Animal boarding establishments
A licence is needed to keep a boarding establishment for animals under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963. This includes any business which provides accommodation for cats or dogs owned by other people. Both commercial premises, such as kennels and catteries, and home boarders who look after pets within their own home require licences, as do businesses providing day-time accommodation for pets (for example, dog daycare and cat creches).
Businesses which accommodate animals only as an ancillary part of the business (for example, a vet's surgery accommodating animals overnight after treatment) do not need to be licensed. There are also no requirements for licences for the boarding of other types of animals apart from dogs and cats.
As home boarders care for a smaller number of animals in less-specialised premises, we apply some special provisions to these applications, including less onerous conditions and lower fees (as inspections typically take less time). However, we still expect all home boarding businesses to be run in a professional manner, with the welfare of the boarded animals the primary concern, and licences will be refused or revoked if we cannot be satisfied that this will be the case.
Applying for a licence
To apply for a boarding establishment licence, please complete and submit the application form below.
On receipt of an application for a licence, we will arrange for the premises to be inspected, usually by a council officer but for more complex cases we may require an independent vet to visit as well (please note that the cost of this inspection will be recharged to the applicant, in addition to the application fee). The inspection will look at whether the premises are suitable for use as a boarding establishment, and the condition and suitability of the accommodation. We will also interview the applicant to ensure that they and their staff, if applicable, have the specialist knowledge, experience and qualifications required to run a boarding establishment.
When we consider the application, we will take the following matters into account:
- The suitability, qualifications and experience of the applicant and their employees
- The report produced by the council officer or vet following the inspection, and any recommendations made
- The need to secure:
- that animals will be kept at all times in suitable accommodation (in terms of construction, size, number of occupants, exercise facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness)
- a supply of suitable food and drink, bedding material, and regular visits where appropriate
- that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases
- that appropriate steps will be taken to protect the animals in case of fire or other emergency
- that a register is kept with details of all animals boarded at the premises, and made available for inspection on request.
Apply online for an animal boarding establishment licence (via GOV.UK)
Apply online to renew an animal boarding establishment licence (via GOV.UK)
Apply online to vary an animal boarding establishment licence (via GOV.UK)
Animal boarding establishment licence - application form (PDF 386KB)
Details of current application fees can be found on our licensing fees and charges page.
Can I start trading before my application is determined?
No. It is in the public interest that we fully consider your application before you start to operate. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us, using the contact details below.
Maintaining a licence
Licences will usually be granted until the end of the current calendar year. If the applicant requests it, we will issue the licence for the whole of the following calendar year (although this will mean that no licence will be in force for the remainder of the current year).
Standard conditions for Animal Boarding Establishments (kennels/catteries) (PDF 16KB)
Renewal applications can be made prior to the expiry of the licence. A further inspection of the premises will be carried out on each renewal application. Renewed licences will be issued for the whole of the calendar year.
Licences are issued subject to standard conditions, plus any further specific conditions as have been listed on the licence.
Standard conditions for Animal Boarding Establishments (home boarding - dogs) (PDF 39KB)
Standard conditions for Animal Boarding Establishments (home boarding - cats) (PDF 37KB)