Halloween is a fun holiday that we can share with our dogs. Not only can we dress up in our favorite costume, but we can also dress our best friend up in a costume, too! You and your dog can be someone else and go trick or treating. Just be sure your dog gets doggy treats and no chocolate.

When it comes to choosing a Halloween costume for your dog, there are some things you should keep in mind: safety, comfort, and your dog’s personality. You may think your dog would look great wearing a three-foot wide aluminum flying saucer but if your dog wants to eat it and it’s not comfortable for him – and it’s totally not his personality – chances are that it’s not the best costume for him.

Safety. One of the most important things to consider when choosing a costume for your dog is safety. There are all kinds of Halloween costumes for dogs today. Some of them are very extravagant and they look like they might have come from Broadway shows. But please keep in mind that your dog has to wear these contraptions. If the costume has a hat, an eye patch, a visor, or something else that covers his eyes, it can impair his vision and cause problems. If your dog can’t see, he’s likely to walk into things or be unenthusiastic about walking at all. Take your photos with the dog wearing the hat but lose it before letting him try to walk in it.

If the costume has a cape or trails the ground, your dog could trip on it and fall. So, if you think your dog would look cute as UnderDog, if the costume comes with a cape, you may have to do some alterations to make it safe for your dog to wear.

Comfort. From your dog’s point of view, comfort is probably the most important consideration. Your dog is only wearing the costume to please you and make you happy. If he has to wear the costume, make sure that it’s comfortable for him. That means you need to avoid costumes that are very restrictive. Costumes that have tight bands, especially around the neck or the legs, will likely be unpopular with your dog. Make sure your dog has plenty of room in these areas.

You should also consider the fabric weight when choosing a costume. If you have a dog with a thick coat, he will probably appreciate a lighter weight fabric. Anything heavy weight will probably be uncomfortable for him. A smoothcoated dog will probably be able to wear heavier fabrics without much problem but don’t overdo it. Putting a sherpa parka on a smoothcoated dog, even in October, will probably make many dogs uncomfortable.

. Remember that every dog is a unique individual. Some dogs enjoy dressing up much more than other dogs. If your dog has dressed up for Halloween or is used to wearing clothes for other reasons, he will probably like wearing a costume better than a dog that has never worn a costume before.

However, just because your dog hasn’t dressed up for Halloween before doesn’t mean he won’t like it. Try choosing a simpler costume for him so you won’t have to fuss a lot when you put it on. Keep things simple and comfortable for your dog. Don’t make your dog wear the costume for long periods of time. Keep things fun when your dog wears the costume.

If you keep these three things in mind – safety, comfort, and your dog’s personality – you should be able to choose a great costume for your dog. Remember to start looking at costumes early. There are lots of costumes to choose from and you’ll want plenty of time to decide. Happy Halloween!

For a wide selection of new and exciting Halloween costumes for you pet, visit our online store Pampered-Dog-Gifts.com

Halloween is a fun time for people and for pets but there can also be some risks on this spooky night, especially for your dog. Here are some things to be aware of so your dog will have a good time, too.

Halloween parties. If you plan to have a party or any kind of gathering at your home on Halloween, don’t allow your dog to become stressed out. Not every dog enjoys being in the midst of a group of rowdy humans. Give your dog a quiet place to sleep, such as your bedroom, and close the door during the party. Leave him with lots of toys and safe things to chew on, and check on him often. If your dog enjoys being around people you should still keep an eye on him during the gathering to make sure he’s not becoming too tired or overly excited. Make sure guests don’t give your dog chocolate, candy, or other foods that are bad for dogs.

Chocolate. Most dog owners know that chocolate is a no-no for dogs. It contains a substance called theobromine which can be toxic to dogs if they eat enough of it – and it doesn’t take a lot to be harmful to a small dog. Theobromine is also found in coffee, tea, and cola beverages so you shouldn’t allow your dog to drink any of these beverages either. Halloween can be a dangerous time for dogs because of all the chocolate and other candies at hand. Be sure you don’t leave chocolate where your dog can get it. Non-chocolate candies can contain sugar which your dog doesn’t need, or xylitol, a sugar substitute which is bad for dogs. Raisins and grapes can also be toxic to dogs. So be very careful about giving any Halloween treats to dogs. Stick to doggy treats.

