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Archive for August, 2009

It’s National Dog Day!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Every day celebrates fantastic fidos here at Dogtopia, but it is technically National Dog Day! :)

Ways to celebrate… aside from daycare of course!

  • Schedule a photo shoot with Lee Anderson of to capture your dog’s essence for all times!
  • Buy some delicious treats from our friends at Wylie Wagg or Barkley Square Bakery
  • Have a lazy evening on the couch with your dog
  • Go for a walk!
  • Pamper your dog with lots of ear scratches and belly rubs!

Join us for Thankful Tails Thursday!

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Client Appreciation Day from 5pm – 7pm this Thursday!

Everyone has been so patient as we’ve undergone renovations over the past few weeks and we’re ready to show them off!

Drop your dog off for a day of play on Thursday and stay a bit after for Thankful Tails Thursday! The new Toy Box playroom will be open for everyone to take a look at the improvements – including more space, new paint colors and sealed, rubber flooring. We’ll also have refreshments and some special prizes!

We are privileged to serve the very best clients in the world each day and we can’t wait to spend some time mingling with you and your pup.

Dogtopia’s founder offers tips to new dog daycare seekers

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Seeking a good daycare for your dog can be quite similar to a daycare for your child. There are so many questions to be answered! Our founder, Amy Nichols, shared some thoughts on dog daycare to separate fact from fiction:

Outside fun at Dogtopia of Tysons Corner

Outside fun at Dogtopia of Tysons Corner

Day care provides quality, structured care: Dog day care provides a structured schedule for your pooch, complete with activities, nap time, snack time and social play. Each Dogtopia location includes a gymnasium, romper room, and lounge to suit the different sizes and play styles of their diverse clientele. There is plenty of open space, which gives your dog the opportunity to interact with other dogs, while running around and burning off plenty of pent-up energy.

Peace of mind: Dog day care provides all-day service for your pup—that means tons of active play time with plenty of their four-legged friends. There will not be a moment in the day where the owner has to wonder, ‘Is my dog alone?’ The typical Dogtopia location cares for between 50 to 80 dogs per day with a ratio of one caregiver per 10-15 dogs.

Your dog is never out of your sight: To create even more peace of mind for dog owners, Dogtopia employs web cam technology that allows the dogs’ owners to check on their pets at any time.

Entrance Exams: A Great Dane might not make the best company for a Dachshund and Dogtopia understands that. All dogs undergo evaluations that include a health assessment, vaccination verification, and a temperament test to insure that the dog is social and comfortable in large groups. Dogs are placed in play groups that suit their style.

Trained Staff: It’s important that your dog is consistently happy and healthy, so Dogtopia only employs the best. The Dogtopia staff is fully trained to provide the best care for your pup. Store owners attend pet CPR classes and all employees are trained in pack management and dog behavior.

Info regarding the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

You may have heard that the Canine Influenza Virus has recently spread in the Washington DC metro area. The health and well-being of our four-legged clients is always our top concern, so we wanted to share the information we’ve learned. A big thanks to Art Prediger and Taylor James, owners of Dogtopia of Dulles, as well as Amber Sutton, owner of Dogtopia of Woobridge.

What is it?
Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is a highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs caused by the influenza A subtype H3N8 virus. For all practical purposes, Canine Influenza is a viral variation of kennel cough for which your dog’s Bordetella vaccination offers no defense. Current canine approved antibiotics are also ineffective in treating Canine Influenza; however, this influenza is often accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection for which antibiotics are effective.

Note: CIV is not a20human influenza virus. CIV is an adaptation of the Equine Influenza Virus (EIV) which has been in existence for over 40 years. Over time, EIV adapted to canine tissue (first discovered in 2004 in Greyhound populations in FL) and is now passed from dog-to-dog.

Where/How can my dog get it?
Now that CIV is in the DC metro area, your dog is at risk anywhere there are other dogs and/or people who have handled other dogs: pet stores, dog shows, veterinary clinics, daycare and boarding facilities, dog parks, meet-and-greets on your neighborhood walk, etc. The virus is transmitted via oronasal contact with infected dogs, surfaces contaminated with the virus, and inhalation of aerosols generated by canine coughing and sneezing. CIV can live on a hard surface for up to 48 hours. CIV can be carried on human skin, clothing, and hair for up to 24 hours, and, as a result, be transmitted to your dog via human contact should that human have been in contact with an infected dog without proper sanitization of themselves.

What are the symptoms?
Research and findings offered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reveal that all dogs exposed to the virus are infected; however, only 80% of the exposed population will have clinical symptoms: the remaining 20% of the population will show no clinical symptoms. Research has also identified that the originating infectious dogs in a population usually get a more severe case of the influenza, where as the secondary dogs exhibit symptoms of a much milder form of the virus. For the 80% of the population exhibiting symptoms, those symptoms are: cough, runny nose, and sometimes a fever — almost identical symptoms to many other canine infections. Many dogs also develop a more severe case of the influenza that can advance to pneumonia rapidly. To date, there is an average 5% mortality rate. Dogs can exhibit symptoms for up to 30 days post exposure.

