Why Your Dog Is The Ideal Valentine

The beginning of the year can be stressful, with New Year’s resolutions and Valentine’s Day, which is a huge deal even if you’re one of those people who claims that they don’t care. Valentine’s Day is hard to forget and it sometimes adds all kinds of pressure on people.

Couples tend to become unbearable over social media and basically every store within sight is filled with teddy bears and heart shaped candies. The struggle is real.

We’ve concluded that the perfect date for the world and yourself is your dog. Don’t believe us? Here are some reasons that might change your mind.

You Guys Are So Cute Together

Instead of becoming one of those people, you can treat your social media friends to a photo they might actually want to see. A cute selfie with your dog is never annoying or out of place, and you can be sure no one will be rolling their eyes at you and claiming that you’re looking for attention.

Exercising Together Is Fun

Dog parks are surreal places that make you feel like you’re somewhere where dreams can come true. Is there a better way to raise your spirits than to be surrounded by lovable pups?

No, there’s not.

Bring Your Valentine To Work

Since V-Day is the type of boring holiday where you still have to go to work, you can bring your dog and add some pep to your co-worker’s step. They’ll be thankful.

Ordering Take Out Is Easy

You won’t have to share. Wait, yes you do.

No Judgement

Your dog won’t care what you’re wearing or how your hair looks. Spend the night in and catch up on a movie or your favorite show. You won’t be disturbed.


Dog snuggles are amazing. There are few things that are better than the moment when your dog falls asleep on your lap and you decide you’re not moving for the rest of the night.

No Fighting

It sounds a little bleak but be sure to enjoy the silent companionship that only a pet can offer.

There will be no arguing over which movie to pick, or which restaurant to go to. Just peaceful cuddles.

Quality Time At It’s  Best

It’s hard to remember to spend some quality time with your pet during the hustle of everyday life and work, but be sure to appreciate them on this special date. It’s good for your health!

Cheap Date

You won’t have to worry over chocolates, gifts and an expensive dinner. You’re dog isn’t after your wallet, and they won’t get offended if you don’t give them the most expensive gourmet treat.

Unconditional Love

The best reason of all. Your dog will be over the moon just because they get to spend some alone time with you.

Retired Circus Animals Leave The Big Top Behind For New Roles As Therapy Animals

When the Big Apple Circus closed midyear in 2016, it wasn’t just animal trainer Jenny Vidbel who found herself unemployed. The dogs and horses she had rescued over the years were now jobless too. Vidbel owned the well-trained menagerie so they retired with her to her 70-acre farm in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York.

But “retired” is a relative term, especially when it comes to a third-generation circus performer and animals who certainly appear to enjoy an appreciative audience. Inspired by Big Apple’s programs for children with special needs, Vidbel created a foundation that will offer animal-based therapy for people, while benefiting the horses, dogs and the occasional pig that make up its starring cast.

“It’s about mentally healing one another. I know what animals have done for me and my life and what joy and peace they’ve given to me,” Vidbel states. “I saw it later in life when my grandparents couldn’t be alone anymore and they traveled with me in the circus. I could see how they benefited from the animals and the animals benefited from them being around. It was perfect on both ends and a beautiful relationship.”

‘Animals need a job’

Vidbel knows her animals well and is convinced that they wouldn’t be content spending their retirement grazing in a pasture with nothing to do.

“Animals need a job; they need to work,” she says. “Animals need to engage and particularly circus animals because they’re so used to human attention. Every time I go to practice with one horse, I have three horses looking at me, ‘When is it my turn?'”

The new nonprofit is the Al and Joyce Vidbel Foundation, named for Vidbel’s grandparents. For years, people visited their farm — where the animals are today — to learn how to work with animals.

“The foundation is named after my grandparents because they were such an inspiration to me and they taught me how to respect animals,” Vidbel says. “They’re why I fell in love with them and was around them so much as a little girl. This farm was an inspiration to so many people. We still get calls from people saying, ‘This farm changed my life.'”

Fulfilling tradition and destiny

Vidbel and her animal performers continue to do small shows here and there while the foundation raises money to get the programs up and running, which will include building an amphitheater for performances. Vidbel plans to open the program to seniors, special needs children and those who are economically disadvantaged. They may be able to take part in hands-on animal care, watch training sessions and experience the animals performing in intimate settings.

