SARATOGA SPRINGS LOVES DOGS!
If I didn’t know better, I’d guess that Snoopy, Air Bud and Scooby Doo were members of the Saratoga Springs Chamber of Commerce. This is one dog-friendly town! If you haven’t been to Saratoga Springs yet, put this town on your vacation list!
I stumbled upon Saratoga Springs three years ago as part of my son’s college visits. Since then, Saratoga Springs has become my son’s second home and one of our favorite towns.
Originally occupied by the Iroquois Indians, Saratoga Springs became a village in the early 1800s. It is best known for the Battle of Saratoga, its namesake the USS Saratoga, Skidmore College, Victorian era mansions, mineral springs, resorts and spas, historic Congress Park with ponds, trails and a carousel, the famous Saratoga Race Track and…dogs? That’s right! Saratoga Springs is one of the most dog-friendly towns in the U.S.A.
DOWNTOWN HAS GONE TO THE DOGS IN STYLE!
For a dog lover, Saratoga Springs feels like home. Looking for pet-friendly hotels? Try the Marriott Residence Inn on Excelsior, a short distance away from downtown shopping and close to Wilton Mall and Skidmore College. If you need a hotel in the heart of downtown, the Saratoga Hilton is right for you. The hotel accept pets up to 75 lbs. Both hotels have pet fees, so call ahead.
Rested? Great! Let’s go downtown! Upscale shopping and fine restaurants are everywhere. And interspersed between downtown shoppers and groups of college students are dogs!
Putnam Market, a gourmet food store, deli and specialty wine store, also sells gourmet treats for the canine food connoisseurs of Saratoga Springs.
If it seems like dogs rule–they do! Whether sitting by their owners at outdoor cafes, exercising briskly on leash, cuddling in their owner’s arms or waiting patiently during a neighborly greeting one thing is certain, these dogs are socialized, well-behaved and treated like family by their owners and the store owners as well.
For example, we stopped by Impressions of Saratoga, a gift shop for dog lovers, horse lovers and everyone.
We were greeted by a bowl of fresh water and a welcome sign that put things in perspective.
Inside the door was a doggy scrap book called The Hall of Fame…
…and the cutest little dog purse that I had to buy for my niece!
A few blocks away was the Saratoga Saddlery, a store for serious horse lovers. We were welcomed by water bottles, a water dish and upstairs…
Life Is good indeed at Just Plain Good II, a store that celebrates man and his best friend.
Just when you think you’ve seen every doggone thing, you can cross North Broadway to find Sloppy Kisses, an adorable dog retail store with something for every pup.
What more can I say about Saratoga Springs? I can’t wait to return–next time with my dog!
NOTE: If you’ve been to Saratoga Springs, we’d like to hear from you! Feel free to comment below!
DOGS BELIEVE IN SANTA PAWS!
By: Bonnie Sweebe
Christmas is the Worst Time to Buy a Puppy
By: Bonnie Sweebe
Thinking about buying a puppy as a Christmas gift? If so, please think again. Christmas is the worst time to buy a puppy. Here’s why.
Retail Pet Stores:
Retail stores rely on Christmas profits to boost their year-end sales figures. They stock store shelves with merchandise. For a pet store retailer, that merchandise may include puppies.
Retail pet stores that sell dogs stock cages full of overpriced puppies with eyes that plead, “Buy me!” During the holiday season, human emotions run high and impulse purchases are frequent. Retailers know that.
So please, resist buying a puppy for Christmas if only for this reason: Reputable breeders do not sell puppies for Christmas. Why? It’s not fair to the puppy.
There is far too much commotion during the holidays for a puppy to get the solid guidance it needs. Like babies, puppies need attention and routine in order to adjust. In addition, the first weeks of a puppy’s life are very impressionable.
Puppies have fear periods during these early developmental stages. A fear developed in puppyhood may stay with the dog for the remainder of its life.
Christmas excitement may be too much for the young puppy. In early puppyhood, is important to create a calm environment, use positive training and calm voices. Gentle handling of the puppy and lavishing the puppy with love in this environment builds the puppy’s confidence and provides it a sense of security. That takes time and patience…two things that the holidays lack.
If reputable breeders do not sell puppies for Christmas, logic dictates that retail pet stores buy holiday puppies elsewhere.
Want to know how to spot a reputable breeder?
- Reputable breeders are proud of their breeding program. They participate in obedience and/or breed conformation at dog shows and strive to produce the best specimens in both physique and temperament. Their reputations depend on it.
- Reputable breeders produce quality litters using their best breeding stock.
- Reputable breeders avoid Christmas litters. They are busy with the holidays, too! Puppies require attention.
- Reputable breeders take time to socialize the litter of puppies.
