The Full Wiki

Pet: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Pet

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A cat and dog, the two most popular animals kept as pets.

A pet is an animal kept for companionship and enjoyment or a household animal, as opposed to livestock, laboratory animals, working animals or sport animals, which are kept for economic reasons. The most popular pets are noted for their loyal or playful characteristics, for their attractive appearance, or for their song. Pets also generally seem to provide their owners with non-trivial health benefits;[1] keeping pets has been shown to help relieve stress to those who like having animals around. There is now a medically-approved class of "therapy animals," mostly dogs, that are brought to visit confined humans. Walking a dog can provide both the owner and the dog with exercise, fresh air, and social interaction.


Local restrictions

Many cities and towns have local ordinances limiting the number of pets a person may have, and may also restrict or forbid certain pets, such as exotics. Certain breeds of dog, such as pit bulls and rottweilers, are banned in some places. Dog/other canid/wolf mixes are also banned in some places.

In many locations, animals that are considered pets by their owners but are legally classified as livestock, including horses, pigs, camelids, and fowl may be banned from being kept within the city limits or restricted to property of a certain larger size.

The cities of Berkeley, California and Boulder, Colorado have passed laws stating that people who have pets do not "own" them; rather, they are the pet's "guardian."[citation needed]

Condominium associations and rental properties often ban all animals or animals that cannot be confined to a cage or aquarium because of the smells and noise associated with them.

Pet popularity

Around 63 percent of all U.S. households (71.1 million) are pet owners, and more than half of these households have more than one animal.[2] The two most popular pets in most Western countries have been cats and dogs. In the United States, a 2007-2008 survey showed that dog-owning households outnumbered those owning cats, but that the total number of pet cats was higher than that of dogs.[3] Combined reptiles are the next popular followed by birds then horses.

Choice of a pet

The average cost of a dog over its lifetime is estimated at about £20,000 (USD33,152).[4] People most commonly get pets for companionship, to protect a home or property, or because of the beauty of the animals.[5] The most common reasons for not owning a pet are lack of time, lack of suitable housing, and lack of ability to care for the pet when traveling.[5]

United States

According to the 2007-2008 Pet Owners survey:[6]

Animal Number of U.S. households
that own a pet (millions)
Total number of pets owned
in the U.S. (millions)
Bird 5.3 15.0
Cat 38.2 93.6
Dog 45.6 77.5
Equine 3.9 13.3
Freshwater fish 13.3 171.7
Saltwater fish 0.7 11.2
Reptile 4.7 13.6
Small animal 5.3 15.9


In Canada the latest survey done by Colin Siren of Ipsos Reid it is estimated that there are 7.9 million cats and 5.9 million dogs in Canada. The survey also shows that 35% of Canadian households have a dog, while 38% have a cat, which is consistent with other surveys conducted around the world.[7]

United Kingdom

A 2007 survey by the University of Bristol found that 26% of UK households owned cats and 31% owned dogs, estimating total domestic populations of approximately 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs in 2006.[8] 47.2% of households with a cat had at least one person educated to degree level, compared with 38.4% of homes with dogs.[9]


Animal protection advocates call attention to pet overpopulation in the United States. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the country and many more are confined to cages in shelters. This situation is created by nonneutered animals (spayed/castrated) reproducing and people intentionally breeding animals. A particularly problematic combination of economic hardship combined with a love of animals contributes to this problem in parts of the rural United States.[10] In an average year, a fertile cat can produce three litters of kittens, with up to 4 to 6 kittens in each litter. Based on these numbers, one female cat and her offspring could produce up to 420,000 cats over a seven year period if not spayed or neutered. There are also major overpopulation problems with other pet species, such as birds and rabbits. Local humane societies, SPCAs, and other animal protection organizations urge people to neuter their pets and to adopt animals from animal shelters instead of purchasing them from breeders or pet stores.

