PupVacay's Sniffspot

We have a beautiful 1/4 acre fully-fenced backyard in the heart of Oshawa, covered in mature trees and bushes, for lots of shade and room to run and play leash-free!

PupVacay's Sniffspot

We are located just north of Bloor and Simcoe in Oshawa, with easy access to HWY 401.

PupVacay's Sniffspot

The best experiences and fun for you and your dog. Our private dog park is designed for the ultimate safe dog exercise.

PupVacay's Sniffspot

Off leash enrichment - Exploration and activities you cannot get anywhere else; wear your dog out for days.

PupVacay's Sniffspot

Safe playdates - Socialize your pup in a controlled, private spot - it's great exercise, it's safe and it's fun for you and your dog.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

32 Sniffspot News Articles

(more to come!)

Friday, July 22, 2022

Create a Dream Yard for Your Dog This Summer

Alexandria, Va. - According to the ASPCA, 23 million households in America – and 3.7 million in Canada – welcomed a new pet into their pack during the pandemic. People have been using their backyards more in recent years for everything from working and entertaining to vacationing and working out. But for dogs, this backyard business is old hat. 

 “No one loves the family yard as much as the family dog,” notes Kris Kiser, President of the TurfMutt Foundation, an organization that advocates for the care for and use of green spaces, as well as pet rescue. “It’s my rescue dog, Mulligan’s, favorite place to be, so I do everything I can to make it safe and enjoyable for her, which ultimately makes it better for me, too.” 

 Kiser and Mulligan have advice for creating a dream yard for your pets and the whole family this summer: 

 Plant Real Grass 
 Plastic grass is uncomfortable on paws (and bare feet), gets very hot during the summer, is difficult to clean, and is worse for the environment since it requires water for cleaning and usually can’t be recycled. The bottom line: real grass is the best option for pets, people and the environment. 

Select the Right Plants and Grasses 
 Choose a type of turf grass that will withstand the “ruff” housing of your pet. Buffalo and Bermuda grasses can be a good choice, depending on your climate zone. For other plants and shrubs, check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic garden plants for advice before planting. You’ll want soft, sturdy foliage near walkways. Save delicate, decorative flowers for elevated flowerbeds and patio pots. Pro tip: place plants close together in areas you want to designate as off-limits to your dog to create boundaries. 
Consider Pollinators and Other Wildlife 
 Nature starts in your backyard, which provides habitat and food for birds, butterflies, bees and more. Each of these species help pollinate food crops and flowering plants, so take them into consideration, too, when you’re selecting plants for your backyard. 

Plan for Fun 
 Add a splash pool, build a sandbox for digging or even create a canine obstacle course to provide hours of fun. After a day of play, your dog will need a place to relax so think of where you can plant trees or bushes that provide shade for snoozing. 

Sign up for Mutt Mail, a monthly e-newsletter with backyarding tips and all the news from the TurfMutt Foundation. To learn more about creating the yard of your dreams, visit TurfMutt.com

About TurfMutt 
 TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) TurfMutt Foundation and has reached more than 70 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017-2020 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Denny Blitzing

Denny was just a 6 month old puppy (bichon/poodle) when we rescued him in March 2010 thru the Bichon Rescue group.

Denny loved blitzing around in his new backyard!

Denny walked into our house, threw himself down on his back and demanded a belly rub! What a sweetheart!
When your dog, specifically the Bichon Frise breed, runs crazily around the house. It usually occurs after a new person comes into the house or the dog is excited by something. The dog will usually run in a pattern, consisting of jumping on furniture and running around, under, or through furniture.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

PupVacay joins Sniffspot


PupVacay is the FIRST Sniffspot location in Durham Region!

If you've never heard of Sniffspot, it's like Airbnb, but for off leash dog spaces! Come let your dog play safely without distractions and have the time of their life!

More info about Sniffspot

Conveniently located in the heart of Oshawa - just 5 minutes north of HWY 401 & Simcoe Street! I call it my "little bit of country in the middle of the city!"
Small dogs love running around my beautiful backyard (herbicide & pesticide-free), totally fenced in (1/4 acre - 100 ft by 100 ft), and lots of shade, mature trees to check out, bushes to hide behind, squirrels, chipmunks, and balls to chase - leash-free!
Our yard has been well tested by my Pupvacay dog-sitting/boarding small dog clients, who loved to come and play at my house! Now that I have retired from dog sitting, I wanted to continue to share my yard with small dogs who love to run and play.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Sensory Walk at Pupvacay's Sniffspot!

