Monday, January 15, 2018

Treating Pets With High Tech Veterinary Services

Weeks ago I mentioned that I had the pleasure of visiting a state of the art veterinary services clinic in Florida.  I promised to share more with you about that visit, especially the fascinating 3D Printing technology being used to treat pets at this veterinary clinic, so here it is! 


Pet parents are using Veterinary Specialists more and more for advanced pet veterinary care.   Dogs, Pet health, Advanced Veterinary care for pets
With Dr. Mark Walter, friends from Bayer Animal Health and a few of my pet blogger friends at Capital Veterinary Specialists in Jacksonville, Florida, opened in 2015 by Dr. Walker BVSc, DACVIM 

Dr. Walker opened Capital Veterinary Services, JAX , a specialty veterinary clinic in Jacksonville Florida, to serve Northeast Florida and South Georgia pet parents.  We loved meeting Dr. Walker and his compassionate, expertly trained staff!  It's easy to see their high level of expertise and feel their passion and love for the exciting work they do. 

Dr. Walker gave us a tour of this beautiful state of the art facility and some of the specialized veterinary equipment they use to help the pets that visit them for expert veterinary care and services, including:



🐢 Advanced Imaging


😺 Critical Care

🐢 Anethesia


As we were talking with Dr. Walker one of his staff doctors came into the exam room carrying this weird looking contraption.  I could not for the life of me figure out what it was!  If I can be honest, I'm embarrassed to say I thought it was some kind of machine used to repair a piece of equipment in the room!  I saw the spool of what looked like white wire at the top and I thought, is this Veterinarian going to repair something?!   Don't they have a maintenance guy for that?  He's a doctor for heaven's sake!

3D printers are being used more and more for advanced veterinary care for dogs, cats, and other pets.   Advanced veterinary services like imaging, hydro therapy for dogs, canine rehabilitation, advanced imaging, and other veterinary services for pet health
A 3D Printer being used to treat pet injuries at Capital Veterinary Specialists in Jacksonville, Florida

It's funny now to think of how perplexed we were, but this weird looking machine is actually a 3D Printer!  They use it at the clinic to treat pet's injured limbs or other bones.  I think we were all transfixed on this strange looking machine, trying to figure out exactly How they use a 3D printer to treat an injured pet's bone and exactly how it works.

The spool of white "wire" you see on top of the machine is actually the material used by the machine as it forms a precise replica of a pet's injured bone.  


3D printers are being used at this veterinary specialist clinic to treat pet injuries. A model of the pet's injured bone is made using the 3D printer to better assist the Veterinarian in treating the injured limb in dogs, cats, or other pets
Replica of injured pets' bones, made utilizing this 3D printer

Digital files are created from Images taken of a pet's injury, such as from an MRI or CAT scan.  These files can then be translated into a format the 3D printer can recognize and understand. 

The printer then prints out layer upon layer of the material to create a bone replica, based on digital files of the injured bone that have been sent to the printer.  

The materials used by 3D printers can vary; plastics, rubbers, etc. can be used.  One example of a material used is a plastic polyactic acid  (PLA) filament.  

Displayed on the table in the photo above are 3 model replicas that were created by the 3D printer, based on injured dog limbs.    

In the below photo you can see what the inside of a piece of 3D "printed" bone replica looks like.


The inside of a replica of a dogs injured limb, made using a 3D printer.  Veterinary specialists are using 3D printers more & more to help injured dogs, cats and other animals
View of the inside of a pet bone replica created using a 3D printer

The replica created by a 3D printer isn't actually placed inside the pet's body, it is used to form an exact replica of the injured limb or other skeletal body part.  This enables the Veterinarian to handle a model of the pet's injured body part to gain a better, more precise understanding of the injury prior to a surgical procedure.   

The material that will be placed inside the pet can be more precisely and accurately formed using the replica crated with the 3D printer.  The replica is used as a model to create and accurately form the piece of metal orthapedic material, or other material, that will be placed inside the pet's body.  Replicas created with a 3D printer can also be helpful in testing out multiple treatment options.  

It was so interesting to see a 3D printer and learn how it works, and how it can be used to improve treatment of skeletal injuries to pets!


