TIME animals

9 Science-Backed Reasons to Own a Dog

Woman sitting with dog on jetty, rear view
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You're more social with a dog

Loyal, protective, and always happy to see you, the dog has been a human companion for more than 18,000 years, making it one of the first domesticated animals in history.

Don’t just take our word for it.

Scientists have proof that dogs make us laugh more than cats, keep us more active than the average human companion, and even reduce our chances of depression.

So, if you need a little more convincing, or you need to convince someone else in the household, here are the cold, hard facts for why you should own a dog.

1. Dogs Make Us Laugh

People who own dogs laugh more, according to a study published in the journal Society & Animals. Researchers asked people who owned dogs, cats, both, or neither to record how often they laughed over the course of a day. Those who owned just dogs and both dogs and cats recorded laughing more than the other two groups.

2. Dogs Are Loyal

The origin of today’s domesticated house dog reaches back to between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago, when they evolved from wolves. Wolves are known for living in packs and developing strong bonds between pack members. It’s this pack behavior that’s what makes today’s dogs so loyal.

Stephen Zawistowski, a science adviser at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, explains that dogs see their human owners as fellow members of their pack and, therefore, form the same close bond with their owners as they would with their canine brothers and sisters.

3. We’re More Social With a Dog

In the U.K., a team of scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol found that UK residents with dogs were more likely to encounter other dogs and dog owners than people who did not own a dog. This makes sense, since dog owners are more likely to head out of the house on walks and run into other dog owners on their own strolls.

Moreover, the average American is more likely to own a dog than the other common house pet, the cat. That’s more people to converse with about annoying dog hair.

4. Dogs Keep Us Healthy

Dogs might even protect us from poor health. Children born into households with a dog have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies, the reason being dust.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year showed that when exposed to dust from households where dogs were permitted inside and outside, mice developed an altered community of microbes in their gut that protect against allergens. It was reported that these microbes could be what’s protecting young children from developing allergens in households with dogs.

5. We’re More Active With Dogs

Obesity is a major concern today, so it’s important to get regular exercise. Researchers at Michigan State University reported in 2011 that 60% of dog owners who took their pets for regular walks met federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise.

Moreover, elderly people who walk their dogs actually have a more regular exercise routine and are more physically fit than the elderly who walk with other people, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services in 2010.

6. Dogs Save Lives

Dogs are not a cat’s best friend, but earlier this year one lucky cat in Florida was saved by a blood transfusion from, you guessed it, a dog. Some dogs have a universal blood-donor type, just like some humans, and when no cat blood was around for Buttercup, the veterinarian used what was on hand, which reportedly saved the cat’s life.

Dogs can also help humans by acting as an early warning system for patients who suffer from seizures. Trained dogs can sense the onset of a seizure up to 15 minutes before it occurs and will bark when this happens, which then warns the patient to sit so to prevent injury from falling down, for example. How dogs know when a seizure is coming is still unknown.

7. Dogs Give Us a Sense of Purpose

Dogs are great companions for anyone, but especially for the elderly. In a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, elderly who owned a dog reported feeling more satisfied with their social, physical, and emotional state than those without a dog.

8. Dogs Give Us Confidence

In another study, participants obtained a dog and were assessed after 10 months with their new canine companion. In general, the participants reported a higher sense of self-esteem, improved exercise habits, and less fear of crime.

9. Dogs Genuinely Make Us Happy

Just the simple act of making eye contact with your furry friend can release the feel-good chemical called oxytocin. In a study that measured oxytocin levels from two groups of dog owners, the group that was instructed not to look directly at their dog had lower oxytocin levels than the other group that made regular eye contact.

Another study found that dog owners who relied on their dogs for social fulfillment reported that “they were less depressed, less lonely, had higher self-esteem, were happier, and tended to experience less perceived stress.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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Read next: 5 Clever Ways to Save on Pet Care

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MONEY Pets

5 Clever Ways to Save on Pet Care

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Purple Collar Pet Photography—Getty Images

... without skimping on affection for your animal friend.

If you’re like most pet owners, you consider your animal companions part of the family. But caring for pets can often lead to high expenses, which puts a strain on your household — and, more specifically, your wallet. It’s important to evaluate how we care for the animals we love without dropping your hard-earned money into a veterinary sinkhole.

Thousands of animals end up surrendered to shelters every year because their owners can no longer afford to keep them, but fortunately, there are many tangible ways to manage the cost of pet care. Here are just a few:

Invest in Pet Healthcare Ahead of Time

One of the best ways to combat the high costs of veterinary care is to prepare for them. Many financially savvy pet owners have a separate savings account for potential medical expenses, which include anything from emergency vet visits to end-of-life care. Another way to plan ahead is to invest in pet insurance.

