Dog people are a different breed. Sure, you like animals, and so does everyone else – even if some people only like the way they taste. But there is a class of people who identify with their pets so deeply that it takes over their personality. Beware: if you plan to buy a gift, whether birthday, holiday, or other, for someone who belongs to this rare phylum: giving something to a dog lover that has nothing to do with their dog will likely register as an insult. Your relationship may well sour, and you’ll probably never know why.
Better Dog Beds Through Science: Casper has taken the human mattress industry by storm with its futuristic and scientific spring free designs, which have won endless awards and acclaim, including high praise from Consumer Reports, Wired and Good Housekeeping, while Time Magazine named Casper’s mattress one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2015 and Architectural Digest called it “the perfect mattress, according to science.” Dogs spend half their lives sleeping, and the folks at Casper claim to have done 11 months of canine sleep studies and developed over one hundred protypes. The resulting Casper Dog Mattress was designed by the same engineering team behind all of Casper’s mattress products, crafted with a combination of pressure-relieving memory foam and durable support foam. It immediately got the same kind of rave reviews the big versions did, from Gizmodo, Fast Company and CNN, which called it “the perfect mattress for every dog.” Dogs like the feeling of protection and for this reason many prefer bolstered beds - this one gives them four-sided peace of mind. It is also owner friendly, very durable and bite and scratch resistant, the durable cover repels fur, it is easily removable and machine washable, and for dog safety, zippers are hidden. Because dogs often like to scratch or dig before laying down, an inherited instinct of digging up dirt to find cooler ground, they designed the bed’s surface with excess material on top to mimic the sensation of pawing at loose earth. And just like Casper’s human products, it comes with a 100-night sleep trial. In three colors and four sizes, $125-$225

In the field world, people will tell you “If you want a machine that mows over every blade of grass to find the bird, get a lab. If you want a dog to stop and think about the best route to find the bird, get a golden.” That’s really the difference–if you want a high energy dog that never stops and can take a lot of distress, labs are your dog. If you want a high energy dog that is strategic, and won’t make the same mistake twice, then you’re a golden person.


Now that Easter is behind us, Mother’s Day is right around the corner on May 13. Just because some children have fur doesn’t make somebody any less of a mother. Have you thought about what to get your favorite dog moms this Mother’s Day? If not, there’s no need to panic. We have plenty of ideas on how to show the dog moms in your life that they are appreciated. Have any ideas that we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments!
The Lab has the reputation of being one of the most sweet-natured breeds, and it's well deserved. He's outgoing, eager to please, and friendly with both people and other animals. Aside from a winning personality, he has the intelligence and eagerness to please that make him easy to train. Training is definitely necessary because this breed has a lot of energy and exuberance. The working heritage of the Lab means he is active. This breed needs activity, both physical and mental, to keep him happy. There is some variation in the activity level of Labs: some are rowdy, others are more laid back. All thrive on activity.
Labrador Retrievers hail from the island of Newfoundland, off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. Originally called St. John's dogs, after the capital city of Newfoundland, Labs served as companions and helpers to the local fishermen beginning in the 1700s. The dogs spent their days working alongside their owners, retrieving fish who had escaped hooks and towing in lines, and then returned home to spend the evening with the fishermen's family. Although his heritage is unknown, many believe the St. John's dog was interbred with the Newfoundland Dog and other small local water dogs. Outsiders noticed the dog's usefulness and good disposition, and English sportsmen imported a few Labs to England to serve as retrievers for hunting. The second Earl of Malmesbury was one of the first, and had St. John's dogs shipped to England sometime around 1830. The third Earl of Malmesbury was the first person to refer to the dogs as Labradors. Amazingly, Labs — now America's most popular dog — were almost extinct by the 1880s, and the Malmesbury family and other English fans are credited with saving the breed. In Newfoundland, the breed disappeared because of government restrictions and tax laws. Families were allowed to keep no more than one dog, and owning a female was highly taxed, so girl puppies were culled from litters. In England, however, the breed survived, and the Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as a distinct breed in 1903. The American Kennel Club followed suit in 1917, and in the '20s and '30s, British Labs were imported to establish the breed in the U.S. The breed's popularity really began to take off after World War II, and in 1991, the Labrador Retriever became the most popular dog registered with the American Kennel Club — and he's held that distinction ever since. He also tops the list in Canada and England. Today, Labs work in drug and explosive detection, search and rescue, therapy, assistance to the handicapped, and as retrievers for hunters. They also excel in all forms of dog competitions: show, field, agility, and obedience.
The Labrador breed has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Some of the general health conditions that afflict Labradors are patellar luxation, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), which is canine elbow and shoulder dysplasia. This breed also occasionally suffers from distichiasis, exercise-induced collapse, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and entropion. Minor health concerns include retinal dysplasia, central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA), hypothyroidism, hot spots, and cataract. Knee, hip, eye, and elbow tests should be included in the usual medical check-ups.

