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Pets and their wellbeing

Read the 5 welfare needs of animals, as well as links to advice, licence and policies.

Published: 22 January 2021

Last updated: 22 January 2021

The 5 welfare needs

Whether you keep a pet, or run a pet shop or boarding establishment, you must conform to the 5 welfare needs specified in the Animal Welfare Act 2006:

  1. Provide a suitable environment.
  2. Feed a suitable diet.
  3. Allow the animal to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
  4. Allow any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals.
  5. Be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Advice, licence and policies

The links below give advice on buying and keeping different types of pets and how to care for them:

RSPCA - pet welfare advice Understand your pets daily and longer-term needs, be it a typical companion pet such as dogs and cats, smaller furry rabbits, reptiles, or larger animals such as horses

RSPCA - buying puppies Puppy farming is a lucrative business that cruelly exploits animal welfare. Follow this guide to spot rogue sellers and ensure your new puppy is from a legitimate licensed breeder.

GOV.UK - animal welfare policies Animal welfare is an emotive and ever-changing topic. Read current research, consultations, and discussion on proposed changes to animal welfare.

Animal care and licences Some animals are classed as wild and have complex needs. These require a licence from us, but you can find additional information at GOV.UK.

RSPCA guide to animal kindness Pets can also encourage childhood responsibility and help children to develop compassion, understanding and respect for living things. Read more about this in the