Dedicating time on the trail for you, your pup, and Mother Nature promotes health and happiness. We’ve put together a list of our top six dog-friendly hikes near D.C. that are sure to help you find your zen.
Before hiking, consider bringing:
Water bowl and sufficient water
Snacks or treats
Collar and leash (potentially a long-line leash)
Toys (like a Frisbee)
Bedding, if hiking overnight
Most trails are open daily from dawn to dusk, but check before your trek!
Trails with varying difficulties that appeal to a range of hikers
Spanning the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia, Shenandoah National Park boasts dynamic wildlife, beautiful scenery, and crystal-clear waterfalls. While some trails are off-limits to dogs, there are still plenty of amazing options to travel with your furry friend. Check out Lands Run Falls, a 1.3 mile-long hike with a 325-foot elevation gain. Compton Peak, West and East Hike is another great option with 2.4 miles of trail and an 855-foot elevation gain.
Visit the park’s calendar for information on upcoming dog-friendly events.
Founded in 1890 as a recreational outlet for D.C. residents, Rock Creek Park lets visitors forge their own paths. The park’s two main hiking trails—Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail—are linked by a series of connecting paths. There also is a covered bridge where visitors can watch local fish, birds, and other wildlife.
Dog owners from Montgomery County will appreciate Cabin John Regional’s convenient location. The park boasts over four miles of natural surface trails and two miles of paved trails, with opportunities to view Monarch butterflies, bluebirds, and more.
Owners looking for a less intense experience can visit Cabin John Regional’s on-site dog park or Mature Forest trails for plenty of shaded rest spots.
Montgomery County law requires that dogs be on leash outside of designated dog exercise areas at all times. Inside these areas, owners must have a leash ready.
This expansive network of waterways and trails offers hikers a plethora of scenic views spanning three states. Popular trails include Mount Vernon and Billy Goat.
Mount Vernon Trail, located near the George Washington Memorial Parkway, spans 18 miles between the Mount Vernon Estate and Theodore Roosevelt Island. Savor the amazing view of D.C.’s skyline, or connect to a larger network of trails.
Billy Goat Trail starts and finishes on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, offering hikers three sections of varying difficulty. Dogs are permitted on Section B and C. Section B is a 2.7-mile loop, and Section C is an easy walk with panoramic views of the Potomac River. Section A does not allow dogs, as the trail is strenuous and very technical.
Whether you’re new to the D.C. area or new to pet ownership, licensing your dog is a must. The licensing process, however, can prove intimidating if you haven’t done it before.
We’ve put together a comprehensive breakdown of the dog registration process in D.C. With our advice, you should have little to no issue navigating dog licensing.
Why Do I Need to Register?
Often the first question for most new dog owners is simple: Why should I register?
Well, it’s the law, for starters. D.C. Code 8-1804 asserts that all pets must be registered with the city’s health department. The registration process helps owners, as well.
For example, registration data inform the city’s decisions on upkeep for pet parks. As the number of registered dogs in the city increases, so does the need to maintain the appropriate facilities.
Registration also helps to ensure your pup can be returned safe and sound if they run away or get lost. If Fido runs off and doesn’t have an ID tag, the agency has no way to get in contact with his owner. We also strongly encourage the use of microchips in conjunction with ID tags.
What Does Registration Entail?
Once registered, dogs are required to wear a collar at all times. This is an extremely important component for identifying lost pets.
Registration is not a one-and-done process. Dogs must be re-registered annually by July 1st each year, to accurately track pet populations in the city and enforce annual vaccination requirements.
How Much Does Registration Cost?
The registration process is not free. If your dog has been spayed or neutered by a licensed vet, it will cost $15 per year to stay registered. Otherwise, you’ll pay $50 annually.
How Soon Do I Need to Register?
Your deadline for dog registration in the D.C. area depends on your dog’s age. Owners of young pups do not have to register their pet until he or she turns 4 months old. If your dog has already passed the 4-month threshold, you must register them within 10 days of adoption.
What Do I Need to Provide For Registration?
Registration requisites don’t end with annual payments. Up-to-date medical info is another requirement for dog owners.
During the licensing process, you’ll have to fill out an application requesting basic info about you, your dog, and your residence. The application requires proof of vaccinations for rabies and distemper, as well as proof of neutering/spaying, if applicable.
Owners of more than seven dogs all over 4 months of age are required to fill out a separate application. This form provides a hobbyist license to inform authorities that you’re qualified for large-scale care.
Where Do I Go to Register?
