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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

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

There is no question that when you decide to adopt a dog, you commit yourself to keeping the animal in a species-appropriate way for the rest of its life and to catering to its individual needs. Pets mean responsibility and in the best case have a permanent place in a loving family. For most dog owners, giving away their dog is an absolute no-go, but in some cases there is simply no way around it. Which reasons for giving away the dog are plausible and legitimate, and where to put the beloved four-legged friend? What should I do if I have to give my dog away?

I have to give my dog away: Lack of understanding meets necessity.

A hotly debated topic: Giving away a beloved animal. There are countless entries from angry dog owners in blogs, forums, etc.: “You should have thought about that beforehand, I have absolutely no understanding for it,” is just one of the many sentences you often read as a response.

On the one hand, this reaction is understandable and the statement is absolutely correct. Before you adopt an animal, you should clarify a few things in advance. Factors such as time, money and a suitable environment and of course other things, naturally play an important role. 

On the other hand, sometimes things take a different course than expected. Many things in life develop in a different way than planned and are difficult to anticipate in advance. Some people, due to personal events and/or strokes of fate, simply have no choice but to part with their beloved furry friend (for a time). Sometimes you also have to make decisions in the animal’s best interes, when the dog gets the chance for a fuller life.

When to give a dog away?

What does it mean to have no other choice? Actually, it’s quite easy to explain. In the following examples, you as the owner hardly have a chance to change the situation. 

If, for example, you have a very barky dog at home that likes to tamper with the furniture or jumps on every person you meet, that is no reason to give the dog away. Behavioural training can work wonders here. And you can be sure of one thing: With a lot of patience, empathy and training, most problems can be solved.

But when is it inevitable to give the dog away?

  • Long-term illnesses of the owner (physical or psychological), accidents and their consequences. Tip: Sometimes family, neighbours or acquaintances help out to look after the dog until it gets better.
  • Sudden allergies to dog hair.
  • Prison sentences.
  • In case of absolute incompatibility of two or more dogs, or other pets. Tip: A behaviour trainer can help with socialisation. 
  • If the health of another pet or human is at risk.
  • Impending homelessness.

Even if you just don’t want your dog anymore, even though there is no good reason, please think carefully about where you are giving him. You owe him this last favour. It wouldn’t be fair to just put the dog out on the street where his life is in danger and he could be severely traumatised.

dog harness that fits your dog

Where can I bring my dog?

Obviously, the first place many people think of is probably an animal shelter. Shelters do a great job, because where else can you put all the homeless pets and all the other animals? However, before you make this decision, you should consider the following points:

  • Most animal shelters are already overcrowded!
  • The lack of staff in many places makes it difficult to meet all needs equally.
  • The dangers of communicable diseases increase. 
  • Uncertainty as to whether your beloved dog will ever be adopted again (especially very old, sick, weak and behaviourally challenged dogs, as well as so-called list dogs, are statistically much less likely to be adopted).
  • The uncertainty of which new family your dog will end up with.

Alternatives to the shelter:

As you can see, there are a few points against the shelter. What alternatives are there? How can I find a new home for my cherished friend on four paws?

  • First and foremost, you can look around for a new place for your pet. Perhaps someone in your family, friends or acquaintances would be willing to adopt your dog (even if only temporarily)?
  • If you can’t find anyone close to you, you can expand your search. In the age of social media, many people have more “friends” on Facebook and the like than there are dog hairs on their favourite jumper. 
  • In general, you can place an ad on certain websites on the internet.
  • You can also post an ad on the noticeboard in the nearest supermarket or similar.
  • Ask veterinarians or place an advertisement there.
  • Some animal shelters offer a placement service/private placement on their homepage.
  • Find a foster home. A temporary place for your pet until a final solution is found.

If your dog comes from an animal welfare organisation or shelter, please read the protection contract. Often you have signed to return them there if the worst happens!

No matter how you place your dog, make sure that the new owners are serious and can take good care of your pet.

Important: Even if these options involve a bit more “work”, abandonment is never a solution! You still have the responsibility and are obliged to find a good place for your dog.

Found a new home? 

You have found a new, species-appropriate and loving home for your dog? Perfect 😊. Now it’s time to exchange the most important information and think about a few important things:

  • What does the dog like? What doesn’t he like?
  • Handed out his favourite toys, the things they are used to (basket, cuddly blankets, food bowls, leash(s), muzzle, car restraint, chest harness, grooming items such as dog brushes and claw scissors, etc.).
  • Which food does he get/tolerate, which possibly not?
  • What is the medical history? Are there any allergies or intolerances?
  • Does he have to take regular medication?
  • Hand over the vaccination certificate, chip number, EU-pet passport, pedigree certificate, etc.
  • You can hand over your pet profile to the new owner. This way, the new owner has all the important information with just one click.

Important: Don’t forget the deregistration or re-registration! In the case of so called listed dogs, there are additional requirements. 

Is a dog sad when you give it away?

If you are or were an important caregiver of the dog, the answer is clearly: YES! Animals also have emotions, which they do not express like humans, but which they do feel. This is also the case with sadness. 

The good news is, however, that dogs can also get over unpleasant feelings. With patience, empathy and lots of love, you can help a grieving dog. That is why it is important to find a loving home for him.

Hund aus Tierheim


Life is not static, certain things simply cannot be planned in advance. Sometimes you have to make decisions that make us humans sick to our stomachs. Having to part with a beloved dog is enormously painful for most dog owners, but sometimes it is the best decision.