Home boarding / Doggy day care

Changes to legislation →
On 1st October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (external link) came into force. This legislation has changed the way certain activities involving animals is licensed and regulated - this includes home boarding and day care for dogs.

If you provide home boarding or day care for dogs, you may need an animal activity licence. To obtain a licence, you need to ensure that you meet the specific licence conditions.

Please note: Due to COVID-19 we have reviewed our processes to ensure we can comply with our legal responsibilities to safely inspect premises and be able to determine applications. We will now be doing this in a two-stage process, which will initially involve a remote assessment, followed by a site inspection. It is hoped that by completing most of the assessment remotely via phone, that the time spent on site to carry out the physical inspection will be considerably less. 

  1. Remote Assessments – These will usually take place within 4 weeks of an application (subject to receipt of all relevant documentation)
  2. Site Inspection – These will usually take place within 8 weeks of an application.

Do I need a licence?

You will need a licence if you are:

  • A business which provides overnight accommodation for dogs in a home environment. This must be inside a domestic home which is not the usual home where the animals are kept, and not in external kennel accommodation (where external kennel accommodation is used, this would be classes as  providing boarding in kennels for dogs)
  • A business which provides daytime accommodation for dogs away from the dogs normal place of residence and do not keep them overnight.

See further guidance on home boarding (external link) and day care for dogs (external link).

When do I NOT need a licence?

You will NOT need a licence if you are:

  • A business that looks after a dog within its normal place of residence (i.e. dog sitters).


Applications are submitted by the franchisee and the licence will be issued to the franchisee. The licence will list the names and addresses of all the host families registered with the franchisee. Individual host families will not need their own licence, unless they meet the business test.  

Prior to issuing a licence all host families will be inspected and will be given one star rating based on an average across all the host families. All host family inspections will be arranged via the franchisee.

Anyone carrying out this activity without the relevant licence could be prosecuted and face imprisonment of up to 6 months, receive a fine or both.


To find out how much your animal activity licence will cost, see:

How to apply

Please note:  The licence, if granted, is non-transferrable should the premises / business be sold or taken over by another operator.  If the licence holder dies, the personal representative of the licence holder can take on the licence provided that they inform the local authority within 28 days of the death that they are now the operators.


We are required to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities take place before we can approve an application.

As part of your inspection, you will be given a rating based on specific criteria.

What do I do if I already have a licence?

Before the expiry date of your licence, you will need to make an application for a licence under the new regulations.

You are advised to familiarise yourself with the new licence conditions to ensure you are able to comply with these before making a new application - see further guidance on home boarding (external link) and day care for dogs (external link).

Public register

We maintain a public register of all the businesses which hold an animal activity licence, a copy of which is available below. This will be updated on a regular basis.


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