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How to adopt a dog – Forbes Advisor UK

Do you want to adopt a dog? We explain how the adoption process works and why insuring your dog is so important for you and your pet.

do your research

The decision to adopt a dog should not be taken lightly. Dogs can bring great joy to their owners, but it is vital that they are well cared for, and that takes time, commitment and money.

The RSPCA says that a dog can cost more than £16,000 over the course of its lifetime.

Our research showed that one of the biggest challenges for pet owners is the cost of caring for them, particularly when it comes to medical care. Pet insurance can help with this and more – see the “Insure Your Dog” section below.

On average dog insurance costs £20.10 a month or £241.30 a year. However, the price you pay will be determined by factors such as your pet’s breed, age, medical history, and where you live; Vet costs vary by region.

It usually costs a donation of £200 to £400 to adopt a dog through a charity. The younger the dog, the more expensive it will be.

choose a dog

There are two main ways to adopt a dog. You can find a local rescue center or apply through a larger charity such as the RSPCA, Dogs’ Trust or Blue Cross, which allow you to choose and apply for a dog online.

You will be able to compare breeds, age, gender, personality and the location of the kennels where they reside, where you will visit and ultimately pick up your dog, if successful.

Pet charities need to make sure your dog has had all the necessary checkups and routine procedures before they release it to you. This will be covered by the adoption fee.

complete an application

You will need to complete an application form and go through an interview process as part of the charity’s selection procedure.

A charity will want to know information about you and your home to ensure that you can provide a comfortable, stable and healthy environment for a new canine member of the family. You will want to know details such as:

  • whether you own your home or rent
  • if you rent, if you have asked your landlord for permission to adopt a dog
  • if you have a safe garden
  • the number of adults/children in your household and the ages of the children
  • if the children visit
  • if you have other dogs, their ages and if they are neutered and up to date on vaccinations
  • if you have other animals
  • the amount of daily exercise you hope to give a dog
  • How many hours in a day do you expect to leave a dog alone?
  • if you plan to move soon
  • If you have vacations planned.

You will also be asked what you are looking for in a dog.

The center staff will discuss with you the information you provide us, as well as everything you need to know about your chosen dog. A meeting will be arranged for you to meet the dog, if they think you will make a good match.

know your dog

This is when you will see your dog up close for the first time.

It’s best to have everyone in your household at the initial meeting to rule out allergies and any other potential issues; for example, some dogs do not like children. Another meeting can be arranged for anyone unable to attend.

Arrange a possible home visit

A member of staff from the charity can visit your home to talk to you about your new dog and help you get him settled. He will be able to advise you on anything from preparing your home and garden to buying the right food, collar, leash, bed and more.

However, if the kennels are some distance from where you live, the conversations can take place over the phone and when you visit the charity site.

pick up your dog

If all goes well, a date will be arranged to pick up your dog. This will usually be by car, although if you don’t drive or don’t have access to a car, the charity can make alternative arrangements to bring the dog home.

If you’re collecting by car, you’ll need to make sure your vehicle is prepared – Highway Code rule 57 says that dogs must be ‘properly restrained’, which can be achieved by using a dog crate or dog restraint harness . If your dog is in the trunk section of a hatchback vehicle, you will need to fit a trunk protector.

Again, the charity will advise you on the best tactics for your dog, but make sure you have it all figured out before you arrive at the kennel. The dog will not be released to his care if it does not appear that he will be able to transport it safely.

Once you have your dog

Your new dog must be spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, and have up-to-date flea and parasite treatment. You must also have a microchip. This is a legal requirement for dogs 8 weeks and older.

The charity will still be interested in the dog once it’s in their possession, so you can expect a couple of phone calls to discuss how he’s settling in.

The first days and weeks of an adoption can be a difficult time for everyone involved, as the dog adjusts to his new surroundings and you and your family adjust to having a new and often demanding presence in the home.

Charities often have support lines so you can call for advice if a problem arises, such as the dog becoming distressed at night or when left alone.

Ultimately, if you decide you can’t or don’t want to keep the dog, the charity should be willing to discuss returning it to their care, although this would always be the last option.

secure your dog

If you adopt a dog, you will have the opportunity to provide care that you may not have previously received.

You’re not required by law to buy pet insurance, but it’s good protection against the cost of unexpected veterinary bills, which can run into the hundreds and often thousands of pounds.

Our latest research shows that 53% of Britons underestimate the cost of a pet, now running at £16,080 for a dog over its lifetime. Despite vet bills accounting for the majority of this sum, 44% of Britons admit to not having pet insurance, and 50% of pet owners spend between £500 and £1,000 a year on pet care vet.

In addition to vet fees, dog insurance can also cover a variety of other costs. It can provide third-party liability coverage, which helps cover legal costs if you’re sued because your dog injured someone or damaged someone else’s property.

Other benefits include coverage if your dog is lost or stolen, and kennel fees in case he gets sick and needs to stay in the hospital. Benefits differ between policies and may be included as standard or offered as an optional extra, potentially at additional cost.

It is best to take out dog insurance as soon as possible to be covered for any emergencies that may arise. Most pet insurers do not cover pre-existing conditions, that is, illnesses that your dog acquired before purchasing the policy.

You can choose from four main types of policy depending on the level of coverage needed:


This is the most comprehensive type of pet insurance policy, and therefore the most expensive. It is popular with pet owners as it offers coverage for accidental injuries, illnesses and conditions that can last the lifetime of your pet.

There is usually a limit on how much you can claim per medical condition, and there may be an annual limit on how much you can claim in total. Once you reach the limit for a condition, you’ll be asked to pay for the additional costs of that particular condition yourself.

However, if you renew the policy at the end of the policy term, which is typically 12 months, the available coverage will be reinstated.

Maximum Benefit

This type of policy provides coverage for accidental injuries, illnesses and medical conditions. You can claim up to a fixed amount per condition whenever you renew the policy.

Once you reach the limit, you will have to cover the future costs of the condition.

Limited time

In addition to a limit on the amount you can claim per condition, there are time limits on how long you have to use coverage for each condition. This begins when you file your first claim for a condition and generally lasts 12 months. Once you reach a dollar or time limit, whichever comes first, you’ll need to start paying for the condition yourself.

only for accidents

The cheapest type of pet insurance policy, it only covers accidental injuries, up to a fixed sum. Once the sum is exhausted, it will have to cover the additional treatment.

You can see what we found to be the best dog insurance policies and compare offers.

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