Do’s and Don’ts for a Dog Friendly Spring

Spring epidemic dogs

Whatever your religion, whether you celebrate Easter or not, this weekend and as we enter into spring, there will be plenty of festive things that sound inviting to partake in with your dog.  When it comes to a dog friendly spring, there are some things to do to make things fab and other things to avoid so that dangerous situations do not arise.

If you work hard and count on quality weekend time with your dog, here’s a list of things that you should do and some things to avoid so that everyone has a very happy celebration.

Let’s start with the Do’s


Give your dog some outdoor time: If the temperatures are rising in your area, it is likely you’ll be venturing out with the dog. After a long winter, with many dogs getting limited outdoor time, start slow with any exercise routine. Something as simple as tossing a ball to a dog who hasn’t been running all winter can wreak havoc on bones, joints, and ligaments. This dog mom knows all too well about torn ligaments, as my dog has had two ACL surgeries to repair torn ligaments.

ACL tear


Give your dog safe toys and treats for the holiday. Is there anything cuter than the latest Peeps toys and treats for dogs? We attended the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, last week, where the Peeps treats and toys were all the rage. Is it any wonder? They are stinkin’ cute.

PEEPS® branded toys are available at national retailers, including PetSmart.

Here’s Dexter checking out some of his Peep-stash!

Dog easter peeps


Have an “Easter” egg hunt indoors. Place dog treats or small dog-safe toys (i.e. ball) inside plastic eggs or small gift boxes if plastic eggs don’t seem as safe to you. Scatter the eggs in an area that dogs are allowed (i.e. behind things, under a couch cushion, in a corner) and ensure there are a few adults present. If dogs are treat or toy territorial, proceed with caution.



Consider visiting a pet-friendly winery. Leashes and leaves, concords and canines: As the buds make their presence known on the trees, so do the grapes at America’s wineries and distilleries. What better way to spend a spring weekend afternoon than strolling the picturesque grounds of a winery, the crisp memory-invoking scents in the air with Fido along for the visit. Peruse the Virginia wineries and the Napa Valley wineries for more information.

Hint: There are a plethora of pet-friendly wineries in the Long Island area of New York, one of which we visited this weekend. Thanks to the Martha Clara Vineyards for your pet-welcoming policy. My dog and his doggie pal had a wonderful time strolling the grounds, meeting the on-site farm animals, and being by our side as we savored some of the delectable wines available.

Dog friendly winery

And Now the Don’ts:


Do not give your dog fatty foods. Avoid the temptation to give your dog ham.  Ham and other fatty meats are high in fat, and dogs who consume them can develop life-threatening pancreatitis. In addition to being high in fat, these foods are very salty and can cause serious stomach upset if eaten by your cats or dogs.

If you have a large breed dog who eats ham, this will make them thirsty from the salt content. Karen “Doc” Halligan, DVM, advises, “Large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may drink too much water and develop a potentially fatal condition called bloat. The stomach fills up with gas and within several hours may twist on itself, causing the animal to die. So avoid giving ham and/or rich/salty meats to your pets.”

Dog friendly spring tips


Don’t expose your dog to seemingly innocuous spring pet poisons like:

  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Lilies
  • Crocus
  • Lily of the Valley

The folks at the former VPI Pet Insurance state that these are some plants are reported to be toxic to dogs, cats, or rabbits:

  • Bittersweet
  • Azalea
  • Caladium
  • Clematis
  • Crocus
  • Day Lily
  • Death Camas
  • Easter Lily
  • Ferns
  • Foxglove
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Morning Glory
  • Oleander
  • Rhododendron
  • Tiger Lily
  • Tulip

There are many other poisonous plants…many of which may be in your household or garden right now. Check out this list of poisonous plants from Pet Poison Helpline. Keep them away from dogs to avoid problems.

Pet Poison Helpline Logo_0
Keep this info handy


Don’t expose your dog to a lot of chemicals. With spring cleaning around the corner, avoid toxic products. Dogs spend much of their time at home, lounging around, playing, eating, sleeping, etc. Whatever chemicals you use to clean house can directly affect a dog’s health. Consider the dog’s paws and his proximity to the floor: Anything down low is definitely going to affect a dog. He walks on the floor/carpeting, and whatever you use is going to affect his skin, lungs, coat, feet, and possibly even his oral cavity: If he licks it, then that’s a whole other internal set of issues.

I recently met the folks at PL360 at the Global Pet Expo, and what rock have I been living under? There, they told me, “We think the sign of a clean home should be something you see, not smell. That’s why we’ve created natural household solutions that are safe for pets and that work to your expectations.” So I stocked up on some of their grooming wipes to clean off dirty paws after a walk. Keep in mind, your dog is exposed to most anything when on a walk, including chemicals. Avoid tree lawns and yards where chemicals may reside, some of which have signs posted.

dog paw safety
Aren’t Dexter’s paw paws adorbs?



