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Archive for the ‘Pet News’ Category

Dogs to the Rescue

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Image from Karel Navarro / AP

Image from Karel Navarro / AP

Rescue dogs have been a great help during the devastating tragedy in Haiti.  A special article  The Science of Sniffer Dogs by Alan Boyle describes what makes these talented canines very important during a rescue mission. If you find this article interesting or would like to read more about search and rescue dogs you may  want to check out Susannah Charleson’s book Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search and Rescue Dog.

Dogs vs. Cats

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Article from the Associated Press

Image from Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

Dogs vs. Cats

Dogs vs. Cats

Check out this article , it just confirms that our beloved pups are in fact the peoples choice in the never ending debate of Cats vs. Dogs!

Dog Saves Boy from Cougar

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Check this video out from the Today Show!  You can also read the article at

Protecting your Pup’s Paws During the Winter Season

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

A winter snowfall for some dogs is a dream come true, for others not so much.  Either way their everyday outdoor adventures are essential, and protecting their precious paws during the winter season is important! Along with snow and ice comes road salt, which typically causes cracks and cuts to the paw from the salt’s rough texture, as well as excessive drying.  Most road salts do contain chemicals and if ingested by your dog, most likely from licking their paws, it can cause illness.  To prevent paw damage and keep your dog happy and healthy during the winter season,   make sure that he or she’s paws have been thoroughly cleaned, whether you wipe them down with a warm wash cloth or soak them in a bath tub.  Also, take the time to inspect your dog’s paws after each outing, check paw pads and in between toes to make sure nothing is lodged inside the crevices. To prevent your dogs paws from over drying you may also want to apply paw wax or vaseline before taking them out into the wintery wonderland.  Trying dog booties may even be an option, though your dog may disagree with this one!

Dogs are Not Gifts – Why Giving a Dog as a Present is a Bad Idea

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

From Jenna Stregowski, RVT,

You think you have found the perfect gift: a new puppy in a big red bow for someone you love. Surprise! Think again. While this may sound like a dream come true, it can actually be a pretty bad idea. Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but there are several reasons to avoid giving a new puppy or dog as a present. Bottom line, it’s usually not an ideal situation for the dog, nor the new owner. If you are looking for a great gift, here are some great gifts for dog lovers.

Dogs as Gifts for Adults
First of all, can you really be sure that this person even wants a new dog? If so, is the receiver actually ready for a dog? If you know this person is a dog lover, but does not already have a dog, there’s probably a good reason why. If he or she already owns a dog, perhaps it’s not the appropriate time to add another dog to the family. Talk to this person about dog ownership. Maybe you can go as moral support when the time comes to choose a dog. Either way, it’s safest to stick with gifts of the non-living and breathing variety.

Dogs as Gifts for Children
The gift of a new dog or puppy is something many kids dream about. Unfortunately, most of these little ones do not realize that with dog ownership comes responsibility. Soon enough, the care of the dog can fall into the hands of mom or dad. If you are not the child’s parent, then you really have no place giving that child a new dog unless the parent(s) are on board. If you are a parent of the child, then getting a dog is a family decision. Have a discussion with your child about the responsibilities involved. Examine your household situation so you can choose the right dog for your family.

If a New Dog is Right
If the receiver of the gift is actually in a position to welcome a new dog into the home, there are still some important things to consider. Dogs given as gifts on birthdays and holidays can get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of the events. Sadly, they may be soon forgotten like new toys and games – particularly where kids are concerned. If someone you care about is interested in getting a dog, give a book about dog ownership or a dog accessory as a gift. Discuss future plans to go and pick out that new dog or puppy. If the future owner of the dog is part of the decision process, it will be in everyone’s favor. It’s the best way to start dog and owner off on the right foot.

Dogs (heart) Turkey, Too!

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

We’re happy to contribute monthly to Northern Virginia Dog Magazine’s NOVADog Blog!

Check out November’s piece:

Your dog may dream about turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing during the holiday season, but unfortunately there are side effects that come along with these holiday treats. Remember these tips for safety this holiday season:

Turkey: Turkey itself does not pose great harm, but feeding it to your dog in the same form we eat it during Thanksgiving could produce unwanted side affects simply because it can be rich and your dog’s system will not be accustomed to it. Nothing ruins a holiday like a dog with “tummy troubles”.

Poultry skin can cause inflammation and bones can splinter and become a choking hazard. If you’d like to give them something special, a plain piece of unseasoned, cooked turkey without the skin is a great treat.

Chocolate: We all know the dangers of chocolate – the theobromine and caffeine in chocolate can cause hyperactivity and rapid breathing. You may have guests in the house who aren’t used to keeping everything at a doggie safe level, so remind them to keep all those chocolate treats away from your dog.

Onions, raisins, and grapes: These can be hidden dangers to your dog, but none should be used as a treat.

To reduce temptation for your dog make sure that you do the following: keep up with your daily feeding and exercise routine, feed your them before guests arrive, discourage guests from feeding your dog anything you haven’t approved and keep left over food out of reach in tightly closed containers.

Reducing stressful situations that are brought about by the holiday season are important for your piece of mind as well as keeping your dog in high spirits. Consider providing a cozy oasis for your dog away from the holiday crowd so they feel secure amidst the holiday craziness. Take them shopping for a chew toy to occupy their energies during long family meals.

Finally, check with your veterinarian for their holiday schedule and emergency contact info, so you’re prepared in the event you need them.

Your furry friend will shower you with kisses for taking these safety precautions in having a happy and healthy dog!

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.

Canine Influenza Vaccine Clinic

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

For those interested in getting their dog vaccinated against Canine Influenza, a clinic will be held at Stream Valley Hospital in Ashburn on Sat, Sept 19th from 2pm to 5pm.

You will need to booster the initial vaccine 2 – 3 weeks later with Stream Valley or at your own vet. Another clinic will be held for just the second influenza booster. The cost of the shot is $29.50 and the cost of the booser is $29.50 (no charge for exams).

Stream Valley Veterinary Hospital
42902 Waxpool Road
Ashburn, VA 20148

Please RSVP to or by phone by Sept 14th.

Thanks to Lauren at Leesburg Canine Country Club for the info!

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?

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