Dog Home Boarding 2020
The Legislation for Animal Licensing changed in 2018; the new legislation caused a lot of controversy at the start and still does to some extent.
Local Authorities across the country were interpreting some of the new rules and guidance differently from each other, License fees were hiked up and prices were inconsistent.
Non Profit Organisations were formed to act as representatives to dog home boarders, to help iron out inconsistencies between councils and to re-address things with DEFRA that were unclear or things which were causing problems and were starting to put people out of business.
A Star Rating system was also introduced based on compliance, Time Served, and Qualifications amongst a range of other things. The higher the star rating would mean a longer license period.
The Rules are stringent, and the full legislation can be found in the link below if you are interested or at least curious, it makes for interesting reading.
Licensing for other Animal Businesses is being looked at in depth by DEFRA and it looks like other business models will also be affected in due course. Dog Breeders now require a license; Dog Walking Businesses are also being looked into along with Dog Training, Behaviour and even regulation or licensing for Rescue Centres is on the cards.
Home Boarding Dogs requires a lot of paperwork for both the business and the customer. Vaccinations must be kept up to date; Permission slips are required to walk dogs off lead, even to mix dogs with others. I am licensed for 3 dogs; this is based on the number of rooms with windows. Each dog should have its own designated room unless the dog owner signs to say they are happy for them to sleep in the same room, this includes dogs from the same household. Crates are now frowned upon, but if a dog is used to sleeping in a crate a permission slip must be signed.
A Double entry system must be implemented on any garden gate to ensure nobody can get in whilst the dogs are outside, and a double entry system inside the house at the door, so that you can receive visitors without the dogs escaping.
There are higher and lower standards for the double entry system on the outside gate, so its not compulsory in order to get a license it counts more towards the star rating system.
Health and Safety procedures must be procured by the business, including cleaning schedules, Walking Schedules, Feed schedules, each must be allocated their own water and feed bowls, grooming equipment, etc.
Emergency procedures for Fire, Car Breakdown, Accident, Sickness, and that’s for both the boarder and the dog. A separate key holder is required in case of emergency. This person should be a fit and proper person who can take charge of any dogs if I am hospitalised whilst dogs are in my care.
Written permission from my vet indicating that I may use their isolation facilities should a dog become ill with a potentially contagious disease.
I now need insurance details of the dog including policy numbers, Microchip details. Full behavioural and health information.
SCHEDULE 4: Specific conditions: providing boarding for cats or dogs – Part 3 (excerpt)
A register must be kept of all the dogs accommodated in the home which must include—
(a)the dates of each dog’s arrival and departure;
(b)each dog’s name, age, sex, neuter status, microchip number and a description of it or its breed;
(c)the number of any dogs from the same household;
(d)a record of which dogs (if any) are from the same household;
(e)the name, postal address, telephone number (if any) and email address (if any) of the owner of each dog and emergency contact details;
(f)in relation to each dog, the name, postal address, telephone number and email address of a local contact in an emergency;
(g)the name and contact details of each dog’s normal veterinarian and details of any insurance relating to the dog;
(h)details of each dog’s relevant medical and behavioural history, including details of any treatment administered against parasites and restrictions on exercise;
(i)details of each dog’s diet and related requirements;
(j)any required consent forms;
(k)a record of the date or dates of each dog’s most recent vaccination, worming and flea treatments;
(l)details of any medical treatment each dog is receiving.
(2) When outside the premises, each dog must wear an identity tag which includes the licence holder’s name and contact details.
Upon first reading the legislation back in 2018, I thought to myself, “This is impossible” but once I put my head down and went through each section, things started to progress.
I was granted a 5 Star Rating and given a 3-year license back in October 2018 so all my effort paid off. My next inspection will be in October 2021. Although unannounced inspections are also now being undertaken, so I have to ensure I am practicing what I am preaching at all times.
Don’t get me wrong, this is no easy fete, I found that out late in 2019 when I burned myself out and wept tears of defeat. Not being the kind of person who gives up easily, I decided, to change things slightly, allowing myself more time to relax.
I started by looking at my business and seeing what and where things could be changed. I stopped the Dog Walking side of the business. I had to inform some customers that I was no longer available to walk their dog but I did try to help them by finding them another dog walker.
I have kept 3 dogs which I do still walk, Two of these dogs have been with me since Day 1 all the way back in 2011, so our bond is inseparable, no way could I just say goodbye, all 3 have been with me since Puppyhood and I love them as if they were my own.
I also decided that I wasn’t getting any younger, (I know your thinking, how young I look ha-ha), and trying to hold onto a large dog that has had no lead training was taking its toll on my neck and shoulders. High energy dogs like working spaniels were also becoming too demanding with all the other dogs I had to walk in-between, so I looked to my future and asked, “What made me start this job”? It was Missy. My cute little princess who also died in 2018, I still miss her very much. “Little” here is the operative word.
How had I lost so much direction? my original vision was a house full of small dogs all cute and cuddly, playful little cuties. So I re-branded to Small Dog Home Boarding. Now don’t get me wrong here, I have some larger dogs which I board on a regular basis, including spaniels, but these particular dogs all have a calm temperament and are not over-demanding on my frail physique. So they still come to me for boarding and I am more than happy about that.
Much quicker than I anticipated a whole load of new customers came a knocking with their little Chihuahuas and Terriers, I cannot express how grateful I am for that.
I am now back on top of my game and my mental and physical health is back to normal, but without the massive amounts of bad stress which I had suffered since 2018. I have found time to further my education, in relation to my business and I have even won 2 Awards this year, which will be officially announced at the end of July so I am told.
Well if you have read this far, I hope you have found it interesting or even entertaining. Alas, we are still in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic and I have no idea how all this will end. I am like other businesses open as usual, with procedures in place which means, you cannot enter my home, consultations take place in the garden, or if you wear a mask and gloves you can come inside and stand perfectly still in one spot and not move. Your dog however is free to roam. (if you can’t laugh you’re doomed)
Whilst most of this year’s bookings have been cancelled and re-booked for next year, it means I’m already getting full up for 2021. I have solid bookings for later this year which hopefully won’t be cancelled, but up until October, I’m only going to take on regular customers, and then I will re-assess the situation and see how things are shaping up in the country, as it changes every day.
Please Stay Safe, Keep Laughing, and I hope to see you all soon.