How to have the best spring with your pets

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Bees and Butterflies

With the weather warming up, your pet will be eager to get outside and start exploring. However, be cautious of buzzing insects; curious cats and dogs can be stung by bees if they stick their nose a little too close.

If your cat or dog gets stung, your best bet is to call your veterinarian and describe your pet’s symptoms. Like humans, animals’ allergic reactions differ in severity, so as soon as you notice that your pet has been stung, act fast to avoid further complications.

(Photo from Debra B. via Pets We Love)

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Grass Is Always Greener

April showers bring May flowers . and they also bring lush, green grass. Don’t be alarmed if your pet munches on grass now and again; for the most part, it’s completely normal. For whatever reason, most dogs nibble on grass from time to time.

If your dog makes a habit of eating grass in large quantities, it’s best to have your pet looked at. Eating grass can be a sign of an upset stomach, so if your dog has eaten something that isn’t settling, it might turn to grass as a natural remedy.

(Photo from Kristin G. via Pets We Love)

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Bird’s the Word

Spring is often signaled by the beautiful trills of returning songbirds—and with the birds come hatching eggs throughout the neighborhood and nearby parks. For these birds and their fledglings, cats pose a serious threat. If your cat is allowed outdoors, check out the next slide for tips on how to stop your cat from making a meal of local birds.

(Photo from Amy A. via Pets We Love)

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Bird’s the Word

Here are a few tips to keep your kitty from bringing Tweety bird to your doorstep.

Fasten a bell to your cat’s collar. The noise will warn birds before it’s too late.

Feed your cat. It sounds simple, but making sure your cat is well-fed can help reduce its hunting urges.

Corral your cat during feeding hours. The times that birds are most active—around sunset and sunrise, or after bad weather—are prime feeding times for your cat. Make sure your cat is inside during these times to avoid a feeding frenzy.

Elevate bird feeders. Avoid feeding birds on the ground. Place seed up in a feeder or on elevated ground. Even if Kitty is a climber, it will take more work for your cat and possibly give the birds enough time to see the imposing threat.

(Photo from Nancy L. via Pets We Love)

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Sweets and Treats

If the Easter bunny brought tasty chocolate treats for your family, make sure to store them in a safe place. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the most toxic for your pet, while white chocolate and milk chocolate don’t pose quite as much of a risk. However, no amount of chocolate is good for your animal. If your pet ingests chocolate, take it to your veterinarian immediately.

(Photo from Sarah B. via Pets We Love)

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Flower Power

With gardening in full swing during the spring, pay special attention to poisonous plants that are accessible to your cat or dog. Popular outdoor plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs include rhododendron, sago palm, and azalea, to name a few. For a complete list of plants that are poisonous to your pet, go to ASPCA.org.

(Photo from Karla H. via Pets We Love)

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Spring Cleaning

It’s time to clean house! When using harsh cleaning chemicals around your home, keep your pets out of harm’s way. Almost all cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to animals. If it’s a nice day, open windows while cleaning to air out the chemicals, or secure your dog outside while you clean and allow the chemicals to air out before bringing your pet back inside.

(Photo from High Performance Flowers via Pets We Love)

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Lawn-Care Essentials

Spring is a great time to get your lawn in tip-top shape. However, many of the chemicals used on your lawn and garden can be dangerous to your pet. Fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides are usually poisonous and not meant for consumption. Always read the labels and heed the recommended waiting period before allowing your pet back on the lawn.

(Photo from Richard A. via Pets We Love)

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Preventive Measures

Once the ground thaws, the bugs begin to emerge. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on its medications, including flea and tick medication and heartworm preventative. These medications should be taken monthly to keep your pet safe from these pesky insects and parasites.

If your pet does get a tick, follow these steps to ensure quick and painless removal:

Wearing gloves and using a pair of tweezers, grab the tick as close to your pet’s skin as you can. Pull straight up in a swift movement, making sure not to grip too hard.

Place the tick in a screw-top jar containing some rubbing alcohol. Screw on the lid.

Disinfect the bite site on your pet. Wash your hands thoroughly, and disinfect all tools that came in contact with the tick.

Monitor the bite site. If it is still inflamed after a week or so, bring your pet and the tick in to the veterinarian for examination.

How to have the best spring with your pets

Dr. Fiona is a veterinarian pet health guest blogger for dog insurance and cat insurance provider, Pets Best Insurance.

