It’s coming to that time of year again when you need to make the big decision…what are you going to buy for the dog in your life?! What will be wrapped under the tree this Christmas? Do you struggle to find a gift for the dog who has everything? Looking for something that they are just going to love? We have hand picked our top holiday gifts made by local Toronto Based businesses for your furbaby, furnephew or just that special pupper in your life.
Kuri K9 Massage
Toby The Senior Morkie
Pamper your pooch with their very own full body massage. What a cool way of rewarding your doggo than with a well earned massage. Dog massages can help maintain your babies physical and emotional well being. Massage therapy can work in tandem with their veterinary care that your pet insurance provider may cover in your policy.
Make your pups day and have the treatment done in home like the services provided by Kuri K9 Massage. They offer a variety of massages based on your pets needs including Swedish massage, Rehabilitation massage, Palliative or Geriatric massage, Puppy massage, Lymphatic Drainage massage, and Sports massage. Can you say RELAXING!! I wonder if it’s possible to get a ‘couples’ style massage with your doggo…now that would be the dream.
Tom & Sawyer
Save Our Scruff Treat Package
Nothing shows you care about your baby more than feeding them the right food. At Tom & Sawyer they cook up a storm just for your doggo (and feline friends!). They only use top notch restaurant ingredients that they proudly cook in store for you to see. They also follow public health guidelines for human food. You can also feel good about giving back to the puppers in need while keeping your own baby happy by purchasing one of their holiday gift packs for Save Our Scruff and Redemption Paws.
You can always make it a special gift for a friend and their pupper to stop by and have a coffee and muffin for a weekend treat, coffee with your doggo – YES PLEASE!! You can order directly online or pop in and see them at their Leslieville location. This is an ideal gift for any doggo friend that will result in wet kisses!
Put Your Puff Pants On
Puff Pants Xmas Apparel
Who doesn’t want to look stylish when the man in the red suit makes his appearance? Be dapper in seconds by sporting these hand made bandanas that will last for many more holiday seasons to come. Holly (my shih tzu) will be wearing her holiday collection again this year, a girl can never have too many accessories!
Puff Pants Apparel was founded by our very own Toronto based maltipoo Frankie Puff Pants hence the name! And Frankie seriously knows style. Frankie & Mom have been styling dogs all around the world from Toronto to Europe. Whatever the occasion they got your covered. They make it nice and easy to look red carpet ready. You can browse their collection at their ETSY store.
Bone & Bred
Toronto Dog Collar
Walk the Walk and rep your city! If you know a doggo who is a proud Canadian then look no further! Bone & Bred is a local Toronto based business founded by our very own Beans (@torontoterrier on Instagram) and his mama. They have created a variety of accessories for the city loving pooch! They offer leashes, apparel, patches, bowls and more! In addition to their Canadian accessories you can get custom accessories for the Canadian cities of Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Rep your city now! Free shipping on orders over $75 – get your pride on!
Bentley’s Dog Treats
Mouth Watering Dog Treats
One that is a MUST for all pups this holiday season. Bentley’s dog treats is a high end home based dog treat company that specializes in dehydrated treats. If you have a fussy dog (like mine!) and they only like the good (and normally expensive) treats than look no further.
Bentley’s Treats are single ingredient treats which are great if your furry friend has allergies. What you get is what you see. They have a variety of dehyrdrated treats for you to choose from including Beef Bites, Beef Liver, Beef Strips, Calf Liver, Chicken Breast Bites, Chicken Breast Strips, Sweet Potato Strips and more. Want to see how our in house taste tester liked these treats? Click here. If you would like to know more or place an order with Bentley The Dobie – simply send him a DM on Instagram.
