Hope Project

Helping dogs whose owners are homeless or in housing crisis

Accepting Dogs

Before you begin accepting dogs in your hostel, there are a number of things to consider. Please watch our video for advice from managers who already accept dogs in their hostels. 

Access – If your hostel has more than one access to the building, you may wish to ask dog owners to use a side entrance so that they can avoid busy communal areas of the building such as the reception area.  

You will also want to decide which areas of the hostel you will allow dogs access to. If you decide to allow dogs in communal areas such as a TV room or lounge, it would be advisable to put signs up so that staff and residents are aware.

Rooms - Decide how many dogs you will accept and which rooms you will allocate to dog owners. Ideally dog rooms should be on the ground floor with easy access to the outside space. It’s a good idea to have no more than two dog rooms on each floor and to put dog rooms at opposite ends of the hostel to minimise barking. 

It’s advisable to put up clear signs on the doors of dog rooms so that all staff and residents are aware that a dog may be inside and to take care when entering the room.

Allergies to dogs – If staff or residents are allergic to dogs, you would need to ensure that the dog rooms are regularly cleaned and ask the owner to regularly groom their dog. This will reduce the amount of hair in the hostel, which is often the cause of allergies. You could also limit the areas that dogs are allowed in, for example keeping dogs away from communal areas.

Flea infestations and bed bugs – If you need to treat a dog room for either bed bugs or a flea infestation, it’s important that you make sure the chemicals used are not toxic to pets and that you tell the company carrying out the work that you have dogs living in your hostel.

On the day that the treatment is carried out, make sure the owner takes their dog out of the hostel. Once the room has been treated, ensure the windows are left open to air the room and keep the dog away from the room for as long as possible as a precaution.

Fear of dogs - If staff or residents are afraid of dogs, you can limit their contact with dogs living in the hostel. Ask dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead and under control at all times while inside the hostel. You can also ensure that dogs are not allowed in staff or communal areas.

Next: Managing dogs >