History Of Pets
By | September 13, 2019
According to the pet industry statistics reported by Smithsonian.com in 2016, “Americans own some 78 million dogs, 85 million cats, 14 million birds, 12 million small mammals, and 9 million reptiles.” While some of those may be service animals, the majority are pets who are kept for no other reason than companionship. While pet ownership might seem like a luxury of modern times, it’s actually been around for thousands of years.
One might assume that the first animals to be domesticated were work animals, such as horses and oxen. And one would be wrong. The first animal to be domesticated was actually the dog. Horses were not domesticated until about 3500 B.C. while dogs are estimated to have been tamed between 13,000 to 30,000 years ago. It is speculated that wolves were attracted to the humans in their search for food and humans began feeding them to win their trust.
In any case, not all domesticated animals are pets. Smithsonian.com differentiates between domestic animals, tamed animals, and pets. A domestic animal is one that has been tamed and is kept by humans either for pleasure, for work, or as a food source. Animals such as chicken and cows, which are kept as a food source, are domestic but not pets. On the other hand, animals such as tigers and elephants can be tamed but are not considered domestic and are not pets. In order to be considered a pet, the animal must be tamed and domesticated and be kept for pleasure.