The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

The new regulations came into force on 1 October 2018. These regulations supersede a number of the older animal licensing acts. The only exceptions, are for Zoos and for the keeping of animals under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. 

Animal boarding businesses (Inc home boarders and day care), dog breeders, pet shops, riding establishments and the keeping of, or training of animals for exhibition are now covered under a single type of licence. It is known as an 'animal activity licence', with new nationally-set licence conditions for businesses providing any of these animal-related services.

Guidance for each animal activity

Anyone who wishes to run an 'Animal Activity' business must be compliant with the conditions. All of the standard conditions must be met prior to a licence being granted.

The conditions are set within the regulations and cannot be changed or ignored. 

For clarification: If you are offering Day Care from your residential address then this falls into the category of Home Boarding and this is the guidance you should refer to. 

All guidance was updated April 2024.

a. Guidance notes for Breeding Dogs

b. Guidance notes for Boarding Dogs in Kennels 

c. Guidance notes for Home Boarding Dogs

d. Guidance notes for Dog Day Care

e. Guidance notes for Boarding Cats

f. Guidance notes for Selling Animals as Pets

g. Guidance notes for Exhibition of Animals

h. Guidance notes for Hiring out Horses

All standard conditions must be met before a licence is granted.

Anyone who is unsure as to whether they fall into one of these licensable activities please contact the Appointed Animal Licensing Inspector


The application comes in three parts. A universal first section with the applicant details, the second section is specific to the particular activity so please choose the correct activity, and a universal third section for the declaration.

It is important to note all three parts of the application must be fully completed and submitted with the application fee.

Applications will be returned or denied if anything is missing. 

Section 1: Universal - Standard Introductory (PDF, 81KB) 

Section 2: Activity Specific

Animal Boarding Application (PDF, 51KB) (Catteries/Home Boarding/Kennels/Dog Day Care)

Breeding and Sale of Dogs Application (PDF, 54KB)

Hiring out Horses Application  (PDF, 127KB)

Performing Animals Application (PDF, 61KB)

Pet Vending Application (PDF, 63KB)

Section 3: Universal - Standard Declaration (PDF, 21 KB) 

You must include all required additional documentation listed in part 2 of section 3. 


The fee structure for animal activities comes in two parts. An application fee which is submitted at the time of application and a grant of a licence fee which you will be advised of after your inspection as the fee is dependant on the star rating and length of licence. Your licence is only granted after both fees have been paid. 

Fee Structures:


If your licence requires a veterinary inspection you will be invoiced after your inspection. 

Please double check your applications before submitting them. Incomplete applications will be refused and will need to be resubmitted with a further application fee. 

Additional Information for applicants

It can be daunting starting up a new business. There are a number of paperwork elements which must be in place to successfully be granted a licence. Here you will find some example templates and guidance notes to assist you. This is not an exhaustive list - you must read the relevant guidance for your business to ensure you are able to meet all the relevant standards.

Home Boarders