Dog Home Boarding 2020

Dog Home Boarding 2020

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. Dog Walking

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. Gill & Missy

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.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

Animal Welfare Act 2006


Animal Welfare Act 2006

Sections 1 -3 

Animals covered under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are classed as vertebrates other than a man. Vertebrate animals are classed as subphylum Chordates and comprise of animals with a backbone.

The purpose of this legislation is to protect all vertebrate animals (with a backbone) other than humans. An invertebrate, (an animal without a backbone), is not capable of pain and suffering.

For example, a worm can regenerate its body after being cut apart. It does not feel pain and it does not suffer or have the concept of suffering so, therefore, it is not included in the legislation. If however It can be proven scientifically that an invertebrate can feel pain and suffering it can be included. The law does not stretch to embryo/unborn fetal animals.

Protected animals under this act, is any domesticated animal in the British islands under the control of a person on either a permanent or temporary basis. For example, the animal is not wild and living in a wild state, it has been tamed (domesticated).

The person having control of the animal is the person responsible for it if different from the owner. If the animal is in the custody of a child, under 16 years, then the responsibility is with the parent or guardian of the child.

Prior to 2006 action could only be taken after unnecessary suffering had already occurred. The 2006 law provides a duty of care to the owner/keeper of any domesticated animal. It allows for prosecution or orders to be placed by the courts for any offences under this act. It promotes codes of practice, education, and intervention prior to any suffering occurring and clearly places the responsibility with the owner or person in charge of a dog.

You can view the Codes of Practice in the “Useful Links” section of this website, and also on the DEFRA website.

Section 4

Unnecessary Suffering is covered under section 4 of the animal welfare 2006 Act – Prevention of harm. If the animal who is suffering is a protected animal (domesticated/owned) and the suffering is unnecessary then A person commits an offence, If they cause the animal to suffer, or allow someone else to cause the animal to suffer,  or fails to stop the act knowing that the animal is suffering or about to suffer.

For example, if I am the owner of a dog and I allow a family member to continually kick and punch the dog every time it barks, then I am guilty of an offence, so is the person kicking and punching the dog.

If my dog cuts his leg really badly to the point where the wound needs stitches, I am guilty of an offence if I do not take the dog for treatment. If I decide to bandage the wound and hope for the best, whilst the dog cries and howls in pain. i am causing the dog to suffer, the suffering can be avoided if I take the dog to a vet for treatment. so it is unnecessary suffering that I am causing.

Consideration when defining unnecessary suffering includes, whether the suffering could be avoided or reduced. If the suffering was for a legitimate reason. For example, a dog with a broken leg that is told not to walk on it for a few weeks by the Vet, the dog must be confined to a smaller area in order to protect the dog’s broken leg whilst it is healing. The dog is suffering as it cannot exhibit normal behavior due to its confinement, but it’s for the greater good in this respect. It is benefiting the dog.

A vet may subsequently cause a dog to suffer after surgery but he is competent and the suffering is reasonably expected.

Harming a Service Dog is a criminal offence unless the dog is under the control of a police officer in the course of duty but only whilst working, if the police officer is off duty, and is the defendant he can be found guilty of an offence. so in effect, if a Police dog handler or service dog handler causes harm to his dog, he could become the defendant in certain given situations. Referred to as Finns LAW Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019.

Section 5

Section 5 is about mutilation; a person commits an offence if he carries out a prohibited procedure on a protected animal or causes such a procedure to be carried out on such an animal.

Prohibited procedures are interference with the sensitive tissues or bone structure of the animal, unless it for medical reasons advised by a qualified vet. This does not include neutering and Tail docking is not included in this section.

This section largely relates to farm animals such as pigs, goats, sheep, domesticated Deer. The only relation to dogs is the removal of dew claws, whilst this is permitted; it is still illegal to perform the procedure if the dog is a puppy and has not yet opened its eyes.

Routine surgery like castration must be done under anesthetic. The mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England) Regulations 2007.

Section 6

Tail Docking is covered under section 6 of the Act It is an offence to remove the whole or any part of a dog’s tail, or allow any person to remove the tail of a dog you are responsible for unless advised by a vet for medical reasons.

It is an offence to allow it to happen you must take reasonable steps to prevent this from happening or you are guilty of an offence. This does not apply to certified working dogs that are not more than 5 days old.

Spaniels Terriers, Hunt, Point and Retrieve breeds which are used for working dogs are exempt if the dog is docked before 5 days old. A Vet must certify the dog as a working dog. The vet needs evidence from the appropriate national authority that it will be used for: law enforcement, Armed Forces, Emergency Rescue, and Lawful pest control.

It is an offence to give false information to a vet in order to dock the tail So the breeder of the dog would need to show the vet a letter from the relevant person, like the police or the landowner who will be working the dog on his land, in order to prove that the dog is being used for service. The Vet must sign the certificate to say the dog is docked in accordance with the law.

A person commits an offence if the tail is docked on any dog in England and Wales, which is not a certified working dog. if you own a dog with a docked tail you need to prove that it is certified. Or that it was docked before the commencement date of this section.

It is an offence to show a dog with a docked tail at a show to which the members of the public have paid money to watch. Unless the tail was docked before this became law in April 2007 in England. 

Section 7

Section 7 deals with the administration of poison, it is an offence to administer any poisonous substances whether in the form or drugs or poisonous plants which you are aware are harmful. It is an offence to allow anyone else to administer poisonous substances to a dog and you are aware of the harm unless this is advised by a Vet for medical reasons.

As a Dog-related business, I need to be aware of any poisonous plants in my garden as the dogs are my responsibility and as a professional, if a dog was to ingest any poisons whether plant-based or something as simple as bleach on the floor which I have just mopped. If the dog licks the floor at some point after mopping and has an adverse reaction which causes the dog to suffer I am guilty of an offence.

Part of the licensing conditions for related businesses advises using dog-friendly products on the floors and surfaces where the dog has access.

Section 8

Dog Fighting is covered under section 8, Dog fighting brings BSL to mind, you think of Pit Bulls, Larger ferocious type dogs. Whilst this is not always the case, a person commits an offence if he causes an animal fight to take place, or attempts to do so.

To receive any money in relation to dog fighting is an offence, advertising an animal fight or providing information about one is an offence. It is illegal to gamble on dog fights, to take part in a dog fight have anything in your possession relating to dog fighting with the intention to use it. It is an offence to train your dog aggressively with an intention for dog fighting.

It is an offence to attend a dog fight, to supply a video, show or digitally stream a video even to possess a video recording of a dog fight. Video footage filmed outside the UK is not included here.