bored dog

The Lifestyle of the Modern Pet

The rate at which the human population is expanding in cities throughout the country has created a high density development bonanza. While property developers, architects, architectural designers and builders are reaping the harvest pets are receiving the short end of the stick.

There is a clear dichotomy approach from body corporate management committees and tenants towards animals. There high density dwellings that allow certain companion animals only and then there are those, unfortunately, that have adopted the more popular trend of “no pets allowed”. Humans have co-habited with animals for thousands of years, and, with each modern generation there is a decline in pet ownership figures. Today, fewer pets are being owned, smaller animals are being kept and some dog breeds are facing extinction e.g. Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Keeshond, Saint Bernard, Samoyed, to mention a few, through circumstances of space availability, quality and quantity time that can be spent with pets, their affordability and breed fashion.

In this rapid evolutionary process people and pets are becoming isolated behind four walls, a situation antagonistic towards the gregarious genetics of man and dog. The lack of sociability causes anxiety, depression and psychiatric disorders for dogs, cats and parrots. The complete visual deprivation suffered by dogs is the epitomy of claustrophobia. Many dog breeds never adapt to being walled-in. It is also very cruel to keep active, working dogs and sight hounds in confinement without meaningful stimulation.

The courtyards are nothing more than roofless prisons with acoustics that increase the volume of vociferous dogs and amplify the audibility of lightning, thunder and fireworks for sound sensitive canine breeds e.g. Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Border Collies.

If the individual units in the townhouses or cluster complexes were bordered strategically by secure expanded metal or palisade fencing the dogs would be able to see more of the outside world, be able to associate certain activities and living creatures with their sounds and smells, and be far less indiscriminately aggressive. Pleasing most of the dog’s senses can develop more positive associations within the immediate environment and reduce the incidence of fears and phobias for the pet dog. Fences enhances canine socialization skills, tolerance and positive experiences. Neighbours can also learn to develop a rapport and understanding of the pets in the adjacent properties which is beneficial for general in-house security. The bark of dogs can hint at friend or foe on the property, if people are properly tuned in.

The creation of a dog park within the townhouse property or cluster homes can be a feature for early puppy socialization where the young hounds can get to know each other at grassroots level and be friendly for the rest of their lives. Why these facilities cannot be considered by developers remains a mystery. On average, pet owners are known to be more reliable tenants.

Courtyards covered by shade cloth or sun filter mesh can protect people from excessive sunlight but can prevent cats from intruding next door. Cats have becoming exponentially more popular as pets and impossible to limit their activity unless locked indoors.

Look-in fences can prevent cats from climbing and scaling walls, and from being a nuisance amongst residents.

Indoors, the homes are either tiled or carpeted. The slippery tiles aggravate many structural conditions in dogs and cats. Exacerbated by the fact that 85% of modern dogs and cats are obese from overeating and lack of exercise, these animals slip on tiled surfaces whether cavorting around the house or jumping off furniture. Torn knee ligaments, slipped discs and premature arthritis of the hips are some of the complications these pets receive on these smooth surfaces. Further to this, more and more people are running meticulously clean, neat and sterile homes. The tile disinfectants are absorbed into the pads of cats and dogs and may induce contact allergies, or irritate the feet until they lick the underneath parts of their paws and ingest the chemicals, which can become chronically toxic for the liver.

Parrots in cages have to be kept out of the kitchen because of emissions from cooking pots and the draught from the fridge opening and closing. Parrots have to be kept away from lounge appliances e.g. television and radio etc. for health reasons. Most dining rooms in residences are fairly cold and detrimental to the well-being of birds. They cannot be kept in the bedroom for want of inhalant allergies (feathers, bird dander) and disturbance. Ideally, it seems, that birds need to be kept in the study or unoccupied bedroom. How many people have this available space? Parrots cannot tolerate isolation in these unoccupied rooms.

Some parrots have, however, learnt to mimic the arrival of concrete mixer trucks, hammering by builders, cellphone ringing sounds, motorbikes, revving engines, computer games, coughing human smokers, to mention a few. What does it tell us about a pet’s lifestyle in modern society??

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