Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dog-Friendly Memorial Day Getaway

While Memorial weekend tends to signify the start of Summer, we cannot ignore the true reason for Memorial Day, which is to honor those who have died while serving in the United States Military. 

Fun Fact: Memorial Day is a federal holiday that started after the Civil War, to commemorate all the soldiers who died.  By the 20th century Memorial Day had expanded to include all Americans who died while in the military.  
Those brave men and women who died while in service were fighting for our freedom, so we can continue to enjoy life as we know it. This weekend should be taken as time to enjoy that freedom, spend time with loved ones, and give thanks to those who have fought (and still fight) for us.

What better way to do all those things then to go on a weekend getaway to San Diego? This Dog-friendly city has plenty to offer by way of whole-family entertainment, and there is a naval base in Coronado.   There is hiking, dog beaches, countless parks, restaurants, great places to stay, and lots of outdoor events going on this weekend.
Because Coronado has a naval base, we will focus these trip ideas on areas in main San Diego (Gaslamp Quarter) and Coronado. Of course, feel free to customize your own San Diego visit, as there are numerous dog-friendly options all over the county.

Great dog-friendly places to stay include Westin Horton Plaza in San Diego , the Crown City Inn and the Loews Coronado Bay Resort , both in Coronado.  Coronado is a small and expensive island, so if these hotels are already booked or are perhaps out of your price range, simply Google ‘dog friendly San Diego hotels’ and Trip Advisor or a similar travel site will give you plenty of other options.
The most dog-friendly places to eat include Point Loma Seafood and Terra, both in San Diego, as well as Café 1134 in Coronado and Market Café which is in the Loews Coronado Bay Resort.  And there are lots of dog-friendly places in the Gaslamp Quarter to grab a bite, like G5 (Gerorges on Fifth), Royal India, and Trattoria La Strada.  

Now that we have a place to stay and places to eat, let’s go find something to do.  What better thing to do in San Diego than go to the beach?!  The best dog beaches include Dog Beach and Fiesta Island in San Diego and Coronado Central Beach in Coronado.  Of course, there is plenty to see just walking around Gaslamp Quarter  or even Old Town San Diego.  If you are in the mood for some dog-friendly shopping, check out Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista.  Not only does it have dog-friendly shops, this mall has a dog park too.  And if you’re in the mood for something different, go for a gondola ride with A Gondola Company while visiting Coronado.  And lastly, San Diego has a plethora of events going on this Saturday and Sunday, from a soap box derby to a strawberry festival, so check it out and see what fun new things you can discover with your pup on your Memorial Day getaway.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

9 Ways to Avoid a Dog Bite

 Did you Know.....
….around 5 million Americans are bitten every year by a dog and 83% are children?
….50% of all U.S. children will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday?
….Each year 800,000 bite injuries are severe enough to require medical attention?

These statistics point out one major problem in the U.S. and it is a lack of dog bite prevention education and responsible dog ownership.

To raise awareness for this perpetual public health problem, the U.S. Postal Service and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) joined forces along with other organizations to promote National Dog Bite Prevention Week during the third week of May each year. And although this week has brought about an increase in awareness, there are still dog bites happening every day, which only demonstrate the need for greater awareness and education efforts nationwide.

A common misconception among people is that because they are around a certain dog a lot they assume that dog must like and feel comfortable around them. But dogs have their own rules of etiquette and they give lots of body language they people don't pick up on, which leads to an "out of the blue" dog bite. And because children are so close to the dog’s size, their bites are usually worse on the face or neck.

“Even the gentlest dog, if it is physically or mentally unhealthy, is in pain, feels threatened, or is protecting its food or a favorite toy, can bite,” Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division said. “Not only is it important to understand how dogs behave, it is important to understand how our behavior may be interpreted by a dog. To prevent dog bites, we need to find a common language. Finding that common language is the focus of effective dog bite prevention educational efforts.”
So what can you do to avoid being bitten by the next dog you encounter?
  1. Watch an educational video - A great tool for children, and adults alike, is this educational video produced by the AKC to help kids avoid being bitten by a dog. It is highly recommended that all parents watch this video with their kids and encourage your schools to show the video to each class as well.
  2. Greet a dog the proper way - When meeting or greeting an unfamiliar dog, first ask the owner if the dog is friendly and then ask for permission to pet the dog. You should then ask the dog for permission to pet him or her by letting the dog sniff the back of your hand before petting.
  3. Always pet a new dog under the chin, on the shoulder or on the chest, but never on their head first. A dog may misinterpret a person leaning over them as a dominant behavior and feel threatened.
  4. Don't run past or away from a dog - The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.
  5. Avoid eye contact - Dogs interpret this as a challenge. If a dog threatens you, don't scream. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
  6. Don't approach a strange dog, especially one that's tethered or confined.
  7. Do not tease a dog behind a fence or tethered in a yard.
  8. Do not touch or play with a dog that is eating or sleeping.
  9. Be a tree trunk - If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle. Otherwise, you should stand still “Like a tree trunk” with your arms crossed over your chest (closed fists). If you or your child should fall to the ground, you should curl into a ball, with your knees to your chest and your fingers interlocked covering the back of your neck. If you stay still, the dog will most likely sniff you, loose interest and leave you alone.
Education has to start with children not only to stop kids for getting bitten but to plant a seed for future responsible pet owners that will break the cycle. Check out the AKC website to view the video or to order a free copy for your school or community group. They also provide a workbook for kids to go over after the video to ensure they understood what they learned.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day for Dog Moms

When we think of a mother, we most often think of the woman who brought us into this world and raised us.  For some people, the woman who brought them into the world may not be the same woman who raised them. 

The definition of Mother, as a verb, is "to bring up a child with care and affection".  So being a mother isn't just about bringing a child into the world.  It's about the day-to-day care a woman gives to a child that defines her as a mother.

Do you know any women who refer to themselves as their dog's mom?  Many of today's dog owners consider themselves a pet parent (rather than dog owner), since they have a dog at home rather than children, and they give their dogs the day-to-day care one would give a child.  So it's no wonder that Mother's Day is beginning to include devoted dog moms.

These dog moms put a lot of energy and love into their dog's well-being and they deserve a little recognition for it. 

If you have a dog mom in your life, here are a couple of ideas on how to give her a little extra attention this Mother's Day:

Breakfast- Surprise her with breakfast in bed (or at the table if she prefers)

Card- Make her feel special with a thoughtful card. They sell adorable animal Mother's Day cards at pet stores.

Brunch- Enjoy an outdoor brunch with her and her fur baby

Relax- Let her relax by taking care of the house work and all dog related activities (such as feeding). 

Quality Time- Plan an activity that includes the fur baby, such as a family hike or day at the dog beach.

Lady's Choice- Let her make all the decisions for the day - from activities to food choices.

Flowers- Most women love getting flowers, whatever the occasion.