Certainly, the cost-effectiveness of pet insurance plans is highly contested by analysts and pet owners alike. But for many pet owners, the investment far outweighs the risk. According to one consumer who decided to invest, vet bills tend to show up in a slow trickle: a series of $400 visits, over the course of a few weeks, that inch upward into a pile that costs thousands. Pet insurance can offset these costs by providing a much lower month-to-month premium, allowing pet owners to enjoy the peace of mind that sudden emergencies can be addressed without breaking the bank.

Spay/Neuter Your Pets

While the decision to spay or neuter is certainly a personal one, it also has a lot of implications — not just for your own animals but also for animals in your community. Homeless animals are everywhere. The Humane Society reports staggering numbers, with 6 to 8 million animals entering shelters every year. Fewer than half of these are adopted.

To put the problem in perspective, the vast majority of puppies and kittens killed in the shelter system are not the offspring of feral populations; rather, they’re healthy and fully adoptable. More than 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year in the United States. The only guaranteed way to prevent this problem is to spay or neuter your pet.

Spaying or neutering your cat or dog doesn’t just help curb the rampant overpopulation problem. It’s also better for your pet’s health, which saves you money in the long run. An article from USA Today states neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered ones, while spayed female dogs live 23% longer than their intact counterparts. Deciding to spay/neuter eliminates the chances of certain kinds of cancers, such as testicular cancer, and greatly reduces the chances of developing other types, such as prostate or uterine cancer.

Shop Wisely but Don’t Compromise on Quality

Pet food costs can add up quickly, especially if you have an animal that needs a particular diet. Most cats and dogs get by just fine on garden-variety kibble or canned food, so you’ll definitely save by buying store-brand food from major pet supply retailers. If you’re concerned about quality, check in with your vet first. But don’t buy food from the vet unless you absolutely must, because the prices will almost always be marked up.

If you can afford it, buy pet food in bulk. A big bag or case is usually significantly cheaper per ounce than a smaller one.

You can also avoid breaking the bank by making sure you feed your cats or dogs proper serving sizes for their weight and body type. If you overfeed or free-feed, you not only spend more money on food, but your pets could end up overweight, which can cause significant health problems.

One great way to save money on pet food and supplies is to sign up for loyalty programs through both local and major retailers. Major chain pet stores offer free loyalty programs that help cut costs by providing coupons, sale alerts and overall lower in-store prices.

Focus on Preventing Problems

Spending a little time and money on a regular basis to keep your pets healthy may help you save upwards of thousands of dollars in veterinary costs down the road. One important piece of the puzzle is to stay up-to-date on vaccinations — but there are also actions you can take at home.

Simple products such as a dog- or cat-specific tooth brushing kit will help keep your animal’s oral health in tiptop shape. Products made for humans may irritate their skin or digestive systems, but it’s not hard to find toothbrushes and toothpaste manufactured for animal health. Brush your pet’s teeth at least once a week to keep plaque, gingivitis and potential tooth loss at bay.

Watch for other problems, like any changes in your animals eyes. Your pets eyes should be free of discharge or cloudiness.

As with humans, the largest organ on a cat or dog is the skin, which is why it’s important to pay attention, even though problems may only appear “on the surface.” Invest in a quality skincare supplement to combat problems such as canine mange and skin infections on a regular basis.

Spend Quality Time With Your Pets

This may seem like a no-brainer, but too many pet owners forget about the importance of enjoying their pets’ company — which is by far the most rewarding part of having a pet in the first place! Providing daily exercise, play and affection is completely free. Some pets have higher activity needs than others, and it’s important to make sure those needs are met. For example, a herding dog will need multiple daily exercise sessions, but more sedentary breeds such as pugs may be satisfied with going for a short walk each day.

Keeping to an engaging exercise routine is critical not only for your pets’ physical health but also for their social needs. Most dogs are highly social animals, and they crave human attention. Similarly, while cats may seem more independent than dogs, they often need just as much interactive play and affection.

By spending time with your pets, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of their behaviors, which is invaluable knowledge for catching potential health concerns. When you know what’s normal for your animal, you’ll be far more likely to see smaller behavioral or bodily changes that could indicate serious illness. If you’re paying attention, you’ll be better equipped to notice problems early on, which will not only save money in the long run but can also save your pet’s life.

