Animal Activities Licence

From parrots to puppies, the best place to buy a new pet for your home is the local pet shop. But to be able to sell a hamster or rabbit in a pet shop, you will need a animal activities licence.


Animal Activities Licence


Local council

TIME TO GET LICENCED 28 days (varies depending on local council)
COST £300.00
VALID FOR 1 year

Prepare for premises visit

Contact local council to arrange premises inspection

Apply for animal activities licence

Seek planning permission if required
provide a copy of your current liability insurance certificate
Get Licenced

Find Your Course

What is an animal activities licence?

To run a business selling pets you need an animal activities licence issued under the Pet Animals Act 1951. This includes all commercial selling of pets including pet shops, businesses selling animals over the internet, and selling animals from your own home.


We make getting your Animal Activities licence a simple, stress-free process 


NOTE: You can’t sell animals as pets in public places - e.g. from a market stall.



How to apply for a animal activities licence

Animal activities licence applications must be made via your local council. You can find the contact details for your local council at the Official UK Government Website.



Inspections and star ratings

All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

specialist knowledge in the species that you are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare (including the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment)

comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities

an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly

training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them and clear evidence of good supervision of staff

The premises itself will also be assessed against the new national standards relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.


Based on the information, your local council will assess the risk posed by the business and award a star rating.  Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars while premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars.

Based on the information, the inspector from your local council will assess the risk posed by the business and award a star rating.




A pet shop is any building where animals are sold as pets, including your own home. This also includes online businesses.
No. If you run a pet shop without a animal activities licence, or break the terms of your licence, you could be fined up to £500, and also be imprisoned for up to 3 months.
Yes. Pet shops that sell fish need a pet shop licence to be able to trade fish.

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