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The Most Pet Friendly Cities

With National Homeless Animals Day approaching and over 90.5 million U.S. pet-owning households having spent $123.6 billion last year on their animal companions, the personal finance website WalletHub today released an in-depth report on 2022’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

In order to determine where Americans’ animal companions can enjoy the best quality of life without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the creature-friendliness of the 100 largest cities across 23 key metrics. The data set ranges from minimum pet-care provider rate per visit to pet businesses per capita to walkability.
 

Most Pet-Friendly Cities Least Pet-Friendly Cities
1. Scottsdale, AZ 91. Fresno, CA
2. Tampa, FL 92. Fremont, CA
3. Portland, OR 93. Chandler, AZ
4. St. Louis, MO 94. Chula Vista, CA
5. Cincinnati, OH 95. Detroit, MI
6. St. Petersburg, FL 96. Chicago, IL
7. Lexington-Fayette, KY 97. New York, NY
8. Las Vegas, NV 98. Honolulu, HI
9. Colorado Springs, CO 99. Baltimore, MD
10. Raleigh, NC 100. Santa Ana, CA

 
Key Stats

  • Columbus, Ohio, has the lowest average veterinary care costs (annual exam), $38.42, which is 2.5 times lower than in Plano, Texas, the city with the highest at $97.65. 
     
  • Miami has the most veterinarians (per square root of the population), 0.3446, which is 90.7 times more than in Newark, New Jersey, the city with the fewest at 0.0038.  
     
  • Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana, have the lowest monthly dog-insurance premium, $39.75, which is 2.5 times lower than in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, the cities with the highest at $97.46.  
     
  • Reno, Nevada, has the most pet businesses (per square root of the population), 0.4791, which is 9.4 times more than in Newark, New Jersey, the city with the fewest at 0.0509.


To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit: 
https://wallethub.com/edu/most-pet-friendly-cities/5562




Do Dogs Return the Favor After Strangers Feed Them?

A new study reveals that dogs don't tend to offer food back to humans when given the chance.  Check out this article from Smithsonian Magazine:

We show our love to our canine pets with treats and train them with goodies as motivation. However close the bond is between humans and dogs, though, food sharing may just be a one-way street: Dogs don’t seem to pay back the hand that feeds them.

That lack of reciprocated food sharing in dogs is the key finding of a study published today in PLOS One by dog researcher Jim McGetrick and his team. The comparative psychologist at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria found that in lab experiments, dogs who received treats by humans pushing a button didn’t then return the favor by pushing the same button so humans gained a treat in kind.

Previous studies have observed that dogs repay other generous dogs with food tit-for-tat, and take the initiative to rescue distressed humans from entrapment. McGetrick says his study is the first to look at reciprocity between humans and dogs. His team wondered whether fed dogs would reward food to beneficent humans.

To probe this question, the researchers trained 37 pet dogs to press a button for food from a dispenser. These dogs came from over ten different breeds and mixes, with diverse idiosyncrasies to match. Some dogs were gentle, laying their paws delicately on the button and nibbling their reward. Other dogs mauled the button and chewed on the box that enclosed it. One dog only pressed the button with its hind leg. “The personalities definitely varied hugely,” says McGetrick.

Once each dog associated the button with food, the button was placed in an adjacent room with a human stranger inside. The dog would remain in a different room with the food dispenser. A wire mesh fence separated the two rooms—through which the dog could observe the human controlling the coveted button. A helpful human would press the button and the dog would receive food. An unhelpful human would steel his or her heart against the dog’s pleading eyes—unbeknownst to the dog, the volunteer usually felt terrible—and press a decoy button that didn’t release any food from the dispenser.

“When they were with the unhelpful human, it surprised me how big of a deal it was for them when they didn't get food in a situation where they expected to get food,” says McGetrick. These dogs whined and made a fuss. “It could look effectively like throwing a tantrum.”

