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Love Your dog? Then don’t Humanize it!

Pet dogs are more humanized than we think. Which means that they have adapted to our homes, our human traits and our behavioural patterns in a way which is uncommon for them. You may notice it in the way your dog rests his or her head on your pillow, the way they respond to stimuli like music or movies, the way they have preferences for certain parts of the house, it can be seen in their emotions and attitudes too. Sometimes we inadvertently treat our pets like humans, which tends to ignore their needs as an animal. There is nothing wrong in all the love and affection we shower on them but certain elements like dressing them up or keeping them isolated from other pets or feeding them ‘people’ food can cause a sense of confusion in your pet.

Some ways we end of ‘humanizing’ our dogs include making them sleep in our beds, which is actually fine as long as they also have access to their own bed and space as well and know the difference between the two spaces. Though co-sharing a bed provides a sense of security, bonding and warmth for both you and your pet, it also takes away from their natural traits of being territorial and creates confusion with dominance. The game rules to balance this issue include, giving them their own bed and allowing them on your bed when you ask them to come join you and not whenever they want to, that boundary has to be made clear when you start training your dog. So, sharing a bed is an invite only option and not a given.

Another way we end up humanizing our dogs is by feeding them ‘people’ food. Their digestive systems, their nutritional requirements and their general well being depends on meals suited for their species. So, though a scrap here or there may not be harmful, it can lead to a path of bad gut health, poor growth and illnesses like obesity, sluggish digestion and nutritional deficiencies. The other troubling part about sharing bites or table scraps is changing their tastes towards our food and away from their own food. A lot of our foods contain preservatives, GMO’s, high fat content, dyes, sugars, and chemicals which are actually worse for canines than for humans. Sometimes to coax a poor eater, we tend to add scrambled eggs, a little meat from our meals, crumbled cottage cheese but the truth is, if you provide balanced meals to your pet (ask your vet for recipes) or good brands of packaged foods, then be assured that these are completely balanced in terms of nutrition and there is nothing you need to add.

The stress comes from the fact that they can’t be their true and natural selves, we don’t allow them the space to be that. The anxiety comes from the fact that they believe we except them to be a certain way which may be against their nature or even breed and the weight problems are actually a combination of three things, the anxiety, the stress the table scraps we mentioned earlier. Keep these few points in mind and love your dogs with all your heart, just know the defining line between you and them.

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