Adopt and Care for a Dog

Thank you for considering adoption. The dogs at the SPCA have been surrendered by their owners, rescued by our inspectors or members of the public. Adoption gives these dogs  a much needed second chance for a happy life.

Adopting and keeping a dog is a huge responsibility. Dogs are social animals and require a stable, family environment with plenty of exercise and attention.

If you are attracted to getting a dog, please carefully consider what you will need to provide your dog with to keep him or her happy and well adjusted.

Considerations before you decide to adopt and care for a dog for life

  • First
  • Daily
  • Long Term
  • Adult or Pup?
  • Special Needs
  • Long Stayer


A Commitment OF 10-20 YEARS!

Small breeds generally live longer than larger breeds. This is a long period of time so carefully consider if you can dedicate yourself to your dog for its entire life time. Moving house and leaving Hong Kong are common reasons why people surrender dogs, indicating that many dog owners do not take a long term view of dog ownership.

A residence that allows dogs

1 in 3 dogs are surrendered at the SPCA because their owners live in public housing or residences that do not allow dogs. Some acquire their dogs when they lived in dog friendly accommodation but give up their dogs when their application to move to public housing is approved.

Family agreement

Owning a dog can be a big responsibility and should have the support of the whole family!

Download our Dog Care Booklet



Walks are not just for your dog's health but also for socialization and enrichment. Walks enable your dog to encounter many new experiences, new smells and are eagerly anticipated by many dogs. Many owners often find themselves taken for a walk by their dog instead!

  • Always be sure to clean up after your pet in a public area. N.B. Under the law, owners who fail to do this can be fined $1,500.
Daily Attention

Not only do dogs need to be fed, walked and cleaned up after every day several times a day, they require your loving attention and interaction! Being social animals, they should not be caged, tied up or left alone for long periods of time in a day.


Dogs need their own space, where they can rest undisturbed and feel safe. This should be a quiet corner, away from doorways or high traffic areas. A space to confine puppies during house training is also recommended. Dogs should not be caged or tied up for long periods of time.

Proper diet

Dogs are omnivores and there are many reputable brands of commercial dog food that can meet your dog's nutritional needs. As a dog's nutritional needs changes as it grows, make sure your dog is getting the right diet for its life stage. E.g. puppies will need a puppy diet that has additional nutrients for proper development. Seek advice from your vet about the type of food and the appropriate amount you should feed. Like humans, pet obesity is becoming a big problem for Hong Kong's pets!

Socialization and training

Dogs communicate their wants through natural behaviours and will bark, dig, chew and engage in other behaviours to get what they want. To manage these effectively, you and your family need to understand what your dog is trying to say. In turn, your dog needs to learn what you are saying. You can say that training is a form of cultural exchange!

Find out more on Dog Behaviour and Training and consider enrolling in a class with your new dog.


License, micro-chipping and rabies vaccination

By law, every dog over the age of 5 months must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. At the same time, a microchip is implanted, which identifies the dog and enables owners to find their dogs should they become lost. The license and vaccination must be renewed every 3 years. This can be done at any veterinary clinic, AFCD animal management centre or Dog Innoculation centre.

Preventative health care

Your dog should get an annual check up as well as DHPPiL booster vaccination. Your vet will also be able to answer questions you might have regarding your dog's health and diet. Given the climate and high incidence of various canine diseases, we also recommend dogs should received regular protection from the following: Fleas, Ticks and Tick Fever, Heartworm.


Dogs should be desexed by 6 months of age. This is a simple procedure that can be done at any veterinary clinic. Desexing not only reduces the risk of many reproductive organ diseases, but also eliminates many anti-social behaviours such as territory marking and mating related aggression.

Hong Kong still has a relatively low rate of dog desexing of less than 60%,
resulting in the births of many unwanted puppies every year.

