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Archive for October, 2009

And the winner is…

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

After calculating the votes online and in the store our winner is…


Congratulations to Wendy! She will receive a gift bag of goodies, a gift certificate.

Wendy has gone on to compete in the National Dogtopia Contest. Vote for her here!

Wendy the Punk Rocker Tysons Corner

Halloween Dog Costume Contest!

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Thanks for the all the votes – we’re counting now and will announce a winner Thursday!

Each year we ask you to send in your spooky, cute, original and outright AWESOME pictures of your dog in their Halloween gear for our “Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest”. We’re always thrilled to see our favorite four-legged clients dressed up for the holiday and this year was certainly no disappointment!

Choose your favorite and vote by leaving a comment with the dog’s name and costume. Voting is open until next Wednesday, the 28th, at 5pm. Only one vote per person is allowed, but you can certainly pass the contest along to anyone and everyone you’d like to get the vote out for your fav!!

Goodie bags filled with toys and treats, as well as a 5-Day Pass are up for grabs – Good Luck to our fantastic contestants!

Wendy and Ruby

Ranger and Penelope

Pinot and Julio

Izzy and EdgarEvan

CozzyLeo and Casco

Bella and Cockers

Yaki and Porthos

Finnegan and Tiffany

Pumpkin Patchin’!!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Ellie Pumpkin Patch

Ready to pick out that perfect pumpkin? Visit these local farms and your dog is welcome to tag along!

Homestead Gardens
743 West Central Avenue
Davidsonville, MD 21035

Annual Fall Festival through October 25th features rides, games, music, workshops, seminars, pumpkins, baked goods, and seasonal decor. Plus, BBQ beef, pork, ribs & more! Yum, yum!

Hollin Farms Orchard
1524 Snowden Road
Delaplane, VA 20144

Pumpkin patch situated on a 400 acre cattle farm with fantastic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Be sure to check out the 5 acre corn maze and take a peek at the the foraging pigs cleaning up the corn fields. Nature at work!

Dogtopia in USA Today

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Dogtopia founder, Amy Nichols, was recently interviewed for a business focus article in USA Today. It focuses on her beginnings with Tysons Corner and how the company has grown! Be sure to check out the slide show of happy pup clients!

By Garrett Hubbard, USA TODAY

By Garrett Hubbard, USA TODAY

TYSON’S CORNER, Va. — When Amy Nichols worked as a sales representative for Verizon, she often found herself hanging around pet stores on weekends, gazing longingly at the puppies.

A longtime pet lover, she yearned to start a business that involved dogs but wasn’t interested in selling them. She didn’t want to start a kennel, either.

Her inspiration came from her Boston terrier, Griffin. Nichols worked long hours and felt guilty about leaving her dog alone all day. She found a couple of dog day care centers in Washington, D.C., but none near her workplace in Northern Virginia.

So in 2001, she left her job and started looking for a place to launch her own center. A year later, she opened Happy Tails Dog Spa in an industrial park in Tysons Corner, Va.

The center, since renamed Dogtopia, is in a cavernous building that previously housed a telecommunications company. Dogs spend the day in one of four playrooms, ranging in size from 600 to 2,000 square feet. Older and laid-back dogs can spend the day in the lounge; active pups are accommodated in the largest room, known as the gym. Dog owners who suffer from separation anxiety can go to Dogtopia’s website and watch their pups on a webcam.

Click here to check the rest out and some very fun customer pics!

Ingredients most likely to cause allergic reaction in your dog

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

When you wrestle, romp, chase and play with a hundred dogs a day you learn a lot about the furry kids.

When you feed that many pups you tend to notice a lot as well. We see dogs with allergies from wheat to soy to egg and everything in-between.’s Vet Blog by Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM has a great article on the ingredients most likely to cause an allergic reaction:

Which Ingredients are Most Likely to Cause Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats?

Pet food discussions seem uniquely capable of getting readers of this blog excited. Let’s shake things up.

Recently a reader brought up a question in the discussion of corn as a pet food ingredient. The reader was curious about the allergenic effects of corn. Is corn likely to cause allergic reactions in dogs and cats?

Cats and dogs with food allergies most commonly suffer from skin and ear problems. Gastrointestinal upset also is possible.

Numerous studies have been performed to assess the most highly allergenic food ingredients. A paper published in the September, 2002 issue of Advances in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery attempted to tabulate the results of 22 different studies into a cohesive set of data. This “study of studies” has the advantage of large sample sizes that are likely to be statistically significant. It has the disadvantage of being authored by Philip Roudebush of the Hill’s Science and Technology Center. Although I can’t see any evidence of data twisting in the paper, readers should be aware that the data were tabulated by a person employed by a pet food manufacturer. Consume as many grains of salt as you desire while reading the results.

The leading food allergens in dogs as determined by the study of studies are listed below. Numbers in parentheses indicate percent of food allergy cases caused by each ingredient. They do not indicate the likelihood that a pet will suffer an allergic reaction after consuming the ingredient.

  • Beef (34%)
  • Dairy (20%)
  • Chicken (20%)
  • Wheat (16%)
  • Egg (7%)
  • Lamb (5%)
  • Soy (5%)
  • Corn (3%)
  • Pork (2%)
  • Rice (2%)
  • Fish (1%)

Click here to visit the blog and learn more.

Submit your pictures for the Howl-O-Ween Photo Contest!

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

It’s time to get your camera’s ready and dress-up your pooch for our Annual Howl-O-Ween Photo Contest!

Last year’s national contest was quite competitive, featuring doggy versions of The Grinch (our Grand Champion), Mother Goose, Hugh Hefner and his bunny and Shrek! We really enjoyed all of the entries and were very impressed at the creativity. We can’t wait to see your photos this year!

Photos of your costumed pet should be emailed to or dropped off at the front desk no later than Thursday, Oct 22nd.

This year voting will take place right here on the blog beginning Friday, Oct 23rd. You’ll be able to vote via the comments section (one vote per user) and easily pass it along to family, friends, co-workers – anyone you can think of – to rustle up some votes for your pup!

The Dogtopia family has grown to twenty stores in 2009! The winner from each store will go on to compete in the national contest for the title of Grand Howl-O-Ween Champion, a spot of honor on the front page of the website and a 5-Day Daycare Pass.

Good Luck!

Remember: Costumes, while fun, can also be dangerous. Make sure your dog cannot get tangled, choked or otherwise injured in his or her Halloween costume. Never leave your pet unsupervised while in costume.

Impromptu Eskie Day

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

The lovely uniqueness of a Boston Terrier

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

We’re every dog people here at Dogtopia, but we’re super duper Boston Terrier people!

Our Founder, Amy Nichols, is proud mom to a Boston Terrier Griffin, who was the inspiration behind Dogtopia 8 years ago. I myself have Kennedy, the best/worst dog of all times.

So this video is particular cute and for all of those with short-nosed pups, it’s very identifiable.

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