2001-Sat Feb 25 13:26:42 EST 2017
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Think you know your pet’s every unspoken wish?
Your pet is unlikely to be capable of communicating her wants
and needs in
ways you might assume she would. Even those of you most in touch
pets' feelings are likely missing a few cues here and there.
As a veterinarian, I’m more than aware of some
communication gaps. It’s not as if I’m perfect in
assessing my own
pets' thoughts and feelings (ain’t none of us perfect), but as
someone who works
on the front lines of animal health care, I can usually spot interpretation
mismatches pretty quickly (in others, anyway).
With that prelude in mind, here’s my top 10 list of things
your pet won’t tell you:
1. I hurt. Pain is probably the No. 1 thing your pet
directly. Sure, she may limp, chew funny or shake her head, but
and carrying on (like we humans would) isn’t her MO. Slowing
down, taking the
stairs more tentatively, being reluctant to jump and struggling to
rise are more than likely signs of true pain — not just
2. I’m scared. When pets get aggressive, owners often assume
their pets are
acting out because they’re being dominant, angry or just pain
bratty. But the
truth is often much simpler: They may be just plain scared. And
fear must be
dealt with differently — far more carefully — than other kinds
of aggression. It sometimes calls for the assistance of a certified trainer or veterinary
3. I’m pissed off. I know it’s a vulgar thing to say, but there
you have it.
Cats, especially, are prone to getting PO’ed when things don’t go
their way. While there can certainly be an underlying medical condition behind
litterbox avoidance, it can also be a sign of pent-up
resentments in kitties, especially if they don't agree with your choice of litter or have a bone to pick with the litterbox cleaning schedule.
4. I resent my housemate. Both dogs and cats can be jealous creatures.
And cats are
extraordinarily territorial by nature. But the signs that things
between dogs and dogs or cats and cats can be incredibly subtle.
So subtle that
you’ll easily miss them — until it’s too late, of course, and
ensue. Start this conversation with your veterinarian, but this may be another instance where a certified trainer or veterinary behaviorist might be in order.
5. I need to lose weight. If there’s one subject most owners tend to overlook, it’s
obesity. In fact, most of my clients are shocked when I tell them
are easily 20 to 50 percent overweight.
Now, your pets may not want to eat less, but
don’t want to feel the effects that excess poundage brings.
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