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Post No.: 0570food

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

I think we need to always consider the possibility of diseases and mental health disorders in non-human animals too, rather than assume an errant behaviour is an inevitable characteristic of a particular cat or dog.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Quite right. Cats and dogs, like humans, can develop phobias and other mental health problems too, and so may need expert support to understand and treat them.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

I can’t stop chasing people on bikes.

 

…I guess it at least beats chasing them on foot!

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

I’m a stroke victim.

 

…People sometimes pet me without my consent!

 

Furrywisepuppy and Fluffystealthkitten:

 

(Chortle)

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

But seriously, we must also look at stopping breeding practices that create or exacerbate known health problems in certain pedigree breeds, plus look at how humans are treating and raising individual dogs and cats and possibly creating problem behaviours in them.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

If they’re adult dogs and their socialisation phase when they were puppies didn’t go ideally then it’s probably a matter of minimising the triggers of their stresses. Remove the temptations or triggers in the environment, or remove the animal from that environment.

 

Having said that – go see a specialist veterinary behaviourist if possible instead of attempting to diagnose and treat a problem on your own, because it often needs a holistic and expert approach rather than wasting money on supplements, pheromones and individual therapies or medications that might not work.

 

Make sure you have adequate pet insurance or a dedicated savings account for any pet emergencies!

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Definitely.

 

Like with humans, old age can gradually bring on a range of degenerations and diseases – but getting old is not a disease in itself, and an animal can live a long life with a high quality of life up to very near the end of her/his life.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Some problems are preventable. To prevent a dog from becoming obese due to giving out too many food rewards – measure out your dog’s required daily intake at the start of each day and place it into a container. This’ll be the maximum amount that the dog will consume each day. Then reward the dog as appropriate throughout the day by dipping into this container. What’s left over will then be for their final meal of the day.

 

Maybe only 30% of a dog’s daily intake will come from mealtimes from the food bowl, with the rest coming from rewarding the dog throughout the day for good boi/grrl behaviours. By mainly associating you with their food provision, you become associated with good things and it strengthens the human-dog bond too.

 

Unfortunately though, breeds that are highly trainable because they respond well to food treats as motivation, like Labradors, tend to be those that are at a higher risk of developing obesity and furry arteries! (We discussed breed research in Post No.: 0548.)

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Neutering is considered important because there are currently more dogs than owners in the world – but a problem is that it reduces an animal’s metabolic rate hence neutered animals need less food. A more sedentary lifestyle for breeds originally bred for highly active roles, like shepherding or rat-catching, increases the risk of obesity too.

 

Meows and woofs aren’t always requests for food but for other kinds of attention. For some dogs, praise and affection from humans can be just as rewarding as food treats.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Periodontal (dental) problems are preventable and can start early in life thus oral hygiene at home and regular veterinary checkups are vital too.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

A kitter might consistently meow to her/his owner for food before mealtimes, believing that it’s the meows that cause the food to arrive, when really the food was always going to arrive at those set times. The owner keeps saying, “Stop meowing for food at 5pm because you know that dinner is always at 6pm”, whilst the cat keeps thinking ‘I don’t know what you’re saying with those noises that are coming out of your meowth but it seems to be the case that if I meow at 5pm then you’ll get me food an hour later, or sometimes even sooner if I meow quite a lot or meow even sooner’. This assumes that the cat isn’t being underfed and doesn’t have any other problems.

 

If this happens, you might want to try positive reinforcement training to teach your pussy how to be patient for food and to just sit close by if she/he wants food but not meow incessantly for it. You can do this by rewarding her/him with some food whenever she/he sits down and stays quiet to a sit command.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Now what humans consider ‘natural’ for their pets is selectively personally biased – for example, dog or cat food from tins or packets, walking dogs at restricted times of the day according to the human schedule, choosing where they sleep, choosing who they play with, brushing teeth or using dental chews, keeping them indoors, the selective breeding or even the concept of ‘owning’ them itself.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

It’s like drawing the line with other things such as what’s ‘homemade’ – did you make the chocolate or churn the butter in those brownies yourself?!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Attitudes are often cherry-picked to suit or justify one’s own desired beliefs or current behaviours – for instance believing that ‘rubbing the bellies of dogs is fine because they’re not wolves’ yet ‘social dominance is important for dogs because they’re basically pack animals like wolves’(!)

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

It’s not the case that all natural things are good, or all unnatural things are bad – for example, vaccinations aren’t natural but are utterly critical.

 

Neutering is okay from the perspective of over-population – for me, it’d be better having fewer domestic animals being born than having many who’ll be born into neglected lives.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Mutilation, such as docking tails or clipping ears, is never okay though unless there’s an absolute therapeutic need in the individual animal’s case.

