Category: Animal rescue

Possible dog food contamination with Salmonella bacteria

This dog food recall was issued on Monday.

The U.S. FDA has announced Smokehouse Pet Products of Sun Valley, CA, is expanding its recall of its “Beefy Munchies” and “Beefy Bites” dog treats due to contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link:

FDA Expands Nationwide Beefy Munchies Dog Treats Recall

Please share the news of this alert with other pet owners.

Mike Sagman, Editor
The Dog Food Advisor

P.S. Not already on our dog food recall notification list yet? Sign up to get critical dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. There’s no cost for this service.

If one follows that link then you come to these details:

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FDA Expands Nationwide Beefy Munchies Dog Treats Recall

February 19, 2018 — The FDA has announced that Smokehouse Pet Products, Inc. of Sun Valley, CA is recalling all sizes and package types of dog treats labeled as “Beefy Munchies” because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

 

About the Recall

“Beefy Munchies” was distributed nationwide through distributors selling to various retailers.

The product comes in individual bags, resealable bags and plastic tubs.

The plastic tub will be labeled “Beefy Bites”.

All sizes and packaging types will include a UPC code, lot number, and a best used by date of stamped on the back.

The current recall is expanded to include all “Beefy Munchies”.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

What Caused the Recall

The potential for contamination was noted after routine sampling and testing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella in two 4-oz packages of “Beefy Munchies”.

About Salmonella

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

What to Do?

Any consumers who have purchased “Beefy Munchies” should discontinue use of the product and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Smokehouse Pet Products, Inc. at 877-699-7387, Monday through Friday 7 AM to 3:30 PM PT.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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I do hope that no-one out there is affected by this recall!

Please share this with any other dog lovers that you are in contact with.

 

Here’s a clutch of dog food recalls!

Seemed best to lump them all together.

Because since the beginning of February there have been four (now five as of yesterday!) dog food recalls notified to subscribed owners. Although I have copied and pasted product pictures if any of these products are relevant to you then please do follow the link to the Dog Food Recall page offering more details!

On the 9th February this was released:

Smokehouse Pet Products of Sun Valley, CA, is recalling a specific lot of its “Beefy Munchies” dog treats due to potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

If you go to this link you can see pictures of the product package and other details.

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Then on the same day another notification was issued:

Raws for Paws of Minneapolis, MN, is recalling specific lots of its raw frozen dog food due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

Once again, a link was offered that provided full information.

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A day later, on the 10th February, out came the third alert:

Redbarn Pet Products LLC of Long Beach, CA, is recalling a specific lot of its “Redbarn Naturals Bully Sticks” due to potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

Including the link to more details.

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The last alert was received on the 12th February.

Darwin’s Natural Pet Products of Tukwila, WA, is recalling specific lots of its Darwin’s ZooLogics raw frozen dog food due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

With the link to more details provided as per usual.

Wonder if there will be more alerts before the month is out! (Written on the afternoon of the 14th.)

Yes!!

The following came in yesterday afternoon:

J. M. Smucker has announced it is voluntarily withdrawing multiple dog food brands due to the presence of the drug pentobarbital.

To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link:

Smucker Withdraws Multiple Dog Food Brands

Please share the news of this alert with other pet owners.

That link contains the following brand image:

and this table:

The table is reproduced from an email sent by Walmart to its affected customers.

Please share this information as best you can.  Only by acting together can we prevent every single dog from eating something potentially harmful.

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Wherever you are in the world, are you able to participate in this?

As first seen on the EarthSky site.

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Great Backyard Bird Count February 16–19

By Deanna Conners in EARTH | HUMAN WORLD February 9, 2018

Scientists need your help counting birds for the 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count. It is free and easy to participate. Find out how here.

Bird watching in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Image via National Park Service.

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count, now in its 21st year, is set to take place February 16 to 19, 2018. During this popular citizen science event, people from all over the world head outdoors to count birds and the data are used by scientists to track the health of bird populations.

Gary Langham, Chief Scientist at the National Audubon Society, commented on the Great Backyard Bird Count on Audubon’s website. He said:

This count is so fun because anyone can take part—we all learn and watch birds together—whether you are an expert, novice, or feeder watcher. I like to invite new birders to join me and share the experience. Get involved, invite your friends, and see how your favorite spot stacks up.

