How to Keep Your Dog Safe this Halloween

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What’s better than some tasty chocolate treats this Halloween? 

Almost anything if you’re a dog!

Chocolate contains the methylxanthines Theobromine and caffeine which can be very dangerous to our four-legged friends. Canines metabolize methylxanthines much slower than humans, which leads to toxicity in the blood stream. Contact your vet immediately if you detect hyperactivity, tremors, high blood pressure, or rapid heart rate in your pooch as these are symptoms of chocolate poisoning.

Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are especially toxic because they carry the highest concentrations of cocoa which contains these substances. White chocolate holds less of the chemicals, but all chocolate have very high fat content and will lead to stomach upset. Unfortunately dogs find the taste and smell of chocolate quite intriguing (who can blame them?) and can eat a lot if they find an unattended stash.  Steer clear!


Electric Halloween displays can also pose a threat to pooches, so make sure yours aren’t nibbling on the wires or other sparky things.

Remember that house that gave out toothbrushes instead of candy?  Well now your dog can enjoy that, too!  Dental Chews


Take precautions when dressing up your little guy. Remember, they might not like their cute outfits as much as their parents.  In fact many dog hate costumes! Dangling items can be chewed and potentially swallowed. Always use precautions with anything snug-fitting, ensuring your pet can freely breathe and move.  A simple handkerchief tied loosely can give your pooch some flair without any danger.

hulk dog


Nothing is more “Halloween” than a flickering, dripping candle inside a Jack-o-Lantern, but make sure your pets look, but don’t touch! Curious sniffers can be in harm’s way with a real candle. Opt for a low-maintenance electric version which looks brighter and can be reused.

ID, please

A lost dog is a sure way to ruin Halloween, so aim to do your outside celebrating before dark, and always have your pets properly ID’d.  It’s often the only way home for a lost and scared dog.

sad lost dog


Ok, your doggies are avoiding chocolate, avoiding wires and candles, and have been wearing their safe costumes like good boys, right?  Time for a treat!

Courtesy of Gone to the Snow Dogs

Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Dog Treats


  • 2.5 cup  whole wheat flour
  • .5 cup  pumpkin (NOT Pie Pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Preheat Oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients except water. Form a dough that is firm and not too sticky.
  • Lightly flour a surface to roll out dough.  With a rolling pin form a dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into any shape you like.  Bonus points for a pumpkin cookie cutter!
  • Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from pan to a cooling rack and do your best to keep your pups away until cool enough to eat!

Happy Halloween and watch out for angry dog-baby!

angry dog baby

Arlington County Dog Parks

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Arlington Dog Park Resources

Welcome Arlington County Dog Lovers! A-town’s canine community areas are available leash-off play sunrise to sunset.

Each dog park is sponsored by an associated sponsor.

Benjamin Banneker Park

1701 North Van Buren Street
Arlington, VA 22205
Lights on until 8 p.m.
Sponsor: Banneker Dogs

Fort Barnard
at the corner of South Pollard Street1010-Poly_PetStation - Poly Pet Station
and South Walter Reed Drive
Lights on until 9 p.m.
Sponsor: Douglas Dogs

Fort Ethan Allen Park
3829 North Stafford Street
Arlington, VA 22207
Lights on until 7 p.m.
Sponsor: Madison Dogs

Glencarlyn Park 
301 South Harrison Street
Arlington, VA 22204

James Hunter Park
1230 N. Hartford Street
Arlington, VA 22201
CCA area closes at 9 p.m.
Sponsor: Clarendon Dogs

Shirlington Park
2601 South Arlington Mill Drive
Arlington, VA 22206
Sponsor: Shirlington Dogs II

Towers Park
801 South Scott Street
Arlington, VA 22204
Lights on until 10 p.m.
Sponsor: Towers Park CCA

Utah Park
3191 South Utah Street
Arlington, VA 22206
Sponsor: Fair Dogs

 Other great resources can be found with  Arlington Dogs and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

How Do I Get My Yellow Grass Green Again?