In their Canine Rehabilitation Department, Capital Veterinary Specialists has both a hydro therapy tank and a swimming pool.  Both can be used for Canine Rehabilitation.  

In the hydrotherapy tank, dogs receive treadmill therapy,  where dogs walk on an underwater treadmill.  The buoyancy of the water helps the dog get a low impact treadmill workout.  This type of rehab therapy for dogs is becoming very popular with pet parents.


Hydrotherapy tank where this Veterinary Specialist used underwater treadmill therapy to help injured dogs in injury recovery


Canine rehabilitation focuses on improving postoperative outcomes for orthopedic, neurological and soft tissue surgical procedures.  

It is also used to treat nonsurgical diseases like osteoarthritis, canine athlete injuries, weight management and non surgical spinal injuries.  It's also useful for field trial and agility conditioning and strength training.

It's amazing how Veterinary services have become so advanced and specialized!  That makes me really happy knowing that such advanced therapies for treating pets are available.  I would do whatever it took to help my dogs recover from an injury or disease.  I know you would too!  

We had some really interesting conversation with Dr. Walker and some of his staff.  We talked about how they run their practice, the significant advancements that have been made in pet food over the years, and specialized veterinary medicine in general.


So many advancements have been made in specialized veterinary medicine, including the use of 3D printers to treat bone injuries to dogs, cats, and other pets
I'm glad so many advancements have been made in Veterinary medicine! 

As most of us know, in recent years many pet food companies have been consolidated into huge corporations, like Belgian company Mars Petcare.  What I didn't know is that similar to the health care community for humans, many veterinary providers are also being consolidated into larger corporations.

It was interesting to hear that corporations in the pet industry have acquired a large number of Veterinary services providers.  For example, Mars Petcare has acquired Banfield Pet Hospital, Veterinary Centers of America (VCA Animal Hospitals), and BluePearl Veterinary Partners.  They even own the Wisdom Panel Dog DNA test kit company.  


Just like in human medicine, consolidations abound! In case you're wondering YES! it's the same Mars company that makes M&M's, my personal fave, as well as Twix, Snickers, and other delicious candies, including the Mars chocolate bar of course! 

We'd like to say a giant THANK YOU to Bayer Animal Health and Dr. Mark Walker for making this visit to Capital Veterinary Specialists possible!  It was so educational, and really Fun meeting Dr. Walker and his talented veterinary staff!



On our trip to Jacksonville, we also had the privilege of visiting  K9s For Warriors where we learned how they are helping military Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disability (PTSD).

Have you ever used hydro therapy for dogs or experienced 3D printing to treat a pet's injury?  Let us know in the comments!




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When your dog flips, over a Bomb Cyclone!

NOT EVERYONE WAS UNHAPPY WITH WINTER STORM GRAYSON'S BOMB CYCLONE.


WOO HOO!  CHECK OUT ICY'S FACE AT THE END OF THIS 8 SECOND VIDEO.  PRICELESS, LOL!





DID YOU GET HIT BY GRAYSON'S BOMBOGENESIS!?  HOW DID YOUR PET REACT?  LEAVE US A COMMENT & SHARE!



JOIN US ON THE BLOGPAWS WORDLESS WEDNESDAY BLOG HOP!!



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Give The Special Pets In Your Life The Gift of Good Health!

When it's time to give gifts for dogs or other pets, whether it be for the Holidays or a pet's Birthday or Gotcha Day, the most common gifts are usually pet toys, treats for pets, and adorable pet clothing.   The New Year is also a time when most of us place a stronger focus on improving our health, but don't leave the dog or cat out.  Use the new year to commit to improving pets health too!  Start the year off right with giving a pet you love the gift of a healthier year.

Toys, treats, and cute pet apparel are fun gifts for sure, but giving a gift that can contribute to Pet Health and longevity is extra thoughtful and special!  It's a gift to the pet parent as well, because it's something that could help extend the unconditional love and priceless moments they share together.


This Christmas, Santa is Giving Pets the Gift of Good Health

When I think about how to enhance the health of my dogs, these


5 Pet Health Products 

are the kind of things that come to mind.  They may not be items you would normally think of when selecting a gift for a dog or cat, but a gift that says Healthy Pet is always a great choice!

