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Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's A Dog's World

According to recent surveys, cats are the most common pet in the US, followed by dogs and then ferrets. I know that my readership is international, but I suspect that there would be similar proportions of dogs and cats in other countries. There are around 75 million pet dogs in the US and about 88 million pet cats. Given these numbers, I find my recent poll results very interesting, even though I know that this is very unscientific polling. Here's how everyone responded to the question "if you could have any pet you wanted, what kind would it be?"

And 0% for small mammals or fish.

Another interesting fact is that though there are more cats in the US, yet they are seen far less frequently than dogs by vets. In my own practice I would estimate that I see about 2/3 dogs and 1/3 cats, with a few exotics here and there. In my own family I have two dogs and three cats, yet I consider myself a "dog person". Guess there are probably many of you with the same mindset!

As a vet I personally prefer to work on dogs than cats. Cats are more likely to be skittish or aggressive in an exam, and are harder to handle. With dogs you pretty much have to isolate the mouth and you're safe. With cats you have the teeth, four sets of claws, and an extremely flexible body...much harder to isolate the dangerous parts! There are many vets who specialize in cats, and have cat-only practices. I admire their dedication, but could never do that. I often joke that I'm going to open the first dog-only veterinary practice.

Tomorrow I'm going to start a poll and discussion on a controversial topic, so stay tuned....