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Furry Friends: 1 in 10 Older U.S. Adults Has Adopted a 'Pandemic Pet'

It was bound to happen: As the pandemic wore on, many older Americans couldn't resist the urge to bring home a furry friend.

According to a new poll from the University of Michigan, about 10% of all U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 80 adopted a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021. That number was 16% for people aged 50 to 80 who have a child under 18 at home and 9% for those...

Spring Cleaning Can Sweep Away Allergens From Your Home

If seasonal allergies get you down, try tackling them with a good spring cleaning.

This can not only ease some of those spring symptoms, but also get rid of allergens you've been living with for a while, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

"If you aren't someone who regularly undertakes spring cleaning, consider tackling it this year," said D...

Assistance Dogs in Hospitals? New Study Gives Paws for Thought

Could the paws of assistance dogs be cleaner than the soles of your shoes?

Yes, claims a new study that calls for allowing assistance dogs to accompany their owners in all public places.

To prove their point, Dutch researchers tested the paws of 25 assistance dogs and the soles on the shoes of their owners for two types of bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae and a diarrheal bacter...

Backyard Chicken Coops Pose Threat of 'Viral Spillover' to People

Raising chickens in your backyard -- a popular trend during the COVID-19 pandemic -- holds risks that can come home to roost in an unwelcome way.

It's already well known that poultry can spread the salmonella bacteria to human handlers. But chickens cooped up in backyards could also be breeding grounds for viruses that pose an even bigger public health threat, according to Sonia Hernandez...

Dogs and Kids Are 'In Sync,' Study Shows

It is an image as heartwarming as any: Young children giggling as the family dog climbs all over them and licks their faces. But new research suggests the bond may be more than playful.

"The great news is that this study suggests dogs are paying a lot of attention to the kids that they live with," said study author Monique Udell, an animal behaviorist and associate professor at Oregon Sta...

New Rabies Prevention Treatment Also Works in Kids: Study

Getting bitten by a dog or wild animal is frightening, especially for kids, but a new study may help relieve some of the worry about catching rabies.

The rabies prevention treatment KEDRAB is safe and effective for patients 17 and younger, a groundbreaking pediatric clinical trial has shown.

The trial included 30 kids with suspected or confirmed rabies exposure who were treated with...

Two Simple Steps Can Help Keep Your Cat From Killing Wildlife

Lisa George's tabby cat, Minnie, has always hunted to a fault.

"Minnie loves to hunt," said George, who lives in Cornwall, England. "More often than not, she will bring her prey home and let it go in the house. We've had birds in the bedroom, rats in the wastepaper bin [which took us three days to catch], rabbits in the utility room."

In an attempt to curb Minnie's taste for chasing...

Very Smart Dogs Learn Words Quickly, Study Shows

Think your dog is smart? New research suggests one way to find out.

Most dogs can't learn words without extensive training, but a few with exceptional abilities learn words without any formal training, researchers report. They learn words simply by playing with their owners.

The team of Hungarian researchers investigated how quickly two of these talented pooches could learn new word...

First People in the Americas Probably Brought Their Dogs

The relationship between humans and man's best friend is an enduring one.

New research suggests that not only did dog domestication likely happen sometime before 23,000 years ago, but the first people to enter the Americas more than 15,000 years ago probably brought their dogs with them.

"When and where have long been questions in dog domestication research, but here we also explore...

Another Reason Why Cats Go Wild for Catnip

You may think that cats crave the plants catnip and silver vine because it makes them feel euphoric, and that's true.

Yet new research indicates felines also use the plants for another key reason: to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Silver vine, a catnip alternative, grows in China and Japan. Researchers began by identifying that one active ingredient in both plants, called nepetalactol...

The Family Cat Could Be Good Medicine for Kids With Autism

Cats have a long history of boosting people's moods and brightening their days. And that's probably true for kids on the autism spectrum as well, new research shows.

The small study suggests that adopting a shelter cat may help reduce separation anxiety and improve empathy in kids with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

"Cats, and companion animals in general, offer uncond...

Pet Food Recall Expands After 70 Dogs Die From Mold Toxin

There's an expanded nationwide recall of Sportmix pet food products underway, after links were found between a mold-borne toxin in the food and the deaths of 70 dogs, with 80 other dogs being sickened, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday.

The announcement expands upon a recall first issued on Dec. 30 by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. At the time, the company said that at le...

Cancer Diagnosis Might Be Wrong for Many English Bulldogs

New research on illness in English bulldogs has discovered a previously unknown genetic health condition -- and could save the lives of some beloved family pets.

