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How to have the best spring with your pets

Spring is here! The warmer weather means that you and your pets will be spending more time outside. Maybe you’ll start taking those long evening walks again or heading to the dog park on the weekends. You may even start hiking through your local preserve or parks. Or you two may simply hang out in the backyard and play some fetch. Your cat will probably start sitting in the windowsills again or want to take strolls out in the yard (if s/he’s indoor/outdoor), or just simply lay in that sun that streams through your windows.

How to have the best spring with your pets

Whatever you do with your furry friends, here’s how to make sure that they are ready for spring.

5 Important Pet Tips for Spring:

  1. Brush your cat – A thorough brushing a few times a week will go a long way to curb shedding around the house and cut down on the chance of a gross hairball on your floor. Cats with long coats may need a de-matting tool as well. If your cat tolerates it, you may even try a bath to help remove the dead fur, condition their skin, and clean off any debris. Just remember, make sure to dry them well, and if your cat won’t tolerate the water, don’t push it.

Houseplants – Cats and dogs sometimes chew or nibble plants. Some cats dig in the pots and toss dirt everywhere. If you have pets that think the plants are their “tiny” garden, consider hanging plants or moving them where your pets can’t access them. If the plants you have are poisonous and can make your pet ill, see if your friends want them and replace them with safer species.

Cleaning chemicals – As you begin spring cleaning the house, garage, and attic be mindful of the cleaners you have in your house. Some may leave a residue behind that can harm your pets. Check the labels and keep your pets away from the newly mopped and cleaned rooms till everything is completely dry and the chemicals used are put away.

Safety First – When removing the insulation from the windows, check the screens for holes and tears. A cat may lean against the screen and end up outside. You also don’t want flies and other bugs getting into your house. Repair any weak spots in your windows and if your cat loves to perch on the windowsill, think about getting a cat tree with multi shelves that can be placed near the window or a cat shelf that is like a hammock for cats.

  • Pesticides – If you use some pesticides in the house and in your yard, check the labels and think about changing brands to safer ones for the environment and your pets and children. Some types are fatal if your pet ingests them and others may cause extreme sickness. There are green ways to keep pests at bay such as using peppermint oil to repel ants and citronella to repel mosquitos.
  • Have a safe and happy Spring!

    My dog, Chase, hates the water. He won’t get within 3 feet of our pool, and baths are too traumatic to even discuss. But one thing Chase loves is fresh, pure drinking water. And, frankly, that’s the only kind I care about because his survival depends upon staying adequately hydrated. Dogs require more water per day than any other nutrient. It’s no wonder, since 70 to 80 percent of an adult dog’s lean body mass is comprised of water. Let’s talk water for dogs — which type of water is safe for your dog? Which type of water is best?

    How to have the best spring with your petsWater for dogs — do you know which type of H2O is best? Photography by Harrison Waters.

    Is unfiltered tap water safe for dogs?

    Inexpensive, potable tap water is one of our nation’s privileges but, unfortunately, unfiltered tap water can be riddled with contaminants. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., has found 316 toxins lurking in tap water supplies throughout the country which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can lead to a variety of adverse health effects, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems and neurological disorders. Contaminants in tap water may include industrial chemicals, pesticides, metals, pharmaceuticals, bacteria, viruses, protozoan, parasites, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radiological contaminants such as plutonium and uranium and even sewer overflows and wastewater. Need I say more?

    Bottom line: I do not recommend giving unfiltered tap water to your dog.

    Should dogs drink bottled water?

    In 2016, Americans drank 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water. But at nearly 2,000 times the cost of tap water, is bottled water really a purer alternative? Not necessarily. In a 2008 study, the EWG discovered combinations of 38 different pollutants in 10 popular brands of U.S. bottled water. In some brands, the pollutants, which included bacteria, pharmaceuticals, arsenic, fertilizer residue, radioactive isotopes and industrial chemicals, equaled the same level as the country’s most polluted tap water systems. The majority of bottled waters also contain endocrine disruptor chemicals, man-made compounds that interfere with hormone signaling. And plastic water bottles may contain bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical that can seep into the water and is associated with a variety of health risks. Since most states don’t require bottled water companies to disclose the presence of contaminants or the origin of the water, you really don’t know what’s in that bottle. And then there are the environmental effects. Americans use 3 million plastic water bottles every hour, and less than 30 percent of them are recycled.

    Bottom line: You, your dog and the planet can do better than bottled water.

    What about distilled water?

    Distilled water is created by boiling regular water to a point where all contaminants are destroyed. The resulting steam is then condensed back into a liquid and bottled. The problem is that distillation also destroys all of the water’s beneficial minerals, which are essential for health. Studies in animals show that consuming distilled water results in a variety of adverse health effects, including a negative balance of sodium and chloride in the blood, lower volumes of red blood cells, increased secretion of cortisol and adverse changes to the kidneys, including atrophy of the glomeruli. Moreover, these changes were not affected even when nutritionally adequate diets were fed. In addition, distilled water is reported to be less thirst quenching, which may lead dogs to drink and urinate excessively.

    Bottom line: Intermittent or short-term intake of distilled water may not be harmful; however, it should not be used as a dog’s primary source of hydration.

    Is filtered water for dogs best?

    As the name implies, filtered water is tap water that has been run through a filter to remove impurities. The most common types of filters include carafe filters, faucet-mounted filters, countertop filters, under-sink filters, reverse-osmosis filters and whole-house filtration systems. Since different filtration options remove different contaminants, the first step is to determine what’s in your tap water. I recommend beginning with an online trip to the EWG’s National Drinking Water Database. Just enter your zip code, select your utility, and get instant access to your water quality report provided by your state’s water officials. You can also call your water utility company for a copy of its Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), an annual report detailing all contaminants present in your local water supply. Once you know what you’re dealing with, the next step is to research the best filtration method to address your specific needs. The EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide will walk you through this process based on your filtration goals, lifestyle and budget. Before you know it, you’ll have an inexpensive, abundant supply of fresh, pure water.

    Bottom line: A good water filter can turn ordinary tap water into a healthy and cost-effective source of pure hydration for your dog and the entire family.

    Water and dog hydration:

    Water is essential to just about every bodily function, including:

    • Helps regulate body temperature
    • Keeps the skin elastic
    • Lubricates the joints
    • Keeps the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs moist
    • Cushions the nervous system and organs
    • Flushes out waste products from the body
    • Helps digest protein, fat and carbohydrates through hydrolysis
    • Dissolves and transports nutrients to the cells

    Thumbnail: Photography ©Voyagerix | Thinkstock.

    Read more about dogs and water on Dogster.com:

    Diana Laverdure- Dunetz, MS, is a canine nutritionist and co-author, with W. Jean Dodds, D.V.M., of two books, including Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health. Their online course, Complete Canine Nutrition, can be found at myhealthydog.dog.

    Editor’s note: This article appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

    Published: February 10, 2019

    Updated: May 20, 2021

    This page may contain affiliate links, for which we earn a commission for qualifying purchases. This is at no cost to you, but it helps fund the free education that we have on our website. Read more here.

    How to have the best spring with your petsSometimes your dog just needs a break! Your dog might be naturally shy or nervous around different kinds of people, be fearful of loud noises or events, or dealing with anxiety. Creating a place your dog can escape to for some alone time reduces that anxiety and helps your dog cope with stressful situations. Even if your dog doesn’t suffer from fear or anxiety, it’s reassuring to have their own safe haven where they can go when they just want to relax for a bit.

    By giving your dog the choice to leave a situation, you increase their confidence in dealing with uncertain or stressful situations. Your dog’s safe space is also a wonderful tool to teach your children boundaries when it comes to interacting with your dog — if the dog is in their safe space, the dog is wanting to be alone and not pet or played with. This can help prevent unfortunate bite incidents between the family dog and children.

    What Is a Dog’s ‘Safe Space’?

    A dog’s safe space is very similar to a designated “puppy zone,” the only real difference being that you aren’t providing an indoor potty area since an adult dog should be fully housebroken, and the dog has access in and out of their space at all times. Think of it as an extended crate area; you want your dog to view their safe space with just as much positivity as their crate the BEST place ever! In fact, many dog owners set up a safe space in the area around their dog’s crate.

