In some ways it seems as if 2012 has just begun. Wasn't it just New Year's Eve? Well, no, but it soon will be again and as we look forward to 2013 it's time to look back, too.
We're not the only ones reflecting on the past year when pet food recalls and jerky made in China scared pet owners, with good cause. The website Pet360.com decided to look at the pet trends in 2012.
I find it particularly interesting that at the top of their list is the trend that small dogs dominated dog shows this year. I had predicted a rise in small dog interest and ownership about fourteen years ago. I could see the baby boomers growing older, downsizing, becoming empty-nesters but thought they'd still want to own a dog, one that could easily go everywhere with them. A small dog seemed the obvious choice. No long afterward I wrote my first book, "The Irrepressible Toy Dog." It was just about three years ago that I updated, expanded and revised that book and brought it out under a new and more appropriate title: "Small Dogs, Big Hearts."
The start of another trend, perhaps, is that Los Angeles became the first city where the selling of cats and dogs in pet stores is illegal. We can only hope that the ban will cut down on the number of dogs and cats bred in mills, by backyard breeders and commercial breeders. Anyone who wants a purebred should go to either a responsible, ethical hobby breeder who shows their dogs and cats and does all possible pre-breeding tests for genetic diseases.
Oddly enough, groomers are now doing washable tattoos for pets for about $10. No, I can't explain why anyone would want to do that. Prior to this, all tattooing of pets had to do with a number that was registered so the owner could be notified if the dog got lost and was found by someone who checked for a tattoo.
Happily, Pit Bulls found their way into books bringing them some positive attention for a change. They used to be much-loved but drug dealers and those who train dogs for illegal fighting managed to ruin their reputation. Blame the Deed, Not the Breed.
Even as Breed Specific Legislation was being fought, Lennox, a "Pit Bull-like" dog in Belfast, Ireland was put to death. Despite please to save him, even from those who are known for their dog knowledge, in the end it meant nothing to those determined to kill this family pet. Happily, Massachusetts repealed their BSL ban and Ohio changed the language of their dangerous dog law to remove breed specific mention.
Dog clothing is nothing new but heads turned when Bret Michaels of the rock band, Poison, came out with a line of rock and roll dog clothes. No, I can't explain it.
2012 was the year when many dogs got sick and many died from dog jerky treats made in China. Hopefully, this has resulted in more owners reading labels before purchasing treats for the pets.
A study in "Pediatrics" magazine showed that babies living with cats or dogs were 30% less likely to suffer from respiratory infection symptoms like coughing, wheezing, runny or stuffy nose, and fever and about half as likely to get ear infections. The study also found that babies living with dogs needed fewer courses of antibiotics than those living in pet-free homes.
Okay, this one isn't really news: cats love to play with mouse toys. That's a continuing trend in toy sales.
Neither is this one: you should know that it's not safe to give your dog real wishbones.
And their list wraps up with movies starring animals and about animals being another trend in 2012.
What can we expect in 2013? That's an excellent question. We'll just have to wait and see.