Help & Advice
The joy of dog ownership is legendary and has been celebrated by authors and poets over generations, in addition to the legion of owners themselves.
That is where we at Birmingham Dogs' Home come in. Over the 120 years since our inception we have amassed vast expertise in the subject and are here to help and advise you if we can in any area with which you are having difficulty.It is an experience that grows with time and the knowledge gained helps when the occasional problem arises.
We have a procedure for some of these problem areas, which include:
Lost dog - we check all new arrival strays for identification such as on microchips, dog tags and collars.
Found dog- What should you do if you lose your dog?
Behaviour issues - At Birmingham Dogs' Home we have our own Behaviourist who is available to advise on specific problems, which you may be experiencing.
Pet health - This is a vital topic, which requires constant scrutiny, especially when you are alerted to something wrong with your pet. There are some conditions that commonly affect rescue dogs. To assist, our vets have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions on this subject and are available in a leaflet produced by Birmingham Dogs’ Home.
I have lost my dog, what do I do now?
It is important to stress that law only requires us to house a dog for seven days before we can legally re-home him. Due to this, it is vitally important that you make weekly visits to our homes' to see if he has been handed in.
- Report it to your local animal warden. Your local authority should employ an animal warden who will collect any stray dogs wandering the streets.
- Make a report to your local animal rescue centre. Most shelters keep a lost and found database of their own.
- Call your local veterinary surgery in case a member of the public has handed your dog to them or has notified them of a stray they have found.
- If your dog is micro-chipped, contact the organisation that it is registered with to advise them that your pet is lost and ensure that all your details are fully up to date so that you can be contacted should your dog be found.
- Ask local shops, vets, pubs etc to display the posters and put them up in the area where your pet went missing. You could even post copies of the poster through doors in the streets around your home.
To help you in your search, we have included some useful contact numbers below;
Local Council Dog Wardens
- Birmingham - 0121 303 9900
- Cannock - 01543 462 621
- Coventry - 02476 831 832
- Dudley - 0300 555 2345
- Sandwell - 0121 569 6625
- Solihull - 0121 704 6000
- South Staffs - 01902 696 000
- Walsall - 01922 653 030
- Wolverhampton - 01902 551 155
Responsible dog ownership
Being a responsible dog owner is not just about feeding your dog properly and taking it to the vet if it's sick or injured. It's also about making sure it wears a collar and ID tag, is microchipped - with your contact details kept up to date - and is vaccinated annually. Here we take a look the various aspects of responsible dog ownership.
Put yourself in your pet's shoes...
Most of the behavioural and veterinary problems we encounter at Birmingham Dogs Home are due to owners not looking after their pets properly.
When it comes to caring for an animal a good rule of thumb is to imagine how you would feel if you were your pet. For instance, would you like breakfast added to last night's stale supper or your bed being in the noisiest room in the house?
The essentials are simple. To feel secure pets need a daily routine and be loved.
Dogs need to be exercised regularly, usually twice a day, in all weathers. You should carry poo bags with you to clean up after your dog.
If you are looking for information on 'Housetraining your new dog', please see our factsheets as they should come in handy.
Both tinned and dried pet food can provide a balanced, nutritious diet. Remember to provide extra water with dried food. Water must always be clean and fresh. Feeding animals human food is not recommended. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, for example, and can be fatal in large quantities.
Your pet's bed should be in a quiet, draught-free place out of direct sunlight. Vacuuming or laundering the bedding will help keep smells and fleas at bay.
Both you and your dog will be happier if he is socialised with people and other animals, and is easy to control. Dog training classes allow your dog to meet others in a controlled environment, and enable you to learn correct handling techniques. This will strengthen the bond between you.
Socialising from an early age will help prevent behavioural problems. Regular walks provide your dog with a change of scene and the chance to meet other dogs. Remember, your dog needs a social life, too.
Don't encourage your dog to chase cats or other small animals. Please see our factsheets for further advice.
Health and pet insurance
A responsible dog owner doesn't wait until their pet becomes ill before registering with a vet. Animals need annual vaccinations, and a trip to the vet to get boosters done also offers a good opportunity for a complete health check.
Pet insurance is an important consideration. It will guard against unexpected veterinary fees and allow you to provide the best health care for your pet. There are a number of pet insurance policies to choose from. All animals from Birmingham Dogs Home will have four weeks' free insurance from Petplan. Ensure the policy includes third party liability to cover you should your pet cause an accident.
