Animal boarding establishment licence

To run a boarding kennel or cattery, 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 which ensure the welfare of the animals.

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

1. How to apply

Apply for a new animal boarding establishment licence or renew or amend an existing licence.

Apply online

View fees list (PDF, 503KB)

Find out more about applying by post

Eligibility criteria

2. What happens next

The following will be considered when your application is evaluated:

  • if animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times
  • if suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided
  • if the animals are exercised and visited regularly
  • if steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease and isolation facilities are in place
  • if protection is provided against fire and other emergencies
  • a register must be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner  containing a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date, and the name and address of the owner

Your premises may be inspected by our animal health officers and an environmental health officer to establish whether the premises are suitable, following a complaint or scheduled inspection. The relevant officer will contact the applicant directly to schedule an inspection.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent will apply if an application is made online. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period. Our target completion period for animal boarding establishment licences is 30 calendar days.

3. Redress information

Failed application and licence holder redress

If you wish to appeal against our decision, you may do so to the local magistrates' court. Appeals must be made within 21 days of the date you received notification of the decision in writing. Magistrates' court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.

Consumer complaint

We advise you first contact the trader, preferably by letter with proof of delivery. If that has not worked and you are in the UK, Citizens Advice consumer service will advise you. From outside the UK, contact UK European Consumer Centre.

Trade associations and useful links

Pet Industry Federation

Model Licence Conditions and Guidance for Dog Boarding Establishments 2016

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Royal Society of the Protection of Animals

Last updated: 16 July 2019