Dog Rescue How to Do a Home Approval for Dog Adoption

Learn how to do a home approval for a dog adoption. What to look for when rehoming a dog to another person or family. What needs to be checked during a home approval.

“Adoption” is when a proper animal rescue rehomes a pet. They use contracts and usually have an adoption fee. When the public sells, or rehomes, a pet on their own, it is not an adoption, however this information will still apply in regards to checking out the dog's new owner.


The questionnaire is a good starting point, many bad owners can be weeded out through their answers. Some of the questions which should be on a dog adoption questionnaire include:

  • Do you own your home or rent?
  • If you rent, do you have landlord approval for a dog?
  • Is your yard fully fenced? How high is the fence?
  • Do you have any pets? What kind? Are they spayed/neutered?
  • Have you had a dog in the past? What happened to it?
  • Do you have children? Ages?
  • Why do you want the dog? Breeding, pet, working dog, guard, other.
  • How much time do you have to spend with the dog?
  • Is anyone allergic to dogs?
  • What will you do with the dog when nobody is home?

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Home Approval

Many concerns can be addressed through the answers to the questionnaire, above, but a lot of pet rescue groups are using “home approvals” as a final way to be sure the dog is getting a good home. If the person has stated they have a landlord, you should also double check to be sure the landlord has approved the dog.

From the Outside

The condition of the home really is not important. What you really want to see is if the yard is fully fenced (most shelters do not approve of people keeping dogs on chains), or if there is a dog run. The height of the fence must be suitable for the dog in question. Check to make sure there is shelter for the dog, and inquire how many hours the dog will be outside.

Inside the Home

As much as the home check is for your approval of the dog adoption, it is also to help the dog's new owners to prepare for the dog. You can use this as an opportunity to help them plan for the dog. You need to find out where the dog will sleep, where it will eat, and how they plan to house train it (if needed). If the people have children you might want to mention that the dog might chew the kids toys and determine if the kids are dog-friendly.

If the people have other pets be sure to consider concerns in regards to acceptance. Some dogs have high prey drives, while others can be better. If the home has too many pets in poor condition it should set off alarm bells, or of they have pets with litters of offspring this may not be a good sign (unless the dog is already spayed or neutered). In some cases the new dog may be brought along to see if it gets along with the current pets, if testing on this has not already been done.

Consider the Suitability of the Dog to the Person or Family

Is the dog the right choice for this person, or family, and their lifestyle? A husky, for example, needs a lot of physical exercise, do the people have time for this? A border collie, needs a lot of mental stimulation, are the people prepared to meet the demands of owing a smart dog?

If the dog is young do the people understand that it can take a while to house train it? Do they have time to house train a young pup?

If the new owner is a senior, they should be steered away from adopting a puppy, and guided towards adopting a dog that is better suited for a senior.

*Note:  If you are a potential dog adopter please understand that these home checks (when done by proper animal shelters) are not an invasion of privacy, they are done to help make sure the dog gets a good home.  Use caution when letting people into your home if the dog is not from a pet rescue center.

On the whole a home approval screening process for a dog adoption should take between 15 - 30 minutes.

Read Also

How to Start a Dog Rescue

Cat Rescue, How to do a Home Approval for Cat Adoption

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carol roach
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Posted on May 17, 2011