Dogs in school: guidance and risk assessments

Read up on the rules around dogs on site, including therapy dogs, and use our template risk assessment to make sure that both pupils and the animal stay safe and happy.

Last reviewed on 27 October 2021
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 9672
  1. Considering therapy and literacy dogs 
  2. You must allow guide dogs 
  3. Paperwork and insurance
  4. Enforcing a 'no dogs' policy
  5. Risk assessments for dogs on the school grounds 
  6. Example policies 

Considering therapy and literacy dogs 

Some schools bring dogs into school, or have a permanent school dog to provide therapy. Animals can "bring comfort and happiness to people with a range of disabilities and emotional needs" according to Pets4Homes.

There are also programmes that bring dogs to schools so children can read to them without fear of judgement, such as the Bark and Read Foundation

Do your research first

Before deciding to use a therapy dog, make sure you do as much research as you can. It's not without risks and challenges. You could speak to some of the organisations listed above, and visit any schools you know who use dogs in a similar way. 

Carry out a risk assessment 

Take a look at the examples below to help you write your own. 

If you're using dogs for therapy, you should use a dog that has been assessed by an organisation such as Pets as

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