- Reputable breeders take puppies to the veterinarian for examination, initial vaccinations and deworming.
- Reputable breeders register their litter with the American Kennel Club (AKC). Puppy buyers receive AKC papers in order to register the new puppy under its new name.
- Unless a buyer is planning to show a puppy in breed conformation, reputable breeders sell their puppies to pet homes under a limited registration with the understanding that the puppy will be spayed/neutered and not produce a litter. Note: According to AKC rules, a litter produced by a dog with a limited registration is ineligible for AKC registration.
- Reputable breeders present their litter’s sire or dam (or sometimes both) for viewing. In contrast, a pet store does not present their puppy’s parents for viewing. The puppy buyer does not know the puppy’s parents’ health, temperament or living conditions.
While it is true that some breeds are susceptible to certain hereditary medical conditions, you can increase your chances of buying a healthy socialized puppy by buying a puppy from a reputable breeder.
COMMUNICATION: A reputable breeder stays in contact with a puppy buyer. A reputable breeder is concerned about their breeding program. They desire to know any health issue that should arise.
Should a puppy develop a serious medical condition, contact the breeder. It is not uncommon for a reputable breeder to offer to take back a puppy with a serious medical condition in exchange for a puppy from a future litter or for a refund. Doing your homework and finding a reputable breeder is a win/win situation.
The American Kennel Club website is a great resource to help you narrow your search and find the breed of dog that is right for you and your family. Click ‘Find a Puppy”. There you will find information on buying a puppy, breed selection, where to find that puppy and a checklist of questions to ask the breeder or rescue group.
Dog Shelter and Dog Rescue Organizations:
If you are thinking of adopting a healthy puppy from an animal shelter or rescue organization, you are doing a wonderful thing! You are giving good dogs a second chance. But for the sake of the dog and your sanity, please wait until after the holidays. Why? In order for a rescued puppy or adult dogs to adjust, it needs time and patience, two things missing during holiday season.
- Puppies need time to adjust. Remember, puppy has just left its mother and siblings.
- Adopted older dogs need time to adjust to their new home and family.
- Puppies and older dogs need time and patience to learn household rules.
- Puppies (and some older dogs) need to adjust to their crate.
- Puppies are not housebroken. Puppies need a consistent housebreaking program.
- New puppies cry at night; older adopted dogs may whine, bark or howl. The new dog family should expect their sleep to be interrupted either by barking, crying or potty breaks.
- Holiday schedules are not regular. Children come home from college. Friends and relatives visit. There are events to attend and many get-togethers that won’t include a puppy. Puppy will soil its crate if left alone for lengthy periods of time, thus derailing any housebreaking efforts made.
- Having to adjust holiday schedules to accommodate the puppy may cause unintended yet negative feelings towards the young pup.
The marvelous vision of a furry puppy popping out of a wrapped and ribboned box sounds dreamy. But in reality, purchasing a puppy is a very serious decision requiring proper planning and a promise to care for the pup for the rest of its life. The decision is far too serious a commitment to ever be impulsive.
Instead, why not give the “Promise of a Puppy” this Christmas. It can be just as exciting and fun! But to do that you must plan now.
- Start researching breeds.
- Call your local rescue group and fill out an application to begin the adoption process.
- If you’re interested in adopting from a local dog shelter, plan your visit after the holidays.
- If you plan to buy a purebred puppy, call local breed clubs now and ask for puppy referral. They will give you a list of reputable breeders in your area that are expecting puppies or planning a litter in the near future. Have your questions ready.
- It takes 56-66 days (8 or 9 weeks) from the date of conception for puppies to be born. Then the puppies stay with their mother for an additional 8 weeks. That means if you found a reputable breeder today, it may be 4 months or more until you are able to bring your puppy home.
The “Promise of a Puppy” this holiday season may be the best gift of all. Happy Holidays!
Bonnie Sweebe is a dog lover, dog owner, dog advocate, and rescue and service dog volunteer. She is also the owner of WelcomePup.com, an online dog gift delivery company. For puppy promise gift ideas, visit WelcomePup.com. Great for adult dogs, too!
Obesity is an American epidemic. It increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and joint pain. Obesity is also prevalent in a quarter of American dogs. Is your dog one of them?
A trim healthy dog has a waistline. Flesh covered ribs can be felt.
Not the case with an obese dog. Excess weight causes the body to appear sausage-like. Ribs may be difficult to detect.
Dogs and dog owners can take charge of weight gain with diet and exercise. However, there is a human element to dog obesity. It is the human that puts the food into the dog’s mouth.
Dogs don’t shop for their food. That’s why it is important that dog owners read dog food labels when considering what is best for their dog.
A visit to the pet supermarket to compare labels is a good start. However, with so many food choices available, how do you know what dog food is right for your dog?
