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Pet business permit

Learn how to submit plans for a new pet business permit, take over an existing pet business, or renew an existing permit.

Get a new pet business permit

Review our guide for navigating pet business regulations in King County:

Screenshot of the cover of the King County Pet Business Guide

Pet business permits in King County: What you need to know

pets Guide for owners and operators of pet-related businesses (21.6 MB)

Before starting a pet business, you'll need to familiarize yourself with local and state regulations regarding permitting, licensing, zoning, sanitation, and animal welfare.

In this guide, you'll find information on getting the proper permits, designing your space, and creating a business plan that supports the health and safety of you, your staff, and the animals.

➡ Note: All new pet businesses must submit a plan for review before construction or remodel. After the plans are approved a separate application for the yearly operational permit will be required.

Renew your permit

Renew permits via our online service portal. Permit renewals are due on March 1st of the calendar year. Late permit renewals are subject to late fees and fines.

Businesses exempt from permits

  • Dog walkers
  • Pet Trainers that do not board. Board and train facilities may require a permit.
  • Dog and cat boarding for 3 or less animals
  • Sales of animals at live auctions where the animals are held onsite for less than 24 hours
  • Animal adoption events where the animals are held onsite for less than 24 hours.
  • Animal rescues that do not have a brick-and-mortar facility
    Sheltering of more than 3 animals on a premises is prohibited and would require a permit
  • Bird and exotic pet boarding
  • Animal exhibits and sanctuaries where animals are not sold or adopted
  • Petting zoos

External agencies

To obtain a pet business license, we require documentation that the land use is allowed per local zoning. This documentation needs to be from the zoning authority, not just the applicant showing the zoning map.

If you live in unincorporated King County, you will need to contact Department of Local Services for land used documentation.

If you live in Seattle, you will need to contact the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections for land-use documentation

  • Permits, Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections

For other cities, contact your city zoning and building departments.

If you are changing plumbing, such as adding or changing sinks or installing a bathing tub, you will likely need plumbing permits. If you are within city limits, this will be part of the permitting requirements within your city for your business. If you are in the City of Seattle or unincorporated King County, plumbing permitting information can be found on our website.

If your site is on a septic system, you will need a septic system review. Commercial wastewater is not allowed to discharge in residential septic systems and you will likely need a holding tank. Pet business wastewater contains pet feces, litter, hair, cleaners, disinfectants, and flea and tick treatment residuals that make it differ greatly from household wastewater. Septic systems are not designed to handle pet feces.

Pet business wastewater cannot be dumped onto the ground, surface water, or to any other type of drain.

Learn more about on-site sewage/septic systems and septic system review process.