October 4. It’s World Pet Day! Now while I like to think that we canines are KINGS of the pet universe, there are lots of other species out there in the world of pets. When we use the word “pet” we are talking about those creatures that live with humans for the purpose of companionship or friendship and not those animals used as working animals or livestock. Although I am sure there ARE some pet milking cows out there!
The statistics on pets are tricky – and pet ownership varies around the world. For example, in the US, the overall population of cats is higher than dogs – but more households own dogs. That’s because in those households with cats, there are probably more than one. If we looked at the overall NUMBER of type of pets, fish would win hands down. BUT fish ownership is not nearly as high as dog and cat ownership. Confused? That’s because you can own LOTS of fish – dozens and dozens. If you did that with dogs – you would have a serious mental health problem – or you would be called a puppy mill. Actually both conditions are serious.
In Europe, they say the pet statistics are harder to define – due to the number of countries. If we look at cats and dogs, the UK, Poland and Italy have higher NUMBERS of cats than dogs like the US– while Germany is closer to 50-50. Paxton was VERY disappointed to see that Switzerland has LOTS more cats than dogs. LOTS.
In China, despite the HUGE human population, pet ownership is considerably lower than in the North America and Europe. On the other hand, Japan has LOTS of cats and dogs.
The pet population in Africa is said to be difficult to calculate because it is hard to survey many of the countries. The stats for Australia are like those of the US.
Most of the surveys about pets tend to focus on dogs and cats – but there are many other creatures that own people. We mentioned fish, but there are lots of others – including birds, small mammals like rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, and guinea pigs and reptiles – snakes, lizards and turtles. People are also owned by spiders – like tarantulas and even hermit crabs. I just don’t GET that. But whatever works for you. I just wonder if your pet tarantula gets excited to see you when you get home from work…
There are lots of health benefits to owning a pet. For example, kids who grow up with pets are less likely to develop related allergies.
Pets are great for socialization. For example, when you walk us in the park, we are great ice breakers. Well. Paxton is. If people stop to ask about us PONs, Frodo will likely bark- resulting in my human’s explanation about how he likes to say hello. We don’t always break the ice. We probably cause it to form. Well – he does. I’m more of a social butterfly. But just the same, pet owners do communicate with other pet owners – and dog clubs are an example of that too.
Pets are also said to lower human blood pressure. OK. Our house it the exception to that rule too. Anyway, in MOST cases pets ARE good for your physical health. They get you out walking – they give you exercise – all of which is good for you! Unless they drag you down the driveway. And you fall. And break a hip… But honestly, studies have shown that those people owned by pets have better recovery after a heart attack that non-pet owners.
Pets also make people FEEL good. They can reduce depression. Pets give unconditional love so we make people happy.
So today, go out and celebrate us pets. Thank us for all the benefits some of us give you. And don’t forget to pet your pet. That is – unless you own fish.
© Linda Wozniak