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October is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month (giveaway ends 10/31/17)

 

I cannot imagine a life without pets. My earliest memories included pets (our dog Dutchess).

Over the course of my lifetime we’ve had dogs, cats, a horse, hamster, birds, fish and Hermit Crabs.

Almost all of our pets have been adopted. The only “purchased” pets were the horse, my sister’s dog (he was a purebred), and the other little critters. The rest of our pets have been adopted from local animal shelters – including a hamster we named Lucy.

I am a die hard animal lover. It pains me to see animals living our their lives “behind bars” in animal shelters across the country. In my heart I believe that all animals, big or small, deserve a “forever home” with a family that will love and care for them.

When my husband and I got married and I moved away from home I had to leave my pets behind. Our one cat had Diabetes and my parents knew we couldn’t afford her medications. Our other cat enjoyed being outside, and living where we do she wouldn’t be able to do that (it wouldn’t be safe).

It was torturous not having a pet in my life. To make up for that I would visit the local animal shelter at least once a week to socialize with the animals. That is where I met our first adopted cat (as a married couple). He was a HUGE gray cat that the shelter named “Pixie” for some odd reason (he was HUGE and he was a HE). When I opened the cage to pet him he leap into my arms! It was love at first site.

Pixie was an older cat (the shelter believed he was around 10 years old – we believe he was older). That didn’t matter. I told my husband about him and he told me we should go adopt him – and we did.

Pixie lived several years with us until he passed away.

When we still had Pixie we felt like maybe he’d want a friend, so we adopted another cat. He was a feral kitten that our neighbor had rescued. He’s the only cat we didn’t adopt from an animal shelter. We named him Velcro because that it what it sounded like when we peeled him off the furniture. LOL!

When Pixie died we adopted another kitten to keep Velcro company. Our kids named her Kitty.

Afterwards we adopted two more cats – Padmé and Anakin. We also adopted our beloved dog, Espn, from the same shelter. Sadly, we had to put Espn to sleep earlier this year. He had an incurable liver disease.

Our last adopted four-legged family member is our cat Bella. We were originally fostering her (we’ve had her since she was one day old!). After raising her for three months we knew we couldn’t just give her back to the shelter to be adopted out again, so we formally adopted her.

We feel like were were meant to adopt Bella. She has a lot of health issues ($$$$!!!!). We feel like if we had given her back to be adopted to someone else the new family might have put her down due to her health issues, or she would have remained in the shelter for her entire life, considered “adoptable” or “special needs.” No animal should live our its life in a shelter.

It’s hard to afford Bella’s doctor’s visits and medications, but we do what we can (scrimp, save and live by a budget). We’d do anything for her and our other “furbabies.” They mean the world to us.

October is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month. Our family firmly believes that you can find that special family member in your local animal shelter. There are so many pets to choose from! Big, small, young, old, mutt, purebred – even other animals (not dogs or cats). We’ve seen goats, rabbits, hamsters (we adopted our hamster from the shelter) and other creatures.

I love this article about why adopting a dog (rather than purchase from a pet store or breeder) – 8 Reasons why adopting a dog is a wonderful thing to do.

If you have the financial means to do so, please consider a special needs pet. What you’ll get back in love and affection makes the money you spend on medications and vet bills worth it. That is how we feel about our cat Bella. It just breaks my heart knowing that animals that might not be “perfect” or have some health issues are considered hard to adopt, or unadoptable. Why? They have feelings and can give so much love just as much as any other animal.

Please consider adopting an older animal too. They can give you just as much love and affection as a puppy/kitten. Not only that, they are already housebroken. If you prefer a more mellow dog or cat (compared to an overly active puppy or kitten) an older pet is the way to go.

Here is a great article on the benefits of adoption an older pet – Adopting a Senior Pet.

Due to recent weather catastrophes (Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey), MANY animal shelter in the affected areas are in dire need of not only supplies, but also people to foster (and ideally adopt) many animals. Even your local animal shelter needs supplies and volunteers.

I used to volunteer to take photos of the available animals for adoption for PetFinder.com at our local shelter. It was a lot of fun.

We also donate food, old blankets, towels, accessories and anything else we can think of.

I you need more ideas, check out this article – Giving to Your Local Pet Rescue.

