Archive for the ‘horses’ Category

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14 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Hiking with your dog, Blydenburgh

The next park in our series of dog friendly parks throughout LI, as part of the 250 Challenge, we bring you Blydenburgh County Park in Hauppauge.  While many people may have heard of this park or past by it on their way to Suffolk County office buildings – most have yet to venture into the park itself.  This is one of my favorite places to take my dog for a good 6 – 7-mile hike through the woods.  The full hike around Stump Pond takes about 2 or 2.5 hours depending on which path you take and where you entered the park.  There are skinny, very hilly trails right along side the “pond” for a large part of the hike or a wider less hilly trail that is quite sandy due to the horses that frequent the park on a daily basis. Long Island is still horse country, if you didn’t know!   Recently we hiked there on a busy Saturday and I think we passed maybe 3 or 4 other people with dogs, on leashes, at most.  The reason the trails are not over run with dogs, like some of the other Suffolk County Parks is because of the large enclosed dog run that is there.

A few years ago the Long Island Dog Owners Group (LI-Dog) lobbied to get more dog runs built on Suffolk County land, and one of those great dog runs is located right inside of Blydenburgh Park.  In my opinion this has made a huge difference of a lot less off leash dogs running in the trails (and safer for horses, hikers and dog walkers alike).  Now the vast majority of people that want their dogs to run off leash go into the dog run.  It is a nice size too and there is a large dog and small dog area separated by fences.  There is also a water pump near by and open bathrooms too.  (The bathrooms by the row boats are not open until Memorial Day weekend I believe).  I was pleasantly surprised to learn from many dog owners at the dog run that they have had really nice experiences, and come back often to it.  When I stopped by there must have been like 50+ dogs in there, but it’s large enough that there is plenty of room for the dogs to run around and it didn’t look crowded.  (As a quick tip, you should always watch your dog’s body language and make sure he is having fun and not feeling overwhelmed by other dogs in the dog run.)

So if you are looking for a gem of a place to hike with your dog or to meet other dog owners Blydenburgh is the spot – centrally located on Long Island and very easy to get to. Why not try a different park to walk your dog, he will thank you!  You should bring with you water for you and your dog while hiking and be sure to check for ticks afterwards.  For directions and more information about Blydenburgh click here.  See below for pictures.

Max is a veteran hiker at Blydenburgh - on one of the many little bridges on the trail.

Horses walking by the Grist Mill.

Dog run

Coco enjoying her first hike at Blydenburgh

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09 Mar 11

Parades & Pets ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Top of the mornin’ to you – St. Patrick’s Day is upon on us – that means lots of wearin’ of the green, parades all across the Island and fun dog costumes. Wait, what? That’s right many dogs, cats and horses will be sporting the green in honor of the festive Irish season. This looks adorable and fun, but might not be so much fun for the pet. Make sure if you are heading out to Montauk on the 20th for the big St. Patty’s Day parade that: 1.) your pet doesn’t mind wearing clothing, bandana, sunglasses, etc. (some pets are not happy with clothing, don’t force it); 2.) that your pet has proper ID with both your home and mobile number on it and is attached to their collar; and 3.) that your pet is well behaved, and has been around large, very noisy crowds before; 4) and use a proper 6-foot leash (leather or cotton is best) to bring you dog with to the parade.

Parades are a lot of fun for us, but our four legged friends may not enjoy the experience at all. If you have never brought your dog before, maybe for safety’s sake, yours, your pets, and the crowd’s – leave that pup home. Dogs that are well adjusted, trained, and socialized may and can do just fine, but people tend to bring their dogs that aren’t or have never been exposed to what a parade can bring. Dogs can easily get frightened from bag pipes, fire truck sirens, drum core, people petting the dog without asking and could snap someone or some child, slip away and could get lost.  (I have personally seen dogs completely freaking out and squirming in their owner’s arms at parades.)

With a parade almost every weekend for St. Patty’s Day across Long Island, if you insist on bringing your pet, pay attention to them. If you dog seems terrified or is pulling away, stay back from the crowd, or better yet, bring him home. Dog’s ears are more sensitive than human ears, so a blaring fire truck could send him running for the hills, or make the dog just plain uncomfortable. So enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day and think about leaving Buddy at home.