The 2017 count was a huge success. Over 200,000 people participated from around the world, and they submitted a record number of checklists. A total of 6,259 bird species were spotted during the event, which was the highest number ever recorded over the 20-year history of the count. This number represents more than half of all known bird species on Earth!

Siberian stonechat photographed in Zhemgang, Bhutan, during the 2017 Great Backyard Bird Count. Image via Sancha Rai.

Participating in the 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count involves three easy steps.

First, register with your name on the event’s website at the link here. Registration is free. This website has a ton of useful information about birds and the upcoming bird count.

Second, spend some time counting birds on the weekend of the event at the location of your choice, such as your backyard or a local park. The minimum amount of time required is 15 minutes, but you can count for longer if you wish. During your count, simply record the start and end time, location, and number and types of birds that you see. You can perform counts in multiple locations too. Just be sure to submit separate checklists for each location.

Not to worry if you can’t identify the birds you see at first. Just take good notes about their prominent features, for example, size, shape, color, and unusual markings, or you can try to snap a close-up picture. Then, you can use a bird guide to look them up later. All About Birds and What Bird are two good online bird identification guides that are free and easy to use. Additionally, the free Merlin Bird ID App can be downloaded to your smartphone and used offline. Merlin will ask you five simple questions about the bird you are trying to identify and suggest matches for you—you can even upload a picture to Merlin and let the app try to identify it.

The third and last step involves uploading your data to the event’s website. This step usually only takes a few minutes to complete. While you’re visiting the website, check out the live map that displays dots in the various locations where people have uploaded a checklist. It’s fun to watch the data pour in from all over the world.

As an added bonus, there is a photo contest for those who want to submit pictures of the birds that they see during the event. You can even submit photos of yourself watching the birds. Hence, don’t forget your binoculars. If you do shoot some good photos, please share them with EarthSky too. We love birding photos!

Bluejay photographed in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada, during the 2017 Great Backyard Bird Count. Image via Rose Pogoda.

Use the hashtag #GBBC to follow Great Backyard Bird Count conversations on Twitter and Facebook.
The first annual Great Backyard Bird Count was held in 1998, and the event has continued to grow year after year. Hopefully, 2018 will be another record breaker.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a collaborative project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada.
Bottom line: The annual Great Backyard Bird Count runs from February 16 to 19, 2018. This popular citizen science project helps scientists keep track of the health of bird populations. Participating is free and easy, so why not give it a try?

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So, once again, the Bird Count starts on this coming Friday, the 16th, and runs through to the end of next Monday, the 19th.

Do please join Jean and me and many thousands of others in this very important survey.

Nutrition for dogs

Good food matters just as much for our dogs!

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that Justina had sent me a couple of links in response to me wondering if there was good nutritional advice for dogs as well as there clearly was for us!

Here are those two articles that Justina sent me links to.

Namely, the first being an article that is on Dr. Patrick Mahaney’s website.

Specifically:  Feeding Your Pet from the Perspective of Chinese Medicine

That article opens thus:

This article originally appeared as Using Warming, Cooling, or Neutral Food Energy to Promote Your Pet’s Health and Nutrition on PetFoodDirect.com

Since the onset of my veterinary career, I’ve had a strong interest in how the foods our pets consume contribute to an overall state of wellness or illness. Learning how to apply this interest to my patients took many years of post-veterinary school practice, continuing education, and an ongoing belief in the inherent nutritional benefits of whole foods.

During veterinary school, students’ brains are heavily saturated with a variety of academic information. As graduation date nears, a general sense of insecurity develops about making the appropriate professional choices to best serve our patients. As a result, common sense notions about the value of looking more discerningly at the ingredients formulating a pet’s diet are often overlooked.

You may read the full article here.

The second one is on the DogVills site.

Again, specifically about the role of Chinese Medicine as part of dog food therapy.

Chinese Medicine Meets Dog Food Therapy: What You Need to Know

You may have heard of Chinese medicine for people, but did you know that it can also be used for dogs? In fact, Chinese medicine has an entire approach to dog food therapy that is quite intriguing. Let’s talk a bit about it so you can decide if it’s right for your dog.

