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Animal boarding

To run a boarding kennel or cattery, including Home Boarding, you need a licence from the local authority. The number of dogs and cats that may be accommodated will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions.

Commercial boarding kennels have been legally required to hold a licence to look after people’s dogs, for many years. It is now popular for some households to offer this kind of accommodation, known as ‘Home Boarding’. There is little difference between the service that a commercial kennels provides and what home boarders offer to dog owners. People acting as hosts for ‘Home Boarding’ will therefore be required to have a licence to operate. Home Boarding licences will need to be renewed each year.

The licence, when issued, will have a list of conditions attached to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the animals during their stay.


New regulations come into effect from 1st October 2018, replacing a number of animal welfare laws.

If you have a licence that is in force on 1st October 2018, it will continue to be valid until it is due to expire.  You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations.

Application forms and fees will appear here once they are available.

Please read:

Procedural Guidance;

Guidance for Boarding Dogs in Kennels,

Guidance for Home Boarding Dogs,

Guidance for Dog Day Care,

Guidance for Boarding Cats

Inspection of licensed premises

We may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  • Keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • Keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • Owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006

Evaluating applications

The following criteria will be considered when the application is being evaluated:

  • That the animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times. Suitable accommodation takes into account the construction and size of the accommodation, the number of animals to be housed in it, facilities for exercising the animals, cleanliness and temperature, lighting and ventilation provisions
  • That suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided and that the animals are exercised and visited regularly
  • That steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease among the animals and that isolation facilities are in place  
  • That adequate protection is provided to the animals in the case of fire and other emergencies
  • That a register is kept. The register should contain a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date and the name and address of the owner. The register should be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner


There is a charge for this application, please see our licence fees page.


You can download the following application forms from us:

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