The Special Bond Between Children and Pets

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A 10 year longitudinal study conducted by Matt Cassels at Cambridge University in the UK found that children suffering from some form of adversity in their lives are more likely to turn to the family pet for comfort than their friends or siblings.

Children from over 100 families were studied by Cassels, a scholar in social and developmental psychology. He found that children who experience such hardships as death or illness in the family, parental divorce, or economic instability are more likely to have a closer relationship with their pets than children who experience less adversity.

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The children with close bonds with their pets also display higher levels of positive behaviors like helping and sharing than their peers.

What type of child-pet relationship is the closest? Cassels was surprised to find that it’s girls with pet dogs. Girls with dogs are the most likely group in the study to choose pets over peers and siblings for emotional support. Cassels notes that young girls can be more verbal than boys, and will engage in conversations with their dogs in a similar way that they turn to journal writing. Dogs are a lot more empathetic than journals, of course!

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The study, which followed the children from the ages of 2-12, utilized a new pet attachment scale, similar to ones that measure human attachment. Cassels says that studying pet-human relationships is just as important as studying human-human relationships, particularly in the area of how pets affect children. He notes that more children in the UK and the US live with pets than with resident fathers.

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To learn more about the study, click HERE.

Pet Obesity Facts Every Dog and Cat Owner Should Know

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Did you know that 54% of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are considered to be overweight or obese? How many extra pounds does your pet need to put on before being at higher risk for potentially serious medical conditions? Not as much as you might think. Just 5 extra pounds for dogs and 2 extra pounds for cats could be harmful to your pet.

What are the most common health concerns faced by overweight dogs and cats?

  • A decreased life expectancy of approximately 2.5 years
  • Chronic pain from osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart and respiratory disease
  • Knee ligament injury
  • Kidney disease

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Some medical problems like diabetes and high blood pressure require daily, long-term medications, and the costs associated with ligament injury could be in the thousands.

Many pet owners do not realize that their pets are overweight. Here are some easy checks you can perform on your dog or cat.

  • Can you feel your pet’s ribs?
  • Is the stomach bulging or tucked in?
  • Is your pet barrel-shaped or can you see a defined waistline?

Be sure to talk to your vet about appropriate diet and exercise solutions if your pet is overweight.


Easy “Pupsicle” Treats for Your Dog


With temperatures rising into the 90s–and beyond–this summer, make sure your dog stays cool and hydrated with some yummy frozen pupsicle treats. Here are a few super-easy recipes you can whip up in a breeze for your best friend. Why should humans have all the fun?

Peanut Butter Banana Pupsicles

Combine 5 oz. plain yogurt, ½ banana, and 2 tbs. peanut butter in a blender. Puree until smooth and pour into an ice cube tray. Insert a pretzel stick in the center of each and freeze 1-2 hours.


Superfood Pupsicles

Combine 1 mashed banana, 1 container plain lowfat yogurt, fresh blueberries, and 2 tbs. peanut butter. Place in ice cube trays and freeze for 3 hours.


Frozen Meatball Pupsicles

Combine 2 cups minced cooked chicken, ¾ cup plain lowfat yogurt, 1 mashed cooked carrot, a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley, and 3 tbs. olive oil. Put in ice cube tray or drop onto lined baking sheet and freeze.

Fruity Pupsicles

Combine 15 chunks of watermelon, 1 banana, and 1 tsp. honey in a blender. Mix until smooth and pour into ice cube trays. Freeze for 2 hours.



Pets and Apartments


Over 70% of pet owners live in rental housing.  What are some of the special concerns of pet owners who rent apartments? surveyed people who live in apartments with their pets to find out.  Here are some of the more interesting findings:

Types of pets owned by apartment dwellers

  • Cats  62%
  • Dogs  58%
  • Birds  7%
  • Reptiles  4%
  • Other  16%


Pet-related apartment problems

  • Hid a pet from the landlord  23%
  • Neighbor complained about the pet  15%
  • Moved because pet was unhappy in apartment  12%
  • Lost security deposit because of pet  10%

Apartment hunting and pets

  • Had a hard time finding a pet-friendly rental  83%
  • Lost out on an apartment because of no-pet policy  56%
  • Gave up a pet because of no-pet policy  21%
  • Landlord asked for pet interview before renting  14%

For tips on handling some of the challenges that go with living with pets in rental housing, check out this great advice from the Humane Society of the U.S.



Adopt a Pet on Clear the Shelters Day

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Thinking about adopting a new dog or cat?  Saturday August 15th is Clear the Shelters Day.  Animal shelters all across the U.S. are participating in this event, with the goal of finding permanent homes for as many pets as they can.

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Hundreds of shelters around the country are reducing adoption fees for this one-day event.  Clear the Shelters Day is sponsored by NBC and Telemundo television stations.  Check out their website for a map of participating shelters near you.

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Here in the San Diego area, friend of FACE Dagmar Midcap, a meteorologist on the local NBC station, is helping to spread the word about Clear the Shelters Day.  Animal shelters all across San Diego County will be participating.


Now is the perfect time to adopt your new best friend!