Photographing our furry best pals is not the easiest job in the world when they are full of energy and always on the go; and they’re not the biggest fans of posing for the ‘gram! That is why we compiled a list of the best pet photographers in Toronto. In no particular order, they are:
Off Leash Studio
Off Leash Studio stands out due to its ability to capture a dog or cat during their goofiest moments. This studio specifically focuses on bringing out your furry best pal’s unique and fun personality. The end result is professional, polished and guaranteed to put a smile on your face! Located on 165 Bathurst St., Off Leash Studio uses cinematic lighting techniques honed through years of experience shooting portraits to create classic and modern portraits with a fun twist. The official Instagram page (@offleashstudio) will definitely brighten up your day or visit them at: http://www.offleashstudio.com/
Doggy Dates Toronto takes the “nature walk” approach to bring you the most gorgeous shots of your pup with a breathtaking background on the beach, in the woods or anywhere else outdoors, running about and enjoying the fresh air! Expect to see your dog in action, like jumping up in the air and catching a ball, or running towards the waves on the beach. This kind of photoshoot is perfect for the puppers that love the outdoors and exercising. The packages start from $75 and the beautiful shots can be found at the official Facebook page /DoggyDatesToronto or on Instagram @doggydatestoronto
If you’re looking for a seasoned professional with lots of commercial photography experience as well as experience working with a variety of different animals, Jason is your guy! He has photographed exotic animals, farm animals, as well as taken commissions from humans to photograph their domestic pets. Sky is the limit for Jason Krygier-Baum, who always makes sure he has the animal’s owner or, in the case of an exotic animal, a professional animal handler on set (usually at his swanky studio) to make sure everyone involved is comfortable and everything runs smoothly.
After growing up in a house full of all kinds of different animals, Jason studied animal behaviour at the University of Toronto and decided to combine his love of animals with his passion for photography. While Jason’s rates are on the higher end price range, if you take a look at his pet portfolio at https://www.jasonkb.com/pet-portraits, you will see the extremely high quality of his work and realize that this is an unforgettable experience for both you and your furry pal, and a memory to last you a lifetime. Check out his work on Instagram @jasonkbphoto !
This one’s for the GTA folks, we haven’t forgotten about you! Based in Burlington and serving the GTA area, Happy Tails Pet Photography was founded and is operated by animal lover Stacey, who has a golden retriever and a cat of her own. Her portraits really showcase that extra personal touch that results from putting the research in to really discover which location, setting, and experience is perfect for both you and your pet. Stacey prefers shooting in outdoor locations with natural lighting, as opposed to shooting in a studio, as she believes that your furry best friend needs to be as comfortable as possible to let their true personality shine. Her portraits are as picturesque as a postcard, and if you don’t believe us, see it for yourself at https://happytailspetphotography.ca/ and on Instagram @happytailsphoto
Fetching Fotos founder (and photographer) – phew, say that 5 times fast! – Lisa and her team really care, and it shows. From a pre-photoshoot meeting to discuss session ideas, products and budget planning, to a post-photoshoot preview session of over 30 images, everything is designated to put you at ease and make sure this is an incredible experience to remember. Session options include: Simple Pet Session of 1-2 hours at a single location, Us Together Session of owner with pet for 2-3 hours at 1 or 2 locations, The Dogumentary Day of 4-5 hours of following you and your dog around doing your favourite things together, and the Four Seasons Pet Symphony with four sessions throughout the year, each 1-2 hours long. There is also the Old Faithful Session for those with senior pets or ill pets who might have mobility issues, in which case the entire photoshoot is set up for their and their owners’ convenience. Take a closer look at www.fetchingfotos.com or @fetching_fotos on Instagram.
Whether you are at the beginning of your journey with your four-legged best friend, or you are sadly near the end of your journey together and want to capture some beautiful moments, we hope this list helps you find your perfect photographer!
Who are we missing from the list? Shout them out in the comments!
Introduction to Episode 14: Phodography with El Keegan!
The Bark Show is a podcast where we discuss all things dogs, co-hosted by Pam Curry and Suzana Curcija, brought to you by Toronto Dog Walking and I Speak Dog. Today’s guest is pet photographer El Keegan of El Keegan Photography. El is als a food, product, wedding, and lifestyle photographer. El loves all fields of photography but raising two pups made her fall in love with photographing dogs. Her dogs are far from ordinary, they’re deeply emotional, hilarious and they regularly humiliate her and have done for years now. For El, it’s so important to capture their characters. Not all dogs are perfectly behaved but we love them fiercely. They are our best friends, after all.