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Spotted, yellow grass is an eye-sore. We all just want clean and green grass, right? You’ve tried fertilizer, over-seeding, aeration, and more regular watering but nothing works! What to do? To get pale yellow grass green again, the culprit may be your best friend, your own dog! Don’t worry, dogs and healthy, green grass can get along together! You just need to take some simple steps to restore new life to your lawn.

Dog urine contains heavy amounts of nitrogen and salt. Deposited in a regular spot over time builds up the nitrogen to levels too high for typical grass lawns, resulting in yellowing and in advanced cases death.

Have you heard only female dogs cause the problem? It’s said they tend to squat versus leg-lift markers to relieve themselves, but any dog may do this. Others blame alkalinity of the urine for the yellowing grass, but this is also false. Dog urine’s high concentration of nitrogen and salt in the cause, which one can observe with a dark green “halo” around yellow spots. As urine is absorbed to the soil, its concentration lessens the farther it travels. Small added nitrogen will actually improve the appearance of grass, resulting in the lush darker green around a dead, yellow center.

Dog poop on the other hand is even more harmful. It not only adds too much nitrogen and acid to the lawn, it potentially provides an incubator to parasites and bacteria. Regular pet waste removal is a must.

How to Repair the Damage

Reseed with fescue and rye grass. These varieties are more nitrogen tolerant and grow well in most temperate climates. Water daily to ensure proper moisture and to rinse out any toxins. Don’t mow until seedlings are atleast 3+ inches long and remove no more than 1/3 of the total height. Adjust mower and schedule accordingly.

Dog House Soiling (Marking) Tips and Tricks

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Oops!  How to Prevent House Soiling Accidents in the Home

guilty doggie house soiling

No, not on the rug! As all pet owners know, house soiling can be problem, even for adult dogs.  No one wants to scoop poop indoors! Inappropriate eliminations in the house is one of the biggest complaints and causes of stress for loving pet owners.   The causes stem either from not enough training or an underlying medical issue.

It’s best to eliminate medical causes first, as they can become serious if left untreated. If your dog has a reoccurring problem, bring him to a trusted veterinarian for an exam of urine, stool, and a complete check up.

Puppy Rearing

Puppies are full of energy and often excited to meet new people. The excitement may be too much for the developing canine and he’ll unintentionally pee on your shoes. Other problem urination occurs with submission behavior in puppies, especially with an assertive person. The problems are simple to solve in that young pup will generally grow out of them. You can also help in the meantime by approaching more calmly and teaching the puppy to sit before greeting.

Tummy Troubles

Other house soilings that shouldn’t cause alarm are rare occasions of stomach upset.  Only address a problem if it’s persistent and reoccurring over time.

Training, training, training

If your dog has a problem pooping their crate, and there is no other explanation, proper training is the next course of action.  Causes may be confinement as a puppy in a small crate and not allowed out often enough. A puppy that grows accustomed to a dirty crate has been taught this behavior is okay.

If you suspect the crate soiling is stress-related, do as much to give her comfort while confined. A proper acclimation process is a must with crate training; don’t just shove your dog in there and hope for the best. Ideally you want your dog to have a safe and happy association with their crate.

Cleanliness and Comfort

dog crate pad - house soiling

Another technique is changing their bedding.  Naturally owners wants to add a blanket or cushion to the crate to make it more like a human-bed, but these comfort may allow your dog to hide his poop or absorb urine.  Remove the bedding to make him more aware of the problem.  Likewise, you may find the opposite technique works for you. If your dog is soiling an empty crate, try adding a cushion or blanket, and see if that triggers the instinct to keep the sleep area clean.  With out a clear cause, owners will often need to do some trial and error.

Always clean the crate and your dog thoroughly after an accident.  Never allow your dog to get accustomed to feces in his den. An odor neutralizing cleaner will help eliminate smells which may encourage this behavior.

Consistent and Patient

Training your dog for proper elimination can at times be frustrating if he doesn’t seem to be making progress, but always have patience with your dog. They may be unlearning a practice reinforced over may years, and an owner’s anxiety will only compound the problem. Furthermore, owners should always stick to consistent training with their dogs and allow the dog to learn at their own pace. Soon enough you will have a proud and happy trained-dog!

