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Virtual pets leading to decline in real pets: study

Columbus (OH) - Games like Nintendogs, Catz, and The Sims, wherein players can take care of a virtual pet, is leading to a decline in ownership of real pets, according to the response from a new study.

The survey, commissioned by the Australian Companion Animals Council, showed that pet ownership in the "down under" country has fallen nearly 30% over the past seven years.

Australian Veterinary Association president Kersti Seksel responded to the results by nothing that factors like higher density living are driving down pet ownership. However, she also attributed part of the blame to the increased popularity of video games.

"These days children interact more by playing computer games and less by going out there and throwing the ball to a dog. We need to learn people skills, physical skills, and sitting in the lounge room with a computer doesn't teach you that," said Seksel.