Dog Boarding License

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

October 2018

Ver 1.1


1. This guidance is aimed at local authority inspectors in England and should be read in conjunction with the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)


What is in and out of the scope: Providing boarding in kennels for dogs

2. Schedule1oftheAnimalWelfare(LicensingofActivitiesInvolvingAnimals)(England) Regulations 2018 (“the regulations”) defines the licensable activities for each sector. In all cases except dog breeding, the licensable activity is restricted to businesses or those operating on a commercial basis.

Business Test

  1. The Regulations specify two example business tests to be considered when determining whether an activity is considered commercial, and thus within scope. They are not the exclusive factors to be considered but are examples and other factors, such as those listed in the nine badges of trade set out by HMRC, are also relevant. The regulations include the following on this issue:
  2. The circumstances which a local authority must take into account in determining whether an activity is being carried on in the course of a business for the purposes of this Schedule include, for example, whether the operator—(a) makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or(b) earns any commission or fee from the activity.
  3. This guidance is intended to assist inspectors in determining whether or not an activity may be subject to the regulations noting that ultimately there will be an element of judgement required.
  4. Set out below are examples of the type of activity that should or should not be considered within the scope of the regulations and the indicators that should be considered when deciding whether a licence is required.
  5. Local authority inspectors should take account of all elements of the advice below and weigh them against each other before reaching a decision as to whether an activity falls within scope of the regulations.

Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs: definition in Schedule 1 of the regulations

“4. Providing or arranging for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cats or dogs in the course of a business on any premises where the provision of that accommodation is a purpose of the business.

(England) Regulations 2018 (SI No.486)
licensable activity under the regulations: dog breeding, pet selling, hiring out horses, boarding for dogs, boarding for cats, home boarding for dogs, dog day care and keeping or training animals for exhibition. There is also Procedural Guidance on the general issues that apply to all activities including on how to assess the star rating of establishments.

. Guidance documents are available for each


5. The activity described in paragraph 4 does not include keeping a dog or cat on any premises pursuant to a requirement imposed under, or having effect by virtue of, the Animal


Health Act 1981

In scope criteria

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

  1. 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.
  2. Businesses which arrange for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cat and dogs, for example, businesses which connect pet owners with people willing to look after their animals for no fee (just minor expenses). The accommodation provided in these circumstances must meet the conditions in Schedules 2 and 4, and it is the responsibility of the business to ensure that this is the case. The local authority needs to be satisfied that the conditions are met in all of the accommodation provided. The business must provide (and keep updated) a list of their associated premises. This applies regardless of whether the business is arranging for dog boarding in kennels, cat boarding, home boarding or dog day care.

Out of scope criteria

Activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria are not subject to licensing:

  1. Businesses where accommodation is provided for other people’s cats and dogs, but where the provision of that accommodation is not the purpose of that business, for example, veterinary practices where the accommodation provided is part of the treatment of the animal.
  2. Businesses that provide day care for dogs and do not keep them overnight (these are under the scope of dog day care facilities).

Guideline indicators of “out of scope” activities

The following may assist consideration of the criteria listed above:

The Government announced in Budget 2016 a new allowance of £1,000 for trading income from April 2017. Anyone falling under this threshold would not need to be considered in the context of determining whether they are a business.

(2) Animal Health Act 1981


Overview of the conditions and explanatory guidance

  1. This document outlines the conditions that must be complied with in order to receive an animal activities licence for the activity of providing boarding for dogs. The conditions set out in schedules to the regulations are given in bold throughout this document, whilst the explanatory guidance notes are provided as bullet points.
  2. In order to receive a licence a business will need to meet all of the minimum standards outlined in this document. In addition, businesses are encouraged to apply higher standards. A business that meets the higher standards will be able to gain a 4 or 5 star rating in the Animals Activity Star Rating System and will qualify for a longer licence (e.g. two or three years as opposed to a one-year licence) and thereby pay a lower licence fee.
  3. Whilst applying the higher standards is optional, certain standards are required in order to attract the higher star ratings. To distinguish required higher standards from optional ones they have each been given a specific colour which is used in each guidance document. Higher standards that appear in blue text are required in order for a business to be classed as high standard, whereas those that appear in red text are optional. See the Procedural Guidance for a full explanation of the Animals Activity Star Rating System and how it incorporates a risk assessment of the business.
  4. Paragraph numbering in the following parts of this guidance document relate to the numbering of the conditions in the relevant Schedules of the regulations.


