Q&A - What will happen to my dog when I die?

Q: I have a healthy young dog but I have been diagnosed with a degenerative illness and am worried that when I pass away my dog might have to be put to sleep if no-one in the family can look after him. Is there anything I can do?

A: Many people worry about what will happen to their pets when they die, yet according to the RSPCA around 70,000 owners die each year without making arrangements for their pets in their Wills.

Within your Will you can name friends or family with whom you would like to have your dog re-homed and you can leave them a small sum of money to assist with care costs. If you do not have anyone who could care for your dog you could consider using the Dogs Trust Canine Care Card Scheme.

Making reference to this free scheme in your Will means that the Dogs Trust will care for and re-home your dog when you pass away. They will take your dog to the nearest re-homing centre and after a thorough health check they will try to find your dog new owners whose lifestyle and experience match the dog's needs. A home visit would be arranged and the new owners would receive a thorough briefing about caring for your dog. Dogs Trust never put healthy dogs to sleep, so you will have peace of mind that your pet will be well looked after.

Dogs Trust ask that as well as making reference to the scheme in your Will, you also complete and return their Canine Care Card leaflet to provide them with information about your dog's likes, dislikes and care requirements. In return you will receive a card to carry as evidence of your wishes. Some solicitors are able to supply the Care Card leaflet and assist in completing it when writing your Will.