I have a ton of ideas for my 1/4 acre #sniffspot yard! 

I have been a dog sitter for small dogs for over 6 years, and now I that I am semi-retired, I want to continue to put my yard to use. 

I've got a balance beam to build, I've got an old ladder and pool noodles I'm going to make into an agility course, motorcycle tires to built a tire tunnel and regular tires to built a tire mountain. 

I have a couple of kiddie pools to set up and a ball pit.

Too many ideas... not enough time! 

Today we built a sensory walk!
@pupvacay Sensory Walk at #pupvacay #sniffspot in #oshawa ♬ Cute - Bensound

May 20th is... National Rescue Dog Day - Featuring Rescue Dog Freebies!

Image: Puppy Rescue, by clay83 on Pixabay

Image: Rescue Matters: Four years. Four thousand dogs. An incredible true story of rescue and redemption | Paperback: 291 pages | by C.J. English (Author). Publisher: English House; 1 edition (December 13, 2018)National Rescue Dog Day
-- According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter American animal shelters every year. When these abandoned and abused animals find their way to a shelter, each one needs a forever home and their potential is limitless. No matter their size, color, or breed, dogs will find a way to nuzzle, fetch, or beg their way into your heart.

Read: Rescue Matters: Four years. Four thousand dogs, by C.J. English
-- An incredible true story of rescue and redemption. In a forgotten land where lives are lost, souls are sometimes found. When Keith Benning accepted the job as a deputy in a small North Dakota county, he had no idea he was about to face the biggest challenge of his life. Four years and four thousand dogs later, he lost his marriage, a fellow officer, and nearly his own life.

Image: Rescue Dogs: Portraits and Stories | Kindle Edition | by Susannah Maynard (Author). Publisher: Amherst Media (July 15, 2017)Rescue Dogs: Portraits and Stories -- In this beautifully illustrated book, Susannah Maynard provides personality-rich dog portraits and chronicles rescue dogs' journeys from a turbulent start to a warm, loving, and happy and safe home. Heartwarming and triumphant stories pointing to dogs' characteristic resilience and unconditional love. Includes puppies, adult dogs, and special needs dogs — of all breeds, and of course, mixed breeds. Empowers readers to join the rescue effort or bolster their efforts to increase their volunteer involvement to better the lives of rescue dogs, one animal at a time.

Image: Primitives by Kathy Distressed Box Sign, One Dog | SENTIMENT READS: Saving One Dog Will Not Change The World - But Surely For That One Dog The World Will Change ForeverDistressed Box Sign -- featuring a sentiment with dog silhouette design and red bandana accent. Saving One Dog Will Not Change The World - But Surely For That One Dog The World Will Change Forever

🐕 Rescue Dog Coloring and Activity Books

Image: Watch The Dog Rescuers | Follow comedian and dog-lover Alan Davies and the inspirational work of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as they continue their crusade against cruelty to our beloved pets
The Dog Rescuers
Amazon Freebies:

🐕 Free Rescue Dog ebooks. No Kindle? Download a FREE Kindle Reading App

🐕 Read Rescue Dog ebooks for free with a Free Trial of Kindle Unlimited

🐕 Free Rescue Dog apps

🐕 Free Rescue Dog game apps

🐕 Listen to Rescue Dog Digital Music with a Free Trial of Amazon Music Unlimited

🐕 Watch Rescue Dog Videos for Free with a Free Trial of Amazon Prime

🐕 Listen to Rescue Dog Audible books with Amazon Audible, and Get Two Free Audiobooks

🐕 Free Alexa Skills | Rescue Dog

Dog Food and Treat Recipes:

🐕 7 Delicious Dog Food Recipes

🐕 Homemade meals and treats – SPCA West

🐕 Top 20 healthy homemade dog food recipes your dog will love

🐕 25 Simple Dog Treat Recipes: Made With 5 Ingredients or Less

Image: Dusty (Rescue Dogs #2) | Kindle Edition | by Jane B. Mason (Author), Sarah Hines-Stephens (Author). Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (June 2, 2020)
Dusty (Rescue Dogs)
Free Printables, Coloring Pages, Activities, and Crafts:

🐕 Free printable dog adoption kits

🐕 Free 26 page Animal Shelter Service Learning Project and Mini Dramatic Play Kit

