Family Fund can provide grants towards a pet for your child, but remember that there is a lot to consider before deciding to apply for a grant to buy a pet.

The pet grant is awarded as a cash grant. Before processing your grant we will contact you to discuss which pet is most suitable for your child’s needs. Your grant does not need to be used completely on the purchase of a pet, it can also be used to buy the essential items required when caring for pets. However, we cannot help with ongoing pet costs. We are unable to help with the purchase of assistance or service dogs, or specialist training requirements for pets. Please remember to keep hold of all receipts.

How to use your grant

You will receive a letter offering you a grant for a pet, this will include a bank details form which you must complete and return to us before we can process your grant. You will then receive your award letter outlining the amount you will receive and how long it will take to arrive in your nominated bank account.

Useful hints and tips when choosing your pet

We are famously a nation of animal lovers, but the reality of owning a pet can be different from what we expect. Careful consideration must always be given before choosing a pet suitable to your family circumstances. Research and taking advice from a vet can be helpful. You will need to consider the type of pet in relation to your family circumstances, housing, financial position, fitness and your time.

Place: All pets need space to run and play. Dogs need regular access to a safe and secure outdoor space. Many cats enjoy being able to exercise outside. Rabbits and guinea pigs need access to a large run or garden to be happy and healthy.

Exercise: All pets enjoy fun games and playing with toys to keep them active. This can easily be done in your home for smaller pets, but dogs, for example, will need regular walks.

Knowledge: The Animal Welfare Acts mean that all pet owners have a duty of care to meet the welfare needs of their pets. The five welfare needs are:

  • Environment – give them a safe, suitable place to live;
  • Diet – feed them the right type and amount of food;
  • Behaviour – allow them to show normal behaviour patterns;
  • Companionship – some pets like to live alone whilst others need the company of other pets;
  • Health – keep your pets in good health and seek vet advice if they’re ill or injured.

Cost: It’s not just the initial cost of getting a pet which you need to consider. Food, equipment, treatments, pet insurance premiums, replacing a chewed-up bed or unexpected vet’s bills and kennel costs. This can all add up over your pet’s life, especially as they get older or if they develop health problems.

Time: Pets are generally sociable and dogs especially love your company. It’s really important that they aren’t left alone for longer than four hours. Walks, training, playtime, feeding, cleaning and equipment (or cleaning up after your pet!), grooming and visits to the vet can start to add up and might take more time than you think.

Where to get a pet

Animals may be available from your local Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) or Dogs Trust or Cats Protection centre. Here they are checked for health and socialisation, are microchipped and are neutered so this may be a good choice for your family. People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) can help people on low incomes with support and advice and can provide some treatments.

Your legal duties

It is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. In the UK, it’s against the law to own certain types of dog. A grant for a pet cannot be used to purchase any of the following dogs:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Braziliero

It’s also against the law to:

  • sell a banned dog
  • abandon a banned dog
  • give away a banned dog
  • breed from a banned dog.

Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name. So if your dog matches many of the characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type.

Find out how we helped Spencer and Stan with their new addition to the family.

Download our Pets leaflet