    By providing your dog with a special area that they can escape to when needed, your dog will learn to self-soothe and become more confident when confronted with stressful situations (such as thunderstorms, fireworks, holiday parties, new baby, etc.)

    By giving your dog the choice to leave a situation, you increase
    their confidence in dealing with uncertain or stressful situations.

    Your dog’s safe space should be:How to have the best spring with your pets

    • Comfortable for Your Dog
      • The temperature should be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There should be enough space for your pup to stretch out and sleep in peace, with suitable bedding for them to relax on.
      • Take note of where your dog naturally goes when they need a break. There might be a few different places around the house where they feel most comfortable — the corner of the family room might be their place of choice most of the time, but they might prefer a second, more quiet area like the guest bedroom when you’re having a big get-together with your friends. And that’s great, you can set up more than one safe space for your dog!
    • Stocked with Food and Water
      • Make sure there is a spill-proof water bowl in your dog’s safe space.
      • I highly recommend feeding your dog in their safe space to build a positive association with the area and because it provides them with a stress-free mealtime away from the hustle and bustle of the household. This can help prevent resource guarding incidents if your dog guards their food bowl and you have children in your family.

    • Easily Accessible
      • Your dog should always have the choice of when they want to enter and exit their safe space.
      • This area should not be used for time-outs.
      • The safe space can be used for safe confinement while you’re away from home, as long as your dog is happily used to spending time confined while alone.
      • Make sure their area is not totally isolated — dogs are very social, and while they might want a break from all the activity, they may still want to be near their family.
    • Quiet and Stress-Free
        • A safe space is especially useful for dogs dealing with noise phobias, like fireworks. Set up their safe space away from outside noise as much as possible, away from any windows.
          You can always mask any outside noises by having a fan or sound machine running for white noise. I use the SNOOZ white noise machine for my dogs’ safe space (and at nighttime for myself).

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          A Family Vacation

          Bring the whole family, pet included, on a brief getaway to explore the beauty of NJ. Your pet will sniff around exploring surroundings to simply lounge around and enjoy the opportunity to spend some quality time with you. Escape for a weekend or a whole week. No vacation is complete without every member of the family, big and small, furry or not.

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          Dog-friendly beaches and restaurants!
          Cape May, New Jersey is a great pet-friendly family vacation destination in New Jersey. In Cape May, you’ll find a lot of lodging establishments that allow pets to stay in guest rooms. There are a lot of recreational options nearby where dogs are allowed. Choose from a handful of beaches at whi. Read More

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          It is now officially Spring and that time of year when we come out of hibernation, open our doors and windows and spend more and more time outside with friends, family and our pets. As a responsible pet owner, you can take a few simple steps to keep your pet healthy and happy.

          Your pet is part of your family and deserves to be cared for and protected. Whether it’s how to keep your pet protected in the event that he or she becomes separated from you, what to do to keep your pet safe at home or how to protect them from the summer heat, there are a number of things we would like to share.

          Protect your pet

          You can keep your pets safe and reduce the likelihood that they’ll become lost or stolen by following these tips:

          • Provide your pet with a collar and ID tags (keep recent photos and written descriptions of your companion animals on hand at all times)
          • Keep your pet indoors when you’re not home
          • Have your pet microchipped. Collars can be pulled off or fall off, so this more permanent identifier provides an excellent way to ensure you are able to reunite.
          • Consider downloading the new smartphone app: Finding Rover and register your pet by taking his/her photo
          • Spay and neuter your pet. Some studies have shown that sterilized animals are less likely to roam
          • Leash your pet when outside
          • Make sure you are careful when guests come by to avoid inadvertent escape

          General Safety Tips

          While many of these are common sense, they are included here as a friendly reminder.