The researchers then reversed the situations. The working button was transferred to the room with the dog, and the food dispenser—with chocolate candy replacing the kibble—was relocated to the human’s room. This time, the dogs weren’t nearly so eager to press the button in their room when the food ended up with the human next door. Moreover, when it came to reciprocating the helpful human who had previously fed the dog via the button or the unhelpful one who had refused, the dogs didn’t seem to distinguish between the two. The dogs pushed the button equally for both groups.

Moreover, after each button-pressing experiment, the dogs and humans had the chance to interact in the flesh. The dogs didn’t seem to hold the volunteers’ unhelpfulness against them. They approached the volunteers equally, whether the humans had been helpful or not.

“[The result] could indicate that dogs might not necessarily … relate to something like gratitude,” says McGetrick. Or, “they don't necessarily strongly regard or consider others in their actions” in an attentionally blind kind of way, he adds. But “I would highlight that this was a very specific experimental context.”

Dog Watching Treat Dispenser
A dog waits for a human to press the button and give it a treat. Lisa Poncet, the University of Caen Normandy
 

The findings don’t necessarily rule out reciprocity by dogs with humans, says McGetrick. The experimental outcome could be specific to the conditions that the researchers used, such as the dogs’ unfamiliarity with the humans. Perhaps the dogs would be more helpful in kind to their original owners. Or, button-pushing was too much of a mental leap for the dogs to associate with returning the favor. He suspects that the dogs may go by a more straightforward rule: push the button only when the dispenser is in their room. More likely, he speculates, dogs simply don’t see themselves as food providers to humans.

More research is needed to rule out all the possibilities that could explain why the dogs didn’t reciprocate with food, says Angie Johnston, a psychology researcher at Boston College who didn’t participate in the research. A good starting point would be to look at dogs who have received more training, such as military and service dogs. If even trained dogs don’t keep score, it would imply dogs in general are hopeless at tracking this information. But if they reciprocate, then training might make all the difference, allowing any canine to pay more attention to the humans they work with.

“Knowing about the dog-human interaction is important for things like training service dogs and assistance dogs,” says Johnston. “Anytime we know more about the human-dog connection and where it came from and how it evolved, that can inform our training processes with those populations.”

 

The Ten Most Popular Dog Breeds on TikTok

Do you ever wonder which dog breeds are the most popular on TikTok? We were curious. Puppy Hero recently revealed the top ten dog breeds on TikToc and generously shared their results with us.

Dogs are extremely popular on the social media app TikTok, where the hashtag ‘#dog’ has amassed 244.8 billion views. Interested in which breeds are the most popular on TikTok, PuppyHero.com analysed 218 dog breeds to see which ones generated the most views. 

The 10 most popular dog breeds on TikTok

Rank

Dog Breed

Hashtag

Views (Billion)

1

Golden Retriever

#goldenretriever

21.2 

2

German Shepherd Dog

#germanshepherd

9.1 

3

Rottweiler

#Rottweiler

8.0 

4

Pug

#pug

6.7 

5

French Bulldog

#frenchbulldog

5.4

6

Labrador Retriever

#labrador

5.3 

7

Bulldog

#bulldog

5.2 

8

Pomeranian

#pomeranian

5.0 

9

Poodle

#poodle

3.4 

10

Border Collie

#bordercollie

2.9 

All 218 dog breeds analyzed can be found here.

#1 Golden Retriever 

The Golden Retriever is the most popular breed on TikTok, with the hashtag #goldenretriever gathering a whopping 21.2 billion views. It’s not hard to see why this dog is number one, golden retrievers have a friendly and intelligent disposition, which makes them perfect family pets and excellent guide dogs. 

#2 German Shepherd

German Shepherds,  as also known as Alsatian dogs, are the second most popular dog breed on TikTok, with the hashtag #germanshepherd gaining 9.1 billion views. This dog breed is favoured by police units around the world for its loyal and courageous temperament. With  its wolf-like appearance, this breed is certainly striking. 

#3 Rottweiler 

Rottweilers are the third most popular dog breed, with the hashtag #Rottweiler gaining 8 billion views on TikTok. Originally bred for herding, Rottweilers are now often used as guard dogs  due to their sturdy frame and fearless temperament. 