Researchers were attempting to better understand B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (BCLL), a common cancer, when they uncovered a non-cancerous syndrome called polyclonal B-cell lymphocytosis. This benign condition has many sim...

Roll Over, Fido. You're Hogging the Bed

Forget buying a dog bed. New research shows that nearly half of pet parents say their pooches co-sleep in their owner's bed.

More than 1,000 Australian dog owners participated in the study conducted by Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y.

About 49% of participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 78, said their dog sleeps in their bed. Another 20% said their dog sleeps in the same bedroom...

Which Animals Are Also Vulnerable to COVID Infection?

Humans, ferrets, cats, civets and dogs are the animals most susceptible to infection with the new coronavirus, researchers say.

The analysis of 10 species also found that ducks, rats, mice, pigs and chickens were less or not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

"Knowing which animals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 helps us prevent building up animal reservoirs from which the coronavi...

Dogs and Their Humans Share Same Diabetes Risk: Study

If your dog has diabetes, there's a better chance that you do, too, or that you may develop the disease.

A new study from researchers in Sweden and the United Kingdom found that owning a dog with diabetes was tied to a 38% increased risk of type 2 diabetes for the dog owner.

The risk of developing diabetes was also 28% higher in dogs with an owner who had type 2 diabetes compared ...

Your Dog May Not Understand Every Word You Say: Study

Does your pooch understand you?

Dogs can learn to understand words -- and to differentiate among those that sound entirely different. But their understanding has some limitations, a new study suggests.

Those furry friends don't recognize the difference between words that differ in only one sound -- "dog" versus "dig," for example, according to researchers who attached elect...

Your Pooch's Personality Can Change With Age

Just like people, dogs' personalities change as they age, a new European study suggests.

"Even though dog personality is a highly popular topic in the literature, there are still gaps about the long-term stability, as well as about the dynamics of personality development," said study first author Borbála Turcsán of the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Lor&aacut...

Want Better Rapport With Your Cat? Bat Your Eyes

When it comes to bonding with your cat, the eyes have it.

Narrowing your eyes -- the so-called "slow blink" -- may make humans more attractive to their feline friends, British researchers suggest. It also may make kitty smile back.

"As someone who has both studied animal behavior and is a cat owner, it's great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this w...

No, Your Dog Doesn't Really Prefer Your Face, Brain Scans Show

You may think your dog is gazing lovingly at your face, but a new study suggests that's not the case.

Hungarian researchers say dogs' brains may not process faces the same way human brains do.

Faces are such an important part of communication for humans and other primates that faces have a special status in the visual system, and areas in the human brain are specifically act...

Dozens of Mammals May Be at Risk for Coronavirus Infection

More than two dozen types of animals that are often in close contact with people may be at risk of coronavirus infection, a new study suggests.

This could threaten some endangered species and harm certain types of farms. In addition, some animals may act as reservoirs for human reinfection, according to the researchers at University College London (UCL).

For the study, the i...

Beware Pet 'Bearded Dragons': CDC Says They Could Carry Salmonella

What next, 2020?

In this year of surprising threats to public health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating a pair of salmonella outbreaks among people who cuddled pet hedgehogs and bearded dragon lizards.

No deaths have been reported in either outbreak but a dozen people have been hospitalized, the CDC said. In both cases, health official...

Pets Helped People Cope During Pandemic Lockdown: Study

Pets helped many people cope with the mental stress of being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic, a new study finds.

It included 6,000 people in Britain who were under lockdown between March 23 and June 1. About 90% had at least one pet.

Of those, more than 90% said their pet helped them cope emotionally with the lockdown and 96% said their pet helped kee...

No 'Last Goodbye' for Cello: 5-Hour Surgery Saved Dog's Life

Risky, groundbreaking surgery saved a 12-year-old dog that had an aggressive tumor and was given only weeks to live, University of Florida veterinarians report.

Cello, a female goldendoodle, had a rare tumor that caused a life-threatening obstruction of her major veins.

"This was one of the most advanced cases of tumor invasion that any of us had seen, and there was a very h...

Kids Often Hit Hard by Death of Beloved Pet, Study Finds

The loss of a pet may be a child's first encounter with death, and new research suggests no one should underestimate the psychological trauma that the loss can bring.

Previous studies have found that kids form deep emotional attachments to their pets and having a furry companion in your youth has been linked to greater empathy, self-esteem and social skills.

"The effects of...

There's No Magic Formula to Slow Your Dog's Aging

Despite the deep desire to help your dog age gracefully and stay mentally sharp, new research suggests that even the best diet and training won't slow the ravages of time for your furry friend.

