A companion animal, pet or domestic animal, is a domesticated animal kept for the purpose of providing company or for the enjoyment of the caretaker. Unlike laboratory animals, animals for breeding or livestock, animals for transportation, or animals for sport, pets are not kept for financial or food benefits, although they are kept for personal gain.
Companion animals are selected for their behaviour, adaptability and for their interaction with humans, in which they may be used as hunting or security tools. Owning a companion animal can bring health benefits, as daily care makes many people forget other worries, prevents depression and makes us feel useful. The most popular companion animals are the dog and cat.
The pet is also characterized by its friendliness. It can be said that most of these animals become domestic if the person with whom they live teaches them good manners in daily living, not forgetting their animal nature.
A pet adapts to the environment of a human being regardless of its nature: it adheres to a group, family or society, which provides it with everything necessary for its development.
In adaptability and behavior, it is said that dogs as companion animals, surpass the majority. Their adaptability has helped man in various social, cultural and recreational environments, as in their therapeutic use in hospitals, as guides for blind people, as police support, and in complicated rescues of people.
The company of any pet always evokes tenderness, companionship and friendship, qualities that are intensified when loneliness seeks to filter into people’s lives. It is in these moments when the pet acquires a more important role, feeling it is part of the family and even more so, as a friend.
Most people show a positive attitude through their relationship with a pet, especially those who suffer from psychological or physical problems.
The origin of animal domestication was established around 9000 B.C. in the human sedimentation event known as the Neolithic revolution. Animals began to be used for food purposes, but it was later discovered that they could be used as hunting tools or hunting companions, adopting a more productive value as such than as food. Animals were constantly related to the identity of different social classes throughout history, as economic capacity allowed for the possession of valuable and exotic species of animals and plants.
The origin of animal domestication is inaccurate, but it is believed that it began when humans realized that they needed to establish links between themselves and nature for their survival and development. It is estimated that dogs, one of the first domesticated animal species, have been bred as companion animals for about ten thousand years. Around the year three and a half thousand years ago. C. began the domestication of cats in Egypt.
A large percentage of the world’s population owns a pet: it is estimated that only 62% of the U.S. population has a pet.
The most popular companion animals around the world are cats, in any variety of species.
Owning a pet is often translated as an acquisition of responsibilities in which the animal must be provided with everything necessary for its proper development. For the care of a companion animal is necessary a correct feeding and a constant care that avoids some diseases, besides medical care and the imitation of its natural environment.
Owning an animal as a companion animal can have positive effects on human life. Lowering high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood are positive physical effects of pet ownership.
The social interaction involved in pet ownership has shown a positive response to mental stress, depression and feelings of loneliness, leading to a placebo effect, which improves the health of the pet owner.
Also, recent studies in Japan show that people who suffer from chronic diseases and own pets (whether they have fur, feathers or scales) seem to have healthier hearts than those who live without a pet.
In the results published in the American Journal of Cardiology , researchers who studied nearly 200 people found that those who owned a companion animal had a higher variability in heart rate than those without a pet [citation required] (reduced variability is associated with a higher risk of dying from a heart problem; meaning their hearts respond better to the demands of body changes, such as pumping faster during stressful situations.
The negative health effects of a pet mainly include respiratory and skin responses to allergies and asthma. Another possible risk is the attack of the species that is kept as a pet (bites, injection of poison, paws, etc.). Fear or phobia towards a certain species should also be taken into account. In addition, several diseases can be acquired by pathogens transmitted through animal contact, such as cat scratch disease, stomach infections, ornithosis acquired through contact with some bird species and salmonellosis.
Because animals can be considered as “dirty” beings, there are strict laws all over the world.
Dogs and cats are the quintessential domestic animals, followed by some rodents and birds
Today’s families have different compositions. Today there are single-parent homes, people living alone, large families, etc… In each of them there are different relationships that unite their inhabitants and in many of them there are more living beings that complete the family nucleus. These are the pets.
In many homes, pets are a fundamental part of the family. Animals such as dogs and cats live together with children and adults with whom they share all their experiences. Also, other domestic animals such as fish or hamsters sneak into many homes to delight their owners.
There are a number of pets that are the most common throughout the world. The dog is, without a doubt, the king of pets.
The most common pets are dogs. These animals rise as the quintessential domestic animal. Their protective instinct and the company they offer make dogs a member of many families. Dogs are unconditional friends of their masters and, therefore, many people cannot live without them.
In addition, many households use the company of a dog to protect their homes. The protection instinct of these animals makes them key, for example, in the field classes.
In houses with gardens, they also allow the dogs to give free rein to their need to run and gallop without space problems. There are certain breeds of dog that are best suited to each environment. For this reason, there are dogs that live in a flat without any problem, while others require larger and more open spaces for their comfort.
Cats are second on the pet list. These pets are very popular because of the endless company they offer. However, many people are reluctant to live with a cat. Cats have not always been pets, as their origins are clearly wild.
