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The Dog DNA Test – What Breeds Make Up Your Dog?

Dog DNA testIf you are one of those heroes that went to the pound or animal shelter to adopt your dog, you might be wondering – what breeds is my dog made out of? Maybe you’re just curious or perhaps you want to identify any potential health issues or disease predispositions based on their breed mix?

What we were surprised to learn is that your dog’s physical appearance is largely controlled by a small number of genes. These genes can have both recessive and dominant variants and the variants that are present determine the visible effect on physical traits seen.

As a result the presence of various breed signatures does not guarantee that the dog will look like all detected breeds. The wonder of genetic inheritance can be seen as much in dogs as it can in people. So what you see perhaps is not what you actually have…

Since you can’t totally guess your dogs breed ancestry based on looks, we researched some great DNA testing options for you. [Read more…]

August 26th – National Dog Day

National Dog DayHappy National Dog Day! Created by the National Dog Day Foundation, their motto is “Saving 10,000 Dogs – One Day at a Time”. The first goal of National Dog Day is to honor dogs and all they do for us. Not only do they give us love and companionship, but they also provide many services from being a watchdog and rescuer to helping out the disabled.

National Dog DayThe second goal of National Dog Day is to rescue dogs from homelessness and abuse. The National Dog Day Foundation’s aspiration is to rescue 10,000 dogs a year. If you don’t have a dog, consider adopting one from a shelter today. Go to your local dog shelter or check out Pet Finder. Please do not purchase dogs from unethical backyard breeders and pet stores – their puppies typically come from puppy mills.

Don’t know your dog’s birthday? Well here’s a great substitute birth date for your dog! What dog wouldn’t want a summertime birthday!

dog massageIf you’re not sure how to celebrate National Dog Day, take your dog out for a walk outside, e.g. in the park or on the beach. Bring his/her favorite toys to play with. Put in an extra 15 minutes of fetch. Provide extra belly rubs and doggie massages! If your dog enjoys the groomer, take him to a spa appointment there. Buy your dog a new toy or treats. The list of fun things to do with your dog is endless, but most important of all is for you to spend some extra time with your dog and appreciate all that your dog does for you every day!

Rock & Rawhide – Collecting Items for Shelters

rock and rawhide

Rock & Rawhide – The Process

As you know, we do a lot of product reviews and as a result we do end up with a lot of extra things we wouldn’t necessarily use for ourselves or use as a giveaway.

A while back, we had collected a pile of doggie products to give to a shelter. We called around to see what shelter we could donate too, but the ones we spoke with were quite picky with what they would accept…which totally shocked us! We thought they would be happy to accept dog product donations.

Alas, when we were recently at our vet (Seaport Animal Hospital) for a routine checkup, we saw a bin for donations to Rock & Rawhide.

Rock & Rawhide

Kobi’s donation to the Rock & Rawhide bin

Rock & Rawhide’s mission is to increase adoptions and quality of life of dogs and cats in shelters, by providing distraction therapy and noise/stress reduction through the donations of toys, tough chew items, Kongs, Nylabones, rope toys, bones, rawhides, blankets and more. If a dog is chewing, it’s not barking! Less noise = less stress. In turn, dogs can pass their evaluations at shelters, and show more of their personality, making them more adoptable.

What’s great is that Rock & Rawhide collects the donated items and distributes them to adoption shelters based on need. For us this was the perfect solution! We can give back to shelters and also be more environmentally friendly by not tossing out dog products we don’t need.

RockAndRawhideRock & Rawhide will collect items through donations at individual’s homes, offices, schools, music gigs, visual art shows, culinary events, DJ events…ok, the list is endless. They also create drive-by collection days where they will drive to individual’s homes in a particular area to take their donations.

To learn more about Rock & Rawhide, check out their website. We’ll definitely be donating to them again!

Foster Dogs – FAQs Answered!