In honor of Adopt a Shelter Pet Month I have a wonderful giveaway for a lucky reader. The winner will receive, compliments of Petcurean, the following;

  • 25lb bag (winner’s choice of which Petcurean brand/recipe) 
  • One bag of Spike treats

You can learn more about Petcurean foods at Petcurean.com. You can also find the brand on social media.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on October 31, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me about your adopted pet (past or present), or why you would (or would not) adopt a pet from a local shelter.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Petcurean to provide you with this information and giveaway. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. Petcurean will be providing the prize package. 

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Keep Your Companion Pets Comfortable This Winter

 

Winter is coming, and so is cold weather — something many cats often loathe but dogs love, thanks to the changing landscape the snow brings. But when the temperature drops, it can be outright dangerous for them if it’s too frigid. So what’s a pet parent to do? Keep them cozy, comfortable and prepared for the cold season. Here’s how you can get your furry friend ready for the frigid weather.

1. Protect the Paws

If you’ve ever taken your dog on a winter walk, then you know that icy weather can lead to icy feet. It’s worth checking the paws of your pets to make sure no toxic rock salt or ice is caught in it. You can opt for some comfortable booties to put on your pet’s feet to keep them safe and cozy when outdoors.

2. Opt for a Box or Bed

There’s no question that cats love to cozy up in a plain cardboard box. Opt for corrugated boxes, as they often provide more insulation and will give your furry friend more warmth.

Dogs usually prefer cozy beds and blankets. A pillow and warm blanket can do the trick, too. Some breeds, such as chihuahuas and dachshunds, love to bury themselves in warm blankets. Plus these scenes are great for cute pet photos for holiday cards.

3. Pack a Sweater

There’s always a great debate about whether or not a pet needs a sweater. But when the weather is cold outside, it’s actually something you want to consider. There are some breeds of dogs that are built for freezing weather, including Chow Chows and Alaskan huskies. But many dogs will need a sweater once the temperature drops below freezing. Putting a sweater on your cat might not be so easy, but if they let you, why not go for it?

4. Bring Your Pets Indoors

Whether you have a cat condo or a dog house, it’s a good idea to keep your pets indoors when the weather gets too cold. Unless your pet’s outdoor accommodations come with a heater or proper insulation, leaving them outdoors unsupervised can be a hazard to their health. Your pets could freeze if the temperature drops below freezing. Cats can get frostbite or hypothermia. Instead of taking a chance, you can just bring them indoors to keep them safe and comfortable.

5. Work on Winter Wellness

Cold weather can make some medical conditions worse, such as arthritis. It’s also tempting to forgo taking preventative measures when you think the pests, such as mosquitoes and fleas, are long gone. Sure, dog fleas and mosquitoes may not be as prominent in the winter months as in summer, but why take the chance of your dog coming in contact with the few that are still hanging around? Fleas can survive in temperatures as low as 37.4 degrees for weeks, and it’s not hard for mosquitoes to find a way into your home near a warm, sweaty heater or crawl space. That’s enough time for Fido to catch a case and come down with the “doggie blues” — just in the form of heartworms — and nobody wants that.

It’s a better plan to work on your pet’s winter wellness and continue taking preventative measures, such as giving your dogs heartworm medicine. Allivet offers a variety of discount pet medication options, including Heartgard Plus’ Chewable for Dogs heartworm medicine.

Final Thoughts

The harsh winter weather doesn’t have to stop your companion pet from having year-round fun. By using these tips, you can keep your furry friend comfortable and safe all winter long.

Our dog Espn enjoying the snow. We miss him so much!

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Managing your pet’s weight – healthy tips from Petcurean

 

Our obese cat Anakin who NEEDS to lose weight.

Are you concerned about your weight? Do you monitor what you eat and drink, and make sure to get plenty of exercise?

The diet industry is HUGE in this country. It seems like every day there is a new diet, or “miracle weight loss” product on the market.

People want to lose weight to not only look good, but to feel good too. Being overweight can also lead to health issues.

Sadly, many pet parents don’t think the same way about their pet’s weight.

Did you know that 22-44% of pets weigh more than their ideal body weight? Obesity can contribute to major health problems for your pet including diabetes in cats and decreasing the lifespan of your dog. I should know, we have a diabetic cat, Velcro. Velcro was once overweight. At one point he tipped the scales at almost 24 pounds. We didn’t intend for him to get that big. He just liked to eat and ate A LOT (too much!). He also liked human foods which we are guilty of feeding to him. We are paying the price for it now. Velcro has diabetes. His insulin is over $300+ per vial, syringes cost us about $40 every other month and there is no such thing as a “cheap” vet visit after all the blood test are done (his last visit for a regular check up cost us over $500+).

