Who can help with caring for your pets
It's always a good idea to check with neighbours, relatives and friends who live close by to see if they can help you out, as your pet is more likely to know and trust them. They may be able to pop in to feed your pet and provide extra care, such as walking your dog.
Relatives and friends who live further away may also be able to help. It might be possible for them to care for your pet at their home, although this will take more planning and isn't always suitable.
Your local vet may be able to help as they might know of or provide a volunteer support scheme. This is where volunteers visit your home to care for your pet or temporarily look after your pet in their own home while you are in hospital. Your vet might also know of animal shelters in your area that may be able to help.
Social workers may be able to give you advice about care of your pet while you're in hospital. As part of the National Assistance Act (1948) your local social services department has a duty to provide care for your pets if you are admitted to hospital and there is no one else to take care of them. You may be charged for this service. Most cancer centres will have a social worker you can speak to about this, or your GP should be able to refer you.
The Blue Cross
Shilton Road, Burford OX18 4PF
Tel 0300 777 1897
A national charity providing information and animal welfare. Has 11 animal re-homing centres across the UK.
Haywards Heath, Sussex RH17 7TT
Tel 03000 12 12 12
Cats Protection is the UK's oldest and largest cat charity. It offers a re-homing service through its nationwide network of adoption centres and voluntary branches. The charity also operates a free 'emergency care card' scheme – contact the helpline for more information.
The Cinnamon Trust
10 Market Square, Hayle,
Cornwall, TR27 4HE
Tel 01736 757 900
The Cinnamon Trust is a national network of more than 7,000 volunteers that provides practical help when any aspect of day-to-day care poses a problem. This varies from arranging a dog walker if the owner has become housebound, to short-term foster care during an owner's admission to hospital. They are also able to arrange long-term care if the owner becomes unable to look after their pet. They try to offer pets a 'home from home'. All of the trust's services are free.
17 Wakely Street,
London, EC1V 7RQ
Tel 020 7 37 0006
The largest UK dog welfare charity. They offer advice about all aspects of dog care, including re-homing. They have a number of centres around the UK.
National Animal Welfare Trust
Tylers Way, Watford-By-Pass, Watford
Hertfordshire WD25 8WT
Tel 020 8950 0177
Has re-homing centres in Berkshire, Cornwall, Essex, Somerset, London and the Home Counties. Provides a free 'Pet Care Card' that gives instructions about your wishes for the care and re-homing of your pet.
National assocation of Registered Petsitters (NARP)
PO Box 1433, Oxford OX4 9AU
Tel 0845 230 8544
Email through the website
A register of more than 8,000 petsitters throughout the UK. There is a charge for this service.
Pet Fostering Service Scotland
PO Box 6, Callander FK17 8ZU
Tel 0844 811 9909
Provides emergency foster care for a variety of pets. The PFSS mostly fosters dogs, cats and caged birds, but they are able to care for more exotic pets as well. They provide foster care if the pet owner has to go into hospital for treatment or respite. Mostly this service is provided for elderly pet owners. The service is free, but the owner is expected to pay for food and any veterinary bills. Services are available in Scotland only.
Petpals (UK) Ltd
Phoenix House, Caxton Close, East Portway
Andover, Hampshire SP10 3FG
National Enquiry line 01264 326 362
Provides pet-sitting, boarding, dog walking, exercise and companionship. Can also make visits to the vet if needed. All staff are insured, trained and have been police checked for security. They are also members of the National Association of Registered Petsitters.
Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham,
West Sussex, RH13 9RS
Tel 0300 1234 999 (24-hour advice line)
Has a network of animal centres and branches throughout England and Wales, and can give advice about pet re-homing. Pet fostering isn't usually possible, but volunteer pet-sitters are sometimes available to pet-sit or temporarily look after pets in their own home.
Kingseat Road, Halbeath,
Dunfermline KY11 8RY
Tel 03000 999 999
Email through the website
Has 13 Animal Welfare Centres throughout Scotland. Gives advice on animal care and signposts to fostering and re-homing services in Scotland.