Adopting a dog

Process

  • You can rehome a dog as long as you have a UK address (i.e not restricted by postcode or where you live)
  • To get started, you will need to visit a centre in order to fill out a rehoming questionnaire in order to find out the dogs that available.
  • If this involves a lengthy trip or you are interested in a particular dog, you are welcome to call ahead to enquire further about them.
  • Once you have visited a centre and only when the staff have given their authorisation for the match the dogs’ needs will be explained to you. The dog will then be 'booked' and the rehoming process will begin.
  • You cannot reserve a dog for an extended period of time
  • It is best to contact the centre directly to find out any information or require any pictures of the dog
  • No appointments are needed as the centres are open 6 days a week

Duration of process

  • Most adoptions take about a week, however each case is individual and may differ.
  • Centre staff will need to do a home check before the dog can be rehomed, whilst some may need to visit the centre on more than one occasion to find a suitable dog.
  • Occasionally dogs might need to get to know their new owners more gradually, over several visits.

Other advice

  • The centre recommends that if you know there is a big event (moving house, going on holiday, a new baby) approaching, it's best to start the process after everything has settled down- so that you can give your dog as much caring attention as possible.

Dogs Trust website

Dog Trust's advice on caring for an older dog

Dogs over the age of 7 are considered by some to be old, but this depends a lot on the breed. The ‘average’ life expectancy of a dog is 13 years, however smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds. Old age brings many changes; some sudden, others gradual, and you will need to be on the lookout for those that signal problems and be prepared to make allowances for those little inconveniences that come with caring for an elderly dog. By preparing for their later years, we can all enhance the quality of life that they deserve.

Feeding

  • As they become less active, older dogs can be prone to putting on weight. Switching to a complete senior diet that may be lower in protein or fat will help keep extra weight off.
  • Feeding smaller meals 2 or 3 times a day can be good but watch out for those in-between meal snacks or scraps.
  • If your dog suffers from neck or back pain raising the food and water bowl will reduce discomfort.

Exercise

  • Older dogs can become less energetic and sleep more. On walks let your dog set the pace. Try to go for frequent short walks instead of one long one, regular walks will be mentally stimulating and will keep joints mobile.
  • If your dog shows signs of joint stiffness in the morning or after strenuous exercise ensure they have a comfortable bed to sleep on.
  • Providing ramps to help them navigate stairs or large jumps (i.e. getting into a car) may also ease any physical difficulties.

Health

  • Older dogs may struggle with their sight and hearing.
  • Your dog’s eyes may appear ‘cloudy’, which could mean they are experiencing significant changes in their eyes- cataracts is a common issue. Seeking veterinary advice is recommended.
  • Most dogs adjust to failing sight, since it is usually a gradual process. Try to avoid moving the furniture in your house and leaving objects in his way. If this is an issue using a lead during walks, especially near roads, is also recommended.
  • Your dog may lose the ability to hear certain sounds. They may for example be able to hear a whistle, but not their owner’s voice. Be creative in developing new forms of communication with your dog.
  • You will need to pay particular attention to the condition of their teeth and the length of their nails.
  • If your dog hasn’t been neutered already, there may still be benefits in doing so at an older age. Seek veterinary advice on this.
  • Your dog’s coat may change in condition. Daily grooming will be good for his coat and is a great opportunity for you to check them over for any new lumps or bumps that may indicate a problem.
  • At least two yearly veterinary check-ups are essential for an ageing dog.

Behaviour

  • To help your dog remain mentally active try to provide new and interesting aspects into their routine. Make plenty of time for games and interaction with them.
  • Older dogs may start to exhibit symptoms of senility including compulsive behaviours. Seek advice from your vet at the first sign of behavioural changes.
  • Your dog may begin to bark more often; this may be because something is troubling him, or because he is going deaf. Seek veterinary advice on this.
  • And finally as dogs get older they can become less tolerant. It is important to respect your dog’s space.