Responsible pet ownership

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 says you must take care of your animals and their needs.

Ear cropping

Ear cropping is against the law.

Find out more about ear cropping in dogs from the RSPCA.

Tail docking

Tail docking is against the law, unless carried out by a vet for medical reasons. Working dogs are not exempt from the rule.


By law, every dog owner must have their dog microchipped.

If your dog has puppies, you must have the puppies microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they're eight weeks old.

Read more about microchipping your dog on GOV.UK.


By law all dogs must wear a collar and tag with the owner's name and address on the tag. It's recommended you include your telephone number.


Neutering or spaying is the removal of the reproductive organs in dogs.

Read about neutering on the RSPCA website.

Further information on responsible pet ownership

Advice and welfare information for animals from the RSPCA

Responsible animal or pet ownership from Business Companion

Imported animals, including dogs
To avoid buying an illegally imported pet, read the guide to buying a cat or dog on GOV.UK.
Find advice about getting a dog or puppy from:


Notifiable diseases in agriculture
Biosecurity is a set of precautions that aim to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful diseases.
Good biosecurity when keeping animals reduces the risk of diseases spreading. You should have plans to prevent and contain the spread of disease if there's an outbreak.
You must report a notifiable disease, such as bird flu, if you have: 
  • animals in a smallholding
  • farm animals
  • animals like horses, sheep or chickens
Report your suspicions to your regional Animal and Plant Health Agency straight away.
By law you must use a Defra-approved disinfectant when there is an outbreak of a notifiable disease. Find out when and how to use a Defra-approved disinfectant.

Further information on farm animal health

  • traceability
  • transport
  • diseases
  • animal or pet feed
  • disposal of fallen stock
Read advice about farm animal welfare from the RSPCA.