Part A – General Conditions (Schedule 2 of the Regulations)

1.0 Licence Display

Condition (paragraph numbers relate to the numbering in the Regulations)
1.1 A copy of the licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any

premises used for the licensable activity.


The licence must be displayed in a public-facing area of the premises such as the entrance or reception area.


1.2 The name of the licence holder followed by the number of the licence holder’s licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any website used in respect of the licensable activity.

2.0 Records


  1. 2.1  The licence holder must ensure that at any time all the records that the licence holder is required to keep as a condition of the licence are available for inspection by an inspector in a visible and legible form. Where any such records are stored in electronic form, they must be able to be readily produced in a visible and legible form.
  2. 2.2  The licence holder must keep all such records for at least three years beginning with the date on which the record was created.


Electronic records must be backed up 3.0 Use, number and type of animal Condition

3.1 No animals or types of animal other than those animals and types of animal specified in the licence may be used in relation to the relevant licensable activity.


This licence applies only to the boarding of dogs. However, if there are welfare concerns relating to other animals then the inspector should inform either the relevant person in the Local Authority, the Police or suitable animal welfare organisation as appropriate.


3.2 The number of animals kept for the activity at any time must not exceed the maximum that is reasonable taking into account the facilities and staffing on any premises used for the licensable activity.



4.0 Staffing


4.1 Sufficient numbers of people who are competent for the purpose must be available to provide a level of care that ensures that the welfare needs of all the animals are met.


Where there is evidence that the welfare needs of the animals are not being met, the inspector should consider if the staffing levels are appropriate. The inspector should take into account:

The size of premises
The layout of the premises i.e. how many dogs may be permitted in each

separate area
The type of dog e.g. breed, age, health status and needs o The qualifications / experience of the staff
Additional services offered by the establishment
Use of part-time or voluntary staff

Higher Standard
Staffing levels will be up to 1 full-time equivalent attendant per 15 dogs kept. Condition

4.2 The licence holder or a designated manager and any staff employed to care for the animals must have competence to identify the normal behaviour of the species for which they are caring and to recognise signs of, and take appropriate measures to mitigate or prevent, pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour.


 Suitable and sufficient training of staff must be demonstrated to have been carried out in the following areas:

o Dog welfare, including recognising poor welfare and understanding the 5 welfare needs

Dog handling;
Dog behaviour;
Cleanliness and hygiene;
Feeding and food preparation;

a guide, the ratio of staff to dogs in established businesses will be around 1:25.


Disease control;

Recognition and first aid treatment of sick animals.
Training must be a minimum of an OFQUAL regulated level 2 qualification in a

relevant subject, or clear evidence of knowledge and experience.

Higher Standard

A member of staff with a relevant OFQUAL regulated Level 3 qualification must be present during the working day.


4.3 The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff.


The training policy must be reviewed and updated on an annual basis and must include:

annual appraisal

planned continued professional development

recognition of knowledge gaps

Use of online courses and literature

If no staff are employed the licence holder must demonstrate their own knowledge development.

5.0 Suitable Environment


5.1 All areas, equipment and appliances to which the animals have access must present minimal risks of injury, illness and escape. They must be constructed in materials that are robust, safe and durable, in a good state of repair and well maintained.



Dogs must be provided with a design and layout that provides them with choice. Separate areas for different activities must be provided. This can be achieved by, for example, inclusion of raised platforms.



5.2 Animals must be kept at all times in an environment suitable to their species and condition (including health status and age) with respect to

(a) their behavioural needs,
(b) its situation, space, air quality, cleanliness and temperature, (c) the water quality (where relevant),
(d) noise levels,
(e) light levels,
(f) ventilation.