Doorbells and people at the door. On Halloween night your dog could become stressed out by the doorbell ringing constantly and people showing up at the door. If you have a lot of visitors at your door and your dog is becoming upset or too worked up, consider crating him or putting him in another part of the house where he won’t be near the door opening and closing.

Costumed strangers. Your dog might become upset at the sight of strangers in costume. Afterall, some costumes can be very surprising! Keep your dog calm. Remember to keep your dog leashed if you leave the house.

Jack o’ Lanterns. Jack o’ Lanterns and candles can be fire hazards if you have a dog. Even a happily wagging tail can knock over a candle and set things on fire. If you will be using a Jack o’ Lantern, consider using a flashlight inside. It’s safer, even if it’s less traditional.

Keep your dog inside. For his safety, keep your dog inside on Halloween. Unfortunately, there are people who like to play pranks on Halloween and some of them can be cruel. Keep your dog safely indoors on Halloween.

Halloween costumes
. Halloween costumes can be lots of fun but if your pet is going to wear one, make sure that it is comfortable for him and don’t leave him unattended. Many dogs will chew a costume or rip it off when you aren’t looking. It’s possible that your dog could hurt himself if you don’t supervise him.

Use these tips to have a happy and safe Halloween with your dog and he’ll have a howlingly fun time!

While there are many well-known couture designers who make clothes and accessories for dogs, there are also lots of designers and companies which specialize in making apparel and other items just for dogs. Many of these brands are easier to find and they can offer a wider range of clothing options. They are also sometimes less expensive than the couture designers. These clothes are often great for everyday or play wear for your dog. You probably don’t want your dog to roll in the mud when he’s wearing something made by Ralph Lauren.

On the other hand, there are many designers who specialize in some quite beautiful, even spectacular designs for dogs. If you’re wondering where to find the perfect wedding gown for your dog, you will probably want to check with one of these canine specialists.

Fashions for Dogs

Designers who specialize in fashion for dogs include Central Bark Couture, Chez Fluffy Couture, Doggie Show Girls, Gidget-Gear by Tiki, Hip Doggie, L’Izzura, Louis Dog, Mochi & Jolie, Molly & June (raincoats), Oscar Newman Pink Polka Dog (hoodies and Tees), Pinkaholic New York (bows, harnesses, tees), Puppia Collection, Puppy Angel, Romy & Jacob, Roxy & Lulu, Ruff Ruff Couture, Susan Lanci Designs (made to order), Tuck & Tula Collection (bows, harnesses, vests), Wooflink Collection, and Yvette Ruta Collection (wedding gowns and other things)

These brands are typically made of good materials and have good workmanship. They tend to be more expensive than dog clothes you buy off the rack at your local pet supply store. Some of these clothes are custom made or tailored to fit your dog.

Popular Brands
You can also find many popular brands of dog clothes for everyday wear. These clothes are usually easy to find online or at your local pet supply store and they usually come in sizes from x-small to x-large. It’s a good idea for you to know your dog’s measurements when buying dog clothes, of course. You should measure around your dog’s neck; from the back of the neck to the root of the tail; across the chest at the widest point; and around the ribcage just behind the elbows. If you know these measurements you should be able to select an outfit that fits your dog.

Popular brands you might find in your local pet store include Wagwear, Top Paw, Pedigree Perfection, North Fetch, Tommy Bahama, Hip Doggie, Harley Davidson, Grreat Choice, East Side Collection, and many others.

You can expect to find just about any kind of clothing for your dog in these brands, ranging from dresses and Tees to hoodies and coats. You’ll find pajamas, skirts and tops in all kinds of styles. There are play clothes, dressy clothes, summer clothes, cold weather clothes, urban street clothes, and clothes for picnics. You can find outfits for just about any kind of occasion or way you want to dress your dog. Plus there are usually matching accessories such as bows, collars, and leashes. These brands are usually reasonably priced.

Whether you are looking for a wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses for your dog or something a little simpler, there are plenty of doggy designers who can provide you with the kind of canine clothes you’re seeking. Have fun looking at all the doggy fashions!

The same way people want to look their best and stand out from the crowd, many dog owners love to shop for designer clothes for their dogs. And there are plenty of great designers making clothes for dogs today. Some specialize in canine designs while some of the designers usually make clothes for humans and have added canine collections because they know how important dogs are to their clientele. Here are a few designers who have clothing for dogs.

