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How to start a pet care business in Ontario
Table of contents
The pet care industry consists of businesses that provide products or services for pets and pet owners. If you are considering starting a doggy daycare, obedience training, pet grooming, or other pet-related business, you will be part of this growing industry.
Other common types of pet care businesses include:
- Pet-sitting or dog walking services
- Pet cleanup service
- Kennel/boarding services
- Animal behavioural advice
- Pet supply store
When you start a business there are several things to consider before you can sell your product or service. Most businesses in Ontario need to complete a minimum of three basic steps:
- Find out what licences and regulations apply to your type of business
- Choose a business structure and register or incorporate your business
- Determine if you will need to collect and remit HST
Our Starting a Business guide will give you more information on these steps and other basic requirements for starting a business in Ontario.
Starting a Business
Your business may need licences and permits from the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government.
In addition to the information you will find in this guide, you can use the Canada Business Permits and Licences Search, powered by BizPaL, to find licences and regulations that may affect your business. You can also contact us to speak to someone about starting your business.
Permits and licences search
Some common licences, permits and regulations that may apply to starting your pet care business include:
If you are making or selling pet food as part of your pet care business, you need to be aware of the different regulations.
- For information on manufacturing and importing pet foods, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Animal Health Offices
- For information on labelling and advertising regulations for dog and cat food, contact the Competition Bureau:
Contact the Competition Bureau:
Guide for the Labelling and Advertising of Pet Foods
Importing or exporting wild plants or animals
If you plan on importing or exporting wild plants or animals, you may need an import or export permit:
Contact Environment and Climate Change Canada:
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – permits
You may also wish to consult the following guides:
You can contact Pro Bono Ontario’s free legal advice hotline to enquire about getting help with your everyday civil legal needs (no family law or criminal law). The service is generally aimed at those who cannot afford a lawyer.
Note that service is not guaranteed and you will be asked questions as part of the qualifying process, such as the amount of personal income earned by your household, your name, postal code and age range.
Contact Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline:
You can also contact the Law Society of Ontario's Law Society Referral Service if you have legal questions of a business nature. The service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs.
Law Society Referral Service
Depending on your location and the type of products or services being offered, federal, provincial and/or municipal business taxes may apply.
If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a business number to collect and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Most businesses that make less than $30,000 in any 12-month period are not required to charge HST; however, you can register voluntarily and claim input tax credits. Speak with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for more information.
Canada Revenue Agency
Government departments and agencies provide financing such as grants, contributions, subsidies and loan guarantees. Find out what type of government financing may be available for your business. Use the program search tool or browse by type of financing.
Government grants and financing
From day-to-day operations to long-term planning, learn how to manage your business efficiently.
Industry specific information
- Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: provides access to professional training and information about the SPCA Act.
- Canadian Federation of Humane Societies: stay up to date with information on animal-related research and laws.
- College of Veterinarians of Ontario: regulates veterinarians in Ontario.
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency: regulates the importation of pet food and related products.
- How to Prevent and Detect Disease in Backyard Flocks and Pet Birds
If you are interested in finding an association, use our secondary market research service request and have us search for one based on your needs.
You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Small Business Services (SBS) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.