5.3 Staff must ensure that the animals are kept clean and comfortable




5.4 Where appropriate for the species, a toileting area and opportunities for toileting must be provided.


There must be direct and continuous access to a run for toileting or the dog must be taken out of the kennel unit to toilet at least 4 times at intervals throughout the day.


5.5 Procedures must be in place to ensure accommodation and any equipment within it is cleaned as often as necessary and good hygiene standards are maintained. The accommodation must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.


5.6 The animals must be transported and handled in a manner (including for example in relation to housing, temperature, ventilation and frequency) that protects them from pain, suffering, injury and disease.


5.7 All the animals must be easily accessible to staff and for inspection. There must be sufficient light for the staff to work effectively and observe the animals.


Where practicable this must be natural light, but artificial light must be available. Where artificial lighting is used, this must be within a range of 10 to 12 hours daily.


Lights must be turned off to provide a period of darkness overnight. Condition

5.8 All resources must be provided in a way (for example as regards. frequency, location and access points) that minimises competitive behaviour or the dominance of individual animals.


There must be multiples of all resources (food, water bowls and sleeping areas), equal or greater than the number of dogs in the unit. Dogs must be carefully monitored, especially at feeding times.


5.9 The animals must not be left unattended in any situation or for any period likely to cause them distress.


All dogs must be observed regularly throughout the day. The licence holder or responsible person must visit the dogs at regular intervals (of no more than 4 hours apart during the working day e.g. starting at 0800, until 1800), or as necessary for the individual health, safety and welfare of each dog.

Higher standard

All individual dogs must be inspected at least once at an appropriate interval during the out of hours period (e.g. 1800-0800).

6.0 Suitable Diet


6.1 The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency. Any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them.


6.2 Feed and (where appropriate) water intake must be monitored, and any problems recorded and addressed.



Veterinary advice must be followed if feeding debilitated, underweight or ill dogs, or those with specific dietary requirements


6.3 Feed and drinking water provided to the animals must be unspoilt and free from contamination.


6.4 Feed and drinking receptacles must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected, or disposable.


6.5 Constant access to fresh, clean drinking water must be provided in a suitable receptacle for the species that requires it.


6.6 Where feed is prepared on the premises, there must be hygienic facilities for its preparation, including a working surface, hot and cold running water and storage.


7.0 Monitoring of behaviour and training of animals Condition

7.1 Active and effective environmental enrichment must be provided to the animals in inside and any outside environments.



 A documented programme must be available setting out enrichment both inside and outside including grooming, socialisation and play. All dogs must receive appropriate toys and / or feeding enrichment unless veterinary advice suggests otherwise. Items must be checked daily to ensure they remain safe and must not be left with an unsupervised dog.


7.2 For species whose welfare depends partly on exercise, opportunities to exercise which benefit the animals’ physical and mental health must be provided, unless advice from a veterinarian suggests otherwise.


There must a clear plan setting out two walks per dog each day for a minimum of 20 minutes each or two sessions of access to a secure open area away from the kennel unit.


7.3 The animals’ behaviour and any changes of behaviour must be monitored. Advice must be sought, as appropriate and without delay, from a veterinarian or, in the case of fish, any person competent to give such advice if adverse or abnormal behaviour is detected.



could include: elderly dogs; nervous dogs; dogs on some medications. Where a dog shows signs of being nervous, stressed or fearful, steps must be taken to address this.


7.4 Where used, training methods or equipment must not cause pain, suffering or injury.


Training must be reward based (i.e. reward desired behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour).


7.5 All immature animals must be given suitable and adequate opportunities to

(a) learn how to interact with people, their own species and other animals where such interaction benefits their welfare, and

(b) become habituated to noises, objects and activities in their environment.


 Documented processes must be in place to accommodate the needs of dogs under one year of age.

8.0 Animal Handling and Interactions


8.1 All people responsible for the care of the animals must be competent in the appropriate handling of each animal to protect it from pain, suffering, injury or disease.


8.2 The animals must be kept separately or in suitable compatible social groups appropriate to the species and individual animals. No animals from a social species may be isolated or separated from others of their species for any longer than is necessary.


