United Kingdom

Animal Welfare Act 2006
Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs
The Code of Practice
This Code of Practice (the Code) applies to all dogs. The purpose of the Code is to provide practical guidance to help you to comply with the provisions of Section 9 of the Act. It does not tell you precisely how to care for a dog, but summarises important things you should consider when making decisions about how best to care for your dog. Breach of a provision of this Code is not an offence in itself but, if proceedings are brought against you for an offence under Section 9 of the Act, the Court will look at whether or not you have complied with the Code in deciding whether you have committed an offence. If you are unsure about anything to do with the care of your dog you should always seek advice from an expert. Throughout this Code the term “vet” will be used to refer to a veterinary surgeon. You will also find reference in the Code to “other suitably qualified dog care specialists”. These are people who, through qualification and experience, can provide expert advice on dog welfare. Examples include veterinary nurses, animal behaviourists, and staff at animal welfare organisations. Other sources of information are listed in Annex 1. You can find out more about the Act and other legislation relating to dogs at www.defra.gov.uk . You can find more advice and information on how to look after your pet, including how to get a pet passport, at www.direct.gov.uk .

Section 1: The need for a Suitable Environment-Making sure your dog has a suitable place to live.
What you should do:

• Provide your dog with a safe, clean environment. Make sure that you provide adequate protection from hazards.

• Provide your dog with a comfortable, clean, dry, quiet, draught-free rest area.

• Provide your dog with somewhere it can go to avoid things that frighten it.

• If your dog is kept in a kennel, or tethered, you should check it frequently and ensure it is not in danger or distressed.

• Provide your dog with access to an appropriate place, away from its resting area, which it can use as a toilet area regularly as needed.

• Make sure that any place you leave your dog is large enough to ensure, at all times, a comfortable area with effective ventilation and temperature control, and that your dog is able to move around to ensure its comfort, avoiding becoming too hot or too cold.

• When you transport your dog make sure it is comfortable and safe at all times.

• Do not leave your dog unattended in any situation, or for any period of time that is likely to cause it distress.

Section 2: The need for a Suitable Diet-Making sure your dog has a healthy diet.
What you should do:

• Provide your dog with clean fresh drinking water at all times. If necessary carry water, in a suitable container, with you when clean water is unlikely to be available.

• Dogs should be able to reach food and water easily in all situations.

• Make sure your dog eats a balanced diet suitable for its individual needs and maintains a stable weight that is neither over nor underweight for its age, level of activity, sex, breed and state of health. Do not let your dog overeat or it will become obese, and do not feed too little or your dog will be underweight.

• Be aware that any change in the amount your dog eats or drinks may be a sign of ill health. • Read, and be guided by, the feeding instructions relating to any dog foods you buy.

• Provide all dogs (including puppies) that have special needs with diets that meet their individual requirements.

• If you are uncertain what to do you should seek advice on feeding your dog from a vet, suitably qualified dog care specialist, or other reliable source.

• Feed your adult dog at least once each day, unless advised otherwise by your vet.

• Do not change your dog’s diet suddenly. Changes should be made gradually over several days.

• You should not feed your dog shortly before, or after, strenuous exercise.

Section 3: The need to be able to Exhibit Normal Behaviour Patterns-Making sure your dog behaves normally.
What you should do:

• Make sure your dog has enough to do so that it does not become distressed or bored.

• Make sure your dog has access to safe toys and suitable objects to play with and chew. • Ensure that your dog can rest undisturbed when it wants to. Puppies and older animals may need more rest.

• Provide your dog with regular opportunities for exercise and play with people or other friendly dogs.

• Give your dog the exercise it needs, at least daily unless your vet recommends otherwise, to keep your dog fit, active and stimulated.

• If you are unsure how much exercise your dog needs; take advice from your vet or other suitably qualified dog care specialist.

• You should know the behaviour of your dog when it is fit and healthy. If you become aware of changes in behaviour, you should seek veterinary advice, as your dog may be distressed, bored, ill or injured.

• All dogs should be trained to behave well, ideally from a very young age. Only use positive rewardbased training. Avoid harsh, potentially painful or frightening training methods.

Section 4: The need it has to be Housed With, or Apart From, Other Animals-Making sure your dog has the company it needs.
What you should do:

• Make sure your dog has opportunities to spend enough time with people and friendly dogs so that it is less likely to become lonely or bored.

• Make sure that your dog is never left alone long enough for it to become distressed.

• Encourage your dog to be friendly towards other dogs and allow it to interact with friendly dogs on a regular basis.

• Puppies should be given regular opportunities to socialise with other dogs and people. You should always check health issues with your vet before allowing your puppy to mix with other dogs.

• If you keep more than one dog, you should keep them together for company if possible. They will need to get on with each other, but will also need space to get away from each other when they want to.

•When dogs live together you should provide enough extra resources (e.g. toys, beds, food and water bowls and places where they feel safe) to stop them from becoming competitive and fighting with each other.

• If your dog is fearful of, or aggressive towards, other dogs avoid the situations that lead to this behaviour and seek advice from a vet or suitable qualified dog care specialist.

• If social encounters distress or frighten your dog, you should seek professional help from a vet or other suitably qualified dog care specialist.

• You should ensure that dogs in your care are handled properly and are not stressed or endangered by other adults, children or animals, including people who look after your dog for you when you are away from home.

• Be consistent in the way you, your family and friends, react to your dog and do not encourage aggressive or other anti-social behaviour.

• When you are away, make sure your dog is properly cared for by a responsible person. When someone else is looking after your dog they also have a legal responsibility to ensure its welfare, and you should ensure that they understand its needs and any special requirements that it may have.

• Never leave your dog unsupervised with another animal or person who may deliberately or accidentally harm or frighten it.

Section 5: The need to be Protected from Pain, Suffering, Injury and Disease-Making sure your dog stays healthy.
What you should do:

• Take sensible precautions to keep your dog safe from injury.

• If you notice changes in your dog’s behaviour you should contact your vet and follow the advice you are given.

• Check your dog over regularly and watch out for signs of injury, disease or illness. Make sure someone else does this if you are away.

• You should carefully check your dog’s coat regularly and groom your dog, if necessary, to maintain a healthy coat.

• If you recognise signs and symptoms of disease or suspect that your dog is in pain, ill or injured contact a vet promptly and follow veterinary advice regarding its treatment. If at any time you have concerns about the health or welfare of your dog you should seek advice from a vet or suitably qualified dog care specialist.

• You should ask your vet how often your dog needs a health check, and about the things you can do to protect your dog’s health. You should follow the advice you are given.

• Your vet is the best person to ask about routine preventive healthcare, such as vaccination and treatments to control parasites (e.g. fleas and worms), as well as any current health problems your dog may have.

• If your dog is kept outside, clean up regularly to avoid disease transmission.

• Medicines intended for humans or other animals can kill dogs. It is important that your dog is only given medicines authorised for dogs or that have been specifically prescribed or advised by your vet for your dog.

• You should always consult your vet if you are concerned that your dog has eaten or come into contact with anything that could be harmful.

• Your dog is required to wear a collar and identity tag when in a public place. Collars should be of the correct size and fit, and should not cause any pain or discomfort. If using a microchip as a form of identification, remember to keep the microchip database up to date with any changes in your contact details.

• You should seek the advice of your vet before allowing your dog to breed and take all reasonable steps to ensure that you will be able to find suitable homes for puppies.

For further informations:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69390/pb13333-cop-dogs-091204.pdf
https://www.gov.uk/animal-welfare-legislation-protecting-pets

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