The sun is peeking through the clouds, temperatures are rising and the flowers are starting to show their heads; spring has finally sprung! For you, this means dusting off the sunscreen and sandals, but springtime can also be a good time to go through a “Spring Pet Health Check”. Here are some things to be mindful of in order to keep your dog and cat fit and happy this season:

1. Start heartworm preventives
If your pet isn’t on heartworm preventatives year round, it’s time to start up again! Heartworm disease is a potentially devastating disease that can cause heart failure and potentially death if left untreated. Treatment is costly and can be difficult. Prevention is the key in heartworm disease. If you have never had your pet on a preventative before, your veterinarian will likely want to run a quick blood test to ensure your pet is heartworm negative prior to prescribing any medications.

2. Start a flea and tick preventive
Some areas of the nation require year round prevention of external parasites, but if you stop during the cold winter months, now is the time to start back up. Ticks can carry many diseases, some of which can be dangerous, such as Lyme Disease. Flea infestations in your home can be very costly to treat and often require an exterminator. Some pet insurance companies will even help to cover a portion of flea, tick and heartworm prevention with their routine care plans. By preventing fleas and ticks, your pet and your home will be healthier.

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3. A trip to the groomer
Warmer temperatures can translate to shedding! Dogs and cats naturally like to be clean, but sometimes they need a little help. Grooming can be done at home, or with a professional groomer. In the winter you may have had less outside time with your dog, which can mean their nails didn’t wear down like they do in the summer. Be sure to keep nails trimmed in order to prevent splitting and breaking.

4. Update vaccines
There is a good chance warmer weather will mean more excursions to places where dogs are welcome. If you and your furry best friend frequent the dog park or other public places, be sure they are up to date on all required vaccinations and deworming.

5. Limit exposure to spring toxins
Spring is a common time to fertilize your lawn. Be sure to use pet safe products, and still keep your pet off the grass for the entire time recommended. Spring blooms can be pretty, but some plants and flowers are toxic to pets. Easter often brings lily flowers; these are EXTREMELY toxic to cats, less so to dogs, but exposure should still be avoided. Because accidents and illness can happen at any time, even with the most careful of pet owners, it’s a good idea to consider pet insurance for our pets. Pet health insurance may help pet owners afford the best level of care in otherwise-dire situations.

6. Ease into activity
If you and your pet have been inactive all winter, ease slowly into activity. Start with leashed walks, and shorter play sessions and gradually work up to maximum activity. Starting all at once can lead to injuries and sore muscles.

By having a small check list of spring dog health and cat health reminders, you can help keep your pet happier and healthier for the many more warm months to come!

Questions? We’d love to answer them, call Pets Best at 877-738-7237

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How to have the best spring with your pets

Spring is in the air! And so are pesky allergens that can cause allergies in every family member including your four-legged friends. While dogs and cats, like humans, can have allergies any time of year, they can also have seasonal allergies. These arrive with the warm weather as nature comes out of hibernation and pollen fills the air.

“My dog has allergies!”

Dogs can have allergic reactions to a variety of common environmental and household substances, but are prone to spring allergies. This is due to the extra pollen in the grass and air. Other common causes of pet allergies include:

  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Grass
  • Ragweed
  • Mold
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Flea bites

Allergies are more common in Terriers, Retrievers, Setters, and dogs with short snouts including Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers.

How to have the best spring with your pets

Can Cats Have Allergies?

Cats can also develop seasonal allergies, especially those that spend time outdoors. Like dogs, cats can have allergic reactions to pollen and other allergens that are more active in the spring. Reduce the chance of your cat having a spring allergy by keeping them indoors, particularly on dry, windy days. Also, keep kitty inside after mowing the lawn, weed pulling, or gardening. Using the air conditioning instead of fans will also reduce the pollen in the air indoors, as well as dusting and vacuuming frequently.

Keep an eye out for the following symptoms that may indicate your pet has an allergy:

  • itching (including excessive scratching, hair loss, red skin or skin irritation)
  • red, watery eyes
  • excessive paw licking
  • ear infections (watch for excessive head shaking or scratching of ears)
  • sneezing (and “reverse sneezing” in dogs, and rarely in cats, when air is inhaled rapidly through the nose)

If your pet is showing any of these five common signs of allergies you should consult your veterinarian.

