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Prospective dog owners have many different breeds to choose from. Dogs vary with regard to temperament, coat type, looks, and even size, giving would-be dog owners many options to find the breeds that may suit their lifestyles. Small dogs tend to be favorites among those who live in apartments or do not have the space or time for the long exercise larger breeds may need. Diminutive breeds also travel more easily than large pooches. Keep in mind, however, that many toy breeds are too delicate to be handled by boisterous children and may require serene home environments. For those searching for a small breed, consider this list, courtesy of the American Kennel Club.

• Brussels Griffon

• Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

• Chihuahua

• Dachshund

• Havanese

• Japanese Chin

• Maltese

• Miniature Pinscher

• Norfolk Terrier

• Pomeranian

• Pug • Poodle

• Yorkshire Terrier    

Keep pets cool, comfortable and safe during hot weather

Summer may be a time for vacations and recreational activities for human beings, but pets may not be privy to the same luxuries. Summer recreation may not always include our four-legged friends, as summer heat and other issues can pose a threat to companion animals. As a result, pet parents must make pet safety a priority when the weather heats up.
The Humane Society of the United States says that the summer months can be uncomfortable and dangerous for pets. Temperatures that may be tolerable for adults and children who are dressed accordingly may not be so for animals covered in fur. It’s vital to help pets stay comfortable and safe as summer temperatures heat up. Pet parents also must be aware of particular dangers that go hand-in-hand with summertime activities.

  • Practice vehicle safety. It is never acceptable to leave pets in parked cars, even for a minute. Temperatures inside vehicles can rise quickly and considerably in a matter of minutes, even with the windows opened slightly. HSUS says on an 85-degree-day, temperatures inside parked cars can reach 102 F within 10 minutes. Pets can suffer irreversible and even fatal organ damage in that period of time. If you have to run errands, keep dogs and cats at home where they will be more comfortable.
  • Stay off of hot asphalt. If you’ve ever walked on the hot sand or an asphalt driveway on a hot day, you understand just how scorching those surfaces can get. Dogs and cats do not have protective shoes to wear, so safeguard the delicate pads of their paws by keeping companion animals off of hot surfaces. Schedule walks in the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler.
  • Schedule a pet grooming visit. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation suggests speaking with your veterinarian to see if it’s appropriate for your pet to get clipped shorter or to be shaved in the summer. But a fur coat can offer protection from the sun, so weigh the pros and cons before taking action. Apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin if he or she has a thin coat.
  • Provide a way for pets to cool off. If you’re hot, chances are your pet is hot, too. Offer a means for pets too cool off, such as a wading pool when you are outside. Offer plenty of fresh water. Keep pets who do not enjoy the heat indoors with the air conditioner running on hot days.
  • Look for indicators of heat stress. The American Veterinary Association says heat stress is marked by heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobbly legs. Move pets exhibiting such symptoms to a cool place, drape a damp towel over the animal’s body, rewetting the cloth frequently, and get the animal to the vet as soon as you possibly can.
  • Exercise caution in the water. Dogs can get swept away by rip currents just like human swimmers. If you will be boating, invest in a life jacket for your pooch and look for water hazards, such as currents, sink holes, and blue-green algae in lakes and ponds.

Adapting To Your New Furry Friend

Adopting a dog is a wonderful way to bring joy into a home, and adoption may very well save a dog’s life. According to the Humane Society of the United States, between six and eight million pets end up in shelters each year and half of those are unlikely to be adopted.
Adjusting to life with a dog is not always easy. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, the scope of which first-time dog owners may not fully grasp until their furry friends arrive at their new homes for the first time. But there are ways to make the transition to dog ownership go smoothly, which should afford new dog owners more time to spend with the newest additions to their families.

  • Prepare your home before Fido’s arrival. While many dogs adjust quickly to their new homes, preparing the home before dogs arrive can make that adjustment even easier for the dog. Dogs might be nervous and under significant stress when entering a new home for the first time, so prepare the area where the dog will be spending most of its time. Remove items that curious pooches may break, and don’t forget to move household cleaners from floor cabinets to high shelves so dogs won’t ingest anything harmful. Have a crate ready for the dog if you plan to crate him or her so you don’t have to introduce it after the pet has already grown acclimated to its new living arrangements.
  • Prepare and stick to a schedule. Dogs benefit from routine, so before bringing your dog home figure out when you are going to feed and walk the dog, and which times of day you plan to play him or her. Examine your own schedule and recognize that you might need to make some changes to accommodate your new housemate. Stick to the same daily feeding, walking and socializing schedule, which should acclimate the dog more quickly. Another benefit to adhering to the same schedule is the dog will grow accustomed to relieving itself at the same time each day, reducing the likelihood of potentially messy accidents that no dog owner wants to clean up.
  • Keep things calm. A hectic household might make it difficult for the dog to adjust, so remain calm and encourage other residents to do the same until the dog seems comfortable in its new surroundings. If necessary, limit visitors to your home and steer clear of the dog park or other places where the dog might become overexcited. As the dog grows more comfortable, you can then invite one or two friends over at a time and start taking the dog to the park as well.
  • Take note of any irregularities. Some shelter dogs come from abusive situations, and the effects of those situations may still be lingering. While it’s perfectly reasonable to use leashes when walking dogs, recognize that some dogs may associate leashes or other objects with past abuse. In such instances, speak with your veterinarian about the best ways to address these irregularities, and always exercise patience as your dog adjusts to his or her new surroundings..

Shelter dogs often make great companion animals, and owners should afford their new dogs ample time to adjust to their new home.


Groundhog Facts

Every February 2nd, people across the country anxiously await the groundhog's weather forecast. Should the groundhog see his shadow, it is six more weeks of winter. If the shadow goes unseen, spring will arrive ahead of schedule. For some, Groundhog Day is the only time a person actually lays eyes on the animal doing the prognosticating. But there's more to groundhogs than their ability to forecast the weather.

  1. Groundhogs do little in that burrow during their winter rest. They go into profound hibernation, where their metabolic rates and their body temperatures drop considerably. Many groundhogs begin to come out of hibernation naturally around early- to mid-February. The groundhogs that make it on television for Groundhog Day may get an earlier wake-up call.
  2. The scientific name of the groundhog is Marmota monax. Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are closely related to squirrels and actually can climb trees and swim.
  3.  Groundhogs are herbivores, mostly feeding on whatever plant material they can find. Because they like crops, many farmers view them as pests. On occasion, groundhogs will scavenge for and eat insects.
  4. The burrows made by the animals have several chambers and different entrances and exits. It may be challenging to find a groundhog's entry point to your yard as a result.
  5.  On average, a groundhog will live between 3 to 6 years in the wild. In captivity, a groundhog can live to around age 10.
  6. A wildlife biologist once measured the inside volume of a typical woodchuck burrow. It was estimated that if the hole was filled with wood shavings instead of dirt, that woodchuck could chuck about 700 pounds' worth of wood.
  7. Groundhogs are often mistaken for other animals. In fact, the "gopher" that was seen in the film "Caddyshack" was actually a groundhog.
  8. A groundhog can produce a high-pierced whistle when frightened, which has earned it the nickname "whistlepig."
  9. Groundhog fur is not particularly thick or warm, so the animal has never really been prized for its coat for clothing.