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Animal Boarding Establishments

Information on animal boarding establishments and how to apply for a licence.


  • Find details of the Animal Boarding Establishment Licence and how to apply
  • Find information about the application process

Do I need an Animal Boarding Establishment Licence?

Under the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 any business or person will need a licence if they wish to board dogs or cats. 

There are four types of boarding and you will need to apply for the correct licensable activity:

  • Full boarding in kennels for dogs
  • Full boarding of cats in catteries
  • Home boarding for dogs
  • Day care for dogs

Please note: Home boarding has different conditions to day care. Please ensure you apply for the correct boarding.

What are the criteria for this licence?

Activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria are subject to licensing:

  • Businesses which provide accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs, where the provision of that accommodation is part or solely the activity of the business.
  • Businesses which arrange for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs, for example, businesses which connect pet owners with people willing to look after their animals for no fee (just minor expenses).

Please read the Licence Conditions

Please read through the licence conditions carefully for the type of licence that applies to your application: 

How much does it cost to apply?

See our licensing fees and charges

How do I apply?

The online application form for an Animal Boarding Licence is currently unavailable, we are sorry for any inconvenience. 

To apply to run an animal boarding establishment please download, print and complete the application form and pay the initial fee. 

Download the application form

What is the inspection process?

All premises will be inspected before a licence is granted. The Officer will be looking to make sure the applicant has the at least the following.

  • A specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role
  • Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities
  • An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine
  • Training Procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff

The premises itself will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept

How long will my application take? 

Once the Licensing Team receive your application and your initial payment, they must issue a decision on application within 10 weeks of receiving it.

Can I start trading before there is a decision on my licence?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us on 01206 282520 or email

My application has been unsuccessful and I would like to appeal, how can I do this?

For suspensions, variation without consent or revocations in the first instance the applicant must contact the Licensing, Food and Safety Team.

You can contact us on 01206 282520 or email

If you are still not satisfied you can appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. There is a 28 day appeal period.

Can I see a list of existing Animal Boarding Establishment Licences?

View the list online here

How do I renew my licence?

Licence holders must renew their licence each year if they wish to continue to operate as a licensed animal boarder.

To renew their licence, licence holders must complete an renewal application form and submit this with the relevant fee:

Licensing Fees and Charges

This can be done by emailing, or by calling our Licensing, Food and Safety Team on 01206 282520.