How to start a pet care business in Ontario

Table of contents

Introduction
Getting started
Regulations
Taxation
Financing
Other resources

Introduction

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

Getting started

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 business start-up guide will give you more information on these steps and other basic requirements for starting a business in Ontario.

Read online:
Starting a Business

Regulations

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.

Contact us:
1-888-576-4444
Permits and licences search

Some common licences, permits and regulations that may apply to starting your pet care business include:

Labelling pet foods

Learn about the labelling and advertising regulations for dog and cat food.

Contact the Competition Bureau:
1-800-348-5358
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:
1-800-668-6767
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – permits

You may also wish to consult the following guides:

Legal questions

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:
1-855-255-7256

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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.

Use online:
Law Society Referral Service

Taxation

Depending on your location and the type of products or services being offered, federal, provincial and/or municipal business taxes may apply.

Read online:
Taxation guide

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.

Contact CRA:
1-800-959-5525
Canada Revenue Agency

Financing

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.

Search online:
Government grants and financing

Other resources

Managing

From day-to-day operations to long-term planning, learn how to manage your business efficiently.

Industry specific information

Association

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 Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.