Right now, there are 30 horses, seven dogs and four pigs on the farm, but Vidbel says she continues to adopt horses in need of rescuing. She has the space, not to mention the abilities to train hard-to-rehabilitate animals that may not get a second look at a feed lot auction.

“I always say I couldn’t believe I got paid to do what I did. I got to tour the world, be with amazing people and be with my animals,” Vidbel says. “Now, the amount of support we’ve had (for the foundation) has been amazing and reassures me we’re on the right track … I feel like I’m carrying on a tradition and a destiny.”

New Study Claims That Dogs Love Reggae Because It Helps Them Chill

Dogs love the sound of reggae music as it has a calming effect on them, a new study of canine behavior has found.

The research discovered that dogs ‘ stress levels decreased significantly after the music was played into their kennels.

The Scottish SPCA, Scotland’s animal welfare charity, carried out a music experiment at their rehoming center in Dumbarton in partnership with the University of Glasgow.

It suggested dogs have different music tastes but reggae music, popularized by Bob Marley, and soft rock music by bands like Fleetwood Mac and Foreigner were firm favorites.

As a result of the study, the charity are to buy sound systems to pipe music into the kennels of their rehoming centers across the country.

Neil Evans Professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, said: “Overall, the response to different genres was mixed highlighting the possibility that like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences.

“That being said, reggae music and soft rock showed the highest positive changes in behavior.”

Glasgow university PhD student Amy Bowman, who helped carry out the study, added: “The research, which took place at the Scottish SPCA center in Dumbarton, clearly shows that music has an effect on a dog’s behavior.

“We were keen to explore the effect playing different genres of music had, and it was clear that the physiological and behavioral changes observed were maintained during the trial when the dogs were exposed to a variety of music.”

The Scottish SPCA previously released research in 2015 that showed the impact classical music had on a dog’s behaviour.

The study involved two groups of dogs being examined over a period of two weeks in a rescue and rehoming centre.

One group of dogs was observed in silence, whilst the other had classical music played into their kennels. The conditions were then switched in the second week.

In both groups the dogs’ stress levels, measured through heart rates, saliva samples and observation of behavior, decreased significantly after listening to music.

The dogs also spent less time standing and barking when the music was being played.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, Scottish SPCA Head of Research and Policy, said “At present both our Glasgow and Edinburgh centers are able to pipe music into their kennels, and in the future every center will be able to offer our four footed friends a canine approved playlist, with the view to extending this research to other species in our care.”

Goat Yoga Is For Real, and People Are Loving It

The concept of combining yoga with the beauty and calming scenery of nature is in no way a new concept. There’s nature yoga, rooftop yoga and even the strangely serene—and surprisingly physically possible—practice of underwater yoga.

However, none of these are the reason that people are flocking by the thousands to Lainey Morse’s studio in Albany, Oregon. The thing that has put her yoga classes on the map is far more unexpected—because it’s goats.

Apparently, the idea of incorporating goats into yoga sessions came about when someone suggested that Morse should start holding classes outside at her farm. Since Morse’s farm is home to eight goats, it only seemed natural to let them stick around for the classes.

It’s not as if the goats are directly involved in the exercises—they’re more or less just there, calmly strolling around Morse’s barn and yard while the humans work through their stretches. Although the goats will sometimes approach people mid-workout for a quick cuddle, it’s mostly the calming environment that is making the experience so popular. Reviews on Morse’s Facebook page describe the experience as “relaxing,” “energizing,” “calming” and “natural.”

Word is spreading fast too. The wait list for Morse’s sessions has more than 1,200 names on it, and goat yoga has been featured by The Washington Post, CNN, VICE and the BBC.

To find out more about goat yoga—and possibly pray for a decent spot on the waiting list—you can check out Morse’s website.

Travel: The Most Dog-Friendly Airports in the U.S.

Flying with a dog, whether a pet or a service animal, isn’t the easiest undertaking. Travelers with larger dogs have to deal with the worrisome fact that their precious pet will have to fly in the cargo hold. Even if an airline allows smaller dogs to fly in the cabin, the trip could be less than straightforward. Will there be an issue at security? Where can the dog relieve itself once you get into the terminal? How will neighboring passengers respond?