Just like their human owners, dogs can experience thinking declines and behavioral changes as they age. They might display less curiosity about novel objects and show decline in social responsi...

More Pets May Be Getting COVID-19 Than Realized

There are "substantial" rates of coronavirus infection in dogs and cats whose owners have COVID-19, new research shows.

The researchers also found that, in several cases, infected pets had COVID-like respiratory symptoms at the time their owners were infected.

SARS-CoV-2 has been reported to infect a number of animals, but the risks, susceptibility and symptoms in different ...

COVID-19 May Strike More Cats Than Believed

Cat lovers, be aware: New research suggests that COVID-19 may be more common in cats than previously thought.

Scientists analyzed blood samples taken from 102 cats between January and March 2020 in Wuhan, China, after the world's first known outbreak of COVID-19 began in that city.

Fifteen of the cats had COVID-19 antibodies in their blood, and 11 of those cats had neutraliz...

Pandemic Unleashes 'Startling' Rise in Dog Bites

Lockdowns gave people lots to growl about. Their dogs may have felt a bit more aggressive, too.

A pediatric emergency department in Colorado saw nearly three times as many children with injuries from dog bites this spring compared to last year at the same time, prompting concerns that stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19-related lifestyle changes may be to blame.

In a com...

What Kind of Cat Owner Are You?

If your favorite feline has ever deposited a dead bird or snake on the front porch, your reaction to this "gift" may be far different from your best friend's.

A survey in Britain found that cat owners have wide-ranging views about their pets' hunting habits.

Some -- the "conscientious caretakers" -- are concerned about cats' harm to wildlife and feel some responsibility for ...

Owners Remain Faithful to Flat-Faced Dogs Despite Health Woes

In spite of serious health problems, flat-faced pooches such as bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs win the hearts of their owners, a new study finds.

Respiratory disease, breathing issues, eye disease, spinal disease, heat stroke and pneumonia are among the severe disorders that afflict these dogs. And they live an average of four fewer years than dogs with longer muzzles.


AHA News: Want Your Cat to Stay in Purrrfect Health? Watch Out for Heart Disease

As evidenced by the countless adoring posts, cute videos and laugh-out-loud memes on social media, people love their furry feline friends. But keeping cats happy and healthy isn't always easy.

Indeed, cats suffer many of the same health problems humans do, including heart disease.

"We can roughly break down cat heart diseases into birth defects and acquired heart defects t...

When Tackling a Problem, Pigs and Pooches Have Different Strategy

You might say this is a tale about sheer pig-headedness.

Hungarian researchers wondered how two popular family pets -- dogs and miniature pigs -- would compare when confronted with a problem to solve.

Turns out pigs are more likely than dogs to find a solution on their own, while dogs are more apt to seek out human help.

Miniature versions of the domestic pig ar...

Expert Tips to Help You Beat the Heat

With much of the United States blanketed by a heat wave this week, the American Red Cross offers some survival tips.

Each year, extreme heat kills more than 600 people in the United States. And many others are at risk of heat-related illness, especially adults aged 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions, the Red Cross noted in a news release.

Electric fans ma...

Pets Provide Comfort for 'Ruff' Quarantine Time

For New York lawyer Roseann Schuyler, her family's pets -- a dog (Jackie), two cats (Hudson and Winter) and a fish (Atticus fish) -- eased the long, lonely days of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic this spring.

"Those early days were so surreal. There was not a lot to do other than to sit in the house and worry," Schuyler said. "The fact that we had pets -- Jackie in particular...

Does Having a Dog Make for Well-Adjusted Kids?

If you've hesitated to get a dog because your kids are very young, new research suggests that the preschool years might be a good time to add a furry friend to the family.

The study found that preschoolers with dogs at home had fewer problems with their peers or other behavior problems compared to youngsters without a family dog. Tots who walked and played with their dog more often w...

Definition of 'Dog Years' Not as Simple as Multiplying by 7

Mapping changes in the genome over time, researchers have developed a new formula to compare dog age with human age -- and it's not as clear-cut as every dog year equals seven human years.

The formula is based on chemical changes in what's known as methyl groups in the genes of dogs and humans. From that, researchers can better calculate a dog's age as it gets older, the rate of which...

New Leash on Life: How Dog-Walking Is Helping Veterans Battered by PTSD

Many soldiers experience traumas on the battlefield that leave them emotionally wounded, but something as simple as walking a dog might bring these veterans desperately needed psychic relief.

So suggests a new study where researchers compared how four weeks of walking with a shelter dog or with another person affected three biomarkers of stress in male and female veterans with post-tr...