Velcro (orange) and Padmé (Gray) before Velcro developed Diabetes

Velcro now. He’s skinny and a “bag of bones.”

I wish we thought about this years ago. We just saw him as a happy, chubby cat. Little did we know the expense we’d incur from not being a thoughtful pet parent.

Did you know that the negative side effects of being overweight can start to appear within just a few weeks of the onset of obesity.

 

As pet parents, it’s our job to keep our furry family members not only happy, but healthy too.

If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, or want to ensure your pet doesn’t have a weight issue, check out these great tips from Petcurean on how to manage your pet’s weight.

Evaluate your pet’s current weight:

Weigh your pet at the vet’s office or with your home bathroom scale and check it against this Body Score chart to help you determine the current status of your pet’s weight.

Diet:

An important rule you should keep in mind when managing your pet’s weight is restricting treats and resisting the urge to give them table scraps. These items make it hard for you to regulate what your pet is eating. For dogs, you can feed them a weight loss recipe with reduced calories. This option allows your pup to eat the same volume of food they’re used to eating, but with less calories. Petcurean’s GO! Fit + Free makes a great diet feeding option with a protein-rich, lower carb recipe. Alternatively, you can simply cut back on the amount of food you’re currently feeding. To ensure your dog still feels full after these smaller meals, you can add canned pumpkin or green beans as a fiber-rich and healthy topper. Cats do the best on low carb canned recipes since the wet food not only promotes weight reduction, but also helps cats feel fuller. GO! Fit + Free also offers canned recipes for cats.

Physical activity:

Decreased food intake should be accompanied by increased physical activity. Track your pet’s weight through weekly weigh ins. A rapid decline in weight can be harmful to your pet. As you monitor their progress, continue to check them against the body score chart. That will tell you when your pet’s weight goals have been reached!

Managing your pet’s weight is an essential part of loving your furry friends. They don’t know when to stop eating or what not to eat. They don’t know that they need exercise. It’s up to us – their human parents – to do that for them.

Do what you can to help your pet lose weight and get healthy NOW before it’s too late. Trust me, I know from personal experience how expensive it is to have a pet with an obesity related health issue. If I could go back in time to change things I would.

If you are interested in learning more about Petcurean, or where to purchase their products, visit Petcurean.com. The brand is also found on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Petcurean to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Happy Pawloween: DIY Costumes for Pets

 

We all know exactly how special and unique our four-legged friends are. But there’s one day of the year when we really get to show off their personalities to the world: Halloween! Not only do you get to dress up–your pet can play along.

While there are off-the-shelf costume options for pets, they tend to be expensive in monetary terms and cheap when it comes to quality. Plus, there’s no better time than Halloween to get creative and customize the perfect get-up for your pup. Check out these ideas from Rover.com!

Impersonation

Best for: Pets who get antsy in a full-body costume

You’ll Need: Headband, felt, needle + thread

Ideas: Panda, Giraffe, Elephant, Koala, Pig

The simplest costume can also be incredibly fun! If you can’t imagine your dog allowing you to put a t-shirt on her, or you know your cat dislikes anything on her back, you can opt to make an animal-ear headband instead.

First, you’ll need to find an appropriately-sized headband that stays on your pet’s head. You can also use a strip of elastic cloth and sew it together to fit. Find a piece of felt the color of the animal’s ears you want to create. Fold it in half. Draw the shape of the animal ear, and cut it out keeping the fold on the bottom edge so that you have a doubled ear. Fold it over the headband. Next, add a smaller inset shape if appropriate, or smaller dots for the animal’s spots. Finally, use contrasting thread to stitch the ears onto place on the headband. And voilà! Your pet has been transformed.

Sidekick

Best for: A pet who goes everywhere with you

You’ll Need: Child’s t-shirt, iron-on decals

Ideas: Dorothy and Toto, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, Blue and Magenta

Got a famous couple in mind? Great–you’ve got a costume buddy! Pick up a child’s t-shirt that will fit your pet. Look for a color that represents the character well, or blends in with your pet’s fur if the character requires something less conspicuous. Next, iron on decals that let people know who the pet is. You could spell out the character’s name across the back of the shirt if you want to make things super-easy… or go for sparkly decorations, or something else that complements your costume. Let your costume do most of the talking: Choose a simple, central characteristic for the pet’s look. That way, when you’re seen together, it’s easy to guess who both of you are!

