Can I Take My Dog to Church?


There are many reasons why you may want to take your dog to church. Perhaps you want your dog to be included in marriage celebrations. Or, perhaps you enjoy looking round churches on your walking routes with your dog. While many churches hold dedicated services for pets in the community, are you allowed to take your dog into to church at any time? Holidays4Dogs finds out.

While many churches have specific services for the celebration of companion animals, it is a little less clear when it comes to visiting churches at other times.

It is usually down to the individual discretion of each church. If you are out for a walk, for instance, it might be difficult to know what the etiquette is, if you wish to take your dog into a church.

There is some confusion and controversy regarding animals in church – especially dogs. This perhaps arises from the notion within many religions, that dogs were regarded as ‘unclean’ – an idea that originated in the Old Testament.

Historical and religious factors about dogs in church.

There is still the idea among many clergy and congregation members alike, that dogs in church can be an un-welcome distraction from prayers.

This is not least due to their potential to cause noise and disruption. They can also potentially deposit dirt and hair in ancient, and sometimes delicate, historic surroundings.

While one might assume that ‘all God’s creatures are welcome’, there is also the old English idiom – ‘a dog in a church’. The saying refers, sadly, to an un-welcome guest.

can I take my dog to churchPerhaps, therefore, it is no wonder many people are unsure whether it is acceptable, or even respectful, to allow their dog to accompany them inside a church.

However, the National Churches Trust, says that more and more churches across the UK are, indeed, welcoming pets. Many even offer refreshments, special services and events, to encourage dog owning members of the congregation.

Visiting tourists and sightseers are also welcome to visit, accompanied by their much loved pets.

Many clergymen and priests are very much aware of how much pets mean to people. Allowing walkers and sightseers in with their faithful four legged friends, helps to make sure church doors can stay open for drop in visitors. This is particularly so for more remote churches.

Find pet friendly churches near you.

For an interactive map of pet friendly churches near you, or further afield, you can visit the National Churches Trust ‘Paws-in-Pews’ page.