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Best practice for Rescues

This guide sets a manageable Code of Practice that aims to strive for standards of care amongst small UK voluntary dog rescue organisations, thereby raising the profile and increase the respect accorded to our voluntary contributions.

The Code sets guidelines for a minimum level of care for dogs kept by rescue organisations and to which supporters of the Federation should aspire to.

NB: As a supporter of the Dog Rescue Federation does not imply or provide a ‘Quality Mark’ and must not be used to suggest this.

This is DRF interpretation of the regulations and we hope that you find this useful

2013-02-28 12.27.44 (2) (350 x 263)

Welfare Legislation:

Members should make themselves aware of, and comply with legislation which covers the way in which dogs are treated. On this website we will try to keep you informed of new legislation as it is released.

Good Practice:

As you would agree, the welfare of the animals in our care must be of paramount importance.
Listed below are recommendations and guidelines which we think provide minimum standards:


All dogs should be housed in clean accommodation, adequately ventilated, with suitable lighting.
There should be clean and appropriate sleeping areas, suitable comfortable bedding, and the temperature maintained at an appropriate level for the individual animal.


Dogs must have constant access to clean water & be fed appropriately at regular times.


All dogs should have the opportunity to exercise on a daily basis, and opportunities for social interaction with people and other dogs should be provided as appropriate to the dog’s age and condition.

Disease Control:

All reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious disease among animals. Example, full course vaccines and worming and regular disinfecting all soiled areas, an appropriate quarantine area for new dogs.

Veterinary Care:

Each rescue should have a nominated a veterinary practice or surgeon who shall advise on the health of animals entering and resident within the rescue.
DRF advocates that all rescue dogs should be neutered before rehoming back into the community to stop the that dog reproducing any further offspring.


DRF advocates each rescue should be microchipping dogs in their care on entry to the rescue.
On adoption the microchip should be transferred to the new owner’s details and with the rescue being recorded as second contact, this will comply with the new chipping laws


Transport of Animals:

Vehicles should be suitable for, and contain suitable restraints, preferably crates, for the safe and comfortable transportation of dogs and people.  There should be an appropriate ratio of handlers to dogs.

Animals must not be left unattended in vehicles or for unreasonable periods of time. Particular attention should be paid to temperature control in both hot and cold temperatures, and prevention of dog theft from vehicles.


Where possible each rescue should aim to nominate an individual responsible for  the evaluation and recommendation of behavioural programmes to enhance the opportunity for adoption of dogs that exhibit behavioural or social difficulties.


Training of Animals:

Training animals must consist of modern, positive reinforcement training techniques. The use of physical punishment and equipment such as electric shock collars is not acceptable and frowned on by rescues and DRF .

The rescue must be aware of the need to be fully insured for employee/volunteer and public liability.

Rehoming Practices

To ensure the best possible outcomes for both dogs and prospective owners, there should be a thorough assessment of the characteristics of each particular animal in order to match it with the most suitable type of home.

There should be thorough assessment & home checking of all prospective adopters & fosterer’s and  their family to ensure their circumstances and facilities meet the needs of the individual dog they wish to adopt. An application form is used by most rescues. (for a sample application form please contact us)


All dogs should;

Should have been examined by the Rescue’s Vet.  Be vaccinated as appropriate for their age. Unfinished vaccination courses should be completed by the new owner at the rescues cost.

Wherever possible should be neutered by the Rescue before rehoming, or as a secondary provision of a clause included in their re homing contract stating that the dog cannot be used for breeding, and making it a condition of adoption that the new owner has this procedure done within a specified time frame, and be followed up accordingly.

Be fully wormed and treated for parasites as appropriate.

Be microchipped prior to leaving the Rescue.
The benefits of Pet Insurance should be discussed and recommended to adopters.

Members must advocate the aims of the Federation: