It doesn’t matter who you are–if you see an adorable picture of a dog, you’re not going to be able to control the urge to say “aww” (or at least smile). Everyone knows that there’s nothing more genuine than a dog’s love; it’s the most unconditional type of love there is. Yet, somehow, there are 6 to 8 million innocent animals being placed in shelters every year, and less than half of them are getting adopted.

If you’re thinking about bringing in a new, furry family member, here are some things that will help him or her feel at home.

JCPenney dog feeder

Once you adopt a pet, you’ll never want to leave its side. However, if an emergency situation comes up, you may have to leave your furry sidekick alone for a day or two. If you have enough time, try to ask a family member, neighbor, or friend to take care of Sparky while you’re gone. If it’s too last minute and they’re unavailable, then make sure you have lots of toys to keep your precious pooch entertained, and an automatic feeder to ensure that he or she doesn’t go hungry.

Automatic feeders can be extremely useful, but they have to be made in the right way. A few years back, my family went away for a weekend, and we used an automatic feeder for my pet. It pushed out food whenever it sensed the bowl was empty. Since animals are smart, my indulgent little guy probably figured out this system within an hour. We came home to a pile of vomit right next to the food.

If you want to make sure that your dog stays well-fed (but not TOO well-fed) while you’re gone, then your best bet is the PAW™ Programmable Automatic Pet Feeder from JCPenney. You can control the portions of the food, as well as how often it gets dispensed. It even allows you to record a personal message that plays each time new food comes out!


Older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Before you rule them out, consider their advantages. Unlike younger puppies, who can be unpredictable, older dogs are more likely to have set personalities, so you’ll know what to expect when you bring them home. Their teething days are far behind them, and you’ll never have to worry about outgrowing new accessories. Most importantly to note–they’re just as loving as their younger counterparts.

Like humans, as dogs age, their bones and joints might become painful or achy. Research indicates that 20% of all dogs will suffer from some form of arthritis during their lifetime. Along with exercise and a healthy diet, your pet may need some medical relief as well. If you notice your dog is suddenly limping, stiff, or having trouble getting up or sitting down, he or she may be suffering from arthritis or swollen joints. You might want to ask your veterinarian about Dasuquin for Dogs.

Available at PetCareRx, these flavored, chewable tablets are designed to help repair and lubricate cartilage in sore joints. By simply adding Dasuquin into your dog’s food dish, you can drastically improve the quality of his or her life.

Other common conditions, such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms, should also be researched before adopting a dog. You can find the latest information about medications, treatments, and other pup-friendly advice by going to

Only Natural Pet Store dog toy

In the contest of who has more energy, your four-legged friend will always win. Your dog may never get sick of running after a ball or Frisbee, but you probably will. If you still want to keep your dog entertained while giving your arms a break, try this mind-stimulating game by Nina Ottosson. These interactive wooden toys hide treats under discs or blocks, and your pup has to learn how to obtain them. As your dog starts to become better at the game, you can continue to challenge him or her by increasing the difficulty level. There are three different toy options at the Only Natural Pet Store, so choose whichever design you like best!


Sometimes, just like humans, dogs can get lonely or scared. They may have separation anxiety, a fear of thunderstorms, or other reasons why they may feel on edge. Don’t let this discourage you from adopting–most of the time, dogs are happy-go-lucky creatures.

In order to calm down your canine, put on a Thundershirt. Available in all sizes at That Pet Place, this item provides a gentle but consistent pressure on your dog, allowing him or her to re-channel the energy. Eighty percent of animal owners who tried the Thundershirt saw significant improvement in their pet’s behavior and mood.

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Jessica Dolnick sets up many of the merchants that you see on, and through extensive research and personal experiences, writes about them in the Philanthropic Shopper. Jessica has always been passionate about the nonprofit sector – before working at, she organized benefit concerts, volunteered at her local hospital, and raised over $50,000 for her alma mater. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University at Albany.