Cost of Long term health care

Please bear in mind that as your dog ages, it could develop diseases that may entail high veterinary bills. Particularly if your dog is a pedigree it maybe prone to specific illnesses or conditions which might require long term veterinary care. Non-pedigree dogs, having stronger genetic makeup, in general tend to be healthier long term.


Many people have the misconception that adult dogs are not as lovable or trainable as younger animals. For this reason, they stay much longer in our Homing Centres than puppies.

In fact, adult pets make excellent companions, simply because they are older, more mature and easier to manage. Many have already lived in a home and thus are more socialized than a puppy.

Most importantly, adult pets will love you just as much as a puppy!

Benefits of an adult pet
  • Has reached full size
  • Stable temperament
  • Any health issues should be evident by adulthood
  • Not as high energy as a puppy
  • Longer attention span- will respond to consistent training. Most are house trained.
  • Already desexed - anti-social reproductive behaviours are already reduced or eliminated.
Ideal adopters

An adult pet is especially suitable for:

  • first time pet owners and
  • adopters who are looking for a calmer, more stable companion
Adopting a Puppy

Puppies are usually re-homed at the SPCA after they reach 8 weeks and have received their first vaccination. Some may have graduated from our foster parent programme.

Ideal Adopters
  • Have had experience raising puppies
  • Will not leave the animal alone for many hours in a day - close supervision at this stage is very important. Young animals need to be fed often and observed closely for illness, lack of appetite and mischief!
  • Are patient - prepared for "accidents". This is part of every young animals' (humans included!) learning process. This may include pooing and peeing in the wrong places.
  • Will provide a safe environment - Young animals are very playful and can get into everything and anything. A safe environment is thus very important. Other "accidents" (such as furniture chewing and scratching) may happen when they explore their new world by using their teeth, playing, digging, scratching and climbing. 
  • Will make a commitment to socialization and training - Socialization and training are the foundation to a confident, happy pet and are key to preventing future behaviour problems. Common problems such as aggression, excessive barking and separation anxiety often stem from insufficient socialization and training. Good training methods should teach your pet good habits without using fear or physical force.
  • Will get their pet desexed.


A dog with special needs may have health or behavioural tendencies that require extra attention, but still deserves to be in a loving home. Please let our homing staff know should you be interested in meeting some of these special pets. 

A dog with 3 legs would qualify as having "special needs".A dog with 3 legs would qualify as having "special needs".If you are interested in adopting one, our veterinarians and trainers will explain their special needs and requirements to help you with your decision.

Examples of what these "special needs" might include:

Behavioural tendencies
  • Shy animals that may need more socialization to help them come out of their shells
  • Hyperactive and playful individuals who need a high energy owner and playmates
  • May not be suitable for all households (e.g. dogs that may not like young children or are too boisterous for elderly family members)
Health needs
  • Recovering from recent surgery or other medical procedure
  • On short term medication
  • Manageable long term health issues (e.g. breed related defects, past injury)

Many adopters who have special needs dogs have found they make just as wonderful pets!

Fran-Fran was a long stayer - but is now living in her forever home.Fran-Fran was a long stayer - but is now living in her forever home.As a Homing Centre our objective is to help as many animals as possible, and in order to do that we aim to find homes for animals within a 2 week period. Any animal that has been with us for longer than 2 months is considered to be a Long Stayer.

Long Stay Dogs

Our Long Stay dogs are older dogs that might have been rescued, surrendered or have special needs. They could be puppies that were not lucky enough to be adopted when they were young.

We do our very best to keep our dogs in the best possible conditions while they wait for new homes, however, a kennel situation is not the best environment for a dog. For example at night, the staff go home and the dogs do not see anyone until the next morning, which is far from ideal.  Dogs need to be in a loving home and SPCA is committed to finding our dogs the loving homes that they so deserve.

If you want to give a dog in need a home, please ask about our Long Stay Dogs.
They are the ones that need homes the most!

Check out Special Portraits of some happily homed long stay dogs, by photographer Cass Shing of