Do I Need a Licence for Pet Sitting?

Pet sitting, dog walking and other pet care jobs have always been popular. Often seen as a good way to top up income outside of a regular job, and for some, seen as a dedicated career path that keeps them close to something they love.

Before you gleefully put the advert out, set up a website or start telling people you have a pet-sitting business there are a few things you need to put in place first. Licencing perhaps being the main one. It can be a headache knowing what you require to be fully compliant with any form of business, especially when you are responsible for the care and well-being of a living creature!

Luckily, as a pet sitter, you will not require a licence, should you look after the animals in your own home though, things can be a little different.

What is pet sitting?

Pet sitting is a popular way for people to have their pets cared for when away on holiday or for business. It can be a tough decision knowing what the best option is though as many owners hate to be separated from their pets. At the same time, the destination they are heading to may not be suitable for animals. A 5-star hotel in Egypt for example may not be the best place to bring your feline friend! We weighed up the pros and cons of pet sitting in a recent blog so should you be a pet owner thinking about what to do, give it a read!

With pet sitting, the designated person comes to the property for a set duration of time as requested by the pet owner. During this time, they will feed it, walk it if necessary, clean its enclosure and carry out any general pet care that they are able to do and as directed by the owner. It also gives an added element of security to the home as someone is regularly seen coming and going. A great deterrent to would-be burglars.

Do I need any qualifications to be a pet sitter?

The good thing about wanting to be a pet sitter is that you do not require any specific qualifications to do it. That being said, if you have a background in animal care you will certainly look more appealing to potential customers. One of the only things you will need is a background check, especially if you are to be entering someone’s home to look after their pet.

You can also join NARPS, an association for pet sitters and dog walkers. For an annual fee, you will receive a listing on their directory as well as regular updates and training information.

What’s the difference between pet sitting and pet home boarding?

Despite being roles that are pretty much the same, pet home boarding allows, you, the animal lover to look after a pet at your own home. Pet sitting on the other hand is where you would look after the animal at the pet’s home. This is where the licencing requirements change. With pet sitting, you do not need a license, whereas, with pet home boarding, you do.

What licence do you need for pet home boarding?

If the pets of another household will be in your care, at your home, you will require a licence. These can be obtained through the local council and will be needed If you plan to run:

  • Boarding kennels or cattery
  • A dog daycare business
  • A dog boarding business from within your home
  • A business that arranges boarding for other people’s dogs or cats

Regardless of the number of animals, you will still need to apply for a licence. Such licenses are granted by the local council in 1,2 or 3-year terms and will be set by the council upon application. The length of license then determining the cost.

What do I need for a pet home boarding licence?

Before a licence is granted, the premises at which you will look after the animals will be inspected to see that it meets the requirements of such a licence. Even if it is granted after this inspection, you could find yourself inspected at any time during the time you hold the licence. The initial and any subsequent inspections will include checks to see that the animals are:

  • Given suitable food, drink and bedding
  • Exercised regularly and not left alone for prolonged periods
  • Looked after by trained individuals
  • Protected from harm
  • Protected from emergencies like a fire
  • Kept in accommodation suitable to the animal’s needs

At the same time, you will need to have the license on show at the property, show that your licence number features in any adverts and that you have a complete register of all the animals that have been checked in and out of your premises.

You will find yourself turned down for a licence if you have committed an animal welfare offence or been banned from selling or breeding animals as well as if you have been banned from training animals for exhibitions.

Do I need insurance as a pet sitter?

It would come highly advised. The animals are in your care after all. Not only will insurance cover you against certain costs but it can put you in a strong position when it comes to advertising your business too. Potential customers will feel more comfortable knowing the person looking after their pet(s) is fully insured and if other pet sitters within the area are not, you may hold a competitive edge over them.

What does pet-sitting insurance cover?

Holding an insurance policy will help cover you against many possible expenses. Public liability insurance is extremely worthwhile as should any accidents happen in the home or out on a walk, you could be covered against the potential costs.

If you have developed a successful pet-sitting business and now require staff to work for you, you will need employer liability cover. Should a team member fall ill, get injured or have their property destroyed whilst doing their job, you can be covered should any claims be made against you.

If you are still a lone worker, personal accident and illness cover will be worth securing too. This can help protect you against lost earnings should you be unable to work. One other factor you should look to add on is care, custody and control protection.  This type of policy protects you against accidents that occur when a pet is under your care, control and custody. It is included in many policies but isn’t in all so you should enquire when getting your policy in place.


At PBS Pet Travel, we fully understand the care you have for your pets and how you want them to be looked after properly. Should a pet sitter not be the avenue you want to go down, speak to our team. We can help you organise pet travel so that no matter where you go in the world, your pet can come too. With years of experience in taking pets abroad as well as bringing a pet to the UK, we can ensure that they travel safely, securely and efficiently to your chosen destination. Get a free quote today.