Dogs Are The Key To Staying Active As We Age

It’s no surprise that people who walk their dogs tend to be more active overall than those who don’t have pets.

But a group of researchers from the U.K. wanted to delve deeper into the connection between dog walking and health, especially as people age.

More than 3,000 adults participated in the study. They were asked whether they owned or regularly walked a dog. Participants were outfitted with a device to constantly measure their physical activity over a seven-day period. On average, people who owned dogs were sedentary for 30 minutes less per day than those who didn’t have canine companions.

Because bad weather and the shorter days of winter are key reasons that many people don’t stay active outdoors, the researchers linked the activity data to weather conditions and daylight hours.

They found that on shorter days, as well as on days that were colder and wetter, all study participants spent less time being active and more time just sitting. Dog walkers, however, were much less affected by those inclement weather conditions. They were much more likely to get outside even if the weather wasn’t ideal. The study found that dog owners were 20 percent more active in bad weather than non-dog owners.

“We were amazed to find that dog walkers were on average more physically active and spent less time sitting on the coldest, wettest, and darkest days than non-dog owners were on long, sunny, and warm summer days,” said project lead Andy Jones from University of East Anglia’s Norwich School of Medicine.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers used data from a study that is tracking the well-being of thousands of residents of the English county of Norfolk.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night

“We know that physical activity levels decline as we age, but we’re less sure about the most effective things we can do to help people maintain their activity as they get older,” said lead author Yu-Tzu Wu from the University of Cambridge.

“We found that dog walkers were much more physically active and spent less time sitting overall. We expected this, but when we looked at how the amount of physical activity participants undertook each day varied by weather conditions, we were really surprised at the size of the differences between those who walked dogs and the rest of the study participants.”

The researchers said that perhaps their findings could inspire the development of successful programs to motivate people to be active.

“Physical activity interventions typically try and support people to be active by focusing on the benefits to themselves, but dog walking is also driven by the needs of the animal,” Jones points out. “Being driven by something other than our own needs might be a really potent motivator and we need to find ways of tapping into it when designing exercise interventions in the future.”

Want to Be More Active? Getting a Dog Might Help

As if you needed another reason to adopt a new furry friend, research has surfaced showing that owning a dog can potentially improve your overall health, with dog owners walking about 20 minutes more each day compared to people without canine counterparts.

The study, published by BMC Public Health, looked at 43 dog owners and 43 people without dogs—all over the age of 65. Each participant wore an activity tracker that provided continuous tracking for three-week-long periods, with researchers studying the participants for an entire year in total.

It is the first study to compare dog owners and non-dog owners using activity trackers instead of the previously used—and often unreliable—self-reported data.

Ultimately, the study found that the dog owners walked an average of 23 minutes more each day, and took an additional 2,760 more steps. Further, the dog owners reported having fewer prolonged periods of sitting down.

What was more important, however, was the pace at which the dog owners walked. Much of the extra walking was done at a moderate speed and was vigorous enough to be counted toward weekly physical activity requirements. As the World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week for the average adult, an extra 20 minutes of moderately-paced walking every day could potentially have a huge effect.

Unfortunately, the study was not a true, randomized clinical trial—and therefore can’t accurately determine whether owning a dog makes a person more active, or if active people are just more likely to have a canine running buddy. Also, since the participants were all white, British and over the age of 65, these results can’t really be applied to the general population.

However, the study didn’t definitively show that owning dogs doesn’t improve fitness… and therefore, it’s just another reason to take the plunge on adopting a new pet.

What You Need To Know About Dog Flu

As animal experts around the country amplify their warnings about dog flu outbreaks, pet owners are scrambling to understand the illness and learn how they can protect their pets. The virus has been circulating in the U.S. since 2015, infecting thousands of dogs throughout much of the country. In May 2017, several cases were confirmed for the first time in Florida.

Here’s what you need to know about this potentially deadly disease.

What is the dog flu?

Dog flu — or canine influenza — is an infection caused by one of two virus strains: H3N2 and H3N8. Of the two, H3N2 is more commonly seen in pets in the U.S. It is thought that the strain came from Asia, possibly originating as an avian flu that was transferred to a dog.

