Dog owners care more about their puppies than cat owners. This was announced by a new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen and published on Monday in Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Pet owners aged between 18 and 89 in three countries – Denmark, the UK and Austria – were surveyed to assess the extent to which they care for their cats and dogs. (THE NEW FERRAGNEZ DOG)
The study used several measures, including one known as the Lexington Annex to Pets Scale (LAPS), which asks owners to answer 23 questions. Additionally, participants were also asked about their pet health insurance, their willingness to pay for life-saving care, and other questions to determine how well they care for their pets. The three countries involved in the study are similar in that they are wealthy and highly urbanized, the researchers say. After surveying 17,747 pet owners – split almost evenly between dog owners and cat owners – the researchers determined that there was a slight preference for dogs in the UK, a stronger preference for dogs in Austria and a even stronger preference in Denmark.
Across all countries, dog owners scored higher on the LAPS: Dogs were more likely to be insured, and more dog owners said they were willing to spend more on life-saving care. But the study noted that it varies from country to country, with only “a very modest difference” between dogs and cats in the UK. “Therefore, it does not appear to be a universal phenomenon that people care much less about their cats than their dogs,” the study says. Not only. The researchers cited several previous studies that looked at how dog owners care for their pets compared to cat owners. In a previous study, it was hypothesized that dogs’ behavior might help play a role in their owners’ responses. The researchers of the new study wanted to test the “behavioral hypothesis” and found that it may not be the behavior of pets, but the culture around them, that influences their care. They call it the “cultural hypothesis.” Of course, as the researchers also confirm, this study has limitations, such as taking into consideration only pet owners in three relatively small European countries, and they say that further research is needed in other nations. But the fact is, that is how it is for now.