But airports can be surprisingly accommodating to dogs, especially service animals. By law, every large airport in the United States has to have some sort of pet relief area in each terminal to accommodate people traveling with canine helpers.

Some hubs have even started programs geared towards travelers who need some four-legged support. These programs bring trained therapy canines into the terminal to sit with any passengers who want to take a break from the stresses of travel or who suffer from a fear of flying.

Here are 10 of the most dog-friendly airports in the U.S.

Denver International Airport

Denver International (DIA), the busiest hub airport in the Mountain West, features a state-of-the-art, in-terminal pet care facility. Paradise 4 Paws is a huge (25,000 square feet) venue that offers boarding for pets while their owners are traveling. The kennel area even has webcams so people can check in on their pooch online while they are on the road. Paradise also has 24-hour grooming services and indoor play areas. In addition to Denver, there are locations at Dallas Fort Worth International and at both of Chicago’s main airports.

The Colorado airport has pet relief rooms on each of its concourses. These are located on the airside after the TSA checkpoints. Owners who are in transit can walk their dogs without having to go back and forth through security, and those taking off from Denver can give their dog one final bathroom break before boarding. All these convenient in-terminal features make Denver one of the most dog-friendly airports in the country.

Minneapolis — Saint Paul

Minneapolis-Saint Paul International is another hub with multiple pet relief areas. The Minnesota airport has dedicated dog spaces outside both its terminals. The main terminal (Terminal 1) also has a pet “restroom” after security. The airport will provide an escort to take anyone with a service animal to an outdoor relief area if needed.

MSP’s Now Boarding offers pet boarding services to travelers flying out of the airport, and it’s open 24 hours a day. This facility is separate from the terminals, but pet owners get a perk when they leave their dog or cat here: Now Boarding offers 24-hour shuttle service to the terminal entrances. They will also pick you up when you get back so that you can be reunited with your pet as soon as possible after landing.

Detroit Metro

Detroit Metro is another major airport realizing the importance of catering to travelers with pets and service animals. The Michigan hub had service dogs in mind when it constructed a special airside pet relief area, which airport employees affectionately dubbed “Central Bark.” A section of this facility even has real grass.

DWC also has outdoor pet relief areas that are right next to the departures entrance (in the McNamara Terminal) and the arrivals area (in the North Terminal).

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson

Hartsfield Jackson, the world’s busiest airport in terms of annual passenger volume, is another hub that makes pet owners feel welcome. The Atlanta airport has a 1,000-square-foot dog park near the ground transportation area of the domestic terminal.

Unlike most airport dog relief areas, this one actually deserves to be called a “park.” There are benches, complimentary biodegradable poop pickup bags and even a couple of charming dog sculptures. Since the park is fenced in, dogs can run without a leash and work off any excess energy before their flight. This summer, the airport announced it will be adding indoor pet areas on each of its concourses.

Reno Tahoe

Reno Tahoe doesn’t see as many transit passengers as the major hub airports, but it still deserves recognition for its pet-friendly attitude. Its outdoor dog facility, called the Bark Park, opened in 2004. The idea has proven so popular and gotten so much positive press for the airport that a second Bark Park was added in 2012. These parks are easy to find — just follow the artificial paw prints on the sidewalks.

The parks are surrounded by fences and are fully accessible, so they are ideal for service dogs as well as pets. As anyone who has been in Nevada during the summer will tell you, the sun can get very hot during the day. For this reason, the Bark Parks are covered with canopies.

San Diego

San Diego International has several pet relief areas and a unique program that brings dogs into the airport to comfort nervous fliers. SAN has three designated spaces for pets and service dogs. This includes an indoor, post-security option for transit passengers and dogs who need one last pit stop before boarding.

San Diego’s Ready Pet Go program brings trained dogs into the terminal to comfort nervous fliers and provide stress relief to travelers who just had to deal with long security checkpoint wait times and some of the other drawbacks of the airport experience. The dogs and their handlers are volunteers who take two-hour shifts and simply roam the concourses interacting with passengers. The program is a partnership between the airport, the Traveler’s Aid Society of San Diego and Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Washington Dulles

The main airport in the nation’s capital features no less than five pet-friendly areas. Three of these are typical outdoor spaces with natural grass (near the departures/ticketing entrances and adjacent to baggage claim) and these outdoor parks have complimentary bags and waste bins.