Our beloved dog Espn as a puppy (3 months old) dressed in a Build-a-Bear costume for Halloween.

One-of-a-Kind

Best for: An adventurous pet

You’ll need: Fabric, cardboard, and an imagination

Ideas: Stegosaurus, Pirate, Ballerina, Unicorn, Pumpkin

Some costumes just need one accessory to do the trick, like a tutu sized for your pup: Gather a few layers of tulle over an elastic band, size it to your pet, sew the band together, and secure the tulle with pins. Others can easily be made from fabric-covered cardboard, like a pirate’s eye patch and sword (secured around your pet with elastic). Want to get really fancy? Make a fabric bag sized to your pet, and sew stegosaurus spikes across the back! Use cardboard to keep them standing straight up, and make sure you’ve got enough leg holes.

When it comes to DIY, staying flexible and open to possibilities make a huge difference. Maybe you have your heart set on an elaborate look, but your pup simply tears off whatever you put on. Don’t worry! Try something simpler and easier. Remember, your pup is excited to spend time with you–the costume doesn’t have to be perfect.

Looking for more ideas and support? Rover.com is an amazing dog-lovers community where you can post all your DIY Pawloween pics, and make friends in the process!

About the Author:

Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

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Understanding the nutrition label on your pet’s food

 

Are you a label reader? Do you read the label on the things that you eat, drink and put in your body?

I’m a label reader. I have been every since I became a mom. As a young adult I honestly didn’t give much thought to the things I put in my body. I didn’t check the sodium, carbohydrates or how many grams of sugar was in the things I ate or drank. A lot of that has to do with why I’m overweight now.

When I became a mom I took the time to read and understand what was on the nutrition label of the foods and beverages I served my family. I wanted to make sure I fed them good, quality foods.

Are you a pet parent? I am. We currently have five cats and a ginormous Goldfish. We used to have a dog but we had to put him to sleep earlier this year.

Do you ever read the nutrition labels on your pet’s foods?

Admittedly I never did until our dog became sick (he had a fatal liver disease). I just assumed that pet foods were pretty much all the same. I honestly thought that you paid more for some food then others because of the brand name alone and not for the quality of the food it’s self.

Our beloved Espn before he got sick.

Was I ever WRONG. Not all pet foods are alike. There IS a notable difference between brands. And yes, the pricier foods ARE often better for your pet.

When our dog became sick I started to read and compare nutrition labels on a variety of pet foods. I compared the inexpensive grocery store brands to the super expensive foods sold at pet food stores. I DID notice a difference in not only the ingredients, but also how the food looked visually. Some of the less expensive foods looked like “slop” – stuff I wouldn’t even to a pig. Other foods looked so good that it would be appealing to people (although I would NEVER try it – that would be gross).

There are even suggested serving sizes listed on all pet foods. Many people don’t take those serving sizes into account, which is why there is a growing trend of obese dogs and cats. Two of our cats are obese, even though we try and watch what they eat (they must be sneaking food some how).

Our cat Anakin is overweight. We have no clue why this is. We DO watch what he eats.

Most pet parents want what is best for their pet, but understanding the information found on pet food labels might be a bit confusing. To make it easier, here’s a quick and easy breakdown of the five main components of a nutrition label and what it means for you and your dog, compliments of Petcurean.

Ingredients Panel:

  • The ingredients list is probably the most recognizable portion of the nutrition panel. What some pet owners may not know however is that the ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, which means the first ingredient is the largest quantity and the last ingredient is the smallest.
  • Tip: Buying economy brands of pet food is not always a money saver. Some economy brands use inexpensive ingredients that aren’t highly digestible. This means you must feed your dog more portions of the food just to ensure they’re meeting their nutritional requirements. In the long run, the cost per serving for a lower quality food is much higher than that of a premium food where your pet can get all of their nutrients from one serving.

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • This section provides information about the nutrient content of the food. It should include the minimums for Crude protein and Crude fat, as well as the maximum Crude Fiber and Moisture. Additionally, any nutrients highlighted on the packaging must be included in the guaranteed analysis.
  • Tip: You can find the guaranteed analysis of a pet food product on a company’s website or by contacting the company. Here’s an example for Petcurean’s GO! Sensitivity + Shine LID Venison Recipe For Dogs.