The easiest way to register your dog is to visit the D.C. government website. You can fill out an application online, via email or by sending the completed application by mail. You also can register by contacting or visiting:
Life is busy. Responsibilities abound. Sometimes, it’s all too easy to slack off and overlook the most basic duties—but both you and your pooch benefit from keeping active! Be sure not to skimp on exercise for your dog. Walking with your furry friend is a great form of exercise and socialization, but each dog has different needs. Here are some tips for creating the perfect workout for you and your pooch:
The Benefits of Exercise
Corgis, German Shepherds and all breeds in between require daily activity for peak physical health. Obesity, one of the most common diseases in pets, is easily preventable with regular exercise. Staying active also wards off certain breed or age-related illnesses, such as arthritis and cancer.
In addition to the physical benefits, exercise improves your pup’s mental health. Insufficient exercise might cause destructive outbursts, which often leads to damaged furniture, clothes and other belongings.
Considering the above, the general sweet spot for exercise is anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours per day.
Your Dog’s Exercise Needs
While the previously mentioned time frame is a good starting point for most owners, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Just like we have ideal routines, so do our pups.
One main factor is size. A common misconception is that smaller dogs don’t require the same level of exercise as larger breeds. The Chihuahua, for example, has a reputation for its hyperactive nature. As a result, the recommended exercise for these little rascals is on par with larger breeds, including 30-minute minimum walks.
The second key factor is breed. Many of the breeds we know and love today were raised for specific purposes in the past. Two main camps include hunting dogs and lapdogs. Beagles, Retrievers, Pointers and many more were bred for hunting wildlife and require significantly more physical activity than other dogs. Meanwhile, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, and Pugs were preferred for their small sizes and even tempers. They have substantially lower physical endurance than the average pup (though they still love a good run through a field!).
General opinions can only go so far. If you’re still uncertain about the exact needs of your dog, consult your vet for a more personalized assessment.
Properly Exercising Your Dog
The duration of your dog’s exercise is one of many considerations. Activity also should provide meaningful intensity and stimulate the brain.
If your dog frequently tugs at the leash on walks, consider increasing your pace to a brisk jog. The undeveloped terrain on a hike also provides a healthy challenge for active breeds.
Another option is to incorporate mid-walk activities at off-leash locations. Chasing after Frisbees or tennis balls in the midst of a walk makes the exercise significantly more demanding.
Accommodating a Demanding Schedule
Now that we’ve reviewed the needs of our dogs, let’s consider what may impact our ability to fulfill them—namely, adult responsibilities. For many owners, a demanding work routine and other commitments can leave little time to exercise your pup.
If you can’t carve out the necessary time, consider hiring a dog walking/day care service. Patrick’s Pet Care offers discount rates on walking services from anywhere between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and also is available outside these hours. No matter what unique needs your schedule requires, we’re always willing to discuss options. After all, your dog’s health is a priority!
Break up the monotony of your neighborhood dog walk with one of our 15 favorite places to walk your pup in the D.C. area! These picks, many of which are National Park Service sites, offer breathtaking scenery, open spaces, wildlife, history and more.
Ready to hit the ground running? Before you and your four-legged friend embark on a new adventure, be sure to:
Check the rules of the trail or park
Bring a leash no longer than six feet in length to avoid incidents
Pack a travel bowl and water so you and your pup stay hydrated
Enjoy abundant and engaging scenery along the brook as you stroll on Klingle Valley Trail. This paved, multiuse trail is less than a mile and is best for walking and biking. Its design makes this a friendly trail for all abilities of visitors and their dogs.
The rest areas located at key points are helpful for more physically-restricted breeds, such as bulldogs. Various trailheads allow you to tailor your walk to you and your companion’s needs.
The wide-open space at Hains Point is ideal for all activity levels. Stroll down the 4.1-mile trail and view a variety of cherry blossoms along the river. Check out some unique historic sites, including Fort Lesley J. McNair and the George Mason Memorial.
The trail’s prime location at the southern tip of East Potomac Park also offers an unmatched view of the area from the banks of the Potomac River.
Designed by architects to emulate the natural state of the island, Theodore Roosevelt Island offers miles of trails that honor our former conservationist president.
Visitors can choose from three different trails. Swamp Trail is a 1.5-mile loop around the island perimeter. The trail, which is part pea gravel and part boardwalk, is ideal for active breeds. The .33-mile pea gravel Woods Trail leads to Roosevelt Memorial Plaza. Finally, Upland Trail covers the full length of the island from east to west in .75 miles. Upland circles the old Mason Mansion site, previous owners of the island.
