Animal Book Club

If you love reading and animals, the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club is for you. See what we're reading this month, and take a look at the books read so far.

If you love animals and books, read alongside the Animal Book Club, like this cute puppy sitting on an open book

The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club discusses books about dogs, cats, and our relationship with companion animals. If you're looking for reading inspiration and the best books for animal lovers, take a look at the books on our list. These books cover dog training, animal behaviour, canine science, feline science, the human-animal bond, and much more.

If you're an author or publicist wondering how to get the book club to read your book, you'll find some answers in how to pitch books to Companion Animal Psychology

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The books are available in my Amazon store along with many other suggestions for books for animal lovers.

In March 2024, the club is reading Being Your Cat: What's Really Going On In Your Feline's Mind by Celia Haddon and Prof. Daniel Mills FRCVS.

The book for April 2024 is Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter by E.B. Bartels.

The cover of Good Grief by E.B. Bartels

About the Animal Book Club

The club discusses one book a month except for January and July, so we read ten books a year.

Books may cover a wide variety of perspectives, but there is a preference for humane and kind treatment of animals (and people), and for scientific or critical approaches to the human-animal bond.

New members must commit to reading and discussing at least 7 of the 10 books each year.

Separately, the Animal Books Facebook group is for posting news about new titles about animals, sharing book reviews and interviews, and for chatting about your favourite books and what you are reading now. 

Membership of both groups is open to email subscribers only. If you want to join, you can subscribe to Companion Animal Psychology and look out for the email about the book groups which comes as part of the intro emails. Then you can ask to join on Facebook.

The Animal Books Discussed So Far

In November 2023, we read The Accidental Veterinarian by Philipp Schott.

The cover of The Accidental Veterinarian

The cover of Poppy in the Wild by Teresa J Rhyne

In June 2023, the book club read Where the Lost Dogs Go: A Story of Love, Search, and the Power of Reunion by Susannah Charleson.

The cover of Where the Lost Dogs Go by Susannah Charleson

In May 2023, the book club read On Animals by Susan Orlean.

The cover of On Animals by Susan Orlean

In April 2023, the book club read Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses by Jackie Higgins. 

The cover of Sentient by Jackie Higgins

In February and March 2023, the book club read An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong.

The cover of An Immense World by Ed Yong

In November, the book club is reading Wonderdog: The Science of Dogs and Their Unique Friendship with Humans by Jules Howard.

The book for October was The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves by Alexandra Horowitz. 

The book for September was The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives by Jessica Pierce.

In August we read Bitch: On the Female of the Species by Lucy Cooke.

In June, we read my new book, Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy

In May 2022, we read Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach.

In April 2022, we read Antiracism in Animal Advocacy: Igniting Cultural Transformation edited by Jasmin Singer, Aryenish Birdie, and Michelle Rojas-Soto.

In March 2022, read Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive by Carl Zimmer.

In February 2022, the book club read Aesop's Animals: The Science Behind the Fables by Jo Wimpenny.

In December 2021, the book club read A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World without Humans by Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff.

The book for September 2021 was How Stella Learned to Talk: The Groundbreaking Story of the World's First Talking Dog by Christina Hunger. 

The book for August 2021 was Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacy O'Brien.

The book for June 2021 was Becoming Wild by Carl Safina.

The book for April was Biology of Dogs: From Gonads Through Guts To Ganglia by Tim Lewis.

The book for March was How Animals Grieve by Barbara J King. 

The book for December 2020 was Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods. (This year, there is no book for November).

The book for October 2020 was Canine Enrichment for the Real World: Making It a Part of Your Dog’s Daily Life by Allie Bender and Emily Strong.

In September 2020, we read Decoding Your Cat by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

The book for August 2020 was The Eye of the Trainer by Ken Ramirez.

The book for June 2020 was The Education of Will: Healing a Dog, Facing My Fears, Reclaiming My Life by Patricia McConnell.

The book for May 2020 was Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson.

The book for April 2020 was Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy by Zazie Todd (myself).

The March 2020 book was The Animal's Companion: People & Their Pets, a 26,000-Year Love Story by Jacky Coliss Harvey.

The book for February 2020 was Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky.

The book for December 2019 was The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog by Rick McIntyre.

The book for November 2019 is Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds by Louise Barrett.

The best books about animals, inc. Beyond the Brain

The book for October 2019 was Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You by Clive Wynne.

The Animal Book Club choice for October 2019: Dog is Love (pictured)

The book for September 2019 was Alexandra Horowitz's new book, Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond. Check out my interview with Alexandra Horowitz to learn more about the book.

The book for August 2019 was What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend by John Homans.

Cover of What's a Dog For by John Homans. Animal Book Club.

The book for June 2019 was Once a Wolf: The Science Behind Our Dogs' Astonishing Genetic Evolution by Bryan Sykes.

The book for May 2019 was Animal Madness by Laurel Braitman.

The book for April 2019 was What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World by Cat Warren.

The book for March 2019 was Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw.

The book for February 2019 was Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz.

The book for December was The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.

The book for November was Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words

The book for October was The Dog: A Natural History by Ádám Miklósi.

The book for September was Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey.

The book for August was Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do by Marc Bekoff. You can whet your appetite by reading my interview with Dr. Marc Bekoff.

The book for June 2018 was Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals by Hal Herzog.

"I wanted to get at this issue of how you wake up in the morning and get through the day trying to be a good person in a world which is incredibly morally complicated." Read my interview with Hal Herzog about the book.

The book for May 2018 was From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias by Marty Becker, Lisa Radosta, Wailani Sung, Mikkel Becker, and edited by Kim Campbell Thornton.

"It’s the fact that pets have a broad range of emotions that we need to recognize." Read my interview with Dr. Marty Becker about the book and the development of Fear Free.

The book for April 2018 was How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by Gregory Berns.

The book for March 2018 is Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs by David Grimm.

The book for February 2018 was The Animals Among Us: How Pets Make Us Human by John Bradshaw. In the UK, the book is called The Animals Among Us: The New Science of Anthrozoology.

The 2017 Books

The book for December 2017 was The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy ― and Why They Matter by Marc Bekoff.

The book for November 2017 was What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe.

The book for October 2017 was Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace by Kathy Sdao.

The book for September 2017 was Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry by Nicholas Dodman.

The book for August 2017 was How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution by Lee Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut.

"...the idea here was if we could speed up the process and actually watch the domestication of the species in real time, we could get much much more information and shed light on how one of man’s best friends came to be." Read my interview with Dr. Lee Dugatkin.

The book club takes July off.

The book for June 2017 was The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee.

The book for May 2017 was Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw. For UK and Australian readers, the book is called In Defence of Dogs.

The book for April 2017 was The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia McConnell.

The book for March 2017 was Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell  by Alexandra Horowitz.

The book for February 2017 was Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal.

There was no book in January 2017, as the book club takes January & July off.

The Animal Book Club is for anyone who loves pets. Curl up with a book, a cup of coffee, and a cat (as in the photo) or dog and enjoy some of these reads!

The 2016 Books

The book for December 2016 was The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn by Melissa Holbrook Pierson. Read my review of The Secret History of Kindness and please leave your thoughts on the book in the comments.

The book for November 2016 was The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis.

"For me it’s really about training for better welfare, to improve the well-being of the cat." Read my interview with Dr. Sarah Ellis.

When you have read the book, please leave your comments on the summary of discussion of The Trainable Cat.

Happy reading!

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