Friday July 19 2019

How to set up a dog business

Jake Holyoak

JAKE HOLYOAK | Head of Outreach

How to set up a dog business

There are approximately 8.5 million dogs in the UK, with each household having on average 1.3 dogs. People are treating their pets as humans more than ever as they rely on them for companionship. Therefore, they are becoming much more high maintenance. This is opening up a host of new opportunities for members of the public to set up their own dog business. But, what are the key elements to setting up a dog business? Here, we explore.


A professional website is key to drumming up potential clients and opportunities. Your website allows you to advertise your business and showcase your skills. Social media can also do this. However, it goes one further and gives more of a ‘personal’ touch. If you have the permission of the owner, you can upload success stories and dogs you have dealt with.

While word of mouth is a great tool for marketing, branded attire, newspaper adverts and flyer can also keep your company at the forefront of potential customers’ minds. Pet services listings are another fantastic tool. Simply adding your business details to as many of these sites as possible will help boost your reach potential and some are even free.


No matter what business you want to create, licensing is often an important aspect. This is no different when dealing with dogs. Here is an example in certain dog businesses:

Dog walking

Depending on where in the UK you live, you may find that you need a licence if you intend to run a dog walking business.  Therefore, it’s advised that you contact your local authority to find out whether or not this is something you require.

Pet minding

It’s required to obtain a licence if you wish to run a boarding kennel or cattery in England, Wales or Scotland. This is because of the Animal Boarding Establishments Act of 1963. Even if you only intend on minding a small number of pets, you may still be required to apply to your council for a licence as some authorities follow this legislation.

If it is required, you may find that the council come and inspect your premises to ensure that all animals are suitably looked after. This includes your accommodation, the animal’s food, drink and bedding, how much exercise they’ll have and if they’ll be protected from any infectious diseases.

This annual licence will need to be renewed each year.

Pet sitting

While pet sitters in the UK aren’t required to be licenced if they are caring for pets in the owner’s own home, some businesses do join organisations so that their professional image is enhanced. These groups are dedicated to showing that their members operate legitimately and strive to make sure that pet owners always receive quality service. Being DBS (Disclosure and barring Service – previously known as Criminal Records Bureau) checked can also help you gain a higher level of trust.


It can be stressful setting up and running your own business. However, simply knowing that if things were to go wrong there is someone there to help, can greatly help. With companies such as Cliverton offering insurance for dog walkers as well as insurance many other dog businesses, they can cover you every need. This includes:


·       Public liability insurance, which covers injury to a third party as well as damage to their property.

·       Care, custody and control is also available to cover you for any injury caused to the dog in your care.

·       Employers’ liability, which covers you for any injury to employees at work caused by your negligence.

·       Goods in transit, to cover any injury an animal may suffer when being transported in your care.

·       Personal accident, which gives you a weekly benefit if an accidental injury at work stops you from working.

Then, there is motor insurance if your business requires it. It’s important to note that standard motor insurance isn’t likely to work as cover if your vehicle has been modified to carry animals the cover will be even more difficult to obtain. 

If you are looking to work from home, PetStay franchise opportunities could be just what you’re looking for. However, even home dog boarding workers require enhanced household insurance. This is because most home insurances don’t cover your house and contents if you are running a business from the location.  


Following the above information will help stand you in a good position to setting up your dog business. If you wish to join the PetStay team, some of our local branches are currently on the lookout for dog carers. Check out our opportunities here.

"A professional website is key to drumming up potential clients and opportunities. "

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