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The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

On 1 October 2018, the new Regulations of activities involving animals came into force which changed the previous licensing regime for businesses involved in dog boarding which includes home boarding and day care. Anyone engaged in this activity must be licensed and it is against the law to operate such a business without a council license.

Choosing the right dog care

Dogs enjoy company and comfort
Dog owners are becoming ever more reliant on what I like to refer to as dog care professionals to look after their dog when they are at work or going away on holiday. Some owners will just want someone to pop in and take their dog for an enjoyable walk. This is so that they are not left alone indoors for long periods. Other owners whilst at work will want their dog to spend time in the company of other dogs rather than being left alone at home. This helps their dog to socialise and enjoy themselves with other dogs.

How to choose the right dog care
So how do you choose the right dog care professional? Since October 2018 anyone offering dog day care or boarding must be licensed by their local authority. It is against the law to operate such a business without a license. Currently I believe there is an exception for people who simply come and collect your dog, take them for a walk and take them back to your home.

Boarding Home v Kennel
Should you want your dog looked after while you are on holiday you have two choices, a boarding kennel or home boarding.
Putting your dog in a kennel when they are used to home comforts may be a bit distressing for them and I have had experience of dogs not being quite the same afterwards. Many years ago I put my spaniel in a kennel and that was the first and last time. After that he always stayed with a family when I went on holiday.
I am not saying kennels are a bad thing for your dog but it is up to you to decide what is the best option for it when you go away. The animal’s welfare must come first. You will find that a lot of home boarders will only take small dogs due to the space available. Clearly if you have a small house, trying to look after large dogs like Great Danes is not really practical and this when a kennel is invaluable.

Day Care
So, looking at day care and home boarding here are some pointers and questions that you may want to consider.
- Is the business licensed?
- Ask to see the license and confirm that the business is fully insured.
- What are the arrangements should your dog become ill or injures itself?
- Where can I get reviews?
- Do I have to deliver my dog, or can it be picked up?
- Are the premises suitable?
- Is there plenty of room for outdoor exercising on the premises?
- What are the walking arrangements?
- What enrichment programmes does the carer provide?
- Are the sleeping arrangements suitable?

Screen new dogs requesting care
Under the new regulations dog carers have to ensure that if they are going to look after your dog, it must be screened socialising with the other dogs that it will come into contact with. If there is any hint that there may be problems, then you should seek an alternative carer. Equally if the carer thinks your dog would not fit in then they will tell you. Again, always remember it is the dog’s welfare that comes first.
We have had instances in our business where dogs have come for screening and within minutes, we have identified behavioural problems and quickly rejected the dog. Getting the right balance is crucial for your dog, the carer and the other dogs that your dog will come in contact with.
We have acquired a well balanced group of dogs and when we are out walking with them they behave well off the lead and will always want to socialiase with other dogs and people.
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