Credit: Shutterstock/ Hollysdogs

Credit: Shutterstock/Happy Monkey

Methodology:

1: PuppyHero.com were interested in which dog breeds are most likely to become TikTok famous.

2: PuppyHero.com collated a seedlist of 222 recognized dog breeds from The Kennel Club

3: PuppyHero.com then searched TikTok using the relevant hashtag per breed. 

4: The seedlist was reduced to 218, as the sub-breeds of long haired and smooth face Pyrenean Sheepdog were lumped into ‘Pyrenean Sheepdog’ and all sizes of Mexican Hairless dogs lumped into ‘Mexican Hairless dog’ due to lack of data.

5:The views per hashtag were then gathered and ranked. 

6: This data was collected on the 28th of April 2022 and is accurate as of then. 


Dogs May Mourn the Loss of Other Household Pets

Smithsonian Magazine offers a fascinating article on how dogs grieve. It helps to remind us of the "humanity" in all beings. The big takeaway is that grieving canines ate less, slept more, and sought more attention from their human companions after the death of a furry friend, according to a survey.

According to a survey, researchers found nearly 90 percent of dogs that experienced the death of another canine companion living in the same house showed signs of grief. In the months following their buddy's death, dogs were less playful and more fearful. They also had reduced appetites and sought more attention from their owners, reports Clare Wilson for New Scientist.

Signs of mourning were stronger in dogs that had an amicable relationship and shared food with the deceased, reports the Guardian's Nicola Davis. The study was published last week in Scientific Reports.

"Dogs are highly emotional animals who develop very close bonds with the members of the familiar group. This means that they may be highly distressed if one of them dies, and efforts should be made to help them cope with this distress," says study author Federica Pirrone, an animal behavior expert at the University of Milan, told the Guardian.

Other animals that experience grief include dolphins, great apes, elephants, and birds. These species have been observed taking part in rituals around death and appear to mourn by touching and investigating the deceased individual's corpse, the researchers write in the study. For example, mother elephants will stand guard over their still-born baby for days. They will also hang their head and ears, moving slowly and quietly in a depressed-like manner.

Despite reports of owners observing their pets grieiving, it wasn't documented or studied in domesticated dogs until recently. For the study, researchers surveyed 426 adults who had at least two dogs and had experienced the loss of one of their dogs, per New Scientist. The study participants were asked to complete an online questionnaire about their surviving dog's behaviors and emotions after their companion's death, the Guardian reports. The participants were also asked about their own shifts in behavior and emotions.

About 86 percent of owners noted their surviving dogs had shown changes in their behavior after the death of a companion and the changes lasted between two to six months, reports Becky Ferreira for Vice. The living dogs were reported to play less, eat less, sleep more, and seek more attention from their owners. However, pets of owners who were affected by the pet's death more greatly were more badly affected by the event and suggest that they could be reacting to their human's behavior too, New Scientist reports.

 

"Dogs have become extremely sensitive to human communicative gestures and facial expressions," says Pirrone to New Scientist. "A caregiver and a dog develop an emotional connection."

While the dogs may behave this way because they have lost an attachment figure who provided safety and security, the team can still not tell if the canines were responding to the death or the loss of an affiliate, Pirrone explained to the Guardian. Because the research relies on self-reported data, the study may have some limitations influenced by how owners interpreted their dogs' behaviors, says social anthropologist Samantha Hurn from the University of Exeter, who was not involved with the study. 

Pirrone and her team cross-referenced the reports to counteract any inconsistencies in the data and used statistical analysis to see if owners were really witnessing their pets in a grief-like state, Vice reports. Pirrone tells the Guardian that the attachment levels between the owner and the dog did not appear to affect results, so the data was not skewed by their owners projecting grief onto their pets.

The team concludes that while the data suggests that pets experience grief, more research is needed to confirm grief and mourning behaviors in dogs further, Vice reports.