Are Raw Food, Homemade or Vegan Diets Good for Your Pet?

Loving pet parents only want the finest fare for their furry friends, but with a dizzying array of choices, it's hard to know which pet diet is best. Raw food is all the rage, but is it really better than commercial kibble or homemade?

Owners are trying to figure this out. New research found that only 13% of dog owners and about one-third of cat owners exclusively fed their pets ...

Why Some Dogs Are at Higher Odds of Dying From Heat

As summer temperatures soar, dogs are at risk of potentially fatal heat-related illness -- and certain ones appear particularly vulnerable, a large new study confirms.

The study, of more than 900,000 dogs, found that older pooches and those who carried extra pounds were at increased risk. The same was true of certain breeds -- often dogs with "flat" faces, such as bulldogs and pugs.

How Helpful Are Support Dogs for Kids With Autism?

Therapy dogs may help some children with autism improve their social skills, but this approach doesn't work in all cases, a new study finds.

Many people with autism have difficulty socializing with others, and previous research has suggested that therapy dogs can help children with autism feel more comfortable speaking with others and socializing.

In this study, University o...

Two Cats Are First U.S. Pets to Be Sickened With COVID-19

The first documented cases of U.S. household cats infected with COVID-19 have emerged in New York state, a new government report shows.

Two cats -- one in Nassau County, the other in Orange County -- appear to have contracted COVID-19 from the humans with whom they lived, a team of veterinarians reported online June 8 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication ...

Pets: Big Pandemic Stress Reducers

June is time for people to bond with their pets, the American Heart Association says.

Throughout the month, the AHA encourages people to make pets part of their workday as routines shift during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although your contact with other people may be limited, your pet can provide some of that missing emotional and mental support that can keep you healthy. ...

Dogs <i>Do</i> Want to Rescue Trapped Owners, Experiments Show

Lassie desperately trying to get Timmy out of the well isn't a myth -- your dog really wants to save you, a new study suggests.

"It's a pervasive legend," said researcher Joshua Van Bourg, a graduate student in psychology at Arizona State University in Tempe. "The difficult challenge is figuring out why they do it."

To tease out an answer, Van Bourg's team tried an ...

Cats, Dogs and Snakebite: One Pet Has an Advantage

One reason why cats have nine lives has emerged from an Australian study.

Cats are twice as likely as dogs to survive the bite of a poisonous snake, according to an international team of researchers. The reason: Cats' blood clots faster than dogs' does.

For the study, the researchers compared the effects of 11 different snake venoms from around the world on the blood-clott...

AHA News: Not Wanting to Burden Busy Hospitals, She Disregarded Heart Attack Signs

Every weeknight in April, Charley Bednarsh flung open the windows of her fifth-floor apartment across from the World Trade Center. At 7 p.m., she'd lean out, bang a metal spoon against a pan and shout with joy as part of the chorus of New Yorkers saluting health care workers fighting the coronavirus.

With the kids below cranking their noisemakers, another neighbor blowing his trumpet an...

AHA News: A Silver Lining for Foster, Adopted Pets - and Their People - During Coronavirus Pandemic

At a time when it's hard to be close to old friends, new furry ones are helping fill the gap. They also may be helping improve their humans' health.

Amid COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, animal adoptions and foster care have skyrocketed, with shelters across the U.S. reporting empty kennels. From March 15 to late April, nearly 600 people had completed online applications for the New York C...

There's Bad News, Good News on Coronavirus' Spread in Cats

With sporadic reports of tigers and housecats picking up the new coronavirus from nearby humans, a new trial gives more details on whether cats can pass the virus to each other.

The answer: Yes, and quite easily, according to the new trial involving six felines.

But there was good news, too: Even though cats can transmit the new SARS-CoV-2 virus to other felines, none of the...

Genome of Catnip Reveals How It Makes Cats Nuts

Scientists say they have unlocked the secret to what causes catnip, or catmint, to drive cats crazy.

The plant comes from the mint family. It contains enzymes called iridoids that help defend it from being eaten by plant-eating animals. One particular iridoid, nepetalactone, can send cats into a frenzy, the researchers said.

Unlike other types of plants in the same family,...

Pets May Help Parents of Kids With Autism Fight Stress

Pets are stress-relievers for parents of children with autism and benefit their kids, too, a new study suggests.

On average, parents of kids with autism have higher stress levels than other moms and dads, the study authors said, so some look to pets to help them relax.

For the study, the researchers surveyed more than 700 families who have a family member with autism about t...

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