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Dogs and Relationships

Have you thought about your dog’s status within your family?

Who owns your dog?

Can you prove ownership of your dog?

If your relationship ends, who will your dog live with?

Who will be responsible for your dog after your death?

Does someone look after your dog while you go to work?

Over the past year we have been contacted by several people who have been through some very distressing experiences. ‘Spiteful’ thieves often take dogs to inflict as much pain as possible on another party. They could be ex-spouses, ex-partners or neighbours. They then dump the dog miles away from home, sell it or worse!

To avoid this happening to you:

  • Establish who owns the dog within your family. Collect all documentation including receipts from the breeder or re-homing centre and receipts for medical treatment like vaccinations. Keep them in a folder in a safe place.
  • Write out a declaration stating clearly who owns the dog and who will care for that the dog if the relationship ends. Ask spouses and partners to sign it.
  • Ensure the dog is permanently identified by microchip, tattoo or both. Ensure that the documentation for these is in the owner’s name and kept in a safe place with any other information about the dog.
  • State your intentions about arrangements for your dog in your will. Ensure that the person you intend to inherit your dog is fully aware of your intentions and agrees to offer it a home.
  • Think very carefully about who will look after your dog if you go on holiday or into hospital.

   This could be:

   A registered boarding kennel

   A professional dog carer

   A relative, friend or neighbour

  • Make definite arrangements about delivering the dog to a carer, the duration of the visit and collecting the dog on your return. If you have any concerns about the carer DON’T leave your dog with him/her! Put all details in writing and insist that the carer signs them. Make sure that the carer does not allow the dog to leave his/her care with anyone else.


The UK's National Lost Pet Microchip database and Lost Pet & Found Pet Reunification service. We are here to help stem the rising tide of dog theft and rural crime in the Thames Valley area. With thanks to Dogs Trust for their support. The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs. DTA is pleased to support Pet Theft Awareness, a campaign which highlights the danger faced by owners of all pets and horses. Please support them! With thanks to Our Dogs for their support.