Dog Hexi as photo model for abandoned dogs

Helpful tips for pet owners in a difficult situation

Abandoning your pet is never an option. See our advice for support and solutions.


Pet owners sometimes find themselves in a situation where they feel they must give up their pet. This requires careful consideration, in terms of thinking about the reasons why, how this will be done and the impact this will have on both their pet and their selves. Different solutions should be considered first before you decide to give your pet up. You should never abandon your pet, especially as it may be illegal.

If you find yourself in any of the following situations with your pet, read on for helpful solutions

Does your pet have behavioural problems?

Many behavioural issues can be prevented in the first place through training, socialisation, especially when your animal is young. There are animal behavioural experts who can help you address the issues. Make sure that you find an expert that uses reward-based training. Some behavioural issues may be caused by medical problems, and you should seek advice from your vet first before you make any decisions.

Does your new landlord not allow pets?

You should really consider if this is the right apartment/house for you. Is the apartment/house more important to you than your pet? If not search for another place where pets are allowed and always check the tenancy agreement before signing!

Are you expecting a baby?

Congratulations! Children that grow up with animals have a clear advantage over those who do not. They are more empathic and develop a feeling for responsibility. There are many other positive aspects on children's health when they live with pets.

Do you feel that you don’t have enough experience/knowledge?

Don't give up, there are many resources that you can use to help you understand and fulfil your pets’ needs. Speak to your vet who will be able to provide professional advice and answer any questions you may have regarding your pet. FOUR PAWS also has lots of information on responsible pet ownership.

Has your financial situation changed?

If you feel that you can no longer afford to look after your pet, support is available from animal welfare organisations in many countries, providing you qualify. For example, vouchers for pet food, or free veterinary treatment, microchipping and neutering.

Are you ill, injured or need to go into hospital?

In some countries there are animal welfare organisations that can take care of your pet in the short-term, if you’re ill, injured or need to go into hospital for a short time.

Posed photo of a dog being abandoned on the side of the road

Abandonment is not an option!

Always consider what is best for the welfare of your dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig or other pets. If you feel the welfare of your pet is negatively impacted by your life situation and there does not seem to be a solution, you may need to rehome your pet. 

If this is the case there are different options that you can consider, if you need to give up your pet including rehoming your pet directly or finding a reputable animal welfare organisation that can rehome your pet. One option that should not be considered is to abandon your pet. Apart from the fact that this may be illegal, you have a duty of care towards your pet as its owner and should take the most humane option so that your pet has a new home and owner to take care of them for the rest of their life.

Support services is available for pet owners in need.

Rehoming your pet

If rehoming your pet is unavoidable, you should look for a responsible, caring and permanent home. Friends and family may be a good place to start to look for a new home. Always be careful if you are considering putting a rehoming ad online. If you do, make sure that you ask lots of questions of prospective owners to ensure they are offering the right home for your pet. A better alternative is to contact a reputable shelter or animal rescue organisation to ask if they can take in your pet for rehoming, trained staff will be able to take care of your pet until a new owner comes along to adopt your pet.

Dalmatian dog

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