I had a Doberman that I brought with me almost everywhere, and she was well behaved and didn’t mind, crowds or noise, kids petting her, etc. at a parade (and happened to love, love, love horses!). But I always watched her body language and paid attention to her behavior while there. If she seemed off or uneasy (which was very rare for her being a well adjusted dog and not to mention Doberman), we left. The dog I have now is way too much of a scardy cat, and I would never subject him to the noise, crowds and other people’s unruly dogs.  So I can enjoy the parade and festivities and he stays home and sleeps!

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23 Dec 10

Don’t forget the Pets! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Don’t forget the Pets!

With barely a day left to shop for Christmas, don’t forget gifts for the pets or pet lovers in your life.  Going to a Holiday party to someone’s house that has a cat, dog or bird?  Instead of the dreaded fruitcake or another needless dessert, bring the hostess a gift that is for their pet.  Giving a pet owner a fabulous pet product for their beloved pet will go a long way, they will remember that probably more than another sweater!  So with that said, here are some suggestions for you to go out and get today for that pet owner you have absolutely no idea what to get.

If you know what their favorite local pet store is or who their groomer is – why not get them a gift certificate.  Or if you know they will appreciate a donation made in their name to a local non-for-profit animal rescue, you will be giving more than one present that way.  Some great pet non-for-profits here on Long Island are:

Amaryllis Horse Farm; Kent Animal Shelter; Long Island Parrot Society; Long Island Dog Owners Group; Pet Safe Coalition; Shelter Link; The Shelter Connection and one close to my heart is, Special Needs Dobermans, not based on LI, but have helped many Dobermans on our Island over the years.

Did a loved one adopt a new dog or puppy recently?  Maybe that pup needs some training, or in most cases the owners need the training – get them a gift certificate for a dog trainer or dog training school to help them with their new dog. Long Island is lucky to have some fantastic trainers, so really there is no excuse for a bad dog owner!  You can also let them know about a free dog training and education class the Town of Islip offers once a month to all residents on LI.

Some fail safe pet products that any pet owner will love are: Organic or holistic treats for their dog, cat or bird.  A new pet bed – try to find a bed that will match or compliment the owner’s house.  Set up a photo session with a professional pet photographer to capture precious moments of one’s pets.  Or frame a picture you have taken of their pet in a beautiful frame that they will be proud to display.  Quality products that are a must have for any dog owner are:

The Furminator is a great product for de-shedding your pet, keeping his coat healthy and tangle free – especially in between a grooming appointment.  Furminator also has a new short hair deshedder which is designed for dogs with hair length of 2-inches or shorter.  Works great on my Pit Bull, and he loves, loves, loves to be “furminated.”  The Kong toy is a classic for any dog owner.  The Kong comes in different sizes and toughness based on the chew power of your dog or puppy.  It is a wonderful product to keep your dog active, mentally stimulated and busy.  Both products can be easily found at local pet shops.  Or if you have a dog walker or trainer you are looking to get a great gift for, check out this reflective cap made by WalkMeWear™ for anyone out walking their dog in low or no light.

Don’t forget to shop at smaller pet mom & pop type pet stores you will get much better customer service, better prices and have knowledgeable staff and/or owners at the store to help guide you.  Pets are our family members, and while they may not “know” it’s the Holiday’s, they do know when they are getting something just for them!  So don’t forget the pet owners in your life and get them a nice gift for their beloved pet.  Happy Holidays!

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27 Oct 10

Halloween Safety Tips (Pets!) ...

by Pamela Fitzpatrick, of YourDogWalkers,

Halloween Safety Tips for your Pets!

Halloween is only a few days away and with pet costume parades, parties and trick-or-treating happening across Long Island many people want to include their pets in the fun. People often take their dogs along when trick or treating with their children, and those doggie costumes sure are cute! Here are some things that can help keep your pets safe when October 31 rolls around.


