Dear Dr. Sandy

Dear Dr. Sandy

I’m planning to travel to Ojai with my dog, who is roughly the same size as you. Do you know of any pet-friendly restaurants? Also, where can I stay with my dog?

— Traveling from Toronto

A good rule of thumb is this: If a restaurant has a patio area, and there is an exterior entrance to the patio (meaning, you don’t have to walk through the restaurant or café to get to it), in most cases, you’re golden.

But I’d like to add that I live in Ojai, and beyond tolerating my presence, many businesses there welcome me with a smile, a pat and a bowl of water (which is most welcome this time of year in Ojai).

Nancy Brough, owner of Aardvark to Zebra’s Pet Sitting Service who is actively campaigning to establish a dog park in Ojai, agrees.

“Every place that has an outdoor seating area is dog-friendly around here,” she says. She specifically recommends the new Oak Tree Bakery (469 E. Ojai Ave.), which has exemplary pastries (actually, I can vouch for them as well) and a nice courtyard along the town’s main drag, and Mmm’ La La Mexican fusion restaurant (585 El Roblar Dr.), and organic market and café, Farmer and the Cook (339 W. El Roblar Dr.), both in Meiners Oaks.

Los Caporales (307 E. Ojai Ave, No. 105) is a fabulous Guatemalan restaurant (with, I hear, an exhaustive tequila bar). Patio sitting gives you a view of adjacent Libbey Park for a nice afternoon stroll. (Do not take your dog here and forego the stroll — that is a cruel, cruel tease.)

Up the road, toward Ventura, Sakura Ojai offers what I’m told is top-notch sushi and sashimi, and a large wooden patio out front where you can often see friendly pooches lounging.

As for where to stay, Brough has always had luck at the area’s famed Ojai Valley Inn (905 Country Club Rd.). For a $50 deposit, the hotel and spa will arrange a room for you and your pet, outfitted with a dog bed and treats. (The hotel asks only that you give a heads-up before arriving with Rover in tow.)

I’m planning to travel to Ojai with my dog, who is roughly the same size as you. Do you know of any pet-friendly restaurants? Also, where can I stay with my dog?

— Traveling from Toronto

A good rule of thumb is this: If a restaurant has a patio area, and there is an exterior entrance to the patio (meaning, you don’t have to walk through the restaurant or café to get to it), in most cases, you’re golden.

But I’d like to add that I live in Ojai, and beyond tolerating my presence, many businesses there welcome me with a smile, a pat and a bowl of water (which is most welcome this time of year in Ojai).

Nancy Brough, owner of Aardvark to Zebra’s Pet Sitting Service who is actively campaigning to establish a dog park in Ojai, agrees.

“Every place that has an outdoor seating area is dog-friendly around here,” she says. She specifically recommends the new Oak Tree Bakery (469 E. Ojai Ave.), which has exemplary pastries (actually, I can vouch for them as well) and a nice courtyard along the town’s main drag, and Mmm’ La La Mexican fusion restaurant (585 El Roblar Dr.), and organic market and café, Farmer and the Cook (339 W. El Roblar Dr.), both in Meiners Oaks.

Los Caporales (307 E. Ojai Ave, No. 105) is a fabulous Guatemalan restaurant (with, I hear, an exhaustive tequila bar). Patio sitting gives you a view of adjacent Libbey Park for a nice afternoon stroll. (Do not take your dog here and forego the stroll — that is a cruel, cruel tease.)

Up the road, toward Ventura, Sakura Ojai offers what I’m told is top-notch sushi and sashimi, and a large wooden patio out front where you can often see friendly pooches lounging.

As for where to stay, Brough has always had luck at the area’s famed Ojai Valley Inn (905 Country Club Rd.). For a $50 deposit, the hotel and spa will arrange a room for you and your pet, outfitted with a dog bed and treats. (The hotel asks only that you give a heads-up before arriving with Rover in tow.)

Dear Dr. Sandy

Dear Dr. Sandy

My dog has put on a lot of weight in the past few months. I worry about his health. What can I do to get him down to a normal weight range?

— Nervous in Newbury Park

Before subjecting your dog to any new regimen, be mindful of the age and health of the dog. If it is a simple case of bad diet and over-indulging in table scraps, first address food intake, says trainer Nina Bacon of Companion Dog Training in Oxnard.

“If they start gaining a little bit of weight … it’s more the human problem than the dog problem, because we love them. We have to break ourselves of [feeding them too much].”

With treats, switch from biscuits to vegetables. (She assures me that she knows a German shepherd who loves broccoli, and a Siberian husky with a fondness for carrots.)

In terms of activity, a daily walk or two probably won’t push your dog to weight loss: As with humans, some cardio work is required. An active owner can introduce her dog to jogs or bike rides, but remember to start slow and build up.

Bacon suggests first walking your bike and your dog simultaneously, to get the dog used to having the bike around. Next, she says, use your bike as you would a scooter and coast. When the dog becomes used to that and as long as he is properly heeling, get on the bike and pedal at a moderate speed.

