Can you adopt if you have a dog or other pets?

Adoption in the UK is more important than ever, with having shone a spotlight over the process – as well as sharing the experiences of others – in its Adoption Month series.

When it comes to adoption, and the lengthy process of giving a loving home to a child in need, there are a lot of criteria prospective parents need to fulfil, as well as a lot to consider before adopting.

The main adoption criteria includes your age – you have to be over the age of 21, or 18 if adopting a partner’s child – as well as being a UK resident, but other factors such as health and whether or not you have a criminal record will also be taken into consideration.

When it comes to factors such as your home environment however, could owning a dog or another pet prevent you from adopting?

Can you adopt if you have a dog or pets?

You can adopt a child if you own a dog or pets – but there will be certain things to consider if you are a pet owner.

For example, adoption agencies will need to be sure that any pets you own do not pose a threat to children’s health and safety – while it could also potentially affect an adoption placement if a child has a pet-related allergy.

First4Adoption advises that if you have a pet and are looking to adopt that a vet’s report may be needed as part of your application.

Adoption UK has also addressed the issue of pets, stressing that having a family pet can be hugely beneficial for children.

However the RSPCA advises caution when it comes to introducing an adoptive child to any pet you may own.

‘Animals may be wary of unpredictable children, and children coming from homes where there has been no pet may be scared of animals, especially dogs,’ they said. ‘Help them to understand each other and be friends.

‘Make sure the child is gentle with the dog or cat and play doesn’t become too boisterous. If the animal has had enough, respect that.’

No matter how kind and trustworthy your pet may be, if a young child is pulling its tail or poking a finger in its eye, it may lose patience and snap. Don’t put your child at risk by leaving it alone with an animal.’

They also advising teaching the child the following key points to remember when it comes to your pet:

  • To recognise danger signals such as growling
  • Never tease the pet
  • Don’t approach it when eating or sleeping
  • Don’t carry food near it
  • Keep their face away from the animal’s claws and face
  • Loud or sudden noises will startle it

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Adoption Month

Adoption Month is a month-long series covering all aspects of adoption.

For the next four weeks, which includes National Adoption Week from October 14-19, we will be speaking to people who have been affected by adoption in some way, from those who chose to welcome someone else’s child into their family to others who were that child.

We’ll also be talking to experts in the field and answering as many questions as possible associated with adoption, as well as offering invaluable advice along the way.

If you have a story to tell or want to share any of your own advice please do get in touch at [email protected]

  • Why we’re talking about adoption this month
  • How to adopt a child – from how long it takes to how you can prepare
  • The most Googled questions on adoption, answered
  • How long does it take to adopt a child in the UK
  • Adoption myths that could be stopping you from starting a family
  • How to tell your child they are adopted 

Visit our Adoption Month page for more.

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