The 3 Dangers of Humanizing Dogs

May 22, 2018

One fairly widespread trend today is humanizing dogs. But treating animals as if they had attributes that are actually specific to humans—whether you do it consciously or unconsciously—can cause a myriad of problems for them, and in this article, we’ll talk about a few of them.

How Do You Humanize a Dog?

Here are a few of the most common ways that people are humanizing dogs: 

  • Treating them like children.
  • Dressing them “stylishly” in clothes and accessories, including shoes and jewelry.
  • Walking them in strollers or carrying them in your arms or purse.
  • Subjecting them to aesthetic treatments like dyeing their fur.
  • Throwing birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, etc. for them.
  • Using products on them that are exclusively designed for humans (medications, cosmetics, feeding them certain foods, etc).

 

Greyhound wearing a white sweater: humanizing dogs.

Humanizing dogs can lead to major physical and emotional health problems. A veterinarian or a specialist in animal behavior are the two most appropriate people to decide how these issues should be addressed.

In addition to behavioral disorders, this practice can result in obesity. You’re also risking dangerous side effects if you give them drugs or products designed specifically for humans.

The Major Dangers of Humanizing Dogs

Next we are going to discuss the main dangers of humanizing dogs, so be sure to pay close attention!

1.  Behavioral Issues

Humanizing dogs is a major cause of behavioral issues. Treating a dog like a person will confuse them and change how they act. You may notice your dog…

  • Being aggressive with you, strangers or other animals.
  • Urinating or defecating in inappropriate places.
  • Breaking or chewing things: footwear, clothing, newspapers, plants, etc.
  • Developing stereotypies: chasing their tail, hunting nonexistent flies, compulsively licking their legs or other parts of their bodies, etc.
  • Constantly barking.

So let’s start with the basics: a dog is a dog, not a person. If you want a happy, healthy life with your pet, you must respect their nature and learn to interpret their body language. That way, you can socialize and train them properly.

2.  Eating Disorders

Humanizing dogs can also lead to obesity and nutritional deficiencies. Dogs need to eat a balanced diet that fits their characteristics, size, and age. Giving your dog people food in addition to their usual diet is sure to make them obese, or at the very least not cover all of their nutritional needs.

Even though treats are good and should be allowed from time to time, it’s better to give dogs treats that are specifically made for them and are accounted for in their overall diet. So, avoid sweets and sugar and opt for a healthier — yet equally tasty — snack for your dog.

3. Physical Health Complications

Golden Retriever laying on a bed

Apart from the emotional problems that humanizing dogs causes in them, there are physical ones as well. A common line of reasoning in people who are in the habit of humanizing dogs is, “if something is good for me, it will also be good for my dog.”

So they proceed to make the serious mistake of giving their furry friends medications that are designed specifically for people, risking severe health problems. Some drugs are even toxic for them.

We must not forget that humans and dogs are not at all the same species and therefore have different metabolisms, meaning that dogs and humans process and eliminate substances in different ways.

The same applies for personal hygiene products. Dogs and people do not have the same skin pH levels. Therefore, bathing a dog with human shampoo can cause allergic reactions and other skin issues that range from mild to very serious.

Dressing dogs in clothing can also result in skin problems, and besides being very uncomfortable for them, the clothes are usually made with fabrics that are not appropriate for animals.