How to apply for a licence to run a boarding kennel or cattery, board dogs in your own home and for dog day care.

Licence summary

You'll need a licence if you:

  • board dogs within a kennel 
  • board dogs overnight in your own home
  • provide day care for dogs (dogs kept at the premises 7am to 7pm)
  • board cats at your property (in purpose built cattery units only,  you can't board cats in your own home)

The licence will tell you the number of animals that can be accommodated and other specific conditions.

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

Licence guidance

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation for this licence

Eligibility criteria

Applications can only be made by individuals. An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  1. a person listed as a disqualified person in paragraph 4 or any of paragraphs 6 to 17 of Schedule 8 (see legislation above) where the time limit for any appeal has expired or where the appeal was refused
  2. any person listed in any of paragraphs 1 to 3 and 5 of Schedule 8 (see legislation above) as having held a licence which was revoked where the time limit for any appeal against that revocation has expired or the appeal was refused.

Before you apply

Contact us before you make your application, so we can talk to you about your proposal and the fees:

An Animal Health Inspector will then contact you to give you advice on your application.

Information about the licensing of animal activities is available on the Business Companion website.

Apply on the GOV.UK site

The application fee is £87. Application fees are non-refundable.

The application form is a PDF that you'll need to save before you can edit. 

Apply to board dogs in your home (GOV.UK)

Licence fees (per year)

Home boarding of dogs licence: £175

Day care for dogs licence: £233

Dog boarding Kennels licence: £233

Cats boarding cats licence: £175

There's a charge if you need to make an amendment to your existing licence. Contact us to discuss this.

Star rating

Licences will be granted for either 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the star rating awarded after inspection.

We'll carry out a risk rating based on:

  • if you've run an animal boarding business before 
  • your knowledge of the animals in your care
  • if you meet the criteria set out in the legislation
  • your ability to demonstrate your practices and staff training

The inspector will look at the animals and their environment and refer to the licence guidance. The overall score will determine the star rating and the length of licence.


Low risk

  • Minor failings: 1 star (1 year licence)
  • Minimum standards: 3 star (2 year licence)
  • Higher standards: 5 star (3 year licence)

Higher risk

  • Minor failings: 1 star (1 year licence)
  • Minimum standards: 2 star (1 year licence)
  • Higher standards: 4 star (2 year licence)

If you don't agree with your star rating

You can submit a written appeal within 21 days of the rating being issued to the licensing authority and request a re-inspection.

You'll have to pay for any re-inspection. Businesses disputing their star rating are encouraged to discuss this informally with the inspecting officer first so that there is an opportunity to help explain to the business how the rating was worked out.

Premises with lower star ratings

Premises with a lower star rating aren't necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. 

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you , preferably by letter (with proof of delivery).

If that's not worked:

Report unlicensed animal boarding establishments

If you have information relating to an unlicensed animal boarding establishment, contact us on 0117 922 2500 (option 2)

Premises currently licensed

pdf Premises currently licensed under the legislation (159 KB)

Contact information

Trading Standards (100TS)

Bristol City Council
PO Box 3399
Bristol BS1 9NE

Opening Hours

Our normal opening hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm
  • Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm

Tel: 0117 922 2500, option 2