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MONEY Pets

Turning Your Puppy Into a Foodie Is Pricey

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Americans spent $13.7 billion on high-end pet food in 2014.

Bay-Li, Car-Li and Hay-Li have had a rough day. After a workout on the treadmill, a dip in the pool and some personal grooming, they finish off the day with a gourmet dish of chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, Red Delicious apples and blueberries.

They are Shih Tzus, a dog breed whose name comes from the Chinese word for “lion dog.”

“Absolutely, they know they are spoiled,” says owner Stephanie Patterson of Wooster, Ohio, who feeds her little canine friends Merrick-brand culinary creations. “They are like my children, and I don’t want them eating anything I can’t identify.”

Patterson’s Shih Tzus are not alone in eating like kings and queens. The gourmet pet food on the shelves these days is hardly the tasteless kibble of yore. Instead, pets are downing delicacies that would not seem out of place on a multi-course tasting menu in Paris.

The brand Tiki Dog, for instance, offers wild-caught ahi tuna with sweet potato, crab, egg, garlic and kale. Merrick’s “French Country Cafe” recipe features a blend of duck, carrots, Yukon Gold potatoes and garden peas. Its “Cowboy Cookout” meal is a mélange of beef, green beans and Granny Smith apples, and a case of 12 cans retails for $35.88 at Petco.com, compared with $17.88 for a case of Purina ProPlan.

Weruva brand – advertised as “People Food for Pets” – serves up concoctions like Marbella Paella with mackerel (“Bring Spain to your dog!”), as well as Steak Frites with pumpkin and sweet potatoes ($50.64 for 12 cans at Chewy.com).

Devoted pet owners, it seems, are lapping it up. Premium dog and cat foods are slated to gobble up 51% of the market in 2015, or more than medium- and bargain-priced brands combined, according to market-research firm Euromonitor.

The total food bill for America’s dogs and cats amounted to $27.1 billion in 2014, with high-end fare accounting for $13.7 billion of that.

It adds up to $263 per dog, per year, and $108 per cat, just for food, according to Euromonitor.

That figure is no surprise to Jared Koerten, Euromonitor senior analyst. He owns a Shih Tzu-Maltese mix, Lilly, who is partial to freeze-dried delicacies.

“The trend is called ‘pet humanization,’ or treating them like your own children,” says Koerten. “People don’t want to give their pets anything they wouldn’t eat themselves.”

Indeed, the trend is especially potent with Millennials, who are 18 to 35. They are “coming into the market in a big way,” Koerten says – and while they may not be having kids as early as their parents did, they are definitely “spoiling their little furbabies.”

Gone to The Dogs?

Is all this gourmet pet food – led by popular brands such as Blue Buffalo Pet Products, which just started trading publicly – really necessary? After all, dogs have survived for millennia without Iron Chef-worthy fare.

Pet owners have convinced themselves to hold to a higher standard, says Alexandra Horowitz, who teaches psychology at Barnard College and is author of the book “Inside of a Dog.”

It’s the “perfect convergence,” she says: Anxious owners wanting to give their pets the very best, and manufacturers more than willing to give it to them (and charge them handsomely for it).

In that sense, owners may be overthinking their pets’ dining requirements. Just like fancy pet hotels – with flat screen TVs, four-poster beds and Skype services – heightened expectations likely say more about us than they do about our dogs.

“Prepared dog food itself is a bit unnecessary,” admits Horowitz. “Dogs developed precisely through eating the remains of what their humans were eating.”

Yet owners like Stephanie Patterson are only too happy to pay up for gourmet treats. Her previous dog had numerous health issues and high vet bills, which she suspects was due to cheap dog food.

From her current four-legged diners, she certainly hasn’t had any complaints about the five-star fare: “They love it.”

MONEY Pets

Who Gets Custody of the Family Dog?

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Purple Collar Pet Photography—Getty Images

For divorcing couples, pets can be just as important as kids.

When couples split, custody is one of the hardest issues they have to resolve. And that goes for dogs and other furry family members as much as for children.

Formosa Hsu and her ex-partner Joseph, who did not have kids, spent years in mediation to decide how to split the time of their little beagle mix Pupineya, whom they had adopted when he was 3 months old.

For Joseph, a 33-year-old software engineer, the idea that he wouldn’t see the dog again was the “worst feeling in the world,” he remembers. Hsu, 42, a beauty consultant from Charlottesville, Virginia, says she was “devastated.”

Finally they struck a deal: The dog would split his time between the two, even though they now live on opposite coasts. Six months in Virginia, six months in British Columbia.