Ways to Help Your Pet’s Allergies

Sometimes symptoms for seasonal allergies will overlap with food allergies or other environmental allergies so diagnosis may be difficult and is best managed by a veterinarian who can prescribe medication if necessary. Diet can help treat allergies such as feeding your dog Omega 3 fatty acids, and yucca for cats and dogs. To treat itching or skin conditions due to allergies, make sure to wipe your pet’s paws after walking outside, and use shampoos that contain pet friendly moisturizers or soothing emollients. Antihistamines are effective in only 20 percent of pets, and you should consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog or cat. Enjoy the spring with healthy pets, not sneezing pets.
Consult a veterinary expert about your pet’s allergies with the Pets Best 24/7 Pet Helpline

How to have the best spring with your pets

Springtime brings fun in the sun, blooming flowers, and fresh air — but also a few things to watch out for. From pesky bugs to springtime decor, keep an eye out for these common items that could be dangerous to your pet.

Outdoor Hazards

After a long winter cooped up indoors, it’s nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. But before you head out with your dog or cat, beware of the following that could harm your pet.

• Flowers — Some spring flowers are toxic to pets, like azaleas, daffodils, and lilies. Whether they’re blooming outdoors or displayed in a vase in your home, be sure to keep your dog or cat away from them.

• Bugs — Fleas, ticks, and heartworms all become more prevalent as the weather gets warmer. Be sure your pet is on a year-round medication to prevent flea- and tick-borne illnesses and heartworm disease . Talk to a veterinarian for the best recommendation for your pet.

• Gardening supplies — Fertilizer, herbicides, and insecticides can be toxic to pets. Always be sure these are kept out of paw’s reach.

Indoor Dangers

You might be surprised to know what’s lurking around the house that could be dangerous to your pet.

• Springtime decor and candy — Make sure your pet can’t get into Easter grass or small plastic eggs, which can cause intestinal blockages or be a choking hazard. Also keep candy out of reach, especially chocolate and sugar-free candies that contain xylitol. This substance is highly toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure, seizures, and even death.

• Cleaning supplies — When spring cleaning kicks into high gear, it’s normal to have cleaning supplies at hand as you clean your house. Keep these out of reach, even if the products are all natural. They could contain irritants or dyes that could harm your pet.

• Window and door screens — Check the screens in your windows and doors to be sure they’re securely in place and don’t have any holes. Pets could accidentally jump or fall through an unsecure screen and injure themselves.

Watching out for these dangers will help keep your pet safe and avoid a trip to the vet. But if your dog or cat does get into any of the items listed above or you notice vomiting, diarrhea, or seizures, contact a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 immediately.

How to have the best spring with your pets

Your pets depend on you to keep them safe both indoors and out. That includes using fertilizer that is pet friendly. Knowing that you don’t have to worry about your pet’s safety when he/she plays outdoors gives you peace of mind so you can focus on enjoying the time you spend together.

Using Pet Safe Fertilizer for Lawns and Gardens

Commercially prepared pet friendly fertilizers may list precautions and restrictions, and you should follow them to the letter. The label may suggest keeping the pet off the lawn for a specified period of time, usually about 24 hours.

For an extra measure of safety, make sure you break up any clods or clumps of fertilizer because your pet will find any new objects lying on the ground interesting, and perhaps worth a taste. Store any unused portions of the fertilizer in its original bag. Place the bag out of reach, or put it in a plastic bin with a lid that locks in place securely.

Pets are very skillful at getting into places where they don’t belong, so even if you use pet-safe fertilizers for your lawns and gardens, you should be aware of the symptoms of chemical poisoning, which include:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling

Types of Fertilizer Safe for Pets

Here are a few types of safe fertilizers for pets:

Seaweed – Seaweed is rich in nitrogen. You can buy it ground up but it’s more common as a spray-on liquid.

Fish emulsion – While fish emulsion is a great fertilizer option, remember that this is a quick-release fertilizer and it can burn plants if you use too much. Dogs are likely to find the smell very appealing and might try to dig up your garden plants.

Grass Clippings – You can use 20 percent less nitrogen fertilizer by leaving grass clippings on your lawn. For this to work, you may have to mow more frequently. Long clippings can do more harm than good.

