Understanding pets: 8 ingenious tips for better communication

Pets are easy to care for aren’t they? But not all of our ‘treats’ are good for dogs and cats.
understanding pets

With half of households occupied by at least one pet, the UK is certainly a nation of pet lovers. There’s more than a quarter of a century of research confirming that having canine or feline company is good for our wellbeing. But, it can be easy to forget that our pet’s health and lifestyle needs require as much love and attention as our own. Here are eight expert tips for better understanding pets and their needs.

A wagging tail doesn’t mean your dog needs affection 

Researchers have found that dogs initially wag their tails in response to being around other living things, rather than just to convey general content. The way in which they move their tails, however, is how you can determine your dog’s feelings – for example, a broad wag is ‘friendly’, a slight wag is ‘tentative’, and a tail hung between the legs can be interpreted as scared.

Pets do not like hairdryers
Understanding pets: A blowdry is not a pleasant experience for most pets.

Pets hate the hairdryer 

Lots of pets are often terrified by the loud noise of an at-home hairdryer, so to help your pet dry faster (and fluffier!), sprinkle some cornflour onto their fur and brush through. This can also be done instead of a bath, as the cornflour will absorb excess grease and untangle matted fur – purrrfect for cat owners as cats are usually adverse to water.

cats chase light
Understanding pets: Cats are natural hunters but will

Cats chase lights, but get frustrated if there’s nothing to catch 

While laser pointers are a well known ‘toy’ to interact with your cat, the reality is that you’re encouraging a build-up of frustration and aggravation. Each time your cat ‘catches’ the light and isn’t rewarded, it is likely to be left reeling. Instead, try using pointers with toys at the end to help ‘end’ the process of the hunt and keep your cat satisfied.

Dogs aren’t colour blind 

The age old myth that dogs can only see in black and white is simply not true. Though your pet certainly can’t see as many colours as we can, it’s thought that dogs see in shades of blue, green, yellow and grey.

pet obesity
Understanding pets: You are not treating your pet by sharing biscuits and other sweets.

Pets can suffer from obesity 

Surveys have shown that 42 per cent of dogs don’t get enough walks by the owners, leading to a staggering 50 per cent being overweight. Just like us humans, being overweight can lead to heart disease, low energy, diabetes, premature ageing, arthritis and respiratory problems, so remember to watch your pet’s waistline!

You pet’s health can benefit from supplements too 

To help ensure your pet remains in the best of health, it’s worth considering supplement especially for your pet. Similarly to humans, your pet can take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to help keep their joints supple, omega 3 to help maintain brain, skin, joint and heart health, coQ10 for heart health, vitamin C, zinc and multivitamins – all of which will help maintain good general health. Healthspan, offers expert formulations for dogs, cats and horses.

cats can't digest milk
Understanding pets: Cats and cows milk are not a happy mix.

Most cats can’t digest milk 

Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t be feeding your cat milk as it’s likely to be lactose intolerant. While some cats can digest milk, most have difficulty with the amount of lactose found in cows’ milk as it outweighs their supply of lactate. In addition, cows’ milk is also high in fat and can lead to weight gain.

happy dog
Understanding pets: When is a treat not a treat?

Pets find it difficult to digest human foods 

While there’s certainly lots of foods you can share with your pet, there’s also an abundance of tasty treats that are strictly for human consumption only.

It’s safe to assume that processed foods – think chocolate, sweets, cows’ milk, artificial sweeteners, salami, coffee – etc. are definite a no-no for your pet. However, there are a surprising number of ‘natural’ foods (such as corn on the cob, animal bones, grapes, nuts, onions and leeks, for example) that are also toxic to your pets.

To make sure you’re clued up about what’s safe and what’s not, speak to your vet or try an app like Can Dogs Eat It contains a list of ‘yes’, ‘occasionally’ and ‘no’ foods suitable for your pet.

If you found Understanding pets: 8 secrets your pets don’t tell you helpful, you’ll find more helpful content to understand animal behaviour on our Pets channel.

Tags: Last modified: August 17, 2023

Written by 8:30 am Pets