Labrador colouration is controlled by multiple genes. It is possible for recessive genes to re-emerge in later generations. Also, there can sometimes be unexpected pigmentation effects to different parts of the body. Pigmentation effects appear in regard to yellow Labradors, and sometimes chocolate, and hence the majority of this section covers pigmentation within the yellow Labrador. The most common places where pigmentation is visible are the nose, lips, gums, feet, tail, and the rims of the eyes, which may be black, brown, light yellow-brown ("liver", caused by having two genes for chocolate),[39] or several other colours. A Labrador can carry genes for a different colour, for example a black Labrador can carry recessive chocolate and yellow genes, and a yellow Labrador can carry recessive genes for the other two colours. DNA testing can reveal some aspects of these. Less common pigmentations (other than pink) are a fault, not a disqualification, and hence such dogs are still permitted to be shown.[39]
Networking can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family.   Most people who love Labradors love all Labradors. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. The Labrador Club of America’s rescue network can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Labrador rescues in your area.
The Labrador should be short-coupled, with good spring of ribs tapering to a moderately wide chest. The Labrador should not be narrow chested; giving the appearance of hollowness between the front legs, nor should it have a wide spreading, bulldog-like front. Correct chest conformation will result in tapering between the front legs that allows unrestricted forelimb movement. Chest breadth that is either too wide or too narrow for efficient movement and stamina is incorrect. Slab-sided individuals are not typical of the breed; equally objectionable are rotund or barrel chested specimens. The underline is almost straight, with little or no tuck-up in mature animals. Loins should be short, wide and strong; extending to well developed, powerful hindquarters. When viewed from the side, the Labrador Retriever shows a well-developed, but not exaggerated forechest.
There are two types of Labradors, the English Labrador and the American Labrador. The English bred Lab comes from English bred stock. Its general appearance is different than the American bred Lab. The English bred Labs are heavier, thicker and blockier. The American bred Lab comes from American bred stock and is tall and lanky. The double coat is smooth and does not have any waves. Coat colors come in solid black, yellow or chocolate. There is also said to be a rare silver or gray color that is referred to by the AKC as a shade of chocolate. This color is controversial and some claim it is a Weimaraner cross, while others say it is a true mutation. The head of the Labrador is broad with a moderate stop. The nose is thick, black on black and yellow dogs and brown on chocolate dogs. The nose color often fades and is not considered a fault in the show ring. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The muzzle is fairly wide. The neck is proportionately wide and powerful. The body is slightly longer than tall. The short, hard coat is easy to care for and water-resistant. The medium-sized eyes are set well apart. Eye color should be brown in yellow and black dogs and hazel or brown in chocolate dogs. Some Labs can also have green or greenish-yellow eyes. In silver dogs the eye color is usually gray. The eye rims are black in yellow and black dogs and brown in chocolate dogs. The ears are medium in size, hanging down and pendant in shape. The otter tail is thick at the base, gradually tapering towards the tip. It is completely covered with short hair, with no feathering. The feet are strong and compact with webbed feet which aid the dog in swimming.
Making a donation on behalf of your friend in her dog’s honor is an excellent alternative to standard gift-giving. Consider local shelters or the ASPCA (read our interview with ASPCA’s CEO to learn about some of the great work they’re doing to help shelter animals all over the country). Most animal rescue organizations have online donation forms that allow you to pick the amount. As an added bonus, the ASPCA even lets you pick out a card design to be emailed or mailed to the recipient!
The high intelligence, initiative and self-direction of Labradors in working roles is exemplified by dogs such as Endal, who is trained to, if need be, put his wheelchair-bound human in the recovery position, cover him with a blanket, and activate an emergency phone.[59] A number of Labradors have also been taught to assist their owner in removing money and credit cards from ATMs with prior training.[60]
Better Dog Beds Through Science: Casper has taken the human mattress industry by storm with its futuristic and scientific spring free designs, which have won endless awards and acclaim, including high praise from Consumer Reports, Wired and Good Housekeeping, while Time Magazine named Casper’s mattress one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2015 and Architectural Digest called it “the perfect mattress, according to science.” Dogs spend half their lives sleeping, and the folks at Casper claim to have done 11 months of canine sleep studies and developed over one hundred protypes. The resulting Casper Dog Mattress was designed by the same engineering team behind all of Casper’s mattress products, crafted with a combination of pressure-relieving memory foam and durable support foam. It immediately got the same kind of rave reviews the big versions did, from Gizmodo, Fast Company and CNN, which called it “the perfect mattress for every dog.” Dogs like the feeling of protection and for this reason many prefer bolstered beds - this one gives them four-sided peace of mind. It is also owner friendly, very durable and bite and scratch resistant, the durable cover repels fur, it is easily removable and machine washable, and for dog safety, zippers are hidden. Because dogs often like to scratch or dig before laying down, an inherited instinct of digging up dirt to find cooler ground, they designed the bed’s surface with excess material on top to mimic the sensation of pawing at loose earth. And just like Casper’s human products, it comes with a 100-night sleep trial. In three colors and four sizes, $125-$225