Unless your pet arrived with a record of prior vaccinations it will have received at least one vaccination while at Birmingham Dogs Home and should also be up to date on its worm treatment. Flea and worm treatments should be repeated regularly to ensure parasites are controlled and the animal's health is maintained.
Regular grooming keeps coats clean and healthy and is essential for long-haired pets.
Neutering not only prevents unwanted litters but can also prevent tumours and other health problems. In male dogs it can also help curb straying or aggression. You will receive a discounted neutering voucher from Birmingham Dogs Home to use at one of our in-house vets practices'.
Identification and loss prevention
Most owners assume their pet will never go missing. The number of strays we receive every day - on average 16 - proves they are mistaken.
Identification is important for dogs and it is a legal requirement that they wear a collar and identity disc.
Microchipping is a widely recognised method of permanent identification. Your vet can provide this service or you can bring your dog to Birmingham or Sunnyside to have a microchip fitted. We microchip all Birmingham Dogs Home dogs before they go to new homes. Remember to update your details with your microchip provider if you move house or change telephone numbers.
In urban areas keep your dog on a lead at all times as he could easily be startled by a noise and run off and get hurt or killed by a vehicle. Before letting him off in a safe area for the first time, be confident he will come back when you want him to.
Do not let your dog out on his own as he will classed as a stray and could be impounded. Never leave your pet tied up outside a shop alone as he may be taken for a lost dog or stolen.
Always ensure your dog's vaccinations are up to date before allowing him outside.
For local information on dog ownership, check out our Local Authourities Information
When planning a trip be sure to make proper arrangements for your pets. You should only entrust your animal to friends or neighbours if you are confident they will take care of them properly. If you dog hasn't already met his carer, take time to introduce them to each other before you go away. Your friend could join you and your dog on a couple of walks, for instance.
Explain the animal's daily routine and leave contact numbers for yourself and your vet in case of emergencies. Put a new identity disc on your pet's collar with the contact details of his temporary carer and, if your pet is microchipped, let the company who manages the database know the temporary carer's contact details.
If you are travelling with your dog, contact your microchip provider and inform them where you will be staying.
If your dog goes missing, you'll have peace of mind of knowing that if he's found the microchip company will be able to contact you.
If you are considering boarding kennels, visit the facility beforehand to check whether it is suitable. Ask lots of questions, like how many daily walks do the dogs get. Word of mouth is the best recommendation and you'll need to book up well in advance, especially at peak holiday times, as the best kennels are always fully booked.
Most dogs happily co-exist with children if they have lived with them from an early age. It's important children are taught to respect animals and are not allowed to treat them as toys.
Pets need their own space, so children should not disturb him when he is sleeping or eating. Never leave a dog alone with children. Always supervise interaction to ensure children do not tease or overexcite a pet.
Pets can be issued with a 'passport' under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which means it won't have to go through quarantine. There are several important steps to the application process, including getting vaccinations, microchipping and obtaining an official PETS certificate from your vet, so make sure you get everything organised well in advance.
For full details refer to the DEFRA website's PET TRAVEL SCHEME section.
A big commitment
Giving a home to a rescue animal is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. However, it is important you feel ready for, and understand, the commitment of taking on another life, one which will be totally dependent on you
Giving up your pet
Owning a pet can be an extremely rewarding experience, however it does come with a great deal of responsibility.
Some pet owners find themselves in a position where they feel they can no longer care for their animal. This could be for a number of different reasons, but giving up a pet should always be a last resort.
Animals with behavioural problems
Pets can develop a range of behavioural problems which can be very distressing. Although you may consider giving up your pet when they are displaying signs of aggression, destructiveness or inappropriate toileting there are things that can be done to help.
Firstly, it is important to contact our rehoming team to see what ways you may be able to resolve the issues before you feel unable to cope any longer. You may also get your pet checked by a vet to rule out any form of illness or injury that could be causing the behaviour problem. You may then wish to seek the help of an expert clinical animal behaviourist.
Expensive veterinary treatment
There are some organisations, where funds allow, may be able to help those in receipt of a low income state benefit. To find out if which organisations can help, you can search on sites such as google or yahoo under 'veterinary financial aid'.
You may wish to consider taking out a pet insurance policy for a few pounds a month. This will cover unexpected vets' bills in the future and safeguard your pet's health. We recommend pet insurance as essential for responsible pet ownership.
If you rehomed a dog directly from one of Birmingham Dogs' Home branches, then we will have automatically insured your dog with four weeks free pet insurance. You may be contacted by Petplan to see if you wanted to continue the policy, or you may wish to search for other policies that are more suitable to your financial requirements.
