Dog Boarding Licences (Scotland)

Dog Boarding Licences are administered by The Environmental Health & Trading Standards Service.

In determining whether a licence should be granted, the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963 requires Local Authorities to have regard to the following:

  • The premises in which the animals will be accommodated should be suitable in respect of size, construction, number of animals, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness.
  • The supply of suitable food, drink and bedding material and that the animals will be adequately exercised and suitable supervised.
  • Reasonable precautions that are to be taken in terms of infection control to prevent the spread of disease between animals including the provision of isolation facilities.
  • Reasonable steps that are to be taken for the protection of in case of fire or other emergency.
  • A register being kept containing a description of the animal received into the establishment, date of arrival and departure, name and address of the owner. The register must be kept for a minimum of 24 months.


1.1 Unless otherwise stated, these conditions shall apply to all buildings and areas to which dogs have access and/or which are used in association with the boarding of dogs.

1.2 The applicant should ensure that all relevant planning and building control permissions are obtained. The applicant should also ensure that the proposed operations are compatible with their title deeds or lease.

1.3 Access shall be permitted to any authorised officer of the Licensing Authority at any time and all reasonable directions and requirements of such officer or the Licensing Authority shall be compiled with.

1.4 The Licence holder must surrender the licence if and when called upon to do so by the Licensing Authority.

1.5 A copy of the licence and its associated conditions and certificate of insurance shall be made available to each client.

1.6 No dog register under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 must be accepted for home boarding. Dog hybrids register in the Dangerous Wild Animal Act 1976 (e.g. Wolf Hybrids) and dogs subject to Dog Control Notices served under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 are not to be accepted for home boarding.

1.7 Bitches in season or bitches due to be in season much not be boarded together with entire males.

1.8 Puppies under 6 months of age shall only be boarded if they are suitably vaccinated and difficulties had not been identified during a trial socialisation period. The trial socialisation for puppies does not take place if they are being boarded with mother or siblings provided no other dogs are being boarded at that time.


2.1 The Local Authority will stipulate on the licence the maximum number of dogs to be kept at any one time.

The overall number of dogs to be boarded and the number of dogs from different households to be boarded will usually be dependent on the size of the premises including any outside areas, and advice from the Licensing Authority’s veterinary officer. In determining the appropriate number of dogs consideration will be given to whether the premises are constructed to allow:

  • Adequate space for the proposed number of dogs;
  • Sufficient available space to be able to keep the dogs separately if required;
  • The Separation of dogs showing signs of disease.

2.2 Only dogs from the same household may be boarded at any one time, unless the following precautions are taken:

  • Specific written consent of each household is given, show confirmation that they are content for their dogs to be boarded with others;
  • A mandatory, trial (documented) familiarisation session for all dogs prior to stay;
  • Separation of dogs from different households in secure areas when left unattended; and
  • Separate feeding of dogs prior to minimise the likelihood of dispute and aggression.

2.3 When there is a resident dog or cat kept at the household, a trail familiarisation must take place before the dog is to be boarded. This trail familiarisation must be documented.

2.4 Where there is a resident dog or cat kept at the household, written consent from the owners of the boarded dog(s) must be gained before any dog is boarded.

2.5 The licence holder will be required to make an assessment of the risks of home boarding to include the risk to or caused by children who are likely to be at the property.


3.1 The premises shall be operated in such a way as to avoid statutory nuisance to occupiers of neighbouring properties.

3.2 The Licence holder should minimise the potential of odour and noise issues in particular, dog barking.


4.1 Adequate insurance indemnity should be arranged by the operator of the premises. This should be maintained at a sufficient level to cover the maximum number of dogs.

4.2 In addition it is recommended that care, custody and control insurance is in place.

4.3 Where appropriate adequate employer’s liability insurance shall be provided.


5.1 Dogs must live in the home as family pets. There must be no external construction of buildings, cages or runs.

5.2 The premises shall have its own entrance and must not have shared access e.g. communal stairs.

5.3 There must be adequate space, light, heat and ventilation for the dogs.

5.4 As far as reasonably practicable all areas/rooms within the home to which boarded dogs have access, must have no physical or chemical hazards that may cause injury to the dogs.

5.5 There must be sufficient space available to be able to keep dogs separately if required.

5.6 The floors in which the dogs have contact must be made of impervious materials capable of being easily cleaned.


6.1 All dogs shall have an adequate supply of suitable foods as directed by the client.

6.2 Meal times should be managed such that dogs are fed individually. This is to prevent aggressive behaviour developing and to check individual dogs are consuming a sufficient quantity of food.

6.3 Fresh drinking water much be available at all times (unless otherwise by a veterinary surgeon) and the drinking vessel cleaned daily. The water must be changed at least twice a day.

6.4 Clients must be encouraged to provided each dog with its own bedding, bowls, grooming materials etc. These items must be cleaned regularly to prevent cross infection. The Licence holder however should also be able to provide extra bedding material.