Chinese medicine is often referenced when anyone talks about holistic approaches to healthcare. It seems that it has a treatment for almost everything, and often those treatments work. Something I learned recently is that traditional Chinese medicine extends to dogs, and many people use hot, cold, and neutral foods to help their dogs feel better.

I am going to explore getting permission to republish both articles in full.

The Role of Pets in Depression and Bullying in Kids

Another great guest post from Emily Ridgewell!

Both Emily’s previous guest posts were received very well by you. There was Four-legged Gardening, published here last October 24th, and Return To The Movies that came out on the 4th of that same month.

Now Emily writes about something that is never far away from us these days, irrespective of age: depression. And the strongly positive role of pets. Great guest post but first let me re-introduce you to Emily.

Emily Ridgewell is an arts professional and a pet enthusiast from sunny LA. Emily has a creative energy and an aesthetic sense of living, where everything beautiful is worth sharing. She loves her yorkie Olivia and writes original and fun articles on ways to learn and improve your pet-best friend’s life. She finds exciting new things to explore and experience! Don’t forget to connect with her on Twitter: @ridgewell_j

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The Role of Pets in Depression and Bullying in Kids

Kids today are faced with more stress and worry than ever, and childhood depression is on the rise because of it. Recent studies have shown almost 10% of children and adolescents experience depression. One of the main sources of depression among children is being the victim of bullying. Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t discriminate and can happen to boys and girls of any ethnic, racial, religious, or socio-economic background. Lasting effects of being bullied include having low self-esteem and negative self-image, unhappiness at school and difficulty focusing, and trouble establishing healthy relationships with peers.

Interestingly enough, these side effects are found in the bullies as well as their victims. Both are more likely to experience depressive symptoms than those who have never been involved in bullying. They also are more likely to have coexisting mental health issues, such as Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Clinical Depression and Anxiety. If left unaddressed, these feeling of depression and low self-worth can lead to chronic levels of mental health issues, isolation, and even suicidal ideation.

The first line of defense for parents is arming themselves with strategies to help their children cope with feelings of depression and address them when they first appear. First and foremost, they need to recognize the signs of depression. Then they need to put their heads together and come up with a plan to help their child combat it. Use resources such as your pediatrician, teachers, and school counselors to help develop a long term plan. In the meantime, one of the most effective and immediate ways to help them at home is by getting a pet.

Pets have several benefits that help combat depression and help your child feel happier, more whole, and well connected. First of all, they offer uncomplicated, unconditional love. They don’t say hurtful things, get angry over petty misunderstandings, or hold grudges. They simply love and express joy every time they see their owners. They also offer constant companionship. Having a pet means never having to feel alone or isolated. Additionally, the act of petting a dog or cat (or any other pet, for that matter) offers physical touch and provides comfort, creating a soothing effect and releasing feel-good endorphins in the brain. In turn, this reduces stress and anxiety and helps your child feel calmer and more emotionally balanced.

Further, having a pet means your child will have an added responsibility. Contrary to what you may originally think, a new responsibility provides a distraction and offers a positive focus instead of what’s bothering him.. Plus, he’ll feel good about himself for taking care of something that needs him. He will feel capable, and this bolsters self-esteem and causes a ripple effect in all aspects of her life. It’s a win-win situation.

If you opt for a dog, part of the responsibilities will be walking it. This earns another point in the fight against depression for a couple of reasons. It will make your child be physically active, a well-known tool for negating depressive symptoms. It also is an excellent way to increase social interaction. People are always wanting to touch a puppy, and this leads to a natural conversation when they ask permission. Even if your child is anxious about talking to new people, dogs and pets are automatic ice breakers. Talking about their pet can easily guide the conversation with very little pressure on your child to generate small talk. If they are engaging in conversation, they are less likely to feel isolated and will benefit mentally from the interaction.

Of course, pet ownership isn’t something you should jump into lightly. Be sure to choose the right pet for your child and teach him the right way to handle and care for it. With care and supervision, your child and her pet will become fast friends in no time. While there is no quick fix for depression, owning a pet has multiple benefits which will show their impact quickly. Having an unconditional friend to love can work wonders for building confidence and self-esteem and combatting the negative effects of bullying and depression.