This historic “suburban oasis” is a private nonprofit open to the public to explore and enjoy. Known as the village green of Cleveland Park, the conservancy boasts three acres of pristine lawns with roots dating back to the 18th century. Added bonus—the conservancy offers several off-leash periods throughout the day that can be found here.
Owners must register their dogs prior to admittance. Dog owners pay $100 annually for registration and membership; each dog costs an additional $75. This is a great investment for local residents, but the cost might prove cumbersome for occasional visitors.
Breathtaking scenery offers visitors activities that range from birdwatching to photography to picnics. Both trails are less than a mile long—one on boardwalk, one on a dirt path—that boast beautiful plant life and an impressive roster of birds.
Don’t miss the two-day Lotus and Water Lily Festival in the summer—a multicultural experience with loads of activities to keep you and your pup busy!
As their website says, meet, sniff, run and play at Shaw Dog Park! Its 15,000 square feet is divided into one large and one small fenced area.
The smaller section is dedicated to pups that require special care, such as elderly dogs, breeds weighing under 25 pounds and any dog with a physical restriction. The larger section is for all other visitors. The park offers plenty of space for activities!
At just under 12,000 square feet of fenced property, Langdon is D.C.’s largest dedicated dog park. This is an ideal location for dogs to socialize. The park hosts a variety of community events throughout the year, creating plenty of opportunities to meet new friends.
This park’s quarter-mile trail travels through urban and natural environments, offering great exercise for you and your dog. A dedicated space provides a safe haven for smaller breeds. While this park may be further for D.C. residents, it’s worth the visit.
If you live in the city and crave a safe place for your dog to run free, visit Bundy Dog Park. Organized by neighborhood volunteers, Bundy is the product of meaningful community involvement. The fenced-in location allows dogs to socialize and play off leash. Keep an eye on the park’s website for events and fundraisers.
With 446 acres of exceptional landscape and ornamental plants, this is a must-see spot. Just 10 minutes from the U.S. capitol, the arboretum was established in 1927 by an act of Congress. Japanese maples, ornamental grasses, daffodils and a stunning display of azaleas create unmatched scenery through miles of various pathways. Check out the arboretum’s event listings for moonlit hikes and educational programs.
The historic Congressional Cemetery includes burial sites of influential citizens who impacted our city and nation. Its unique approach to dog walking benefits owners and the cemetery itself. To enter the park with your pooch, owners must sign up with the organization Cemetery Dogs. Dog owners can safely let their dogs run free in 35 acres of fenced in property, while the cemetery gains an active pup patrol that wards off vandals. Funding from Cemetery Dogs also helps preserve the cemetery grounds. Several dog-friendly events are held each year.
Have great stamina and need to burn off some of Fido’s energy? Check out the 20-mile paved Riverwalk Trail along the Anacostia River that features impressive modern architecture. A 12-mile stretch of the trail is heavily used by walkers, runners, cyclists and dog walkers. With a minimum 10-foot width, you’ll never feel crowded on the trail.
The largest of the Capitol Hill Parks, Lincoln Park is ideal for residents of Hill East or Capitol Hill. Allow your dog to indulge in new sights and smells while you soak in the park’s rich history. Lincoln Park includes a statue dedicated to its namesake, as well as a memorial to Mary McLeod Bethune. Bethune is best known for her activism of civil rights causes and improving education.
With nearly two miles of open space between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol, the National Mall is a popular choice for many dog-walkers. A plethora of iconic monuments and art installations provide exciting routes to keep you and your dog engaged as you explore. The location’s popularity may even open doors to new furry playmates!
Three rugged trails—two of which are open to dogs—make this a great escape for active breeds and their humans. As the name implies, these routes just south of Great Falls Visitors Center are rocky. Section B is a more challenging 1.4-mile trek, while Section C offers a slightly easier terrain over 1.6 miles. Wear proper shoes to avoid accidents, and check park conditions before arriving.
Dog-friendly D.C. and the surrounding areas offer great options to adventure with man’s best friend. At the end of the day, you know your dog’s abilities the best, whether that’s a 10-mile jog or a scenic stroll through the gardens.
If you need help walking your dog, consider signing up for dog walking services. We’re happy to fill in the gaps of your pup’s exercise routine! Happy trails!
If you’ve visited our Brookland location, you know that between our day care and boarding pups, Patrick’s Pet Care: Brookland is always the center of activity. But what you may not know is that Patrick’s Pet Care: Brookland serves as a hub for our community engagement work as well.
Beginning this past summer, our Brookland staff have worked hand-in-hand with Deaf-REACH, an organization that provides specialized programming for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the D.C. area. The team from Deaf-REACH visits PPC: Brookland to see how the day care business operates and give our day care pups some extra socialization and love (including handmade treats!). At their last visit, the Deaf-REACH team created a lovely poster for our day care pups (pictured below). Our staff loves having them at the day care and looks forward to each of their visits.