Effects on pets' health

Keeping animals as pets may become detrimental to their health if certain requirements are not kept. An important issue is the inappropriate feeding, which may produce clinical effects (like the consumption of chocolate by dogs).[11] Passive smoking is another recurring problem, aggravated by the fact that fur animals groom themselves, which means taking in extra harmful substances that have landed on their fur, not just those inhaled.

Effects of pets on their caregiver's health

Health benefits

Pets have the ability to stimulate their caregivers, in particular the elderly, giving people someone to take care of, someone to exercise with, and someone to help them heal from a physically or psychologically troubled past.[12] Having a pet may help people achieve health goals, such as lowered blood pressure, or mental goals, such as decreased stress.[13][14][15][16][17][18] There appears to be evidence that having a pet can help a person lead a longer, healthier life. In a study of 92 people hospitalized for coronary ailments, within a year 11 of the 29 without pets had died, compared to only 3 of the 52 who had pets.[12] A recent study concluded that owning a pet can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 2% and that pets are better than medication in reducing blood pressure.[citation needed] Owning a pet can also prolong survival of a heart attack.[19] Dogs which are trained to be guide dogs can help people with disabilities.

Pets in long-term care institutions

Even pet owners residing in a long-term care facility, such as a hospice or nursing home, experience health benefits from pets. Pets for nursing homes are chosen based on the size of the pet, the amount of care that the breed needs, and the population and size of the care institution.[12] Appropriate pets go through a screening process and, if it is a dog, additional training programs to become a therapy dog.[20]

Different pets require varying amounts of attention and care; for example, cats have lower maintenance requirements than dogs.[21]

Health risks

Health risks that are associated with pets include:

  • Aggravation of allergies and asthma caused by dander and fur or feathers
  • Falling injuries. Tripping over pets, especially dogs, causes more than 86,000 falls serious enough to prompt a trip to the emergency room each year in the United States.[22] Among elderly and disabled people, these falls have resulted in life-threatening injuries and broken bones.
  • Injuries, maulings and sometimes deaths caused by pet bites and attacks
  • Disease and/or parasites due to animal hygiene problems or lack of appropriate treatment (faeces and urine)
  • Stress caused by behaviour of animals
  • Fear or distress from animal presence or behaviour
  • Spread of diseases like the fatal rabies when not properly taken care of.

Common types

While many people have kept many different species of animals in captivity over the course of human history, only a relative few have been kept long enough to be considered domesticated. Other types of animals, notably monkeys, have never been domesticated but are still commonly sold and kept as pets. There are also inanimate objects that have been kept as "pets", either as a form of game, or humorously.



Domesticated pets are the most common types of pet. They have consistently been kept in captivity over a long enough period of time that they exhibit marked differences in behavior and appearance from their wild relatives.


A pet rabbit.

Bird species


Wild animals are often kept as pets. The term wild in this context specifically applies to any species of animal which has not undergone a fundamental change in behavior to facilitate a close co-existence with humans. Some species listed here may have been bred in captivity for a considerable length of time, but are still not recognized as domesticated. Many of these pets, like insects and fish, are kept as a hobby, rather than for companionship.

Exotic Mammals





Some of the common freshwater aquarium fishes. For more species of freshwater fishes, please see the list of freshwater aquarium fish species.

Some of the common marine aquarium fishes. For more species of saltwater fishes, please see the list of marine aquarium fish species.


The Caribbean hermit crab is one example of a pet arthropod.



See also


  1. ^ "The Health Benefits of Pets". US Government National Institute of Health. Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  2. ^ July 2008, 71 Million Pet Owners And 382 Million Pets Equal A $43 Billion Industry That Shows No Signs Of Slowing, IBISWorld
  3. ^ "Household Pet Ownership: 2001". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  4. ^ Dogs cost £20,000 over a lifetime, press release, Churchill Insurance, 07/03/2005
  5. ^ a b Leslie, Be; Meek, Ah; Kawash, Gf; Mckeown, Db (April 1994). "An epidemiological investigation of pet ownership in Ontario" (Free full text). The Canadian veterinary journal. La revue veterinaire canadienne 35 (4): 218–22. ISSN 0008-5286. PMID 8076276.& PMC 1686751. 
  6. ^ "Industry Statistics & Trends". American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  7. ^ "Latest Pet Population Figures Released" (PDF). Canadian Animal Health Institute. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  8. ^ "UK domestic cat and dog population larger than thought". University of Bristol. 6 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "More cat owners 'have degrees' than dog-lovers". BBC News Online. 6 February 2010. 
  10. ^ Eckholm, Erik (2007-06-30). "For Poor Families, an Added Burden of Too Many Pets". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  11. ^ "Animal Poison Control FAQ: Why is chocolate bad for dogs?". ASPCA. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  12. ^ a b c Whiteley, Ellen H. (1986). "The Healing Power of Pets". 258. Saturday Evening Post. pp. 2–102. Retrieved 2006-11-05.  Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. Polk Library, UW Oshkosh
  13. ^ Asp, Karen (2005). "Volunteer Pets". Prevention 57 (4): 176–78. Retrieved 2006-11-05.  Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. Polk Library, UW Oshkosh
  14. ^ Allen, K; Shykoff, Be; Izzo, Jl, Jr (1 October 2001). "Pet ownership, but not ace inhibitor therapy, blunts home blood pressure responses to mental stress." (Free full text). Hypertension 38 (4): 815–20. ISSN 0194-911X. PMID 11641292. 
  15. ^ Kingwell, Ba; Lomdahl, A; Anderson, Wp (October 2001). "Presence of a pet dog and human cardiovascular responses to mild mental stress.". Clinical autonomic research 11 (5): 313–7. doi:10.1007/BF02332977. ISSN 0959-9851. PMID 11758798. 
  16. ^ Wilson, Cc (October 1987). "Physiological responses of college students to a pet.". The Journal of nervous and mental disease 175 (10): 606–12. doi:10.1097/00005053-198710000-00005. ISSN 0022-3018. PMID 3655768. 
  17. ^ Koivusilta, Leena K. (2006). "To Have or Not To Have a Pet for Better Health?". PLoS ONE 1: e109. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000109. 
  18. ^ Vormbrock, Jk; Grossberg, Jm (October 1988). "Cardiovascular effects of human-pet dog interactions.". Journal of behavioral medicine 11 (5): 509–17. doi:10.1007/BF00844843. ISSN 0160-7715. PMID 3236382. 
  19. ^ "25 Tricks to Look younger". AOL Health. August 2009. Retrieved August 2009. 
  20. ^ Huculak, Chad (4 October 2006). "Super Furry Animals". Edmonton: p. W7. . LexisNexis. Polk Library, UW Oshkosh. 5 Nov. 2006.
  21. ^ Bruck, Laura (1996). "Today's Ancillaries, Part 2: Art, music and pet therapy". Nursing Homes: Long Term Care Management 45 (7): 36. Retrieved 2006-11-05.  Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. Polk Library, UW Oshkosh.
  22. ^ "In the Home, a Four-Legged Tripwire". The New York Times. 27 March 2009. 

External links

Simple English

The polymer used for plastic bottles, clothes and other things is at Polyethylene terephtalate

A pet is a domesticated animal that lives with people, but is not forced to work and is not eaten, in most instances. In most cases, a pet is kept to entertain people or for companionship. Some pets such as dogs and cats are placed in an animal shelter if there is no one willing to take care of it. If no one adopts it or the pet is too old/sick, the pet may be killed.

Dogs, cats, fish, birds are the most common pets in North America. Horses, elephants, oxen, and donkeys are usually made to work, so they are not usually called pets. Some dogs also do work for people, and it was once common for some birds (like falcons and carrier pigeons) to work for humans.

Rodents are also very popular pets. The most common are guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters (especially Syrians and Dwarfs), mice and rats.

The cap'tchi tribe in Sudan is known for the ritual burning of domesticated animals that are considered too sacred to eat.

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address