Unable to care for your dog

Dog sat on sofa

Helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus has had a huge impact on all of our lives and for those with a four-legged friend, the current situation can make it difficult to find help. Some owners may be worried about their dog’s health, welfare or behaviour, or devastatingly, simply feel that they are unable to care for their dog anymore.

If you’re concerned about being able to continue to care for your dog due to the circumstances brought about by the pandemic, there is help on hand. We are here to support dog owners and have outlined some of the things you can do if you’re worried about your dog, and how you can continue to care for it or get help during this difficult time.

Behavioural issues

Being at home more, perhaps with more people than usual in the house, may affect your dog’s normal routine which can cause behavioural changes. We have advice for all owners about how to best care for your dog during the coronavirus outbreak – including how to keep them stimulated, and advice on helping an unhappy dog.

If you’re really struggling with your dog’s behaviour at this time, an experienced trainer or dog behaviour expert might be able to help you manage. This can be done virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic for the benefit of both you and your dog.  Many behavioural issues which have come about because of lockdown may have simple solutions which you can work through together, rather than considering giving your dog up all together.

You can find Kennel Club Accredited Instructors and Good Citizen Dog Scheme training clubs who can advise online. Remember, no dog is too old to learn or change their behaviour, and training classes and advice is available for every age and ability - pedigrees, crossbreeds and rescue dogs are all welcomed.

Our friends at Blue Cross also run a Behaviour Helpline. To reach them, you can call: 0300 777 1975.

Financial concerns

Many have been impacted financially by coronavirus and perhaps you are unable to continue to pay for essentials for your dog, like food, vets bills or insurance. If you find yourself in this position, charities like PDSA can help some owners with their vet costs, some insurance policies can be flexible and often family and friends can help. Local food banks may also be able to help with pet food supplies and some Kennel Club Breed Rescues may be able to offer support to help you care for your dog during difficult times.

Health worries

Vets are still on hand to help if your dog is sick or injured but you must call them in advance rather than going straight to the surgery. You can still get advice on the phone or online, and some vets are carrying out virtual health checks.

If you are concerned about your own health and the impact it’s having on being able to care for your dog, support is available from various online local community groups and charities, including The Cinnamon Trust - a specialist national charity that helps the elderly and vulnerable to look after their much-loved and much-needed companion animals. They have a network of over 17,000 volunteers all over the UK who help owners provide vital loving care for their pets and help keep them together - be this through walking dogs or fostering when owners might be in hospital. During this time of uncertainty their volunteers are on hand to help the elderly or vulnerable that might be in self-isolation or feeling poorly and can’t care for their dog.  

If you still feel you can no longer keep your dog…

  • For a short-term issue, could a friend or family member take care of your dog until you are able to?
  • Are there any local kennels which could support you?
  • If your dog is still a puppy, please speak to your breeder before making any decisions. Any responsible breeder will want to help and ensure the puppy is cared for
  • Giving up your dog need only be a last resort. Charities will do their best to advise and help you to manage your dog during lockdown and beyond. Please speak to our Kennel Club Breed Rescue organisations who are dedicated to helping owners and dogs during difficult times. They have specialist knowledge about their particular breeds and can advise on all sorts of issues and care that the dogs require

We understand how difficult the situation is for everyone at the moment, but please don’t just dump your dog or try to re-sell it online – there are many organisations here to support you and your dog however they can. Your puppy’s breeder or a rescue centre will be much better equipped to rehome your dog responsibly – with the right owners – ensuring they get the care they need and a forever home which is suited to them. This is especially crucial if your dog has any behavioural or health issues.

PDSA, Dog’s Trust, Battersea, Blue Cross and the Association of Cats and Dogs Home all have further support and information available on their websites.