Toronto has a long history of being a pet friendly city. There are great animal services here, making it easy to own and care for pets in Toronto. 

Measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of people and animals in all Toronto neighbourhoods, and if you are not an animal lover, your privacy is also protected.

The municipality runs Toronto Animal Services, which includes the issuing of licenses for cats and dogs, and the operation of shelters for lost or abandoned animals. 

You can get more information on Toronto Animal Services by going to www.toronto.ca/animal_services.

If you are moving to Toronto or visiting the city with a pet you won’t have any problems adjusting to your surroundings. For example, there are lots of Toronto pet stores that have a large inventory to both feed and entertain all kinds of pets. 

There are several, reliable pet store chains, as well as small, family run pet shops with knowledgeable staff to assist you. Toronto’s largest independent pet store is located on Queen Street East

When you are searching for a pet in Toronto, you will have a lot of options. Aside from cats and dogs, you can select one of many domesticated furry or non-furry friends. 

Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Gerbils, Budgies, Canaries, Finches, Rats, Geckos, Bearded Dragons, Corn Snakes, Hermit Crabs, Tropical Fish, Goldfish…the list of possible pets goes on.

Pet Care

Toronto is in close proximity to the University of Guelph; known around the world for its outstanding veterinary program. Many of the top graduates have set up practice in and around Toronto following graduation. You don’t have to worry about finding good care for your pet if you are in the city of Toronto. 

If and when man’s best friend suddenly becomes ill and the vet clinic is closed, there is no need to panic. Toronto has a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week emergency clinic to help your pet. 

VEC (Veterinary Emergency Clinic) has 2 locations and a long list of specialists ready to jump into action. Check them out at www.vectoronto.com.


Some of the world’s most exciting pet events are held in Toronto. For example, the annual show featuring everything dog related; Woofstock draws people from all walks of life. 

For information on other pet related events you can go to www.petdirections.com or try www.torontopetnetwork.com.

Pet Laws

Under Toronto law all dogs and cats owned in the city must have a license. If you don’t get a license you can face a fine of over $200. Owning a prohibited exotic pet can lead to a fine in the thousands of dollars. 

Having an exotic pet can seem like a great idea, but many have proven to be inappropriate for city living. Exotic animals can be charming; however, they also have the potential to be dangerous. The city does not allow the following exotic animals as household pets:

  • Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Monkeys
  • Lemurs
  • Marsupials
  • Kangaroos
  • Wallabies
  • Opossums
  • Lizards over 2 meters
  • Snakes over 3 meters

For a complete list of prohibited exotic animals contact the City of Toronto.

Toronto Pet laws are also is place to protect those who would prefer to live a pet free life. For instance, dog owners are asked to have their pets on a leash not only to prevent their furry friends from running into the street and getting hurt, but so they don’t run onto other people’s properties. Pet owners do have the option of going to a leash free park. 

Furry friends automatically come to mind when you think of household pets, but fish are a common pet in many Toronto households. 

You can find all the supplies you need for a great aquarium here. In fact, Canada’s largest aquarium service provider is located just on the outskirts of the city in Mississauga. You can visit the service at www.masaquarium.net.


Sadly, Toronto is much like other major cities; it has a lot of pets that need a good home. There are a number of organizations that focus on trying to match pets with new owners. 

Getting a pet can be a big decision, but it can also be a great addition to your life. The support that the city of Toronto provides, along with all the great animal services, makes pet ownership a lot less stressful.