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Emily is spot on. Pets, especially dogs, are the epitome of loving us humans unconditionally and that connection is precious beyond words. Being able to hug or cuddle a dog, frequently as an ad-hoc impulse, is about as comforting a place that us humans, well certainly this human, can get.

Sitting in front of the television of an evening and having a cat snuggle up next to one and start purring is a very close second-best!

Great post from Emily!

Mercy For Animals

Sent to me by John Zande!

John, he of the blog site The Superstitious Naked Ape, recently sent me this appeal. I am very pleased to republish it here.

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Hello,
When I started Mercy For Animals nearly 20 years ago, I was a kid from the Midwest with a big dream and an unwavering determination to help animals. Building MFA was not easy. Our first meeting had three attendees. We had no money. But as we grew, I surrounded myself with incredible supporters like you, passionate volunteers, and committed colleagues.

MFA is the most meaningful endeavor of my life so far. My journey has been moving and inspiring. Working alongside such brilliant colleagues and implementing our shared vision of a kinder world for farmed animals has been an honor. Together, we have built MFA into the powerful organization it is today—one that achieves groundbreaking successes as the result of teamwork.

As MFA has grown in the past few years, I’ve found the personal and creative space to think about how I can best continue to shape our movement—and help more animals. This space led me to launch Circle V, the first vegan animal rights music festival, and to conceptualize and co-found The Good Food Institute, an organization that supports innovation in food and science to produce alternatives that are superior to animal products.

I’ve determined that I can be most effective right now by helping launch exciting new companies and initiatives. This means remaining in this creative, big-picture space and handing over much of the day-to-day operations at MFA to other skilled and respected leaders within the organization.
I’m proud to announce that our executive vice president, Matt Rice, has been promoted to president of MFA. I will continue to serve MFA as chair of the board of directors and will remain intimately involved in strategic decisions as the organization’s founder.

For more than 15 years, Matt Rice has been a central leader in the animal protection movement. He shares my vision for MFA and has implemented it with determination, tireless dedication, and compassion for animals and people.
Matt began in MFA’s New York office carrying out grassroots outreach before being promoted to director of operations. He later moved to Los Angeles to take over as director of investigations, working closely with our brave undercover investigators. Matt has overseen many of MFA’s biggest cases, most successful campaigns, and other victories. As executive vice president, he has overseen all departments.

Click below to watch a video about Matt and MFA’s priorities for 2018.


Matt is steadfast in his commitment to MFA. He is an ideal team player with sound judgment—a true powerhouse for animals. I trust him completely.

Matt is already working with other senior MFA leaders to implement new systems and structures, and we will launch compelling new campaigns this year. Matt is supported by a team of some of the best activists I’ve ever met.

I know that MFA will continue to break barriers and exceed expectations worldwide. Much remains to be done for animals, but we’ve proved time and again that for a movement built on love and persistence, no company is too powerful, no factory farm too big, and no government too mighty.

I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of MFA and our movement. Our greatest victories are still ahead.

Nathan Runkle
Founder

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Let me add that there is much information about the charity on WikiPedia, from which I quote a little:

Mercy For Animals (MFA) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies, founded in October 1999. Nathan Runkle is the group’s executive director and founder.[1] Focusing primarily on advocacy on behalf of farmed animals, MFA runs a number of campaigns that aim to educate the public on animal protection issues and to encourage them to adopt a vegan diet.[2] It has engaged in several undercover investigations, primarily of egg farms, and has produced television commercials showing the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms.[3] MFA is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Plus the charity’s website is here Mercy For Animals.

If you didn’t watch the video then, please, do it now.

Finally, please do what you can to support them.

Thank you, John, for sharing this with me.

 

Diet is so crucial to good health.

Not only for us but for our wonderful dogs.

Sometime over the next few days I will write a post about an amazing connection that Jean made, via Richard in England, with Colin Potter. He is the founder of the site Fight Parkinson’s.

It is mentioned as an introduction to today’s post because Colin stresses the critical importance of the right diet for us humans.

But now I want to go straight to a guest post sent to me by Kathreen Miller on the topic of diet for our dogs.

