Canada and the United States pet owners are only required by law to provide food, water, shelter and medical care when needed. Animals, both companion and those in food production, are seen as merely property.
Many other countries go well beyond North American's approach to animal legislation. It recognizes animals as "sentient beings". They don't consider animals as property.
The countries with the extensive guidelines for animal treatment and making them the best places to be a companion animal.
They recognize animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country. There is government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.
At a policy level, The New Zealand Animal Welfare Strategy outlines how animals are sentient. The government acknowledges animal welfare as a responsibility of its citizens and as a critical issue across industry.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (in Wales and England), Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006 (for Scotland) and the 2011 Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) recognizes all vertebrates as sentient beings.
Find out more about where different countries rank in their protection of animals.