Note: Some images contain affiliate links.  If you click to make a purchase it won't cost you anything extra & we may get a few pennies commission, which helps keep our blog going. If you do make a purchase through our links, Icy, Phoebe, and I thank you very much!  πŸ’


SUPPLEMENTS FOR DOGS


When researching supplements for dogs, I noticed a common theme.  The theme I keep seeing is that a dog who is eating a healthy, well balanced diet probably doesn't need dietary vitamin supplements.   However, many Veterinarians say that supplements falling into the following 3 categories can definitely be beneficial for many dogs.  

Glucosamine and Chondroitin 

Many dogs and cats suffer from joint pain, especially as they age. As pets age, the natural production of glucosamine in the body slows down and can lead to joint pain.  Chondroitin is a natural substance found in cartilage.  When coupled with glucosamine, it can have a beneficial effect on your dog's joints.

According to VCA Hospitals (now owned by Mars Petcare),  "Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan found in cartilage. It promotes water retention and elasticity in the cartilage, helping to ensure adequate shock absorption and adequate nourishment of the tissues that line the joint.  Like glucosamine, with which it is often combined in supplements, chondroitin may also inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators that are destructive to the joint."

According to PETMD, in an article on Dietary Supplements For Pets, "Supplements that are formulated for joint health include the ingredients glucosamine and chondroitin, which have been found to be useful in treating arthritis in both humans and animals."


I wouldn't want joint pain to prevent Icy from running around like a mad dog in the snow!

With supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin, "Pets with arthritis may experience significant pain reduction, allowing improved mobility in arthritic limbs.  Increased mobility leads to more ability to exercise, thereby improving strength." - VCA Hospitals.  And I would add to that; increased mobility can lead to losing excess weight, which helps ease stress on a dog's joints!  

Maximum joint protection to maintain your pet's mobility.  Cosequin DS Joint Health Supplement in tasty chewable tablets. 


Wouldn't it be great to give a gift that can help a dog you love have healthier joints and stay active?!

Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential to pet health and are an important part of a dog's diet. These essential fatty acids are found in various plant and animal sources, and are usually present in good quality pet food in varied amounts.   

Omega 6 fatty acids are required for normal reproduction, growth, immune function, and skin and coat health.   

According to PETMD, Omega 3 fatty acids may help with skin conditions, allergies, kidney function, lymphoma, heart disease, cognitive function, arthritis, and more.

As always, be sure to check with your Veterinarian before adding any supplements to your pet's diet.

I didn't realize that GNC had a line of pet supplements! We've been shopping at GNC stores for our vitamins and supplements for decades, so I was happy to see that GNC has a supplement for dogs that contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  I haven't tried GNC Omega Essentials yet, but I'm definitely going to get a bag for Icy and Phoebe! 

I like that their fish oil supplements pictured below are in chewable format instead of tablet/gelcapsule form like many other supplements.  A chew is always so much easier to give my dogs, especially when they're chicken flavor like these.

GNC Naturals Omega Essentials soft chews contain 230mg of Omega3 and 6 fatty acids. Contains NO wheat, corn or soy,  artificial colors or flavors. 

Probiotics

Before last year I had never heard of giving pets probiotics.  But when Icy got sick with a really bad stomach upset the Veterinarian gave her antibiotics.  He prescribed a probiotic along with it because he said that antibiotics can upset the balance of the "good"  bacteria in the digestive tract and that a Probiotic would put back the good bacteria that could be compromised by antibiotics.  

Probiotics are living microorganisms similar to the “good” bacteria naturally found in your dog’s digestive tract.  Antibiotics and other drugs can upset the balance of “good” bacteria in your dog’s intestines.  It can also be upset by emotional or physical stress, or eating strange foods or items they're not supposed to eat.


Healthy pets.  Products that can help your dog or cat stay healthy.  Dogs, Cats, Pet health
A Probiotic can help keep the balance of good & bad bacteria in your pet's digestive tract
The digestive tract is the largest immune organ in a dog or cat's body.  A healthy balance of good bacteria is important to help keep their immune system strong and prevent infection and diseases.