          • Establish a veterinary-patient relationship and make sure your pet has annual checkups
          • Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines, especially rabies
          • Know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid. See our article about pet first aid programs
          • Give your pet plenty of exercise. Regular exercise will help your pet feel better and live longer
          • Use gates and childproof latches to keep pets out of inappropriate areas within the home
          • Place medications, cleaners, chemicals and laundry supplies out of reach
          • Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet
          • Place dangling wires from lamps, televisions, stereos and telephones out of reach
          • Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning or drinking of harmful cleaning chemicals
          • Move house plants that may be poisonous out of reach (the most important is the EASTER Lily)
          • Learn about foods to avoid that may be hazardous to your pet (e.g., chocolate, onions, raisins and grapes, and xylitol)
          • Clean all antifreeze from the floor and driveway, as one taste can be lethal to animals
          • Make sure your kitten doesn’t get into danger (e.g., that he/she hasn’t jumped into the dryer before you turn it on.
          • Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread.
          • Do not unleash your pet in unfamiliar territory
          • Avoid interactions with unknown dogs (bite wounds)

          Keep your pet safe in the summer heat

          Follow these simple tips to help your pet stay healthy and comfortable when the summer heat sizzles.

          • Never leave your pet in a parked car
          • Watch the humidity. It’s not just the high temps that can affect your pet. If the humidity is too high they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature can skyrocket, leading to heat stroke, which can be deadly in dogs.
          • Limit exercise on hot days (i.e., quiet walk). Consider early morning or late at night as these are cooler parts of the day and will make the walk more comfortable for both you and your dog.
          • Watch for signs of dehydration. Dogs do not sweat like people, but instead cool off by panting and through their feet. Small kiddie pools are useful in helping to keep your dog cooled.
          • Cats sweat through their paws, not by panting, like dogs. Keeping your cat inside in an air conditioned room, in front of a circulating fan or on a cool floor can help.
          • Be particularly careful with snub-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs and Pugs. They have smaller airways than other dogs so it is more difficult for them to pant to release heat.
          • Watch out for hot pavement. You might consider doggie booties available at your local pet supply store. Heat rises from the ground, especially asphalt, and since dogs absorb and release heat through their feet, walking on hot pavement can be dangerous for your dog.
          • Provide ample shade and water. Add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow (as compared to a doghouse, for example). However, use your judgment: it’s best not to leave your dog outside if it’s hot.
          • Make sure to know your dog’s swimming ability. When your pet is cooling off in a pool or maybe you’re taking him or her on a boat, use a life jacket, if appropriate. While you may think your dog can do the doggie paddle, some dogs just can’t swim.

          Spring is a time of new beginnings so take the time to make sure that this season proves to be a healthy and happy one for you, your family and pets by following these pet safety tips.

          How to have the best spring with your petsPennsylvania is one of America’s oldest and most historic states full of culture and adventure. From small mountain towns to huge industrial cities, Pennsylvania brings the best of both worlds for any traveler and their four-legged companion. There is so much to do in this state that we’ve put together 10 unique day trips that you don’t want to miss out on with your pooch!

          1. Promenade Shops, Center Valley

          Shopping with your pup, how fun does that sound? Promenade Shops is an extremely unique mall which for the majority is pet friendly in all of its stores! Each pet friendly hope proudly displays their “Dogs Welcome” sticker on the window, as well dogs are allowed in all community areas of the mall. After a day of sniffing out deal together swing by Melt, also in Center Valley, and during the warm summer and spring months enjoy lunch together on their covered outdoor patio.

          2. Beau’s Dream Dog Park, Lancaster

          The name of this place says it all, it really is a dream come true for you and your pup! Unlike any other dog park Beau’s Dream Dog Park has fountains, bridges, tunnels, and even a tennis ball tree that launches out balls for fetch! There is plenty of comfortable seating available for you to sit back and watch your pup have a blast in Lancaster. When you’re both all played out enjoy a craft brew at the Lancaster Brewing Company on their pet friendly outdoor seating.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          3. Bushkill Falls, Bushkill

          Known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania” this beautiful adventure is one that you need to share with your pup! Bushkill Falls offer pet friendly hiking through their trails leading through their eight majestic waterfalls with gorgeous views along the way.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          4. Black Moshannon State Park, Philipsburg

          Settled right outside of Pennsylvania State University this state park is pet friendly throughout the park and even on most sites in their campground! Black Moshannon even offers boat rentals that allow you to take your pup out exploring their beautiful landscapes. After a day on the water stop over at the parks concession and enjoy lunch on their pet friendly outdoor picnic tables.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          5. Liberty Bell National Park, Philadelphia

          Explore the ever historic liberty bell and soak up the culture with your pup! The Liberty Bell National Park is pet friendly for all of the outdoor areas. Stroll along in the paths of our countries founding fathers in Philadelphia hopefully learn something new with your pup. After your history lesson for the day visit Continental Mid-town and get some lunch on their outdoor seating!

