Apparently there is nothing more offensive to the pet-loving masses than suggesting that pets might not love everything we do. Stanley Coren, a psychologist who has been very active in studying the human-animal bond, recently presented his observations that when analyzing randomly selected photos of humans hugging their dogs, over 80% of the dogs appeared to be exhibiting behavioral signs of stress (to be clear, some dogs seemed perfectly happy with the hugs, just not too many of them). Now, this was not a peer-reviewed study, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. ...continue reading
Does your dog love you?
We spend a lot of time worrying about whether our pets love us. How would you even prove it? @DogSpies' Julie Hecht contemplates the question, and encourages just living with the answer "probably."
Fat cats won't stop loving YOU if you put them on a diet
If your cat is obese, that is a problem! Pet owners who worry that putting their feline on a diet might turn them into grumpy cat should worry no more. A study found that reducing an overweight cat's calories made them MORE affectionate toward owners. Remember: putting your cat on a diet should be done in concert with your veterinarian.
Cats are part of the family
A new survey of cat welfare in Australia found that most owners consider their cat part of the family, and feel confident in their ability to provide for their cat. However, most cats have not been to the vet for a yearly check-up and other findings suggested that owners are not meeting all of their cat's welfare needs. Nice summary from Zazie Todd on her blog Companion Animal Psychology here!
All about pets!
Don't we all want to know the truth about cats?
First of all, sometimes I wish I had cable! I'm dying to check out "The Truth about Cats" on the National Geographic Channel.
Should we replace pets with robots?
You might not think that your relationship with your pet (especially if it seems to be a good one) might be fraught with ethical concerns. Should we think of pet-keeping along the lines of animal use for research - something that should be reduced or replaced? This blog brings up many questions and interesting facts about our pet-keeping practices (the rates of "death" by neglect is similar for Tamagotchi and real pets).
The Loss of a Pet Has a Huge Impact
And while our relationships with our pets might be complicated, we know that for many of us, they are incredibly important! @CompanionAnimalPsych reviews a recent study showing that people who recently lost a pet dog, compared to those whose pet dog was still living, reported greater stress and decreased quality of life.
The manuscript is open access so you can read it yourself!
Getting ready for all these conferences has made it hard to keep up with all the latest in animal behavior research! But there’s been plenty to talk about.
Could kissing your dog solve your digestive problems?
Researchers at the University of Arizona are launching a study to examine whether dogs may transfer healthy gut bacteria to the humans they live with. Read more about the study here, and see the university website here.
Dogs use different nostrils for different things
(Pretty sure we do too!) My fave in dog-blogs, @DogSpies covers research looking at how dogs use each nostril differently – among other things, dogs seem to use the right nostril for novelty, and the left to check out familiar things. Super cool, read all about it!