Only Natural Pet Dog and Cat Probiotic Blend Tablets support a healthy digestive tract in your cat or dog. They're also recommended for pets with food sensitivities or gastrointestinal irregularity. 


According to an article written by Dr. Marty Becker in VetStreet, the three supplements I talked about above can be especially beneficial for aging dogs.   "Talk with your veterinarian about what your pet does and doesn’t need, because individual care is important. But in general, here are the three supplements I find myself recommending often to my patients.."  In the article Dr. Becker proceeded to discuss the benefits of these three supplements; Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) Omega-3 and Omega-6,  Glucosamine with Chondroitin Sulfate, and Probiotics.

Before giving any supplements to your dog or cat, have a conversation with your Veterinarian to make sure s/he agrees with starting your pet on the supplement(s) you are considering.  

It goes without saying that any supplements you want to give your pet should be purchased from a reputable company.  If you're purchasing online, make sure you know something about the company and that they are ethical and reputable.  


PET INSURANCE


Veterinary bills can be expensive!  Regular Vet exams can be costly, but when an unexpected injury or illness comes up it can be catastrophic.  What if your dog or cat needs expensive Veterinary care to pay for a serious injury or illness, but you can't afford to pay for it?  That's when Pet Insurance can be a big benefit.  

Not all Pet Insurance is the same.  Some plans require you to use Veterinarians from their list of participating Vets, which may require switching to a new Veterinarian. Many pet parents don't want to do that.

Pet Insurance makes a great gift for a pet owner.  Just make sure to research what the plan covers, they are all different.  Dogs, Cats, Pets, Pet health, Gifts for dog owners
Pet Insurance can be a great gift - it's the gift of  Peace of Mind
Not all plans cover every injury and illness.  They don't all offer the same coverage either, and many don't cover pre-existing conditions.  PETMD has a few good articles on Pet Insurance, like this one No Shortcuts To Buying Pet insurance.

When Icy was a puppy I won a year's worth of Pet Insurance at a fundraiser.  It wasn't the most exciting prize in the contest but it seemed like a very useful prize.  The thing that really disappointed me was that using it would have required me to leave a Veterinarian we loved, which I wasn't willing to do.  Unfortunately, it was pretty much a waste for me simply because of that one requirement.

Peace of mind knowing you could pay for expensive critical Veterinary care if needed is a great gift!  Just be sure to do some research before you select a company and a plan.


PET FIRST AID KIT


One of the things I can't do without both at home and when traveling with our dogs is a Pet First Aid Kit.  I have given First Aid Kits as gifts to a few of my friends and it's always a big hit. It seems to be something many pet parents don't buy for themselves until they experience a first aid emergency.  If I had a dollar for every time my dogs have gotten injured or sick and needed the first aid kit, I'd be rich!   

I always tell people about the time we were traveling through New Mexico and my dog Icy cut her paw open on broken glass on her last potty break of the day - at 11pm.  No Veterinarian's were available.  Our first aid kit was a life saver! I used the Hydrogen Peroxide to clean the wound, applied antibiotic ointment, and bandaged her paw to help slow the bleeding and keep it clean.  It was so scary, paw pads bleed a lot more than I expected!


I love Kurgo, we have used so many of their products for years!  I recently found this wonderful Pet First Aid Kit on PetSmart's web site. It has everything you need to administer first aid for your pet.  It's great to have for those just-in-case emergencies at home, or out on adventures with your pet.   Believe me, a comprehensive Pet First Aid Kit is a gift that would be much appreciated by any pet parent. 

Kurgo's stylish and functional 50 piece pet first aid kit folds up to fit into backpacks, glove compartments and more, and includes a guide with instructions on how to assist your pet with most medical emergencies.  Hook closure also acts as bottle opener and allows kit to be hung on a tree or door.


PET DENTAL HEALTH


According to PETMD, around 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease.  It's the most common health problem effecting dogs.

Pet oral health is an important part of a dog's overall health.  Dental cleanings can cost hundreds of dollars and more depending on how many teeth may need to be extracted. The procedure also requires your pet to be put under anesthesia.



