Catteries and kennels licences

Do you need a licence to board animals? How to apply and pay for a boarding establishment licence, how to change the licence, what other permissions you may need, who regulates the licence and what happens if you don't apply.

How do I know what boarding establishments I can use?

You should only use a premises that holds either a valid Home Boarding Licence or a Animal Boarding Licence or a Dog Day Care licence.

A full list of all licensed boarding establishment can be seen on our public register page.

This licence should be available on clear display at a Boarding Establishment, if you want to use a Home Boarder you can ask to see a copy of their licence.

What else should I check before choosing a boarding service?

Before you decide on an establishment to board your dogs/cats you need to check the following:

  • Are the premises properly insured?
  • Do they hold full vaccination records for all animals boarded? 
  • We would advise you to visit the establishment prior to booking, in order to ensure you understand, and are happy with, the facilities on offer.

Do I need a licence to board animals?

Yes. If you want to board dogs or cats you will require an Animals Activity licence giving permission for one or more of the following activities:

  • Dog home boarding - boarding a very small number of dogs to live in the home as your pet would normally
  • Kennel
  • Cattery
  • Day care licence - board dogs during the day in a commercial unit, with no overnight boarding.

If you are unsure which category you fall into you can contact the licensing team for further advice:

Email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk 


A cattery is a boarding establishment for cats, usually providing accommodation for one or two cats from each household for a period of time whilst their owners are away or unable to look after them.


A kennel is a boarding establishment for dogs, usually providing a kennel big enough for one, two or three dogs from the same household with the facilities for the dog to exercise. Some kennels offer day crèche facilities, within the boarding kennels with dog socialisation.

Day Care

A day crèche is a boarding establishment providing day care, for dogs from different households, during the day with no overnight accommodation.

Home Boarding licence

Find out more information on Home Boarding licences on the Home Boarding page.

How do I apply for an animal boarding establishment licence?

If you require advice and guidance on applying for a animal boarding, we offer a pre-application advice service. The fee for this service is £50 plus VAT. 

If you would like to book a pre- application advice meeting please email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk 

From 1 October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving animals) (England) Regulations 2018 took effect for all new applications made.

Any application made will need to fully comply with the new regulations as below, we advise anyone looking to start a business in this area to fully read and ensure they could meet all aspects of the regulations and guidance. 

Animal Welfare (licensing of activities involving animals) 2018 regulations (pdf 5mb) 

Guidance for boarding dogs in kennels (pdf 457kb)

Guidance for boarding cats (pdf 1.2mb)

Guidance for Day Care boarding for dogs (pdf 462kb)


Animal Activities Licensing Fees November 2019 (pdf 56kb, opens in a new window) 

Application and Processing

You can now apply online for an animal activities licence, payment will be required at the end of the form for the form to be submitted to the licensing team for consideration. 

Apply online for an animal activities licence

alternatively you can apply for an animal boarding establishment by completing the below application form and submitting it by email to:

Email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk 

Application for an animal boarding establishment licence (word 185kb)

The application form must be accompanied by all the supporting documents listed in the declaration on the application form, an application will not be accepted without all required documents. 

Once you have submitted a valid and complete application you will be contacted by a licensing officer, who will arrange to visit and inspect your boarding accommodation. In order to have your licence issued, you will need to meet the regulations shown above for each activity applied for.

If you meet all requirements, your licence will be granted following inspection within 10 weeks of a complete application. 

If you are unable to meet the requirements for a licence, the officer discusses your application further with you at that time. 

A tacit consent does not apply to this application, meaning your application will not be automatically granted after a specified period of time. Each application must be assessed on its own merits as every premise requires inspecting to ensure the standards required are fully met.

How do I renew my animal boarding licence?

If you hold a current animal activities licence, you will need to renew this before 31 December 2019, or if granted after this date prior to licence expiry. 

You should aim to renew your licence 10 weeks prior to its expiry. 

You can now apply online to renew your animal boarding licence, payment will be required at the end of the form. 

Please note failure to make the payment will mean we will not receive your renewal application. 

Apply online to renew a animal activities licence 

What other permissionsmay I need?

If you are applying for an animal boarding licence you may also need to speak to:

Who regulates boarding establishments?

The licensing team are the regulators for animal activities licensing.

What to do if you have concerns

If a business holds a licence it should be on display in a prominent position at the premises.

If you have concerns about a premises operating under a licence, have a complaint or would like to report a business that you are concerned are operating without a licence you can contact the licensing team, by one of the following way:

Email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk

Please ensure you provide as much information as you can to help us.

You will be required to give your name and contact details so that we can ensure that the complaint is genuine.

Your details will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed unless the investigation results in a prosecution at which stage your details would have to be disclosed.

What happens if I do not apply for an animal boarding licence?

If you board cats or dogs providing them accommodation then you will require a animal activities licence.

If you are found to be operating without such a licence in place, the licensing team may prosecute you.