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Is Organic Food Really Good For Your Dog To Eat?

by Kathreen Miller

If you are searching for information related to organic food for dogs, then you’re probably a firm believer in animal rights and how food affects their health. . Maybe you are also considering how your dog will follow a vegan diet. Or how an organic diet can help improve your pet’s health?

You must understand that dogs require protein-rich foods. Therefore, you should look for balanced and high-quality food so that your pet’s health is not deteriorated. A low intake of protein in your pet could result in anemia which again causes joint pain in dogs.

Pet Bounce is one of the best dog pain medications to allefviate the joint pain in pet dogs.

Therefore, read this article to get information about organic food for a dog and how to make it a part of their regular diet. You might have some questions in your mind. You might think how can you make your dog eat organic food? Is it good for dogs? Before you start such kind of diet for your pet you need to do some research.

Consult a veterinary doctor and speak to him/her about the deficiency and advantage of an organic diet. You need to understand that the stomach of dogs is fragile. An instant change in the diet of a dog makes them suffer from diarrhea or bad breath. The change of diet in your dog should be slow.

If you are starting with organic food for your pet, then initially you need to give them organic food once a week. This will make your dog habitual and accustomed to organic food.

During this time period, you need to ensure that your dog gets a mix of normal as well as organic diet. Then after a considerable period of time, slowly increase the organic food proportion, and finally making it one hundred percent.
Besides, if you are considering about giving your dog the homemade diet then you must know which vegetables and fruits aren’t consumed by your dog. This is of utmost importance as a few vegetables can be toxic to your dog’s digestion. Visit a professional canine nutritionist to receive expert guidance. Also take your dog for health checkups.

This is to make sure that your dog will eat their new food and does not suffer from any diseases.

Why is Organic Food Important for Your Dog?

It is correct, that organic food for dogs is created with natural methods and does not contain any type of additives, preservatives, and artificial colorants. Also, the organic food should be grown in a completely natural manner. But remember, that all organic food brands won’t be entirely free from the preservatives.

Is Organic food Good for Dog’s Health?

As long as you obey the advice of your veterinary doctor, organic food is very good for the health of your dog. If you satisfy the requirements of your dogs, and their health is good, then we can have the idea that organic diet is good for the dogs. There are many types of organic foods. But what makes them bad or good is the range to which they satisfy the animal requirements for the nutrients.

Also, ensure that dogs must get a regular and high intake of protein and they never eat the excess quantity of corn. Since for dogs, corns are not easy to digest.

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I am delighted to add a little about Kathreen’s background.

 Kathreen Miller is a pet health expert. She lives in Chicago with her daughter and a dog named “Buddy”. She regularly contributes her write ups to pet health related websites and blogs. In her Free time, she loves listening to music, watching TV and traveling.

On her Pet Bounce site there is an informative article about joint pain in dogs.

Thanks Kathreen for composing this guest post.

I have taken the liberty of grabbing a copy of one of the photos from the Pet Bounce site.

We must do all we can to keep our dogs fit and healthy for as many years as possible!

Surfacing to a new world!

Slowly returning to normal!

As many of you read, last Friday I was discharged from the PeaceHealth Sacred Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon and returned home around 4pm.

It was quite a week as these photos demonstrate. (The background to the event is here and here.)

How I looked still in ICU on Boxing Day. Photo taken by neighbour Dordie who came up with Jeannie to visit me!
General view of a very happy chap!
Photo taken on last Wednesday after I had been transferred to the Department of Neurology.

So!!

It is important that I take it very gently and that means, inevitably, that my blogging is going to be very ad-hoc. Possibly for a few weeks!

The next important step is returning to the hospital this coming Wednesday to have the staples removed and a further cognitive check.

But I shall be OK and thank you all for your interest and concern in my escapade!

All of the dogs, especially Brandy and Cleo, are watching over me! (Over and beyond being loved beyond measure by Jeannie!)

Brandy – as pure as it gets!
Cleo living, and sleeping, in the present moment.

A Very Happy New Year to you all!

Continuing those easiest breeds!

Part Two of those breeds!