🐕 Online Adoption Packet Materials

🐕 Free Puppy Adoption Kit

🐕 Adopt A Rescue Dog Be A Forever Home Adopt Don't Shop Printables

🐕 Free Working Dog Printouts

🐕 Printouts and Activities - The Anti-Cruelty Society

🐕 Free Printable Handouts | BADRAP

🐕 Humane Heroes Packet - Austin Humane Society

🐕 Dog Coloring Pages - Free Printable - Easy Peasy and Fun

🐕 Pet Care Daily Calendar - Seussville-Parents

🐕 Emergency Pet Rescue Sticker - Seussville-Parents

🐕 Dogs Activities, Worksheets, Printables, and Lesson Plans

🐕 Top 25 Cute and Funny Dog Coloring Pages

🐕 Printable Pet Safety Materials | ASPCApro

🐕 Customizable Guides for Cat and Dog Foster Homes | ASPCApro

🐕 Free Printables for Kids: Dog Coloring Pages, Puzzles, and More

🐕 Free advice sheets on dogs, puppies, and cats

🐕 Free Downloads: Posters, Handouts, and More! – Dr. Sophia Yin

🐕 Fundraising Ideas for Rescue Dogs

Image: Watch Animal Rescue | Featuring extraordinary stories of courage and humanity, Animal Rescue is animal drama as you've never seen before
Animal Rescue
More Free Printables, Coloring Pages, Activities, and Crafts:

🐕 February 15th Special Days - Featuring 23+ Clifford The Big Red Dog Freebies!

🐕 March 23rd Special Days - Featuring 35+ Puppy Freebies!

🐕 July 31st Special Days - Featuring 21+ Mutt Freebies!

🐕 August 5th Special Days - Featuring 18+ Working Dog Freebies!

🐕 August 26th Special Days - Featuring 20+ Dog Freebies!

🐕 December 2nd Special Days - Featuring 30+ Mutt Freebies!

🐕 FREEBIE: 101+ Frugal Dog Toys You Can Make!

🐕 Adopting a Pet for Christmas?

🐕 Frugal Pet Tip: Make-Your-Own Dog Toys

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Five Frugal Dog Toys You Can Easily Make

Image: Dexter on the Slide (c) Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Dexter on the Slide © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Let's face it - dogs love to chew and pull! Dog toys provide a great option for letting your dog have fun while shredding their favorite toy. But it can become very expensive to keep replacing these toys.

So why not make your own homemade toys for your dog? DIY dog toys are cheaper, quick to make and can be customized for your dog, including size, durability and interactivity. Some toys will even help your dog improve his or her problem-solving skills.

However, use your best judgment to keep your dog safe, remove the toy immediately if your dog starts to chew or swallow any pieces. We aren’t responsible for any injuries caused from the following homemade dog toys tutorials – so please play responsibly!

Image: Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game (c) Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game:
1. All you need is a muffin/cupcake baking pan, balls and some kibble or treats to play this game.

You can use a 6, 12 or even 18-cup pan. The pan can be a tin, silicone or even disposable foil pan.

I prefer to use street hockey balls and pool balls for this instead of tennis balls, since I can wash them and these balls seem to last forever!

Image: Mini Cupcake/Ball Game (c) Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Mini Cupcake/Ball Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Put a bit of kibble or a special treat in each muffin cup, put a ball on top, and let your dog figure out how to get to their kibble/treat!

Some dogs, like my Denny, thought this was too much work, and took a while to warm up to this game. But Dexter figured it out quickly and now tosses the balls out quickly and efficiently to play this game and get to his treats!

Got a tiny dog that couldn't play this game because the balls are too big? Use a mini cupcake tin and hollow practice golf balls instead!

More info and video: DIY Interactive Game for Dogs - How to Make a Dog Game Puzzle

Image: Water Bottle Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Water Bottle Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved

Water Bottle Toy:
2. All you need is an empty water bottle and a sock to make this.
When you finish drinking from your water bottle, just grab a sock that is at least 5 inches longer than the bottle.

Add some kibble to the water bottle for an added shaky noise!

Put the water bottle into the sock and tie a knot at the open end of the sock.

Tie the knot tight, as your dog may chew on it and it could become loose over time.

