Top tips for ethically adopting from overseas

Written by Napo HQ
14th Apr 2022
4 min read
Seven commonly asked questions about adopting a dog from abroad

How can I find a dog from abroad?

Charities rehome dogs from overseas. You should do routine checks before working with a charity and ensure the dog’s best interests are at heart. 
One thing to watch out for is that it shouldn’t be too easy; alarm bells should ring if it is. Most charities will do a home check. They'll also ask about your home environment, such as whether you have a dog already, or if there are children in the house. The dog should be neutered, have had routine health checks, and vaccinations. 
Charities display available dogs on their websites with information about the dog and the type of home that would suit it. Be aware that there’s no guarantee you’ll be matched to the first dog you fall in love with, as there will be multiple applications.

How much does it cost to adopt a dog from abroad?

The cost of adopting varies depending on the charity. Still, most will expect you to cover the costs of relocating the dog to the UK, which can be between £400 and £800 and varies depending on where the dog is coming from. If the dog is being rehomed from within the UK after fostering or an unsuccessful adoption, it may cost less. 
Given that the cost of puppies soared during Covid-19, adopting from abroad may seem like a cheap option, but you need to factor in that a former street dog might need a behaviourist and a trainer and that they may have injuries or health issues that need attention.

What support is available if I adopt a dog from abroad?

How much the charity will support you varies. However, we have spoken to charities that offer webinars before and after adoption and a written guide. People who adopt a dog from abroad are passionate and keen to share experiences. So, there are pet forums devoted to adopting dogs online. Be aware that information in forums does not replace expert advice.

Do I need to find a dog behaviourist?

Former street dogs may have behavioural issues and need extra support, but some will adjust quickly with the right guidance and training. If you need additional help, make sure you check the credentials of the behaviourist. There are online registers of behaviourists:

What happens if it doesn’t work out?

Sadly, not all dogs from abroad find their forever home the first time. The match should be suitable for the dog and the owner. Where things don’t work out, many charities and organisations will have people who foster dogs from abroad and can care for the dog until another adopter is found. However, you should always think carefully before taking on the responsibility and costs involved of caring for a dog.

Couldn’t I adopt from a shelter in the UK?

Yes, you may want to check first for dogs at shelters in your local area that need a forever home. Many shelters within the UK offer dogs for fostering and adoption. Expect the same checks on your home as you’d experience if you were adopting from abroad.

Is there a language barrier if I adopt from overseas?

No. Dogs tend to respond most to the tone of voice and physical commands, so there shouldn’t be a language barrier. With consistent training and positive reinforcement, dogs can quickly learn to recognise words in a different language.
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