However, cat lovers are loyal to them and cannot be separated from their pets. They are very clean and docile animals. They do not require great care and are very affectionate with their masters. However, the cat will be reluctant to visitors who come to your home and require some adaptation when a new member of the family arrives. In addition, during the pregnancy it is necessary to take some precautions in the contact between the future mother and the animal.
These rodents are one of the main domestic animals in homes with children. Hamsters are often the first pets for some children. It does not require much special care but it must be guaranteed good hygiene and temperature conditions. The hamster must have an approved cage in which it will eat, sleep and play. There are numerous models on the market, with which the animal will feel most at home.
It should be noted that the hamster is a very small animal that can easily escape and hide in the furthest corner of a house. Therefore, we must be especially careful that it does not escape from its cage. Its condition as a rodent can play more than one trick by eating wires or tearing wooden furniture.
Birds such as parrots or parakeets are other common pets. In the case of parrots, they are usually a fun companion animal for many young people and adults. Parrot homes must achieve an ideal temperature for this bird to feel at home. Parrots are easy to domesticate and become an ideal companion animal.
Both parrots and parakeets will have their specific cages, in which they will have enough space to move and flutter. Especially in the case of parakeets, it is important that these animals feel free to move their wings and give free rein to their singing.
Fish are one of the most peaceful pets. They are not hardly any work but their presence in the fish tank offers company and tranquillity to their masters. Fish tanks are a fundamental element for the coexistence between fish and humans. It must be a space that meets all health and safety standards for these pets.
Fish can become the ideal pet for many children. They are easy to feed and cleaning their fish tank can become a weekly task for many children. The bond that is created between fish and their masters is very special.
In case you have decided to buy, the important thing is that you make sure you buy the animal in a good place. Unfortunately, there are “breeders” who do not care about the health of the animals, they are only interested in money, and the conditions in which the poor dogs are kept are horrible. In the same way, there are breeders who take care of their animals and worry about the health of them and their litters.
The sale of animals, moreover, is regulated by law, and it is compulsory to be registered as a zoo with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and the number assigned must be visible to the public. The animals must be sold dewormed and free of any disease. This has to be certified by a veterinarian, and with a minimum guarantee of 15 days, in case there are hidden injuries or diseases in incubation. This means that if the animal becomes sick within 15 days of purchase, the owner of the animal can make a claim.
When buying, the best thing to do is to do it without haste, informing us well about the breed we are interested in and researching as much as possible about good breeders. If you are looking for a cheap animal, the most likely thing is that it will be expensive in the end. In an idyllic world, all breeders would test their dogs for diseases that can be transmitted from parents to children, and would only breed with those that are healthy, but nowadays, that is not the case, so you have to know that it is possible that when you buy a pedigree dog or cat, it comes with problems that its parents already had and that will come out in a more or less near future. I have to say that slowly, but it is improving a lot in that sense, and fortunately there are more and more responsible breeders who care about the health of their animals and not only about aesthetics.
With the Internet it is increasingly easy to fall into the hands of people who do not have good intentions, and who take advantage of the great illusion that makes us add a four-legged member to our family. Scams are not only with the sale of puppies but also with adoptions.
Whenever the person who wants to sell us, or give the animal up for adoption, writes us emails that seem to have been translated by some online translator and are difficult to read, we have to start getting suspicious. They will send us pictures of beautiful puppies and ask us for money in advance for the shipment. That’s where the scam is. They usually ask for not very high amounts, around 50 euros to pay for the sending of the animal by some known company, and after sending the money, they disappear forever, they stop answering our mails and the animal never arrives home.
In other occasions, when it is about the purchase of the dog or cat, they ask us to advance half of the value of the animal, and the same happens, they stop answering or many times we receive animals that do not correspond to what was agreed, in age, sex, race or even they can send them to us with health problems, being impossible to contact them to claim anything. On this subject, I would like to remind you of the article I wrote on the illegal trafficking of puppies, and which we continue to allow to exist when we buy these animals of dubious origin.
I hope I have helped you to make the decision to extend the family. In our clinic we always look forward to meeting the new furry member so we can take care of him/her as one more in the family.
The Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet is a home-food based pet food trend whose proponents claim it has greater health benefits for pets because of its natural composition.
However, many others warn of the risk of bacteria in this raw food, so they recommend opting for the use of processed “kibble” food, as it is known in some countries.
“A highly processed food damages the intestinal microbiota […] compromising the immune system and the walls of the intestine, leading to diseases such as diabetes or obesity”.
“A biologically appropriate raw food diet has been developed for all creatures, not just a particular way of feeding a dog or cat a raw diet, as many think”
Although the choice of raw animal feeds is an upward trend in recent years, those who opt for processed foods remain clearly inferior.
The truth is that between the two diet choices there can also be an intermediate option: that of cooking the food.