The easiest way to show them love is to ensure that animals are free of stress,’ says Dr Ferreira of Three Rivers Veterinary Clinic says.
‘If they’re relaxed and all their needs are met, they’ll be content and will display affection.’ Your pet’s needs will differ depending on their species. Dr Ferreira recommends researching different pets and how to take care of them properly before purchasing or adopting one, especially if you’re looking at a species you’ve never had before. ‘For the most part, animals are content with “the bare necessities”,’ he says. ‘We can learn so much from them and their “gratitude” for simple things.’
Understanding your pets
Dr Ferreira shares some insights that will help you have a better understanding of your pets and their feelings. When asked if animals experience feelings and emotions the same way humans do, Dr Ferreira says, ‘It’s difficult to know for sure. I don’t think animals experience feelings exactly the same way as we do, but they’re definitely not just a pile of muscles and bones that simply react to stimuli in their environment.
‘In terms of feeling love, I don’t believe animals feel love in the same, broad, allencompassing expression that humans do. I do, however, have no doubt that they’re capable of affection and compassion, as we are.’
If you’d like to spoil your pets with more than the bare necessities, Dr Ferreira has these suggestions:
- Humans love a tight bear hug, but most animals experience anxiety when they’re held very tight. Avoid bear hugs and offer gentle stroking and a game, instead.
- If you have a small dog, cuddling them on the couch is a treat for both of you. But constantly jumping on and off the couch can hurt your dog’s back and joints. Invest in a small ramp or steps for them to save pain and discomfort as they get older.