Juicy Couture

Juicy Couture is one of the most well-known canine designers. They make women’s clothes and accessories but they also make clothes for dogs, as well as pet carriers and accessories. The clothes are saucy and fun with a dash of elegance.Very chic. So are the accessories.  These clothes are very popular with people who enjoy dressing their dogs. Prices are quite reasonable.



For real couture dog accessories, you can’t get much more haute than Gucci. While Gucci doesn’t make dog clothing, they do make pet carriers, elegant (even extravagant) collars and leashes, and charms. The Gucci design is recognizable almost anywhere you go with your dog.http://www.gucci.com/us/category/u/pet#look4163lookA113


You can buy dog clothing that features a play on the Gucci design – usually with bones or other dog-related images – but don’t confuse it with the real thing.


As you might expect, carriers and accessories from Gucci are rather pricey.


Von Dutch Dog Clothes

Von Dutch is a Los Angeles-based fashion label with a rock n’ roll attitude rooted in “Kustom Kulture.” Von Dutch clothing was founded in 1990 and they make t-shirts, hats, and more for men and women. They have also crossed over to make other products, including children’s wear, footwear, a jewelry line, a “kustom” motorcycle company, and even a die-cast miniatures toy line. They also make Von Dutch Dog Clothes.


Christian Audigier/Ed Hardy

Christian Audigier is the creator of Ed Hardy. These clothes feature rock n’ roll inspired t-shirts for dogs. They include dog collars, carriers, and other accessories.


Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is a world famous designer of men’s and women’s clothes. His most famous brand is probably the sporty chic Polo Ralph Lauren. The company has extended their Polo brand into the world of pet fashions with clothes like the Ralph Lauren Classic Dog Polo, Ralph Lauren Dual Match Polo, Ralph Lauren Sporty Puffer Vest, and Ralph Lauren Team Polo, just to name a few. They even have hoodies, trenchcoats, and classic turtlenecks for dogs. And the clothes come in some of the same favorite Polo colors people love.


Other designers who feature dog clothing and accessories as part of their lines include Burberry, Martha Stewart, Louis Vuitton, Paris Hilton, and Robert Cavalli. You can find other designers and some expensive accessories for your dog at stores like Barney’s New York

The clothes you choose for your dog say a lot about him – and about you. How do you want to present yourself and your dog to the world? Are you rock ‘n roll chic? Fun-loving and free-spirited? Elegant and traditional? Fortunately, there are all kinds of designers and clothes so you can choose the look you want for your dog and you can vary the mood.

No matter what kind of clothing or costume you buy for your dog, or how much money you spend, it won’t look good unless you buy the right size. But how are you supposed to know your dog’s size? Especially when it comes to a costume? Afterall, if you’re buying a hotdog costume for your dog, who knows what size hotdog will fit your dog, right?


Measuring Your Dog

No matter what kind of clothes or costume you are thinking of buying, you usually need the same basic measurements from of your dog: the neck, chest, ribcage, and body length. The easiest way to measure your dog is with a measuring tape – the same kind that dressmakers use. You can find them at the drugstore or sometimes in the grocery store with the sewing things. If you don’t have a measuring tape you can also use a tape measure such as you would use for measuring a home project. As a last resort you can take a piece of string and use it to get your dog’s measurements and then use a ruler to measure the string.

You should allow plenty of space around the neck so the clothes or costume won’t be too tight. Then measure the other areas. Measure the chest from side to side at the wides points. Measure your dog’s ribcage just behind the elbows. To measure your dog’s body length you can measure from the back of your dog’s neck, where the neck joins the back, to the root of the tail – where the tail rises up from the body.

Buy Larger When In Doubt

Once you have all the measurements you can compare them with the sizes available for the clothing or costume you are considering. If there is any conflict in the measurements, you should always choose a larger size. For example, if your dog’s chest and body length suggest he should have a medium size costume, but his neck is larger, you should get the larger sized costume. If the clothes or costume are too small for your dog in any way, he may rip them or tear them either accidentally or by trying to make himself more comfortable. Always go larger if you have any doubts.

