Animals and pets

Use this page to report an issue, buy or renew a dog licence or register a backyard hen. Learn more about pet care and coexisting with wildlife.

We are now partnering with Docupet for our dog licensing program. Learn more below.

On this page

  1. Report an animal issue
  2. Buy or renew a dog licence
  3. Register a backyard hen
  4. Dog regulations
  5. Dog parks and waste containers
  6. Cat regulations
  7. Feeding wildlife
  8. Coyotes and wildlife

Report an animal issue

The keeping, feeding and treatment of animals is outlined in our animal control bylaw.

Contact the Humane Society at 519-745-5615 to report:

  • off-leash or stray pets
  • a lost/found pet
  • a dog bite
  • a dead domestic animal
  • dead wildlife on public property (no pickup fee)
  • dead wildlife on private property (pickup fees may apply)

Contact the Province of Ontario at 1-833-926-4625 to report animals that:

  • are injured, in pain, sick, suffering or abused
  • lack proper care, water, food or shelter

Contact the Waterloo Regional Police non-emergency line at 519-570-9777 to report:

  • pet related noise violations
  • a dog locked in a hot vehicle - have the location, licence plate, make and model of the vehicle to locate and rescue the dog

Buy or renew a dog licence

Dog licences help us reunite dog owners with lost pets. Fees support animal services and outreach. Rules include:

  • you must license all dogs older than 12 weeks
  • a dog must wear the tag on its collar at all times
  • dog licences are valid for one year from the date of purchase or renewal
  • a fine may apply if your dog is not licensed
Buy or renew a dog licence

Contact Docupet

We are now partnering with Docupet for our dog licensing program. Please contact them if you have questions about buying or renewing a dog licence:

Benefits of licensing your dog

We are now partnering with Docupet for our dog licensing program.

Licensing your dog includes:

  • 24/7 lost pet reporting
  • new and renewal dog licences come with a $20 voucher for Ren's Pets
  • a unique licence tag to attach to their collar
  • designer tag upgrade options for an additional cost 
  • manage or make changes to your account online
  • renewal reminders

Follow these steps to buy or renew a dog licence

  1. Go to the Docupet Waterloo website. We are partnering with Docupet for our dog licensing program.
  2. Are you renewing? Docupet sent all current dog license holders a sign-in code in mid-November. Please contact Docupet with any questions.
  3. Follow the instructions to either buy or renew a dog licence. Docupet accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Visa Debit or Discovery card.
  4. As a bonus, those who buy or renew their licence will receive a $20 voucher to Ren's Pets by mail.

If you need accessibility accommodations, interpretation services or don't have reliable access to a computer or the internet, you can buy or renew a dog licence in person at the municipal enforcement counter at City Hall, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Annual dog licence fees

Dog licences

New licence and renewal fees

Late renewal fee

Spayed or neutered dog



Spayed or neutered dog (55+ dog owner)



Intact dog (not spayed or neutered)



Intact dog (55+ dog owner)



Replacement tags are $12.00. We do not charge service dogs.

Register a backyard hen

In 2021 city council voted to allow backyard hens in Waterloo.

You can register up to 4 hens. The cost is $27.05 and the registration must be renewed every year.

Avian flu confirmed present in southern Ontario

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N1, in the southern region of Ontario. Avian Influenza is a contagious viral infection that can affect all species of birds (poultry, exotic and pet birds, and wild birds).

Your backyard hens and pet birds could be at risk of catching the bird flu from wild birds which naturally carry influenza viruses. There is no treatment for birds that become infected with the disease. Learn how to protect your flock and identify signs your birds may be sick on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

The Province of Ontario has also shared some information on protecting domestic flocks.

In rare cases, humans can become infected. Find more information about risks to humans from Health Canada's website.

Hen rules and regulations

Hens must be kept:

  • on residential properties only
  • with permission of all owners and residents of a property
  • in compliance with all other city bylaws

Coops or runs must:

  • be fully enclosed
  • be set back 1.5 metres from property lines
  • provide protection from weather and predators
  • have an accessible dust bath area
  • lined with straw or shavings
  • be cleaned daily and disinfected twice a year

Hens must:

  • be banded with the owner's contact information
  • have access to an enclosed run area
  • be disposed of at a livestock facility
  • not be slaughtered on your property

You're not allowed to sell eggs or any hen products.

Report a hen issue

If you have a concern about hens or coops, email or call us at 519-747-8785 or TTY (for people who are deaf or hard of hearing) at 1-866-786-3941

Register a hen online 

  1. Sign up or log in to our online hen registry.
  2. Apply and pay online. We only accept credit card (online debit not accepted).

Register a hen by mail or in person

  1. Download the hen registry form (PDF).
  2. Fill it out and return to city hall by mail, drop box or in person.
  3. In person we accept cash, debit, cheque, money order or credit cards. If using mail or drop box use a cheque or money order. Make cheques payable to the City of Waterloo.

Tips for keeping hens

Owners can reduce the risk of illness by:

  • washing hands after handling hens
  • wearing dedicated clothing and shoes 
  • limiting contact with hens
  • removing wet manure daily
  • sanitizing equipment 

Pests and predators can be avoided by:

  • storing chicken feed in a sealed raised container
  • bringing food and water in at night
  • using hardwire cloth instead of chicken wire (smaller gaps)
  • digging around the coop to add a concrete foundation or hardwire cloth

The Waterloo Backyard Hens Facebook group can help you connect with other owners. They have information on setting up coops and where to purchase chicks locally.

