According to statistics published by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association in the National Pet Owner Survey in 2009–2010, it is estimated there are 77.5 million people with pet dogs in the United States.[152] The same survey shows nearly 40% of American households own at least one dog, of which 67% own just one dog, 25% two dogs and nearly 9% more than two dogs. There does not seem to be any gender preference among dogs as pets, as the statistical data reveal an equal number of female and male dog pets. Yet, although several programs are ongoing to promote pet adoption, less than a fifth of the owned dogs come from a shelter.


Cut out mats that can't be brushed out. Severe matting can pull the skin every time the dog moves, making daily life painful for your pet. If you can't brush a mat out, you need to either cut or shave it off, depending on how close it is to the skin. Be extremely careful if you use scissors to avoid injuring yourself or your pet. Try to cut parallel to the growth of the hair to avoid a choppy look.
A number of common human foods and household ingestibles are toxic to dogs, including chocolate solids (theobromine poisoning), onion and garlic (thiosulphate, sulfoxide or disulfide poisoning),[54] grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol,[55] as well as various plants and other potentially ingested materials.[56][57] The nicotine in tobacco can also be dangerous. Dogs can be exposed to the substance by scavenging through garbage bins or ashtrays and eating cigars and cigarettes. Signs can be vomiting of large amounts (e.g., from eating cigar butts) or diarrhea. Some other signs are abdominal pain, loss of coordination, collapse, or death.[58] Dogs are susceptible to theobromine poisoning, typically from ingestion of chocolate. Theobromine is toxic to dogs because, although the dog's metabolism is capable of breaking down the chemical, the process is so slow that for some dogs even small amounts of chocolate can be fatal, especially dark chocolate.
In Christianity, dogs represent faithfulness.[208] Within the Roman Catholic denomination specifically, the iconography of Saint Dominic includes a dog, after the hallow's mother dreamt of a dog springing from her womb and becoming pregnant shortly thereafter.[214] As such, the Dominican Order (Ecclesiastical Latin: Dominicanus) means "dogs of the Lord" or "hounds of the Lord" (Ecclesiastical Latin: domini canis).[214] In Christian folklore, a church grim often takes the form of a black dog to guard Christian churches and their churchyards from sacrilege.[215]

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There are a vast range of commodity forms available to transform a pet dog into an ideal companion.[147] The list of goods, services and places available is enormous: from dog perfumes, couture, furniture and housing, to dog groomers, therapists, trainers and caretakers, dog cafes, spas, parks and beaches, and dog hotels, airlines and cemeteries.[147] While dog training as an organized activity can be traced back to the 18th century, in the last decades of the 20th century it became a high-profile issue as many normal dog behaviors such as barking, jumping up, digging, rolling in dung, fighting, and urine marking (which dogs do to establish territory through scent), became increasingly incompatible with the new role of a pet dog.[148] Dog training books, classes and television programs proliferated as the process of commodifying the pet dog continued.[149]


A number of common human foods and household ingestibles are toxic to dogs, including chocolate solids (theobromine poisoning), onion and garlic (thiosulphate, sulfoxide or disulfide poisoning),[54] grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol,[55] as well as various plants and other potentially ingested materials.[56][57] The nicotine in tobacco can also be dangerous. Dogs can be exposed to the substance by scavenging through garbage bins or ashtrays and eating cigars and cigarettes. Signs can be vomiting of large amounts (e.g., from eating cigar butts) or diarrhea. Some other signs are abdominal pain, loss of coordination, collapse, or death.[58] Dogs are susceptible to theobromine poisoning, typically from ingestion of chocolate. Theobromine is toxic to dogs because, although the dog's metabolism is capable of breaking down the chemical, the process is so slow that for some dogs even small amounts of chocolate can be fatal, especially dark chocolate.
Trimming your dog’s nails is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and well-groomed. Well-clipped nails are also a factor in your dog grooming costs. When a dog’s nails get too long, they have the potential to break or split, which can cause them pain and mean a costly visit to your local veterinarian. Overly long dog nails can also cause discomfort for your pup, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors. Be sure to calculate regular nail trimming into your budget for dog grooming. The dog groomer may use trimmers to clip the nails, or they may use a small drill (like a Dremel) to grind down the nails. A good professional groomer will know not to clip too close to the base of the nail, where nicking a nerve or a blood vessel could injure your dog. Nail trimming costs can vary based on geographic location and whether you bring the dog to the groomer or if the groomer picks up and drops off your dog. Transportation fees for pickup and drop-off service can add a lot to the cost. A simple dog nail trim may cost between $10 and $30, depending on location. Nail grinding may cost $2-$8 more than standard clipping. Many dog groomers offer discounts for bundled services, so you could get a nail trim at a reduced rate when you purchase it with a bath.