You should also keep in mind that it’s possible some clothes and costumes can shrink a little when you wash them. It can also be hard to predict how some clothes and costumes are cut or made. If your dog is borderline between small and medium or medium and large, getting the larger size will give him plenty of room in case the outfit runs small. You can always take the outfit in a little if necessary.


When it comes to accessories like bows, hats, and other things, you can usually rely on the sizes given. Most of these items fit directly on your dog so there is less variation in how they are made for dogs.

If you’re buying a costume for your dog that is made of a stretch material, then it’s not as important to get bigger sizes since the costume is more forgiving. However, you should always keep your dog’s comfort in mind. Don’t try to wedge him into a tight costume or he’ll be uncomfortable.


Dogs often don’t appreciate masks and other accessories that go over their faces, even when they fit well, so if you need your dog to wear a mask for a photo, it’s a good idea to get the picture snapped quickly and then do away with the mask or face gear if your dog doesn’t like it.

Buy Early

Clothes for dogs can be found online and in pet stores. Costumes tend to be more seasonal, especially for holidays like Halloween. If you’re planning to have your dog wear a Halloween or other costume, it’s a good idea to buy the costume ahead of time and let your dog try it on so you can make sure it fits properly.

What better way to top off a fashionable ensemble than with the perfect hair accessory? Bows, barrettes, and hats are very popular items with dog owners and you can find them anyplace you buy dog clothing. If you use a groomer for your dog you can probably ask your groomer about bows and barrettes, too. He or she may be able to tell you good places to purchase them or they may have some for sale in their shop.


Bows for dogs are usually rather small so we don’t usually use the same bows that are made for people – they’re too large and heavy. Bows can range from simple little grosgrain bows to very elaborate pieces with multiple layers or even with rhinestones or other things to make them stand out. And, of course, they can come in any color or kind of ribbon or fabric. If you can’t find what you want in a store or online, you can certainly make your own bows. Bows come in different sizes but most of them are about 3/8 or 5/8 inch wide. Some people like to put a bow in the center of their dog’s head to hold the topknot of hair; and other people like to put a bow on each ear. It’s up to you and your dog, and the outfit your dog is wearing.  Both male and female dogs wear bows.


Generally speaking, you can’t really tie a bow into your dog’s hair. It will slide out. You need a small rubber band to hold the hair and then you can tie the bow around it.



Barrettes are very similar to dog bows. In some cases you can use a barrette to secure a bow in your dog’s hair. Barrettes often allow you to use other things besides ribbon when you want to put something in your dog’s hair, such as little artificial flowers or pieces of rhinestone jewelry or other items. They lie flatter than bows.



Hats for dogs are usually chosen with a particular outfit or occasion in mind. Many dog owners like for their dogs to wear baseball caps or other team hats, too. If you have rain gear for your dog, some owners like to add a rain hat to keep their dog’s head from getting wet. If your dog has a beautiful party dress, some owners will add a matching hat. Party hats are also very popular – let your dog celebrate New Year’s Eve with a sparkly chapeau! And don’t forget birthday hats. And how could we forget St. Patrick’s Day?

There are really hats for all occasions and dogs look adorable when they wear hats so get creative and have fun with your dog’s head gear.

If you want to take things a step further, some owners even enjoy adding a wig to their dog’s look. It’s just for fun and wigs go great with hats. Wigs for dogs are lots of fun when your dog is dressed up for special occasions like Halloween

I was delighted when we got our new home, because it had a pool in the back yard. Our two black Labradors just love having that fun source of play so close. We didn’t have kids yet at the time, so pool safety wasn’t yet a big concern. But then I realized I needed to think about safety for the dogs. Here are some things I did:

Show them the way out. It’s easy for our dogs to get in the water. Jump, splash, and they’re happily paddling around. But with a new pool, I wanted to make sure they knew how to safely get out of the pool. I set two potted plants on either side of the pool steps so they would have something to focus on. I called the dogs out while I was standing just behind the steps. I did that several times, to make sure they got it. I walked back near the house when both dogs were in the water. I called them out, then watched with pleasure as they first looked at me, then swam over to the steps and came right out.

Here is an excellent resource about pool safety for dogs:

Install a safety pool cover. Even though our labs both know how to swim, we didn’t want to take chances. Plus, there was always the chance that a neighbor’s dog might get into our back yard. So we got a safety cover for the pool. It doesn’t take long to install, and in the winter, it’s wonderful for keeping the water warm with little circulation. Particularly in the winter, I didn’t want one of the dogs to jump in the really cold water, panic and get in trouble. With the pool cover, I don’t have that worry.