Dog regulations

Dog licences are required in Waterloo. Other rules include:

  • keep your dog on a leash
  • pick up waste and dispose of it properly
  • dogs over 12 weeks old must be licensed (find section above)
  • limit of three dogs per household
  • the dangerous dog bylaw relates to dangerous dogs and regulation of pit bulls
  • Call the Waterloo Region Police non-emergency line at 519-570-9777 to report excessive barking or noise

Dog parks and waste containers

The city has a leash-free dog park at Bechtel Park.

Two options for disposing of dog waste in Waterloo are:

  1. Use any bag to pick up your dog's poop and deposit it in a poop power container. Most of the container is installed underground to contain the smell. A dog waste removal company transports the waste to a facility where it is converted into energy.

  2. Use a compostable bag and take the dog poop home to your green bin. This method won't make any poop power, but you're still being responsible and diverting it from the landfill! Review information about using a green bin for pet waste on the Region of Waterloo website.

 View a map of where poop power dog waste disposal units are located
Special dog waste recycling containers are now available at these parks

Compostable bags are not required for use. If there isn't a container at your park, dispose of dog waste at home.

  • Amberwood Park
  • Anndale Park
  • Bechtel Dog Park
  • Blue Beech Square
  • Blue Springs Park (Forwell Trail)
  • Bluestream Park
  • Beechdrops Park
  • Chesapeake Park
  • Clair Lake Park
  • Dunvegan Park
  • Forest Hills Park
  • Hillside Park
  • Lakeshore Optimist Park
  • Laurelwood Stormwater Management Area
  • Lookout Park
  • Mary Allen Park
  • McCrae Park
  • Mount Hope Cemetery
  • Moses Springer Park
  • New Hampshire Park
  • Old Post Park
  • Pineridge Link
  • Pinery Trail Park
  • Red River Park 
  • Regency Park
  • RIM Park (ball diamond parking lot)
  • Rolling Hills Park
  • St. Moritz Park
  • Vista Hills hydro corridor (at trailhead near Buttonbush Street and Ladyslipper Drive)
  • Vista Hills Park
  • University Downs Park
  • Westvale Park
  • Waterloo Park, East
  • Waterloo Park, West

Cat regulations

Cat licences are not required in Waterloo. Keep your cat or kitten in a manner that limits:

  • offensive odours
  • noise that may disturb others
  • straying or roaming
  • accumulation of feces

Feeding wildlife

Feeding wildlife might seem harmless, but it can cause serious issues for both animals and our community. Here's why:

  1. Changes natural instincts: When we feed wild animals, we alter their instincts. They start expecting food from people, leading to more unwanted encounters in our community.
  2. Attracts larger wildlife: Feeding small animals like birds, squirrels, or rabbits can draw in larger wildlife, increasing the chances of unwanted encounters in our community.
  3. Unhealthy human food: Human food is not good for animals. Make sure to properly dispose of food and garbage at home and in parks.

Under our Animal control bylaw, you can't feed wildlife if it causes a nuisance.

Our parks and green spaces offer a natural habitat where animals can thrive. Wild animals don't need help or food from people. Let's all work together to ensure the well-being of our wildlife.

Coyotes and wildlife

We share our community with wildlife, including coyotes. Learn how to protect yourself, your home and your pets from unwanted encounters.

Coyote tips

The Eastern Coyote is an intelligent and curious animal that helps control rodent populations. They travel through local green spaces like parks, trails and riverbanks.

Coyotes are more visible during certain seasons:

  • winter mating (January to February)
  • finding a den and rearing pups (April to June)
  • pups leave the den (September to October) 

What to do if you come across a coyote

Keep your distance, and a coyote will likely avoid you. Like all urban wildlife, they're looking for food, water, and shelter. If the coyote is approaching you or in an area that you're not comfortable with (your backyard, a busy park):

  • do not approach
  • be big and loud, stand tall, wave your arms, shout (but don't scream), clap your hands, bang pots and pans, and make a lot of noise
  • keep dogs on a leash
  • slowly back away; do not turn your back or run (running can trigger a chase instinct)
  • do not leave food waste in park garbage – it may attract rodents and coyotes
  • carry a flashlight to scare off coyotes at night
  • report an aggressive, sick or injured coyote
Protect your property from coyotes

If coyotes visit a neighbourhood, it’s likely due to an available food source. Reduce encounters with coyotes by making changes to your property:

  • never feed or leave food out for wildlife
  • store garbage, compost and pet food in a secure place that coyotes cannot access
  • remove all sources of water and food from your yard, including birdseed and fallen fruit
  • ensure gaps around and under decks and sheds are closed off with wire screening
  • use motion sensor lights
Protect your pets from coyotes

While coyotes generally avoid humans, they can pose a risk to pets. To avoid coyote and pet conflicts:

  • keep your cats inside
  • keep your dogs on a leash
  • never let your dog chase a coyote
  • carry a flashlight at night to scare off coyotes
  • keep your dogs inside at night
  • store pet food indoors
  • do not feed pets outdoors
  • keep an eye on your pets at all times, even in a fenced yard
  • clean up after your dog – coyotes are attracted to dog poop

Relocating coyotes is illegal

Capturing and moving them more than 1 km away violates Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Reporting coyotes

Keep your distance, and a coyote will likely avoid you: 

  • if a coyote poses an immediate threat to safety, call 911
  • to report a sick or injured coyote on public property, please contact Coyote Watch Canada, a not-for-profit organization that advocates for positive human and wildlife experiences
  • to report dead coyotes or wildlife, contact the Humane Society at 519-745-5615

The Ministry of Natural Resources also shares tips for preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes.