Covid-19 update: our rehoming centres aren’t open for public browsing, but we’re still rehoming and taking in dogs, with measures in place to keep staff and adopters safe. Find out more about how national Covid-19 restrictions are affecting our rehoming procedures and other activity.

Adopt a dog

Adopting a dog from Dogs Trust 

We believe there’s a dog for everyone. 

Dogs in our care are carefully assessed by experts to determine what sort of home is ideal for them. Sometimes it can take time to find the perfect match, but we’ll do everything we can to help you find yours. 

Read more here about adopting a dog from us. If you have a question that we don’t answer here, get in touch on 0303 003 0000 or email us.

 

How adopting from us works

Our rehoming process

Normally when you want to adopt from us, you’d visit one of our centres and see our dogs. But while normal life is on pause and our rehoming centres aren’t open for public browsing, we’re doing things virtually. We’ve been working closely with DEFRA and other animal organisations to make sure we can keep finding dogs their forever homes despite current restrictions.  

Our rehoming process includes social distancing measures to help keep staff and adopters safe. We’re now matching dogs and families virtually and delivering dogs to their new homes contact-free. In some cases, well invite prospective adopters to meet a dog at our centre, by appointment There are more details about this below. 

I’m looking for a dog, what do I do?

Visit our rehoming pages to see what dogs are available for adoption. If you’re interested in one of them, give us a call on 0303 003 0000. We’ll discuss the kind of home the dog needs and, if it seems like a good match, we’ll send you a questionnaire to fill in.  

Our adoption service has been inundated with applications during the pandemic, and some dogs have received around 800 applications. When the numbers are so high, unfortunately we’re just not able to contact everyone that applied. So if you apply and don’t hear back from us within 5 days, we’re sorry to say your application hasn’t been successful this time.  

What happens after I send you my questionnaire?

If we review your application and think you could be a good match for the dog, we’ll give you a call to chat in more detail. When reviewing applications, we're looking at how closely your lifestyle matches the needs of the dog. If we have lots of strong matches, then we'll start with the family that applied first. If you don't hear from us within 5 days, unfortunately your application wasn't successful this time. 

How does virtual matching work?

We’ll arrange a virtual meeting online to find out more about you, your lifestyle, and the home you can offer one of our dogs. We’ll talk through everything we’d normally discuss in person. Including about how a dog will fit into your life in the long term, as restrictions are lifted. 

For dogs who will thrive straight away in a new home, we’ll bring them to meet you in your garden or an outdoor space. We’ll spend some time with you and dog, from a safe distance, to make sure it’s a great match. 

Some dogs will need to meet you a few times to get to know you before they come home. We’re not able to make appointments to meet dogs at the moment. Where possible, we can your interest and arrange an appointment for you to come and meet them at the centre when restrictions ease.

 

What will happen at an appointment?

We’re not able to make appointments to meet dogs at the moment. Where possible, we can register your interest and arrange an appointment for you to come and meet them at the centre when restrictions ease.

If a dog needs to meet you first, their profile on our website will look like this: 

 

How do you deliver dogs safely?

If everyone’s happy with the match, we’ll arrange a time to bring the dog to meet you in your garden or an outdoor space. We’ll spend some time with you and dog, at a safe distance, to make sure it’s a great match. If everyone’s happy, we’ll leave the dog with you.   

We won’t come into your house, and we’ll be equipped with sanitiser gel and gloves to make sure handover is as safe as possible. 

We’ll also leave your welcome bag, which includes a starter pack of food, a new collar and lead, and our dog care handbook with microchip and insurance details. Plus, to help your new addition settle in we’ll give you a 2kg bag of Wainwright’s dry dog food, courtesy of the Pets at Home VIP Club (unless the dog has been fed on a different food for dietary or veterinary reasons).  

How long does the whole process take?

Every situation is different. For dogs who are ready to settle straight into a home, the average time from enquiring to taking them home is eight days. For dogs that need to get to know their new family first, it will take a bit longer. 

How much does it cost?

Our fee for adopting an adult dog is £185 in England, Wales and Scotland, and £172.50 in Northern Ireland (due to extra dog licence fees you'll need to pay). Every dog we rehome is vaccinated, microchipped and neutered (or we’ll give you a neutering voucher if they haven't yet been neutered). We'll also give you a new Dogs Trust lead and collar, starter pack of food, and 4 weeks’ free insurance from our partner Petplan. 

Our fee for adopting a puppy is £240, this includes the £185 rehoming fee and a £55 Dog School fee. Training is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner, so we only rehome dogs under six months to adopters who are willing to attend a six-week Dog School course. Our Dog School classes help puppies learn key life skills and teach owners the basic training skills they need to create a strong bond with their new dog. 

Could I be turned down for rehoming a dog?