Welcome to the tricky and highly emotional world of pet custody.

“I tell attorneys who are handling divorces, number one, ask if they have kids. Number two, ask if they have pets,” says Debra Hamilton, a mediator from Armonk, New York, who successfully handled Pupineya’s case. “These days pets are just as important as kids. Sometimes even more important.”

In the past, the issue of pet custody almost never emerged in divorce proceedings. Now it comes up in about half of cases, Hamilton estimates. About 10% of divorces end up getting “rough and rocky” over dogs and cats, she says.

Indeed, 27% of attorneys report an increase in pet custody cases over the last five years, according to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The most desired animal: dogs, 88% of the time.

Cats were much less sought-after, with 5% of cases. Even iguanas, pythons, African grey parrots and giant turtles have been fought over.

Why have we become so willing to go to war over Fido or Fifi?

“I think what is happening is that a lot of people are choosing not to have children, but they are getting pets earlier than ever,” says Jacqueline Newman, a Manhattan attorney who has handled multiple pet-oriented divorce squabbles. “Therefore pets become like children – and people will fight for them.”

If a couple does have kids, the typical arrangement is that the dog or cat will go wherever the children go, experts say.

Money issues often follow. After all, raising a dog can be expensive – especially in high-cost urban environments.

In fact, the first year of raising a small dog will set you back an average of $2,674, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Medium-sized dogs will chew through $2,889 in their first year, and large-sized dogs $3,239.

Since not every pet owner makes the same amount of money, that can be a problem.

“I call it ‘doggy support,'” Newman says. She recalls one pug, Oliver, who was “a very expensive dog.” “High vet bills, special food, doggie daycare, dogwalkers. It was more than $1,000 a month,” she recalls

The result: The higher-earning partner ended up forking over more than three-quarters of pet-care costs, despite having Oliver half the time.

That is also what happened with Pupineya, with Joseph handling most of the pet-care costs, including cross-country airplane jaunts. But after years of wrangling, both partners are happy to have the matter settled, so they can enjoy time with their four-legged family member.

Says Hsu: “My life was never complete until adopting the pup.”

 

TIME animals

This Dog Reunited with His Family After 9 Years and His Reaction Is Everything

"He was always in our hearts. We never forgot him"

Sometimes the road home is a long and confusing one.

On Saturday, after nine years away from home, Boozer the boxer was reunited with his family at the Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, Colorado, reports 9News.

The 10-year-old dog ended up at the shelter after his latest owner, unable to continue caring for Boozer, made the tough decision to surrender the pet to Foothills.

As part of its routine, the shelter scanned Boozer for a microchip. The staff found one linked to a family in Tennessee and decided to follow up. The listed address led them to Lloyd Goldston, an Alabama man who lost his dog nine years ago while moving away from Tennessee.

After seeing photos of the boxer sent from the Colorado shelter, Goldston was so certain his beloved missing Boozer had been found that he and his two kids drove 18 hours to see the dog again.

“My reaction when I found out was I cried. Especially when they sent the first picture of him,” Goldston said.

The tears kept flowing when the Goldstons embraced their gentle giant of a dog once again. In the video of the reunion, Boozer seems to recognize his family instantly and rushes to greet them.

“I’m happy,” Goldston said. “He was never gone. He was always in our hearts. We never forgot him.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

Read next: This Dog’s Commitment to Keeping a Balloon Afloat Is Truly Admirable

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MONEY Shopping

10 Things Millennials Buy Far More Often Than Everyone Else

For real, snakes?

Roughly a year ago, we at MONEY rounded up a fun list of 10 things millennials won’t spend money on—at least not to the same degree as older generations. Cars, cable TV, and Costco were all on the list, as were houses. A freshly released Pew Research Center study indicates that a larger-than-expected percentage of young people are still living with their parents rather than moving out and perhaps buying a place of their own.

Yes, millennials are stingy when it comes to spending in certain categories. Yet even as they aren’t following in the footsteps of their consumer forebears in terms of embracing big-ticket items like houses and cars, millennials spend far more freely on certain other items compared to older generations. Here are 10 things they buy more often—sometimes a lot more often—than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers, including a few big surprises.

  • Gas Station Food

    Customers line up for their free Slurpees in a 7-Eleven store in New York
    Richard Levine—Alamy

    Millennials have been referred to as the grab-and-go generation, with 29% saying that they often purchase food and drink while on the run, compared with 19% of consumers overall. You might think that Chipotle or perhaps Starbucks would be the biggest beneficiary of this habit. But according to the NPD Group, Gen Y restaurant visits are actually on the decline, particularly among older millennials who are more likely to have families. What’s more, in terms of drawing millennial food and beverage visits, the fast-casual segment is handily beaten by an under-the-radar retail category: the gas station.

