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Animal Activity Licensing And The Businesses That Need One

17 / 11 / 2022

In the wake of the pandemic and an increasing number of people deciding to have pets instead of children, the UK pet population has reached an all-time high. This has directly resulted in a huge rise in demand for Animal Care Professionals, to make sure the nation’s companion animals get the care they need.

If you’ve ever contemplated an animal career, now’s the perfect time to make that switch! You can move into a job you love or even work with animals on the side to generate a second income to boost your pay packet during the cost of living crisis.

All you need to do before you get started is make sure you have a licence for your pet care business if one is required. Anyone operating a licensable animal activity business without one is breaking the law, but don’t worry, we’ll explain what an Animal Activity Licence is, what businesses need one and how to get yours below.

Animal Activities Licences Explained

It was the animal activities licence 2018 changes initiated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), that altered the way companion animal businesses are run. Now, all businesses affected need to operate in line with a regulated set of standards, to ensure that the animals within them get an approved high level of care.

This replaces previous licences with the need for all affected animal businesses to obtain one single licence type: the Animal Activity Licence (AAL). Should any business requiring this licence fail to obtain one and carry on with their operation, they will be committing an offence.

The licence provided can vary depending on the level of standards met and the risks posed by the animal business. Your Animal Activity Licence can be valid from 1 to 3 years, and your animal businesses can receive a star rating from 1 to 5. This is all dependent on whether your animal activity business demonstrates minor failings, meets the minimum AAL requirements, or the higher set of AAL standards, and if the Animal Inspector deems your business to be a higher or lower risk.

The licensing of activities involving animals helps the government, and customers, know that animals will be in safe hands when using your services.

What Animal Businesses Require An Animal Activity Licence?

This type of licensing is affecting more and more animal businesses, to make sure animals in all manner of circumstances are having their welfare needs met appropriately. If you’re looking to get into pet care businesses, Animal Activity Licensing Regulations currently apply to Catteries, Day Care for Dogs, Dog Boarding Kennels, Home Boarding for Dogs, and Pet Shops. Plus, other types of companion animal businesses that are detailed on the UK Government website.

This means if you’re looking to:

  • Set up a cattery
  • Start a doggy day care
  • Open a dog boarding business
  • Work in a pet shop

You will need to complete the steps that allow you to fill out an Animal Activity Licence application form and get approved before starting work.

What Do I Have To Do To Meet Animal Activity Licensing Requirements?

There are a number of things you must do to get an animals activities licence, one of which is to get qualified in your chosen area of animal activity.

This confirms you and your staff are trained in:

  • Animal behaviour
  • Animal handling
  • Animal welfare, including recognising poor welfare
  • Cleanliness and hygiene
  • Feeding and preparing food
  • Giving first aid to sick or injured animals
  • Preventing and controlling disease
  • Recognising sick or injured animals


How to Meet Minimum Animal Activity Licence Requirements

If you and your staff can prove you have relevant and sufficient knowledge and experience that was gained before this regulation change rolled out, you can miss this step.

Anyone who can’t prove they are highly knowledgeable and skilled in their animal activity area needs to hold a formal Level 2 qualification related to their animal activity, like those regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). You must also complete ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and evidence this in your records.

A Level 2 qualification will enable you to meet the minimum standards. This allows your business to obtain a 1-year licence and get up to 3-stars maximum. You’ll also pay a higher licence fee.

How To Meet Higher Animal Activity Licence Standards

If you want to run a 5-star business and demonstrate your service is of the highest quality, you need a member of permanent, full-time staff to have an appropriate Ofqual regulated Level 3 qualification to meet the higher Animal Activity Licensing standards.

This will allow your animal business to get a 2 to 3-year licence, a 4 or 5-star rating, and pay a lower licence fee.

Can I Meet Animal Activity Licensing Requirements Through An Online Course?

Yes, you can! Anyone looking at how to set up dog day care businesses, how to become a dog boarder, how to set up a cattery business, or work in a pet shop, can meet the qualification aspect of Animal Activity Licensing requirements quickly through a convenient online course.

Level 2 Award in Canine Care and Welfare

Our online Level 2 canine care and welfare course meets the Basic Standard Animal Activity Licensing Requirements. It’s Ofqual-approved and is made up of 2 units that explore canine health and welfare, and the principles of canine behaviour and training. The ideal way to get your doggy day care or dog boarding business up and running quickly.

Level 3 Diploma in Canine Care, Behaviour and Welfare

Our online Level 3 canine care, behaviour and welfare course meets the Higher Standard Animal Activity Licensing requirements. It’s Ofqual-approved and has 7 units to complete on the study of the care of canines in kennels and dog day care/dog boarding, canine welfare, first aid, training, behaviour, handling, transportation, legislation, and grooming. This is great if you’re looking to establish a 5-star canine business!

Level 3 Diploma in Feline Care, Behaviour and Welfare

Our online Level 3 feline care, behaviour and welfare course meets the Higher Standard Animal Activity Licensing Requirements. It’s Ofqual-approved and the 8 units you complete examine the care of cats in catteries, nutrition, handling and transportation, anatomy and physiology, felines and the law, plus feline behaviour and psychology. Exactly what you need if you want your cattery to receive the highest level of cattery licence.

Level 3 Diploma in Kennel and Cattery Management

Our online Level 3 kennel and cattery management course meets the Higher Standard Animal Activity Licensing Requirements. It is Ofqual-approved and explores the welfare and care of dogs and cats, feline and canine behaviour, animal welfare legislation and the management of kennels and catteries over 8 detailed units. Perfect if you want to care for cats and dogs through boarding.

Level 3 Award for Pet Care in Retail

Our online Level 3 pet care for retail course meets the Higher Standard Animal Activity Licensing Requirements. It’s also an Ofqual-approved qualification, and it studies everything from keeping animals as pets to nutrition, accommodation, and enrichment, and more over 6 fascinating units. This is ideal for any aspiring pet shop worker, store manager, or franchise owner.

Talk To Our Experts About Animal Activity Licensing Requirements

As Animal Activity Licensing covers more animal-related businesses, it’s imperative aspiring pet care workers know their obligations so they can work legally and provide for the animals in their care appropriately.

If you’re concerned or unsure of your need to meet Animal Activity Licensing Requirements, we’re on hand to help you figure it out. Our team of animal career experts know the industry through and through and can help you determine if you need an animal licence at all, and if so, the best way to get it.

Call us now on 01202 006 040 or contact us online!

Also, if you adore animals, you can keep track of all upcoming animal awareness days and events with our FREE calendar! Download it here.


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