In the United Kingdom, some independent pet sitters may be required to obtain a licence from their local council when offering pet boarding or pet day care services. If you’d like to provide services as an independent pet sitter, make sure you follow the local laws and regulations in your area. This is required by the Rover Terms of Service, which ask you to confirm that you’ve obtained all licences necessary to legally provide pet care services.
Rover can’t provide legal advice, but we’d like to offer you some general information and links that may help you better understand licensing requirements and exemptions. This page is not comprehensive, but we hope it’ll point you in the right direction.
Note: Other laws or requirements not mentioned here may apply to you.
Pet boarding and day care
In England, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 establish standards for animal care and licensing. The regulations explain that some people providing pet care may need a licence from their local council if they run a business that provides either:
- overnight boarding for dogs and cats, or
- day care for dogs.
The regulations do not require a licence for dog walking or house sitting in the dog’s normal place of residence.
Most independent pet sitters in England who offer only occasional pet boarding or day care services likely do not need a licence. Based on guidance from The Department of Environmental Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) about the Animal Welfare Regulations, you should not be required to obtain a licence if you earn less than the £1,000 per year threshold for the trading income allowance.
Many independent pet sitters in England who use the Rover platform to connect with their clients provide a small number of services for extra earnings of less than £1,000 each year. You’ll need to assess your own unique circumstances and the earnings from all of your independent pet care work to determine whether you’re required to obtain a licence.
For more information about licensing, how to apply, inspections, or other conditions that you may need to satisfy, visit your local council’s website or review DEFRA’s guidance documents about home boarding for dogs, cat boarding, and dog day care.
You generally do not need a licence to provide dog walking services in the United Kingdom. Some parks and greenspaces, however, have special codes of conduct, voluntary registrations, or licensing requirements that may apply to dog walkers who use the land in certain circumstances. For example, some local authorities have restrictions on the number of dogs that can be walked by one person, others have restrictions on where dogs can be walked, such as beaches and parks and this may be subject to seasonal changes.
If you’d like to walk dogs in local parks, check your local council’s website or the park’s website to see if any special guidance applies. Additionally, look out for signs posted in the park.
Note: If you have questions or are unsure about how laws might apply to you, it's a good idea to seek legal or tax advice. You can also reach out to your local council officials.