Could Your Pet be a Southpaw?

Dogs and cats are more frequently left-handed than are people.

It turns out that pets have a dominant hand, er, paw, just like people.  Dr. Nick Dodman, who studies animal behavior at Tufts University was surprised as well.  He said “Wow, I thought that was something unique to people…”  Studying left-brain and right-brain connections, along with other factors, may one day determine how dogs and cats are bred and trained.  While humans are generally 90% right-handed and 10% left-handed, studies have shown that dogs and cats are about 50-50 for right and left-handedness.

You can conduct your own science experiments right at home with your dog or cat!  And, don’t worry, no matter which paw your pet prefers, it doesn’t affect their health or well-being.  Here are just a few of the ways you can test your dog or cat:

  • Put a treat in a hard to reach spot (maybe under a sofa) and see which paw your pet uses to reach for it.
  • Dangle a toy over your pet’s head.  Which paw does it use to bat at the toy?
  • Put a piece of tape or something sticky like peanut butter on your pet’s nose.  Which hand does it use to wipe it off?
10 percent of cats don’t show a preference for either paw.

For more testing ideas, and to read more about “handed-ness” in pets, check out KidsPost from the Washington Post  and Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Medicine for Pets. 

Photo credit (both photos) – Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Medicine for Pets. 

You can read more by Amy at her blog Donkeys To College.  In between posts you can come join the fun on Facebook and Twitter.

Recent posts by Amy:

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