Halloween can be a wonderful time spent with our pets, many people will adorn their dog, cat, goat or horse in costumes – but keep in mind not all pets like to wear clothes.  If you decide to dress up your pet please make sure it’s not too stressful for them. Some animals are fine with costumes, but it can be a great source of anxiety for others.   Just like their human counterparts, pet costumes should be properly sized, and non-constricting. Check for vision obstructions, and buttons, strings or ties that could create a choking or strangulation hazard.  Remove the costume if your pet is unattended.  A tip to help your pet get accustomed to wearing a costume is have them wear it in the house for a little while each day while supervised, to get used to it.  If your pet absolutely refuses, fights you, tries to “rub off” the clothing – then a costume is not for your pet.  Never force your pet to wear a costume!


Since Halloween is on a Sunday this year, there are more likely to be more trick-or-treaters ringing your door bell and a lot more activity in your neighborhoods.  Some pets do great and don’t seem to mind, but others can be very nervous or frightened with the constant knocking, door bells going off, strangers in costume, etc.  It’s probably best to keep your dog and cat away from your front door when the neighborhood children come to call. Dogs and cats are often frightened by all the commotion. A more adventurous pet might see the open door as an opportunity to bolt. Just in case, make sure your pet has proper identification on at all times. There’s always the possibility that a dog could view costumed visitors as a threat, (even someone they know) so don’t take any chances. Never leave your pet outside on Halloween. They could easily be harmed or stolen. Black cats are particularly at risk this time of year. Also if you don’t normally you’re your pet, don’t make Halloween a day to do so, costumes and screaming kids could definitely make it an unpleasant experience.  Finally, make sure you pet doesn’t eat any of the trick-or-treat candies – many ingredients are toxic to dogs and cats.

Holiday Decorations

Candles create a spooky ambiance, but they are easily knocked over by pets (and kids!). Consider using battery operated candles, which flicker realistically and are worry free. Always keep spider webbing, balloons, and other decorations out of your pets reach.

With a little planning, you can have a safe and fun day that includes the four-legged members of your family. Happy Halloween!

03 Oct 10

by Nancy E. Hassel,

We all hear about Spring Fever, but for many animals and pets, Fall Fever is much more appropriate.  After this long and very hot summer we have had, the cool weather is a welcome break for us humans; you can only imagine how much our four legged friends in their fur coats are loving it.  Many pets may be much calmer or less hyper when it is really hot outside and prefer the air conditioning inside.  My own dog goes through some serious ‘fall fever’ this time of year, he just can’t get enough of the cool weather.  So if you are new to pet ownership, or got a pet over the summer and don’t understand why your pet may be suddenly acting ‘crazy’ – or just has a lot more pep – the change in the season could very well be why. 

Keep in mind while our schedules may get more sedentary due to less sunlight during the day, some pets tend to have more energy.  As a pet owner realizing this is the first step in the right direction to keeping your pet happy during this change of season.  Pets feeling the relief of the cooler weather may need longer play time, for a dog it could be a longer walk or a longer ride if you own a horse. Also understand sometimes their internal clock could change with the seasons.  My own dog likes to eat earlier during the cooler months, more like an early bird special for him in the late fall and throughout the winter – and this happens literally the day we turn the clocks back. 

While it starts to get dark out earlier, here are some things to consider for pet and owner safety:

  • Make sure you dog and cat both have proper ID tags on their collars and think about investing in a reflective collar for your pet for night time walking.  Also make sure the collar is on correctly.  For owners reflective gear is important too, as many streets don’t have adequate lighting or may not have sidewalks, a great choice is the Walk Me Wear Reflective Cap created by a local Long Islander and made in the USA.
  • Don’t use retractable leashes at night.  The fact that you will not really be able to see how far your pet has ventured out on the leash in the dark – a car is definitely not going to see that line in the dark.  Always use a sturdy leather or cotton 6-foot leash.  If you are in a really dark area, bring a flashlight with you so you can see where you are walking and where your pet is. (Or if there are any wild animals, raccoons, deer, opossum, wandering around).  Check your pets paws when you get back inside – you never know if there is broken glass or anything else they may have stepped on in the dark that could be harmful.  
  • Have a pet first aid kit at home and in your car.  This way if your pet suffers from a minor scrap or cut due to exuberant play, you can tend to it immediately.  A pet first aid kit in your car is especially important if you decide to take your pet on a leaf peeping hike, maybe in a new location where you don’t know they terrain all that well.

Most of all take advantage of the cooler weather to take your pet out for a longer walk – because before you know we will have snow on the ground!