Clean dogs teeth & freshen breath with a Toothpaste and Brush Set for dogs 


There are a lot of inexpensive pet oral care products you can use at home to help keep pets' teeth clean and healthy.  There are pet toothbrushes and toothpaste - you should never use human toothpaste on pets! There are also products you can add to their drinking water that help prevent plaque & tartar buildup if you can't brush your pet's teeth.


Zymox Oratene pet oral care products.
A cute gift basket or gift box with a toothpaste & brush set for dogs, a bottle of pet Brushless Oral Care Water Additive and some dental chews would make a fun "Teeth Are Always In Style" - Dr. Seuss,  gift!


GIFT CERTIFICATE TO AN ONLINE PET PHARMACY


Let's face it pet medications are expensive!  Whether it's medication for a pet's medical condition like diabetes, or preventative medications like heartworm prevention or flea & tick control, those costs add up!

A great gift idea for pets would be a gift card to an online Pet Pharmacy like 1800 Pet Meds or Drs Foster and Smith.  It can really save a pet parent some money.  Find out which pharmacy they use and get them a gift certificate!  If you plan to choose the online pharmacy yourself, make sure you research and find one that is reputable!

If they don't use prescription medications for their pet, a PetSmart Gift Card is always a welcome gift!  They have a broad selection of non-prescription pharmacy items.


PetSmart



THE GIFT OF GOOD HEALTH IS A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING!  

While you're gifting everyone else, Treat Yourself to something fun, you deserve it!  At my new RedBubble Store, you'll find clothing and other items that celebrate the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE of dogs.  This beautiful, unique design was created especially for Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them by Brooklyn artist Mendydraws




Visit my RedBubble Store to find t-shirts, Hoodies, Bags, Phone/Laptop cases and more with our unique Unconditional Love of dogs design!

Do you think you would enjoy receiving a gift of Good Health as a gift for your pet?  Which of the products mentioned do you think might be the most useful pet health gift for your pets?  Tell us in the comments!

DISCLAIMERI am not a Veterinarian or Vet Tech, nor do I play one online!  I only share pet health & safety information based on my own research, conversations with my dogs Veterinarian, or experience with my own pets or foster pets.

Bad Dogs At Christmas

BAD DOGS AT CHRISTMAS

I WROTE A LETTER TO SANTA TELLING HIM TO PUT MY SISTER PHOEBE ON THE NAUGHTY LIST.  I TOLD HIM SHE RIPPED UP THE COMFORTER IN THE GUEST ROOM - BUT REALLY I'M THE OLD WHO DID IT.


PLEASE DON'T RAT ME OUT!  I CAN'T GET ON THE NAUGHT LIST AGAIN - I'VE ALREADY GOT ENOUGH LUMPS OF COAL TO MAKE A SMALL MOUNTAIN.

Are your pets on Santa's Naughty or Nice list this year?  Tell us in the comments!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FRIENDS!!  COME JOIN US ON THE BLOGPAWS WORDLESS WEDNESDAY BLOG HOP!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Dog Friendly New England town Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I love quaint New England towns, especially around the holidays.  They always decorate so beautifully, it makes me think of a Charles Dickens story.  Portsmouth, New Hampshire is no exception!  It is a quaint and wonderful New England town, and it's dog friendly!

Dog Friendly Portsmouth New Hampshire is a great New England getaway.  Bring the dogs along for a fun holiday!
With Icy and Phoebe on the water-front in Portsmouth, NH along the Piscataqua River
People are often confused as to what "New England" actually is.  New England doesn't refer to any one state in the U.S., it is actually an area of the Northeastern United States that's comprised of 6 different states; Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.  New England is well known for it's historic past, it's quaint old world look and feel, and it's many shipping ports.

Dog friendly New England town, Portsmouth New Hampshire.  Great getaway with the dogs!  Pet travel, Pet friendly, Travel with dogs
The town square, known as Market Square in downtown Portsmouth.  I love all the unique shops and restaurants in this area!
The New England region was one of the first English settlements in America after the Pilgrims arrived in 1620.  These early settlers came first in search of religious freedom, and evolved to have ambitions of independence from the British Crown of England.  

America's Declaration of Independence was eventually signed in 1776 in Pennsylvania, which is not part of New England.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence came from New England states, as well as Pennsylvania and other states.  They all gathered at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the signing.

