Do Dogs Dream?

Ever wonder what your dog is thinking while he sleeps? From twitching ears to even running in place, we explain what's going on when his eyes are closed.

View Video

Adopting from a Shelter

Animal shelters are your best source for pet adoptions. They not only ensure healthy animals, but they can help find the best match between human and pet.

See More

Barks & Recreation: Dog Fitness

You gotta walk the dog -- this much you know. But should you run with him? When is it too hot? We asked experts to explain the finer points of canine fitness.

See More

Popular Cat Names

Want to give your cat the coolest moniker on the block? Get an inside look at trending popular kitten names. According to Vetstreet, the name "Katniss" is quickly climbing the ranks thanks to book-turned-hit-film-series The Hunger Games. Naming cats after celebrities' pets is also popular – the name of Taylor Swift's adorable feline friend, Meredith, is taking off. Here are 50 of our favorite up-and-coming kitten names. Is your cat's name on the list?

See More

Pet-Friendly Homes

Smart ways to make your home a safe pet-friendly haven.

View Slideshow

Steps to a Happier Cat

Make your cat's indoor life more interesting with mental and physical stimulation.

See More

How to Introduce Cats and Dogs

Introducing dogs to cats can be nerve-wracking for new pet owners. We show you how patience, space, and carefully planned introductions will let your cat and dog live happily ever after.

View Video
Popular in Pets

What to Consider Before You Get a Dog

Is a canine companion a good idea? Here are some issues to consider.

Do you have room for me?

Does the way you live have room for a dog? Consider these factors:

Do you work late or travel often? Puppies eat four or more times a day and urinate or defecate at least that often. Adult dogs left alone may get bored or develop separation anxiety, resulting in excessive barking or destructive behavior. If you travel, can you take your pet with you, at least some of the time?

Can you provide a comfortable environment? Descendants of den dwellers, some dogs take comfort in confined quarters. Others, bred to herd or hunt, prefer open spaces. All need shelter from hot sun, excessive heat, cold, wind, and precipitation.

Where do you live? Know and observe contract agreements regarding pets. Apartments, condominium units, and cities have restrictions concerning the size and number of dogs allowed.

Do you have time to train your pet? Obedience training benefits stay-at-home dogs as well as field-event dogs. Well-trained animals stay healthier and are fun to be with.

Do you have time to groom a dog or to arrange professional grooming? Heavy coats require more care than thin coats. Some dogs are difficult and time-consuming to groom.

Do you have the financial ability to provide necessary food, medications, and regular veterinary care? The larger the dog, the more he will eat. Routine vet visits for checkups and immunizations are essential to good health.

Here's a look at the most common reasons people acquire a furry friend. Knowing why you want a dog will help you choose the right one for you.

Companionship: Children learn responsibility and receive unconditional love -- but make sure your expectations for their help with the dog are age-appropriate. Adults gain exercise partners. Elderly people gain friendship.

Assistance: Guide or service dogs are trained to work with people with physical disabilities; potential owners must apply for dogs and attend training.

Security: Guard dogs with proper training are alert, protective, and sociable family members.

Sport: Field-event dogs run obstacle courses and retrieve objects with ease, whether for competition or fun.

Chinese shar-peis tend to have health problems, but they're loyal and loving companions.

Think about what kind of personality and activity level you want in a dog. Do you want a dog you can carry, or one who can keep up with the kids? Do you want to play Frisbee or snuggle more? Do you want a dog who investigates every visitor or one who isn't fazed by lots of comings and goings?

You probably won't find a dog who lives up to your every wish, but you'll be closer if you go into the match knowing what you want.


The origins of a pure breed influence personality traits. Learn about the dog's origins; mixed breeds often carry the best of their lineage and make delightful pets. "Puppy mill" animals, overbred in response to market trends, often are sickly or unstable.

Dogs inbred to achieve show traits may be emotionally unstable or have genetic health problems. Responsible breeders screen for genetic factors before mating animals. Large breeds, such as golden retrievers, may develop hip dysplasia. Dachshunds tend to have spinal problems; giant dogs tend to have short life spans; toy breeds may suffer from slipping kneecaps; dalmatians often are genetically deaf and prone to kidney disease; pug-faced animals tend to have respiratory problems.

Research carefully, know your breed, and purchase from reliable, responsible breeders. Check with a veterinarian for specific health concerns.


Consider a dog's adult weight, build, and height. A small, hefty breed won't necessarily be a good lap dog. A large dog may not be the best choice for an apartment dweller.

Disposition and Personality

Breeds have common characteristics that determine which are more aggressive, passive, active, or restrained, yet each dog has his or her own personality. Determine which traits best suit your needs; if possible, spend time with the dog before making a decision.

Energy and Exercise

Size and breed traits both determine how much exercise dogs need.

  • High-energy breeds include Jack Russell terriers, dalmatians, Border collies, and retrievers, which need walking several times each day plus plenty of outdoor play time.
  • Medium-energy breeds include large spaniels, boxers, Great Danes, Akitas, and German shepherds. They need daily moderate-distance walks and a weekly chance to romp outdoors.
  • Low-energy breeds include small spaniels, basset hounds, beagles, dachshunds, and bulldogs. Short daily walks, play time and toys, and careful diet keep them fit and happy.

How to Choose the Right Dog Breed for You


Loading... Please wait...