You will need a licence if you want to run a pet shop.

A pet shop is any structure where animals are sold as pets. This includes your own home and businesses selling animals over the internet.

You can't sell animals as pets in public places - for example, from a market stall.


You won't be given a licence if you’ve committed any animal health or welfare offences, or if you’ve been banned from:

  • running a riding establishment
  • running a pet shop
  • keeping animals, including in a boarding kennel or cattery

How to apply

If you want to run a pet shop you will need to apply for a pet shop licence.


Before you get a licence your premises will be inspected by a vet and you'll need to pay their fee.

Before we can give you a licence you'll need to show us that:

  • you are qualified to keep animals
  • the accommodation will be suitable for the animals
  • you’ll provide enough food and drink and visit the animals regularly where necessary
  • you’ll take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
  • mammals won’t be sold if they’re too young
  • you have appropriate plans in case of fire or other emergencies

You'll also need to keep a register with the description of any animal received on the premises, it's age and sex, when you received it, when you sold it and where it came from. This register must be available for us or our vet to see during any visit.

You must not sell any animals to children under the age of 12.

We can refuse to give you a licence if we don't feel the conditions for the animals are right. We may ask for additional conditions if we think the welfare of the animals or the safety of the public require them.

We therefore strongly recommend you contact us for a visit to advise you on what you need to do to comply with the licence requirements while you are still planning the business.   

Renewing your licence

A pet shop licence is valid for one year. You will need to apply to renew your pet shop licence each year if you want to keep running the business.

Changing your licence

You will need to make an application if you want to make changes to your pet shop licence.

Displaying your licence

You must display your licence or a copy of it at the pet shop so that it can be read by anyone visiting the premises.


Pet Animals Act 1951

Pet Animals Act 1951 (Amendment) Act 1983


If you have an issue with a licensed premises for animals there are different people you can contact depending on the problem.  

Public register

If you would like to view our public register for pet shop licences please contact us.

Trade associations

Pet Care Trust (PCT)