Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you offer tours by appointment only?
Why can you not accommodate us for a quick look around when we stop in because we are in the neighbourhood anyway?

The safety of our boarding guests and our staff is our highest priority. Outside reception hours we are busy attending to the dogs, let them in and out, supervise them, feed them, administer medication, do nail clips and baths and laundry and many more things. We keep the front door locked at all times. When we are busy somewhere else in the building with the dogs we are not able to come to the door. That is why we have reception hours in place. It takes some time and preparation to make it safe for our boarding guests, staff and visitors to have drop-offs and pick-ups happening, and new visitors coming in and look around the facility. We want the tour to be a positive and safe experience for everyone at Doggie Minder. Therefore, we regret that we cannot make exceptions for people who come by without an appointment. Please email us at to schedule a tour with your dog. Thank you.

Outside our listed reception hours our gate to the parking lot is closed, as our facility is closed to visitors. During these times our staff are tending to the needs of our daycare and boarding guests. When the gate is closed, we ask that you respect the safety of our staff and doggy guests and not climb around the gate in order to enter our facility. During our "closed" times we are busy with dog-related tasks. Please note that visitors who climb around the gate and come onto our property and put our staff/dogs at risk, may no longer be welcome at Doggie Minder. Again, the safety of our staff and guests is our highest priority. We cannot be held liable for our clients if they put themselves at risk of injury due to climbing around our property lines. Thank you for your understanding. If there is an emergency outside of our regular reception hours, please contact us to make alternate arrangements.

Why do you not offer any tours during certain busy holiday weeks?
Again, the safety of our boarding guests and our staff is our highest priority. During peak season such as Christmas, March Break, Long Weekends and some weekends in July and August we are fully booked. It provides an unnecessary risk for boarding guests to offer tours during that time as the dogs get very excited during those visits of the facility. We are sure you appreciate that safety policy for your own dog staying with us. We strongly suggest to plan ahead and book a tour, even if you don't have immediate travel plans or a regular sitter. You never know when you need a back-up plan or sudden care for your pet. Avoid disappointment by scheduling a tour well in advance. Once we've seen your dog we can always board him or her on short notice - provided we have availability. Please email us at to schedule a tour with your dog. Thank you.

Why do you not allow children inside the doggie facility?
We do not screen the dogs how they behave around children as it is not a criteria for boarding with us. Some dogs may be fine with adults and other dogs but not so good with children. Those dogs are perfectly fine for boarding with us as there are no children inside the facility ever. We understand that for the introductory visit you may need to hire a babysitter or have a family member look after your child or children during that initial half an hour visit on a Saturday morning. However, the safety of your children is a high priority to us as we are sure it is for you. We will not take a chance of your child being bit, scratched or knocked over by a dog on our premises and getting hurt. We repeatedly point out to our customers the risks of taking children to a leash-free park as parents have no means of knowing what strange dogs will be there and how they will react to children. Those same rules apply to our facility here. Thank you for your understanding.

We came for a tour and we noticed a few crates in your facility. Why do you have those in the reception area and in the playroom?
We have a few crates around for feeding dogs, as well as for keeping them clean and dry after doggie baths. We want to ensure that every dog eats the food provided by the owner. Feeding each dog individually in a crate (or large dogs in a room) ensures that we can monitor how much food at what time each of our boarding guests consumed. A mix up of food from another dog, or eating too much can be upsetting for a dog's stomach during his or her stay. Feeding in crates individually ensures safety for your pet, which is our highest priority!

What is your policy regarding nailclips?
If the nails require clipping we will add $15 plus tax, if your dog is staying a week or longer we will add $8 for each follow up nailclip every week. We also have a lot of clients who only stop in for a nailclip with their pooch after they've made a quick paw-dicure appointment by email in advance. For clients who come on a regular basis, each clip is only $8. Please note that we reserve the right to do a nailclip on your dog if necessary while in our care. Be assured that we will never recommend any product or service to you that you find unnecessary. However, long nails are not only uncomfortable and dangerous for your dog, they also put the other boarding guests and our staff at risk. Safety of our boarding guests and our staff is our highest priority.

