Choosing a dog daycare and dog boarding facility

dog eating birthday cake whilst dog boarding


Questions To Ask When Choosing a Dog Daycare and Dog Boarding Facility

Congratulations! You’ve just brought a new dog into your family and you’re looking for him to get some exercise and socialize during the day and/or board whilst you’re away on holiday. So what are the next steps? How do you choose a dog daycare and dog boarding facility? How do you know if it’s a reputable facility? It can be a daunting decision as you want the best for your fur baby. We completely understand and have compiled a few questions to get started along your journey to finding the perfect dog daycare!

  • Where will my dog be playing, sleeping, and eating?
      1. Every reputable dog daycare or dog boarding facility will be pleased to show you where your pup will be eating, sleeping, and playing. Though it’s not uncommon to have specific hours during which a tour can take place, be wary of any facility that won’t let you see the spaces that your dog will be occupying – everything should be transparent!
  • Who will my dog be playing with?
    1. This is an important question because sometimes small dogs don’t like being around big dogs or sometimes older dogs prefer a slower pace to life as opposed to being around rambunctious dogs. A good dog daycare or dog boarding facility will understand this difference and place the dogs in various play group based on size, temperament, and energy levels. Also, the best facilities will conduct personality assessments on each dog to ensure good playful group dynamics.
  • What does the facility look and smell like?
      1. When you book an appointment to visit the dog daycare, ensure you walk around the play areas and sleeping areas and have a good sniff! Lingering smells of urine, feces, stains and dirt can be signs that general cleanliness and upkeep is poor. You obviously want to ensure that your dog’s home away from home is as welcoming and clean as possible. Of course, accidents happen, especially with puppies, but look for signs of long neglected stains and smells.
  • What about emergencies or injuries?
      1. Ask specifically what happens in the unfortunate event of an injury to your dog and what procedures are followed should that it occur. The most reputable daycares will notify you immediately with the description and extent of the injury with a recommendation of care and then follow your directions. Reputable dog daycares will also have a policy in place should the owner not be reachable. Typically this takes the form of a vet authorization form, which will allow the daycare to seek care for your pup.
  • What insurance coverage does the company have?
      1. Every business will have some sort of general liability insurance but when it comes to your pet, you’ll want to ensure that any bites, scratches, or injuries are covered should your furry friend be injured at doggie daycare. Read over the contract that each daycare facility provides carefully as some will require that you have your own insurance while others may require you to pay the company’s deductible should you need to make a claim.
  • How experienced are the staff? Are they bonded?
      1. You’ll want to know who is handling your dog, what experience he or she has, how long the staff has been at that specific daycare, and if they’re pet first aid certified. These are important questions as it speaks volumes to the overall care by the daycare and dog boarding facility. If the daycare attendants are happy people, you know your pup is in good hands. You’ll also want to know if the employees are bonded. The bonding process involves a criminal background check of the employees. This is especially important if your daycare arranges a pick up or drop off service from your home.
  • Local Regulations and By-Laws
  1. Obviously, local regulations will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but there are a few general things to look for across jurisdictions.First – are they’re any regulations about how many pets can be looked after at any given time? In Toronto, there are limits on the number of dogs that can be walked on the public streets at the any time (3 dogs if you don’t have a dog-walking license and a maximum of 6 dogs if you do). The number of dogs that can be housed in a private dwelling is 3 dogs but in a commercial property, there are no limits to the number of pets that can be kept. Be sure to ask your daycare if they have a staff to dog ratios and if there any limits of the number of pets at any given time. Take into consideration of size of dogs and size of facility when hearing these numbers as 10 Yorkies are not the same 10 Huskies should the dog to staff ratio be 10 dogs to 1 staff.

    Second – for boarding, are there any regulations about keeping animals overnight? In Toronto, unless you are an Animal Hospital or a Vet Clinic, there is no zoning category that allows for animals to be kept overnight without a zoning by-law variance. Though this by-law section is rarely, if ever, enforced, asking your daycare and boarding facility about this can demonstrate their professionalism and willingness to operate and comply with the local regulations.


There’s a lot to digest in the questions above but this should get you started to selecting the right dog daycare for your dog! Feel free to contact us for further information or check out our website. Any questions that you can think of that we haven’t covered above – feel free to leave a comment and we’ll incorporate it into the next version of this article.

Breed of the Week: Papillon


This week we are looking at one of the oldest spaniel breeds, the Papillon. Also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, this dog is most recognised by its fluffy ears that resemble butterfly wings. A friendly and energetic dog, the Papillon is a great companion in a tiny package.