    Whereas fast-casual accounted for 6.1% of millennial food and beverage stops in 2014, NPD researchers point out that 11.4% of such visits took place at convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Wawa, Cumberland Farms, and Sheetz, where the hot to-go offerings include salads, wraps, healthy(ish) sandwiches, pizza, and wings alongside old standards like hot dogs and microwaveable burritos. Some even have espresso and smoothie bars, which is probably news to most older folks. “If you’re 50 or over, you still think the convenience store is primarily a gas station,” the NPD Group’s Harry Balzer explained to USA Today.

  • Same-Day Delivery

    FedEx Same Day delivery truck
    courtesy FedEx

    Patience is not exactly a virtue among consumers who grew up with smartphones and social media. Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow sums up this mindset as “I want what I want, when I want it,” and points to a Shop.org survey indicating that millennials have been twice as likely as other generations to pay extra for same-day delivery of online purchases.

    Earlier this year, the New York Times took note of a surge in same-day delivery, in particular among services supplying alcohol directly to the customer’s door. “It has not hurt that millennials, who are used to ordering food for delivery on their smartphones, have come of legal drinking age,” the Times noted.

  • Hot Sauce

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    Patti McConville—Alamy

    Sriracha is everywhere. It is spicing up potato chips and croutons, adding some extra kick to Heinz ketchup, and offering a strange twist at Pizza Hut. Heck, it’s even in beer. And the overwhelming reason Sriracha is ubiquitous is that it’s evolved into the go-to condiment of the all-important millennial demographic. More than half of American households now have hot sauce on hand. Sriracha specifically is stocked in 9% of them—and in 16% of households headed by someone under age 35.

    The hot sauce craze has translated to a constantly changing roster of ultra-spicy items on fast food menus. Part of the reason that millennials prefer spicier foods is that they were exposed to different tastes at fairly young ages. “Millennials like hot, spicy foods because of their experience with more ethnic foods, like Hispanic and Asian,” said Kelly Weikel, senior consumer research manager at Technomic.

  • Snakes

    snake collar
    Luca Gavagna—Getty Images/iStockphoto

    This past spring, an odd extension for Google Chrome was desisnged to allow users to sub the phrase “snake people” in the place of “millennials” on screens. It was a fun goof that now seems like ancient history. But it turns out that millennials really are snake people, in the sense that they have more interest than other generations in buying and keeping snakes—and all reptiles—as pets.

    “This age group, 15-35 years old, is the generation that is most active in reptile keeping and searching for related material online,” Keith Morris, national sales manager for the reptile product site ZooMed.com, told Pet Age last summer. Data collected by Pet Age also indicates millennials are more willing to splurge on their pets with luxuries like custom beds: 76% said they’d be likely to splurge on pets rather than themselves, compared with just 50% of Baby Boomers. Yet another survey indicated that millennials are far more interested than Boomers and Gen Xers in pet healthcare as a job benefit. So the big takeaway is: Millennials really love pets in all shapes, sizes, and species.

  • Athleisure

    Yoga Pants
    Kirsten Dayton—Alamy

    The demographic that overwhelmingly gets the credit for yoga pants replacing jeans as the mainstream go-to casual bottom of choice (and even coming to be seen as legitimate work clothes at the office) is of course the millennial generation. Yoga pants, hoodies, sweatpants, and other leggings are lumped into the “athleisure” or “leisurewear” clothing category, which has been most warmly embraced by millennials—and in turn inspired retailers ranging from Ann Taylor to the Gap to Dick’s Sporting Goods to ramp up their selections of women’s exercise wear that’s not necessarily for exercise.

    “When I look at athleisure bottom business—the yoga pant, sweat pant, sweat short—it has displaced the jean business one to one,” NPD Group retail analyst Marshal Cohen said recently. Sales of such clothing rose 13% during a recent 12-month span, and now represent roughly 17% of the entire clothing market, according to the market research firm. “For every jean we are not selling or used to sell we are selling an athleisure bottom. It has become as important to the market as denim would be.”

    Side note: Yoga pants aren’t the only skin-tight garment getting a boost from millennials. During the 12-month period that ended in May, spending on women’s tights was up 24% among millennials, who now account for 45% of all sales in the category.