Dulles also has two indoor facilities, one serving the A and B concourses and one for passengers using the C and D gates. These post-security areas are covered with artificial K-9 grass. Even though they are inside, their L-shaped layout means dogs have enough space to move around. When the dog relieves itself, the owner can push a button on the wall to automatically rinse the ground in that part of the dog park.

Phoenix Sky Harbor

Phoenix Sky Harbor offers more than a patch of grass for traveling pets and service dogs. The Arizona airport has five separate areas for dogs. Three pre-security parks sit outside of terminals 2, 3 and 4. The airport has even given these spaces canine-specific names: the Pet Patch (T2), Paw Pad (T3) and Bone Yard (T4).

Unfortunately, Sky Harbor has yet to open any post-security relief rooms. There are, however, additional areas near two of PHX’s Skytrain stations in the parking section of the airport.

Philadelphia International

Philadelphia International is arguably the easiest airport in the country to travel with pets or service animals. The reason: Pet relief areas are located in each and every terminal inside the Pennsylvania hub. That means, no matter which gate you happen to be flying out of, you’ll be able to find a place for your dog not far away.

The airport took a unique approach to creating these in-terminal areas. The airlines that use the airport paid to convert seven 80-square-foot spaces into mini dog parks. The airport went ahead with the project despite critics who said the same seven plots could be used for retail spaces that could potentially earn millions in additional income for the airport each year

New York JFK

New York JFK is one of the most crowded (many call it “chaotic”) airports in the U.S. However, pet-owning travelers may find it welcoming — that is, if they fly out of the right terminal. JFK’s terminal 4 has its own pet bathroom, which is located right next to the “human” restrooms. Previously, pet owners who were in-transit or who wanted to make one final pit stop had to go back through the airport’s notoriously slow security.

JFK is also in the process of building a large terminal exclusively for pets. The cost of the project is $48 million. The investment could be worth the price when you consider that about 70,000 animals, from horses to dogs and cats, travel through the airport every year.

Florida Animal Friend Introduces New Florida Specialty License Plate Design to Benefit Statewide Spay and Neuter Programs

Florida Animal Friend, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of unwanted cats and dogs throughout the state of Florida, today announced a new specialty license plate design to raise funds for organizations that provide complimentary and low-cost spay and neuter services.

“As we celebrate our 10 year anniversary addressing the critical issues of pet population and health in Florida, I’d like to acknowledge the many organizations that are on the front lines managing important programs that make a real difference,” said Lois Kostroski, Executive Director, Florida Animal Friend. “I encourage Florida residents to purchase the new specialty license plate, which is not only adorable but will result in a more humane pet population statewide.”

The new specialty license plate features a very cute dog and cat against the backdrop of a beautiful Florida beach. Each plate purchased through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides $25 for Florida Animal Friend’s mission. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual grants are awarded to municipal and non-profit organizations that are striving to make a difference in the pet over-population problem by providing free or low-cost spay and neuter programs for cats and dogs. Earlier this year, 22 organizations were awarded more than $478,000 in Florida Animal Friend funds.

Each grant application is reviewed by Florida Animal Friend’s Grant Review Committee and scored for strengths in the following areas: target of important animal populations, ability to increase surgery numbers above the existing baseline, the cost-benefit ratio, the track record of the applicant and the applicant’s sustainability. In its 10 year history, Florida Animal Friend has awarded more than $4.5 millionto meet the organization’s critical mission.

This Shelter Gives Dogs Cottages, Not Cages

The worst part about visiting an animal shelter is seeing all of those animals in cages. Even if there’s a room to stretch out and maybe a blanket or a bed inside, it’s hard to see those sad little furbabies behind bars. That’s exactly why one Oregon shelter is doing away with the bars and giving their pups cottages instead, to help them feel more at home while they wait for their forever families.

At the Luvable Dog Rescue in Eugene, Oregon, each dog has his or her own little cottage, complete with cozy furniture, paintings, and other necessities that make the rooms look like a home. The cottages offer the pups a home-like environment that minimizes stress while they wait to be adopted. They also have the benefit of allowing the rescue center staff to see exactly how the dog behaves in a home environment, which gives them more information to pass on to potential adopters about each dog’s likes, dislikes and temperament.