 

And we shouldn’t argue on the basis of whether dogs are basically wolves or not – we should argue on the basis of whether something is right or wrong because they’re dogs.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

So focus on what’s simply best for the welfare of the animal rather than what’s considered natural or not. A typically-served raw food diet may not even emulate their natural diet because a feral animal would destroy the carcass, including the bones and hide, of their prey. This would also help clean their teeth too. They for sure don’t eat pre-prepared chunks of flesh served in a bowl!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Overall, rather than trust in word-of-mouth and myths, people need to do their homework and get properly educated about dogs and cats before buying them, and do so from reputable sources. Find a responsible and reputable breeder too. If you’re thinking about becoming a breeder yourself then do your research in this area and follow the law. Don’t just follow celebrity trends on social media. (I worry about fashionable breeds suddenly going out of fashion one day as people look for the next trend.)

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Having previously owned a dog or cat before doesn’t automatically lead to knowing more than a person who has specifically studied them. Learning from the ‘advanced sense’ of many experts across the world from past to present, guided by science, is better than learning from the ‘common sense’ of non-experts or one’s own individual biases.

 

It’s like the difference between learning human psychology versus human cod psychology or pseudoscience. Many people believe in things that fall into the latter category, because they’re popularly perpetuated by gossip sources, despite having the experience of being a human firsthand(!) (I particularly cringe at stuff that claim insight along the lines of ‘if you choose a mallet over a saw then you’re rigid and direct’.) Or having eaten a dish before doesn’t necessarily mean that one will know how to cook it well.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Owning a pet certainly needs to be carefully planned – including financially, organising the house, and figuring out the routines. You’ll need to change your lifestyle since it’ll be a long-term – hopefully lifetime – commitment.

 

Pets aren’t small people so when people make decisions on their behalf, people need to understand the pet’s needs and provide what the pet wants and what’s mentally and physically healthy and meaningful for their species, rather than give them what a human would want if a human imagined being them.

 

So understand and look at the world from their perspective, such as understanding that they can hear much higher frequencies of sound than humans can, their ears can move independently to pinpoint sounds more accurately, their eyes see colours differently, and they utilise and sense pheromones which communicate information and shape the behaviours of others of their own species, for example.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Indubitably. Us cats are crepuscular (most active around dawn and dusk) and can see in the dark much better than humans can. We have better peripheral vision than humans, but can’t detect motion as well in bright light conditions and can’t see faraway objects as sharply.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

For dogs, sniffing is a key part of the dog greeting ritual, and wet noses help to capture more scent information. (A wet or dry nose isn’t always a sign of good or bad health respectively though.) We can amazingly be trained to smell pregnancy, certain human cancers, when an epileptic seizure is about to occur, and more. The different shapes and sizes of ears and noses of different dog breeds will impact on our sensory perception too. We have better night vision than humans but aren’t able to distinguish the range of colours humans can. We also have wider fields of vision so are hard to sneak up to, and can see far into the distance, but we may struggle to see you if you’re standing still – so wave or move if you want to catch our eye.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Understanding such things will help you to understand your pet’s perspective better, as well as make the most of them in ways that stimulate them. And while cats and dogs communicate with their body language and vocalisations – it’s wrong to assume that they always map 1:1 with human equivalents. Many signals do correlate, such as stiffness and fear, and dogs in particular have the facial muscles to be able to pull expressions that tug right at people’s heartstrings and they feel how you think they’d be feeling during these times (although the reasons behind them may still be ambiguous – like how a human can express a smile but the reason for it may be ambiguous). However, for a fundamental start, cats and dogs also communicate with their ear, whisker and tail positions too. Thus you mustn’t always judge their body language based on human body language.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Yeah.

 

Strokable, huggable, non-judgemental fluffy things do so much to reduce the physiological symptoms of people’s stresses. Cats and dogs are loneliness-busting, oxytocin-raising, cortisol-reducing, soft and silly companions! And if it’s a dog then they’re especially loyal, unconditional, exercise-encouraging and want to be with humans more than just because they’re getting food. In some cultures, people who are walking with dogs are considered more approachable than those without one.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Caring for a needy pet can make people feel warm inside. Lots of people even love watching cat and dog videos for they can reduce stress and make people laugh.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

…Alas, this will probably be the last post in this series about cats and dogs.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Sob. It has been lots of fun.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

It has. We’ll however do more posts together in the future but on other topics.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Indeed we will!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

In the meantime, if you have a dog or cat or are considering getting one, we hope our discussions have been informative :3.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Meow!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Woof!

 

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