One of the things I love about New Hampshire is their state motto, celebrating the spirit of freedom:  LIVE FREE OR DIE  You'll see this motto all around New Hampshire on their license plates, on t-shirts, and on merchandise of all kinds.  The full original saying was "Live Free Or Die: Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils" coined by American Revolutionary War General, John Stark.   You can read more about the origin of this motto in a Wikipedia post on Live Free Or Die.

Of course, our favorite part of the trip was finding dog friendly parks and shops to visit!  At first I was getting worried. As we walked through town looking for a park to take the dogs to, we passed a seriously UN-friendly park with No Dogs Allowed signs like every 3 feet!  I thought, Oh great, another town that hates dogs.  I should have had more faith....

Just a little further was a fabulous dog friendly park called Haven Park!  You can even let your dog off leash as long as they remain under "voice control" at all times.  It's a good size park, perfect for a romp with the dog.  It overlooks a lovely lake, too.  There is also a secured dog park on the other side of the road behind a kids playground if you prefer a secure off leash park.

The lake that runs in front of dog friendly Haven Park
Haven Park, a Dog friendly park in Portsmouth New Hampshire.  Dog friendly New England town, Dog friendly parks, dogs allowed
Icy standing near a Statue in dog friendly Haven park
How fitting that this park is located on a street called Pleasant Street.  'Cause it's always so pleasant when you come upon a dog friendly park when visiting a new place, isn't it?!

Even Better than Haven Park though, was our walk across the WWI Memorial Bridge into Kittery, Maine!  In downtown Portsmouth the memorial bridge crosses over right into the state of Maine - how cool is that?  Just a walk across a bridge and you're in the next state.  The best part was that we could bring the dogs with us as we walked across the bridge, so we had to take a side trip to Maine!  

The bridge crossing was a great walk with the dogs.  It was great exercise for all of us and the view was terrific.  To our delight, on the other side was John Paul Jones memorial park, which allows dogs.  It's a small park, but we loved walking around in it and taking photos with the dogs.  The park honors American Revolutionary War Naval Hero, John Paul Jones.   The sculpture depicts John Paul Jones and commemorates the site near where the U.S.S. Ranger was build and launched in 1777.

John Paul Jones memorial in Kittery Maine is in a dog friendly park.  Dogs welcome
A beautiful monument in John Paul Jones park, located just past the bridge on the Maine side of the bridge in Kittery. 
We stopped at the foot of the bridge, on the Maine side, to have some coffee & hot chocolate at a wonderful little cafe called Kate's Bakery & Cafe.  They had some tables in the back overlooking the Piscataqua river, which was perfect for us and the dogs.  We really enjoyed our little journey into Maine!

Phoebe posing on the flip side of the memorial in John Paul Jones Memorial Park, Kittery, Maine.  This crest depicts Maine's Coat of Arms. The arms shows a Shield, Pine Tree, and a Moose-Deer at the foot of it.
OK, ready for New England quaintness overload?   The streets of Portsmouth have lots of brick and cobblestone walkways that run past unique and wonderful shops and restaurants.  I loved popping in and out of all the wonderful shops - I love to shop for unique items!


Portsmouth New Hampshire is a quaint New England town that is very dog friendly.  Several Dog friendly shops allow dogs inside.  Haven Park is a dog friendly park on Pleasant St.
I loved exploring all the unique little shops around Portsmouth
Every shop has beautiful holiday decorations both inside and out.  Window boxes, flower pots, and urns are filled with holiday greenery and/or lights.  It's so festive!!

Lovely Holiday decorations at quaint shops in Portsmouth New Hampshire

I had to photograph a couple of these store decorations, they were just so pretty.  There are lots of white birch trees in that area and many people incorporated birch tree branches in their decorating.  It looks gorgeous.

Shops in Portsmouth, NH decorate beautifully for the holidays

There are a lot of great places to eat around downtown Portsmouth.  We loved breakfast at the hip, funky eatery, The Friendly Toast.   It's such a cool place & the food was great.


The Friendly Toast in Portsmouth New Hampshire is a funky, hip restaurant w/ great food!
The Friendly Toast, a hip funky restaurant in downtown Portsmouth, NH

For a more traditional looking restaurant we loved the British Beer Company.  It has a wonderful traditional look and feel and great food!  I had a delicious Beef Wellington, one of my faves.