Only dogs from the same household may share a kennel unit. Where dogs share a unit, the owner’s written authorisation must be obtained and dogs must be


monitored. Consent from the owner must also include authority for separating dogs, should problems arise.


8.3 The animals must have at least daily opportunities to interact with people where such interaction benefits their welfare.

9.0 Protection from Pain, Suffering, Injury and Disease


9.1 Written procedures must
(a) be in place and implemented covering

(i) feeding regimes,

(ii) cleaning regimes,


(iv)the prevention of, and control of the spread of, disease,

(v) monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals,

(vi)the death or escape of an animal (including the storage of dead animals);

(b) be in place covering the care of the animals following the suspension or revocation of the licence or during and following an emergency.


 The procedures must demonstrate how the conditions outlined in this guidance are met.


  1. 9.2  All people responsible for the care of the animals must be made fully aware of these procedures.
  2. 9.3  Appropriate isolation, in separate self-contained facilities, must be available for the care of sick, injured or potentially infectious animals.




9.4 All reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread among the animals and people of infectious diseases, pathogens and parasites.


9.5 All excreta and soiled bedding for disposal must be stored and disposed of in a hygienic manner and in accordance with any relevant legislation.


 Any preventive treatment must be administered with consent from the owner and under the direction of a veterinarian.


9.8 The licence holder must register with a veterinarian with an appropriate level of experience in the health and welfare requirements of any animals specified in the licence and the contact details of that veterinarian must be readily available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity.



9.9 Prescribed medicines must be stored safely and securely in a locked cupboard, at the correct temperature, and used in accordance with the instructions of the veterinarian.




9.12 No person may euthanase an animal except a veterinarian or a person who has been authorised by a veterinarian as competent for such purpose or

(a) in the case of fish, a person who is competent for such purpose;

(b) in the case of horses, a person who is competent, and who holds a licence or certificate, for such purpose.


9.13 All animals must be checked at least once daily or more regularly as necessary to check for any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour. Vulnerable animals must be checked more frequently. Any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour must be recorded and the advice and further advice (if necessary) of a veterinarian (or in the case of fish, of an appropriately competent person) must be sought and followed.


10.1 A written emergency plan, acceptable to the local authority, must be in place, known and available to all the people on the premises used for the licensable activity, and followed where necessary to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect all the people and animals on the premises in case of fire or in case of breakdowns for essential heating, ventilation and aeration or filtration systems or other emergencies.



A member of staff must be on site at all times


Part B Specific conditions: Providing boarding in kennels for dogs (Schedule 4, Part 2 of the Regulations)

7.0 Suitable Environment


  1. 7.1  Dogs within the premises to which the licence relates must be prevented from coming into contact with other animals from outside the premises.
  2. 7.2  In each kennel unit, the sleeping area must— (a) be free from draughts;

(b) provide the dog with sufficient space to

(i) sit and stand at full height, (ii) lie down fully stretched-out, (iii)wag its tail,
(iv)walk, and

(v) turn around,

without touching another dog or the walls;

(c) have a floor area which is at least twice the area required for the dog in it to lie flat; and

(d) if built after the date on which these Regulations come into force, have a floor area of at least 1.9 square metres.


7.2(d) applies to new builds and extensions. It does not apply to kennels rebuilding on an existing footprint. It is expected that many new boarding establishments will be significantly larger than the minimum sizes currently provided.

Higher Standard

7.3 The sleeping area must be at least 2.85m2.

7.4 Each kennel unit must be clearly numbered and there must be a system in place which ensures that relevant information about the dog or dogs in each kennel unit is available to all staff and any inspector.

Each dog must have constant access to its sleeping area.



temperature. If a dog chews or destroys its bedding, it must be replaced with an alternative.


  1. 7.5  Each dog must have a clean, comfortable and warm area within its sleeping area where it can rest and sleep
  2. 7.6  Each exercise run must have a single, safe, secure, waterproof roof over a minimum of half its total area.


7.7 Where a dog poses a health or welfare risk to other dogs, it must be kept on its own in a kennel unit. If that kennel unit adjoins another kennel unit any adjoining wall must be of full height and width so as to prevent the dog from coming into physical contact with any other dog.


