Can loving your pet too much harm its health?

What if our way of lending human behavior to our pets out of affection and love for them could potentially disrupt some of their senses and behaviors? Explanations in “Good for you” with three specialists in the relationship between humans and animals.

Can loving your pet too much harm its health? © Getty / Lucy Lambriex

Unlike wild animals in the wild, domestic animals, living in the human sphere, exhibit profoundly different behaviors whose effects on their well-being may raise questions. Explanations at the microphone of Ali Rebeihi, with the ethologist Michael Kreutzerthe founding journalist of the Summer University for Animals, and World Animal Intelligence Day Yolaine De La Bigne then the neurobiologist Georges Chapouthiermember of the Ethics and Science Animal Law Foundation.

Pets, humans (not like the others)

Today, we tend to hominize animals

This is what Michel Kreutzer explains, insofar as pets are such a part of our lives that they are like a full member of the family. This phenomenon of affectivity with regard to his dog, his cat, his fish, his rabbit or his horse translates into a real humanization of the latter.

Remember that France has nearly 80 million pets, or one household in two (according to the FACCO: Federation of Food Manufacturers for Dogs, Cats, Birds and other pets).

In the case of cats, the journalist Yolaine De La Bigne specifies “that we are so addicted to these little balls of hair that we even come to call them “cat-dogs”, because they are cats which, like dogs, no longer go out, have lots of toys, are cuddled and brushed all day, go out on a leash… and act like their masters.

People are even starting to go to cat shrinks.

In the United States, they are given medication to treat their anxiety. Some animals even start to get completely anxious when their human goes to work. The same goes for our dogs who, unlike their stray congeners of the 18th century, had no problems when they were much more on their own. They were once neither obese nor anxious, as many have become today with greater domestication and complicity with humans.”

Mirrors and victims of human contradictions

The domestic animal brings us back to our own paradoxes, those which we humans are confronted with on a daily basis and which we reflect in the relationship we have with our animals even sometimes when we talk to them.

Georges Chapouthier believes, for example, “that animal obesity is symptomatic of a society where many humans are overweight due to a sedentary lifestyle, due to malnutrition. Some animals are obese because we are going to have tendency to overfeed them and to act with them as one does with oneself. Also the animals suffer from being locked up in an apartment in a society where one does not do enough physical activity. These are full of markers, among d ‘others, mistakes that we have’.

Yolaine De La Bigne believes that we cultivate such an ego that it goes so far as to stick to our relationships with animals, whereas these interactions are not made for them, initially.

To love the animal too much is almost sometimes abuse.

An example: horses. Some owners spend their time braiding them, giving them treats, brushing them… But the horse, all he wants is to be dirty, to have fun in the mud and to to be cushy in a meadow. If you love your horse, you shouldn’t brush it four times a day, it doesn’t make it happy.”

Georges Chapouthier and Michel Kreutzer agree that “even if a domestic animal finds an emotional need in humans, the simple fact that this animal is taken away from its spontaneous natural behaviors of its species, can become a source of suffering. All animals, at the base, also present mental and behavioral disorders, but:

Contact with humans potentiates pathologies also in animals.

Go further

🎧 LISTEN AGAIN | Do you great good : Is madness unique to man?

Leave a Comment