Giving up your pet the right way
We do appreciate that in some circumstances giving up your pet is the right thing to do. It can be a distressing time for both you and your pet so it needs to be done carefully.
Ensure that you give your beloved pet the best chance of finding a happy home by contacting a charity that has experience matching each pet with the right owner.
The Birmingham Dogs' Home will always look at helping you to rehome your dog, however due to the nature of our organisation we have to priortise in taking the stray dogs off the streets which means that there are times when our kennels are full to capacity. In this situation, we will be unable to rehome your animal for you. However, there are other registered charities that can help. Each charity will have different procedures so please do your research before taking your pet to them.
Health & Veterinary
Make sure your dog is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Things you should do
- Check your dog for signs of injury or illness every day, and make sure someone else does this if you are away.
- If you suspect that your dog is in pain, ill or injured, consult a vet promptly.
- Take your dog for a routine health check with your vet at least once each year.
- Ask your vet for advice about things you can do to protect your dog's health, such as vaccination, neutering, and treatments to control parasites (e.g. fleas and worms).
- Get your dog neutered, unless he/she is intended for breeding and provisions have been made to care for both parents and offspring. Before allowing dogs to breed, seek the advice of your vet to ensure they are suitable for breeding in terms of their health and personalities.
- Before deciding to buy/acquire a dog, make sure you find out what health and behaviour problems he/she has, or may be prone to, for instance as a result of his/her breed, how he/she has been bred, and how he/she has been cared for. Always check with a vet if you are unsure about anything.
- Keep your dog under control, and do not let him/her stray.
- Take sensible precautions to keep your dog safe. Always be alert to risks that may affect your dog.
- Only use medicines that have been prescribed for your individual dog.
- Ensure your dog's coat is kept in good condition by grooming him/her regularly. If you are unsure how to groom your dog's coat properly, seek advice from a pet care specialist.
- Make sure your dog can be identified, ideally via a collar and microchip (ask your vet for advice), so that he/she can be treated quickly if injured, or returned to you if lost.
- Consider taking out pet insurance to ensure your dog is covered if he/she needs veterinary treatment.
- Dogs feel pain and have similar pain thresholds to people.
- Individual dogs and different breeds show pain and suffering in different ways.
- Dogs are vulnerable to a range of infectious diseases and other illnesses.
- A change in the way a dog behaves can be an early sign that he/she is ill or in pain.
- Punishing a dog can cause him/her pain and suffering.
- Dogs are inquisitive. A dog may put him/herself in danger if he/she is left to explore unsupervised.
- Dogs who are insecure or stressed may become unwell as a result.
- Some breeds of dog have been selected for exaggerated physical features, which can cause them to suffer and reduce their quality of life.
- Certain breeds are particularly prone to inherited disorders and diseases.
- A dog who can be easily identified (e.g. via a collar or microchip) is more likely to be reunited with his/her owner and to receive prompt veterinary care if injured. By law, a dog in a public place must wear a collar with his/her owner's name and address either on the collar or on an attached tag.
When was Birmingham Dogs’ Home set up?
It was founded in 1892 on land that was made available by the late Sir Alfred Gooch Bart in New Canal Street, Birmingham, and proudly displayed the heading 'Birmingham Home for Lost and Starving Dogs' above its doors.?
About the Home
Where are your sites?
We have two sites in total. The largest and our head office is located in Birmingham and our other site is in Coven, Wolverhampton called Sunnyside. Our Birmingham centre will be relocating to Catherine-De-Barnes in Solihull around July/August 2015.
How many kennels do you have?
We have 120 dog kennels at the Birmingham site, and 100 at our Sunnyside centre
How many dogs do you have at BDH?
At any one time we have around 150-200 dogs across our two sites.
How many animals do you care for each year?
In 2013 we cared for over 4,100 dogs across our two sites, which consisted of animals who were either lost, abandoned or simply unable to stay with their current families.
Visiting the Home
When are you open for visitors?
If you would like to visit us, BDH is open to the public from 11am – 4.45pm Monday to Saturday, Closed Bank Holidays (last entry is at 4.30pm). Further details on our telephone numbers and Centre locations can be found on our contact page.
Can I visit the Home even if I just want to look around and not rehome a dog?
We welcome lots of visitors to our centres whether they are here to visit our Kennels, rehome an animal, attend an event, or simply just to have a look around and meet our residents.?