Friday, 6 February 2009


"Humanisation" of animals causing behavioural manifestations and ill health are a major problem especially in dogs. I think they are looked on as substitute humans because of the interaction of our species for so many 1000s of years. This creates conflict because they have inbuilt signals they are not getting. Let alone nutrition and general boundaries for behaviour.

Cats tend to be too independent, and there are not many primates as pets. Those that do like the Brook Bond or Tarzan chimps and others are only used as babies. The older they get the more dangerous, and so they are locked into their cages. The smaller primates can also get nasty at times and do suffer "humanisation".
Other species generally do not interact the same with humans. That is not to say that they do not have problems. I have posted some of my "pet peeves."

How many people feed their pets "the best chicken or steak" as if that is the correct diet, it is neither correct or balanced.
I spoke to someone the other day who said their rabbit was spoiled rotten and had the best life of any rabbit. I knew what they would say but decided to ask anyway.
“How much time does he spend outside?”
“Outside he hates it is scared wants to come straight in, why would he want to go outside?”
I had to bite my tongue when replying, tried to explain about fresh air, sunlight, vit. production, natural habitat but it was like talking to granite.

We all tend to call pets my baby or kid at some point. The problem is for to many people they really are, usually because they have none; the animal is then expected to fill that substitute roll. When they do get a child the animal is often pushed out of their life totally and has to attempt to readjust. Have seen this too many times even a vet l know did this.

It the animal is ill then they are unable to handle this and even refuse treatment because babykins has to be in the vets and will pine without them. Then they rush in hours later the animal dying and owner hysterical.

People won’t go away as the pet would hate kennels in fact it is never left alone. The poor animal is never allowed time alone to process their own behaviour. It has to be an “on tap” child to the humans. At what cost to the pet? The humans would not be able to do this to a child, the child soon leans to go their own way.

I have problems with my Wibble with separation but l know the roots are due to living most of her life with 2 other dogs who have passed on. Now she is insecure unless she can see me, to the degree of following me to the kitchen. I ignore her dithering and do not pamper it. I will go off and leave her at home when l go shopping or other things. I do however make sure she comes to work with me, especially now due to medication regime. However she is now 15 and it is recent behaviour and l know the roots so work around it as much as l do not have time to retrain her.

Misbehaviour is treated as if the animal was a child not a dog/cat so the problem exacerbates. Or it is overlooked because the animal like the "child" can do no wrong in the "family's" eyes again the problem builds. In a pack situation or species that behaviour would never be attempted and if it was would be swiftly dealt with.
If the problem is recognised by the humans often it is treated as if the animal were a child, again forgetting that they are not human, and you can not look at it in a human way to solve.

Other behaviour problems with various species are misunderstood. Cats litter should not be near their food or water, their water should not be near their food they do not kill near water when hunting to preserve their water. Cats in their natural habitat eat little and often, up to 20 small meals a day. Being fed 2 times a day is unnatural and can be the cause of gluttony and stress then overweight. Free choice is best but only can be done if done from kittenhood. Cats like under or over places to hide and feel safe.

Over stocking of cats, they live in female family groups the males are solitary. Forcing cats of non familial stock to live, especially in house only areas stress which can show as fights, bad toileting, overeating, nervous behaviour or generally odd behaviour. Often a couple of cats can get on but the more that are introduced the more stressy it is. The thing is the humans think the animals get on because they miss all the body language and signs and the animals look happy.

Dogs with 2 brothers homed together often ends with vicious fights as adolescence appears and both dogs are evenly matched as they try for top position between them. The wrong animal is told off and it exacerbates the problem.

Animals especially dogs do not get to mix with their own species and when they do they fight because they do not know how to behave with another of their kind. That is why puppy class and dog training are so important. Even if you can train your dog it is the interaction with other dogs that is important.

Small dogs may as well be born without legs. They are not expected to use them heaven forbid! "Mummy and or daddy" carries them everywhere while smothering them with kisses and getting kisses back.
Worming is probably never done as "Babykins" would never allow wormies to have anything to do with them"
That was actually said to me.
Well l said so what about arses they have licked before your face and all that turdy (poop) stuff on their tongues.
I got a horrified look and was told "Babykins would never do anything as disgusting as that".
I gave up at that point.

I know someone that put an injured baby rabbit down a rabbit hole for "Mummy rabbit to look after" She had been told by others to kill it she refused. She was very upset when l explained what would happen as it was a) not the mother rabbit and b) smelled of humans.
Rabbits kept in hutches. They should be outside as much as possible. They need to be able to stand upright and stretch and to be able to move freely around. People get all upset about battery hens and then lock rabbits into small hell holes. The same for birds and cages or reptiles and no heating or light.

Dogs are not castrated so they can have the joy of sex or must be “manly” because the owner is a male and thinks it is sissy. Guess what tumours caused from hormones and wounds from fights from other male dogs, hit by cars when chasing bitches in heat Wow how manly. Cats are usually castrated as they spray.

I know that there is a few people that breed for the love of that breed and do try and do so responsibly all health checks are done, worming feeding, homing, follow ups. I know someone who also microchips and ensures first vaccine is given. Overall the majority do not do this due to cost and or ignorance.

