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The journey towards animal welfare standards for unregulated pet services

In B.C., dog daycare, dog walking, pet boarding and grooming are unregulated, which means anyone can open a boarding facility, grooming salon, or run a dog daycare, regardless of their education and experience. This leaves guardians unsure of who to trust and puts pets at risk of poor welfare conditions.

dog boarding AnimalKind

To help find pet services that prioritize welfare and to support humane pet service operators, the BC SPCA set out to produce standards that would raise the bar for animal welfare in these unregulated services.

The journey

The journey towards pet services standards began in 2019 with a survey of B.C. dog daycares and kennels to learn about their practices and challenges. Next, 1:1 consultations with pet service professionals and reviews of existing standards and research literature were completed. By 2021, draft standards were circulated for feedback to over 30 external experts, including academics, pet professionals, and AnimalKind accredited dog trainers. Then in spring 2022, a public comment period gathered insight and experiences from over 2,500 individuals.

The BC SPCA has now published AnimalKind voluntary, evidence-based standards for companion animal services.

journey towards pet services standards by BC SPCA AnimalKind

AnimalKind standards for companion animal services

The AnimalKind standards (PDF) cover humane care and handling for cats and dogs, caregiver training, size and composition for dog walking and daycare groups, and many other topics. Additional resources were produced to aid guardians when looking for a service and help professionals incorporate AnimalKind standards into their daily practices.

Producing standards involves an investment of time, resources and expertise. This four-year journey is a testament to the BC SPCA’s commitment to raising the bar for animal welfare using a proven, evidence-based approach.


humane pet services including cat grooming cat boarding dog boarding dog grooming dog daycare and dog walking