July 31st Is National Mutt Day!

The idea of a day designated to raise awareness of homeless mixed breed dogs was conceived in 2005, and there are actually two days set aside each year to celebrate the wonderfulness of mutts - July 31st and December 2nd.

The purpose of National Mutt Day is to embrace, celebrate and help save the lives of mixed breed dogs. It's to raise awareness of the plight of lovable mutts languishing in shelters across the U.S., waiting patiently for a family to take them home.

The goal of National Mutt Day is to save 10,000 wonderful mixed breed dogs on July 31st and December 2nd.

9 Great Reasons to Adopt a Mutt

1. You can pick your favorite size and color. Mutts come in small, medium, large and XL sizes. They come with short, long, curly or wiry coats in every color. They have small ears that stand up, or big floppy, droopy ears. They come with long or short legs, and big fluffy tails, or no tail at all. Whatever you're looking for in a canine companion, you can find in a mixed breed dog.

2. You can find a mixed breed to fit your lifestyle. You might be looking for a very friendly dog, or one who's security conscious. Perhaps you want a four-legged workout partner or a snuggler who enjoys long naps on the couch. Whatever your lifestyle, there's a dog out there who will fit right in.

3. Each mutt is truly unique. A purebred dog tends to be somewhat predictable in looks and temperament as a result of the specific genetic characteristics of his breed. A mixed-breed pup, on the other hand, is the product of a lineage of different breeds - maybe two breeds, maybe several. Mutts often look and behave like no other dog you've ever had the pleasure of knowing!

4. Mixed breeds can be healthier than purebreds. Studies in Europe and North America have found the average mixed breed dog is less prone to disease and has a longer lifespan than the average purebred dog. This is in part due to the theory of hybrid vigor, which holds that as a group, dogs of varied ancestry will be healthier than their purebred counterparts.

5. You don't have to spend a lot of money. Animal shelter adoption fees are much more affordable than the cost of a purebred dog. (But keep in mind that every dog requires a nutritious diet, routine vet visits, obedience training, grooming supplies, bedding, a collar and leash, toys, and other odds and ends.)

6. Many mutts are active, agile athletes. If your mixed breed dog is healthy and active, he can compete and earn titles in agility, dock diving, flyball, canine disc, freestyle, lure coursing, obedience, rally and more.

7. Mutts tend to be easy-going. Mixed breed dogs often do not exhibit the extremes in temperament and behavior that purebreds do. Mixed breeds tend to score better than many purebreds in terms of stability, friendliness, shyness, aggression and protectiveness.

8. You can discover which breeds make up your mutt. Doggy DNA tests are growing in popularity as more pet owners realize the value of learning something about the breeds that make up their furry friend.

9. A wide selection of mixed breed dogs of every size, shape, age, gender and temperament is available from animal shelters and rescue organizations across the US Wonderful, deserving mixed breeds make up the vast majority of adoptable dogs - about 75 percent -- at animal shelters, humane societies and rescue facilities across the nation. When a shelter dog is adopted by a loving, responsible owner, that's one less dog institutionalized and/or euthanized. Everyone wins!

How to Find the Perfect Mutt for Your Family

Do your homework. If you've never owned a dog, you'll need to do lots of research to understand which breeds are best suited for your activity level and lifestyle. The dog's age will also be a factor - puppies and young dogs generally require more effort than older dogs.

If You're Not Quite Ready to Welcome a New Furry Family Member ...

In honor of National Mutt Day, consider making a financial donation - no matter how small - to your local animal shelter. Every dollar counts!

You can also call your local shelter to learn what supplies they're running short on and make a donation of food or other necessities.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at: MercolaHealthyPets.com

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

By reading Dr. Becker's information, you'll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pet's quality of life.