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11. German shepherd

German shepherd | iStock.com/pyotr021

The German shepherd is another intelligent and active breed. Though German shepherds are large, the AKC reports they have a medium energy level. And the organization characterizes the German shepherd as “a loyal family pet and a good guard dog, the ideal choice for many families.” The AKC notes with a German shepherd (and other breeds), “Training is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a dog owner. Basic obedience training will make your dog a better companion and strengthen the bond between the two of you.”

Poorly trained German shepherds can develop behaviors, such as excessive barking, digging, and food stealing. But this dog breed responds well to training. According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, your German shepherd needs “you to be the leader of the pack, providing structure and guidance.” Another way to bond with your dog? Regular grooming. The German shepherd’s thick coat requires weekly grooming.

12. Italian greyhound

Italian greyhound | iStock.com/Rauluminate

Don’t be intimidated by the Italian greyhound’s speed or graceful looks. The AKC reports this breed is “generally easy to train and prefers to spend most of his time with his owner. They like attention and affection, and are a peaceful, gentle friend to adults and children.” If you have large dogs or active children, you’ll need to make sure your Italian greyhound doesn’t get injured by rough play. But for the most part, this dog breed will be happy to run and play — before curling up with you to be a couch potato.

Because of their small size, Italian greyhounds can live happily in an apartment just as well as in settings with more space. The breed generally stays quite healthy. And because these dogs have a short coat, they need only weekly grooming with a soft brush. In fact, the AKC characterizes them as one of the easiest dog breeds to groom. They love to cuddle and don’t want to be ignored. And in general, they’d prefer to chill in your lap or on your bed, rather than on the floor.

13. Labrador retriever

Labrador | iStock.com/manushot

America loves Labs. So it probably doesn’t surprise you to hear these adorable dogs are easy to own. Labs can learn just about anything that you throw at them. The AKC reports Labs are friendly and outgoing. They make great companions, show dogs, hunting dogs, guide dogs, and service dogs. Labs also make great family dogs because they get along easily with children and with other pets. Plus, they have a short coat that requires only occasional grooming.

So it’s no accident the Labrador retriever is the most popular dog in America. They live long and healthy lives. They have playful personalities, and they want to entertain and help you. Plus, they’re good companions for athletic people and can even train as canine athletes themselves.

However, Labrador retrievers qualify as what the AKC calls a “very active” dog breed. So don’t expect them to lounge on the couch all day. “Don’t confuse his laid-back personality for low energy,” the organization warns. “The Labrador retriever is extremely active — he’s never met a backyard he didn’t like.”

14. Maltese

Maltese | iStock.com/Laures

Another people-pleasing dog who will be easy to own and spend time with is the Maltese. According to the AKC, the Maltese is a “classic lapdog” who’s “somewhat active.” These dogs like brisk walks, playtime, and learning new tricks. However, the organization warns that Maltese are “highly intelligent and know very well how to use their charm to get their way. If given the chance, they become easily spoiled. This isn’t a problem for dog-savvy owners, but many pet owners will give in, often resulting in a pet with poor manners.”

Though they’re energetic and playful — which makes them great family dogs — many breeders don’t sell them to homes with young children. As a tiny puppy, a Maltese can be seriously injured if stepped on or dropped by a child. However, the Maltese is known as one of the few small dogs who aren’t susceptible to any major genetic ailments. So if it’s important to you that you choose a dog likely to stay in good health, the Maltese might be a good match for you.

15. Miniature schnauzer

Miniature schnauzer | iStock.com/Elen11

The miniature schnauzer is a fast learner. The AKC characterizes the breed as “friendly,” “obedient,” and “smart” — three characteristics that many pet owners want in a dog. Another desirable trait? According to the AKC, the miniature schnauzer is “highly adaptable.” He can “make himself at home anywhere as long as his people are close by.” This small dog breed has a moderate energy level. And because these dogs crave human companionship, they are “obedient to commands” and can be trained for all kinds of activities.

According to the AKC, this dog breed is “small enough to adapt to apartment life but tireless enough to patrol acres of farmland.” The breed is generally healthy and long-lived. They have outgoing personalities and will stay loyal to their family. Just keep in mind this terrier likes to bark. So proper training will play an essential part in helping him to curb that behavior.

