Millions of people in the world own a pet, which can also be referred to as a domesticated animal because they live in a person's home and not in the wilderness, and they are trained. It could be a cat, dog, hamster, gerbil, turtle, snake, fish, bird, pig, or many other kinds of animals. In 2012, people in the United States owned about 74,000,000 cats and 70,000,000 dogs. A domesticated animal is not used for food but is often taken care of just like a member of a family. In the United States, about one-third of homes have a pet.
Every August 26th is an important day for canines (another word used for dogs) because in the United States it is National Dog Day. Dogs are like a wolf. Domesticated dogs came from feral wolves thousands of years ago. The first domesticated wolves may have appeared about 30 to 40,000 years ago in parts of Asia. Other evidence shows dogs might have been in Africa over 100,000 years ago. Nearly all dogs today came from Asian dogs.
Dogs were the first animals people had fed on purpose and kept as pets. The dogs were companions for those who traveled and set up campsites. Originally, dogs were used to keep the campsites clean. They ate rats and cleaned up garbage. The campsites were then cleaner and healthier for the people who used them. Later, people learned that dogs could be used to scare away larger animals by barking, to help hunters, to pull sleds, and much more.
At one time in the past, some cultures ate dogs for food. In some cases, dogs were also an emergency food source when there was a famine, a time when food is not available for people, or a food shortage. If a person was starving they would have to kill a dog or the dog might try to harm and eat them.
There are hundreds of breeds of dogs and many mixed-breed dogs. Some of the most popular breeds include the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Beagle, Poodle, Rottweiler, Terrier, Boxer, Husky, and Great Dane.
Dogs are can be companion pets for people with disabilities, and can be comforting, and because dogs have formed such strong bonds with humans, they are called 'man's best friend.' Dogs also have exceptional hearing, weigh between 3 to 150 pounds, and live between 10 to 14 years.
Young dogs are called pups or puppies. Many dogs are entered in shows, obedience and agility contests, and other competitions, and a dog's sense of smell is millions of times better than humans.
In addition, dogs are much easier to train than cats, and they can be trained at any age, but sometimes it is hard to break their old habits and behaviors. Many people believe dogs sweat by panting and salivating, but they sweat through the pads of their feet.
Dogs and cats can be found throughout the world as pets. There are dog-lovers and there are cat-lovers, and sometimes people argue over which pet is the best.
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