The scientific evidence is mixed as to whether companionship of a dog can enhance human physical health and psychological wellbeing.[191] Studies suggesting that there are benefits to physical health and psychological wellbeing[192] have been criticised for being poorly controlled,[193] and finding that "the health of elderly people is related to their health habits and social supports but not to their ownership of, or attachment to, a companion animal." Earlier studies have shown that people who keep pet dogs or cats exhibit better mental and physical health than those who do not, making fewer visits to the doctor and being less likely to be on medication than non-guardians.[194]
The majority of contemporary dog owners describe their pet as part of the family,[146] although some ambivalence about the relationship is evident in the popular reconceptualization of the dog–human family as a pack.[146] A dominance model of dog–human relationships has been promoted by some dog trainers, such as on the television program Dog Whisperer. However it has been disputed that "trying to achieve status" is characteristic of dog–human interactions.[150] Pet dogs play an active role in family life; for example, a study of conversations in dog–human families showed how family members use the dog as a resource, talking to the dog, or talking through the dog, to mediate their interactions with each other.[151]
In 1999, a study of mitochondrial DNA indicated that the domestic dog may have originated from multiple grey wolf populations, with the dingo and New Guinea singing dog "breeds" having developed at a time when human populations were more isolated from each other.[23] In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis lupus its wild subspecies, and proposed two additional subspecies: "familiaris Linneaus, 1758 [domestic dog]" and "dingo Meyer, 1793 [domestic dog]". Wozencraft included hallstromi – the New Guinea singing dog – as a taxonomic synonym for the dingo. Wozencraft referred to the mDNA study as one of the guides in forming his decision.[1] The inclusion of familiaris and dingo under a "domestic dog" clade has been noted by other mammalogists.[24] This classification by Wozencraft is debated among zoologists.[25]
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There are many different shapes for dog tails: straight, straight up, sickle, curled, or cork-screw. As with many canids, one of the primary functions of a dog's tail is to communicate their emotional state, which can be important in getting along with others. In some hunting dogs, however, the tail is traditionally docked to avoid injuries.[38] In some breeds, such as the Braque du Bourbonnais, puppies can be born with a short tail or no tail at all.[39]
Clip the dog's fur after it's completely dried. If you plan to clip your dog's hair, make sure to read the directions that came with the clippers. Get an information book or video, or consult with a groomer about the proper use of your clippers. Make sure that the clipper blades are sharp and the clippers well lubricated. If the blades are not sharp, they can pull on the hair.

Trimming your dog’s nails is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and well-groomed. Well-clipped nails are also a factor in your dog grooming costs. When a dog’s nails get too long, they have the potential to break or split, which can cause them pain and mean a costly visit to your local veterinarian. Overly long dog nails can also cause discomfort for your pup, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors. Be sure to calculate regular nail trimming into your budget for dog grooming. The dog groomer may use trimmers to clip the nails, or they may use a small drill (like a Dremel) to grind down the nails. A good professional groomer will know not to clip too close to the base of the nail, where nicking a nerve or a blood vessel could injure your dog. Nail trimming costs can vary based on geographic location and whether you bring the dog to the groomer or if the groomer picks up and drops off your dog. Transportation fees for pickup and drop-off service can add a lot to the cost. A simple dog nail trim may cost between $10 and $30, depending on location. Nail grinding may cost $2-$8 more than standard clipping. Many dog groomers offer discounts for bundled services, so you could get a nail trim at a reduced rate when you purchase it with a bath.
Dogs have been described as carnivores[117][118] or omnivores.[17][119][120][121] Compared to wolves, dogs have genes involved in starch digestion that contribute to an increased ability to thrive on a starch-rich diet.[19] Based on metabolism and nutrition, many consider the dog to be an omnivore. However, the dog is not simply an omnivore. More like the cat and less like other omnivores, the dog can only produce bile acid with taurine, and it cannot produce vitamin D, which it obtains from animal flesh. Also more like the cat, the dog requires arginine to maintain its nitrogen balance. These nutritional requirements place the dog part-way between carnivores and omnivores.[122]
Dog communication is how dogs convey information to other dogs, how they understand messages from humans, and how humans translate the information that dogs are transmitting.[103]:xii Communication behaviors of dogs include eye gaze, facial expression, vocalization, body posture (including movements of bodies and limbs) and gustatory communication (scents, pheromones and taste). Humans communicate to dogs by using vocalization, hand signals and body posture.
Cut out mats that can't be brushed out. Severe matting can pull the skin every time the dog moves, making daily life painful for your pet. If you can't brush a mat out, you need to either cut or shave it off, depending on how close it is to the skin. Be extremely careful if you use scissors to avoid injuring yourself or your pet. Try to cut parallel to the growth of the hair to avoid a choppy look.
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