for us and the animal. That way, everyone is happy. Happy Christmas 😊