We pride ourselves on a thorough behaviour and veterinary assessment that helps us match each dog to the right person. We rehome to all different types of homes, from houses to narrow boats. It really depends on the needs of the individual dog. 

We will be honest if we don't feel you are eligible to adopt a particular dog. Please don't take this personally. We know how disappointing it can be to hear a dog won't be coming home with you. Our experts will have made the decision knowing the dog’s needs and what’s best for them. This doesn’t mean we won’t have another dog in the future that could suit your family. 

Factors like working hours, regular holidays or other commitments could mean your lifestyle isn’t the best fit for a dog. We’d would be doing a disservice to ourselves, the dog and to you if we rehomed a dog somewhere that we didn't see as their forever home. But this doesn’t mean we won’t have another dog in the future that could suit your family. 

Tier system in England

We’re not able to facilitate appointments or adoptions across different tiers, or anywhere there are travel restrictions. So please check the rules for your area before applying to adopt a dog. 

More Frequently asked questions

Why aren’t all dogs available for adoption?

When dogs come into us whey will be checked by our vets and assessed by our behaviour team, so won’t be on our website straight away. If a dog requires significant behavioural support or vet treatment, they may be with us a while before they're advertised online.  

Other dogs may be reserved while we carry out virtual home visits, references, etc before they go home. Based on supporter feedback we’ve made some changes to our website, so as soon as a dog is reserved, they will be removed from the rehoming section. 

Do you rehome to families with children?

We certainly do. All the dogs in our care are thoroughly assessed by our behaviour experts to determine their ideal home. Some will be able to live with children, and some won’t. It will say on a dog’s profile if they’d be comfortable in a home with children.  

Do you rehome to families with other dogs?

Absolutely. All the dogs in our care are thoroughly assessed by our behaviour experts to determine their ideal home. Some will be able to live with another dog, and some won’t. It will say on a dog’s profile if they’d be comfortable in a home with other pets. 

If we match you with a dog, we’ll ask you to bring your other dog to the rehoming centre for them to meet, so we can be sure that they will be happy to live together. 

Can you give me details about the dog’s history?

We'll be completely honest and tell you everything we know.  

If a dog is handed over to us, we get as much information as we can from previous owners. Some dogs come to us because they are stray or abandoned, then it can be difficult to know their history. Our expert teams give each dog a full assessment so we can piece together as much of that dog's story as we can.  

Do I need any documents to rehome a dog?

To rehome a dog youll need to provide ID. If you live in rented accommodation, you’ll also need to show us proof of permission to have a dog. 

Can I rehome from a centre that’s not close to where I live?

Usually, yes, depending on the needs of the dog you’re interested in. But current restrictions mean we can only facilitate adoptions local to our centres and not across Countries or anywhere there are travel restrictions. More details:

  • Our Ballymena rehoming centre is only able to rehome within Northern Ireland
  • Our Glasgow and West Calder rehoming centres are only able to rehome to mainland Scotland

Our England and Wales rehoming centres are only able to rehome locally with travel time restrictions in place. Get in touch on 0303 003 000 to check if you’re within our temporary rehoming limits.

Can a dog be moved to a centre nearer me?

Moving a dog between centres can be a stressful for them, so we avoid it unless it’s in their best interest.  

After adoption

What happens after I take my dog home?

We commit to support you for your dog’s whole life. You can contact us at any time for support and advice, whether it’s been days, weeks, months or years since you took your dog home.  

For any concerns, big or small, you can contact our dedicated post adoption support team directly on 0300 303 3738. Our team of behaviour experts are on hand all day as well as evenings, weekends and bank holidays, so we’ll arrange a time to call you back that suits you. We’ll be able to talk through any behaviour or training questions you have and tailor a plan to help you and your dog. 

Our post-adoption support team will also check in on you two days after you take a dog home. We’ll ask how your new family member is settling in and whether you have any concerns about their health or behaviour that we can help with. We’ll also ask for you feedback about the rehoming process. We’ll also offer you a call at two weeks post-adoption, and then another four months later.  

 

What can I do if I’m concerned about my dog’s behaviour or health?

For specific training or behaviour advice you can get in touch our post adoption support team at any time on 0300 303 3738. 

Our website has loads of useful advice on training your dog and keeping them healthy and happy, including information about Dog School training classes.

We can’t give accurate veterinary advice over the phone, so if you’re concerned about your dog’s health, it’s best to contact your veterinary practice. 

 

Giving up a dog

We know that life rarely goes according to plan and things don’t always work out, including owning a dog. If you are thinking you may need to give your dog up for adoption, then please call us on 0300 303 2188 or contact us via our form.  

If you have any concerns, big or small, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our dedicated, expert staff will do everything they can to help. We'll discuss your options with you and help you make the right decision for your dog. If we decide together that returning your dog to us is the best course of action, we will take them back into our care. 

More information about giving up a dog