How is it diagnosed?

Proper diagnosis is tricky because of the short incubation and contagious periods for this virus. Once exposed, the incubation period is 2 to 4 days. Your dog will be contagious to other dogs from the point of exposure through 7 to 10 days post exposure. By the time your dog exhibits vet-worthy symptoms, your dog is nearing the end of the virus’s life-cycle/contagious stage and, as a result, your vet’s exam/tests will not detect the presence of Canine Influenza. The best time to perform a nasal swab is during the incubation period and, thus, pre-symptom. There are only 3 veterinary labs in the US that are currently able to identify and verify CIV: (1) Cornell University, (2) Oklahoma State University, and (3) University of Florida. You should validate that your vet has sent your dog’s sample to one of them. Should testing during the contagious period be missed, your vet can take a blood sample from your dog 2 to 3 weeks from probable exposure and send that sampl e to one of the 3 labs noted above. These labs will be able to validate that your dog has developed antibodies against CIV and, as a result, you and your vet will then know that your dog had CIV.

How is it treated?
For most dogs, CIV just needs to run its course: usually 7 to 10 days. Some dogs will continue to be symptomatic, though not contagious, for up to 30 days. Should your dog develop a high fever, nasal discharge, and/or optical discharge, there may be a secondary bacterial infection that your dog is also fighting. Your vet will be able to diagnose the infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment. The CDC recommends that your dog be isolated from contact with other dogs for up to 14 days post exposure. Should you be exposed to a dog with suspected CIV, keep yourself clean. Soap and water will kill the virus as well as any disinfectant cleaner. Change/wash your exposed clothing if possible, or spray yourself down with a disinfectant.

How can it be prevented?
The best way to prevent your dog from getting this virus is to live in a bubble. Outside of that, if your dog engages in social activities with other dogs, s/he is at risk. When at the dog park and/or out on a neighborhood walk, you should keep your distance from any dogs that are coughing/excessively-sneezing. There is new CIV vaccination that hit the market in July 2009. There is no data to date as to th e effectiveness of the vaccine. This vaccine just became available to local veterinary offices in mass quantity yesterday, Tuesday, August 18th. The initial vaccine is given via injection in 2 doses, each 3 weeks apart, and then requires an annual booster.

Can my dog get it again?
To date, CIV has not mutated. As a result, once your dog is exposed to CIV and his/her body develops antibodies against it, your dog is not at risk to get CIV again. The only way to determine if your dog has developed antibodies against CIV is to have your vet perform a titer test 2 to 3 weeks after probable exposure. Should your dog have developed antibodies against CIV, your dog is protected and the CIV vaccine will not provide your dog with any additional protection.

Where can I learn more information about CIV?

A $3500 tax deduction for pet owners

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Our new favorite Congressman, Thaddeus McCotter (MI), introduced the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act recently. If it passes, pet parents will be allowed to take a $3500 pet deduction for qualifying expenses.

It specifically states… qualified pet care expenses means amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet.

As we all know, veterinary costs seem to have skyrocketed right alongside those for humans, so the ability to claim costs as a deduction would be a welcome break and it’s a reward to responsible pet owners in the US. “Providing care” seems quite open-ended, so we hope costs of services (daycare!) will be included as well.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council provides a bit more information here. We’ll be watching this closely along with everyone else!

Lee Anderson portraits on display at BOW

Friday, August 7th, 2009
Murphy - Photo by Lee Anderson

Murphy - Photo by Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson’s images have graced our lobby for a couple of years now. The black and white candid canine shots are befitting any art gallery and we LOVE them.

From’s DC Pet-Friendly Places:

If you’re looking to mix a little culture and fur this weekend, visit Barrel Oak Winery, or BOW as wine lovers with pooches have come to know it as. They’ve extended the Lee AndersonPorties And Their Running Mates” photography exhibit until Labor Day and it’s not to be missed.

The black and white portraits feature images of lovable, fluff-able Portuguese Water Dogs – AKA Porties. Bo Obama may be the most famous of his kind, but undoubtedly Lee’s unique ability to capture the essence of every animal who sets paw in front of his lens will show each is a rock star in their own right!

Lee and his wife Donna will be on hand at a Meet the Artist reception this Sunday, August 9th, from Noon to 6pm. Pack up some of your favorite people and dog treats for the trip and plan on spending the day ensconced in fine scenery, fine wine and fine furry friends.

Also check out: 5 reasons to visit BOW

Meet Sierra!

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Sierra is an 11 week old Australian Shepherd puppy and we already have decided We <3 her!!

- For starter she’s an Aussie puppy… that speaks for itself
- She has a tail!
- She’s 11 weeks old and she’s a BIG girl – a lot of junk in that trunk
- We love the one blue eye!
- Did we mention she’s an Aussie puppy?

live. love. play.
live. love. play.
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