Majority of UK dog owners have no plans in place for pets if worst were to happen

Over half of dog owners (58%) have not made any plans about who would take over ownership of their dog if the worst were to happen, according to data from Dogs Trust

The findings, released today, suggest owners could be putting their dogs in a vulnerable position by not making provisions for their care should they fall seriously ill or pass away, with almost a third (30%) of the 1126 dog owners surveyed by the charity admitting that they have not even thought about what would happen in that scenario.  

Worryingly, over half (58%) of respondents also said that whilst they think they have a friend or family member who would take over ownership of the dog, they have not discussed it with the person in question and more than 1 in 20 (6%) said they do not have anyone who would be able to help – a cause for concern for the charity.  

Dogs Trust is urging the public to sign up to their free Canine Care Card Service, to ensure their dog can be cared for by the UK’s largest dog welfare charity at one of their state-of-the-art rehoming centres, should they become too ill to be able to keep them or pass away.  

The charity is also encouraging dog owners to appoint a ‘dog guardian’, this could be family member, friend or even a neighbour or vet who agrees to take care of your dog and sign over your dog to Dogs Trust in the interim should you no longer be able to. Dogs Trust also recommends updating your Will to include your Canine Care Card information and notifying friends and family of your wishes to ensure the process is dealt with as smoothly as possible when the time comes. 

Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust Chief Executive said: “Recent world events have shown that we never know what is around the corner and that life can be unpredictable. As a nation of dog lovers, we know the little quirks that make our dogs unique and I for one enjoy having the peace of mind that if the time ever comes when I can’t be with my dog, Dogs Trust is the next best place for her to be and they will never put a healthy dog down.  

“We want to normalise making plans for the care of your dog should the worst happen, so that dog owners can rest assured that their four-legged friend will be given the best possible care if they no longer can. We would urge dog owners to think about signing up to a free Canine Care Card, so that should the worst happen Dogs Trust can take your dog in and make sure they are looked after as you would at home.” 


Crossbreed Charlie arrived at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury on his 14th birthday after his owner had signed up for the Canine Care Card Service and could no longer care for him. Sue and Brian Kerry were looking to welcome a dog into their life and it was love at first sight when they saw Charlie. 

Sue says: “We just fell in love with his cute little face. We have always had small dogs and when we saw him, we just hoped we were the family he was waiting for. He may be 14 but he is like a puppy! He loves playing fetch and if you are gardening and create a hole, before you know it, he has dropped the ball in it. He is cheeky! 

“He is a very happy dog and incredibly well behaved. You can tell he has been loved and looked after and he is really well trained too. He has so much character. If he wants a stroke he just comes over and nudges your hand and you can’t resist!” 

Charlie loves spending time in the garden and has a dog-flap so he can come and go as he pleases, and Sue and Brian have built him an undercover area where he has an outdoor bed, so if he wants to relax outdoors he can be in comfort, whatever the weather. 

Sue adds: “We just want him to be able to do whatever makes him happiest and although he loves being with us, he loves being outside sometimes even if we aren’t, so we immediately got onto making sure he could be as comfy in the garden as he is inside. He has really made himself at home and we can’t imagine life without him.” 

For more information or to sign up for a Canine Care Card visit