  • Organic Food

    Organic produce sections in The Whole Foods Market in Willowbrook, Illinois
    Jeff Haynes—AFP/Getty Images

    According to a Gallup poll conducted last summer, 45% of Americans actively seek out organic foods to include in their diets. Millennials are a lot more likely than average to feel that it’s important to go organic, however, so the preferences of younger consumers skew the overall average up. Whereas only 33% of Americans age 65 and older actively try to include organic foods in their diets, 53% of Americans ages 18 to 29 do so.

  • Tattoos & Piercings

    Millennial with the words "Hustle" and "Money" tattooed on each leg using his iPhone
    Petri Artturi Asikainen—Getty Images

    It’s been estimated that 20% of Americans—and nearly 40% of millennials—have at least one tattoo. Surveys conducted for Pew Research several years ago indicated that about 30% of millennials had piercings somewhere other than their ears, which is six times higher than older Americans.

    Despite the growing acceptance of tattoos simply by way of them becoming mainstream, millennials remain somewhat cautious about getting one because it could hurt their chances of being hired. Or at least they’re careful when deciding the placement of a tattoo. In a recent University of Tampa poll, 86% of students said that having a visible tattoo would hurt one’s chances of getting a job. It’s understandable, then, that 70% of millennial workers with tattoos say they hide their ink from the boss.

  • Energy Drinks

    Monster brand energy drinks on sale in a convenience store in New York
    Richard Levine—Alamy

    American parents, likely exhausted by nighttime feedings, hectic schedules, and such, understandably feel the need to resort to energy drinks. A recent Mintel survey shows that 58% of U.S. households with children consume Red Bull, Monster, or other energy drinks, compared to just 27% of households without kids.

    Meanwhile, millennials are even more likely than parents in general to throw back energy drinks: 64% of millennials consume them regularly, and 29% of older millennials (ages 27 to 37, who are more likely to be parents themselves) say they’ve increased the number of energy drinks they consume in recent months.

  • Donations at the Cash Register

    signing electronic bill at register
    Juan Monino—Getty Images

    Some shoppers feel annoyed and put on the spot when a store clerk asks if they’d like to make a charitable donation while ringing up a purchase at the cash register. This isn’t the case with the typical millennial, however.

    According to a report from the consultancy firm the Good Scout Group, of all generations “Gen Y likes being asked to give to charity at the register the most.” What’s more, millennials say that they donate at store cash registers more often than any other generation, and they also felt “most positively about charities and retailers once they gave.”

  • Craft Booze

    Growlers on a table outside Faction Beer Brewery, Alameda, California
    Silicon Valley Stock—Alamy

    More so than other generations, millennials have demonstrated a distaste for mass-market beers and spirits—and a preference for the pricier small-batch booze. In one survey, 43% of millennials say craft beer tastes better than mainstream brews, compared to less than one-third of Baby Boomers. As millennials have grown up and more and more have crossed the age of 21, craft beer sales have soared at the same time that mass-market brands like Budweiser and Miller have suffered. A Nielsen poll showed that 15% of millennials’ beer money goes to the craft segment, which is impressive considering the limited buying power of this college-age demographic. By comparison, craft brews account for less than 10% of money spent on beer by Gen X and Baby Boomers.

    Millennials are also given an outsize share of the credit for the boom in craft spirits over household brands handled by the big distributors. As with craft beer, researchers say that millennials like craft liquors partly because it’s easier to connect to the back story of the beverages, and there’s an air of “inclusive exclusivity” and uniqueness about them. For that matter, millennials seem to care more in general about liquor brands. In one survey, 64% of millennials said that including the brand of spirit in a menu cocktail description was important or very important, compared to 55% of Gen Xers and 50% of Baby Boomers who felt that way.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

13 Fun Ways to Work Out With Your Dog

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The versatile furry friends can do anything from running to yoga to boot camp with you

Dogs make the best workout buddies. They never complain about hills or cancel on you last-minute. And they’re always stoked to follow you out the door. That energy can be contagious: research from Michigan State University found that canine owners were 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than folks who didn’t have a dog. Even if you’re just taking your pup for a walk, that counts. (Move at a brisk clip and you can burn as many as 170 calories in half an hour.) But there are lots of other activities you and Fido can do together—all while strengthening your bond.

Check out these fun ways to get fit with your furry pal.