Add a fence. We were planning for a family later, so a pool fence was just a good investment, and another layer of protection for the dogs. We wanted a way to monitor and control when the dogs got in the water, and the fence was perfect. Now we can let the labs out into the yard to take care of business, and not have to deal with drying off a pet each time. Believe me, it would have been that way – these dogs are just that wild about playing in the water.

Always be watching. Even with the protection we have around the pool, we didn’t want to just open the gate to the fence, let the dogs into the pool area, and go back in the house. So when the dogs are in the pool, we are too. It gives us peace of mind that there won’t be an incident with one of the dogs, and we wouldn’t be around to help and take care of them.

Keep fresh water available. We make sure that the dogs have a bowl of fresh water available, so they won’t be as tempted to drink from the pool. The chlorine and chemicals in the water discourage them, but if they know where the fresh water is, they will use it.

Dog showers. We don’t want the dogs to get out of the pool and then be trying to lick chemicals out of their fur, so we give them a shower after they get out of the water. First they get a thorough rinsing, and then my husband turns it into a game, letting them chase the spray from the hose. They never try to avoid shower time.

Now that we have our pool safe for the dogs, I get to sit back and smile as I stand in the pool with the dogs happily swimming around me.

Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life

Popular Dog Breeds: Bulldogs

Known for their shuffling gait and adorable wrinkly face, the Bulldog wants nothing more than to be a lap dog. Although the breed originated to bait and fight bears and bulls several centuries ago, the breed today couldn’t be anymore cuddly or loving. They are one of the most popular dogs in the U.S. today.



Originating in Britain several centuries ago, the Bulldog was originally developed to be courageous and ferocious during the bloody sport of bull and bear baiting. Dog fighting became illegal in England in 1835 and these dogs could have become extinct but dog lovers were determined to breed out their fierceness and keep their other good qualities. Within a few generations the dogs had lost their fighting instinct and were known as affectionate and desirable pets. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1886.



Although the original Bulldog was a fierce and savage dog used for dog fighting, it’s been nearly 200 years since the breed has been a fighter. Bulldogs today are almost comically sweet and loving. They make wonderful family dogs and are known for being particularly gentle and protective of children. They are so attached to their families that they often want to climb in your lap, even though they can weigh up to 50 pounds. They are kind, dignified, courageous dogs and they make an excellent pet.



In terms of appearance, the Bulldog typically weighs between 40 and 50 pounds. They are usually between about 12 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder though no specific height is given in the breed’s standard. The dog’s height should be proportional to their weight and body mass.


Bulldogs are easily recognizable by their short-faced, massive heads covered with heavy wrinkles. They are a medium-sized dog with a smooth coat and a heavy, thick-set, low-swung body. They have wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. The Bulldog may be brindle, white, red, fawn, fallow or piebald. The coat is short, straight, and flat. When the Bulldog walks he has a loose-jointed, shuffling, sideways motion that gives him a characteristic roll.


The Bulldog usually has thick folds of skin above his brow and round, black, wide-set eyes. There are characteristic folds called “rope” above his short muzzle and hanging skin under his neck. He also has drooping lips and pointed teeth. An underbite is desirable.



Bulldogs can suffer from some health problems. The Bulldog Club of America gives the lifespan for the breed as between 8 and 12 years. In Britain their lifespan is shorter – 6.5 years. According to a British health survey, the leading causes of death in the breed were: cardiac, cancer, and old age. Dogs that died due to old age lived to be 10-11 years old.


Hip dysplasia and luxating patellas are common problems in Bulldogs. Statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ranks the Bulldog as the worst breed in terms of hip dysplasia with 73.9 percent of Bulldogs tested having some degree of hip dysplasia. Interdigital cysts can also be a problem (cysts that form between the dog’s toes), though these cysts can be removed by a vet. Respiratory problems, cherry eye, and allergies can also be problems for Bulldogs.


As a brachycephalic breed (short-nosed), Bulldogs can suffer from the same breathing difficulties as other short-nosed breeds during hot weather or if they over-exert themselves. They can also have difficulty flying on planes. If you have a Bulldog, you will need to take special care during warm weather months. These dogs generally do best in cooler weather or if air conditioning is provided. Do not leave them outside in hot weather.


