Home Boarding – The New AAL Regulations

AAL Regulations and Matilda on Paws Indoors dog walk

What you need to know about Holiday Home Boarding..

New AAL Regulations – The Licence

When you fly off on holiday this year what arrangements have you made for the care of your dog? Are you considering placing them in a professional home boarding setting? If so, you should be aware that the Government is bringing in new and stringent animal boarding legislation (AAL Regulations), which is likely to affect your plans.

Animal Activities Licensing: AAL Regulations, officially the: “Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018”, come into effect on 1st October 2018. By that date providers of home, (domestic) boarding services will need to comply with detailed requirements of new regulations in order to apply for a Local Authority licence to continue offering their services.

The new AAL regulations will affect businesses involved in dog and cat boarding (kennels, daycare, home boarding etc). Actually, the aim is to introduce one ‘animal activities’ licence which will cover four areas of animal activities; dog breeding, dog & cat boarding, selling pets and hiring out horses for riding.

A Local Authority inspector must inspect any premises subject to AAL Regulations before a license is granted. A copy of the licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any premises in which the licensable activity is carried on. The name of the licence holder followed by the number of the licence holder’s licence must also be clearly and prominently displayed on any website used in respect of the licensable activity.

Home Boarding For Dogs

Under the new AAL Regulations specifically for home boarders of dogs, service providers need to look closely at their set-up to ensure they are compliant:

Firstly under the description of ‘home boarding’ dogs must be accommodated within the home. Any outdoor accommodation comes under a separate subsection of the regulation and is governed by rules for kennelling.

The home must include direct access to a private, non-communal, secure and hazard-free external area, and at least two secure physical barriers between any dog and any entrance to or exit from it.

Dogs from different households may only be boarded at the same time with the written consent of every owner and each dog must be provided with its own designated room where it can, if necessary, be kept separate from other dogs.

Each dog must have a clean, comfortable and warm area within its own designated room where it can rest and sleep and each designated room must have a secure window to the outside that can be opened and closed as necessary.


A dog must not be confined in a crate for longer than three hours in any 24-hour period and in any case must not be kept in a crate unless:

(a)it is already habituated to it,

(b)a crate forms part of the normal routine for the dog, and

(c)the dog’s owner has consented to the use of a crate.

Any crate in which a dog is kept must be in good condition and sufficiently large for the dog to sit and stand in it at full height, lie flat and turn around.


Each dog must be fed separately in its designated room unless its owner has given written consent to the contrary.

Before a dog is admitted for boarding, all equipment to be used by or in relation to that dog must be cleaned and disinfected. Any equipment that a dog is likely to be in contact with and any toy provided must not pose a risk of pain, suffering, disease or distress to the dog and must be correctly used.

Every dog must be exercised at least once daily as appropriate for its age and health. Any which on the advice of a veterinarian cannot be exercised must be provided with alternative forms of mental stimulation.

Written consent must be obtained from all owners (as the case may be) to keep dogs together in a designated room.

Keeping Records

A register must be kept of all the dogs accommodated in the home which must include the following:

(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.

When outside the premises, each dog must wear an identity tag which includes the licence holder’s name and contact details.


If you find a home boarding provider who can demonstrate that they comply with all of the above even before the new AAL Regulations come into force in October, you are probably leaving your dog in good hands. You should also check that they are currently licensed under the existing Local Authority scheme and are properly insured by a specialist pet business insurance.

Paws Indoors does not provide home boarding services but in certain circumstances we will consider overnight house-sitting alongside our dog walking offer. If you think this would work for you please get in touch.


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  1. […] Activities Licencing (AAL) regulations came into effect in 2018. There is a lot of detail, so check this resource before you offer home boarding to […]

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