Meet Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD

Updated: 12/14/20231-2 minutes
Ragen McGowan

Dr. Ragen McGowan is a research scientist in pet behavior and welfare who has been with Purina for more than 10 years. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Zoology and Foreign Language and a PhD in Applied Ethology from Washington State University.

For more than 20 years, Dr. McGowan has been involved in animal behavior research, using a holistic approach that incorporates behavior, physiology and endocrinology.

Her post-doctoral research focused on emotionality in dogs and explored new methodology to objectively evaluate positive emotions, including studying the “Eureka Effect” (emotional reactions to learning).

Through her research, Dr. McGowan aims to create products that cater to pets’ behavioral and emotional needs, and to better understand the human-animal bond from the pet’s perspective.

Dr. McGowan has a passion for sharing her vast knowledge of pet behavior and the human-animal bond. In addition to speaking at a variety of events for Purina, she is a contributing scientific expert for the Collegiate Animal Welfare Competition, Companion Animal Nutrition Summit, Gut Microbiome Roundtable and Dognition podcast.

Dr. McGowan lives in St. Joseph, Missouri with her husband, two children and two giant rescue dogs, Luna and Perry.

See Dr. McGowan Featured in Our Articles

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Halloween is more trick than treat for pets. The scary costumes, constant doorbell ringing and tempting candy can cause a lot of anxiety. Follow our experts’ Halloween pet safety tips here.

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Introducing a Dog or Cat to a Baby

When you bring home a new baby, sharing the attention can be hard for your pet. Learn about introducing a dog or cat to a baby to help maintain a happy home.

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How to Introduce Cats

Learn how to introduce cats by creating a safe environment to reduce stress for your cat and make social interaction occur naturally.

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How to Introduce Dogs

Learn how to introduce dogs by creating a safe meeting environment in a neutral territory when socializing dogs for the first time.

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Pet Stress & Anxiety

In this short video, Dr. McGowan offers tips for reducing your pet’s stress and anxiety during fireworks and thunderstorms.

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For more information from our experts, visit our Pet Expertise page.

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