We have also been fortunate to partner with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue by serving as a boarding facility for some of their dogs while they await adoption. During their stay with us, the Lucky Dogs receive supervised socialization time, prepping them to be well-behaved in their forever homes.
One of those rescue dogs, Rhonda, has made amazing strides thanks to the work from our Brookland staff. When Rhonda arrived to stay with us, she was anxious and avoided socializing with people and pups alike. But our Brookland staff worked with her each and every day, easing her into her new life with people to love her, and dogs to be her playmates. A once standoffish stray, Rhonda is now full of energy and loves playtime with her day care buddies. She’s begun her adoption process, and we can’t wait to see what home is lucky enough to adopt her!
With the holiday giving season fast approaching, please consider a donation to either of these wonderful partners. And if you’re looking to board your dog or enroll them in day care, know that your choosing Patrick’s Pet Care helps us strengthen these relationships with organizations performing essential services in our community.
If you live in our service area, you’ve likely seen one of our caretakers zip by on a bike while commuters in cars slog along in traffic. It’s no surprise why so many of our caretakers opt to bike in the city. Biking proves to be one of the fastest ways to get around town.
At Patrick’s Pet Care, our caretakers are given a free Capital Bikeshare membership to use both at and outside of work. For caretakers that need to cover lots of ground, we maintain a fleet of Riide e-bikes to help keep their legs fresh as they get across town. And we cover the cost of routine bike maintenance for employees who use their own bicycles.
Ultimately, we know that giving your pets the best possible care requires making Patrick’s Pet Care a good place to work. And that’s why bike benefits are just one of the perks offered to our employees.
So the next time you’re stuck in traffic, and a person wearing a blue t-shirt emblazoned with the Patrick’s “P” whizzes by you in the bike lane, know that there’s a dog nearby whose day is about to get a bit brighter.
Patrick’s Pet Care is thrilled to announce our latest addition: a 5-star cat hotel! We love taking care of boarded dogs, so we wanted to extend the option to cats as well. Our feline friends should be able to have a fun time when mom and dad are away too! The hotel doubles as our administrative office. Imagine it as a cat café, except a cat office. While the administrative staff of Patrick’s Pet Care are at work, the staff get to enjoy the feline companionship and vice versa.
Here are three things to know about our Cat and Small Animal Hotel:
We currently have two different options for your pet’s stay: Kitty Condo or Free Reign. In the Kitty Condo, your cat will be comfortable in a large tiered enclosure complete with litterboxes, food and water, and multiple toys.
If your cat would be more comfortable with a bit of wandering, we do have a limited amount of spaces for free reign cats. With this option, your cat has free reign in our office with the ability to explore and endless attention from our staff!
Both boarding options are very reasonably priced. Your cat can stay within their own enclosure at the kitty condo for just $30 a night. If they want the more spacious option (free reign), it will cost an additional $10 a night.
Treating your pet while you are away is easy at these prices.
Top Notch Accommodations
We pride ourselves on the top-notch accommodations we provide for your pet. During your pet’s visit, they will be under supervision for 12 hours with plenty of socializing (with humans or other pets!) and playtime. We keep to their normal meal schedule to so there aren’t any unnecessary disruptions. At night, they have a quiet and comfy place to sleep.
In addition to all of this, we provide email updates on how your pet is doing on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. We know you can’t help but worry about them, so we do our best to make sure you can enjoy your time away.
As we briefly mentioned above, this service is not restricted to cats; we are also able to house small animals like rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs. Give us a call today at 202-630-7387 to schedule your pet’s stay!
For some reason, some dog owners tend to think of crates negatively. They don’t see it as their dog’s sacred space or crate training as a tool. Instead, they see it as punishment or a bad thing.
At Patrick’s Pet Care, this might be the biggest misconception we hear. Here is why you should not be afraid of the crate, but rather embrace crate training.
Your Dog’s Space
Their crate is your dog’s special space. It is an area for them and for them only. It is where they can sleep, spend the day, and stay safe. When your dog knows that this is their space, they will spend time there. By keeping the crate door open during the day, they have the option to wander in and out and even take naps there. Outside of their bed, this is the only other space that is just theirs. And, yes you can put your dog in its crate when he or she is bad. Did your mom tell you to “go to your room” when you were a kid after you did something bad? When that happened did you forever associate your room as a dungeon or a bad place? Of course not. Neither do they.
