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

The licensing of animal related activities changed in 2018. The new regulations brought legislation in line with the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and brought the licensing of animals into the 21st Century.

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 Zoo Licence Holders 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. 

All guidance was updated February 2022

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 licensing department.


The application come in 3 parts. A universal first section with the applicant details, a choice of second sections specific to the particular activity and a universal third section for the declaration.

It is important to note all 3 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: Standard Introductory (PDF, 81KB)

Section 2:

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: Standard Declaration (PDF, 21 KB)


The fee structure for Animal Activities comes in 2 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.

Please note if your application is denied the Application fee is non refundable. If an application is returned due to insufficient information or is incomplete an additional fee is charged at the hourly rate (minimum 1hour).

Please double check your applications before submitting your application. 

Fee Structure (PDF, 193KB)