Manure – This is a tricky one because dogs may try to eat it. Composting for three or four months removes much of the smell and makes it safer for pets and the garden. Be aware that horse manure may contain weed seeds.

Compost – Compost is one of the best fertilizers for gardens, and if you make your own it’s free. You can also use it on the lawn, but it takes quite a bit to provide enough nitrogen for lawn grass.

Bone Meal/Blood Meal – Bone meal and blood meal are natural products that may not harm your dog, but he or she will find the taste and smell very appealing. Avoid both to prevent digging and rolling in the garden.

How to have the best spring with your pets

BanksPhotos / Getty Images

If you are a homeowner with a lawn to tend to, at some point you have probably wondered, “When should you apply crabgrass preventers in spring?”

This common lawn weed generally appears in late May in the North (earlier in the South), so earlier in the spring is the time for applying crabgrass killers — if you want to get the jump on your nemesis. You will want to use pre-emergent herbicides, specifically. These products are also termed “crabgrass preventers,” because they do just that (if used properly). Corn gluten is considered an organic alternative to using chemical pre-emergent herbicides.

But since getting the timing right is so critical to success in controlling this weed, we will have to be more precise about when to apply a crabgrass preventer.

Exactly When Do You Put Down a Crabgrass Preventer?

May 1 is the average time for application of crabgrass preventers in the northern U.S. and Canada, but the ideal time will vary depending on where you live and how warm a spring you are having. In the South, you will need to apply a crabgrass preventer earlier than in the North. This is still not precise enough, though, so below I will give you two different guidelines to use so that your timing will be just right. But first, let me explain how the product works in greater detail.

“Pre-emergent herbicides” are not called that for nothing. The idea behind them is that they nip the weed in the bud, so to speak. Actually, they “nip” it even before that, preventing the plants from germinating from seed in the first place. So their name says it all: they help you control crabgrass before (“pre-“) it even emerges out of the earth.

Sounds like magic, does it not? Well, not quite. You still have to pitch in by applying these crabgrass preventers at the right — not too early (because their potency would peter out), but not too late (because once the weed seed germinates, “that ship has already sailed,” as they say).

So let’s get right down to brass tacks. There are two sure-fire ways to determine when to apply crabgrass preventers:

  1. An old rule of thumb is to put down the crabgrass killer shortly after the flowering period of the forsythia bushes, on the one hand, and shortly before that of the lilac bushes, on the other.
  2. But here is an even better guideline to use. Armed with a soil thermometer, take a reading of the soil temperature a couple of inches down into the ground where your grass is growing. The best time to apply a crabgrass preventer will be when the soil temperature reaches 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit and holds that reading for a few days in a row.

Here is how to use a soil thermometer correctly to take this reading (you will be using a screwdriver first to make a pilot hole):

  1. Run a tape measure up two inches from the tip of a screwdriver toward the handle.
  2. Mark this measurement with a magic marker (or use duct tape).
  3. Plunge the screwdriver into the ground until this two-inch mark is at ground level. This gives you your pilot hole so that you do not risk breaking your soil thermometer.
  4. Now insert the soil thermometer into the ground, guided by your pilot hole, to get your reading (follow instructions on the label regarding how long you have to keep it in the soil before withdrawing it).

But what if the right time for using a pre-emergent passes and you end up with the weed in your lawn during the summer? One option is to use a post-emergent crabgrass killer. Make sure you know what you are fighting, though. To that end, my pictures show you exactly what crabgrass looks like.

How to have the best spring with your pets

Related Articles

  • Can I Use Scotts Halts Crabgrass Preventer on St. Augustine Grass?
  • How to Apply Chinch Bug Killer
  • How Long Do You Have to Wait After Using Weed and Feed to Walk on the Lawn?
  • Is Preen Dangerous to Dogs?
  • What Can Happen If You Walk in Weedkiller Products?

For homeowners who want a lush, green lawn, Scotts is one of the best-known lines of products. Several of those products, from straightforward weed-control mixtures to combined fertilizer and weed-control products, contain Scotts Halts herbicide for crabgrass control. It’s generally considered to be safe for pets, when applied as directed, though there are some modest risks.

How Halts Works

Halts is what’s called a preemergent herbicide, meaning it kills the weeds before they get started. Specifically, in this case, it prevents crabgrass seeds from germinating as the soil warms up. It should be applied late enough in spring for your grass to be well-established, so the pesticide won’t hurt it. It also has to be applied before the soil is warm enough for the crabgrass seeds to germinate.