The cottages aren’t the only puppy perk at Luvable Dog Rescue. The rescue center sits on 55 acres of land that includes forests, meadows, and hiking trails for the dogs to get their exercise.

Liesl Wilhardt, executive director of Luvable Dog Rescue, told PupJournal that she has always been drawn to pit bulls, even as a young girl. She started off by fostering pit bulls and over the years began turning her hobby into a full-time career with a mission to give all dogs the special lives they deserve. In addition to the cottages, Wilhardt recently built a “pit bull palace” for bigger dogs, and she hopes to build a maternity ward for doggie moms to share with their newborns.

Wilhardt said the goal of Luvable Dog Rescue is to make each dog’s stay as comfortable and stress-free as possible. She hopes that “those who have lost their families, or ‘pack,’ or have never had one, can finally feel a sense of belonging there.”


Here Comes Custom Meal Delivery … For Your Dog

Pets are family. When you choose a food for them, chances are you look at ingredients and nutrition just like you would for the humans in your household. But a number of companies are taking things one step further. You can order personalized meals — often with fresh ingredients and no additives — and have them delivered right to your home, customized for your pet’s particular needs.

Brett Podolsky started The Farmer’s Dog as a solution to his Rottweiler Jada’s health issues.

“She had a lot of health problems, mostly surrounding a sensitive stomach … and was having loose stools every day,” Podolsky says. “It was heartbreaking to me to see that my dog was uncomfortable like that.”

Vets recommended foods to try and nothing helped, until one suggested that Podolsky try home-cooking for her for a few days.

“The solution I was so desperate to find was right in front of me,” he says. “And I found that a lot of people were looking for better food with better ingredients.”

Podolsky and his business partner, Jonathan Regev, offered their food to a few pet-owning friends, who helped spread the word. By the time their business launched in July, they had a waiting list with a few thousand names on it.

“The common denominator really is people that understand the power that food has on health. It pretty much is as simple as that,” Podolsky says. “All our customers love their dogs and treat them as part of the family. But really they all understand that food has a major effect on health.”

Although their company is based in Brooklyn with nary a pasture in sight, Podolsky and Regev named their company The Farmer’s Dog because they believe their mix of fresh ingredients is what a pastoral canine would eat.

“When you think of a farmer’s dog, you think of the healthiest, happiest dog. A happy dog eats fresh, real food and has a big yard to run around in,” Podolsky says. “The farmer’s dog embodies what we want all of our dogs to be.”

The Farmer’s Dog uses an algorithm developed by veterinary nutritionists and tech experts to determine the right formula for your pet. You answer a few questions about your dog’s age, breed, activity level and a few other features, and you get a personalized food recommendation. The food is then shipped directly to your dog’s doorstep.

Of course, this kind of personalized pet nutrition isn’t inexpensive, and can easily run three or four times the cost of even premium packaged foods.

“I can tell you from my own personal experience that I haven’t had to take my dog to the vet in 2 1/2 years except for her shots and I used to take her every month,” says Podolsky. “We tell people to give it a try and see the benefits and then reassess to see if you think it’s worth it.”

Here’s a look at four companies that offer customized, home-delivered foods for your dog. (Because prices range significantly depending on your dog’s size and the proteins in the food you choose, the examples below are based on the information entered for my dog — a 30-pound, border collie mix — so you can get an idea of cost.)

The Farmer’s Dog

After answering questions about your dog’s age, weight, breed — and how picky he is and how often you feed him treats — you’ll get a recommendation for meals that come in frozen, proportioned packages. Everything is made to order for your pet and shipped out shortly after it’s made.

Customer service reps will check in with you to monitor your dog’s progress so serving sizes can be adjusted accordingly if your dog is gaining or losing weight. And if your dog doesn’t like any of the food, the company will replace it and send a return label so the food can be donated to a shelter. There are also DIY recipes on the website if you want to try making your own food.

Although small dogs start at $3/day, Brodie’s recommendations were either the turkey, beef or pork formulas, which ranged from $36 to $39 a week. There’s also a free two-week trial.