          6. Venture Outdoors, Pittsburgh

          Venture Outdoors offers a calendar full of great activities for you and your pup all year long around Pittsburgh. From hikes, to river floats, to meet and greats just check out their website and see what they have in store for you and your pooch! Just look for the activities with the purple paw print. When you finish your adventure have some coffee outside at local Cappy’s Cafe.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          7. Lehigh Gorge Railway, Jim Thorpe

          All Aboard! Really though, everyone! You and your four-legged traveler can ride the historic Lehigh Gorge Railway through the country and mountains of Pennsylvania. This scenic trip allows you and your pup to ride, and even hosts special events and guests on some rides. To end your day head over to Molly McGuire’s Pub and Steakhouse and grab a brew(or two) outside.

          8. Crossing Vineyards, Newtown

          This pet friendly winery is a perfect day trip for you and your pooch. Dogs are welcome throughout Crossing Vineyards as long as you keep them leashed. An award winning winery with tasting and tours and your pup, what beats that? Travel 15 miles to Doylestown afterward and enjoy the outdoor pet friendly patio at Honey.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          9. Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg

          One of America’s most famous lands the Gettysburg National Military Park is a must see destination for any two-legged or four-legged Pennsylvania traveler. Leashed pups are allowed all over the grounds, excluding of course cemeteries. So learn about the historic battles of Gettysburg, search for ghosts, and capture some awesome photos when your explore the park with your pup. Try something a little sweeter after your tour, and enjoy some cool icecream from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream with your historic pooch.

          10. Presque State Park, Erie

          Where can you find a beach in Pennsylvania? The lakes of Erie give you that beach feel, and let your bring your pup along! With hiking trails, woods to explore, and of course the beaches on the lake Presque State Park is a great pet friendly adventure. Keep this adventure going and enjoy some great food at Sara’s Restaurant on their outdoor tables!

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Michael Hall / Getty Images

          While advances in veterinary medicine are allowing your pet to live a longer, healthier life, the most difficult decision you can make regarding your best friend’s care is when to let her go. There’s rarely a clear-cut answer as to when is the “right” time to put your beloved dog down—rather, it’s a culmination of a variety of factors. While no one can make this difficult choice for you, there are a few things that can help.

          Talk to Your Veterinarian

          One of the most common questions veterinarians hear is, “When should I put my pet down?” This is an intensely personal decision, and many veterinarians are reluctant to give a concrete answer, unless it’s plain the pet is clearly suffering. When asking your veterinarian for advice, she can guide you through this challenging task and help you reach a decision. Your veterinarian will let you know the medical issues your dog is battling, and the prognosis and progression of disease.

          For example, your miniature schnauzer has been struggling with diabetes and glucose regulation for the past two years. Over time, cataracts have developed, rendering her blind, and she was also recently diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, which makes managing her diabetes even more difficult. Never able to fully adjust to being blind, your dog stumbles her way through life, fearful of bumping into objects and not able to enjoy her previous favorite activities. Now faced with a Cushing’s diagnosis that’s paired with extensive treatment and monitoring, you may have reached your limit. Your veterinarian will help guide you through determining a scale of quality of life issues for both you and your pet to avoid suffering and ruining your bond.

          Whenever you have any questions about the medical aspect of your dog’s quality of life and what you need to watch for, contact your veterinarian. She will be able to walk you through indicators that your dog is suffering that you may be unable to detect. She will also explain the euthanasia process to ease your stress and anxiety by allowing you time to prepare in advance.

          Although you’d likely prefer for your dog to fall asleep and pass away naturally without euthanasia, this type of peaceful death for a pet is rare. A natural death can be a long, painful, and anxiety-provoking process for a dog, so take steps to learn about a quality of life scale.

