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Books for Pet Lovers

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If you love cats and dogs and are also an avid reader, some of these books for pet lovers may be of interest to you. Whether an adventurous fiction book that stars a comical pet as the sidekick, a non-fiction novel recounting the harrowing story of a pet hero, or a fun children’s book that can teach kids important lessons about their pet, there’s a book out there for everyone.

Pets in Fiction

In the wide world of fiction literature, pets often make some of the best characters—whether they’re accompanying the hero on a journey, helping save the day, or providing companionship to the protagonist. Some even make great comic relief. Although many people are familiar with some of the dog-centered classics such as “Old Yeller,” “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Where the Red Fern Grows,” “The Call of the Wild,” and “White Fang,” which are often read at schools, there are many more books that feature canine and feline characters. Before your next trip to the library or bookstore, consider adding some of these novels to your ‘to-be-read’ list.

  • “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein

    This novel follows the story of a dog named Enzo, who is not only the narrator but also a philosopher with near-human insight. Through watching television and listening closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming racecar driver, Enzo has learned a lot about people, the human condition, and life.

  • “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron

    This heartwarming yet funny story tells the tale of Bailey, a dog searching for his purpose, not only in this life but in all the lives he is reborn into. Follow his many lives and the people he meets along the way as he learns valuable lessons about the love between man and man’s best friend.

  • “If Cats Disappeared from the World: A Novel” by Genki Kawamura

    A fascinating tale about a young postman who is estranged from his family and lives alone with his cat, Cabbage. After receiving a life-altering diagnosis and news that he only has a few months to live, the young man is ready to make the most of the time he has left. However, he’s met by an unexpected and unlikely visitor who offers him a deal he can’t refuse.

  • “The Traveling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa

    Nana, a stray cat with a crooked tail, is taken in by Satoru. Now, the two are taking their van on a trip a round Japan to visit some of Satoru’s lifelong friends, or at least that’s what Nana initially thinks.

  • “The Guardian” by Nicholas Sparks

    Before Julie’s husband passed away, he left her two gifts: the promise that he’ll always watch over her and a Great Dane puppy named Singer. As time passes and Julie is ready to date again, she finds herself in a unique situation of not knowing which man to choose. However, instead of getting closer to living happily ever after, Julie soon finds herself in a nightmare situation fueled by jealousy.

Whether you are looking for a few good novels to take on your summer vacation, something to read while you sit by the pool, or just a good book to curl up with on rainy days, the options are nearly endless.

Nonfiction Books About Pets

Pets don’t just play significant roles in fiction novels, but as any pet parent already knows, cats and dogs can be fantastic companions, incredible adventure partners, and heroes in real life as well. Whether it’s a pet that has defied the odds, an unlikely stray that has shown people what unconditional love is, or a funny and ornery pet that reminds people what’s important in life, pets have been intertwined in people’s lives and stories for as long as we remember.

  • “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World” by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

    A charming and heartfelt story about Dewey Readmore Books, this story follows a cat that went from being a stray to being known worldwide. Taking place in the small town of Spencer, Iowa, when Dewey was only a few weeks old, someone stuffed him in the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. Found the following morning by the library director and staff, this tiny kitten quickly won everyone’s hearts. As the years passed, Dewey continued showing his kindness and love to countless people and always seemed to know who needed him most.

  • “Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other” by Craig Grossi

    A harrowing true story about Craig, a former Corps member of Marine RECON, who was stationed in Afghanistan and became friends with a young stray dog. Against military regulations, Craig smuggled his new friend Fred back to camp and, with the help of many others, eventually got Fred safely back to Craig’s family in Virginia. Months later, when Craig returned home, Fred helped his new lifelong friend through some difficult times, showing that hope, love, and optimism can shine a light even in the darkest of times. Now the two comrades travel the country together, sharing their stories with others.

  • “Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat” by Gwen Cooper

    Gwen Cooper already had two cats, so the last thing she wanted was another. Still, after receiving a call from her veterinarian about a tiny, abandoned, and blind kitten, Gwen opened her heart and home to Homer. Although many people didn’t have too high of hopes for this little feline, he went on to prove himself resilient, caring, and capable of everything a “normal” cat could do. Not only did he instantly become friends with anyone he met, but he scared off an intruder in Gwen’s home and showed his new family that love knows no bounds.

If you find yourself a fan of non-fiction literature, you won’t have to look far to find a story, but you may be intrigued to learn just how many unique stories there are, including some of historical significance.

A dog lies with their head on an open book on top of someone’s legs

Books About Pets for Children

Although there are countless books about pets for adults, there might be even more for kids. Books are always a perfect gift for young children, whether they’re silly picture books, stories that teach important life lessons, or educational pieces showing kids how to interact with their four-legged best pal.