It’s the same plan at Ollie, where you enter info about your dog’s age, breed, activity level and any allergies. Then a formula spits out a recommendation for the right meal for your pet: hearty beef or chicken goodness. The beef comes from corn-fed, humanely treated cattle on family-run farms and the chickens are vegetable-fed with no hormones. There are no byproducts, fillers, artificial flavorings or preservatives.

The food arrives cold or frozen and comes in insulated, recyclable, sealed trays. It comes with a custom scoop so you can measure the exact amount recommended for your dog. All you have to do is scoop, serve and remember to wash your dog’s bowl after every meal. “You wouldn’t use the same salad bowl day after day without washing it would you?! Same goes for your pup when you’re serving them fresh food,” the Ollie website points out.

My dog could have his choice between hearty beef for $75.58/two weeks or chicken goodness for $84.66/two weeks.

Just Food for Dogs

Several years ago, founder Shawn Buckley became curious about what was in the commercial foods he was feeding his dogs. When he discovered all sort of byproducts, preservatives and chemicals, as well as cooking processes that reduced the nutritional value of healthy ingredients, he assembled a team of business partners, nutritionists, a pet chef and plenty of canine taste testers. Buckley opened a Just for Dogs kitchen and store in Newport Beach, California, where pet owners could come in and buy freshly made dog meals.

All ingredients are food-grade, certified for human consumption, with no preservatives. Every recipe is made in small batches for quality control in their kitchen and is immediately vacuum sealed and frozen to preserve nutritional value.

These days, Just Food for Dogs sells food out of four locations in California, delivers locally and ships nationwide. The company sells six regular recipes including fish and sweet potato, venison and squash, and beef and russet potato, and eight special recipes for pets with health issues, including skin, kidney and liver concerns. Company reps will also work with you and your vet on custom formulations for allergies, cancer and other health problems.

After filling out a simple questionnaire, you get several recommendations for diets and feeding amounts. You can also live chat with a nutrition consultant or send an email if your dog has health issues, dietary needs or you need help choosing a formula.

Brodie could choose any of the six regular recipes. One difficult thing to figure out in our case, however, is that the foods are not packaged in the same recommended feeding amounts (for example, it said to feed 16 ounces a day of the turkey mix, but it only comes in 7, 18 and 72 ounce packages). Prices depend on the protein, but in my dog’s case, it would be about $175 and up per month.

Just Right by Purina

Unlike the other options mentioned, Purina’s Just Right personalized offering is dry dog food. Unlike the other foods mentioned, it’s obviously a processed food, which means the price is considerably cheaper and (bonus!) you get your dog’s photo on each bag.

To find out which blend is right for your dog, you’ll answer similar questions about your dog’s age, breed, weight and activity level. You’ll also be asked about how quickly he eats his food, the quality of his coat and his stool, and whether you want to avoid grains or any other ingredients. Red meat, poultry and fish are the three main proteins. There are also grain-free formulas available.

In Brodie’s case, they suggested salmon with ground rice and oatmeal. It would cost $37.99 for 12 pounds (a month’s supply).

Human Foods That Are Good For Dogs Too

There are many human foods that are good for dogs. The thing is that you must keep it healthy, low quantity and not do it too often.

There are many human foods that can be dangerous and toxic for dogs so make sure that you only give healthy foods to dogs.

Keep in mind that every dog is different, dogs with certain health conditions, food sensitivities and weight issues have different nutritional needs. If you are not sure of the dog nutritional needs, you should get guidance from the veterinarians.

Here is a list of nutritious human foods that are safe and can be eaten by dogs.