Scotts suggests applying the product before the third or fourth mowing, and before daytime temperatures consistently reach the 80s Fahrenheit. You can apply again in late fall, if you wish.

Applying the Product Safely

To make sure a product like Scotts Turf Builder plus Halts or Scotts Step 1 is safe for pets, make a point of keeping your pets in the house when you’re going to apply the product. Apply your product when the grass is dry, using the spreader settings provided on the product packaging or Scotts’ website. Scotts says it isn’t necessary to water in these products immediately, and if it stays dry, you can let your dog back onto the grass right away.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to worry about Fido in case of rain, you can water it in. Give your grass the equivalent of 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water to thoroughly wash the product into the soil. To minimize transfer of Halts® from the ground to paws and fur, and eventually mouths, let it dry completely before your pets go back out. If your dogs need to “use the facilities” in the meantime, take them up a concrete walkway to the street and walk them to a suitable spot. Outdoor cats just have to bide their time until it’s safe for them to go out.

“>What Are the Risks?

The generic name for Halts is pendimethalin. Lawn service professionals might be required by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to wear protective clothing and respirators while they’re applying it, which can certainly be alarming, but it’s not as bad as it looks. The big risk with pendimethalin comes from chronic exposure over an extended period, which is mostly a risk for people who work with it consistently. Applying small amounts, once or twice a year, is much less of a concern.

For humans, pendimethalin is a class-C carcinogen, meaning there’s a modest risk it can cause cancer; specifically thyroid cancer. Laboratory testing has shown that it doesn’t cause birth defects or developmental delays in animals, and it doesn’t harm their immune or nervous systems. It is a known irritant for the liver and thyroid, though, which is the main area of concern for pet owners. Vomiting, drooling and diarrhea are common short-term symptoms of dogs who’ve consumed fertilizer, but they’re generally mild and will pass on their own within a day.

Pet-Safe Lawn Fertilizer Reviews

An internet search of “pet safe fertilizers” brings up any number of sites where users can rate their experiences. These aren’t necessarily a meaningful guide when choosing a lawn care product, for a number of reasons. Some have an organic focus, for example, and automatically attract those who reject the use of “toxic chemicals” on their lawn.

Even stories of lost pets, though tragic, should be viewed with a degree of skepticism. Scientists have a saying that “correlation is not causality,” or in other words, “A happening after B doesn’t mean A happened because of B.” You can read the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of pendimethalin for yourself and find dozens of animal studies on the National Institutes of Health’s ToxNet (Toxicology Data Network) website, which clearly states what a particular fertilizer will and won’t do to your four-legged friends.

Treat your canine to a good time at these restaurants, shops, parks and more in the nation’s capital.

How to have the best spring with your pets

If you’ve brought your dog along for your trip to Washington, DC, have no fear: there are plenty of places that welcome and cater to canines. We’ve compiled a list of dog-friendly restaurants, hotels, scenic parks and shops that will be perfect for your pup.

Please note that due to COVID-19, locations listed below could be closed and/or have limited hours and offerings.

Places to Eat and Drink

The acclaimed Rasika West End permits dogs on its patio and offers its famous Tandoori lamb chops for adults. Baked & Wired has dog treats in flavors like Peanut Butter Krunch, in addition to fresh baked bread, brewed coffee and espresso, pastries, muffins, cookies and quiche for you. Outdoor seating is dog-friendly.

Right Proper Brewing Company in the Shaw neighborhood welcomes canines with open arms on its open air patio, where you can sip on brews and chow down on bar bites. At Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont Circle, there’s sandwiches and pizza for you and a comfortable patio with ample space for the pup.

If you’re looking for beer garden vibes that are dog-friendly, make sure you check out Wunder Garten in NoMa, which offers games and lounge chairs, and Dacha Beer Garden in Shaw, featuring farm-to-table fare and Bavarian beverages (there’s also a location in Navy Yard that is well worth your time). Wet Dog Tavern is basically dedicated to doggies, with plenty of space and activities for the canines. You’ll dig the varied drink menu and burgers while your best bud runs wild.

When exploring the U Street corridor and the sweet tooth needs satisfaction, stop at Ice Cream Jubilee for one of their innovative flavors and chill on the patio with your pooch pal. Nearby, you can have a coffee and enjoy some Cuban cuisine with your dog by your side on the gated patio of Colada Shop.