The Papillon is one of the oldest known breeds in the world. This breed dates back to the 15th Century! Their exact origin is still unknown to this date, but suspected to likely be Belgium, France or Spain. As depicted in many old paintings, we have come to find that many famous historic figures loved this little spaniel. Marie Antoinette was known to carry her little Papillon around with her quite often. The breed originally had droopy ears, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that Papillon breeders started breeding for erect ears. During this time that the erect ears became more popular, any Papillon’s that did not have erect ears came to be known as the Phalene (meaning night moth). Interestingly enough, even through years of breeding for either erect or drooped ears, when a Papillon gives birth, you can have pups with erect ears and ones with drooped ears within that same litter!


If you are looking for a dog that won’t leave fur all over your house, then do not get a Papillon. These guys shed a lot and need to be brushed at least every other day. If you want to maintain the classic Papillon haircut then you will be going to the groomer about once a month. If you are okay with him not looking absolutely perfect or if you prefer the puppy cut (short hair all over) then only need to visit the groomer about every 4 months. Be very gentle when you are brushing the Papillon as they do have a lot of fur, but it’s not thick. The Papillon doesn’t have a double coat like some other breeds, so be sure to have a soft touch when brushing to not accidentally hurt or scratch the dog’s skin.


The Papillion is a sweet and friendly little dog. When properly socialized, they are often very friendly with dogs, cats and new people. These little guys are high energy and very intelligent (imagine a tiny border collie). They need to have adequate physical and mental stimulation every day to not bored and get into trouble. Papillons are very light-footed and fast, meaning they can be great escape artists. It’s important to work on your Papillon’s recall early on (as well as teach them to stay within your property when off leash) to ensure that when you open the front door, they don’t run out.


When owning a toy breed such as the Papillon, safety is a big concern. Even a short fall down some stairs or accidentally stepping on your dog if he’s quietly running by your feet, can seriously injury their tiny bodies. So be sure to look around your house and ‘tiny dog proof’ it to make sure they aren’t at risk of getting hurt or getting stuck somewhere.


The Papillon can be a fantastic companion to an active owner. They do great in apartments and don’t take up much space! With that in mind, they will need time outside to run around daily and get out all of their energy. Be prepared for trips to the groomer and maintaining your dog’s coat in between grooms. The Papillon is a wonderful and happy little dog that can be a lot of joy to the right owner!

Dog Breed Classifications: Part 1


Ever wonder why some dogs have never ending energy while others are more inclined to lay on the couch all day? Well part of the reason is what the dog’s ancestors were bred for! Today we will look at 3 of the 7 different classifications of dogs that will give us more insight into their personalities and why they act the way they do!


Hounds: The hound group includes dog breeds such as beagles, Norwegian elkhounds and basset hounds. These dogs typically have more scent receptors than breeds in other groups which tells you why they are known to always be on a scent. If you are interested in bringing a hound into your family, be aware that it may be more difficult to have reliable recall as they will often be distracted by a good scent. As well as they will typically ‘bay’ instead of bark, which some people prefer but it is not for everyone. So it helps to have a fondness for that baying sound!


Herding: Some of the dog breeds belonging to the herding group are the Border collie, Australian cattle dog and the Collie. You will often notice right away when a herding-type dog is playing at the dog park as their favourite way to play is chasing other dogs, mimicking their herding nature. Owners of herding dogs would be wise to ensure their dogs learn early on how to play nicely as they can sometimes be prone to nipping other dog’s ankles as this is the way their ancestors would herd livestock.  Herding dogs are generally very high energy and very intelligent so they are best suited to a family with an active lifestyle. They love to be challenged to learning new things and do great in agility competitions.


Toy Group: Examples of breeds from the toy group are the Chihuahua, maltese and Pekingese. These dogs were bred with the intent to have a small compact dog suitable to apartment and city living (as well as to be very cute!). These dogs do typically have that high-pitch bark so it would be wise to teach them early on to be quiet on command. You will often find toy dogs with not so great manners (of course this does not go for all toy dogs!) because their cuteness will generally let them get away with whatever trouble they get into. It is very important for owners of a dog from the toy group to look past that adorable face and ensure they are keeping up with their manners (not barking, jumping up on people, nipping, etc.).


Now that we’ve had a look at 3 of the 7 types of dog classifications, be sure to check in next week for the remaining 4!

The Importance of Having Your Dog Spayed/ Neutered

Just like Bob Barker always said, remember to have your dog spayed or neutered! Read on to discover why it will benefit not only your dog’s mental and physical well-being, but also your own peace of mind!