Please be aware that even though you might do a nail clip at home occasionally, most likely we will be able to get the nails much shorter here. Ideally you clip your dogs nails once a week at home to avoid the blood vessel (quick) growing out with the nail and keeping the nails too long. We have a lot of experience getting nails really short, safe and healthy.

If you would like to become a professional at clipping your own dog's nails: We offer nailclipping workshops on a regular basis for a minimal fee. We kindly ask you to respect the safety of everyone here and not argue with our staff if they suggest a nailclip. If we believe your dog needs a nail clip at drop off for safety reasons as stated above, and you insist on no nailclip we might not be able to accept your dog that day.

Some of the nails we see here. . .

Below are the typical nails our visitors come with. See before and after! We are able to get them really short for you. Quite a difference, right?

Here is a nice example of a maintenance clip:

Why is smoking "paw-hibited" on your premises?
Please note that smoking is not allowed anywhere on our premises. We are a holistically inclined daycare and are trying to keep our boarding guests, staff and volunteers healthy and safe. Besides causing a fire hazard, one cigarette butt contains enough nicotine to kill a small puppy or a kitten when swallowed. Our staff is unavailable to pick up every single cigarette dropped in our parking lot, hence, the no smoking policy. Please respect our property. Thank you.

Why don't you have a public washroom on your premises?
Please note that due to local by-laws of the City of Pickering regarding our property, we are not permitted to have a public washroom at the doggie daycare facility. We apologize and ask you to please plan accordingly when coming to visit us to avoid any discomfort. Thank you.

Do you have a kennel licence to operate the business?
We are fully kennel-licenced by the City Of Pickering Kennel Licencing department. By-law officers come regularly and unannounced to inspect our premises to make sure everything is up to code. We are the only licenced facility in the Durham Region. Our location has proper zoning and permits to run a Doggie Boarding Facility and is approved by the planning department of the City of Pickering. We also have a valid business licence, adequate insurance, a vendors permit and are a proud member of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce. All staff members are re-certified in Pet First Aid every year and receive adequate hands-on training for the day-to-day activities and chores with the dogs.

Why do you inform us about the crate-free environment and point out the risk of injury during the introductory visit as well as make us sign off/initial about this information in your boarding contract?
As mentioned above, we are fully kennel-licenced by the City Of Pickering Kennel Licencing department. Officers come on a regular basis to inspect our facility and have approved our environment on all levels. We are licenced as CRATE-FREE facility, meaning that amongst other activities the dogs mingle, interact, play together and run in the backyard. Our yard is approximately half an acre in size, which means active dogs run and romp around all day long outdoors or indoors (weather permitting)- hence the dogs are tired when they get picked up. This is one of the main reason for our customers to choose our doggie boarding facility over others, as our customers know that their dogs get premium exercise, interaction with other dogs and a large play area to share with other dogs. As we explain and show when touring the facility for our "Introductory Visit" before boarding your dog with us, this free concept comes with certain risks of injuries or exposure to contagious diseases. While we do our very best to provide the safest environment as possible, dogs are still dogs!

Similar to taking your dog to the dog park or go on a hiking trip or a run in the woods, here at Doggie Minder your dog can get a scratch, a puncture, an injured leg or an eye infection from the dust from the fields blowing wind in the summer or a cough or a stomach bug from interacting with other dogs. It does not happen very often, but it occasionally does - just like our staff passes a flu bug around or one of our staff twists an ankle when coming down the stairs and not putting the foot down properly before putting weight on it. Things happen - to humans and to animals. If you are uncomfortable with that risk for your dog or fear any vet bills, we suggest finding a facility that crates dogs individually and takes them on leash-only walks, or looking for an in-home sitter or a family member to watch your dog. Make sure to inform the sitter to act accordingly to avoid all risk of injury or illness by not letting the sitter take your dog running and playing with other dogs. We regret that we cannot be liable for a dog running and playing with other dogs and sustaining a common "play injury" during his or her stay. Our boarding contract contains several paragraphs stating that you were aware and well informed of the environment for your dog during his/her stay, and that you are finanically solely responsible for any vet bills that may occur.

