Dog owners urged to inspect kennels before going on holiday

Publication Date: 3rd August 2016

Subject: Health and safety

A leading health body is advising all dog owners to make thorough checks of any kennel or boarding establishment before leaving their pets this summer. 

Animal welfare 

Now that the summer holidays are upon us, many dog owners have started to consider using dog kennels while they are away on holiday.

To ensure people’s pets are properly taken care of while they’re away enjoying their vacations, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is recommending dog owners ask questions around safety, quality of facilities and procedures before leaving their pets.

Bob Mayho, Principal Policy Officer for CIEH, said: “The vast majority of boarding establishments are built and run to the highest possible standards. But we are concerned about a small number of kennels that are happy to take dog owners’ money whilst not necessarily providing facilities and services that befit the animals they are meant to be looking after.

“We strongly urge all dog owners to take a careful and considered look at where they want to leave their pets, whether that is talking to the owner on the phone or physically visiting the kennel and seeing it all with your own eyes. This should not only improve confidence in dog owners that their pets are being taken care of but will also rid the industry of poor practices.”

CIEH is the professional body for Environmental Health Professionals (EHPs) and first published model licence conditions and guidance for dog boarding establishments in 1995.

21 years on, CIEH has updated its guidance document, in partnership with councils and leading animal-related bodies including Dogs Trust, The British Veterinary Association and the RSPCA, to help EHPs understand and uphold the new legislation and general developments in animal welfare.

At the same time as providing EHPs with the knowledge and tools on what to look for in a fit and proper boarding establishment, CIEH is also providing top tips for dog owners who want to use a kennel:

  1. Check to see what the general conditions are like. If you can spot a problem then raise it with the kennel owners
  2. Ask if there is an exercise yard? It can be beneficial for dogs to spend time away from the kennel unit and get some much-needed exercise and variety
  3. Ensure your dog will have access to an adequate supply of suitable food, drink and bedding material
  4. Do the staff know what to do in an emergency? Ask them what measures are in place to protect animals in the case of fire or other emergencies
  5. Remember your dog’s hearing is more sensitive. So you might want to check if the kennel is too noisy
  6. Did you see a copy of the licence and its conditions – maximum number of dogs and number of holding units – displayed prominently in the boarding establishment? If not ask the owner where it is
  7. Check that a responsible person at least over 18 years old or older lives on site or a key-holder must live within a reasonable travelling time from the kennels and an emergency contact number must be clearly displayed at the entrance to the kennels
  8. Ask if staff who handle and care for dogs are adequately trained and competent in ensuring the dogs’ welfare as well as their safe handling
  9. You should be concerned if you are not asked to present up-to-date vaccination records for your pet, it could mean other pets in kennels are not vaccinated.

Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, said: “Dogs Trust has worked closely with CIEH, stakeholders and welfare organisations on the development of these guidelines and calls on local authorities to put the guidance into practice when assessing boarding establishments. The guidelines have had a long overdue overhaul and now reflect the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act for inspectors to consider during assessment.

“While these newly published guidelines mark an important step forward, we urge members of the public to be careful and considered when booking accommodation for their dogs over the summer holidays.”


Notes to editors 

For enquiries, please contact Steven Fifer on: 020 7827 5922 or email

Link to updated Model Licence Conditions for dog boarding establishments: 

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 9,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.  

CIEH is a leading provider of regulated qualifications and operates in over 50 countries. 

For more information visit and follow CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH


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