Crate Training Essential
A crate training is an essential tool for puppies as well as older dogs. When potty training, it is important to keep your dog in the crate for a few hours so they learn to hold it. This is especially important for puppies as they learn how to go for longer periods of time without going to the bathroom. Dogs will not go to the bathroom in the same space they spend time in, so when you have the right size crate (not too big, not too small), they will not go in the crate. How big should a crate be? Great question! A crate is appropriately sized if your dog can:
Turn around freely
Easily stand, sit and stretch
Stand up tall without hitting his head on the roof of the crate
Move about and assume a comfortable posture for eating and drinking
Hold his tail erect
Safe Way to Stay Home
Before your dog has free reign of the house while you are gone, start by keeping them in the crate and slowly introducing them to short spurts of time outside alone. When you leave your dog out while you are gone, without training it to be alone, it can get into lots of things you don’t want it to and take out its boredom on your shoes or remotes. You also don’t want them to get into anything dangerous or hurt themselves.
The short answer: no. You are not a terrible person, or a bad dog owner if you leave your dog at home.
Most dogs are fine spending several hours at home every day, however, all dogs need bathroom breaks and exercise. Here are a few tips to make it easier on your dog when you are away:
Training your dog to be at home all day is really important if you are going to be away from the home a lot. Teaching your dog how to act when you are gone will keep you both sane! Start with leaving the house for small periods of time so that your dog gets used to you leaving and then coming back. You can start leaving them in a closed off area until they can be trusted to roam free.
Boredom Busting Toys
We love the Kong toy series – any toy that you can stuff with treats is great for dogs that are going to spend time alone during the day.
Maybe you don’t have time to run home during the day to let your dog out or can’t afford full-time daycare. That’s okay; there are other options, like a midday dog walker. At Patrick’s Pet Care, we offer short walks during the day so your dog can get out and stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. We also offer longer walks for dogs who need to burn off energy. Remember, even though most adult dogs can hold it for 8-10 hours, they really should only have to hold it for 6 hours during the day.
If you are gone every day, it can be fun and not that expensive to put your dog in doggy daycare for one or two days a week. Mixing up their routine and providing socializing time, helps your dog be happier and less bored. Plus, they always come home tired afterward!
In Washington D.C., we know that most people are professionals who work. Just because you work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a dog. However, if you are thinking about it and will be away from home a lot make sure to invest in a dogwalker or daycare. It really will make things much easier for you and your furry friend. We can even pick your dog up right from your house.
Call Patrick’s Pet Care today to discuss dog walking and daycare if you live in the Washington D.C. area!
A common issue that dog owners run into with both puppies and older dogs is constant chewing! And of course, it is not chewing on the approved chew toys, but rather our shoes and other belongings.
Recently, our lead trainer Chris talked to a couple whose dog continuously chews on their rug. Here are some of his suggestions:
Dogs that resort to chewing on things (outside of teething puppies), chew because they are bored. If they are bored it is because they are not getting enough exercise or are not mentally stimulated. If you notice your dog has taken to chewing on things, take them on an extra-long walk in the evening when you get back from work. If you are a runner, consider having a partner once in a while. There are a lot of dogs that enjoy running occasionally and it is great exercise for them. Just like with humans, it helps with their mental health. If you’re too busy, hire a dog walker or send them to dog daycare to burn off some off that energy.
2: Correct their behavior
Whenever you catch them in the act, make sure to correct their behavior right away. This may not always be possible as they may do the chewing while they are out of sight or while you are out. Get them to drop the object they are chewing on and give it to you. By taking ownership of the object, you are showing them that it is not theirs to chew on. If you don’t catch them in the act, don’t correct them because they won’t understand why they’re being corrected.
3: Appropriate toys
If you give your dog shoe toys or toys that resemble actual household items, is it really that surprising when they start to chew on those actual items? Encourage chewing on only appropriate toys – preferably ones that don’t resemble your expensive footwear. Smoked beef knucklebones are the favorite at Patrick’s Pet Care and can be ordered through our local partners, The Big Bad Woof.
4: Anti-chewing spray
There are several different sprays that you can buy or make to discourage chewing. An easy DIY spray is apple cider vinegar and water. It won’t damage your items but does smell and taste awful to dogs.
5: Put things away
One of the biggest ways to prevent your dog from chewing on things in your home is to clean them up. Don’t leave shoes on the floor if your dog has previously chewed on your shoes. Gate off areas that they get into when they are left alone.
At Patrick’s Pet Care, we know how frustrating it can be when your dog continuously gets into things and exhibit destructive chewing. If all else fails, bring your dog in for a training class so we can work together to find ways to keep them from chewing on your things.