Currently the dog walking industry is wholly unregulated. This means that anyone can set up and start working at any time.

However, the industry does fall under other aspects of Law and as responsible business owners we have a legal and ethical duty to understand and work within the Law and / or relevant Acts / Regulations as well as keeping ourselves updated with any new laws or changes to existing laws that may arise.

The following list is for general information and not limited in content or application, there may be other Laws and Acts which are not listed here or come in to effect from time to time that apply. 

As professional dog walkers we are fully and legally responsible for the dogs in our care.

Members are advised to investigate and carry out self research both on a national level relevant to our home nation Government Guidance / Advice and local; check with your local council / authority.

Always extract information from the official sources, random websites may be out of date or incorrect.


Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 / Dangerous Dogs Act (Amendment) 1997, 2014


England and Wales Animal Welfare Act 2006, 2018


Scotland Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006


Northern Ireland Welfare of Animal Act 2011


The Control of Dogs Order 1992


The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953


Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010


Dog Control Orders / Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) (local authority)


Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (England and Wales)


Highways Act 1980 (England and Wales)


The Highway Code


Land Reform Act 2003 (Scotland)


Scottish Outdoor Access Code


Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005


EU Regulation for transport of animals


Distance Selling Regulations


Trading Standards


General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR)




Vehicle Insurance


Below are some examples of what all professional dog walkers should know (this list comprises a few examples only and is not by any means limited to):


Dangerous Dogs Act - Keep dogs under proper control. A dog walker is fully responsible for the control of a dog in their care at all times.


The Control of Dogs Order 1992 - states that every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name address of the owner inscribed or on a plate or badge attached to it.


England and Wales Animal Welfare Act 2006, 2018 - dog day care and home boarding IS regulated by this Act and a licence is required. Speak to your local authority for further information.


The Highway Code - Sections 47 to 58 covers rules for animals: Rule 56 Dogs: Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders. Ruler 57: When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.


Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005 / Scottish Outdoor Access Code - Both state dog owners/walkers must clean up after their dogs.


Trading Standards - anyone advertising a product or service for sale must comply e.g. do exactly what you  say you do in your advertisements / description.


General Data Protection 2018 - maintain controlled client records, have appropriate security to internet, compute, other devices.


HMRC - All self employed sole traders are required by law to submit  annual Self Assessment tax returns. Limited companies must submit formal  annual accounts.


Insurance - Vehicle insurance is a legal requirement in the UK and anyone using a vehicle for their work must have appropriate adequate cover for business use.


Local Authority - Check for any local legislation / requirements such as licencing or Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)s which may apply in your area.