16. Papillon

A young papillon | iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

Unlike many other small dogs, the papillon has a big appetite for exercise and activity. The AKC reports this dog breed has a medium energy level and generally needs to stay “very active.” In fact, these dogs “love to play outdoors but they can be easily entertained and exercised indoors as well.” This dog breed is very intelligent, but the AKC promises these alert and friendly dogs are “easily trained.”

Plus, Animal Planet characterizes the papillon as “one of the most obedient and responsive of the toy breeds.” Though some can be timid, they are often friendly toward strangers and other animals. And the papillon also makes a good family dog because the breed likes children. They have a medium-length coat without an undercoat, though they still require regular brushing.

17. Poodle

Many people know the poodle is a highly intelligent dog breed. And even though intelligence doesn’t always ensure a dog responds well to training, the AKC promises that the poodle “excels in obedience training.” Although some poodles can be stubborn, proper training mitigates that trait.

The AKC notes, “There’s the old stereotype of poodles as a foofy velvet-pillow dogs looking down their long noses at us. Not true. Poodles are eager-to-please, highly trainable ‘real dogs.’ They like to work closely with their humans and can master all kinds of tricks and dog sports.”

Modern Dog Magazine reports of the standard, miniature, and toy poodle, “All poodles are lively, fun-loving, affectionate, and intelligent, and many owners say the breed has a sense of humor to rival Seinfeld’s.” The miniature poodle can be shy around strangers. But the standard is outgoing. They have a medium energy level and enjoy walking, running, and swimming. Just be aware this dog breed’s long coat, while somewhat hypoallergenic, does require regular professional grooming.

18. Pug

Like the bulldog, the pug has a grumpy face that might make you think he’s not so friendly. But don’t let looks deceive you. The AKC characterizes the pug as “even-tempered, charming, mischievous and loving.” These dogs aren’t natural athletes, but the AKC advises that “they do have strong legs and endless curiosity — exercise both.” These extroverted dogs love children and adults alike. And according to the AKC, “Pug people say their breed is the perfect house dog. Pugs are happy living in the city or country, with kids or grandparents, and as the family’s only pet or among other animals.”

This dog breed has no problem making friends with complete strangers. PetWave calls this dog breed a “shadow” because pugs “love to glue themselves to their owners’ sides and stay close to the action.”

And though some people think they’re more difficult to train than other dog breeds, that’s largely because they’re easily distracted. The pug sheds but needs minimal grooming. And you will need to monitor your dog’s diet to keep him healthy because, according to the AKC, “pugs live to eat.”

19. Rottweiler

Rottweiler puppy | iStock.com/Carmelka

The AKC also recommends the Rottweiler as one of the smartest dog breeds. This medium-sized dog also has a medium energy level, according to the AKC. But let’s just get this out of the way: A Rottweiler won’t be one of the easiest dog breeds for you if you can’t give him two solid workouts each day. But their need for daily exercise is at least somewhat offset by their minimal grooming needs.

PetWave reports though this breed has gained something of a reputation as an attack dog, “this is not their true nature.” The publication explains that for Rottweilers “to be vicious, they must be trained that way.”

Often, dogs who spend their days isolated from people are the ones who develop unpleasant traits. The AKC explains, “Obedience training and socialization are musts” for this dog breed. “Rottweilers love their people and may behave in a clownish manner toward family and friends, but they are also protective of their territory and do not welcome strangers until properly introduced.”

20. Shetland sheepdog

Sheltie | iStock.com/lgerghi

The Shetland sheepdog also has a reputation for intelligence. But that won’t work against you with a Sheltie, as it can in other dog breeds. According to the AKC, this dog loves “learning new tricks. Shelties are easy to train and are world-class competitors in obedience, agility, and herding trials.” And the AKC advises, “The Sheltie will reach his best potential [as] a companion when given training in basic manners at the very minimum.”

PetWave characterizes the Shetland sheepdog as “an all-around family dog.” They like indoor and outdoor activities. And they get along well with children, as well as with other pets. These small dogs can live in an apartment if they get daily walks and regular opportunities to run. Shelties have a dense double coat and need weekly grooming.

