Dog Kennels and Home Boarding


Multiple pieces of legislation apply to dog owners in Northern Ireland. This guide will help you understand your responsibilities, but it is not to be considered legal advice. The information below applies to Northern Ireland only. The rules may be different in the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland.

Dog Kennels and Home Boarding

All kennels should hold an animal boarding establishment licence (which is renewed annually).

DAERA is responsible for licensing animal boarding premises.

To obtain a licence to run a kennel, staff must hold suitable qualifications or have the necessary experience to run an animal boarding establishment.

Applicants also have to show that the animals they look after are:

·       kept in suitable accommodation

·       provided with adequate food, drink, and bedding

·       regularly exercised

·       safeguarded in an emergency (for example fire evacuation procedures)

·       protected from infectious disease – this includes providing isolation facilities

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DARD) may inspect premises before granting a licence. They can also undertake ‘spot checks’ at  any time after the licence is issued  to check that the kennels  meet health, safety and animal welfare standards.

Currently, home boarding for dogs cannot be licenced in Northern Ireland Licences available here are limited to kennels where dogs are kept in a purpose-built accommodation away from a family home. This means that any home boarders advertising their services are currently unlicenced and so may not be fully insured for the services they provide.

The Law:

Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 1972 and the Animal Boarding Establishments Regulations (NI) 1974.