We’ve spoken with many people that have questions about foster dogs. So we asked Sarah Oren Brasky, CEO of Foster Dogs Incorporated and editor of fosterdogsnyc.com to answer many of your frequently asked questions:

1. I’ve never had a dog before, but am considering getting one. Could I “try out” having a dog by fostering a dog? What if I don’t like my foster dog? Can I return him and get a new one?
Fostering a dog means saving a life – and improving yours at the same time! foster dogsIf you are unsure about a long-term commitment to a dog, then fostering is a wonderful option! Sometimes, people are interested in adopting a dog but are unsure whether the variables will work out (personality, age, size, etc) once the dog comes home. My best advice if you are “trying out” a dog is to commit to an amount of time so that the animal rescue group can plan ahead. Even if things are not working out as planned, it’s important to stick to your commitment unless the circumstances become dire.
For example, let’s pretend you offer to foster a five month old puppy. You’ve always wanted a puppy! Well, you bring the dog home and suddenly you realize that he is chewing up your flip flops and peeing on your rug. This is your moment of glory. This is not the time to “trade in” the dog for another foster model, rather this is your chance to improve this dog’s life, teach and prepare him for an adoptive home. Perhaps a puppy wasn’t what you wanted, after all… And that’s okay!
Once you’ve fostered one dog, you can switch it up the second time around and try an entirely different type of pooch! Fostering is exciting, and it’s important that you feel enthusiastic and comfortable.

2. What kind of stuff do I need to get if I’m fostering a dog? Would you provide anything? What about medical costs?
When fostering a dog, you might be asked to purchase food and basic items. This is not a huge expense, and can run about $20-$40/month. Toys, collars, and leashes can be purchased on clearance racks at Petco and Petsmart – check ’em out. Sometimes, a rescue group will provide the leash and collar. Usually, a crate is not provided – especially for large dogs (more expensive and harder to schlep!) – but there are ways to get creative with your apartment/home and create safe spaces for your foster dog to stay while you’re out.

3. Can I pick the kind of dog I want to foster? For example, I’d rather have a small dog because I live in a small apartment.
Be clear about your requirements, but keep an open mind. If you request to foster a purebred foster dogs Havanese puppy under 10 lbs, chances are you’ll be waiting a long time. But if you give a size range (small, medium, large, extra large) and general personality type, that can be a big help. Some buildings have breed bans (no pit bulls or “bully breeds”), so you should look into that before bringing in a new dog. And ALWAYS check with your roommate before bringing an animal into your home. If they say “No” once the foster dog is already in your home, it’s not a good situation.

4. Are these foster dogs house trained?
Often, people request a dog that is perfectly housetrained and never barks. Well… those are two things that have no guarantee, and are part of the overall foster process. There are times when a dog is “perfect” in the home, but be aware that many dog have accidents in their first couple weeks of being in a new place. A new home can be scary for the dog! As a foster owner, be prepared to teach yourself through plenty of Google searches (and of course Dogsized): how to train your dog, how to housebreak, socialization with other animals, behavior modification for shy dogs, curbing separation anxiety, leash training, and more! Foster owners help make that dog the best dog he or she can be, in order to find a wonderful adopter!

5. How long of a commitment is it to foster a dog?
This is a commitment that can last anywhere from 1 week to several months. foster dogsSometimes, a dog needs a three-day foster home while she waits for her adopter’s application to get approved. Or perhaps a pregnant shelter dog is about to give birth, and needs a quiet place to raise her puppies. Sometimes, a dog is deteriorating mentally in a shelter and needs a long-term place where he can learn to be “normal” again and can adjust to a daily routine. There are hundreds of reasons why dogs end up in shelters, and you can be their safety net to provide them with a second chance.
Regarding time commitment: know your limits, and be clear with the rescue group if you are unable to foster past a certain date. No matter what your schedule, fostering a dog is a truly wonderful deed – and saves lives!

6. How do you apply to be a foster to a dog?
Starting the foster process can be the most intimidating part: you hear that there are dogs in need, but how do you get started? Foster Dogs NYC has many links and articles about fostering, all geared to help out a new foster owner. I recommend going about it two ways:
1. Search the dogs on www.fosterdogsnyc.com, read their stories, and see if you are drawn to any of them. Each dog’s contact info is on their profile, so you can reach out directly to the rescuer.
2. Search through lists of rescue groups and apply to a group whom you feel comfortable with, or have heard good reviews about. They can then set you up with a foster dog that’s right for you! http://fosterdogsnyc.com/want-to-foster-rescue-groups-need-you/

If you have more questions, you can read the inside-scoop on what to know when fostering for the first time: http://fosterdogsnyc.com/advice-for-a-new-foster-parent/