Find us at www.TheBarkShow.dog
Instagram – @torontodogwalking & @ispeakdog
Podcast Episode Summary
Back in Ireland where she’s originally from, El didn’t really know what she wanted to do after graduating but had studied photography in college and got scouted by the Irish Independent newspaper and worked there for 5-6 years
Her and her partner decided to leave Dublin and move to Toronto with their 2 dogs
El took up any gigs she could get such as food and drink photography but would take her camera on dog walks to the dog park and take pictures of her dogs
Her two dogs are full of life and character, very wild when out on walks, so El wanted to bring that energy to her dog photography business
She has been trying different formats and styles with different dogs to see what suits them best.
Usually takes a full hour to do the shoot to leave time for the dog to get settled, sniff around, feel safe and El gets to know them with treats and toys. It’s about capturing a variety of different poses, it’s about the dog’s experience. People often put their dogs through a lot of stress to get the perfect picture but El is strictly against that
Dog owners might want to take the dogs for a walk before the shoot if they are hyper dogs
End result of her shoot is 5 really high quality images, each package comes with 8 x 10 canvas
She’s working on a coffee table book called The Secret Life of Dogs, to be offered in the next year, an elaborate dog lifestyle project. Huge concepts, dog centric, takes a month to shoot the dogs separately and then compose them together
She had the idea for a year and found a poker table on Kijiji to kick the project off, hoping to have 30 shoots in the final book
She is offering $50 off her “Phodography” package for shoots booked for the month of October – just mention The Bark Show!!
“So many people think dog photography is for the quiet, sweet dogs that will sit and pose for any amount of time, but it’s just not. Dogs are incredible, wild, hilarious and full of character. Sometimes the photos where they look deranged, with their tongue hanging out, is the perfect encapsulation of that dog.”
“I won’t let you leave until you have excellent photos, but I want to make sure it’s done in the right way.”
Want to have an active social life, attend lots of events, but don’t want to leave your furry best friend at home? Here is a list of events you can attend WITH your beloved pup, and get to spend quality time with them too!
Sunday, Sep 2: Summer Dog Swim
We may have said goodbye to the hot summer months but the heat remains, and our furry pals are dying to splash about in the water! Thankfully, the city is working with swimming pools across the city to open their doors to our furry companions and have the best day ever!! The Blantyre Park Outdoor Pool, Halbert Outdoor Pool, Knob Hill Outdoor Pool, Goulding Outdoor Pool, Ledbury Outdoor Pool, High Park Outdoor Pool, and Rotary Park Outdoor Pool will be welcoming doggos THIS SUNDAY from 4 pm to 5 pm, while Greenwood Outdoor Pool, Monarch Outdoor Pool, and Stanley Outdoor Pool will do so from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
All dogs must be accompanied by an adult age 18 or older, and there is a limit of two doggos per adult. Owners are told to bring proof of current vaccinations for their dog and encouraged to bring their dog’s favourite toy and bring another toy to donate to Toronto Animal Services Shelters. We have never heard of anything more heart-warming. Tell your friends! Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/936678793185972/
Monday, Sep 3: PROMISE Cherry Beach Summer 2018 Finale
PROMISE on Cherry Beach is hosting its finale to give Summer 2018 one last goodbye on Monday, September 3 from 3 pm to 11 pm. This music and socializing event is for those who enjoy dancing to the DJ spinning house, techno, dub, disco, electro, and beach party grooves on the beach. This event is for owners and pups who aren’t easily overwhelmed by loud music and big crowds, so you have been warned!
That being said, four-legged friends are totally welcome, and participants are encouraged to bring their picnics, hammocks and anything else that will make their beach experience perfect. Tickets cost whatever you can spare, but a $20 donation is encouraged.