Running

Because dogs are creatures of habit, they can help you keep up your weekly mileage: Once your pup gets into the routine of a morning run, she won’t let you wimp out if it’s drizzling, or you’re just feeling bleh, explains J.T. Clough, author of 5K Training Guide: Running with Dogs($8; amazon.com). “She’ll wait by your sneakers, tongue out, tail wagging,” says Clough, who runs a dog-training business on Maui. “Her excitement can be enough to change your attitude.”Concerned your little pooch won’t keep up? No need to worry, says Clough: “The truth is most small dogs have more energy than the big breeds.” Just be careful in the heat and humidity, since dogs don’t sweat like we do. And if you have a flat-faced breed (think pugs and Boston terriers), keep your runs under five miles, Clough suggests, since these dogs have a harder time taking in air.

Stand-up paddleboarding

It’s almost as if stand-up paddleboards were designed for canine co-pilots: Dogs of all sizes can ride on the nose (while you get a killer ab workout). Pick an ultra-calm day on a lake or bay for your first excursion together, so your pup can develop his sea legs. If you’re struggling to balance the board, try paddling on your knees, which lowers your center of gravity, until your dog is comfortable. Still, odds are you’ll both take a dip, which is why Clough recommends outfitting your dog with a life preserver. It’ll make it easier for you to lift him back onto the board, too: Most doggie vests have an easy-to-grab handle, like the NRS CFD (from $35; amazon.com).

Is your dog a born swimmer? Bring a stick or throw toy and play fetch once you’ve paddled out.

Kayaking

You can also take your dog out for a spin in a sit-on-top kayak. Smaller breeds may perch up front, while larger dogs might feel safer closer to your feet. Teach your buddy to get in and out of the kayak on land first; then practice in the shallow water close to shore. (If he seems nervous about sliding around, you could lay down a small mat or piece of carpet so his paws can get some traction.) The trick is to keep the first few outings relaxed and fun (read: brings treats!). Stick to inlets and slow-moving rivers without too much boat traffic. You can let your dog paddle alongside you if he wants to swim. If not, that’s okay too: “He’s getting lots of stimulation just by riding in the boat,” says Clough—all while you ton your arms and core and burn hundreds of calories.

Cycling

Is your dog so exuberant on walks you worry she might one day pull your arm off? If so, try letting her keep up with you as you pedal: “Biking is perfect for dogs with tons of energy,” says Clough. “They are totally psyched to flat-out run.” Meanwhile, you’re getting a great workout (cycling can torch 500-plus calories per hour) and building your leg muscles.

If your girl likes chasing squirrels and skateboards, consider using a device called the Springer. It attaches the leash to your bike’s frame or seat stem and absorbs much of the force of sudden tugs ($130; amazon.com).

Biking with your dog may actually help with any behavioral issues she has, Clough adds. “The biggest problem I see with dogs is that they’re not getting enough exercise.” Indeed, veterinarians at Tufts University’s Animal Behavior Clinic say aerobic exercise stimulates the brain to make serotonin, a hormone that helps dogs, especially those who are anxious or aggressive, to relax.

Rollerblading

This is another great way to burn off a dog’s excess energy—as long as you’re an expert inline skater, that is. If not, “it can be disastrous,” warns Clough. “Your dog will be like ‘Woohoo!’ and you’ll be like, ‘Where’s the break?!” But even if you’re super confident on wheels, she suggest rollerblading in an area free of traffic, like a park or boardwalk, so you can enjoy the excursion as much as your pal. Chances are, you’ll have so much fun you’ll forget you’re seriously working your core.

Dog-friendly boot camp

Fitness classes designed for people and pups—like Leash Your Fitness in San Diego and K9 Fit Club in Chicago —are becoming more and more popular. In a typical class, you’ll run through high-intensity moves for strength, balance and cardio while your four-legged companion practices obedience drills. “I recommend that people at least try out a class,” says Clough, who helped launch Leash Your Fitness. “The focus is more on the person’s workout than the dog’s,” she explains, but your dog is learning to feel comfortable in a distracting environment—and that will make it easier to take him along on other fitness adventures.

Dog yoga

Yep, “doga” is a thing, and it turns out pooches are naturals at this ancient practice. Can’t picture it? Think about your girl’s morning stretches: She probably does a perfect cobra, right? In a doga class, you’ll help her try more poses—and she’ll (hopefully) act as a prop for your own poses. But really doga is all about the pet-human bond. There’s often some doggy massage and acupressure involved. And while you’re in such close contact, you’ll have the opportunity to do a regular health check, feeling for any lumps beneath her fur.

Active fetch

You throw the ball and your pup goes bounding after it. But who says you have to just stand there? While he’s retrieving, bust out some muscle-building moves like crunches, lunges, squats, and more—until you’re both panting and worn out. Better yet, race him for the ball and squeeze in some sprints. Fetch can be a game you play, too.