One of the most popular breeds in the USA, the Labrador Retriever is loyal, loving, affectionate and patient, making a great family dog. Highly intelligent, good-natured, very willing and eager to please, it is among the top choices for service dog work. Labs love to play, especially in water, never wanting to pass up the opportunity for a good swim. These lively dogs have an excellent, reliable temperament and are friendly, superb with children and equable with other dogs. They crave human leadership and need to feel as though they are part of the family. Labs are easily trained. Some may be reserved with strangers unless very well socialized, preferably while they are still puppies. Adult Labs are very strong; train them while they are puppies to heel on the leash, and not to bolt out doorways and gateways before the humans. These dogs are watchdogs, not guard dogs, although some have been known to guard. They can become destructive if the humans are not 100% pack leader and/or if they do not receive enough mental and physical exercise, and left too much to their own devices. Show lines are generally heavier and easier going than field lines. Field lines tend to be very energetic and will easily become high strung without enough exercise. Labs bred from English lines (English Labs) are more calm and laid back than Labradors bred from American lines. English Labs mature quicker than the American type.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Our chihuahuas just don't 'get' it. I think the problem is that they aren't getting rewarded quickly enough to keep their attention and connect 'roll the ball' with 'get a treat'... even on the easiest setting. I've noticed that the treats dispense when the ball is rolled faster than they roll it, so maybe it just isn't the best option for toy breeds.
- Exclusions: Hill's Pet Nutrition food and treats (Hill's Prescription Diet, Hill's Science Diet, Hill's Ideal Balance and Hill's Bioactive Recipe); select Pro Purina brands (Pro Plan, Muse and Beyond); Petsafe Brands (PetSafe, SportDOG, ScoopFree, Pup-Pee Solutions, Piddle Place, Radio Systems, Gentle Leader, Premier Pet, Solvit' and Simpsons Adventure); Educator E-Collars; PetcoOne and WholeHearted Memberships, Repeat Delivery orders and subscriptions; out-of-stock items, prior purchases, Donations, Petco Gift Cards and eGift Cards.
The AKC describes the Labrador's temperament as a kind, pleasant, outgoing and tractable nature.[5] Labradors' sense of smell allows them to home in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin. They generally stay on the scent until they find it. Navies, military forces and police forces use them as detection dogs to track down smugglers, thieves, terrorists and black marketers. They are known to have a very soft feel to the mouth, as a result of being bred to retrieve game such as waterfowl. They are prone to chewing objects (though they can be trained to abandon this behaviour).
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The Labrador Retriever should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Whatever they were called, the dogs were known for their keen sense of smell, ability to find downed birds, and speed. British visitors to Newfoundland appreciated the dogs’ abilities and brought them back to England. There, they caught the eye of the Earl of Malmesbury, who acquired some of the water-loving dogs to hunt the swamplands surrounding his estate. The Earl’s son began breeding the dogs and it was he who gave them the name Labrador. The Kennel Club in England made the breed official in 1903.
While individual dogs may vary, in general show-bred Labradors are heavier built, slightly shorter-bodied, and have a thicker coat and tail. Field Labradors are generally longer-legged, lighter, and more lithe in build, making them agile. In the head, show Labradors tend to have broader heads, better defined stops, and more powerful necks, while field Labradors have lighter and slightly narrower heads with longer muzzles.[42][43] Field-bred Labradors are commonly higher energy and more high-strung compared to the Labrador bred for conformation showing while conformation breeds are calmer in energy, and as a consequence may be more suited to working relationships than being a "family pet".[42][43] Some breeders, especially those specialising in the field type, feel that breed shows do not adequately recognise their type of dog, leading to occasional debate regarding officially splitting the breed into subtypes.[44]
Breeders should sell puppies with a written contract guaranteeing they'll take back the dog at any time during his life if you become unable to keep him, and with written documentation that both the puppy's parents (and if possible, his other close relatives) have had their hips, eyes and elbows examined and certified by the appropriate health organizations. Seek out a breeder whose dogs are active in field trials, hunt tests, agility, obedience and other sports that require athleticism and good health, and not just ribbons from the show ring.
But what to buy for the dog lover in your life? We’ve made your search a little simpler by rounding up 53 top-rated gifts every dog lover will appreciate, from dog-themed photo frames and mugs to useful items that will benefit your gift recipient and their favorite pup alike. Our picks are listed below in alphabetical order for easy reference. Ratings information is based on Amazon.com reviews and is current at the time of this writing. Happy shopping!