Friday, Sep 7 – Sunday, Sep 9: Taste of the Kingsway 2018
What a perfect opportunity to discover international cuisines, enjoy some live entertainment, and eat some delicious food with your faithful doggo by your side. You may have heard of this event from previous years, as it gets bigger and better every year, with over 100 vendors and exhibitors to participate this year. Stretched across Bloor Street West, from Prince Edward Drive to Montgomery Road, this event will also host demonstrations and interactive exhibits for you to enjoy.
Now for the best part: the Scotiabank Dog Show!! Pups will take front row and center at this event from 1 pm to 3 pm, where all of the proceeds go to the Etobicoke Humane Society. Some of the categories to be competed in include: Best Costume, Best Groomed, Best Looking, Best Trick, Cleanest Teeth, Owner/Pet Look-A-Like, Truest to the Breed, and Waggiest Tail!
Saturday, Sep 8: Zen Dogs Wellness DOGA Class at Veg Fest
Join ZEN DOGS WELLNESS for their special dog yoga session FOR FREE at the Veg Food Fest! This is a great food festival at the Harbourfront Centre where entrance is free and dogs are a-plenty. Starting at 12:30 pm on Saturday, participants need to bring their own yoga mat and a non-retractable leash for their pup.
ZEN DOGS WELLNESS host several great events that we have featured before, and this is a special one that you shouldn’t miss. The Doga classes are all about showing your furry best friend the love, appreciation and attention that they deserve.
Don’t let the title intimidate you, this is a 2 km walk through the streets of Cabbagetown, so walk or run at your own pace with your pupper by your side. ALL of the proceeds from this event will be used for children’s programming at Riverdale Farm and the revitalization of Riverdale Farm’s poultry barn. Every dollar donated up to $30,000 will be matched by Burnbrae Farms. So join the lovely folks at Riverdale Farm on this special occasion for a good cause, at the corner of Carlton and Parliament, rain or shine!
Registration is at 8 am for $25 on the day or $20 in advance, while the actual walk/run starts at 9 am. There will be awards and prizes to give away at the finish line, so for a full list of the sponsors, prizes and more info, visit: http://blairsrun.ca/
Sunday, Sep 9: Doggy Paddle at Cherry Beach
This is the last doggy paddle event they are hosting this year so attendance is sure to be high, get your tickets ASAP! If tickets are sold out, come along anyway to watch what will surely be a fun session.
This is a 2-hour exercise for your pupper to build their core strength, ,balance and get a great workout on the paddleboard and in the water! Beginners and experienced folks and pups are all welcome to enjoy the most out of the rest of the summer. This event is hosted by Surf the Greats instructors certified by Paddle Canada, the International Surfing Association and Yoga Alliance. More info on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/127331584805859/?active_tab=about
Sunday, Sep 9: Senior Dog Seminar
This one is a very specific event, but one that we thought was important to include, for those with senior dogs who might be slowing down, or having difficulty getting up and moving about. While it is priced at $259 plus tax, it will be a very informative course about your beloved dog’s health conditions such as arthritis, hind end weakness, canine dementia, orthopaedic and neurological disorders, amongst others. Participants will gain hands-on practice after the lecture in order to approach their dog’s conditions proactively in the future. They will learn about pain assessing, exercises for the home, massage and acupressure techniques, senior proofing the house, assistive devices for pets, and more.
This outdoor event at Yonge & Davisville earlier this year was a big hit, so now it’s back from 9 am to 3 pm! Bring your pupper to this big puppy party at 1943 Yonge Street, in the east side parking lot. This is a FREE event that focuses on community and neighbourhood bonding, together to be enjoyed with dogs, families, and dog lovers alike. It is put together to exchange information with participants, exhibitors, shop, hear about great new products, learn about new pet services, make friends and more!
Expect to see free giveaways, contests, exhibitors, speakers on pet topics, experts, food, and friendly faces all around. For more info, visit: www.parkandbarkdogshow.com
Sunday, Sep 16: Toronto Artisan Market in Christie Pits Park
Hosted by the same folks that organize the arts market at Trinity Belwoods Park, this event is for arts & crafts lovers who wish to admire works from local artists and artisans with their pup in tow. Taking place at Christie Pits Park from 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday, it is always a fun and lively event that brings in lots of art lovers from all around Toronto and beyond.