Soccer

Believe it or not, some dogs love soccer—especially herding breeds like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. Pet brands sell soccer-style balls (resistant to sharp teeth) in different sizes, like the 5-inch Orbee-Tuff ball from Planet Dog ($20; amazon.com). Once your boy learns to “kick” or “dribble” with his nose or paws, get your heart rates up with keep-away, or by punting the ball and racing for it.

Not a soccer fan? Try engaging him with other toys (like rope tugs) and activities (such as hide-and-seek). “Put yourself into kid mood, come up with a game, and show him,” Clough suggests. “He’ll most likely play it with you.”

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing

Cold weather doesn’t mean you have to leave your dog cooped up. Some breeds—like Huskies and St. Bernards—have snow in their DNA, but many dogs enjoy a good romp in the white stuff. And whether you’re on snowshoes or skis, you’ll get in a low-impact, total-body workout. But the best part comes later, when you both curl up for a snooze by the fire.

If your dog gets chronic snow build-up between the pads on her paws, you can outfit her with booties. Brands like Ultra Paws (from $32; amazon.com). and Ruffwear ($90; amazon.com) make rugged footwear for winter walks.

Stair-running

Thanks to the vertical element, climbing stairs (or bleachers) makes your quads, hamstrings, and glutes work extra hard. You’ll tighten up your lower half, while Spot burns off the biscuits.

Join a canine charity race

You have the perfect training buddy. Why not work toward the goal of finishing a dog-friendly race? Events for four-pawed runners and their owners—such as the Fast and the Furry 8K in St. Paul, Minn. and the Rescue Me 5K9 in Irvine, Calif. —are held all over the country.

Don’t have a dog?

You can still work out with one. Call a local animal shelter and volunteer to take dogs out for walks or runs. Pound puppies are often desperate for exercise and attention, and your commitment to your new furry pal is great motivation to stick with a fitness routine. Best of all, as an anxious or unruly dog learns to walk on a leash and behave in public, you’ll be improving his chances of finding a forever home.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Books

A New Dr. Seuss Book is Out Today

what pet should i get
Random House

"What Pet Should I Get?", a recently discovered Dr. Seuss work, is on sale starting July 28.

What’s that, you say? A new book out today? Why yes, it’s here! Seuss‘s first book in years.

What Pet Should I Get? a recently discovered, unpublished children’s book by beloved author Dr. Seuss is being released on Tuesday, July 28. The book is believed to have been penned at some point between the late 1950s and early 1960s, according to USA Today, and publishers at Random House explain the book’s discovery in its final pages.

The book centers around a brother and sister who set out to a local pet store in search of a furry friend to call their own. The story reportedly features the same brother and sister pair from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

USA Today gives the new tale “three stars out of four” for “mundane” rhymes and a less-than-fantastical plot.

But, parents don’t fret. Kids will surely love “pet.”

 

TIME Pets

Lost Dog Turns Up 1,800 Miles Away From Home

Rocky turned up in Indiana two years after going missing in Arizona

Rocky the boxer must have gotten some inspiration from Homeward Bound, the classic 1993 film about three pets who make an epic journey home across America.

The dog went missing in Mesa, Arizona two years ago before finally turning up in Indiana earlier this month — 1,800 miles away from where he disappeared, reports local CBS affiliate CBS5AZ .

Brittany Romero, whose son Aden owned Rocky, received a call from an Elkhart, Indiana animal clinic telling them the long lost pooch had been found. It took a relay of 26 volunteer rescue workers to drive Rocky back to his family.

Rocky’s owners are naturally elated. “I don’t even have words to explain how amazed and surprised I was,” said Romero. “I honestly, I just didn’t think I would see him for a good while, if at all,”

[CBS5AZ]

TIME animals

See What JFK Airport’s Extravagant New ‘Pet Terminal’ Will Look Like

Warning: may cause feelings of envy in two-legged commuters

New York officials announced plans to develop a new $32 million terminal on Monday, specially designed to handle roughly 70,000 airborne animals a year.

The 172,165 square-foot facility, dubbed the ARK, will include “a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, animal daycare services and more efficient ways to transport animals worldwide, including exotic species,” the Port Authority said in a public statement. Artists’ renderings suggest that animal passengers may enjoy more amenities than their human counterparts, including a lap pool and private rooms. The cattle gates, on the other hand, may look familiar.

“While most of our airport passengers walk on two legs, this new center will serve the important travel needs of our four-legged and winged friends,” said Port Authority executive director Pat Foye.

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