New Doggy Daycare &

Home Boarding Legislation.

What it means for you and your dog.

it’s hard to believe, but until recently, doggy daycares were not subject to any regulation in the UK. A new law, called the Animal Activities Licensing (AAL) came into effect on the 1st of October 2018. It now includes strict guidelines on how daycares and home boarding is run and also replaces a number of different regulations involving the sale, breeding and boarding of all pets.

Doggy Daycare changes

Number of Dogs

An inspection of doggy daycares is carried out by local council members. To be granted a licence, each doggy daycare will be restricted to a set number of dogs permitted on their premises. This number will be determined by a range of factors including: The size and layout of the premises, the type of dogs attending (eg puppies versus dogs with behavioural concerns) and the qualifications and experience of staff members.

The ratio of staff to dogs

This is set at 1:10 or 1:8 for new doggy daycares or those issued a higher grading by council inspectors. This means there must be at least one person looking after a maximum of 10 dogs. Dogs must be supervised at all times.


Staff should have experience working within an animal care field and training courses such as first aid.

Premises Design

There are quite a few rules for the doggy daycare premises and environment. They include:

  • Interior surfaces, including floors, must be smooth, impervious and able to be cleaned and disinfected. Floors must have a non-slip, solid surface.
  • There must be at least two secure physical barriers (door or gates etc.) between a dog and any entrance or exit to the property to avoid escape.
  • Exercise areas for common use must be suitably drained. Surface ponding of water must not occur and land drainage must be provided where necessary if normal site drainage is inadequate.
  • Where the facility is indoor-only there must be a suitable area provided with a range of substrates to encourage toileting. Individual dogs which do not toilet indoors must be given regular (and a minimum of three) opportunities to toilet outdoors.
  • All internal furnishings must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected.

Use of a crate

If crates are used, a dog must not be secured in a crate for longer than one hour in any 8-hour period and must not be crated unless a crate forms part of the normal routine for the dog and the dog’s owner has consented to the use of it.


There are no specific details on isolation facilities, just that provision must be made for the isolation of sick/injured/infectious animals.

Intact Dogs

Unneutered males and females are allowed, but must be kept completely separate when the females are in season (so as to prevent pregnancy).


Dogs under one year of age should be accommodated in a separate social group, unless owners have given written permission for them to be mixed with adults.

Walking Dogs

Informed written consent from owners must be obtained to enable a dog to be walked outside the facility. Dogs exercised outside the premises must be kept on a lead at all times. No more than four dogs must be walked at the same time.


All dogs must be screened before being admitted to the premises to ensure that they are not afraid, anxious or stressed in the presence of other dogs or people and do not pose a danger to other dogs or staff.


No dogs may be kept on the premises overnight, unless there is an additional kennel licence.

Car journeys

Any journeys in a vehicle must be planned to minimise the time dogs spend in the vehicle.

The AAL is a very new law and some daycares are still waiting for their council licence inspection. This is a brief summary, to read all the council ins and outs, please click here.

Home boarding changes

One dog, one room

This is the biggest change. Every dog (whether from the same family or not) must have access to a room for themselves, where they can sleep, go to hide, and be kept separate from other dogs. With informed owners consent however, dogs of the same or different families, are allowed to socialise and sleep in the same room. However, each dog must have access to a room of its own, whether they use it or not.

A room must:

  • be of sufficient height for a human adult to stand in
  • have a secure window to the outside that can be opened and closed as necessary
  • have a securable, full height door for access and security (preferably opening inwards)
  • a secure latch or other secure closing device.

The following are not acceptable rooms or spaces:

  • Conservatory or bathroom
  • Hallway or balcony
  • Garage, cellar or loft (unless converted to current standards for human habitation)
  • Cupboard
  • An outside building, structure or shed


Dogs must not be confined in a crate for longer than three hours in any 24 hour period and should not be in a crate at all unless they are already used to one, it is part of their normal routine and the dog’s owner had consented to it. Dogs can have access to crates for longer periods but the door shouldn’t be shut.

Leaving dogs alone

Dogs must not be routinely left alone for more than 3 hours in a 24 hour period, or shorter intervals as necessary for the individual health, safety and welfare of an individual dog.

Familiarisation Session

Familiarisation sessions are mandatory for all dogs prior to stay. This also includes familiarisation with resident dogs.


This is a brief summary, to read all the council ins and outs, please click here. If you are unsure if your doggy daycare is compliant with this legislation, ask them about it! All great daycares, like the ones we visit, are proud of their high standards of care and will be more than happy to discuss these with you!

Warm woofs and wishes,

Dr Ciara