Pet services galore!



In an ever-evolving world, the pet industry is no stranger to innovation. One of the hottest trends is the ever-expanding arena of pet services. Ranging from positive training to petsitting to luxury boarding facilities, there’s something to meet the needs of every dog parent. Here’s a sampling of the many pet services that can help us improve and streamline the lives of our canine companions.

Say cheese!

What better way to capture the joy of your animal companion than with a photography session? A growing number of photographers specialize in pet portraiture, and these pros know how to bring out the best features in your animal, from a dog’s gleaming eyes to a pup’s saucy head tilt. Whether your animal is taking part in a special occasion such as a wedding or agility competition, or you simply want a professional portrait of your best friend, booking a pet photographer is a sure way to immortalize the happy moments you share with your dog.

Well trained

If you need help training your dog, there’s no shortage of certified trainers, workshops and classes to get you on the right track. And more and more trainers are focusing on gentle, positive methods that help ensure a happy, well-behaved dog. A trainer will work with you and your dog, either one-on-one or in a group setting, to teach you effective training methods, tips and tricks, and help banish bad behaviours with reward-based techniques that make the whole process enjoyable as well as educational.

Insured for peace of mind

Veterinary care is expensive, and an unforeseen injury or illness can quickly result in thousands of dollars’ worth of bills. Pet insurance gives you the assurance that your animal is covered in the event of an accident or serious disease that requires surgery or other treatments. There are now all kinds of companies offering pet insurance, although policies differ from one to the other, so be sure to do your homework when shopping around. Holistic care may not be included by some companies, although more are now offering policies that cover various alternative therapies.

Looking good on the go

Many dogs do well at a grooming “salon”, but if your dog hates the experience, you can remove a lot of his stress by calling on the services of a mobile groomer. It’s also a great option for stay-at-home parents, seniors, those who don’t drive — or anyone else who prefers the convenience of having their dogs groomed in the comfort of their own homes. Mobile groomers are a great resource as well for dogs that are elderly, shy or animal-aggressive, and may not do well at a traditional grooming facility. You’ll probably pay more but the peace of mind may be worth it.

Best behaviour

It can be difficult to understand why our dogs behave the way they do. We can’t just ask them what the problem is, or what to do about it. When unwanted behaviours are making life challenging, an animal behaviourist can help. These professionals study animals to figure out what causes certain behaviours, including those triggered by fear or aggression. They then use modification techniques to change those behaviours, resulting in a happier and better-adjusted dog.


Dog walkers are a boon for those who work long hours, have busy schedules, or are unable to exercise their pups due to age or medical disability. All dogs benefit from social interaction, exercise, and stimulation via sight, scent and sound, so hiring a dog walker to ensure your dog gets one or two walks a day is a great fit for both your own schedule and your pup’s!

While you are out

Have a job that requires last-minute travel or weekends away? Cue the pet sitter! These professionals can be found in just about every community nowadays, and they usually give you the option of caring for your dog in your home, the sitter’s home, or a combination tailored to your needs with customized fees for each. An added benefit to hiring a pet sitter is that your dog will have a familiar face looking after him while you are away. It’s best to hire an individual who is registered with a professional organization such as Pet Sitters International.

Home away from home

Boarding facilities for dogs used to be pretty basic places that offered few comforts. Nowadays, the concept of the boarding facility has, in many cases, evolved into the “pet hotel”.These businesses are dedicated to giving your dog the best possible care, with spacious, climate-controlled accommodations, comfy beds, special food or treats, plenty of playtime, exercise and individual attention. Always be sure to do your research when choosing a facility for your own dog. It’s important to not only look at cost, but also the reputation of the business you are considering. Get a referral, if possible, from someone who has boarded their own animals at the location.

Ahhh… so relaxing!

Massage isn’t just for humans! It’s also highly beneficial to our four-legged friends. Massage helps with conditions such as anxiety, stress, arthritis, muscle tension or spasms in animals. It also helps stimulate the immune system and lymphatic drainage systems, while increasing strength and range of motion. Pet massage is a particularly good service to consider if your animal is recovering from an injury or has been diagnosed with a condition known to be soothed by this modality (e.g. anxiety or arthritis). Pet massage therapists abound, and you can also learn to do it yourself by taking one of the many courses available online.

Saying goodbye

The hardest part of sharing our lives with a dog is having to say goodbye. Losing a beloved animal companion can be as painful as losing a human loved one, so it’s important to acknowledge and work through the grief. One way to do this is by honouring your dog in some way. Pet cemeteries can be found nationwide these days, or you can opt to have your dog cremated. There are also companies dedicated to creating heartfelt pet memorials in the form of plaques, urns, or engraved stones. If you want something you can carry with you, other companies specialize in memorial jewellery that features a picture of your animal, or even some of your dog’s ashes incorporated into the piece.


Melody Tavitian-Parra is passionate about writing, film, and animal welfare. After majoring in English and Spanish, she spent a year teaching in Puerto Rico. Melody is also an actress; her acting work can be seen on IMDb under Melody Parra.