An amnesty has been called by council bosses for kennels across the city to apply for a licence.
Leaders said the authority’s animal welfare team had become aware of an increasing number of unlicensed dog boarding establishments running in Preston.
Now the council has granted an amnesty until the end of September, so unlicensed premises can apply.
Anyone operating an animal boarding establishment without a licence could be fined up to £500, or face up to three months imprisonment.
Preston Council’s cabinet member for planning and regulation, Coun John Swindells, said: “All dog owners have the right to expect that boarding premises where they leave their beloved pets satisfy basic standards relating to their health, welfare and safety and that the licensee is a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.
“By using licensed establishments dog owners can be confident that the premises comply with strict licensing conditions and the proprietors strive to guarantee the highest standards of animal care.
“The council is already aware of a number of unlicensed premises in Preston and if they do not come forward within this amnesty period, they may face criminal charges, and be taken to court.”
Bosses say unlicensed premises can be badly run, with poor conditions, little control over the dogs, and without any insurance cover.
Everyone who boards somebody else’s dog and receives payment for doing so must be licensed.
Other premises that might need licensing include businesses that ordinarily work with dogs such as dog walkers or dog groomers.
Contact the animal welfare team for advice on whether a licence is needed on 01772 906907.