Partition walls may be temporary as long as they are safe and robust. Condition

7.8 Only dogs from the same household may share a kennel unit.


Written authorisation is required.
8.0 Monitoring of behaviour and training Condition

8.1 Any equipment that a dog is likely to be in contact with and any toy provided must not pose a risk of pain, suffering, disease or distress to the dog and must be correctly used.


Items specific to a particular dog must be identified as such. Condition

8.2 All dogs must be provided with toys or feeding enrichment (or both) unless advice from a veterinarian suggests otherwise.


Supervised enrichment opportunities must be offered to each dog at least daily under supervision.

Higher Standard

There must be a documented daily enrichment plan setting out two or more sessions per day.



  1. 8.3  All toys and other enrichment items must be checked daily to ensure they remain safe and must be cleaned and disinfected at least weekly.
  2. 8.4  Each dog must be exercised at least once daily away from its kennel unit as appropriate for its age and health.
  3. 8.5  Any dog, which on the advice of a veterinarian, cannot be exercised must be provided with alternative forms of mental stimulation.
  4. 8.6  There must be an area within each kennel unit in which a dog can avoid seeing people and other dogs outside the kennel unit if it so chooses.


This applies whether a dog is single, paired or group housed.
9.0 Records
9.1 A register must be kept of all the dogs at the premises which must include—

(a) the dates of each dog’s arrival and departure;

(b) each dog’s name, age, sex, neuter status, microchip number and a description of it or its breed;

(c) the number of any dogs from the same household;

(d) a record of which dogs (if any) are from the same household;

(e) the name, postal address, telephone number and email address of the owner of each dog and emergency contact details;

(f) in relation to each dog, the name, postal address, telephone number and email address of a local contact in an emergency;

(g) the name and contact details of the dog’s normal veterinarian and details of any insurance relating to the dog;

(h) details of each dog’s relevant medical and behavioural history, including details of any treatment administered against parasites and restrictions on exercise;

(i) details of the dog’s diet and related requirements;

(j) consent forms;

(k) a record of the date or dates of each dog’s most recent vaccination, worming and flea treatments;

(l) details of any medical treatment each dog is receiving.

9.2 When outside the premises, each dog must wear an identity tag which includes the licence holder’s name and contact details.

10.0 Protectionfrompain,injury,sufferinganddisease


10.1 Where any other activity involving animals is undertaken on the premises, it must be kept entirely separate from the area where the activity of providing boarding for dogs in kennels takes place.



Units housing rescue or breeding dogs must be separate. Extra precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of disease and the licence holder must be able to demonstrate how this is managed. Ideally there would be separate member of staff attending to these dogs and all equipment must be separate.

Higher Standard

There must be separate buildings used for different activities with separate staff and separate equipment.


  1. 10.2  A preventative healthcare plan agreed with the veterinarian with whom the licence holder has registered under paragraph 9(8) of Schedule 2 must be implemented.
  2. 10.3  A holding kennel unit must only be used in an emergency and must not be used for longer than is necessary and in any event for no longer than a total of 12 hours in any 24 hour period.


Holding kennels must comply with the conditions as required for main kennels. Holding kennels must be a minimum area to allow the dog to exhibit normal behaviour and dogs must be provided with a bed, food and water.


10.4 In sub-paragraph (3), “holding kennel unit” means a kennel unit, separate from any other kennel unit, in which a dog may be housed temporarily.


Higher Standards

For each activity, a number of higher standards have been agreed. Meeting the higher standards is optional but is the only way to gain a higher star rating. The higher standards are classified in to two types: required and optional and are outlined in the relevant guidance documents for the activity in question. To distinguish required standards from optional ones they have each been given a specific colour which is used in each guidance document. Higher standards that appear in blue text are required, whereas those that appear in red text are optional. To qualify as meeting the higher standards, the business needs to achieve all of the required higher standards as well as a minimum of 50% of the optional higher standards. During an inspection, the inspector should assess whether or not the business meets the required number of higher standards




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