Dog walking license and regulation information: what you need to know
Startups takes a look at dog walking laws and dog walking qualifications in the UK
- What is a dog walking business?
- Who is a dog walking business suited to?
- Rules and regulations of the dog walking industry
- How much will it cost to run a dog walking business?
- Tips and advice for the dog walking industry
- Useful business contacts
- Register your dog walking business name with our preferred company formation agent (external site, opens in new tab)
- See if you can get a Start Up Loan to help you start a dog walking business idea (external site, opens in new tab)
Rules and regulation of the dog walking industry
Although there are relatively few regulations specifically targeted at dog walkers, businesses providing a service must get public liability insurance.
In fact, according to a recent report from insurance company Insurantz.com, many professional dog walkers are putting themselves at risk by not being adequately covered.
“We are doing everything we can to raise standards within the industry,” says Lewis from NarpsUK. “We currently sit on government committees to create Model License Conditions and Best Practice Guides. Our members sign up to our terms and conditions and code of practice and we insist they have insurance, criminal record checks for holding keys and local authority licences where required. They also receive support and guidance from us.”
NarpsUK members can utilise service agreements drawn up by the organisation’s legal team and it offers a discount with one of the UK’s leading pet sitting and dog walking insurance companies.
Other precautions NarpsUK suggests taking before embarking on starting a dog walking or pet sitting business include:
It may be worth considering seeing if you can get a Start Up Loan (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) to help you with financing, and mentoring to start this business idea. You'll also need to think about registering your business, either as a sole trader or as a company - if a company, then Smarta Formations (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) are an organisation that can help you set up.
- Meeting owners prior to the first booking
- Restricting the number of dogs walked to no more than four at a time
- Keeping records of all work undertaken
- Protecting clients’ personal information
If this is the start-up business idea for you, be aware you may have to deal with dogs injuring other dogs or people while in your charge. It’s vital to have the right insurance cover to deal with legal claims, should they arise.
The Kennel Club’s dog law site also lists a number of rules and regulations people working with dogs must abide by, including:
- The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 You could be fined up to £1,000 if you: fail to pick up faeces, fail to keep a dog on a lead or put it on the lead when directed to do so, or allow a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded.
- The Control of Dogs Order 1992 All dogs in a public place must wear a collar with the owner’s name and address on.
- The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 It is against the law for a dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ in a public place. The Kennel Club says something as simple as the dog chasing, barking at or jumping up at a person or child could lead to complaints, so make sure it is under control at all times.
- The Road Traffic Act 1988 Dogs must be on a lead at all times on roads. If the dog you are walking is injured in a car accident, it is up to the driver to stop and give their details to you.
- Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 It’s against the law to allow a dog to worry livestock on farmland. If a farmer catches a dog worrying his livestock, he has the right to stop the dog – even if that means shooting it.
- Dogs Act 1871 It’s an offence if a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control, which is usually regarded as not on a lead or not muzzled. The law applies wherever an incident happens.