Labrador Retrievers hail from the island of Newfoundland, off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. Originally called St. John's dogs, after the capital city of Newfoundland, Labs served as companions and helpers to the local fishermen beginning in the 1700s. The dogs spent their days working alongside their owners, retrieving fish who had escaped hooks and towing in lines, and then returned home to spend the evening with the fishermen's family. Although his heritage is unknown, many believe the St. John's dog was interbred with the Newfoundland Dog and other small local water dogs. Outsiders noticed the dog's usefulness and good disposition, and English sportsmen imported a few Labs to England to serve as retrievers for hunting. The second Earl of Malmesbury was one of the first, and had St. John's dogs shipped to England sometime around 1830. The third Earl of Malmesbury was the first person to refer to the dogs as Labradors. Amazingly, Labs — now America's most popular dog — were almost extinct by the 1880s, and the Malmesbury family and other English fans are credited with saving the breed. In Newfoundland, the breed disappeared because of government restrictions and tax laws. Families were allowed to keep no more than one dog, and owning a female was highly taxed, so girl puppies were culled from litters. In England, however, the breed survived, and the Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as a distinct breed in 1903. The American Kennel Club followed suit in 1917, and in the '20s and '30s, British Labs were imported to establish the breed in the U.S. The breed's popularity really began to take off after World War II, and in 1991, the Labrador Retriever became the most popular dog registered with the American Kennel Club — and he's held that distinction ever since. He also tops the list in Canada and England. Today, Labs work in drug and explosive detection, search and rescue, therapy, assistance to the handicapped, and as retrievers for hunters. They also excel in all forms of dog competitions: show, field, agility, and obedience.

