5 dog laws every dog owner should know.

If you’re thinking about bringing home a dog or already have a pooch at home, there are a few laws that you should know to keep you, your canine companion, and those around you safe.

We want to help you understand some of your responsibilities as a responsible pet parent, but this should not be taken as legal advice.

Five dog laws every dog owner should know.

Here are 5 dog laws every dog owner should know.

1. Your dog must be microchipped

Since 6 April 2016, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old. A microchip is a chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice that contains a unique 15-digit code that matches up to your dog’s details.

Did you know? Animal Friends offers to store microchip numbers on behalf of our customers and their beloved pets!

2. You must pick up your dog’s mess

In most public areas, you will be required by law to pick up your dog’s poo, and you could even be fined if you fail to do so. There are certain areas, like heathland, woodland and fields used for agriculture, where you are not legally required to clean up after your dog.

It’s a good idea to know the rules of your local council, and always check the laws around anywhere you might be visiting with your pooch.

3. You must make sure your dog doesn’t bark too much

Our dogs communicate with their mouths, through barks, yelps, whimpers, growls, groans or even sighs. All dogs bark (unless you have a Basenji) but if it’s excessive and considered a noise nuisance, your neighbours can complain to your local council or landlord.

If your dog is barking a lot while you’re out of the house, they might be distressed or anxious, but there are some easy ways that you can help ease their separation anxiety.

4. Your dog must not worry livestock

If you’re walking your dog in the countryside, down a footpath through a farmer’s field or on agricultural land, your dog must not chase or attack any livestock.

If your dog worries livestock or is not on a lead around sheep, then you could be fined and forced to pay compensation.

Never allow you dog to worry livestock

5. You must meet your dog’s welfare needs

As a pet owner, you have a duty of care to ensure your dog has what is known as the Five Freedoms:

All dogs, and other domestic animals, have the legal right to:

  • freedom from hunger or thirst
  • live in a suitable environment
  • be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • freedom to exhibit normal behaviour
  • be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

There are other laws, codes and legislation you’ll need to be aware of as a dog owner and these can all be read on the Government’s website.

Looking for more dog advice?

Find the information you need as we support you through every step of your journey with your canine companion.


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Dog insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your dog gets injured or falls ill.


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Animal Friends Insurance is a multi-award winning FCA-regulated pet insurer, founded in 1998 to provide industry-leading pet insurance and first-class animal care to create a better life for every animal.
As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
Our policyholders have helped donate over £8.5 million to more than 800 animal charities worldwide and by educating and inspiring others to act on current events and responsible pet ownership, Animal Friends is driving positive change for animal welfare and conservation.