6.5 Where necessary, eating and drinking vessels must be provided, and where so, they must be capable of being easily cleansed and disinfected to prevent cross contamination. They must also be maintained in a clean condition. Feeding bowls must be cleaned or disposed of after each meal and each dog must be provided with its own bowl.


7.1 Airtight containers must be provided for the storage of dry foods. Uncooked food and the remains of opened times must be stored in covered, non-metal, leak proof containers in the fridge.

7.2 Suitable containers must be provided for the storage of food and shall be so constructed and kept in good condition as to protect against access by insects and other pests.


8.1 All areas where the dogs have access to, including the kitchen must be kept clean and free from accumulations of dirt and dust and must be kept in such a manner as to be conductive to maintenance of disease control and dog comfort.

8.2 All excreta and soiled material must be removed from all areas used by dogs at least daily and more often if necessary. Disposed facilities for animal waste must be agreed with the Licensing Authority.

8.3 All bedding areas must be kept clean and dry. All bedding and blankets used for dogs in the course of the business shall be maintained in a clean parasitic free condition and must be laundered between use by individual dogs.

8.4 Facilities must be provided for the proper reception, storage and disposal of all waste.

Particular care should be taken to segregate clinical waste arising from the treatment and handling of dogs with infectious diseases. The final route for all such waste shall comply with current waste regulations.

8.5 All cleaning chemicals and materials used must not be harmful to dogs veterinary advice must be sought in relation to cleaning substances so that they or their fumes cannot be harmful to an animal. Cleaning chemicals must be stored in a secure cupboard.

8.6 Measures must be taken to minimise the risks from rodents, insects and other pests within the premises.


9.1 A written training policy for staff must be provided. Systematic training of staff must be demonstrated to have been carried out. The Licence holder must formulate a written training policy for permanent, part-time and seasonal workers. The following topics should be considered as being an integral part of any training plan:

  • Cleanliness and Hygiene;
  • Animal Welfare;
  • Feeding and Food Preparation;
  • Disease Control;
  • Recognition and action in relation to sick animals’
  • Health and Safety; and
  • Emergency procedures.

9.2 An adequate First Aid Kit must be available for staff use.

9.3 Staff should be offered to be vaccinated against Tetanus.


10.1 A fit and proper person with relevant experience must always be present to exercise supervision and deal with emergencies whenever dogs are boarded at the premises.

10.2 Dogs must be visited at regular intervals, as necessary for their health, safety and welfare, and must not be left unattended for longer than 3 hours at a time and then not on a regular basis.

10.3 No home where there are children under 5 years of age will be licensed.

10.4 Only people over 16 years of age are allowed to walk the dogs in public places.

10.5 No child under 16 shall be left unaccompanied with boarded dogs at any time.

10.6 Dogs must wear a collar and identity tag during their time in boarding. The tag must display the name, address and telephone number of the boarding premises.

10.7 If there is a resident dog within the household the boarded dogs must be kept separated on the occasions when they are left unattended.

10.8 The occupier of the property must be aware of the location of the dogs in the property at all times.


11.1 Dogs must be exercised in accordance with their owner’s wishes. If dogs are taken off the premises, they must be kept on leads unless with their owners written permission. The Licence holder must be satisfied that the dogs are under proper control at all times.

11.2 There must be direct access to a suitable outside area. The area/garden must only be for use by the homeowner (not shared with other residents). The area must be kept clean.

11.3 The exercise/garden area of the premises and any other area to which the boarded dogs may have access, must be totally secure and safe. Fencing must be adequate to offer security to prevent escape and be safe, with no dangerous sharp objects or protrusions. Gates must be able to be locked.

11.4 If there is a pond, it must be covered to avoid the risk of drowning.

11.5 The Licensing Authority must be informed on the next working day if a dog has been lost during its stay.


12.1 Adequate precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious and contagious disease and parasites amongst the dogs, staff and visitors.

12.2 Staff should be observant and look out for any signs of illness when admitting dogs to the premises. Animals showing any signs of illness shall not be boarded. Any animal becoming ill during the period of boarding shall be returned home. Where this is not feasible the dog shall be separated from other dogs on the premises until it is collected by its owner or if the condition requires veterinary treatment, taken to a vet.

12.3 The licence holder has an Infection Control Policy detailing the steps to be taken in the event of a sick dog arriving at the premises, becoming ill during the period of stay or dying. Staff and dog owners shall be made aware of such a policy.

12.4 Proof must be provided that boarded and resident dogs have current vaccinations against Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Canine adenovirus), Leptospirosis (L.canicola and L incterohaemorrhagicae) and Canine Parvovirus and other relevant diseases. The course of vaccination must have been completed at least four weeks before the first date of boarding or in accordance with manufacturer instructions. A record that this proof has been supplied must be kept on-site throughout the period that the dog is boarded. The first complete course of vaccination must have been completed at least four weeks before the first date of boarding.

12.5 The Licence holder must be registered with a veterinary practice that can provide 24-hour help and advice. The clients own veterinary practice must be known and consulted if necessary.

Advice from a veterinary surgeon must be sought in case of signs of disease, injury or illness. When any dog is sick or injured, any instructions for its treatment, which have been given by a veterinary surgeon, must be strictly followed.