Helpful Dog Owner Resources

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Fairfax County Virginia Dog Owner Resources 

Local Laws and Ordinances Affecting Dog Owners:

Fairfax County Pet Waste Law – Dog owners are responsible for cleaning up their pets’ droppings from other’s property and public spaces. It’s on the books!

Falls Church City: “Your Pets and the Law” – City of Falls Church provides some great resources governing pet life and needs in their jurisdiction.  Good information for non-city residents as well!

Fairfax County Dog Licenses – Are you licensed to dog?  If your pup is of-age (4 months or older) you must register with the county.  Don’t stress though, it’s only $10 and available online!  They grow up so fast…

Off-Leash Dog Parks – Finally Free! Socialize your licensed dog with neighbors and meet fellow dog lovers!  The parks are public/private partnerships and are sponsored by Fairfax County Police and Animal Control.

Fairfax County requires a sponsoring group for each Off-Leash Dog Area (OLDA)

Centreville/Chantilly – map –  Western part of the county is served by Rock Hill District Park (Originally Quinn Farm) located at 15150 Old Lee Rd. in Chantilly.  The park is sponsored by Centreville Dogs.

Herndon/Reston map  RestonDogs, Inc.  sponsors the Reston and Herndon area off leash areas. Pro-tip:  Order a nova with cream cheese at Herndon Bagel Cafe, before heading down to Baron Cameron Dog Park.

Oaktonmap –  Blake Lane Dog Park offers a great outdoor space for friendly dogs of all sizes.  A Dog’s World Dog Training & Pet Care, Inc. provide sponsorship.

Viennamap  – Vienna Dog Park (Moorefield Park)  – The play area is shaded by mature trees and completely fenced in, providing a cool and safe retreat for dogs and their families.  Water is available on site as well.  link

Humane Societies and Animal Shelters

Humane Society of Fairfax Countymap –  Humane Society of Fairfax County was established to protect animals both domestic and wild from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and cruelty.  The organization was formed by concerned citizens as a non-profit in 1965.

Fairfax County Animal Sheltermap –  Ready to add a new doggie to the mix?  Visit the convenient Fairfax County Animal Shelter and meet adoptable dogs and many other animals, too!  Take a tour of the shelter and interact with the pets before deciding on your perfect new friend.  Check out new friends on the animal shelter’s facebook!  Podcasts available, too.

Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART) –  HART is a no-kill animal rescue/support group, incorporated in 1990, that takes in and re-homes abused and unwanted dogs and cats.  The group also helps people who require assistance relating to their pets due to failing health, financial reverses or other personal circumstances.

7 People-Foods Dogs Love

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Ok, we know vets and trainers all say don’t feed from the table.  But, hey, we’re only human! Here are some dog-safe treats to share with your favorite table-beggar:

1. Peanut Butter – Healthy vegetable proteins, and a dog-favorite taste combine for a perfect dog treat.

2. Chicken – With skin removed, chicken is almost all lean protein

3. Cheese – For lactose-tolerant dogs, a favorite of all breeds.

4. Baby Carrots – Raw, any vegetable can be a crunchy treat for many dogs.

5. Salmon – Packed with healthy omega-3 fats.

6. Eggs – Contains rich protein and vitamins.

7. Popcorn – Plain-popped contains just healthy carbs and little fat.

These scraps should only be treats and comprise no more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet. A veterinarian-approved dry or wet dog food should be the bulk of a dog’s diet.

pet domestic digest

Pet Safe Winter Deicing Techniques

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Pet Domestic Digest

All the News That’s Fit for Consumption!

Vol. 1, Issue 1

WASHINGTON, DC – With the region in the grips of a brutal winter filled with snow, freezing rain, and ice, residents are looking to different methods for keeping our paths slip free. Follow these tips to keep walkways safe for humans and pets alike.

