Is it permissible to keep a dog as a pet?

is it permissible to keep a dog as a pet?

It is not permissible for a Muslim to keep a dog in their home as a pet.

It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) and others in similar wordings, that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Whoever keeps a dog that is not a dog for hunting, herding livestock or farming, two qirats will be deducted from his reward each day. (Muslim and Bukhari)

This means that keeping a dog results in good deeds being deducted from your account. We do not know how the value of a qirat.

Permissible dogs

You may, however, keep a dog if you have a necessity for it, such as guide dogs for the blind, or dogs for hunting, guarding the house, guarding livestock or guarding crops which remain outdoors. 

In Surat al-Ma’idah, Allah says that of the good things that are permissible to you are the animals which you hunt that your dog fetches for you.

They ask you, [O Muhammad], what has been made lawful for them. Say, “Lawful for you are [all] good foods and [game caught by] what you have trained of hunting animals which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah.” Indeed, Allah is swift in account. (5:4)

Angels do not enter

In addition to good deeds being deducted for keeping a dog, the angels do not enter homes where there are dogs. In the famous sahih hadith, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or an image.” (Ibn Majah)


One of the reasons dogs are considered undesirable as pets is because their saliva is considered impure by three schools of thought. Though it is not haram to touch a dog, the opinion held by the majority of schools is that the saliva of a dog is impure.

This means that if the dog’s saliva comes onto you or your clothes, you have to wash it before you can pray.

If a dog’s saliva touches a utensil or drinks from a utensil which you use, you have to wash it 7 times, the first time using soil.

Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 

“The purification of the vessel of one of you, if a dog licks it, is to wash it seven times, the first time with soil.” (Muslim)

Dog saliva

If you look at the scientific studies of dog saliva you will find that it contains bacteria which are mostly harmless but there are some harmful bacteria that can be present. Examples include Capnocytophaga canimorsus, Pasteurella spp., and Porphyromonas spp. These bacteria can cause infections like cellulitis or abscesses, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Those with compromised immune systems, infants, the elderly, and those with existing skin conditions are more vulnerable to infections from dog saliva.

People who are bitten or scratched by a dog are also at higher risk due to direct introduction of bacteria-laden saliva into the wound. Infections can occur through direct contact with dog saliva, like being licked, or by exposure to contaminated surfaces like dog bowls, toys, or bedding.

Dogs are one of the primary carriers of rabies and can transmit the virus through their saliva. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is typically transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal.

When an infected dog bites a human, the rabies virus present in its saliva can enter the person’s body through the wound. The virus then travels to the central nervous system, including the brain, where it causes severe inflammation and neurological symptoms.

It’s important to note that not all dogs carry rabies, and the prevalence of rabies varies in different regions. In countries where rabies is endemic, vaccination programs and responsible pet ownership have significantly reduced the incidence of rabies in dogs.

The WHO in their advice on preventing rabies mention that in up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans. Interestingly they recommend that a wound which has been exposed to rabies should be extensively washed with water and soap for at least 15 minutes.

Maliki school of thought

According to the Maliki school of thought, the dog’s saliva is not impure. However you still have to wash any utensil a dog’s saliva has touched 7 times, as this was prescribed by the Prophet (peace be on him)

Guarding houses

Some scholars are of the view that it is not permissible to keep a dog for any reason other than the three exceptions which the Prophet (peace be on him) made i.e. for hunting, guarding livestock and guarding crops.

However there are other opinions which say it is permissible for guarding houses. This opinion was held by Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him). Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) in Sharh Saheeh Muslim said:

The correct view is that it is permissible to keep a dog to guard the house, because if it is permissible to keep a dog in order to benefit from it, as in the case of hunting, it is more appropriate that one be allowed to keep a dog in order to ward off harm and protect oneself.

Kindness to dogs

Islamic Shari’ah commanded Muslims to be kind and merciful to all animals and dogs are certainly included. Dogs are mentioned in the Quran three times, one of which is in Surat Al Kahf, where the hunting dog of the pious youths guarded the entrance of the cave and was preserved with them. Ibn Kathir (may Allah be pleased with him) said that Ibn Jurayj said,

“He was guarding the door for them.”

Shaykh Haytham Tamim


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.