Cruel Practices For HouseHold Pets

 

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For new pet owners, the options when it comes to caring for and preparing for your new pet can be daunting. Many people want to do right by their new family member but aren’t sure of the proper practices surrounding pets and their bodies. This rings true for long-time pet owners as well. We hear quite often that individuals looking to adopt a pet were unaware that certain procedures or actions can be extremely cruel to our furry friends.

Below are some of the most common practices that are cruel to our animals as well as some alternatives or solutions:

Declawing

 

Procedure:

This procedure is listed first since it is the most common in household cats. Many owners have their cats declawed out of fear of injury if the cat scratches them or a concern for their new cat scratching the furniture. Overall, it’s easy to see why owners might see the advantages of removing potential harmful tools in their cat.  

 

But when you declaw your cat you’re not simply removing the claws from their paws – you’re amputating part of their toes, including the bone. To compare the procedure to humans, it would be like removing your fingers from the first knuckle. Keep in mind that cats not only have these appendages removed, they’re forced to walk on their paws immediately after the procedure. The entire process is extremely painful for the cat and has no benefit to the animal whatsoever.

 

Long term effects:

Declawing a cat negatively impacts your feline’s legs, shoulders and back muscles in addition to damaging the cat’s skin and bladder over time. Cats with their claws live much healthier and happier lives.

 

Solution or alternative:

It’s possible to train kittens from a young age not to scratch using a water bottle to spritz the cat when it scratches furniture if that is a concern. It’s also recommended to ensure your cat has alternative scratching materials other than furniture, such as cat trees and scratching posts. However, if you are extremely concerned about the state of your furniture over the well-being and happiness of your pet, a cat may not be the right choice for you. If you are worried about your cat scratching you, there are many options for having your cat’s claws trimmed – if your cat is calm and docile enough, you may even be able to do it yourself with guidance from your vet.

Ear-Cropping and Tail-Docking

 

Procedure:

Ear-cropping and tail-docking is another common procedure that is strictly cosmetic and holds no benefit whatsoever for the dog or cat. Ear-cropping is the process of cutting off the floppy part of a dog’s ear and the procedure is usually performed when a puppy is eight to 12 weeks old. The puppy’s ears are then taped to a hard surface so that they heal upright over several weeks. Tail-docking involves snipping a part or all of a dog or cat’s tail with scissors a few days after birth, usually with little or no anesthesia. Cropping and docking are completely unnecessary cosmetic surgeries that most owners and breeders perform to achieve a standard of purebred pet without concern for said pet’s pain or the health risks.

 

Long term effects:

Docked tails can develop nerve tumors and causes pain in the tail area which can cause dogs and cats to lash out when touched near the tail. Dogs use their tails and ears to communicate with owners and other animals, so by cropping or docking you are limiting your animals’s ability to “talk” or bond with you.

 

Solution or alternative:

You can request from a breeder that your pet’s tail remain intact but it’s recommended to make this request before birth as docking happens within the first three days for cats and dogs. The alternative to these cosmetic procedures is to simply refrain from performing them for your pet’s happiness and in the hope of keeping them pain-free.

 

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Debarking

 

Procedure:

Debarking is a procedure performed to eliminate a dog’s ability to communicate and vocalize, or “bark”. The procedure involves removing laryngeal tissue from your dog, which is extremely invasive and causes immense pain for the animal post-operation. People have this procedure performed when their dog barks excessively or too frequently.

 

Long term effects:

Debarking removes a dog’s ability to communicate and vocalize how they are feeling. Dogs bark for several reasons, including out of fear, anger, frustration and of course, happiness. The primary form of expression for any animal can be through noise, and debarking deprives a dog of this action. It is also extremely painful for the dog and considered so inhumane many veterinarians will not perform the surgery.

 

Alternatives:

Aggressive or repeated barking is almost always the result of different issues, most commonly loneliness and boredom. Excessive barking can be corrected through proper training and companionship for your dog, including doggy care or a dog walking service. Dogs are animals that love companionship and the solution to their boredom or loneliness is usually spending time with you. If you are still struggling with your dog’s barking, consult your vet on alternative training or solutions.

 

Outdoor Cats

 

Having an outdoor cat is obviously not a procedure, however it is a huge risk to impart on your feline friend. Cats are healthiest indoors and should not be allowed outside, even under supervision.

 

Long term effects:

Allowing your cat to go outside exposes your feline friend to infinite dangers and reduces their life expectancy significantly. Outdoor cats are at a much higher risk of diseases like feline leukemia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, rabies, heartworm, fleas and parasites and many more. Letting your cat outside also makes them vulnerable to other animals, cruel humans and of course, cars. There has been evidence of outdoor cats being poisoned and abused by neighbours who don’t want them “roaming around” and sometimes outdoors cats can be mutilated, beaten and stolen for use in ritual sacrifice or as “bait” for dogfighting.

 

Solutions or alternatives:

Cats are more than capable of living a long, happy life indoors but there are also products available to create a secure outdoor space for your cat. Cat fencing and ‘catios’ are popular and safe for felines but make sure to do research and consult your vet to find out if this is right for your pet. You should also seek to enhance your cat’s indoor experience with toys, cat trees and other entertaining activities.



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