How to adopt a dog

Everything you need to know about adopting a dog from us.


We want to find all our dogs a loving forever family. If you want to adopt from us, fill in our application form to tell us about you, your lifestyle and your home so we can find you a great match. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the journey of adopting from us and explain how we match dogs and people. 

Apply once and we'll find you a match

With our new rehoming system, you just need to apply once, and we’ll do the runaround searching for the right dog for you. We’ll ask you to tell us all about your home and lifestyle, then we’ll get searching for the right dog for you. You won’t be applying for a specific dog, but you can tell us what type of dog you’re looking for.  

We’ll keep your application open for three months and review your requirements against all the dogs at your chosen centre. You won't need to apply again for three months as we'll be actively looking to match you with a dog. If we don’t find the right dog within three months, we’ll let you know and invite you to reapply.

Not all available dogs are featured on our website. We strongly recommend you send in an application to adopt, even if you haven’t yet seen a dog on our website yet. Dogs of all shapes and sizes regularly come into our care, and your application will be considered for any dogs that match your requirements.

Come and visit us

To see available dogs or speak to a member of our team before you apply, visit your local rehoming centre. You can find opening times on each rehoming centre page.

Rehoming centres
Rehoming centres

How our rehoming process works

Create an account and fill out our application form

In our form you can tell us all about your home, your lifestyle and the kind of dogs you’re interested in. You won’t be applying for a specific dog, but you can add favourites to give us an idea of the dogs you like. We’ll use this information to find a great match for …

Apply to adopt
Choose a rehoming centre

We’ll also ask you to select a rehoming centre. The team at this centre will look after your application and assess you against all suitable dogs in their care. This doesn’t have to be your nearest centre, but you will need to travel there within a few days once we’ve found …

We’ll contact you within seven days

We’ll be in touch by phone or email within seven days of receiving your application to have a chat about your dog search. Then we'll start looking for a great match for you.

We will make two attempts to contact you. If after the second attempt we don’t hear back from …

We’ll keep your application open for three months and keep looking for a match

You won't need to do anything else or apply again for three months. We’ll keep reviewing your application against all the dogs at your chosen centre. Not all available dogs are featured on our website; dogs of all shapes and sizes regularly come into our care, and your …

When we find a match, we’ll invite you to meet them

If we’ve found a dog who seems right for you, we’ll invite you to come and meet them at the rehoming centre. 

Some of the dogs in our care will need to meet potential owners several times to get to know one another. This lets us see you’re compatible and gives …

If we haven’t found the right match, we’ll continue the search together

If we haven’t found the right dog for you within three months, we’ll let you know your application is closed. We’ll invite you to apply again so we have up-to-date information about you, and we’ll keep looking.

We’ll support you to embark on a new life with your dog

When we’ve matched you with a dog, we’ll help you welcome them to your home. After adoption we’ll keep in touch to see how you and the dog are doing. If you need any advice or support, we’re just a phone call away.  

With our nationwide Dog School, free behaviour …

How we help

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to adopt?

Our fee for adopting an adult dog is £250 in England, Wales and Scotland, and £237.50 in Northern Ireland (due to …

Can I apply to adopt a particular dog?

No. We’ve changed our rehoming process to give all dogs an equal chance to find a family and more dog lovers the …

Can I get help with my application?

If you have any questions, you can call our Customer Support Centre on 0300 003 0000 (open seven days a week …

How long will it take to find a match?

We hope to be able to match as many suitable applicants as possible with a dog within three months. But if after three …

How do favourites work?

You can add up to four ‘favourite’ dogs to your application before you submit it. This is not an application for those …

Why aren’t all dogs featured on your website?

As soon as a dog comes into our care, we will review applications we have first. If we can match them with a suitable …

What if there’s a problem after I adopt?

Please get back in touch with us if you start to struggle with your dog. We offer behaviour advice and support for the …

Would you take back a dog adopted from you?

We’ll always take back a dog adopted from us, whatever the reason and however long it is since you first adopted from …

Why have you changed your rehoming process?

Our new rehoming process was designed to help us match more dogs with their forever homes.

With our old system, …

Taking your dog home

If we mutually decide you and the dog are well suited, then we’ll arrange for you to take them home. There’ll be some paperwork to sign and you’ll need to pay our adoption fee. Our fee for adopting an adult dog is £250 in England, Wales and Scotland, and £237.50 in Northern Ireland (due to extra dog license fees). Our fee for adopting a puppy is £310, this includes the £250 rehoming fee and a £60 Dog School fee, £297.50 in Northern Ireland.  

We’ll also give you lots of advice to help make your adoption a success.  

Your dog will go home with: 

  • Their Dogs Trust collar and lead
  • four weeks of free pet insurance thanks to our partners Petplan and information about continuing your insurance cover
  • a dog care handbook
  • microchipping information
  • several days' worth of the dog's current food.

Before you pick up your new dog, they will be:

  • fully health checked
  • up-to-date with their vaccinations and treatments, like worming
  • neutered (or if we haven't neutered them for some reason we'll give you a neutering voucher)
  • microchipped.

How we match dogs and people

We want every dog in our care to find the best possible forever home and live a happy life. We get to know each dog in our care and pride ourselves on our thorough behavioural and veterinary assessments which help us match them to the right home. We rehome to all kinds of people and families living in different types of home – it just depends on the needs of the dog.  

When we’re reviewing applications, we need to know that you’ll be a responsible owner and that now is the right time for you to adopt.  We also need to see that your home set up is suitable for a dog and you’ll be able to meet their exercise, diet and training needs.  

We will be honest if we don't feel your circumstances are right to adopt a dog. Otherwise, we’d be doing a disservice to ourselves, our dogs and to you. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to adopt from us in the future if your situation changes.  

What we ask of you

We rehome based on the needs of the dog, but there are some rules that we always stick to.


  • will only rehome to primary adopters who are 18 years of age and over 
  • ask that everyone in your household meets the dog before it goes home with you   
  • don’t use any aversive training methods – such as anti-bark or shock collars – ourselves. We won’t rehome to families who wish to use them once they have a dog. (If you’d like to train your dog using positive reinforcement, check out our Dog School classes)    
  • won’t rehome dogs to live outdoors only, unless it’s in the best interests of the dog. And we won’t rehome to a family who plan to chain or tether their dog   
  • won’t rehome an unvaccinated dog to a home which already has an unvaccinated dog 
  • won’t rehome an unneutered dog to a home which already has an unneutered dog
  • won’t rehome to a person, or household containing a person, who has an unspent conviction for offences relating to animals. 

We also ask you:

  • to get your landlord’s permission before reserving a dog, if applicable 
  • to ensure that the adopter chooses the dog themselves – we won’t agree to someone adopting a dog as a gift
  • to agree to continue with any behavioural rehabilitation or training we recommend  
  • that if you adopt a puppy from us, you agree to attend our Dog School. (If you adopt an adult or adolescent dog from us that would benefit from classes, they can attend at a reduced rate)  
  • not to leave your dog alone for longer than they can cope with. See our advice guide to preparing your dog to be left alone 
  • to ensure that your dog has access to a suitable outside space for exercise and toilet breaks. 

Ongoing support

We’ll check in with you by phone a couple of days after you adopt, and we’re always on hand for advice and guidance. Find out more about how we support you and your dog after adoption.

How we support you and your dog after adoption

Our support doesn't end the day you take your dog home. Find out how we can help you and your pooch post-adoption.

Related articles

Choosing your dog
Getting a dog
Choosing your dog
Top 10 benefits of adopting from us
Are you ready for a dog
Top 10 benefits of adopting from us
How we support you and your dog after adoption
How we support you and your do...