Spay or neuter

Spaying and neutering your pet will help protect them against a number of serious and expensive health problems, reduces the chance of unwanted behaviour related to mating and will assist in controlling the pet population. Learn more about the services provided by the City and the mobile Spay Neuter Your Pet (SNYP) clinic.

Microchip and vaccinate

The City’s mobile Chip Truck provides microchip, rabies vaccine and pet licences at a reduced cost. Check the Chip Truck webpage for updates on event dates and locations and to schedule an appointment.

Exercise, train and socialize

It’s important for dogs to exercise and train daily. Leash up your pup and enjoy many pathways and trails or visit a dog’s off-leash area in one of Toronto’s parks. Learn more about what you need to know to use dogs off-leash areas.

Respect the natural environment

Several areas within Toronto parks and trails are environmentally sensitive with fragile plants and wildlife. Keep dogs on a leash and out of these areas including garden beds.

Provide veterinary care

Keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date and visit a veterinarian yearly for a check-up.

Your dog probably loves summer, and for good reason! Here are some helpful tips so you both can enjoy the season safely.

Never leave your dog alone in a hot, parked car

Leaving your dog in a hot car for even a short period of time can be dangerous. Even with all windows cracked, the temperature of a car’s interior can quickly rise to deadly levels. Shade offers little protection on a hot day and moves with the sun.

Remember, dogs do not sweat the way we do. They cannot cool their bodies in hot temperatures. Young, old, overweight dogs and breeds with short muzzles are most at risk of overheating.

If you see a dog unattended in a parked car, call 311 and stand by the car until help arrives. If a dog appears to be in distress, call 911.

Flea and tick season

Keep your pets protected from fleas and ticks from June to September. Flea and tick prevention products are now available at most pet stores. You may also want to discuss different prevention methods with your veterinarian.

Dogs have allergies too

Your dog may be allergic to one or more seasonal items, including grass, plants and mold. If you think your dog has allergies, is scratching and maybe even losing fur, be sure to visit your veterinarian.

Water is essential

Keep your dog hydrated. Provide lots of cool, clean, fresh water. During a long walk, take breaks and look for a water fountain or source that is safe for people and pets to drink. Even better, carry a water bowl with you.

Exercise at dusk and dawn

Exercise your dog during the coolest parts of the day (dawn and dusk). In summer, asphalt on sidewalks and streets can become so hot that it can burn a dog’s paws.

Winter can present some hazards for your dog. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside or take short walks when possible.

Long fur coats

Remember never to shave your dog down to the skin in winter; longer coats provide more warmth. If your dog is short-haired, think about getting a warm sweater or coat that covers from tail to belly.

Preparing for walks

Before going outside, put booties on dogs to protect paws from salt and ice. You can also try massaging a protectant into paw pads and bring a towel on long walks to clean off any irritated paws.

At home

After walks, wash and dry your dog’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals, and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can give them dry, flaky skin.

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm. Talk to your veterinarian to see if your dog needs extra food during the cold weather months.

Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. Think cozy dog bed.

Your dog should be sheltered inside your home. Dogs kept outside can be exposed to bitter cold temperatures in the winter and scorching heat in the summer.

Provide a well-constructed dog house to protect your dog from the harsh weather elements. Proper outdoor shelter for dogs must meet the following standards:

Weatherproof construction

Dogs should always have access to the indoors, especially during really cold weather. If keeping your dog outside longer than 30 minutes, you should provide a weather-proofed and insulated shelter that has a roof, enclosed sides, a doorway and a solid level floor raised at least two inches from the ground. There should be no cracks or openings other than the entrance. Rainproof openings for ventilation are required in hot weather.

The Province of Ontario regulates outdoor shelter standards for dogs. Learn more about the legal requirements and best practices for keeping dogs outdoors.

Protected and weatherproof entrance

The entryway must be protected by a self-closing door, an offset outer door, or covered by a flexible flap.


Dry bedding such as cedar shavings or straw must be provided to protect against cold and dampness. The bedding should be changed weekly to prevent mold and to keep the doghouse sanitary.

Shelter size

The shelter should be small enough to allow a dog to warm the interior of the structure and maintain body heat but must be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around comfortably and lie down.


The shelter should be placed where it will be adequately shaded in the hot weather and have the best protection from the wind in cold weather. In addition, ensure your dog has:

  • open/adequate access to fresh, non-frozen water
  • adequate food
  • continuous access to an area (e.g. kennel, run, backyard) with space for exercise
  • daily lighting cycles of either natural or artificial light
  • appropriate veterinary care

Recognizing problems

If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them inside quickly because they may be showing signs of hypothermia.

Frostbite is harder to detect and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.