We all know puppies are adorable, they’re funny little balls of fur that love to play and learn new tricks! But accidental puppies, not so desirable. It can sometimes be difficult to find suitable homes for all of them, and it also takes away potential homes for dogs that have been waiting to be rescued in dog shelters. There are plenty of great dogs waiting to go to their forever home, but don’t always get that chance when backyard breeders or accidental litters happen. Your wallet will also thank you as spaying/neutering your pet is much cheaper than caring for a new litter of puppies.

When you neuter your male dog, you prevent his risk for testicular cancer, perianal tumors and some prostate problems too. You greatly reduce behavioural problems such as marking, running away from home if he has the scent of a female in heat, aggression towards other males interested in the same female, humping, etc. Although these behaviour issues are often greatly reduced once neutered, they may not disappear completely. Especially if you have waited a while to have your dog neutered and he is simply used to these behaviours already. As well as he will still have some testosterone in his body (neutering does not completely eliminate this hormone from his body).

Spaying your female dog is also quite beneficial. It will reduce your dog’s chance for breast tumors and uterine infections. When in heat, many female dogs will howl in pursuit to alert males and find a mate, spaying will often reduce and sometimes completely eliminate this behaviour, depending on each individual dog of course. As mentioned previously, it will save you the cost of a new litter of puppies. If your dog does become pregnant, it will also save you on vet bills for regular pregnancy checkups, prenatal vitamins or supplements (if required), and any possible complications with the pregnancy.

When you spay or neuter your dog, it will also give you a lot more freedom when looking for doggy daycare or boarding, as many facilities will only accept dogs who have been spayed/neutered.

As you can see, there are a lot of benefits both to you and your pooch to have your dog spayed/neutered. It is definitely better to do it as soon as the vet says they are old enough, rather than waiting and possibly letting undesirable behaviours set in for life. You will also be helping dogs who are already waiting in shelters and rescues to have a better chance at their forever home. For most owners, it is a clear answer to keeping their pet happy and healthy!

Staying Cool in the Summer Heat


Keeping your pups cool during the hot summer months can be critical to their health and happiness. We’ve put together some easy tips to make sure you and your furry friends can stay cool while still having summer fun!


#1: Bring water with you

It is so important for your dog to stay hydrated when you two are out enjoying the sun. Make sure you always have a bottle of water handy. There are also many portable water dishes you can buy at pet stores that will easily collapse so you can store it in your pocket or bag. Make sure to offer fresh water to your dog every 15-20 min or so (use your best judgement with the heat). You can also bring along frozen ‘pupsicles’ to keep your dog cool! Mix together some dog-friendly foods such as peanut butter, banana and yogurt. Freeze solid and bring along as a cool treat! But remember, even with delicious ‘pupsicles’ your dog will still require access to fresh water.

#2: Limit time outside if your dog is short-nosed (Brachycephalic)

If your dog has a short nose (ex., Pug, English bulldog, French bulldog, Mastiff, etc.), it is critical that they don’t spend too much time in the heat. These breeds overheat much faster compared to longer nosed breeds and they have a much higher risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Make sure these dogs have access to water at all times, have access to plenty of shade that they can cool down in, and on days with heat warnings, it may be best to keep them inside for most of the day where it is air conditioned. For all dog breeds (not just short nosed) it is sometimes better to leave them at home instead of giving them a long walk or hike in the summer heat.

#3: Do not leave dogs in a hot car

Most people are aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. The temperature inside the car will be even hotter than the outside heat. When the weather is 70???F outside, after just 30min in the car it can feel like 104???F. If you must bring your dog in the car and leave him while running errands, see if a friend is available to come along with you. That way someone can keep your dog company while you run into the store and back, as well as you can leave the car running for the air conditioning. Always try to plan ahead so that you will not be in a situation that your dog has to sit in a hot car.

#4: Learn to recognise the signs of an overheated dog

It is always a great idea to learn more about your dog’s health and well-being. Taking a pet first aid course and learning to recognise when your dog isn’t quite acting themselves is all part of being the most responsible pet owner you can be. Some of the signs to watch out for are; excessive panting, dry nose, lack of appetite, wobbly or shaky when walking around. If your dog is suddenly experiencing one or more of these symptoms, give them time to cool off immediately. If symptoms don’t improve, call your vet and they can advise you if your dog needs immediate attention.


Having fun with your pup is easy! Now staying safe and healthy in the heat will be too!