Dog flu symptoms

Like the flu that affects humans, the symptoms of the dog flu hit the respiratory system causing coughing, a runny nose, watery eyes and a sore throat. It’s also usually accompanied by a high fever and loss of appetite. But unlike with humans, your dog won’t be able to tell you how bad she is feeling, and you may not notice the symptoms right away. Animal experts say to watch your dog for changes in behavior. If your normally hyper dog seems lethargic or if your pup who is usually enthusiastic about eating starts skipping meals, it’s time to take a closer look.

How does the dog flu spread?

The dog flu virus spreads just like the human flu virus does — through bodily fluids that are released into the air via a sneeze or cough or by touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated. The dog flu virus can live in the environment for two days.

Dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs — in dog parks, kennels, shelters, groomers or veterinary clinics — are the most likely to contract the illness.

What to do if your dog gets the flu

Older dogs, younger dogs and dogs that are already sick are the most vulnerable when it comes to the dog flu, not because of the virus itself, but because these dogs are the most likely to develop complications, like pneumonia, that could be fatal. If you think your dog may have the flu, it’s important to check in with your vet to make sure he isn’t getting any worse.

At home, you can keep track of your dog’s temperature by placing a thermometer under her armpit, or for a more accurate reading, in her backside. According to the American Kennel Club the normal range for a dog’s temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius.)

Keep the fluids going as much as possible and try to entice your pooch to keep eating. Check with your vet about foods that may prompt him to eat without giving him a stomachache.

More than anything, give your pet plenty of time for R&R. Give her a week or so off from running, walking and other forms of exercise and just let her rest and sleep as much as she needs. Just make sure that she is still drinking, eating a little, and relieving herself.

How you can keep your dog from getting the flu?

The best way to minimize your dog’s risk of getting the flu is to keep her away from other dogs. If you spend time with other dogs, be sure to wash your hands and even change your clothes before interacting with your own dog. While humans can’t contract canine influenza, we can carry the virus on our hands and clothing for up to 24 hours after handling an infected dog.

You could also talk to your vet about a dog flu vaccine, although there is some question about its effectiveness as the vaccine for H3N8 may not offer protection from H3N2 and vice versa.

Dogs Are the Most Admired Animal, Fish Are the Least

Humans are biased about pretty much everything, including, it turns out, animals.

We were struck by a recent report that included a chart on animal stereotypes, based on a 2015 study from Princeton’s Susan T. Fiske and Verónica Sevillano of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

The study asked 135 Americans to rate animals for warmth and competence, two factors that have been shown to play a major role in how we view almost everything. In short, we feel admiration for things rated warm and competent; contempt for the cold and incompetent; pity for the warm and incompetent; and envy for the cold and competent.

It turns out humans admire the hell out of dogs, with cats, horses, and monkeys as runners-up. These animals were grouped in the study as “companion” animals.

Meanwhile, lions, tigers, and bears — the “predators” — are seen as fairly competent but cold. The likes of rabbits, hamsters, and ducks — “prey” — are seen as warm but incompetent. Fish, lizards, snakes — called, perhaps unfairly, “pests” — are seen as cold and incompetent.

Animal stereotyping, as with most stereotyping, can be harmful if unchecked. As Fiske and Sevillano note: “[T]he negative image of hyenas in the United States makes them a perfect target for aggressive human practices. Recently, the image of wolves in the Unites States has suffered the same fate.”

Travel: The Ultimate Pet-Friendly Road Trip

If your furry friend is your best friend, you simply cannot go on a cross-country road trip solo. Amy and Rob Burkert understand this, and thus they took it upon themselves to create the “Ultimate Pet-Friendly Road Trip” so that you and your best buddy (or buddies) can enjoy a journey together without fear that one of you may have to wait in the car while the other gets to savor the scenery.

On Gopetfriendly.com, the Burkets formuated the perfect road trip to take with pets; it covers 48 states and includes a pet-friendly attraction in each. To test it out, Amy and Rob will be spending the next 10 months trekking it themselves with their dogs, Ty and Buster. “Each selection had to represent the spirit of that state and, in combination, they needed to communicate the diversity of pet friendly adventures to be had across the country,” said Amy in a blog post on the website.

From the kickoff on the beach in Carmel, California, to the final destination of Portland’s Parks and Gardens in November 2017, the adventure is nothing short of diverse. The only possible repercussion of this trip is that your dog may feel he is too cultured for your local dog park after frolicking through the National Mall in D.C. and the Biltmore Estate Gardens in North Carolina.

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.

Cuddles!

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Ollie

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).

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.