When is Humanization Harmful to Pets?

dog and cat

No matter how much we love our pets, and no matter how much we pamper them, we must remember they are not humans. Sometimes, we can humanize our non-human family members to their detriment.

  • Diet

There’s very little human food that our pets should have. They shouldn’t get table scraps, no matter how sweet and sorry they look while begging. Their non-human bodies don’t have the same caloric and nutrition needs and tolerances as humans bodies have.

Sharing our food with pets can mean they’re over fed and sometimes undernourished. Table scraps mean fats, sugars, sodium, and toxic ingredients that our pets don’t need and often can’t handle without stomach upset (or worse). Toxic human foods made number three on the ASPCA Poison Control Center’s top 10 toxins in 2016.

If you’re going to feed your dog human foods, choose wisely. Carrots, apple slices (no seeds), and bananas (in moderation) are good, healthy human snacks you can feed your dog.

  • Discipline/Behavior Expectations

Dogs and cats do dog and cat things. We can do our best to teach them acceptable behaviors, but at the end of the day, we can’t get pissed at them for behaving like animals. We do human things, like take daily showers and light fireworks, which pets would find foreign. We’d be confused if they disciplined us for it.

Cats kill mice and birds. Dogs chase cats, dig holes, and chew on stuff.  Dogs get excited and pee. They’ll break your back resisting the bathtub. Our pets wretch on the carpet, poop on the neighbor’s lawn, jump up and break vases, and steal dinner off the stove. A dog might growl at child who yanks on their tail (ouch!), and a cat might dig into the houseplant dirt. It all could happen because they’re animals.

We have the right to get frustrated and grumble when these things happen because they suck. However, we don’t have the right to expect dogs and cats to not be cats and dogs.

We can train them to a certain point, but we can’t and shouldn’t strip them of their unique, beautiful, crazy natures. It’s wrong to yell at, frighten, and hit our pets for behaving like non-humans.

  • Medication

It’s not uncommon for pet parents to give their babes human medicines. However, we should never, ever give them medication of any kind without veterinarian advisement. It is dangerous. Remember that top 10 list of pet toxins? The number one and number two toxins on that list are prescription human meds and over-the-counter human meds, respectively.

Leave it to the docs to assess, diagnose, and determine proper medicine and dosages. Keep medicines where pets cannot access them accidentally, and never give pets medication (human or otherwise) without veterinarian instruction.

There are some instances when it’s good to treat pets as we do humans.

  • Compassion/respect

Our pets, our animals, are living, thinking, feeling beings. We should treat them as such. It costs nothing and harms no one to make them matter. As living beings, they deserve it. Because they depend on us, because we tout ourselves as stronger, smarter, superior beings, we owe our pets our compassion and respect.

  • Comfort

It’s safe to assume that our pets don’t want to be too hot, too cold, or too dirty. They don’t want to sleep on hard surfaces every night. They don’t want to be chained to a fence. They don’t want to be left inside vehicles in extreme temperatures. I always say, if you wouldn’t suffer something, don’t make your pets suffer it.

  • Love/Care

Pets aren’t just things to have around. They need love and care, as humans do. They need more than the basics of survival. They need baths, good nutrition, doctor visits, hugs and kisses, playtime, and inclusion. It’s perfectly okay to love, love, love our babes as family members.

Always love your pet with a big, open heart. But remember, no matter how much you love them or how close they are to you, they’re not human. Sometimes, treating them as humans does more harm than good.

Leave a Reply