These are Human Foods that are Good for Dogs

  • Apples (no seeds)
  • Apricots (no pits)
  • Baby food (all-natural)
  • Bananas
  • Berries (fresh and frozen)
  • Bouillon
  • Bran cereal
  • Bread (without raisins or nuts)
  • Broccoli (raw)
  • Carrots – Good for the dog’s teeth.
  • Cashews
  • Cauliflower (raw)
  • Celery
  • Cheerios
  • Cheese (American, cheddar)
  • Chicken (cooked, no bones or skin)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Croutons (plain)
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggs (cooked)
  • Flax seed (ground or oil)
  • Ginger
  • Green beans (canned, no salt)
  • Melons
  • Mint (helps with bad breath)
  • Nectarines (no pits)
  • Oatmeal
  • Orange slices (no rinds)
  • Organ meats (giblets, liver, tongue, heart, gizzards
  • Parsley
  • Pasta noodles (cooked)
  • Peaches
  • Peanut butter (creamy or chunky, preferably all-natural)
  • Peas
  • Pineapple (fresh or frozen)
  • Popcorn (no salt, toppings or kernals)
  • Potatoes (mashed, no butter, skin or green parts)
  • Pumpkin (canned)
  • Rice (cooked)
  • Rice cakes
  • Sunflower seeds (unsalted)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes (no greens or stems)
  • Tuna (and the juice from canned tuna)
  • Turkey (cooked, no bones or skin)
  • Yogurt (plain, lowfat, unflavored, unsweetened) – Good source of calcium and protein.
  • Watermelon

It’s National Dog Day! So What Are The Best Breeds For Florida’s Climate? We’ve Got The List…

Humans can slug a cold glass of water, sweat profusely, or chill in front of the AC. Dogs, however, don’t have it so easy when it comes to cooling down in a super hot environment. Their survival depends on their coat and fur, along with how much energy they are putting out. “Keep an eye on humidity levels as well as temperature,” says Dr. Amara Estrada of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and a diplomat for the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine—Cardiology. “Animals use panting to take heat away from their bodies, and if humidity is too high they are unable to cool themselves.”

Not all dogs are created equal when it comes to staying cool, though. If you want a happy companion on your next summer adventure, consider these ten breeds that perform well in hot weather, especially if they can hop in a nearby river.

German Shorthaired Pointer

This is a dog that can do anything—track, hunt, point, pull sleds, detect bombs, and of course, join you on a hike or a run on a warm summer’s day. Pointers vary greatly in color, but are easily recognizable in their instinctual pointing stance with a hard gaze, head down, a lifted paw, and tail up.

They were bred for water retrieving and have a short, flat water-resistant coat that helps them regulate their temperature and also repels dirt. These pointers are great athletes (they love to jump) and have heavy, durable nails to keep trucking through dirt and rocks. Hyper and energetic, these pups need space to play and roam, but live a long life—often up to the to mid-teens.

American Water Spaniel

This pooch is another breed that is perfect for warmer climates and will love the hot months. The medium-sized dog has a stocky, strong build and needs both physical and mental exercise. American Water Spaniels are very vocal dogs and have a unique, wavy coat with curls that helps protect them against water, weather, and briars getting stuck as they run through the woods. Similar to a Cocker Spaniel, the American Water Spaniel sports longer, curly ears.

Great Dane

A great dane might not join you on a hike, but will certainly snuggle up with you. They love to laze around on the couch, the bed, or even your lap and they love to lean on you, but they especially love the heat. “They are obsessed with heat, whether it be the heater vents or the fireplace—they are right next to them if they’re on,” says one owner of two Great Danes, Bella and Gabby. “When it’s 90 degrees outside, they will lay right where the sun is beating down and we have to beg them to come in and cool down.”

These gentle giants are part of the Mastiff family and aren’t actually from Denmark—the breed was developed in Germany. Danes are one of the tallest dogs but have one of the shortest life expectancies.

Border Collie

“When I think of border collies, I immediately think of frisbees!” says Estrada. “Border collies are so perfect for the park in any warm climate.” This breed is extremely energetic, acrobatic, smart, and athletic. Not ideal for apartments, collies need plenty of space and nice weather to run around in. They are one of the most intelligent breeds (hello, Lassie!), but with that, they’ll need to be trained or else you’ll be dealing with a terror of a dog—this breed isn’t good for first time owners or families who won’t have time to deal with obedience.

Estrada says that border collies herding instincts, along with trainability, speed, agility, and stamina, have allowed them to dominate in dog activities like flyball, frisbee, and disc dog competitions. Ultimate four-legged frisbee anyone?

Australian Cattle Dog

Another top herding dog, the Australian cattle dog thrives on change and new experiences, says Estrada. This breed is recognizable by its blue or red color, and often has a “mask” on its face with a dark patch over one or both eyes. They have extremely high energy, which makes them perfect for hiking—even if you might get winded, they never will. Be sure to bring plenty of water for not just yourself, but your pooch, too, and try to take breaks in the shade. If your dog is in the sun for a long time, consider some doggy sunscreen, says Estrada, for their ears and other exposed (furless) areas such as tummies.