21. Mutt

A lovable mutt | iStock.com/suemack

Not everybody wants to buy a purebred dog from a breeder or search for one at the local shelter. And you don’t have to pick a purebred dog, even if you’re a novice dog owner just hoping for a pup who will be easy to train and care for. The AKC, of course, notes you can better predict a dog’s traits if you know his lineage. But you can often make an educated guess at which breeds are in a mutt’s genetics. And there are some very good reasons to choose a mixed-breed dog instead of a purebred.

For one, the incidence of many genetic disorders is higher in purebred dogs than in mixed-breed dogs. Plus, by staying open to adopting a mixed-breed dog instead of a pedigreed dog, you’ll be able to adopt a shelter dog who needs a home, not just a puppy who was specifically bred to be sold for top dollar. Additionally, purebred and mixed-breed dogs show no significant differences in terms of their trainability. So a mutt is just as likely to learn to be obedient and attentive as a pedigreed dog.

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What better way than to close this short series with a Mutt!

And welcome to the Winter Solstice!

Another fabulous guest post from Rohit.

Three years have passed by; just like that!

In the first couple of weeks of the New Year in 2014 I received an email from Rohit Agawal asking if I would like to receive a guest post. Of course I said yes.

That started a wonderful series of guest posts coming in from Rohit.

Here is his latest.

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Five Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Dog
Dogs are like children in a broader sense and when you decide to adopt one, there are many things that you need to be responsible for. There is not much difference between adopting a dog and having a child as you will need to take responsibility for another living being by giving him the necessary care and support.

Therefore, adopting a dog is a huge decision and should not be taken on a random impulse. You need to be aware of all the pros and cons before taking your decision and a major part of estimating them involves asking yourself some important questions. To help you get ready for an important life changing decision, we have listed a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself before adopting a dog and therefore without any further ado, let us get started!

  1. Can You Afford to Buy and Maintain a Dog?

The first question that you need to add yourself is quite obvious because a dog will need constant love and support throughout its whole life. To give him the best, you will need to shell extra bucks. The expenses that are involved include adoption or buying fees, spraying (no needed if you are adopting a dog from any rescue shelter), dog food, dog accessories like collar, dog crates (you can visit this website to explore your options) etc and annual veterinarian checkups for your pet’s well being.

Additional expenses can also include monthly heartworm medicines and flea and tick prevention but these vary from dog to dog.

  1. Do you have the time?

Dogs are tactile beings and they need to be given a suitable amount of time. Young puppies without their mothers will need an extra touch and support. The amount of tactile contact is different for different breeds but all domesticated dogs do need their owner’s love and affection to survive. You would also need to dedicate some time to go on walks as a dog needs to out at least 8 hours a day. If you are busy with work the n employ dog walkers.

  1. Are you prepared to commit for a long time?

This is an important question that you need to ask yourself at every step of the process. Dogs can live up to 18 years and therefore you need to be prepared for a lifelong commitment and not change your mind after actually adopting one. Abandoned dogs are a common sight and this is even true with fancier and smaller breed that people adopt for certain reasons and wash their hands off their pets after a few years, citing reasons like job relocation, marriage etc. A dog deserves a stable home and if you can’t provide that for a long duration then it is better to not adopt.

  1. Select the Dog Breed That Suits Your Lifestyle

When you finally decide to adopt, the first thing that you need to select is the breed that you want. Now different types of breeds have different needs and wants. You need to know everything about the same before you select any breed and therefore concentrate on conducting an extensive research about the same.

Also make sure that the dog you adopt will be able to adapt to your lifestyle.

  1. Dogs get sick and are you ready to handle that?

Dogs are prone to sickness and you need to accept that you would need to shell out extra money for healthcare emergencies. It can be something simple as a weight issue or it can also be a serious condition that might require surgery. Pet insurance is a great option that dog owners can look into to cover any emergencies.

So these were some significant questions that you need to ask yourself when you adopt a dog. It might seem too much of work but the joy that a dog will bring in your life will be second to no other and I promise that you will never regret your decision if you take all the necessary steps.

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Author Bio: Rohit is a dog lover and pet enthusiast; he owns two adorable and wonderful dogs that include a German shepherd and a Labrador retriever. As work keeps him away from home, concerns arise about the safety and comfort of his pet friends, which made him try out various products that facilitate the same.

As Rohit makes so clear at the end, the joy that a dog will bring in your life will be second to none