  • “My Dog, My Hero” by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers

    Comprised of eight real-life stories telling the brave tales of eight different dogs, this book shows time and time again why dogs are man’s best friend. From the gigantic Bear who saved another dog’s life to Little Bit, who brought much-needed companionship to a nursing home resident, each story is unique and touching in its own way.

  • “Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats” by Alicia Potter

    Miss Hazeltine opens a home for shy and fearful cats and gives them lessons on what they should know and what they shouldn’t be scared of. The most skittish cat of all, Crumb, has to dig deep for his courage when Miss Hazeltine goes missing, and it’s up to him to find her.

  • “Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog” by Lisa Papp

    After meeting the local library dog, Bonnie, Madeline asks her mom every single day if she can have a dog. Finally, her mom agrees, and Madeline decides she wants a puppy, but Bonnie’s owner tells Madeline all about animal shelters and the pets that stay there. Madeline decides to visit their local animal shelter and is instantly filled with questions and ideas on how to help these animals. Together, Madeline and her community learn how everyone can make a difference.

These picture books are geared toward younger kids. Whether you’re reading them aloud to kids that aren’t yet reading at this level, or these books are helping your kids learn to read, these three options are fantastic to introduce your kids to books and the subject of pets.

Chapter Books About Pets

Although each child progresses at their own rate, you may find your little one is at the age where they start showing interest in reading longer or more challenging books—the perfect time to introduce chapter books.

  • “The Incredible Journey” by Sheila Burnford

    The book that inspired the well-known movie “Homeward Bound,” this story follows two dogs and a cat that set out on an adventurous journey through the wilderness to find their owner. Though these three pals are met with many obstacles, they prove they’ll do whatever it takes to be reunited with their favorite people.

  • “Balto and Togo: Hero Dogs of Alaska” by Helen Moss

    In the winter of 1924, a diphtheria outbreak threatened the people of Nome, Alaska. To avoid a full-on epidemic, receiving the diphtheria antitoxin was their only hope. However, this would be no easy task as harsh winter conditions made it nearly impossible to reach the remote town. Following the true story of Balto, Togo, and their sled dog teams, this book shows how dogs in “The Last Frontier” have different roles and how their bravery means all the difference for the people living there.

  • Comic strips

    Although not technically a book, many of these long-running, well-known comics can be bought in bound books. For some older kids, tweens, or teens who are well into their reading years, but may have little interest in it, showing them the colorful and funny world of comics may be the perfect introduction to having your kid become more interested in literature.

    Each of these comics features a unique pet: a Beagle with a big personality and an even bigger imagination, a hefty orange cat who hates Mondays but loves lasagna, and a massive Great Dane who makes the most of life.

    • “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz

    • “Garfield” by Jim Davis

    • “Marmaduke” by Brad Anderson

    • “Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson

And while Hobbes isn’t actually a living, breathing pet, this classic comic strip explores the imaginative world of a boy and his real-only-to-him tiger as they experience friendship, adventure, and the ups and downs of childhood.

By incorporating valuable and relatable lessons our pets can teach us about life, these books and comic strips are suitable for kids finishing elementary school up through their teenage years. They also may help your child stay interested in reading, increase their vocabulary, and show them a different perspective of life through a pet’s eyes.

Educational Books About Pets

In addition to reading fun, adventurous, or inspiring fictional stories about cats and dogs, diving into educational literature can also be fascinating and eye-opening. After all, you share your life and home with your pet, so aren’t you curious to learn more about them?

  • “The Invisible Leash: An Invisible String Story About the Loss of a Pet” by Patrice Karst

    A young boy, Zack, is dealing with grief after the passing of his dog, but his friend Emily tells him about the “invisible leash” that connects your heart to your pet’s, even if they aren’t around anymore. This picture book helps kids learn how to deal with the sadness of losing their best pal by showing them that the love of their pets never truly disappears.

  • “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” by Alexandra Horowitz

    Taking a deep dive into a dog’s cognitive abilities and how they perceive the world around them, this book takes a scientific approach to understanding how a canine’s senses work and what it would be like to be a dog. In this deeply informative and eye-opening book, not only are common dog-related questions answered, but it also explains how and why dogs do what they do.

  • “The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World” by Abigail Tucker

    Throughout history, cats have played numerous roles all around the globe, and this book explores the fascinating journey of felines, from being wild to living plush lives. Considering science, history, and pop culture, the author travels the world to talk with others who know all about cats, including a cat celebrity.

Although you may want to read educational pieces to learn more about how your cat thinks or why your dog does certain behaviors, don’t forget about educational books for your kids. Some subjects are tough to talk about and hard to understand at a young age, but these books can help teach your children (no matter their age) all about living with a pet, loving them, and always remembering them.

An ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance plan can help you with eligible costs for covered conditions like surgery expenses for accidents and help provide peace of mind that your pet can receive the care they need. Check out our online resources to learn more about your insurance options and get a free quote today. The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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