This breed is devoted, dedicated, and loyal to its owners, and is considered a very athletic dog. And if you live in a rainy state or have a long rainy season, the Australian Cattle Dog is perfect with its rain-resistant double-coat that allows for water to simply bead off.

Airedale Terrier

These extremely smart dogs are much like humans—crazy smart can often lead to getting bored really easily. The largest of the terriers, make sure to keep Airedales busy with toys, exercise, and running around in the woods, your yard, or a park, but be wary of the shining sun. “Watch out for hot flooring,” says Estrada, “and remember that dogs don’t wear shoes, so hot surfaces like rocks or plastic playground equipment can be really dangerous to their paws.”

The breed is a hunting breed for both on land and in the water, but are still playful and a bit goofy, too, with plenty of endurance for summer exploring. Airedales’ coats make them extremely easy to take care of in hot climates—strip their coat down a bit further when the temps rise, and if it gets chilly in the winter, just let it grow out.

Golden Retriever

Another popular dog, and one that’s great for families, is the Golden Retriever. This breed was established near Loch Ness in the 1860s and hasn’t yet lost its love for the water—or retrieving. Head to the park for an endless game of fetch, or hike near a pond with this natural swimmer who sports a water-resistant coat and webbed feet.

“Goldens are very smart and social dogs that typically gets along with other breeds very well,” says Estrada, which is important when doing activities where many dogs might be present, like heading to the park in the summer, so that you don’t need to worry about negative interactions. “When I think of Goldens, the first personality trait that comes to mind is an eagerness to please, so they are great at obedience and agility training but also amazing service dogs who thrive in a situation where they are working alongside their owner.”

Be warned that with all the running and jumping Goldens do, they are often prone to hip dysplasia, which needs to be treated lest you want a pooch that is suffering in pain.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Another water-loving pooch, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large dog that looks similar to a labrador. Vets warn, though, that the Chessie personality is much more standoffish and has a stronger temperament than the Lab, and is also extremely hard to train—don’t get this breed as your first dog and be prepared to spend some time training hardcore. This temperament and will to work lead to a breed that performs the best when it comes to hunting waterfowl, even in icy, cold conditions. The dogs will even use their broad and strong chest to bust through the ice. Whether it’s in the winter or in the summer, Chessies dry quickly because of their waterproof, oily coat.

The state dog of Maryland, these retrievers won’t disappoint with a game of fetch, especially if you’re by the water. Known to be strong, powerful, and a bit intense, this breed comes with a lot of energy and needs space to run around, rather than a quick trot around the block.

Labrador Retriever

Labs are a special mix of toughness and playfulness that can thrive in both cold and hot temperatures, but if you think your Lab loves to play in the yard or roll around in the snow, just get him near a lake or ocean. “Labs typically love anything that has to do with water—lakes, pools, beaches,” says Estrada. “When I think of labs, I think of a fun-loving and boisterousness along with a lack of fear of anything so they are always game for new adventures. Labs are high-energy dogs who never seem to tire and are constantly looking for activity with their owners.”

The breed actually comes from the Newfoundland breed, so the water-loving gene make sense as Newfies are known for being rescue water dogs. Estrada notes that Labs are not only great around the water, but they are also the perfect breed to take running on the beach. Got a bright orange floaty toy and a lake? You and your four-legged friend will be set for hours.

Labs have webbed paws that make it easy to stay afloat and swim for quite a distance, as well as a water-resistant, slightly oily coat and a rudder-like tail to propel the pooch along.They are also great jumpers and can fly off a pier without a problem.

American Foxhound

The American Foxhound is one of America’s few native breeds. In fact, George Washington himself bred these tall hunting dogs with lots of energy. A walk twice a day will suffice, though a yard to run around in is ideal. “Exercise in the early morning or early evening and avoid hottest times of day,” recommends Estrada.

The Foxhound’s coat is made up of short hair, which helps keep the breed cooler in hotter temperatures. Don’t be fooled by it’s cute look and pleasing attitude—this breed can often be stubborn, so it needs to be trained, but it does get along well with families and other pets.