Dogtopia coming to Jackson Township

Patricia Faulhaber
Suburbanite correspondent

JACKSON TWP. All of those pet parents in Canton, North Canton, Jackson Township, Plain Township, Massillon and other areas in Stark County are about to gain a valuable resource to help care for your canines while shopping, running errands or working. Dogtopia is set to open in the Springbrook Shopping Plaza on Whipple Avenue in the Belden Village shopping district.

Dogtopia Springbrook Shopping Plaza on Whipple Avenue in the Belden Village shopping district.

The new franchise is owned and operated by a local family, Dan and Danielle Higgins. The new center is an impressive 6,500 square foot indoor facility with 1,000 square feet of outdoor space. It is a state-of-the-art daycare center, boarding and spa built specifically to take care of local family dogs.

The Higgins have dogs of their own and Danielle is a practicing attorney and will be general manager at Dogtopia, while Dan has more than 20 years of experience in veterinary medical sales and health. Dan was looking for a change in his career and decided to open his own business. After much market research, they both realized the area was in need of a state-of-the-art doggy daycare and boarding facility. After a bit more research, they decided the Dogtopia franchise was the perfect fit for them.

Dogtopia Springbrook Shopping Plaza on Whipple Avenue in the Belden Village shopping district.

“We will be the third location in Ohio,” Dan said. “There is one in Columbus and one in Dublin and we are the first in this area. There are a total of 150 franchises throughout the U.S. I learned a lot about canine health through my past career, plus we have three dogs that we love and needed a great boarding facility for when we worked or traveled out of town. We also needed someone to stop by and let our dogs out for exercise, fresh air and a potty break. We think the Dogtopia daycare center offers what we want for our own dogs and decided to open one here.”

Danielle said they selected the franchise for a number of reasons such as, “The safety protocols; cleaning procedures and safe cleaning products; the natural support; their overall business operations and because of the thoughtfulness that goes into the business.”

Dogtopia Springbrook Shopping Plaza on Whipple Avenue in the Belden Village shopping district.

Dogtopia offers certified dog coaches who watch the dogs throughout the day; canine developmental behaviorist and environmental biologist; veterinary scientists; an extensive evaluation process; room assignment by size and temperament of each dog; home style crates; Rubbermaid flooring; climate controlled HVAC system; and webcams where pet parents can use an app on their phone to watch their dogs throughout the day. The safety factors are the main thing that sold the family on the franchise.

“We have a dedicated HVAC system that pulls fresh air in from outside, there is an attached dog park with artificial grass, the rooms are bright, and we have fun graphics and colors on the windows. All of the employees get 60 hours of training before going into the rooms with the dogs. We use rubber flooring in the playrooms so the dogs can’t get a nail stuck when they are playing and running,” Dan said. “We have three rooms and a playroom just for the smaller dogs. Each room has its own door that opens to the outdoor park and we let the dogs out in separate groups which are determined by size, age and temperament. There will be cameras in every room so that the pet parents can tune in to watch any time of the day they want using our phone app.”

Dogtopia Springbrook Shopping Plaza on Whipple Avenue in the Belden Village shopping district.

Danielle said the boarding is an extension of the daycare services. She said the dogs stay the night in crates and then get up in the morning, get fed and take any medicines they may need and then go straight into the playroom.

“We require a dog spend three daycare days with us before we board them to allow the dogs to get comfortable with the center so when they stay overnight, they are in familiar territory which helps reduce the stress and anxiety of being boarded,” Danielle said.

In addition to the daycare and boarding services, pet owners can have their dogs bathed while at daycare and eventually, the Higgins plan to add grooming services at the center. The facility will be using state-of-the-art spa tubs with digital readouts of water temps, there will be step up tubs so the dogs can walk right in.

Dogtopia Springbrook Shopping Plaza on Whipple Avenue in the Belden Village shopping district.

The facility will also keep extensive history and background information on each dog and store the dog’s records digitally. The information can be displayed on the large screen televisions each room is equipped with so that that canine coaches can see information about the dogs in their care.

Dan said they are set up to take any size, age (including puppies) or breed of dog as long as it is spayed or neutered and is current on all shots. All dogs and pet parents do a meet and greet and the dogs are evaluated before enjoying the daycare or boarding services. The dogs receive a simple health checkup and an assessment of temperament. They will also get to do a test drive to make sure “they dig the vibe of an open-play environment.”

“Our goal is to bring these great services of Dogtopia to the area. We thought it was a good fit for us and our dogs and we think it fits the area’s needs. There is also a Dogtopia Foundation that enables dogs to change the world such like  service dogs and dogs in education can. We are happy to be able to share this with the area,” Dan said.

Dogtopia is coming to Springbrook Shopping Plaza on Whipple Avenue in the Belden Village shopping district.

About Dogtopia Belden-Canton

What: Dog daycare, boarding and spa

Where: 4413 Whipple Ave. NW in Canton

Who: Dan and Danielle Higgins owners and operators

How: Contact them at 330-970-2200 or email at cantonbelden@dogtopia.com.

To learn more: Visit them online at www.dogtopia.com/belden-Canton/