Clear the Shelters Day is Saturday, August 19th!

It’s coming…the annual event known as Clear the Shelters Day is happening this Saturday, August 19th at animal shelters around the U.S.  Clear the Shelters is an event sponsored by local NBC and Telemundo television stations around the country to encourage shelter pet adoptions.  Many shelters will waive adoption fees on Saturday, so it’s the perfect time to open your heart to a shelter pet in need of a loving forever home.

Check out this map on the Clear the Shelters website to find a participating shelter in your community.  And here’s a cute video from sponsor VIP Pet Care to get you in the mood!

 

Happy International Cat Day!

Today is International Cat Day, the purrfect time to celebrate our love of cats.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare started this tradition back in 2002. The staff at Time/Life have put together a collection of 25 iconic cat photographs from their archives.  Be sure to check them out HERE and post a picture of your classic cat on social media with the hashtag #InternationalCatDay!

Image:  Sharon Adams, 10, playing in a snow drift as her cat maintains its comfortable perch atop her head. (Photo by A. Y. Owen/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

 

Key Findings from 2017 Pet Population and Ownership Trends Report

Did you know that 55% of all American households have pets?  Are you interested in learning about the latest dog, cat, and other companion animal trends?  The website reseachandmarkets.com has recently announced the publication of the market research report Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S.: Dogs, Cats, and other Pets (2nd Edition).  The report is available for purchase, but we’ve taken a sneak peek at some of the more thought-provoking findings, sure to be of interest to all pet parents and animal lovers!

Dogs

  • Dog ownership has risen 29% in the past decade
  • Both millennials and baby boomers are driving the growth in dog ownership
  • Number of unmarried and childless dog owners is growing
  • Half of U.S. dog owners live in the 25 largest metropolitan areas of the country
  • Most pet owners favor smaller dogs but boomers tend to prefer larger dogs

Cats

  • 59 million Americans own cats
  • Cat owners are more likely to add other cats to the household than other kinds of animals
  • Cat ownership among seniors has risen 43% in the past decade
  • Number of Hispanic cat owners has been markedly increasing
  • Females tend to drive growth in cat ownership numbers

Other Pets

  • 15 million households have non-canine/non-feline pets (23% of all pet owners)
  • There are 86 million “other” pets in the U.S.
  • Latinos are most likely to have pet birds
  • The presence of children in the household is a deciding factor in “other” pet ownership
  • 73% of fish owners are under the age of 50
  • 47% of reptile owners are millennials

Check out the Research and Markets website for even more pet ownership facts and figures.

 

4th of July Pet Safety Tips

The July 4th holiday is coming soon!  Are you prepared to keep your patriotic pets healthy and happy while you celebrate with backyard barbecues and fireworks displays?  Here’s a great infographic with some key reminders to help keep your dogs and cats safe during the 4th of July…and all summer long.  There’s still time to talk to your vet about microchipping and ways to relieve your pet’s anxiety before the fireworks start!

 

Scientists Investigate Autism Spectrum Disorder in Dogs

A recent article posted on the Slate website asks an intriguing question:  Do dogs get autism?  Is it possible that dogs and other animals could have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) just like people?  Scientists say that an analysis of certain canine behaviors could point to a diagnosis of autism in dogs.

While there is no simple test to definitively diagnose autism, researchers study two important factors when looking at autism in humans:  sociability and repetitive, intense behaviors called “stereotypies.”  Stereotypies in dogs can include things like tail-chasing, chewing, and flank-licking.

The article points to a study of the behavior of Bull Terriers, which found that roughly half of 300 dogs studied exhibited autistic-type behaviors.  Spinning/tail chasing was the most predominant behavior, but other compulsive behaviors were also observed.  A majority of the tail chasers were male and tended to exhibit other types of fixations.  The researchers realized that both the dogs’ gender and behaviors had strong parallels to autism in humans.

Seeking more scientific evidence to back up their observations, the researchers also tested a group of Bull Terriers for two types of blood chemicals, which are found at elevated levels in humans with autism.  The dogs also had high levels of these same chemicals.  The findings were published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

What’s the next step to definitively determine the existence of autism in dogs?  Work is currently underway to find specific areas of the canine genome that would point to a genetic basis for canine autism.  The article notes that famed animal behaviorist Temple Grandin, who is herself autistic, says that there are parallels between “animal genius” and “autistic genius”—interesting food for thought for owners of exceptional pets!