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Orange tabby cat walking in front of a large dog

Peterborough is home to many pet owners. Many households in the Peterborough area have one or more pets as part of their family. The most common household pets are dogs and cats, but hamsters, gerbils, fish, rabbits, birds and certain reptiles are also popular. With its endless nature trails and forests, many parks, lakes and rivers, the Peterborough area is a dog owner’s paradise.

Cats are allowed to roam outdoors and do not have to be on a leash, but should not be allowed to trespass on other properties. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times except on their owner’s property or in designated off-leash areas.

What if I want to bring my pet with me to Canada?

close-up view of the face of a black-and-white rabbit

You are welcome to bring your pet(s) to Canada. However certain requirements should be met. These vary on the type of pet, age, etc.

Requirements for dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and others are detailed on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

The Government of Canada and Petfriendly.ca contain many articles and checklists on how to safely travel with your pet.

Pettravel.com is an international website dedicated to offering detailed information on travelling with your pet, including pet immigration informationinsurance for travelling pets as well as many other helpful articles.

What do I need to learn about pet ownership in Peterborough?

Two large dogs relaxing in a grassy field

City of Peterborough by-laws require all dogs to be licensed. Dog owners must buy a dog license for their dogs on an annual basis. These licenses are issued by the Peterborough Humane Society and can be purchased online or in person at the Peterborough Humane Society office. Registered animals wear Pet Identification Tags that make it easier to identify them if they get lost and reunite them faster with their owner. For more information on dog licensing, including fees and forms, please visit the Peterborough Humane Society website.

For more information on dog ownership in Ontario please refer to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act.

The law states that dogs and cats must also be vaccinated against rabies once a year or at longer intervals, depending on the vaccine used.

Yellow Pages can help you find a local veterinarian. Alternative veterinary care, also referred to as ‘natural’ or ‘holistic’, is also available. Holistic veterinary care includes services such as acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy. The majority of Peterborough’s veterinary clinics offer 24 hours a day emergency care on an on-call basis.

Please note that veterinary care is not subsidized by the government. Some pet owners choose to purchase pet insurance to help them with veterinary costs in the event of an illness or an accident. There are many pet insurance companies, and their plans and fees differ, more information can be found on each company’s individual website, where you can also get free insurance quotes.

Orange tabby cat peeking out from behind a fence

Shopping for pet food, treats, toys and other supplies is easy and accessible in Peterborough.  There are many pet stores in all areas of the city.  You can also get pet food and supplies at most superstores and grocery stores. Please check the Yellow Pages to find pet food stores.

If your pet is lost or if you find a lost pet, you can contact Peterborough Pet Support Services for assistance.

Where can I find information on animal welfare?

Adult horse with its young one

In Ontario, all animals are protected from abuse and neglect by the Ontario Animal Welfare Act. The Dog Owners’ Liability Act is Ontario legislation that includes information on the power of animal control officers, the current Ontario pit bull ban and a helpful FAQ section.

Animals that are lost, injured, homeless or mistreated are usually taken in by the Peterborough Humane Society. Established in 1941, The Peterborough Humane Society is a not-for-profit charitable organization that offers a wide range of very important services to the community.  The Humane Society’s main roles are to care for abandoned animals and find them new homes, facilitate and provide for the prevention of cruelty to animals and promote responsible pet ownership in the community. The Humane Society also operates an animal shelter and consistently stays involved in finding homes for dogs, cats and other animals.

orange tabby cat

Another local organization where one can adopt a pet is The Lakefield Animal Welfare Society (LAWS). LAWS is located on the highway between Peterborough and the nearby town of Lakefield. This non-profit charitable organization was established in 1992 and runs a non-kill shelter for homeless animals.

The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre is a local non-profit charitable organization that rehabilitates injured turtles and re-integrates them into their natural habitat once healed. The Centre also provides community education on the importance of turtles to our ecosystem and steps to take if you find an injured turtle.

close-up of a dog face

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) is a province-wide animal welfare organization whose programs and services are provided in Peterborough through the Peterborough Humane Society.

For advice and steps on how to help orphaned, sick or injured wildlife, please refer to this Ministry of Natural Resources Canada guide.