If you purchased your puppy from a breeder, ask the breeder what he or she has been feeding the puppy, how much, and what he or she recommends as the puppy approaches adulthood. You can also search for canine nutritional information on the internet or at the library.
Then, when you take the puppy to your veterinarian for its well puppy check-up and vaccinations, ask the vet for his or her advice. They can help you sift through the multitude of health benefit claims and declarations made by pet owners and pet food manufacturers and give you an idea as to the quantity of food your puppy needs now and into the future.
For example, my golden retriever gets 2 cups of dry kibble per day. The package instructs me to feed 3 3/8 cups per day. If I did that, my dog would go from the fit dog in picture one above to the sausage-looking dog right below it. You must monitor your dog’s weight. Take your veterinarian’s advice over the dog food package recommendations that are oftentimes overstated.
There are four basic types of dog food:
1) RAW: Also called the BARF Diet (Bones And Raw Foods). A raw food diet is just what it sounds like: you feed your dog raw meat (including organs), bones as well as some fruits and vegetables. The raw food diet attempts to mimic the eating preferences of dogs before they were domesticated. Although there are no official studies to support the fact that a raw food diet benefits a dog long-term, some raw food advocates claim health benefits such as a shinier coat, increased energy from protein and less stool. Disadvantages of the raw food diet include bacterial contamination from raw meat, dietary imbalance resulting from misinformation and the possibility of bone ingestion resulting in a choking or intestinal hazard.
2) DRY: Often referred to as kibble, dry dog food has many advantages. Dry dog food is low in moisture (a dog needs less food to feel full). Many dog owners think that dry dog food is better for a dog’s teeth and that dry dog food produces better smelling dog breath. The shelf life of dry dog food is usually one year. Therefore, dog owners can purchase large quantities of dog food. The disadvantage of dry dog food is that with the dry comes an increased risk of more filler product. Thus, it is important to check the dog food labels to be sure that the main ingredients are not fillers but instead quality ingredients.
3) SEMI-MOIST: Semi-moist dog foods, the dough-like food products shaped into burgers, ground round, steaks or candy-like ribbons are not a good choice for a healthy dog diet. Often full of preservatives, additives and sugar, these moldable food products have a shelf life equivalent to a certain golden American snack cake. Some dogs have had reports of stomach upset and diarrhea. For nutrition’s sake, avoid semi-moist dog foods.
4) CANNED: The shelf life of unopened canned (or wet) dog food is two years. Therefore, dog owners can purchase large quantities of dog food. Canned dog food is very appetizing to most dogs. Canned dog food contains water. The mixture of water and food produce a strong odor that dogs like. Some dog owners claim that dogs prefer canned over dry dog food because it is more flavorful (although no one I’ve read admits to actually tasting it). This flavorful food makes dogs want more. Knowing this, dog owners should be aware of portion size. There is no need to preserve canned dog food, so it contains little or no preservatives. However, there have been claims that wet dog food contains more additives and is bad for a dog’s teeth (wet food can lodge between teeth). People claim wet dog food gives their dog bad breath and sometimes causes gastrointestinal upset. Others claim that once a dog is accustomed to eating wet dog food that it is a grueling chore to switch the dog to dry dog food.
7 Things to Consider When Comparing Dog Food Labels:
1) Package label portion sizes are oftentimes overestimated. Consult your veterinarian for the proper portion size for your dog.
2) Dog food contains protein (animal or plant/grain), vitamins and fatty acids. Look for meat, fish or eggs as the main ingredient(s). Chicken and lamb are preferred. These ingredients are of high quality and are easily digestible and absorbed.
3) While both chicken and chicken meal contain protein, chicken meal is preferred over chicken because the volume differs. (Guarantee Analysis) Chicken meal is ground into small particles with water removed. Chicken consists of three-fourths water.
4) Look for dog foods that contain corn versus soy or wheat. Certain dogs are more susceptible to allergies when eating dog food that contains soy or wheat.
5) Remember that there is no one dog food that is best for dogs. Each dog has different tastes and may react physically to one dog food over another.
6) The cost of a dog food does not necessarily translate to a better dog food. Check the labels and compare.
7) Certainly diarrhea or a consistently loose stool are good reasons to check with your veterinarian to determine if a change in diet would benefit your dog. An itchy dog or a dog with a dull or dry coat could be another reason to consult your veterinarian for a dietary switch.
Where dog food is concerned, one size does not fit all. Taking the advice of your breeder and/or veterinarian and monitoring your dog’s eating habits and portion size can result in a healthy happy dog.
Bonnie Sweebe is a dog lover, dog owner, dog advocate, and rescue and service dog volunteer. She is also the owner of WelcomePup.com, an online dog gift delivery company.