          Track Your Pet’s Quality of Life

          In younger dogs who suffer from a catastrophic trauma or illness that there is no cure for, such as a devastating car accident, a toxicity that damages organ function beyond repair, or a congenital defect unable to be surgically corrected, choosing when to euthanize your beloved dog is an easier decision. But, when faced with an older dog who is slowly declining, knowing the exact time to end your pet’s suffering is much more difficult. Use the aid of a quality of life scale to help determine how comfortable and happy your pet is on a daily basis.

          One of the most commonly used quality of life scales is the HHHHHMM scale developed by Dr. Alice Villalobos. In the HHHHHMM scale, seven categories of happiness and comfort are evaluated to determine your pet’s quality of life:

          Is your dog uncomfortable and showing signs of pain, even with pain medications, alternative therapies, and home modifications? Signs of pain include panting, licking the affected area, whining, moaning, reluctance to move, decreased appetite, inability to get comfortable, and decreased activity.

          Hunger

          Is your dog eating regularly with a good appetite, or is she refusing food? If your dog is refusing to eat, or is suffering from nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, you may have to hand-feed her or feed her through a feeding tube to ensure she receives the proper nutrition. Many medications and diseases can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal upset. For pets who are nauseous and vomiting because of a disease process, speak with your veterinarian about anti-nausea medication.

          Hydration

          Is your dog drinking normally? If she’s drinking more or less than normal, abnormal drinking can be a sign of an unmanaged disease process. If you are unable to coax your dog into drinking enough to maintain adequate hydration, intravenous catheterization with fluid therapy or subcutaneous fluid administration may be options.

          Hygiene

          Is your dog able to maintain normal grooming habits? If she has developed urinary or fecal incontinence, is she mobile enough to move out of the mess? Development of urinary or fecal incontinence is a deciding factor for many pet owners, especially when combined with immobility. Struggling to move a large dog out of her own urine and feces day after day is a difficult burden to bear and often damages the bond between owner and dog.

          Happiness

          Is your dog happy? Does she still enjoy her favorite activities, and can she still perform them? Does your dog still greet you with enthusiasm when you come home? Has your dog shown signs of anxiety and depression, isolating herself from the family? If your dog no longer enjoys her normal activities, consider if you are prolonging her life for your sake, rather than letting her go.

          Mobility

          Is your dog able to move comfortably? Has she developed severe osteoarthritis or another crippling muscular or skeletal disorder? Are there medications, therapies, or surgeries that can improve your dog’s mobility? If your dog is unable to walk or stand unassisted, consider the toll immobility will take on her mental health, happiness, and hygiene.

          More Good Days Than Bad

          Does your dog have more good days than bad? Or, have the bad days begun to outnumber the good? Towards the end, you may look for a few moments throughout the bad days to remind you of the good times—a tail wag for a favorite treat, a brief game of gentle fetch, or the devotion of following you from room to room throughout your home.

          Since making the decision to euthanize your dog is incredibly difficult, we’ve included a few questionnaires and quality of life scales to help you determine how your pet is feeling:

          • Transitions In Home Pet Euthanasia quality of life questionnaire
          • Ohio State University’s quality of life assessment
          • Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice’s quality of life scoring tools

          If your canine companion is having more bad days than good, consider letting her go peacefully with the aid of your veterinarian. After your loss, turn to resources and lean on family and friends to help you cope with grief.

          Keep your pet-friendly home feeling fresh.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          If you share your home with a furry friend, the good news is studies say you’re probably happier and healthier. The bad news? Your house quite possibly isn’t.

          But fear not! We’ve compiled our top tried and tested tips to keep your pet-friendly home feeling fresh.

          1.Keep your pets clean

          If Buster looks like he’s run a Tough Mudder after every walk, it’s time to set up a pet grooming routine. It sounds obvious, but dirt removed through grooming is dirt not lying around the house. While you shouldn’t use pet shampoo too often, a quick wash down with plain water can make a world of difference. Keep damp dogs confined to one area, preferably with an easy to clean floor e.g. laundry room, kitchen. Better yet, thoroughly dry them afterwards to avoid any eau de wet dog. From time to time you’ll need to give them a proper wash with pet shampoo. Depending on the breed they may also require trimming or de-shedding; use a professional dog groomer for a thorough job.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          2.Upgrade your sofa

          If you can’t bear to push your pooch off the couch it might be time to upgrade your current sofa. The wrong material can act like a hair magnet, hold undesirable odours and show up the slightest stain. While scouting your new sofa, look for leather or tightly woven materials, ideally in a similar shade to your pets. If you can’t spring for a new sofa, add a pet friendly throw which can be chucked in the wash when needed.