The British Beer Company is a traditional restaurant & pub with great food!  Try the Beef Wellington, delish!
The British Beer Company restaurant in Portsmouth, NH
In the center of any quaint New England town there must be a church with a beautiful tall steeple!  North Church is a historic church located in Market Square in downtown Portsmouth.

Beautiful, historic North Church in Portsmouth New Hampshire.  Quaint New England town
The holiday tree in Market Square, Portsmouth NH.  You can see North Church in the background.
Below is North Church lit up.  It's really beautiful, especially at night.  We were disappointed we couldn't see the inside, the doors were locked at the time.

North Church, lit up at night in downtown Portsmouth New Hampshire, New England USA

With or without pets, Portsmouth New Hampshire is a great getaway!  We really had fun and will definitely go back to visit soon.

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably enjoy this one too: Looking For Pet Friendly Vacation Spots?

Have you ever been to Portsmouth NH?  Tell us about it in the comments, you know how much we LOVE hearing from you!


Monday, December 4, 2017

Looking for Pet Friendly Holiday Vacation Spots?

Want to get away for the holidays?  We always love getting away right before Christmas, before all the holiday parties start and the house guests arrive.  Even if it's just a simple long weekend, it helps us recharge and get ready for the crowds and chaos that typically starts by the 15th of December.  It also gives us some fun alone time with our dogs!

Here are a few of my favorite pet friendly getaways for the holidays.

Historic, Educational, and Fun Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia


During the American Revolution, which lasted the from 1775 - 1783, ordinary citizens living in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia helped shaped our history.  At the heart of Colonial Williamsburg is the area known as The Revolutionary City, a historic and educational re-creation of life in Colonial Williamsburg during that volatile time in our history.  


Phoebe and I explored the Revolutionary City, a historic re-creation of life in Colonial Williamsburg during the American Revolution.
Colonial Williamsburg is one of my favorite holiday destinations in the Northeast.  History comes alive in a fun way in the Revolutionary City!

Christmas in this historic place is a beautiful sight.  The decorations are gorgeous, most of which have a traditional and natural theme.  One of the unique holiday decorations they are most known for are the beautiful, festive wreaths.  These handcrafted wreaths often feature shells, dried native plants, and fruits such as pineapple, apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks and dried quinces.  I'm getting hungry writing this!  

These ingredients may not sound spectacular when fashioned into a holiday wreath, but I can assure you these wreaths are a sight to behold!  The artisans that create them are so talented and resourceful. Every wreath is totally unique.  Take a look at some of the images here in this Pinterest Link that includes Colonial Williamsburg Wreaths.  You can even buy one as you stroll through the city's re-creation of late 1700's life.


Colonial Williamsburg was named Best Town in America for Christmas Celebrations by Architectural Digest!

The Revolutionary City looks and feels so authentic.  American “Colonists” not only dress in period costume, they wander the town in full character, re-enacting scenes of daily life during the period of America's Revolution.  You may see someone standing on a crate in the middle of the city, pontificating about the issues of the day.  They will often engage with tourists in 1700’s conversation as well!  


One gentlemen approached us, eyeing our Siberian Husky, Icy, curiously. That’s a fine looking animal you have there, sir!” and proceeded to make us an offer to purchase her for 100 quid!  We had some fun banter with him, explaining that our precious FurKid was NOT for sale, not even for a million quid!  

When I visit historic towns, one of my favorite things to do is take guided tours.  Colonial Williamsburg has quite a few tours, one of them being a Tavern Ghost Walk.  The last time we were there, a small group of us met late in the evening for a guided Ghost Walk tour.  We gathered in front of a historic tavern to begin the tour.  Our guide fascinated us with bizarre ghost stories, where people have sworn they’ve seen and heard ghosts that still haunt the old buildings.  It turns out the historic Revolutionary City, with many of it’s original buildings still in tact, has quite a haunted past!  


Icy got chummy with this statue of a 1770's Colonial Williamsburg man!
It was wonderfully eerie as we walked thru the dark streets of the Revolutionary City by candlelight, while our guide recounted fascinating ghost stories. I highly recommend going on a Ghost Walk!  