It’s also necessary to watch for weight gain and obesity with Bulldogs. Hip dysplasia, arthritis, and breathing difficulties can all be made worse if a dog is allowed to become overweight.



Bulldogs are not the most athletic of dogs but they are tractable and very willing to please. You shouldn’t have any trouble training your Bulldog to learn basic obedience and good manners. They are such well-behaved dogs in the home anyway that it’s easy to teach them what they need to learn. Most Bulldogs respond very well to food rewards as motivation.

Popular Dog Breeds: Labrador Retrievers

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world today. They have been ranked as the number one dog in the United States for over 20 years. They are also extremely popular in Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Affectionate, extremely intelligent, easy-going, and fun-loving, Labs make excellent family dogs. They are the ideal dog for many people.



The original Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada from crosses between Newfoundland dogs and small water dogs found in the area. When bred together these dogs produced dogs called the St. John’s Water Dog which became the ancestor for many retrieving breeds today. These dogs were used for hunting and retrieving as well as helping fishermen with their nets. In the early 19th century the British Earl of Malmesbury saw some of these dogs at work in the field and imported some to England. The St. John’s Water Dog later died out in Canada due to a heavy dog tax and quarantine law but Malmesbury’s dogs thrived in England and it is there that the breed continued to develop. He introduced some other breeds into the basic St. John’s Water Dog stock but they stayed essentially the same dog. They got the name “Labrador Retriever” because Malmesbury said that’s what he always called them. Pedigrees of Labs today go back accurately to 1878 and the breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in England in 1903. They were recognized by the AKC in 1917. They first became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s and ’30s.



The Labrador Retriever is known as a gentle, friendly dog. They are very affectionate with their family and loved ones. They are not quite as outgoing and welcoming to strangers as the Golden Retriever but they don’t usually make very good guard dogs. Labs can be rather friendly with people they don’t know and they will happily welcome someone into the house once you invite a person inside.


Labs are excellent with children of all ages and can be protective of small kids. They are recommended for families looking for a breed that’s good for kids. Labs are also known as one of the most intelligent of all breeds and are often used as service dogs, assistance dogs, and therapy dogs. They work as guide dogs for the blind and are trained to work with people with other disabilities. They are good at these jobs because of their brains and because they are gentle and patient. They love to please their owners. They also make a good dog for older people.


Labs are a sporting breed and they do require regular exercise. This is especially true when they are young. A young Labrador Retriever can be quite exuberant. Young dogs can also be mouthy and will probably want to chew on things so be sure to provide a Lab with plenty of toys and safe things to chew on.


Since this is such a loving, affectionate breed, they need to be around people quite a bit. A Labrador Retriever will never be happy if he is left out in the yard, living in a dog house. He wants to be part of the family. If he is left alone too much, he can develop behavior problems.



The Labrador Retriever is a medium-large dog. They weigh between 55 and 80 pounds, with males being a little heavier than females. In height they stand from about 21 ½ inches to 24 ½ inches tall at the shoulders, with males being a little taller than females. Overall, the dogs are strongly built, athletic, and well-balanced.


Labs have a short, dense double coat that is weather-resistant. Their coat sheds seasonally but it can shed a lot when it sheds. Regular brushing will help cut down on the amount of dead hair that is shed in the house. Labs come in black, chocolate, and yellow coat colors.


The breed also has an “otter” tail that acts as a rudder when the dog is in the water. The Lab’s head is clean-cut with a broad back skull. Their eyes are kind and friendly. They should express character, intelligence, and good temperament.


There are also field-bred Labrador Retrievers in the U.S. which are typically a little taller and have a lighter frame but they are still able to fit the AKC breed standard. Breed standards in other countries can vary slightly but Labs are still easily recognizable all over the world.



Labradors are considered to be a generally healthy breed and most dogs have few issues during their lifetime. Life expectancy for the breed is 12-13 years. However, like all dogs, there are health issues found in the breed, in general. Things that sometimes occur in the breed include:


Hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas (slipped kneecap), eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and retinal dysplasia.


Very rare conditions include hereditary myeopathy, autoimmune disease, and congenital deafness. Exercised induced collapse is also possible.


