Pet Shop Licence

Why do I need a licence?

To run a pet shop you need a licence from the local authority under the Pet Animals Act 1951.  The keeping of a pet shop refers to the carrying on at premises of any nature (including a private dwelling) of a business of selling animals as pets.  This includes any internet business of selling pets plus anyone who supplies pets for sale, either to a third party or directly to the public.

However, you don't need a Pet Shop licence to sell:

  • pedigree animals that you've bred
  • animals that are offspring of your own pet

However, you may require a Dog Breeding Licence; Selling animals as pets as a business is prohibited in any part of a street, in a public place, or at a stall or barrow in a market.  The number and type of animals that may be accommodated and sold will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions.
A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

What will I have to do?

Apply to run a Pet Shop or renew your licence to run a Pet Shop.  You can now apply and pay on-line by clicking on this link:
Alternatively, you can download the application form at the foot of this page and email to

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached -

The licence will be valid for 1 year.

What does the application process involve?

An inspection will be carried out and the following criteria will be considered when the application is being evaluated:

  • Animals will be kept in accommodation that is suitable regarding size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, and cleanliness.
  • Animals will be supplied with adequate food, drink, and bedding material.
  • Animals will be adequately exercised and visited regularly.
  • Precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of infectious or contagious diseases.
  • Appropriate steps will be taken in case of fire or other emergency.
  • Mammals are not sold below weaning age.

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  • keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

What are the penalties?

If you run a pet shop without a licence, or break the terms of your licence, you could be fined up to £500 and/or imprisoned for up to 3 months.

Will Tacit Consent apply?

Yes.  This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period of 40 working days.

What can I do if my application fails?

Licences may be refused if:

  • If the applicant is under 18.
  • If the applicant has been disqualified from holding an animal licence or keeping an animal.
  • If conditions of the licence are not met

Please contact your local authority in the first instance.  Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates Court.

What can I do if I'm unhappy about the licence conditions?

Please contact your local authority in the first instance.  Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' Court.

How can I make a complaint?

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by - preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery) and then with the local authority. If you are still dissatisfied and if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice.  From outside the UK please contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Are there any trade associations?

  • Pet Care Trust (PCT)
  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
  • The Pet Industry Federation


For further information:

Housing & Environmental Health Service
Telephone: 01264 368000