If you're not up for ghost hunting by candlelight, there is lots more to do within the Revolutionary City.  There are guided historic walks, decoration walks, and workshops you can attend.  You can take an enchanting carriage ride through the City as well.  There are several historic taverns to dine in and a cheese shop we loved! 


It's a great trip.  It's historic, educational, and FUN!  There are a couple of pet friendly hotels within the Revolutionary City.  Dogs can stroll around the city with you and grab a bite to eat at the cheese shop - their outdoor patio is dog friendly.  Dogs are not allowed inside most of the places especially since most are historic.


Christmas In New York City Is Spectacular!


What can I say about New York City during the holidays?!  It is truly spectacular, pretty much everywhere you go in the city.  

The most popular sites are the amazing holiday window decorations at Macy's, Sak's, Lord & Taylor, and other famous retailers.  And of course THE Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  The massive tree with ice skaters and the festively decorated plaza surrounding it is a sight to behold.  There's a reason why the sights of NYC at Christmas time appears so frequently in movies and TV shows!


The most popular things to do in the city during the holidays are gazing at all the decorations of course, seeing the Rockettes, attending a Broadway show, and visiting  Central Park (but NOT after dark, please!)  Take a photo with your dog at the famous Balto statue in Central Park.




Believe it or not, New York City is very dog friendly!  You wouldn't think so with all the crowds, traffic and expensive stores, but NYC actually loves dogs.  They can't accompany you to a Broadway show, but there are lots of pet friendly hotels and stores all around the city.  And Central Park is like a giant amusement park for dogs!  Don't be afraid to take your pet along with you on a holiday trip to New York City, just be careful of massive holiday crowds, like in Rockefeller Center.  Bring along a stroller for smaller dogs or carry your dog in these areas.  Be mindful of your dog's tolerance for crowds and decide whether to bring the dog along or not! 


Santa Loves The Southwest too, Especially Sedona, Arizona!


I say this a lot and it's true, Arizona is the most dog friendly place I've ever been to!  We lived in Phoenix for nearly 10 years and during that time we visited Sedona often.  They don't do it up too much for the holidays, their decorating is a lot more subtle than New York City or Phoenix.  Sedona is all about the natural beauty of their stunning red rock region, and they don't like anything to take away from that.


Icy on one of the many beautiful dog friendly hiking trails in Sedona, AZ
It's still a wonderful place to visit during the holidays.  It doesn't get swamped with people and there isn't any "hype".   The weather is great in December, you can hike endlessly on hundreds of miles of dog friendly hiking trails and stop for lunch at an outdoor dog friendly cafe!  You can take a Jeep tour or rent a Jeep yourself and go exploring in the desert.  Some of the Jeep companies will allow your dog to accompany you!

You can get some holiday shopping done too, finding lots of unique gift items to bring home.  I absolutely love the little candle shop in town, where they craft beautiful unique candles, many in elaborate shapes and styles.  There are a lot of terrific art galleries in Sedona as well.  The Tlaquepaque (pronounced Ta-Lok-A-Pok) arts & crafts village has lots of unique specialty shops and a few art galleries.  It's a dog friendly village with several outdoor places to eat that welcome dogs on the patio.

From the slopes to the seaport, New Hampshire is a Winter Wonderland


We love New England, and New Hampshire is one of the prettiest places to visit pretty much any time of the year.  There are so many quaint little towns all up and down the New England coastline, most are decorated beautifully for the holidays.  


Dog friendly hiking trail in the Waterville Valley ski resort area, New Hampshire
There are quite a few places to ski or snowboard in New Hampshire, mainly in the White Mountain region.  You can stroll through quaint villages with your dog or hike along many dog friendly trails.  

We loved the dog friendly cross country ski trail in the Waterville Valley ski resort.  Bring Fido has a great list of dog friendly hiking trails in NH.


Well, there you have it, some of my favorite places to spend time with our dogs at Christmas time!  I hope you enjoyed reading about these dog friendly places.


Do you like to take a little downtime for yourself and your pets during the holidays?  Tell us about it in the comments, we Love hearing from you!