12.6 A well-stocked first-aid kit suitable for use on dogs must be available and accessible on site and in any vehicle used for transporting boarding dogs.

12.7 The Licensing Authority must be informed of the death of any dog by the next working dog. The Licence holder must make arrangements for the body to be stored at a veterinary surgeons premises until the owner return.

12.8 Precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites and other parasites in both boarded and resident dogs. Proof must be maintained of all routine and emergency treatment for parasites.

12.9 The premises shall be regularly treated for fleas and parasites with a veterinary recommended product.


13.1 Dogs showing signs of any signs of any disease or illness shall be isolated from any other dogs until veterinary advice is obtained. There must be sufficient facilities within the licensed premises to ensure effective separation of any sick animal.

13.2 The Licence holder must inform the Licensing Authority on the next working day if a dog develops an infectious disease.

13.3 Following an episode of infectious disease during any stay, the premises must undergo a reasonable quarantine period before new boarders are admitted. This period will be specified by the Licensing Authority as agreed with their authorised veterinary surgeon. A record must be maintained of each episode of infectious disease together with details of the implemented quarantine period.


14.1 All appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the dogs in case of fire or other emergency.

14.2 A suitable emergency evacuation plan and fire warning procedure must be drawn up.

The procedure should include:

  • How people will be warned if there is a fire
  • What staff should do if they discover a fire
  • What staff should do in the event of a fire
  • The arrangements for calling the Fire and Rescue Service
  • The specific action to be taken by the person in charge when the fire alarm activates or a fire is discovered
  • The procedure to be followed to evacuate the premises, taking into account any personal emergency egress plans
  • Where persons/animals will be taken after they have left the premises and procedures for checking whether the premises have been evacuated.

14.3 Fire fighting equipment must be provided in accordance with advice given by the Fire Prevention Officer.

The home must have at least 2 working smoke detectors located at the top and bottom of the staircase, or other appropriate location.

All staff on the premises should be trained in the safe use of fire extinguishers.

14.4 There must be adequate means of raising an alarm in the event of a fire or other emergency.

14.5 Advice must be sought from the Fire Prevention Officer to ensure compliance with fire safety requirements.

14.6 Precautions must be taken to prevent any accumulation which may present a risk of fire.

14.7 All electrical installations and appliances must be maintained in a safe condition with no loose trailing cables.

14.8 All heating appliances must be free of risk of fire as is reasonable practicable. There must be no use of freestanding gas or oil appliances.

Heating appliances should not be sited in a location or manner where they may present a risk of fire, or risk to dogs.

14.9 Where gas heating is provided the Licence holder shall ensure that the appliances are serviced on an annual basis by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

14.10 The Licence holder must have suitable arrangements for the temporary boarding of dogs in the event that the licenced premises is rendered uninhabitable.

14.11 All doors to rooms must be kept shut at night.

14.12 A relative, friend or neighbour within 5 minutes travelling time must have a spare set of keys and access to the premises in case of an emergency. These details must be made available to the Licensing Authority.

14.13 The establishment must have a standard procedure in place for dealing with dogs that have escaped. This should include:

  • All staff must be trained in dealing with escaped dogs
  • In the event of a dog escaping, the dog owner and Licensing Authority must be contacted immediately
  • Equipment must be available for securing dogs which have escaped. All staff must be trained in the use of such equipment.


15.1 If a collection and delivery service is provided or transport is used to travel to an exercise area then a suitable vehicle must be used. An individual dog must be secured within a dog cage or behind a dog guard whilst travelling within the vehicle.

When more than one dog is being transported at any time the vehicle must be fitted with individual cages or adequate size for the safe transportation of the dogs. The journey time shall be kept to a minimum when transporting boarding dogs.

15.2 The licence holder must provide a well-stocked first aid kit suitable for use on dogs and available in all vehicles used to transport dogs.


16.1 A register must be kept of all dogs boarded. The information kept must include the following:

  • Date of arrival;
  • Name of dog, any identification system such as a microchip number, tattoo;
  • Description, breed, age and gender of dog;
  • Name, address and telephone number of owner or keeper;
  • Name, address and telephone number of contact person whilst boarded;
  • Name, address and telephone number of dog’s veterinary surgeon;
  • Anticipated and actual date of departure;
  • Proof of current vaccinations, medical history and requirements;
  • Health, welfare nutrition and exercise requirements;
  • Written agreement in respect of emergency veterinary treatment;
  • Written agreement regarding whether dog is allowed off lead when being exercised off the premises; and
  • Agreement that dog is allowed to be boarded with other dogs from different households.

16.2 The register is to be available for inspection at all times by an officer of the Licensing Authority or a veterinary surgeon.

16.3 The register must be kept readily available for a minimum of 2 years and kept in such a manner as to allow an authorised officer easy access to such information.

16.4 Details of any medication administered must be recorded including type of medication, quantity and time administered.

16.5 Where records are computerised, a back-up copy must be kept. The register must also be available to key members of staff of the establishments at all times.