About Us


Welcome to The Thinking Pets Program at NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where we enroll both dogs and cats for our observational research studies diving into the minds of our furry friends.

Our researchers have broad areas of interest including studies of behavior, cognition, behavior, neuroaging, naturally occurring pain, and olfaction. In addition to our non-clinical studies, we also conduct clinical research in partnership with external companies, such as those developing animal health technologies, to improve the everyday life for our furry friends.

Our study participants are canine and feline companion animals, residing in the Triangle area, who come visit us for a day of games, treats, and fun!




Featured Paw-ticipation Opportunities

We are recruiting for a new behavioral study with The Thinking Pets Program!

  • If you’re interested, click the link below to find out more:
Do Dog Breeds Differ in Sensitivity?


We are now recruiting for a new clinical study through the Behavioral Medicine Service!

  • If you’re interested, click the link below to find out more:
Is Your Dog Scared of Storms?




Following Our Fresh Tracks

Park, R. M., Royal, K. D., & Gruen, M. E. (2021). A literature review: Pet bereavement and coping mechanisms. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 24(2), 1-16. [View Article]

The loss of a companion animal results in millions of pet owners grieving annually. To date, little information has been synthesized on the grief response and coping mechanisms of bereaved pet owners. The aim of this review was to examine the relationship between pet loss and owner grief response. Major themes included: factors that influence the grief response, the disenfranchised nature surrounding pet loss, ambiguous pet loss and coping mechanisms used. Across the 48 studies included in this review, bereaved pet owners frequently reported feelings of embarrassment and loneliness following the loss of their pet. Types of coping mechanisms used by bereaved pet owners were identified and included: isolation, social support, continuing bonds, memorialization, religion, and relationships with other animals. Overall, this review was able to identify a consensus among the literature that bereaved pet owners are likely to experience disenfranchisement surrounding their loss. Based on the present findings, suggestions for future research include a focus on the effectiveness of coping mechanisms used by bereaved pet owners.

(Park et al., 2021)

WRAL TechWire: Pets and Pain - NCSU Study Seeks to Unravel Link Between Breeds' Sensitivity