Tips for applying for an Animal Welfare Licence

We hope the tips will clarify some of the key terms used in the Animal Welfare Licence guidance.

Operating procedures

Operating procedures should describe how you run your business on a daily basis so that someone who has never done it before could read the procedures and be able to run it.

This answer should include when animals are fed, exercised, checked upon, cleaned out, and any equipment that is used for these processes. It should also include specific activities that the guidance notes state you must give (for example, in the case of dog boarding - toileting opportunities and beneficial human interaction).

Plan of the premises

We require a plan of the areas used for the licensable activity. Measurements should be included and can be in metres, centimetres or millimetres.

All animal enclosures and area sizes will be checked during inspection. Some of the regulations state the minimum sizes that must be used. See the relevant guidance notes for more details.

Emergency Response Plan and risk assessments

You must plan for emergencies, such as fire, extreme heat/cold, and loss of essential heating or system.

You need to produce risk assessments to protect yourself and any staff from injury. Risk assessments are needed if you are self-employed, or an employer. They should include hazards (such as lifting, trips and slips etc) as well as how staff are protected from zoonotic diseases (a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans).

Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for advice on writing a risk assessment.

Infection Control Procedure

This should look at all aspects of preventing and controlling disease and infection amongst the animals kept, for example:

  • how often housing and equipment are cleaned
  • what they are cleaned with (animal-safe virucidal and bactericidal disinfectants)
  • whether the animals are up to date with vaccinations, worming and ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, mites), plus details on isolation and barrier nursing should be included where relevant.
  • you should consider using your Vet to provide isolation for sick animals, and should consult them if required.

Qualifications and training records

If you have the relevant qualifications that the guidance asks for, please send us a copy (no photos please) of the certificate

If you do not have any relevant qualifications, that’s fine, but please let us know on the application form. Experience is also taken into account.

Many people in the animal care industry have a lot of experience. We will check during our inspection that you are a competent person to care for animals.

If you are a sole trader, you will not need to keep training records, but you will be expected to show evidence of continued personal development over the period of your licence. This can include taking relevant short courses such as animal first aid or animal behaviour.

These courses are becoming more common - check your local vet or college. There are also internet courses and published scientific papers, which are useful.

Home boarding or dog day care?

Only apply for a dog day care licence if you run a dog day care centre. If you look after dogs in your home during the day or overnight, you should apply for home boarding of dogs.

General advice

Please read the relevant guidance carefully before completing the application form. Make sure you have completed all the relevant sections and that you include all the documents requested when you return the application form. Missing documents will delay the processing of your application.

You must provide the necessary document when the form asks that something must be “written” or “documented”.

Please ensure that your paperwork is ready for inspection and includes any written policies and procedures that are asked for in the guidance.

You will be expected to have other documents and written procedures in place that are mentioned in the guidance (examples include written permissions from dogs’ owners, a preventative healthcare plan, implemented and agreed by your vet, thorough records as specified etc).