What are the Five Welfare Needs?

All pets have five welfare needs: environment, diet, behaviour, company and health. As long as you’re able to meet each of these five aims you’ll most likely be fulfilling your duty of care towards your pet.


All pets need a suitable environment in which to live. It should be spacious and comfortable. Just like humans a pet in an inappropriate environment will not be happy, and their health will suffer. For example if your home is too cold or not large enough for exercise.


Diet is obviously of paramount importance. Animals like dogs and cats have more restricted diets when compared to us, they are carnivores and so require protein from quality sources. Your pet might have very specific dietary needs.


Your duty of care needs to bear in mind the behaviour both of for example dogs in general and your individual pet. All dogs need exercise and your individual dogs might have specific needs.


Dogs, for example, are generally very sociable animals. Therefore if you don’t give your dog enough company, either from other dogs or from you, the owner, then you might not be fulfilling their welfare needs.


Health is obviously very important. You should have a good relationship with your vet and be prepared to treat problems as they arise. You should also be prepared to notice health problems if they do occur.