Feeding Guidelines:

  • The feeding guidelines should only serve as a starting point for deciding how much to feed your pet, as it heavily depends on your pet’s size, age, and activity level.
  • Tip: The best way to assess proper feeding is by calculating your pet’s body condition score. You can find that out here.

Nutritional Adequacy Statement:

  • This statement tells you if the food is complete and balanced, meaning it meets all of your pet’s nutritional requirements. It will also tell you if the product should be used only for intermittent feeding or as a treat.
  • Tip: Pay attention to what stage of life this section recommends for feeding. It should be labeled for all life stages or for one stage in particular.

Certifications:

  • Organic: An organic certification means that the production methods comply with organic farming standards. The primary goal of organic production is to use farming practices that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.
  • MSC: The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent international non-profit certification organization that promotes sustainable fishing practices. An MSC certification is based upon three principles: sustainable fish stocks, minimizing environmental impacts, and effective management.
  • Vegan: The primary criteria for a product to receive the Certified Vegan logo is that the producer must prove that no ingredients were sourced from animals, no animal testing was permitted, adequate segregation of vegan and non-vegan ingredients was ensured and adequate clean out procedures were followed in facilities that produce vegan and non-vegan products.

GATHER™ dog and cat recipes have received three different food certifications, Vegan, MSC certified, and Organic, to provide transparency about the ingredients that have been carefully selected for these diets.

I actually read this information over a few times to make sure that I fully understood it. It’s a lot to take in. I think it’s a littler harder to understand pet food nutrition labels because it’s a bit different than human food labels. We also hear about nutrition labels all the time on the news, in magazines and on television. We don’t hear the same type of information about reading and understanding pet food nutrition labels. I think more should be done to educate pet parents about this, don’t you agree? Maybe legitimate breeders, animal shelters and/or pet food stores should offer a little informational packet about reading and understanding pet food nutrition labels. I think that would be a great idea.

The next time you go shopping for your pet’s food, take a few moments to pick up several pet foods (different brands, different types) and compare the labels. Do they make sense to you now? Can you notice a clear difference between quality brands and inexpensive store brands?

I appreciate that Petcurean shared this information with me so I could pass it along to my readers.

For more information about Petcurean foods visit Petcurean.com. There is also a store locator on the website to help you find a Petcurean retailer near you.

Do YOU read the labels on your pet’s food? Do you understand what you are reading? After reading this post are you going to take the time to read about what you are feeding to your pet? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Petcurean to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are that of my own and not influenced in any way.

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Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Right Dog for You

 

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

You’ve been thinking about getting a dog for a long time and have finally made the decision that now is as good a time as any – congratulations!  You are sure that you have enough resources, space and time to bring a new pet into your home, now all that’s left is to find the perfect dog that’s right for you and potentially the others in your home.

It is really important to think about what dog is right to make sure that you choose the type that would be a good fit for your lifestyle as it sets you up (and the others in your home) to be successful dog owners.  Many times people who chose the wrong dog for them end up having to put them back into the adoption cycle with friends or family, or worse, sending them to a shelter.  This is a new life that’s in your hands so it has to be looked at as a commitment for that animal’s life time, and with a little homework you can make sure you choose wisely.

Here are the top tips to set you up for success:

Adopt a dog or buy from a breeder

Adopting saves pet’s lives, and that’s an important factor to consider. As you probably know, adopting a dog has become very popular in the United States as there are so many rescues and shelters doing amazing work and so many incredible animals who need homes. According to the ASPCA, the number of adoptions have gone up every year and the number of animals being surrendered to shelters has gone down. That’s mostly because of the awareness the general public has now of the benefits of adoption. In addition, the revelation of the conditions of many puppy mills who supply pet stores and online distributors that sell puppies has made it a bad choice for people looking to get a puppy.  Remember, if you seek a specific type of breed there are rescue groups based on breed. Buying from a breeder: there are plenty of reputable breeders around the country and if you do want to buy a dog, do your research carefully and certainly look for referrals to find the best breeders so that you know what you’re getting (the environment they are in day-to-day, get references from other buyers from that breeder, etc.)

