Recommended space requirements for dogs kept in a pet retail environment


In line with a decision made by PIJAC Canada’s National Board of Directors, the association was asked to prepare a set of recommend space requirements for pets kept in a pet retail environment, This document represents the first segment of the exercise and refers to dogs.

Direction in this area had become necessary in light of the increasing number of requests made to the association on this specific issue by municipal and provincial regulators, as well as numerous consumer and stakeholder groups. Lack of pet industry-accepted standards gave regulators no choice but to recognize other published space requirement standards, these standards not having been designed to address the needs of animals kept in a pet retail environment. As result of this, retailers have been harassed to meet standards originally designed for research establishments and breeding kennels, in the case of dogs for example.

The following document was achieved through extensive consultation. Expertise was taken from PIJAC Canada’s involvement with government regulators and Canadian animal care agencies. Through our involvement with the International Pet Advisory Council we were able to review pertinent documents from other pet industry associations around the world.

Among the references used to build this document we consulted; the Pet Care Manual from Pet Industry Federation UK, the National Code Practice from the Pet Industry Association of Australia, the Proposed Housing Standards for Cats and Dogs in Companion Animal Establishments from the Prince Edward Island Government, a referral to the State of Colorado’s published Animal Care Facilities guidelines and a document from the Ministry of Agriculture and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.


The following assumptions have been taken into account to come up with the recommendations appearing in this document:

  1. Definition of Pet retail environment. “Pet retail environment” means any place or premise used in whole or in part, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, for the purpose of retail sale, trading, , or otherwise transferring pet animals to the public. In addition to the traditional pet shop or wholesaler, pet retail environments shall include the keeping for transfer or the transfer of pet animals at temporary facilities such as flea markets, mobile facilities, department stores, merchandise outlets, discount outlets, pet animal shows conducting a sale, and other types of retail outlets
  2. The minimum needs for socialization and exercise are already being met;
  3. “Dog” means a male or female puppy, aged eight (8) weeks or more;
  4. “Housing unit” means any cage or other enclosure used to house a cat or a dog but does not include housing in a cage while transporting a dog or a cat outside the pet retail environment;
  5. “Shoulder height” means the height of a dog at the withers (measured from a flat surface on which the dog is standing to the highest part of the back at the base of the neck of the dog);
  6. Notwithstanding other assumptions, each dog should be kept in a housing unit with dimensions that will accommodate the height, weight and length of the dog comfortably, with enough room to stand, sit, lie down and turn around without restrictions or overcrowding;
  7. Notwithstanding the other assumptions, it is understood that while this document specifically refers to space requirements, it does assume that all other pertinent animal welfare considerations, as outlined in other PIJAC Canada publications, are being met.
  8. Other related activities (grooming, adoption, etc.) must also comply with the previous assumptions. However, housing dimensions will take into consideration the size of the animals concerned.

In light of the assumptions made, PIJAC Canada recommends the following as a suggested cage space requirements for dogs kept in a pet retail environment.

Recommended space requirements:

DogMinimum floor area*Minimum heightMaximum number of of dogs per housing unit
< 3kg:
(< 6.6 lbs)
– 5000 square cm
(775 square inches)
50 cm
(20 inches)


3kg < 10kg:
(> 6.6 < 22lbs.)
– 5000 square cm
(775 square inches)
60 cm
(24 inches)


(> 22 lbs)
-6000 square cm
(930 square inches)
(24 inches)


* In accordance with hypothesis number 5.

June 2015