If your dog is a heavy chewer, use several socks to protect the bottle and make it take longer for your dog to get to the bottle. Simply cover the bottle with one sock, twist at the top of the bottle and fold back. Then starting at the top, cover with a second sock, twisting at the bottom and folding back.

You can keep going with sock layers, or add one more sock and tie a knot.

Image: Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Snuffle Mat
3. You can make your Snuffle Mat out of anything with big enough holes to thread the fleece thru.

It is suggested to use a rubber door mat, but since I have a latex allergy, I looked for a different alternative.

I found a plastic square of fake grass at the Dollar store, and just pulled off the plastic grass tuffs first.

I cut up a polar fleece dog blanket (also found at the Dollar store) into 1 inch by 16 inches long strips.

Image: Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com
All rights reserved
Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com
All rights reserved

That turned out to be a bit long, so you could cut them shorter. But in the end it turned out OK.

It took three dollar store dog blankets to cover a 12 inch square.

Knot one strip in every hole, and when you are done, just toss in some kibble or treats and let your dog snuffle for it!

Instructions and Videos: Snuffle Mat Mayhem - How to Make a Snuffle Mat - Puzzle Game for Dogs - Making a Snuffle Mat

Image: Braided Rope Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Braided Rope Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Braided Rope toy:
4. No-Sew Rope Toy - This is really easy and quick to make — I am sure you already have everything you need to get started.

I wanted a few different colours in my toys, so I used four t-shirts, but then I ended up with six toys.

So you probably could make this with just one old t-shirt. Perfect for chewing and tug-of-war!

Step 1: Cut 15-30 pieces, 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) wide in 16"-30" (40-76cm) long. (Or even longer if you want!)
(Small dog - 15-20 pieces, 1" wide, Large dog - 20-30 pieces, 1"-2" wide).
Step 2: Divide your 15-30 pieces into 3 piles of 5-10 pieces each.
Step 3: Tie a knot in one end, making sure to pull tightly on the tassels so there’s at least an inch dangling after the knot. Separate your pieces into three sections, and make a few braids, as snugly as you can, leaving at least 5 inches for your second knot.
Step 4: Make a knot on the other end. You are done!

Denim Knot Toy:
5. No-Sew Denim Knot - Got some old tattered jeans? Recycle them into a denim knot toy!

Image: Denim Knot Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Denim Knot Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
All you need is an old pair of jeans and scissors. Cut off one leg to a length of about 26" (66cm) . At each open end, cut up towards the middle to make fringes 1" wide by 8" long (2.5x20cm). (Optional)

Then grab both ends firmly and make a loop. Tie into a knot and pull tightly on the knot. And you are done!

Other knot toys can be made of out old socks, dish towels, or hand towels. Use your imagination!

More ideas: Reclaimed Towel dog toy - Sock Chew Toy - Denim Dog Toy - Simple DIY No-Sew Denim Dog Toy

Image: Octopus Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Octopus Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Octopus/Wubba Toy:
6. No Sew Octopus toy - all you need is a ball and your choice of a old t-shirt, fleece fabric (think fleece pjs, fleece blanket, fleece jacket, etc), denim jeans, hand towel, dish towel, bath towel - anything you can imagine!

The thinker the fabric, the sturdier the toy - so make with your dog's chewing habits in mind. As you can see the gray t-shirt octopus toys has thin braids, but I used 9" (23cm) wide fabric pieces.

While the fleece blue and white toy (made from a fleece blanket) was made with 8" (20cm) wide fabric strips and yet the braids are much thicker.

So the wider the strips means a thicker, more sturdier toy.

Cut your fabric at least 26" (66cm) long by 8-9" wide (20-23cm) - mine were 36" (91cm) long because that's how much fabric I had. If your fabric is too short, it will be hard to braid it. Cut one more fabric strip about 1" x 12" (2.5x30cm) for a tie.

Lay the fabric strips in an X, and place the ball in the centre. Wrap the fabric around the ball, and use the fabric tie you cut, wrapping several times and knot. Then cut one "leg" into three, and braid. Repeat for the other three "legs". Tie ends in a knot.

More instructions and video: DIY Ball Dog toy toss-able toy - T-Shirt Ball and Tug Dog Toy - DIY Dog Toy – The Purple Wubba - DIY Knotted Tee Shirt Strips Dog Toy - No Sew Fleece Octopus - DIY Dog Toy: Tennis Ball Buddy

Want even more toys?
Click for 101 Frugal Dog Toys You Can Make (and more!)