How do I book my dog in?
Call or email us to schedule an appointment. We offer one-hour tours on Saturdays where you come and look around and introduce your dog to us. There is time to answer questions that you may have. This visit is free of charge. For introductory visits and reservations email or call 905.655.8401. For safety reasons for our boarding guests and our staff we do not accept dogs we havenít met first.

What are your hours of operation?
We are open year-round, 7 days per week 24 hours a day. But we do have office hours listed on the Reception Times page. Make sure that you come during those hours as there are absolutely NO pick-ups or drop-offs outside these times.

Can I call you at 4:30pm on the day of pick-up and say that I'll be later than 5:30pm to fetch my dog?
You are welcome to call or email us if you know you are running behind and you'll not be able to pick up your dog that evening but the next day instead. We understand that sometimes you may be running late. However, in order to always ensure the safety of our boarding guests and staff, we close and lock our doors at 5:30pm and are unable to accommodate after hours pick-ups. Just like other businesses and grocery stores close at a certain time and you cannot call and say you would like to get some groceries 15 minutes after closing time, we follow the same protocol. If you have run into unexpected traffic or another delay on the way to Doggie Minder, we suggest asking a trusted family member or friend to pick up your dog on your behalf. Or of course, your pooch is always welcome to stay an extra night for another fun "pawjama-pawty". Thank you.

Can you pick up my dog?
We offer a pick-up and drop-off service for our boarding guests. We do not offer driving services for daycare dogs. Prices for picking up boarding guests depend on the distance. Email us for a quote to your house and back.

How do I find you?
Click on Map & Directions and you will find printable information there. Keep in mind for yourself and other members of your family who might pick up the dog for the first time that our address doesn't show up properly on most GPS systems and most online address search websites. Please inform your pick-up person to print our map & directions so they don't end up on the other end of town. Remember, we have firm reception hours and also, most of the time we are busy with the dogs and will not be able to answer the phone for visitors who are lost. Thank you.

What are your rates?
Please see our Services & Prices page for requirements and rates.

Do you charge for a 24-hour period?
Most boarding places charge for a 24-hour period and if the dog stays longer on the last day there is an extra fee for that. The price for overnight is the same, no matter what drop-off and pick-up time you choose. The dogs are having fun in our environment and we encourage you to drop your dog off in the morning and leave him till the evening of the pick-up day. This ensures that you are picking up a happily exhausted dog which means you spent your money well.

Why do you prefer to receive boarding guests in the morning versus the afternoon drop-off?
We strongly encourage you to drop your furry family member off during the morning times rather than the afternoon times even if your flight doesn't leave till midnight on that day. Even though you might think that you want to keep your dog with you for as long as possible because your dog will miss you, it is much easier for us to integrate your dog if we have a full day to do so. If you drop your dog off in the afternoon, he will have less time to get used to his new surroundings and meet all his old and new friends. Overnight guests who arrived earlier are tired which leaves less chance and time for your dog to play. The choice is untimately yours of course, however, from our experience the first night is a bit tougher on the guests who were dropped off in the afternoon instead of the morning. And the price is the same!

Do you offer a discount for a second dog?
Our prices are calculated per dog and we do not offer a discount for a second dog from the same household. Most of our competitors charge more for the first dog in order to allow a 10% discount to the second dog. If you compare prices with facilities who offer a similar crate-free and fun environment like ours you will notice that even with the second dog discount the total for both dogs is still higher than two dogs staying with us at full price for the same time period. Most of our clients are single-dog owners and we keep our rates low for them as well to make boarding with us affordable for everyone.

Can I call at the last minute to have my dog placed with you?
You are most welcome to drop your dog off at the last minute provided we have availability. However, this applies only to dogs who have come for the introductory visit. We suggest booking a tour even if you donít have immediate travel plans or normally have a family member look after your pooch. It is always wise to have a back-up plan if your regular sitter falls through or you have a family emergency. Plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

Do I need an appointment?
YES, absolutely. For the safety of the dogs staying with us we do not permit unexpected visitors. We also want to give you a tour and meet your dog to see his ability to get along with the other dogs before he arrives for a stay at Doggie Minder.

What do I do when I arrive for the introductory visit or boarding drop off with my dog?
Please pull up to a parking spot and remain in your vehicle until someone comes to greet you. Again, this is for the safety of everyone. All dogs on the property must be leashed on a flat leash until they get inside the facility. Remember, we absolutely do not permit retractable leashes on the premises.

Does my dog have to be spayed or neutered?
Spay or neuter is not a criteria for boarding with us. However, we do not accept females during their heat cycle. As long as your dog passes our temperament assessment it does not matter to us whether the dog is altered or not.

What about Shots & Fleas?
Please contact us first before agreeing to any of the shots, flea and tick prevention programs and/or heartworm medications from your veterinarian. More isnít always better. Letís discuss your options first. For most of these conditions there are natural remedies available at health food stores which are much safer and healthier for your pet and your family. For example, we add organic apple cider vinegar to the drinking water which is a great natural flea, mosquitoe and blackfly repellant. Flea collars are not allowed at Doggie Minder.

How do you deal with Kennel Cough?
We add Grapefruit Seed Extract to each bowl of drinking water for the dogs. It is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral that prevents the spreading of diseases and keeps the dogs healthy. We suggest you add that to your petís drinking water at home as well, you never know what they sniff on a walk or at the dog park. We rarely see a case of kennel cough at our facility which is because of our preventive measures.

Be advised that kennel cough is just a regular cough (a viral infection) that doesnít require any treatment or prevention. Just like humans who get a cough: it passes in a week or so. We suggest to do the same for your pet. Remember that antibiotics do not work for a viral infection. It is best left alone and treated with lots of fluids, a little raw honey every day, reduced exercise and bed rest. The vaccine, unfortunately, doesnít do much to prevent the cough, on the contrary, in our experience, the only dogs that we have heard of who got kennel cough where the ones who received the vaccine. And the vaccine contains Mercury, which is often referred to as the second most toxic substance on the planet. It is not really suitable to be in your dog or in your home and around yourself and your children. We leave it up to you, but donít suggest or insist on the vaccine.

How do you feed all those dogs?
One at a time! While the others are playing outside we feed one dog at a time inside the barn.

Our dog is on a raw-food diet. Can you accommodate that?
YES, ABSOLUTELY! And we applaud you for feeding a species appropriate healthy diet to your pet. You have the option that we feed your dog from our supply of raw diet at and just add it to the cost at the end of your dogís stay. You can even place a take-home order at drop-off and pick up meals for your dog at home after his or her stay. How good is that?

If you bring your own raw diet, not Doggie Minder Delight, we charge $3 per dog per day storage fee. We have limited freezer space at doggie daycare, as we pull the meals for the overnight guests on a daily basis from our store. For raw food provided, we have to fire up a freezer for your supply, hence the extra cost.

We see a lot of dogs with dental decay - even in younger years - see picture below. These issues as well as shedding, allergies, bladder- and ear infections as well as skin problems can be eliminated by you feeding a well-balanced raw diet. No more vet bills!

My dog has a special diet and/or medication. Can you accommodate that?
We accommodate most special diets and can administer your dog's medication. We do not administer needles. For dogs and cats with serious chronic conditions we recommend you board with a veterinary clinic who have staff on site to monitor pets with special needs. Please provide enough food and medications to cover the length of your dog's stay with us and bring some extra, just in case. You will get leftovers back when you pick up your dog.

Why do you ask us not to feed our dog in the morning before drop-off?
Most dogs get really excited to come here, they want to meet some old and some new friends, check out the facilities and the big yard again and start running and playing right away. In nature, dogs wouldn't go running on a full belly either, and it causes an unnecessary health risk for your own dog as well as the others. Your own dog could get a medical condition called "bloat", which is often associated with a twist of the stomach. It is a medical emergency that would require a very expensive and dangerous surgery. The food takes at least 3 hours to leave the stomach, and most likely, from the excitement your dog will vomit up his or her breakfast somewhere inside the facility or the yard. This causes a health risk for our other guests here, as many dogs feel the need to eat up the vomit before we can even make it across the room to clean it up. Dogs can get very sick from eating other dog's food due to allergies, medical conditions or food intolerances. If you feed your dog at home twice a day normally, please feed him/her a little more the night before and skip breakfast. Our boarding guests thank you for it and everyone here stays safe. Thank you.

Describe a typical day. How often do they go outside and for how long?
We don't have a set daily routine with the dogs. Every day is different and depends on the group of dogs who are here that day as well as the season and the weather. Puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with a medical condition require a different routine than young healthy bouncy dogs who want to play and wrestle all day long with each other. Dogs are grouped together by age, size, temperament, activity level and breed. Indoor and outdoor time varies and gets adjusted based on individual needs, temperature and weather conditions. Our facility is heated/air conditioned. Staff decides on daily activities based on experience, common sense and good judgement.

What about my dog's food and bed/bedding and toys?
Please label the food container or bag with your dogs name. Make sure the container is plastic; please don't bring any glass or ceramic containers to keep the dogs safe. Bring one big container or bag of kibble food for the entire stay instead of individual daily ziplock bags as we're trying to be environmentally friendly as much as possible. You will get all extra food back at pick-up. Please leave bowls, treats and measuring cups at home!

For dogs on a raw diet: Please bring individual daily portions either fresh or frozen in disposable containers or bags as we regrettably don't have a way of washing and storing those containers for your return. For raw feeders we can also provide food from our own supplies for an extra charge.

For stays longer than a weekend, please bring more food than you would normally feed as we may have to increase your dogs daily intake due to his raised activity level. We want to ensure we have enough food just in case, as it is difficult for us if we run out of food during your pet's stay. We usually feed twice as much as you would at home, however, keep in mind that your dog most likely will still lose weight during his/her stay as all boarding guests interact with other dogs all day long. Your dog will gain the lost weight back within a week at home with reduced exercise and a little bit of increased feeding amount on your part.

We do not accept beds, blankets, toys or anything else for your pet unless you want to donate it to Doggie Minder. We have everything that we need for the dogs.

Why do you take all collars off the dogs during their stay?
Most of our boarding guests run and play with each other or explore the fenced property including all trees and bushes. Keeping collars on the dogs provides a huge risk of them getting injured, either one dog can get trapped with the jaw underneath another dogís collar or a dog can get caught on a tree branch and choke. For everyoneís safety and well-being we return your leash and collar to you at drop-off and ask that you bring it back when you pick up your pooch.

Are the dogs always supervised?
Yes always. From the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed our staff is with them.

What about at night?
At night, the dogs sleep in a brand-new barn-style building. The barn is climate controlled, has windows, doors, lights, couches and lots of fresh spring water. It is a very comfortable environment. For those dogs who are used to sleeping in a crate, we do have a couple of crates, just in case. The others dogs are divided into groups in various bedrooms in the barn. Someone is always on the property, in the residence next to the doggie barn. Therefore, the dogs are never alone.

My dog is a "people" dog. How much human interaction does he get?
Our staff is with the dogs all day long. However, in our experience, dogs are pack animals and after a couple of days enjoy the time with each other much more than the time with us humans. But that is up to the dogs!

