pet studiesHalf of all American households include pets. Considering companion animals have been part of our lives since the hunter-gatherer days, it makes sense that we would devote considerable time and resources to studying them.

Indeed, scientists are constantly looking for new ways to learn about our four-legged friends, and pet owners are just as eager to find out what makes their pets tick! By taking a look at  some of the new studies on pets, we can gain considerable insights into our furry best pals.

New Studies on Pets

Calling all science nerds! These new studies on pets reveal much about our beloved companions.

  • Your dog really does understand what you say, at least somewhat. Researchers in Hungary scanned the brains of dogs while they listened to their handlers and found that they process words and inflection using the left and right hemispheres of their brain respectively, just like humans. The dogs in the study also registered praise only when the words matched the intonation (random words spoken in a positive voice did not register as praise).
  • A new study out of Oregon State University has discovered that your cat actually likes you. When given the choice between food and contact with humans, the cats overwhelmingly chose human interaction.
  • Your dog should sleep in your room, but not on your bed. According to recent studies that tracked the sleep of dog owners, it was found that people tend to sleep better when their dog is in the room with them; however, a dog on the bed causes sleep disturbances.
  • Recent analysis of mitochondrial DNA from 200 ancient feline remains shows that cats were first associated with farmers in the Fertile Crescent (an area spanning part of Western Asia and the Nile Valley). They then spread around the world via trading ships.
  • Feeding your dog less may increase their lifespan. Obesity is an epidemic among American pets, but researchers have found that exercise is only half the solution. Studies show that by simply feeding a dog less, you can increase their lifespan by 25%.
  • Cats really are more independent than dogs, according to a study in the Journal of Comparative Psychology. In the study, both dogs and cats were tasked with solving a puzzle in the presence of humans. Dogs looked to the humans for help with the difficult task, while the cats kept trying to solve the puzzle by themselves.

Have you read about any new or interesting pet-related research? We’d love to hear about it!

The Oakland Veterinary Referral Services staff loves pets and we are here around the clock and when you need us.