          3.Buy a quality vacuum cleaner

          Look for a pet appropriate vacuum cleaner to pick up pesky hairs and help banish odours. You’ll need an extra strong suction, quality filter and a good brush action to pull hair out rather than glide over the surface. Consider the type of flooring you have in your home and if your pet goes on the furniture, look for one which can tackle upholstery too. If you’ve got yourself a shedder, you’ll need to vacuum daily to keep on top of things. Be sure to regularly clean out the filter too as a hair and dirt clogged filter will spread the smell of pet hair wherever you vacuum. Ah, pet ownership!

          4.Set up a dog cleaning station

          Your Danish console table and fiddle-leaf fig might look like the perfect entranceway, but not when you’re armed with a muddy dog. Of course, if you have a laundry room, set up your dog cleaning station there. But if not, simply tweak your entranceway. We’re talking a heavy duty doormat, easily accessible dog towels and wipes and a water spray bottle to clean muddy paws. Maybe a couple of treats, too.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          5.Regularly clean your pet’s things

          Pet beds, toys and even leads pick up that strong dog odour and all need to be cleaned regularly. Check if they are machine washable, otherwise you can wash by hand in the sink. Save this chore for a sunny day and allow them to dry outside where the sun will help kill bad odours.

          6.Raid your cupboards to fight bad odour

          If you don’t want to purchase a cupboard load of cleaning products, check out what you’ve already got. For furniture and upholstery that isn’t easy to clean, a light spritzing of vodka will help remove odours. Baking soda is also great at neutralising odours; you can shake over rugs and carpets before vacuuming or leave pots of it in offending areas to absorb odours. Vinegar is also perfect for removing bad smells; use it when washing toys and beds.

          7.React quickly to accidents

          Life with pets means the odd accident. Our advice? Act fast and use an enzyme-based cleaner to minimise smells.

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          8.Buy a sensible dog bed

          Walking down the pet bed aisle, it’s easy to get lured in with decadent design and extra fluffy lining. But don’t be fooled – they will be a nightmare to clean. Instead go for a water resistant, easy to wipe down option. Give it a quick wipe down once a week and leave it out to air in the sun whenever possible.

          9.Air your house

          Persistent pet smells affecting the energy in your home? Now that spring is here open your windows and let some fresh air in. Even on cold days, a 10 minute blast of fresh air works wonders at deodorising.

          Keep your house spotless from top to bottom.

          Leave your appliances shiny and streak-free

          Spray stainless steel cleaner and polish on your appliances to remove smudges from them and to leave them streak-free. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Deep clean your laundry with the stripping method

          Soak your laundry for several hours to release any embedded dirt that a regular wash just can’t get out. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Use a damp cloth to clean your screens

          Dampen a microfiber cloth and get to work wiping your screens clean. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Remove nasty odors from your dish towels

          Wash your smelly kitchen dish towels separately from the rest of your laundry to get rid of nasty mildew odors. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Polish your granite for a streak-free shine

          Wipe down your granite countertops to leave them clean and streak-free. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Remove stains from your plastic containers

          Soak your containers in lemon juice, and leave them in the sun to remove stains. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Clean your washing machine with baking soda and vinegar

          Break up the sludge stuck in your washing machine drum using baking soda and vinegar. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Employ rubbing alcohol for many different purposes

          Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect surfaces, to remove sticky substances, and to get rid of stinky smells. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Polish your copper cookware

          Give your vintage copper cookware a good shine with some powder and polish cream. Get tutorial here

          How to have the best spring with your pets

          Improvise a spray mop for $5

          Fill a small plastic spray bottle with your favorite floor cleaner, and spray your floor as you walk along with a microfiber cleaning pad as your mop. Get tutorial here