Kitty Litter or Sand

An affordable product you may already have on hand.  Neither melts ice, but rather adds traction, while not adding any chemicals to the environment that may pose a danger to your pooch or plants nearby. APPROVED.

Rock Salt

A popular choice spread by hand or sprayed from the the back of a truck, rock salt is an effective method for melting ice as slow as 20 degrees.  Unfortunately, all that sodium chloride left on roads and sidewalks is a major  irritant to a dog’s paws.  If she licks them later, the excess salt ingested can cause vomiting and diarrhea.  AVOID.

Chemical Ice Melters

Brand name de-icers contain various compounds such as magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and urea.  Though all are more effective at melting ice at extremely low, they also pose similar risks of rock salt to our dog’s paws. AVOID.

Winter is tough on human skin and dog’s paws as well.  Before venturing outside, cover paws with booties or apply some Vaseline for an easy protectant. If she comes in contact with a salt irritant, wash paws in cool water at home. Taking these simple precautions will help your pups enjoy a healthy and happy wintertime.


Top 7 Reasons to Scoop That Poop!

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1. You Value Your Family’s Healthcute family

Young children playing outside in the dirt are susceptible to picking up the parasites and bacteria in waste material. Younger children often put fingers or toys in their mouths making them especially prone to infection.



2. You Value Your Pets’ HealthBriard_R_01_Puppy

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises pet waste can spread parasites such as tapeworm, hookworm, ringworm and bacteria E. coli and Salmonella. Parasite eggs can remain active on lawns for months or even years if waste is allowed to remain. Allowing pets to walk in a dirty lawn can easily lead to repeat infections.




3. Cleaner Lawn Makes a Fatter WalletFat-Wallet

Infections are not only not fun for the sick person, their also not fun the person paying the bills! As dog owners know all too well, trips to the veterinarian or doctor are neither fun nor cheap. Americans spend an average of $2,084 annually per dog, and unhealthy dogs can cost quite a bit more. Healthy lawn = healthy pooch = healthy wallet.



4.  A Green Lawn is Nice, Toolawn-big

Dog poop is not fertilizer! Health reasons aside, the protein-rich diets in dog food leads to acidic droppings which will leave burn marks in grass. Droppings will quickly turn a dark green grass to a pale yellow. Left long enough, a spot of grass can be killed entirely by unattended waste.








5. To Protect DC’s Riverspotomac water basin

Even if your house is far inland, it contributes to the health of the Potomac River. All of Fairfax, Prince William, Montgomery and the District is part of the river’s water basin. Rainwater washes pet waste from lawns and sidewalks into storm drains which eventually leads to the Potomac. The historic “Nation’s River” is still today a dominating part of our landscape, and deserves to be protected. A once heavily polluted river, efforts are being made to improve its water quality. Be part of that change!






6. You’re a Good NeighborNeighbors celebrate a successful poop scooping

Neighbor relations can quickly deteriorate from just a little carelessness. Have you ever stepped in your dog’s poo? How your neighbor’s dog’s poo? Keep up your family’s proud name with good neighborly action. Bring dog poo bags with you on walks and scoop the yard regularly.






7. You’re a Good CitizenPoliceOfficer

In 1999, Fairfax County enacted the “Pooper Scooper Law” making mandatory our cleaning up after our pets. Its reads:


Dog poop, pet waste – Fairfax County Code Section 41-1-2, Section 108-5-2 and
Section 41-2-6

“The owner or custodian of any dog shall be responsible for removal of excreta
deposited by such dog on the property of another, including public areas (“pooper
scooper” regulation).”

Now, I don’t exactly know what “excreta” is, but it sounds like something we shouldn’t have in our lawns, sidewalks, or waterways. Fairfax County’s website indicates no one has yet been prosecuted under this law, but I wouldn’t want to be the first!



What Can You Do?

In sum, if we all clean up after our dog’s in public places and our homes, we’ll be healthier, have nicer lawns, and some extra money. If you need an extra hand with your yard clean up,  Sign up with Pet Domestic DC’s #1 professional pet waste removal service!




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