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

Age

Perhaps one of the most important decisions you need to make when considering a dog is whether to get a puppy, an adult dog or even a senior dog.  All age groups need a home, and the impact of that age on resources needed vary. With a puppy you will know the dog their entire life and be able to train them from the start, but they take a lot of work (from feeding them more often, taking them out more often, potty training them, etc.) Remember, with a puppy you have the power to prevent unwanted behaviors before they start, but you also have the ability to inadvertently teach them bad ones as well. With an adult and senior aged dog you will likely have less training to do and the dog will probably be past their voracious chewing phase.  These age groups make can amazing companions. One thing to to take into consideration with senior pets are medical issues and possibly behavior issues. But your rescue group should be able to present you with those before adopting.

Energy Level

No matter the dog’s age, breeds will have different energy levels and you need to find a dog that will match what’s going on in your home. Make sure you choose wisely as a dog that has a lot of energy will not be happy if you just want them to sit next to you on the couch. You need to ask yourself:

  • What kind of companion do I want? For instance, are you looking for a hunting dog, a dog to provide protection for your home, a family playmate, a running companion or a lap dog.
  • What time do I have to commit to exercise daily?
  • Do I have the resources to get a dog walker to help if necessary?
  • Do I have access to the type of yard/dog park, etc. that will supply enough spots for me to exercise the dog properly?
  • Does my day-to-day schedule allow for me to be with them enough to make them happy to run around, play, etc.?

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

Size

It’s important to look at sizes as well. How much space you have and access to exercise helps you get to this answer. Many people who think they want a large dog have to come to terms with the fact that you and an 80 pound Setter might not make the best roommates in a smaller home (small apartment, for example).  The good news is that size doesn’t always equal energy level.  Some larger breeds may actually sleep 16-18 hours a day whereas a tiny Yorkie may run a million miles an hour all day long.  But their size will impact how compatible you will be and how happy the dog will be (how you can get them to the vet, etc. plays a role, too).  The space that they have available to them, especially during the day when they may need to be confined to one area of the house, will impact the dog’s level of comfort.

Grooming and Shedding

Some dogs shed way more than other breeds. The dogs that tend to shed more are breeds/mixes such as Corgis, German Shepherds, and Labradors/Retrievers. Dogs that tend to shed a lot let less are breeds/mixes like Bijon Frise, Poodles and some Terriers.  If you are averse to having dog hair become a major issue in your home or if someone has allergies, be sure to look for a dog that will have less of a shedding issue and are actually hypoallergenic. This also comes into play in terms of grooming required on a monthly (or more infrequent) basis.

Training

Just as every person is different, so is every dog.  If you’re seeking a full breed (not a mix) puppy, you should give some thought as to how easy/difficult a specific type of dog is to train, and also look at how capable you feel in providing training for the dog.  Are you someone who is patient, positive and willing to work towards a strong relationship with your dog? Or,  are you a little more impatient and don’t have the time to commit to training? Either way, you can consider getting a trainer to help you get on a training course 1:1 or do a group class. Some breeds tend to take more easily to training than others such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Boxers and Labs.  On the other hand, dogs that show less aptitude to picking things up quickly or are a little more on the stubborn side would be Dalmatians, Basset Hounds and Beagles. Remember, both you and the dog are factors here so include both in this calculation.  When choosing a trainer, make sure you select one that uses positive reinforcement as their method of choice!

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

Children

Every dog is unique and how they are/were treated by humans will determine much of their personality.  If a dog that you are bringing home is going to be around small children you will need to give some thought to not only the dog’s natural characteristics but also the level of energy that the children can display.  At all times, until you know a dog inside and out use caution. When you start with a puppy, you do have the ability to help develop the dog’s personality from a young age so they’re adapted to children from the onset.  But, if you’re not going the puppy route you won’t always know exactly what an older dog has been through. Though a good shelter will generally evaluate a dog for even the slightest aggressive tendencies, teach your children to behave appropriately around them as it’s humans who have to respect the dog’s natural tendencies.

Before you make your final decision about the type of dog to bring home, be sure to evaluate each of these things above as it will really help you narrow down your options. Doing plenty of research upfront will help you find the right dog and then create a strong bond with the furry family member from the beginning.

About the author:

Travis Brorsen is one of the most sought-after dog trainers in America today. Travis is Founder and CEO of Greatest American Dog Trainers, and is Animal Planet’s pet expert and dog trainer, hosting their new show, My Big Fat Pet Makeover, which premiers Fall 2017.  He is a regular contributor to both Dogster.com and DogingtonPost.com

For more information please go to www.greatestamericandogtrainers.com.

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