But don’t overlook the simple joy of throwing the ball around with your dog or, if he’s social, taking him to a dog park, where he can run off a few pounds with his fellow pups.

So how do you tell if your dog is truly overweight?

Says Bacon, “A good rule of thumb is that if you run your hands down the side of your dog, and you don’t feel ribs, [he’s] too fat. You don’t want them to be protruding, but if you just press slightly, you [should] feel ribs. Also, as you look at them from above you should be able to see a nice sort of waist there. Their body should curve in at their waist right before their hips.”

Dear Dr. Sandy

Dear Dr. Sandy

Last week you discussed how to select the right breed of dog for an elderly person. How might I choose the right dog for my family? I have two young children.

— Looking to Adopt in Agoura

Jean Greek, veterinary dermatologist at C.A.R.E. Santa Barbara, has a ground rule about adopting.

“I personally am a huge advocate of going to the pound and picking a mixed breed dog,” she says, adding that there is too much inbreeding with purebred varieties.

Small dogs might not be the ideal choice, either, as they often suffer under the feet of overly enthusiastic toddlers. She recommends choosing a dog that is “at least 40 pounds or so.”

And don’t rush right out to get a dog as soon as your own child is old enough to walk, says Greek. “Your children ought to be old enough to understand to leave the dog alone.

“Labs and those crosses, retriever type dogs tend to be real tolerant of children,” she says, but be careful: A family has to have enough time and energy to devote to the dog’s activities.

“A lot of the hunting breeds, herding breeds, if they don’t get a lot of exercise they’re going to be destructive.”

So is there any safe choice?

Jolene Hoffman, director of the Humane Society of Ventura County, says a dog’s compatibility with children has a lot to do with how it was raised.

“I have a beautiful, 110-pound German shepherd, and he’s wonderful with my (baby) grandchildren,” she says.

As we mentioned last week, getting a little background is key. Talk to the people who have previously had the dog in their home, or ask for background information from the humane society or rescue center staff.

In addition to the local humane society, Greek recommends the Dog Adoption & Welfare Group (DAWG) of Santa Barbara, a rescue organization that takes back any adopted dog that does not work out with its new family (681-0561)

Dear Dr. Sandy

Dear Dr. Sandy

I want to get a dog for my mother, who is a healthy, mobile 74-year-old woman. However, I know that as she ages she may not always be in the best shape to take care of an active dog. What breeds do you suggest?

— Searching in Simi

I tend to think the Belgian malinois is the best breed for any occasion … but then, I am biased. So I turned to Karen Klingberg, K-9 Manager of the Search Dog Foundation in Ojai, who has extensive experience placing dogs in appropriate households.

She says that while “it’s a misconception that older people always should have small dogs,” in her observation, Lhasa apsos, Shih tzus, Pomeranians, Carin terriers, West Highland terriers and miniature schnauzers are generally good choices due to their less demanding exercise needs.

“Pomeranians are some busy little dogs, but they’re happy having a toy tossed across the floor,” while with golden retrievers (although their generally sweet dispositions recommend them for elderly households), “you’ve got to go outside and really chuck some toys for hours.”

Smaller lap dogs seem to mature faster, says Klingberg. “I do see a quicker maturity level at an earlier age.”

But there is an exception to every rule. While large, high-energy dogs are not always advisable pet choices for people in their slowing years, Klingberg has seen elderly couples get on well with older malamutes, for example.

So how do you judge?

Luckily, humane societies and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) already do initial temperament testing with dogs that come through their system, checking for aggression, how dogs react to being startled and how dogs behave around children.

But perhaps the safest bet, says Klingberg, is a nonprofit rescue facility, where dogs are placed in foster care until adoption. “That foster home can tell you everything about that dog and give in-depth insight into the dog and its behavior.”

Klingberg has worked with one such organization, the Animal Rescue Volunteers in Simi Valley, and recommends contacting them at 579-8047, or visiting www.arvsimi.org.

THIS WEEK’S DIGITAL EDITION

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

SUBSCRIBE

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUBMIT YOUR VENTURA COUNTY EVENT HERE.

You must be registered and logged in to post your events.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. WEEKLY SOUND BATH – THOUSAND OAKS

    June 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
  2. The Longest Day – Poker Night Benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association!

    June 21 @ 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm
  3. The Elite Theatre Company Presents: VANITIES

    June 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
  4. The Elite Theatre Company Presents: VANITIES

    June 22 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
  5. Summer Solstice Nature Hike on Pine Mountain

    June 23 @ 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
  6. The Elite Theatre Company Presents: VANITIES

    June 23 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
  7. Pop Up Art Gallery

    June 28 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  8. An Evening Celebrating Beavers Fun & Film/Bici Centro Santa Barbara

    June 28 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  9. The Elite Theatre Company Presents: VANITIES

    June 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
  10. Obi Kaufmann & The State of Water

    June 29 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Get hooked up!

Get hooked up!

Join our mailing list and get updates and other cool stuff.

You're in! Thanks!

Share This