If you’re looking for a chill atmosphere and are in the mood to shop for beautiful, unique, local pieces, then this is the event for you! For more info: https://www.torontoartisan.com/
Saturday, Sep 22: Park & Bark Show in Leslieville!
Same event as the Saturday before, but in Leslieville this time! Taking place at 1151 Queen Street East from 9 am to 3 pm, join at this location or at Yonge and Davisville the week before, but whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss it. www.parkandbarkdogshow.com
It’s not easy to think about your precious dog getting involved in an accident or having an illness, but that’s why it’s important to own pet insurance in case the unthinkable happens. This is why we prepared a chart and compiled some information for you so you will have an idea of the cost of pet insurance in Ontario and what to expect from the main pet insurance providers.
Just a heads up: PC Insurance let us know that while they are no longer selling pet insurance, their packages, coverage and general info still stands for their current customers who have already purchased their pet insurance. When you call their number you will be automatically directed to Petline Insurance, which covers a number of different pet insurance companies, such as Petsecure, OVMA, Desjardins, Personal Pet Insurance, CAA Pets, Hudson’s Bay Pet Insurance, THS, and Nova Scotia SPCA Pet Health.
Most of the pet insurance companies we looked at had the same or similar amount of accident and illness cover as well as general quote information. However, it’s important to note that GO PET PLAN did not have a separate accident cover, but the illness cover went up higher than most other companies, as well as offering an unlimited option. Of all the companies we looked at, CAA Pets and PC insurance did not offer unlimited coverage options for illness or accidents. One company that stood out in terms of illness coverage is GO PET PLAN which offers coverage plans up to $25,000 leading up to the unlimited option.
We compared quotes for different dog breeds and ages based on popular dog breeds in Toronto and a variety of ages for accurate analysis: A 3-year-old Golden Retriever, 6-year-old English Cocker Spaniel, 3-month old Goldendoodle, and 10-year old Shih tzu. Based on the quotes, CAA Pets had the lowest monthly costs, while Pet Secure stood out as the most reliable in terms of having the smallest difference between the quotes. For example, GO PET’s cheapest plan goes from $25.29 for a 3 month old Goldendoodle to a $101.98 for 10-year-old Shih tzu, which is a big difference, and something to consider if your pet is in the adult-senior age bracket. Pet Secure and CAA Pets seem to have the best rates for quotes.
It’s important to note that, out of all the companies, only CAA Pets, GO PET and Trupanion offer 90% reimbursement options while most companies only offer 80%. As for discounts when purchasing a plan, CAA Pets, THS and PC offer the best discounts while we couldn’t find any discounts available for Pet Secure and Trupanion.
Speaking of Trupanion, they offer Unlimited accident and Unlimited illness cover, for as many times in the year as your beloved dog would need it, which is remarkable. However, we should note that Trupanion insurance does NOT cover taxes, exam fees, as well as wellness and preventative care. (Taxes also not covered for OVMA). If you wish to cover unforeseen events, alternative and rehabilitative therapies, and extra protection for breeding dogs, these are available at an extra cost. Considering the high prices, Trupanion is definitely for those with a bigger budget who want to cover all their bases.
Unfortunately, none of these companies cover for pre-existing conditions of your pet.
Based on all these findings, the ones that stood out were CAA Pets (for those with smaller budget) and PET Secure for the amount of options and getting your money’s worth. It’s also helpful to note that Pet Secure and GO Pet had the most user-friendly websites, complete with testimonials and reviews, with the latter offering a 24 hour live chat with a friendly staff member for help! However, for those who are new to the pet insurance world, and find all this information a little overwhelming, it seems that Petline Insurance is the best option as they represent a variety of these pet insurance companies and can offer you the best plan most suitable for you and your furry pal’s needs. Good Luck!