Why do you ask us to keep any collars off our dog at home after you gave him a professional bath?
If you've ordered a bath and blow-dry for your dog before pick-up we will have a clean pooch ready for you upon your return. We use a professional high-velocity blow-dryer which also gets loose undercoat out. However, there still might be a little dampness in the coat, especially around the face and neck. If you leave a collar on your dog after picking him up and the moisture gets trapped underneath it, your dog might get a rash or start scratching around the neck area and get a sore spot (especially dogs who tend to get hot spots). It is best to let the coat air-dry for another day and only have a collar on your dog while on a walk.

My dog comes home thirsty and hungry from doggie boarding, do you provide enough water for them?
Of course we have water bowls (and in the summer the wading pools) out for the dogs all day long. The dogs here drink all the time but they are also active all day long. Just imagine if you were to run a marathon, you would hydrate yourself all 42 km long with lots of water and eat energy bars and bananas along the way. But when you come home, you will still need a lot more water and a good meal to make up for all the exercise you've had. It is the same for the dogs who stay with us. Most dogs are active for 12 hours a day, which is a lot more than with you at home, right? However, we recommend that you monitor the water intake of your dog after he comes home and perhaps offer a limited amount every half hour or so. If your dog tends to drink a whole bowl, he might go somewhere in your fancy house and bring the water back up on your carpet. This behaviour is usually a sign of excitement and a way to find back into a normal routine. We also suggest to wait for at least two hours upon your return home before feeding your dog when he's relaxed and calm.

Can I pick up my dog early?
Yes, we would never keep you from picking up your dog early, but the spot is booked and we do not reimburse any cost for an early pick-up.

Why is it mandatory for me to inform you of a significant change in my life?
Dogs can be affected by changes in the Ownerís life in many ways. This can include changes such as: a new baby, change in family status, illness or loss of a family member or even an incident with another dog at a dog park. Even the most well trained and balanced dog can become withdrawn and worried, or alternatively show temporary signs of aggression towards people or other dogs. This could also cause a dog to show interest in jumping a fence, wanting to nip another dog or a staff member, becoming self-destructive (licking his paws or scratching ears excessively) or refusing food.

At Doggie Minder it is important to keep all dogs, staff, and volunteers in a safe and happy environment. Although Doggie Minder doesn't need to know the details, staff do need to know if there is a change or if something happened that may upset the dog. The Owner agrees to inform Doggie Minder prior to drop-off. This essential step will assist Doggie Minder in taking any necessary precautions, allowing Doggie Minder to keep the dogs, our staff and volunteers safe and happy.

How many dogs do you take at a time?
The maximum number of dogs we can house for overnight is thirty. Mostly we have between 15-20 dogs per day.

Why must we tell you if we are dropping off a sick or injured dog in your care?
Doggie Minder reserves the right to terminate the boarding agreement if the owner fails to inform us ahead of time or during drop-off that the dog is either sick or injured. Please make sure you examine your dog before boarding; especially for common conditions such as ear infections, bladder infections, skin conditions, eye infections and hot spots. We do not accept first time boarding guests older than ten years if they have serious medical conditions such as Addisons Disease, Pancreatitis or Heart conditons, just to name a few.

The owner understands and agrees that Doggie Minder adds an additional charge of $50 per day if our staff realizes that the dog came with an undisclosed previous health condition that requires extra care or medical attention. Also, please make sure you leave us an emergency contact who is available and informed as well as mentally, physically and emotionally capable of picking up your dog and take him/her to a vet and make decisions on your behalf. The owner understands that Doggie Minder charges $100 per hour plus mileage ($1.00 per km) to take a dog to the vet on the owners behalf in case the emergency contact cannot be reached.

Are you prepared for power outages?
Yes. We have a back-up generator to keep the dogs warm in the winter and cool in the summer.