Dogs and humans have been together for a very long time, as in thousands of years. Almost every human in every country around the world has encountered dogs either as a household pet, or an animal used in the field like farms or ranches tending sheep, cows or horses. Dogs can also be trained for hunting, rescue missions, for law enforcement and for war. Whatever the reason is, the bond between a human and a dog is undeniable.
Pet Dog Statistics
One of the questions regular people and dog lovers ask is “just how many dogs are there in the world today?” the actual count may be hard to get since some countries don’t keep their dogs inside their homes as pets and some dogs freely roam the streets thus getting the exact numbers is difficult.
The best way to find out this number has come from the pet food industry’s market research. Canada has about 6 million pet dogs, Western Europe has about 43 million dogs, France has 8.8 million while Poland and Italy around 7.5 million. The United Kingdom has about 6.8 million pet dogs and Russia has around 12 million pet dogs.
In China, it is estimated that there are about 110 million while in Japan, there’s about 9.5 million. In Africa, it’s estimated to be 78 million owned dogs. Australia has an estimated 225 million pet dogs, so that’s 19 dogs for every 100 Australians.
The best guess is there would be at least 525 million dogs around the world.
A Bit of Dog and Human History
Scientists have claimed that dogs first became domesticated 30,000 years ago. New evidence suggests that wolves, which are ancestors of domesticated dogs were first tamed by hunter-gatherers. The new research has found that the close bond between animal and human started in Ice Age Europe between 19,000 and 30,000 years ago according to new genetic evidence.
The findings challenged the previous theory that dog domestication happened 15,000 years ago in Eastern Asia after agriculture was introduced.
The researchers used DNA analysis in establishing what populations of wolves are most related to living dogs. The DNA from domesticated dogs closely matched that extracted from fossil bones of ancient European Ice Age wolves as well as modern wolves.
German and Finnish scientists analysed a specific type of DNA found in the mitochondria, which serves as power stations within cells that generate energy. Unlike the nuclear DNA found in the hearts of cells, mitochondrial DNA is only inherited from mothers, which makes them a powerful tool in tracing ancestry.
The study included genetic data on 18 prehistoric wolves and other dog-like animals, as well as 77 dogs and 49 wolves from today. Most of the DNA from modern dogs were traceable to just one lineage and is closely related of a wolf skeleton found in a cave in Northern Switzerland.
Advantages of Pet Dogs
First of all, they are not cats. Many people are cat lovers but mostly cats just don’t care. Raising and training dogs is not an easy task. You also have to have a certain personality in order to be a good owner and you also need to be aware that they are living creatures and not products that you can throw whenever you don’t have any love or need for them. They should not be discarded like used clothing and if you really want to have a pet dog, you have to realise that they are your responsibility for the next 10-20 years.
Dog owners know that it just takes one sloppy kiss to turn your frown into one big smile. Below are some of the scientifically backed reasons why you need to get a pet dog.
Dogs Are Good For The Heart
Researchers at the American Heart Association found that having a pet dog can actually reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular disease. So snuggling up with your puppy can warm your heart.
Dogs Can Also be Furry Therapists
Animal-assisted therapy has been linked to reduced anxiety, pain, depression and other mental and physical health issues in many people. Many people can also benefit from pet therapy including patients going through therapy, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and physical therapy patients going through with their fine motor skills.
Dogs Can Keep People Moving
If you have a dog, you have to walk it. All the walk that you make with your dog can add up. One study found that dog owners were 34% more likely to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of exercise every week as compared to non-dog owners.
Pet Dogs Lowers Stress Levels
Yes, pet dogs can make people happier and research shows that interacting with dogs can reduce stress. Petting your puppy or just playing fetch can increase the feel good hormone oxytocin in your brain.
Dogs Can Ease Workday Pressures
Dogs that are brought to work can have positive impact on stress levels on the job. Research shows that employees who brought their pet dogs to the office reported lower levels of perceived stress throughout the day.
Pet Dogs Can Help Boost The Immune System
Along with regular exercise and diet, pet dogs can help boost one’s immune system. One study was made on college students reported benefits to their overall health, specifically in the immune system of the students who were asked to pet dogs.
Dogs Can Detect Life-threatening Health Issues
Dogs can sniff cancer and they can also be trained to identify when their human experiences seizures. A dog’s extraordinary sense of smell can also be used to detect nuts before an allergic human eats them.
Dogs Help in Mending Social Rejection
Rejection can hurt a lot, but it can be eased when you’re greeted with a happy and jolly pet dog or puppy. Science confirms pets help people develop a sense of belonging. One study stated that pet owners have higher self-esteem, more conscientious and have even bounced back from social rejection more easily. The study also found that women and single adults found the most benefit of mental well-being from owning a pet dog.
Now, pat your good ol’ puppy on the head and give them the belly rub they deserve.