Boarding for cats or dogs licence (England)

How to apply for a licence to offer boarding for cats and dogs, and the conditions you'll need to meet.

Applies to England

Contact your local council to apply for a licence if you provide or arrange for boarding for cats or dogs in England. You need this licence to run a:

  • boarding kennel or cattery
  • dog day care business
  • dog boarding business in your home
  • business that arranges for boarding for other people’s cats or dogs

You still need to apply for a licence if you’re running a business, even if you’re only looking after a small number of animals in your own home.

The licence is valid for 1, 2 or 3 years. The council will decide the cost and length of your licence.


The council will inspect your premises before giving you a licence. They may carry out additional inspections any time after it’s granted.

You must prove that you can meet the licence conditions. These include showing that the animals are:

  • kept in suitable accommodation
  • given adequate food, drink and bedding
  • visited and exercised regularly
  • protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
  • protected in case of an emergency, like a fire
  • looked after by people who are trained to care for the animals

You’ll also need to:

  • keep any records ready for inspection, for example a register of animals boarded, like dates they arrived and left
  • display the licence number in any advertising
  • display the licence clearly on the premises


You will not get a licence if you’ve committed an animal welfare offence or if you’ve been banned from:

  • hiring out horses
  • selling pets
  • boarding cats or dogs
  • breeding dogs
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition

Fines and penalties

You may be fined an unlimited amount or imprisoned for up to 6 months if you provide or arrange boarding for cats or dogs without a licence or do not follow the conditions of your licence.

Your licence can be taken away if you stop or delay an inspection, and you could be banned from running an animal boarding establishment.

Published 4 November 2020