Give your dog expired treats. This is an epidemic that few are talking about. Dog food and dog treats have expiration dates. Check dog food expiration dates and treat expiration dates. If you have no idea how long those dog treats have been in the cupboard, toss them out. Dogs can get sick or worse with treats gone bad. You wouldn’t drink old milk right? Dogs are the same way – bad treats are bad treats. If you can’t remember when you purchased that bag of treats, better to be safe than sorry: Chuck ‘em.

This is a hidden epidemic that few people talk about. We all know that expired ingredients are bad for people and the same holds true for dogs.

pride treats
Check treats and be sure they are not old!


Assume that sidewalks and lawns are safe from debris. With winter snows melting in many parts of the country, left behind on Mother Nature’s bed of earth are items and objects unsafe to dogs. Proceed with caution when walking on grass/surfaces that haven’t seen the light of day without being snow covered in ages

Click This: Spring Cleaning Dog Dangers to Avoid


What sort of things do you do with your dog in the spring?


Similar Posts


  1. Such great information. It is always great to have friendly reminders about the do’s and don’ts. We become so comfortable in our every day lives that some of these things are very present in our homes and our surroundings.
    Late last year we had one of our very old senior dogs with a torn ACL. That is not any fun but it does happen. Your tips were wonderful advice to start slow with exercise routines.
    We will happily share your blog on our Andy’s Paw Prints page.

  2. Great information ! It’s hard to believe that treats could come to their expiration date 😉 ! Do you include chocolate in the category “fatty food” ? We hope so, and wish humans put their chocolate Easter bunnies out of reach for cats and dogs. Purrs

  3. Another fantastic, informative post Carol! I’m excited to head to PetSmart and get some Peeps! And I am so bringing my dogs to a dog friendly winery on Long Island this Summer. I can’t wait, it’s one type of place we haven’t taken them yet. Expiration dates are so important on pet food & treats. I love that Jones Natural Chews has easy to find expiration dates on the labels. Happy Easter!!

    1. The dogs are just allowed inside where the wines are sampled. The Finger Lakes wineries in NY has several that I’ve taken my dog too. Dogs must be on a leash and must be well behaved (lots of bottles to knock over).

  4. This is a super post and one that every pet parent needs to bookmark. I have started cleaning and mopping with vinegar. I hate the smell but it dissipates when it dries. The boys always feel the need to walk through the kitchen while I am trying to mop. LOL!

  5. I’m excited to do an Easter egg hunt with my dogs this weekend! We’ve been doing a lot outside because it’s already been in the 90s, so we know the heat’s coming! Have a wonderful Easter <3

  6. Our biggest challenge is all the junk that appears after the snow melts, including dead critters. Mom has to really keep her eyes open so we don’t grab anything along the way. Yes, we have the leave it command, but sometimes it just it too much of a temptation to grab what we find.

  7. Great info and I love that you share your family experiences via photos with us!! We have lots of dog-friendly wineries here in WA state and we’d love to host you on a trip some time!!

  8. This is a great informative post. I love the pictures in the winery and especially the picture of Dexter’s paws! It seems with every change of season there are new things to worry about with our little loved ones.

  9. I just threw out a big bag of treats that I had been saving for a photo shoot, but they looked funky when I opened them. I felt a little wasteful and neurotic for throwing them out, but I figured better safe than sorry. Now I’m really glad that I did!

    I bought a package of the Peeps toys for my dogs. They thought they were awesome!

  10. The information you provide here is always spot on and ultra informative! Thank you so much for all you do to help keep our pets healthy and safe!! Of note, the Napa pet friendly wineries are definitely worth the trip!! 😉

  11. We are lucky because of our southern Florida location so outside is pretty much the same year round. As far as the cleaning. I only use a steam cleaner on the floor and I have one that is for the counters, stove, cupboards and everything else. Distilled water for me, please. I really don’t like using chemicals for anything steam pretty much cleans and kills anything I want destroyed before my pets are walking on it. BOL & MOL

  12. I hope that your Easter (or holiday of choice) was great this weekend! I absolutely love those Peeps toys. I will have to look into whether or not they make a catnip version. I think my cats would love that! You’re absolutely right on those expiration dates too. The fresher and healthier a treat is supposed to be, the less shelf life it tends to have. Vitamins added to treats can go bad too.

  13. These are great tips. I didn’t know there were pet-friendly wineries.

    I may have to check out the PL360 line to see what’s available for cleaning. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I never thought about checking the expiration date on treats until recently! I even check the dates on the store shelves. I almost purchased some a few months ago and something made me look at the date and they were expired.

  15. These are great tips & reminders. We’re so happy to see Spring that some of these dangers you don’t even think about like checking treat expiration dates! I love every one of your DO’s! Today I played “hookey” from blogging in the morning & took Icy for a long walk through town and down by the ocean inlet. We both felt a need to soak up some great weather!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.