Bitches and Queens (female cats) not neutered so that "she can have the joy of being a mummy." So risk her with caesareans or eclampsia. Then there is pyo's and attacks on vets for the cost being so high to sort. Instead of a quick spay. There is admits, blood tests, fluids and high risk operations followed by further hospitalisation and if very ill more blood tests and rest of life problems.
Mammary tumours, from odd lumps to total mammary strip - basically remove all of their mammary area a painful horrible operation.
Or mastitis another nasty condition. I saw a stray bitch not long ago. She had lost a large area of tissue to mastitis and needed multiple dressing’s changes for months to resolve the problem.

Stray Bitch with Mastitis, the dressing had opened slightly and l was able to get the photo, virtually her entire abdominal area (under dressings)was involved.


Auntie Jane said...

That is a very well written and interesting post. I agree with all you have said.

But getting 'pet owners' to actually understand what you have written is another matter.

Vetnurse said...

I know at times l start to talk and let it fade. I can see l am beating my head against a brick wall. Given time there is a chance of a chink in the cement to work on but generally there is limited time.
I do try sneaky. The person with the baby rabbit episode will only feed her cats sardines. I do not bother saying anything as they are good hunters and get their diet that way.

Hogday said...

Excellent advice that has worked for me and our mutley. One of the hardest things was to totally ignore him when he welcomes us back to the house like a manic thing, after a few hours on his own. It is absolutely the right thing to do, not a `human` thing to do but a `leader of the pack` thing to do. I will often ignore him for 20 mins until I've stttled with a mug of tea and he's flopped out, then I call him to say hello. How I wish I'd had this advice years ago. Trouble is, my wife can't bring herself to do this but at least one of us does!

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

So much ignorance - so scary.
People won't change.

I do think the increasing emphasis on the "fur kid" role has made the problem become steadily worse since I graduated... owners have repalced their children with their pets and completely lost persepective.

My behaviour tutors in our training courses have often said - "there are no problem animals, only problem owners".

And I am glad I feed my cats in a secure, elevated, free feed area... with water at hand, away from their dirt tray. Phew...

JuliaM said...

"Dogs are not castrated so they can have the joy of sex or must be “manly” because the owner is a male and thinks it is sissy."

Ah. That explains these then...

Vetnurse said...

Sorry Julia l do not agree with them. It is for human ego not the welfare of the animal.

Neuticles are illegal in the UK. I am relived. There is enough problems getting people to pay bills, l think you would find a lot of people hold off until they can afford to have the dammed things put in.

Which especially in this day and age when money is hard enough for essential treatment l do not see any justification for.

I wonder how the charity's would react people go to them to get part of the neutering paid for as they have no money... but then the owners put in a huge amount for implants. It makes a mockery of the system. (mind you do not get me started on that subject!)

For those that do not believe in castration l can not see it changing their mind.

Their blurb is a total load of rubbish..."it retains the animals ego"
An animals "ego" is smell orientated and there is no smell, that is removed when the testicles are removed.

"Aids in the trauma associated in neutering". Well you are right there it aids it by adding to "the trauma".

Finally it must be very uncomfortable for the animal. Testicles are soft and conform to the body these things are hard and would bash. This will lead to soreness for the animal.
Ask a human male to "use" them and see if they are uncomfortable l bet within a week he would be very upset.

Fi I bet you cats are glad as well :-)) and yes mostly bad owners or breeders l agree with you there.

Hogday a quick offhand hello is ok it is going overboard that is the problem, l am guessing your Wife is the over effusive greeting brigade.

JuliaM said...

"It is for human ego not the welfare of the animal."

Absolutely! Glad to hear they are illegal here.

"Their blurb is a total load of rubbish..."it retains the animals ego""

Yeah, I chortled at that one too.. ;)

"Ask a human male to "use" them..."

Bettr yet - tell him it's a 'two for one' deal only.. :D

Hogday said...

"Neuticles"??? Literally the biggest load of bollocks I've ever read. Perhaps they should be named "Gulliballs" after the owners of the poor mutley.

Vetnurse, Thanks, we are getting there on that one;))

Vetnurse said...

Hogday l love it "Gulliballs" suits them perfectly :-))

Annette said...

I agree with what you say,but what I can't stand is when people dress their dogs.
For instance, put coats on them, or scarves around their necks. It does not look good.
I hate that.

Vetnurse said...

It depends on what the items are for. I do not mind a dog or animal coat in cold weather. I use one for Wibs more a doggie jersey her front 2 legs go through as coats slide off her.
Or doggie boots for working dogs or those with foot injuries.
Hikers that use specially made dog pack bags on their dogs with items for the dogs.
Even the odd fancy dress as a one off for a bit of fun is ok.
So long as in all the above the animal is not stressed by what is happening and there is a specific reason for it.

I have a problem with dressing them up to show off. We had a poodle in one day with pink nail varnish on it's nails.
Some of the things you see clothes wise for animals are awful and obviously not made for a practical reason to help the animal but for an aesthetic reason for a pillock of an owner.

Sage said...

I never used to dress my dogs up, they lived in the house though officially they were 'working' dogs (I mean rabbiting terriers).. each had their own personality but they were taught patience, and not to snatch food but to wait for it in their own bowls and shared one bowl of biscuits between them. Funny enough none of them were ever precious of their food though the youngest bitch would guard a dead rabbit from the others.

As they got older, yes they got spoilt with a few other titbits. When we got in from work, they were walked and then fed before the rest of us.. something I would always practice if we had another dog.

At the moment, we are trying to tame two fancy rats regretably obtained from a petstore, something I wouldn't usually agree to but patience is slowly winning them over like getting them comfortable with us etc.. you can only feel foolish when you talk to a rat :0)