Commercial animal boarding establishments licence

To run a commercial 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.

A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

If you are applying for a licence for a cat or dog boarding establishment, please consult the following guides:

Eligibility criteria

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  • Keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • Keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • Owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • Owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

Application evaluation process

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached.

The following criteria will be considered when the application is being evaluated:

  • That the animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times. Suitable accommodation takes into account the construction and size of the accommodation, the number of animals to be housed in it, facilities for exercising the animals, cleanliness and temperature, lighting and ventilation provisions.
  • That suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided and that the animals are exercised and visited regularly.
  • That steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease among the animals and that isolation facilities are in place.
  • That adequate protection is provided to the animals in the case of fire and other emergencies.
  • That a register is kept. The register should contain a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date and the name and address of the owner. The register should be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. 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.


Apply for a licence

You can apply and pay online, or download and return an application form.

Download an application form:

Apply and pay online:


Failed application redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' court.


Licence holder redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' court.


Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.


Trade associations

Last updated: 14 August 2017