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Pet Humanization – Is it healthy?

Submitted by: Gisela Novaes, Integrative Veterinary Therapist

The increasingly strong link between people and their pets has been studied by many professionals seeking to understand the social, cultural, and biological transformation caused by this phenomenon. Pets have become faithful companions, living like a part of the family.

Many things are being changed in the pet’s lifestyle with the introduction of industrialized food, new medications, and other indoor aspects. Handling of pets has never been more humanized.

We often see pets sleeping in bed with their owners, eating expensive food and suffering from diseases that affect humans, such as cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems and cancer. Some have been medicated with psychotropic drugs to combat stress and depression. Some get dressed up as Santa Claus at Christmas, wear expensive jewelry and celebrate birthday parties, among other extravagances.

Diseases, tests, diagnostic methods, and treatments increasingly resemble those made in humans. Veterinarians have more demands on the application of their knowledge, gained throughout academic and professional life, focused on caring about the well-being of a pet who is now a member of the family.

Pet care is a subject that can be seen from different points of view: the need for company from humans and beneath that, and sustaining it all, lies the pet industry that sees the humanization of pets as a profitable growth opportunity. Although beneficial for the industry, this phenomenon is not always the healthiest path for the animal and owners.

While many owners do not see disadvantages, some experts believe there is cause for concern.  The gestures of love are good. The problem arises when humans forget about the animal’s natural needs. The trend toward pet humanization has taken pet existence from the backyard to being the king of the house and we can see two consequences: the decrease in human relationships and a change in the animal’s lives.

I think it is important to first, reflect on our own nature as human beings. Also, we can’t forget the difference between species’ needs. It is important to remember that pets are different species from human beings and respect this fact.  Our current lifestyle can become disconnected from nature, especially in big cities. This can be a source of stress for a pet. As a rule, they don’t need a lot to be happy with us.

Let’s work together to keep things simple with our pets. With the exaggeration of care, animals can begin to behave like a spoiled child: pet owners may lose control, and aggression, hyperactivity or antisocial behavior can be more common.   It can be a challenge to maintain our connection to nature in today’s world, but we can’t forget about how important it is.

Let’s try to treat our pets in a healthier way. After all, we love them, and that’s the most important thing.

www.naturespet.ca.   Integrative Veterinary Therapy

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