Labs can also suffer from health problems associated with being overweight or obese. Labs are highly food-motivated and they can easily become too interested in food, especially if the owner is not careful about watching the dog’s food intake and exercise. These dogs love to eat. If you have a Lab, watch his weight. Obesity can lead to problems with diabetes, the heart, respiratory disease, arthritis, and other serious health issues.



Because of their intelligence and eagerness to please, Labs are usually very easy to train. In fact, they love to do things with their owners so they usually love any kind of training. They respond very well to positive reinforcement – using praise and rewards for training. Labs can excel at obedience, agility, rally, hunting, any kind of water sports, tracking and scent work, search and rescue, or just about anything else you would like to do with your dog. They are one of the most versatile of all breeds.


Even if you just want to have a Lab as a wonderful pet, training is recommended. Your dog will benefit from it, especially as a puppy or young dog when he’s frisky and very active. Training is also a great way for you to bond with your dog.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are about 70 million pet dogs in the U.S. today. Today, more than ever before, when someone thinks of getting a pet dog they think about getting that dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. It’s estimated that between 20 and 25 percent of dogs in homes come from shelters and rescues.


Reasons to adopt

There are many reasons to adopt a dog such as the following:


  • There is a good selection of dogs
  • You are probably saving a dog’s life
  • Prices are usually reasonable
  • You can feel good about yourself
  • Lots of people like mixed breed dogs


Things to consider before adopting a dog

There are some things to consider before adopting a dog – or before getting any dog.


  • Is this a good time for you to get a dog?

It’s easy to love a dog but that doesn’t mean you should own one. Owning a dog takes a lot of responsibility. It also takes a commitment in terms of time and finances. For example, if you’re heading to college in the fall and you will be leaving your new dog at home for your parents to care for, this probably isn’t the right time for you to get a dog. If you are starting a new job and you know you will be working long hours for the next year or so, this probably isn’t the best time for you to get a dog. Before getting any dog you should ask yourself if you can afford his food and vet care, as well.


  • Do you have kids?

If you have kids it’s often a good idea to zero in on a specific breed that is known for being good with children. A dog’s good temperament is extremely important, especially if he will be around children. Another factor to consider if you have children is the dog’s size. In most cases a large dog is preferable to a small dog. Large dogs are less likely to be injured if a child tugs on the dog or falls on him. A small dog can be seriously hurt if a child pulls on him or falls on him. Some of the best dogs for families with kids are Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Newfoundlands, and similar dogs. If you would like to adopt one of these dogs, try contacting a rescue group that specializes in one of these breeds. Make sure you tell them that you are looking for a dog that is good with children.


  • Do you have allergies?

People who have allergies often have problems when it comes to adopting a dog due to the dander found on dogs. There are some breeds which are often good for people with allergies but they can be hard to find in shelters. If you are allergic to dogs and you would still like to adopt one, try contacting a rescue group that specializes in one of the breeds recommended for people with allergies such as Poodles, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Schnauzers, the Bichon Frise, the Chinese Crested, the Portuguese Water Dog, the Bedlington Terrier, the Maltese, and others.


  • Consider your lifestyle

Before getting a dog you should consider what kind of dog would be right for you. Do you want an active dog who can go hiking with you? Do you want a dog who will curl up and keep you company at home while you read and watch TV? Do you prefer a bouncy, active dog or a quiet, gentle dog? Do you like a big dog or a small one? Male or female? Do you like a long coat or a short one that’s easy to groom? Think about all these things before heading to the shelter.


How to adopt a dog

If you decide that it’s a good time for you to bring a dog into your life and you have considered the kind of dog you need for your lifestyle, then you can find a dog in several ways. Most towns have an animal shelter and larger cities usually have several shelters. You may be able to check online to see what their hours of operation are. Some shelters also post photos of some of the dogs they have available for adoption.


If you like a particular breed or mix you can also contact a rescue group for that breed to see if they have dogs available. Be aware that some rescue groups can be hard to work with, however. They often have harder requirements for adopting a dog than your local shelter. Dogs usually cost more to adopt from rescues, too.


Finally, you can visit a site such as PetFinder.com which lists thousands of shelters and their dogs across North America. Some of these groups (but not all) will only adopt locally but you can find a greater selection of dogs, especially if you are interested in a particular breed or mix.