- Exclusions: Hill's Pet Nutrition food and treats (Hill's Prescription Diet, Hill's Science Diet, Hill's Ideal Balance and Hill's Bioactive Recipe); select Pro Purina brands (Pro Plan, Muse and Beyond); Petsafe Brands (PetSafe, SportDOG, ScoopFree, Pup-Pee Solutions, Piddle Place, Radio Systems, Gentle Leader, Premier Pet, Solvit' and Simpsons Adventure); Educator E-Collars; PetcoOne and WholeHearted Memberships, Repeat Delivery orders and subscriptions; out-of-stock items, prior purchases, Donations, Petco Gift Cards and eGift Cards.


^ Candille, Sophie I.; Kaelin, Christopher B.; Cattanach, Bruce M.; Yu, Bin; Thompson, Darren A.; Nix, Matthew A.; Kerns, Julie A.; Schmutz, Sheila M.; Millhauser, Glenn L.; Barsh, Gregory S. (2007). "A β-Defensin Mutation Causes Black Coat Colour in Domestic Dogs". Science. 318 (5855): 1418–23. doi:10.1126/science.1147880. PMC 2906624. PMID 17947548.

Wherever you acquire your Labrador Retriever, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter.In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.
An automatic food feeder might sound like a modern luxury, but it’s actually a great solution for busy pup parents (or those who don’t like to get out of bed to feed their pet, ha). The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder allows you to schedule up to 12 meals in advance which could reduce the burden on a dog sitter (or the need/cost altogether, if the pet has a doggy door to relieve itself). Another benefit is the slow release feature which helps dogs who tend to gobble down their food too fast (an unhealthy and potentially dangerous habit). This item comes in at a higher price but comes with a stainless steel bowl (and it’s dishwasher safe too!). And if you’re feeling extra generous, you can even throw in a dog food auto-ship service!
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Food Labrador Retrievers are prone to overeating and are food motivated. The breed responds well to treats during training sessions. The recommended diet for most Labs is about two cups of high-quality dry food daily, based on the dog's average weight and activity level. This amount should be split between two meals, or can be offered in a food-dispensing puzzle toy.
The Lab has the reputation of being one of the most sweet-natured breeds, and it's well deserved. He's outgoing, eager to please, and friendly with both people and other animals. Aside from a winning personality, he has the intelligence and eagerness to please that make him easy to train. Training is definitely necessary because this breed has a lot of energy and exuberance. The working heritage of the Lab means he is active. This breed needs activity, both physical and mental, to keep him happy. There is some variation in the activity level of Labs: some are rowdy, others are more laid back. All thrive on activity.
The lovable Lab needs to be around his family, and is definitely not a backyard dog. If he's left alone for too long, he'll probably tarnish his saintly reputation: A lonely, bored Lab is apt to dig, chew, or find other destructive outlets for his energy. Labs show some variation in their activity levels, but all of them need activity, both physical and mental. Daily 30-minute walks, a romp at the dog park, or a game of fetch, are a few ways to help your Lab burn off energy. However, a puppy should not be taken for too long walks and should play for a few minutes at a time. Labrador Retrievers are considered "workaholics," and will exhaust themselves. It is up to you to end play and training sessions. Labs have such good reputations that some owners think they don't need training. That's a big mistake. Without training, a rambunctious Lab puppy will soon grow to be a very large, rowdy dog. Luckily, Labs take to training well — in fact, they often excel in obedience competitions. Start with puppy kindergarten, which not only teaches your pup good canine manners, but helps him learn how to be comfortable around other dogs and people. Look for a class that uses positive training methods that reward the dog for getting it right, rather than punishing him for getting it wrong. You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Lab puppy. Don't let your Lab puppy run and play on very hard surfaces such as pavement until he's at least two years old and his joints are fully formed. Normal play on grass is fine, as is puppy agility, with its one-inch jumps. Like all retrievers, the Lab is mouthy, and he's happiest when he has something, anything, to carry in his mouth. He's also a chewer, so be sure to keep sturdy toys available all the time — unless you want your couch chewed up. And when you leave the house, it's wise to keep your Lab in a crate or kennel so he's can't get himself into trouble chewing things he shouldn't.

KONG is one of the best-known brands out there for chew toys. They’re especially known for their classic, bulbous design, which is often filled with peanut butter or other treats. This one is a little bit different. Shaped like a tire, it’s perfect for games of fetch and tug-of-war. Available in two sizes (small and medium/large), it’s great for any breed—and sure to become a favorite toy.

One of the most popular breeds in the USA, the Labrador Retriever is loyal, loving, affectionate and patient, making a great family dog. Highly intelligent, good-natured, very willing and eager to please, it is among the top choices for service dog work. Labs love to play, especially in water, never wanting to pass up the opportunity for a good swim. These lively dogs have an excellent, reliable temperament and are friendly, superb with children and equable with other dogs. They crave human leadership and need to feel as though they are part of the family. Labs are easily trained. Some may be reserved with strangers unless very well socialized, preferably while they are still puppies. Adult Labs are very strong; train them while they are puppies to heel on the leash, and not to bolt out doorways and gateways before the humans. These dogs are watchdogs, not guard dogs, although some have been known to guard. They can become destructive if the humans are not 100% pack leader and/or if they do not receive enough mental and physical exercise, and left too much to their own devices. Show lines are generally heavier and easier going than field lines. Field lines tend to be very energetic and will easily become high strung without enough exercise. Labs bred from English lines (English Labs) are more calm and laid back than Labradors bred from American lines. English Labs mature quicker than the American type.
If you give him an outlet for his energy, a Lab will be the best dog you could ever have. If you don’t, you’ll be spending all your time and energy repairing holes in the wall, filling in holes in your yard, replacing chewed-up furniture and worse. Not because your Lab is a bad dog but simply because he has found his own special ways to entertain himself. Don’t give him the chance.
Outdoor Labrador Retrievers love to spend time outdoors. Their thick, water-repellent coat keeps them warm and dry through many weather conditions and they enjoy any opportunity to run off some energy. Swimming is a favorite activity of many Labs. However, time outdoors is best spent with people rather than alone: Labs thrive on interaction, but they are also known to roam due to their hunting instincts. A fenced yard may be necessary to prevent wandering.
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