Tips for Taking a Rescue Dog Home

Support Adoption For Pets is an independent animal charity which runs 350 rehoming centres across the country in Pets at Home stores. It is also the UK’s largest grant giving animal charity, supporting local rescue centres and animal organisations nationwide.


Charity manager Amy Wilson provides some tips on helping find the right rescue dog for you and ensuring it settles into its new home.

1. Before you make the commitment to take home any pet, you need to ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you have the time to look after it? (Yes that includes putting on your trainers and going for walks!)
  • Is your home “pet friendly”? Remember, gardens need to be secure for dogs.
  • Can you afford to keep a dog? The costs can be huge: not just the adoption fees and food but annual and one off vaccinations, insurance, and fleaing and worming. Remember if/when you go on holiday you need to think about what happens to your dog - boarding fees can be high. Add into this any unexpected vet bills not covered by insurance and the annual cost can add up.
  • Are your circumstances stable or likely to change soon? Rehoming a dog is a serious commitment and changes to your family size, home or finances can have a big effect not just on you but also your pet.


2. Research the rescue centre and ensure it is reputable. You want to find out what sort of processes the rescue centre conducts, for instance does it vaccinate, neuter and/or microchip? Finally make sure that the rescue offers full lifetime back up and will take the pet back if need be. You can find a list of reputable rescue centres on our website (

3. Look into your pet’s background: remember, a rescue dog will have previous experience that shapes its behaviour. Don’t expect the perfect pet from day one. It will need time and your help to learn.

4. Make sure the dog you pick is okay with your family dynamic. Some animals aren't happy around other pets and children. It’s important to make sure your current pets are able to adapt to the change. The best way to do this is to visit the pet at the rescue centre more than once and to take the family - including your existing pet dog.

5. If all the introductions have gone well and if appropriate, you’ve passed the home check, then it’s time to start getting your home ready for a new arrival. The key here is to ensure you have everything that you need and also to set up a quiet area for the dog to disappear to whilst it adjusts to its new home.

6. Bringing your dog home can be a very exciting time but remember this environment will be very new to them – sights, smells and noises! Don’t overwhelm the dog with lots of new faces on day one; let them get used to the “immediate” family first. Dogs will want to sniff and find their way around, but also set them up a bed to retreat to and let them have some quiet time. If introducing a new dog to an existing dog, do it on neutral territory. For example, on a walk and on a lead.

life is better with a dog

7. Don’t give up! During the first couple of weeks a pet is getting used to its new home. If they have come from a cattery or kennels then home life will seem very strange and they won’t understand.  Accidents may happen but this is your time to teach them where to go to use the toilet and what is acceptable, but don’t scare or frighten them.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the rescue centre. They will probably want to ensure that the dog is settling in well so they will likely be in touch to check everything is going okay anyway. However, they should also be open to helping you with their experience and background knowledge of the dog.

9. The use of Adaptil* may also help rescue dogs relax into their new homes. (Adaptil offers a natural, convenient and unique solution to canine stress, helping comfort and reassure dogs in challenging situations and prevent or reduce stress-related inappropriate behaviours.)

10. Finally, enjoy the experience. Rehoming a rescue animal can be very rewarding and they can give you a lot of love!

raised £10,000,000

Support Adoption For Pets is currently celebrating hitting a £10 million fundraising milestone and saving half a million animals since their launch in 2006. To mark reaching the £10 million milestone, Support Adoption for Pets has launched a campaign to find ten charities to receive a share of a £500,000 donation fund. Says Amy, "From well-known organisations such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which has just been awarded £120,000 to build a new Lost and Found centre, to smaller rescues like the Animal Rescue Charity which received £10,000 for a new animal ambulance, we are dedicated to giving abandoned and homeless animals a second chance at happiness."

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