Parks

How to have the best spring with your pets

Your visit to the National Mall can certainly include your dog, as canines are welcome to join you as you stroll past the monuments and memorials and take in the view. The Tidal Basin, where you can savor beautiful cherry blossom trees, is another scenic spot where pets are welcome.

Theodore Roosevelt Island, accessible by footbridge from the George Washington Memorial Parkway, features two miles of trails along the Potomac River, perfect for an afternoon excursion with your pup. Meridian Hill Park is one of the city’s most popular parks and features plenty of real estate for dogs to stretch their legs. If your pooch likes rhythms, the park hosts a drum circle on Sundays.

Rock Creek Park offers roughly 1,800 acres of natural beauty, with more than four miles of trails, serving as an oasis in the middle of the city for you and your canine. Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, located along the Anacostia River, is another option, as it offers beautiful aquatic gardens to enjoy while taking your dog for a stroll.

Tours

For a dog-friendly tour option, look no further than Adventure DC Tricycle Tours. Dogs are welcomed into the cabs, and with your approval, guides will stay with the dogs (or even walk them) while you tour memorials that do not allow humanity’s best friend inside.

Hotels

Kimpton Hotels in the District welcome dogs for all sizes at no extra charge and even offer special amenities so that your pup can have the best experience possible. Dogs of all sizes are welcomed for no additional fee at The Embassy Row Hotel as well.

How to have the best spring with your pets

The LINE DC makes for a worthwhile place for you and your canine companion to stay while exploring the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Pets stay free at this DC-inspired hotel housed inside a 110-year old church – and don’t forget to ask the front desk for courtesy bags, water bowls and treats.

The Hay-Adams, one of DC’s most historic hotels, allows one dog weighing no more than 25 pounds per room for free. Pups that weigh 15 pounds or less can stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. at no additional charge (you could even bring two). At The Jefferson, four-legged guests of any size and breed dog bowls, beds, treats and more. Over in the elegant Georgetown neighborhood, Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown welcomes pets for free and offers handmade treats, maps to nearby parks and loaner leashes and collars.

Other options: Sofitel Washington, DC Lafayette Square allows dogs up to 50 pounds for a refundable $500 deposit. The ulta-hip Eaton Washington DC allows two pets of any size for no additional fee. Both dogs and cats are welcome. Pet beds, food and water bowls are available upon request.

Yours Truly DC allows dogs up to 70 lbs. for no additional charge, with complimentary treats from Doggy Style Bakery and special Bowser Beer for Dogs available upon check-in. Viceroy Washington DC allows two pets of any size for no additional fee, with both dogs and cats permitted. The hotel provides treats, bowls, beds, waste bags and pet-in-room door hangers for four-legged guests.

Shops

During your DC visit, you may need to get some shopping done. Here’s a list of local shops that allow your pet inside, and may even have a treat or two waiting for them:

How to have the best spring with your pets

How to have the best spring with your pets

How to have the best spring with your pets

How to have the best spring with your pets

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the weather warms up and families get out to enjoy it, many will want to include their pets. But there are things to keep in mind during the spring and summer seasons.

One thing is which plants to avoid in the garden or bringing home as decoration. Veterinary staff at Advanced Animal Care in Richmond say lilies are popular this time of year, but several types of lilies are toxic to cats if eaten and can cause issues with their kidneys.

“Other things like oleander or foxglove, those can be really toxic to the heart for cats and dogs,” said Dr. Rachael Lander.

While going out for a walk or hike is good for bonding and exercise, make sure to check your shoes, clothes, and your pet’s fur before coming back inside the home to avoid bringing in ticks or fleas.

Also, make sure your pet isn’t outside in the heat for long periods of time even if the weather doesn’t seem that sunny or hot.

“Even this temperature right now, maybe in the 70s, we’re like, ‘Wow, it’s really comfortable,’ but they’re not quite acclimated to it yet. So even just walking on the pavement or sidewalk can get really, really hot,” said Lander. “We have to be careful of their paw pads especially, they can get burnt, let alone just heat exhaustion in general.”

Lander also says as families get out and grill more, they should avoid feeding their animals food from the picnic table, especially fatty foods that could cause pancreatitis in dogs.