Many people have a certain image of what constitutes animal abuse. They will imagine a dog being hit and cowering in fear. They might imagine someone pulling a cat’s tail until she cries in pain. These are very terrible instances of animal abuse. However, some forms of animal abuse can be much more insidious, especially because they will not always register as abuse. They often go unnoticed in a society that perceives abuse in only a certain way.
Some loving pet owners who legitimately care about their animals will do things that are abusive. Not taking your dog to a veterinarian on a regular basis, for instance, qualifies as abuse because it is a form of neglect. In some cases, it can be criminal neglect, since many dogs are going to be in a situation in which they do not get certain conditions treated in time. Taking a dog to a veterinarian on a regular basis can be an undertaking for some pet owners, especially if they also have children, but it is simply part of the responsibility that you must accept when you become a pet owner. If you cannot get your pet to the vet or if no one is around to help you, you must give your pet up for adoption.
There is also the fact that even doting pet owners can give their pets diets that are terribly unhealthy for them, which is also a form of abuse. Dog owners are notorious for treating their pets this way. Dogs are partly omnivorous, but this does not mean that they can eat literally everything. There is a certain diet that is healthy for dogs and certain foods that should be off the menu for dogs no matter how much they beg at the dinner table. Dogs want attention at the dinner table more than anything else. They should be given their own food.
Ironically, there are even people who are militant about animal rights who can abuse their animals in a way that is in line with their ideology. Some militant vegans have been found to try to keep their cats and dogs on vegan diets, giving them tofu, vegetables, rice milk, and other types of vegan food that will be completely inadequate when it comes to the dietary needs of dogs and cats. Cats in particular are obligate carnivores who need a lot of the amino acids found in meet in order to survive, and a cat will soon starve on a vegan diet. Vegans who think this way should only choose herbivorous pets, or they should try to modify their beliefs to acknowledge the realities of the lives of animals.
Some pet owners are harming their pets while they believe that they are helping them. Letting your dog or your cat spend too much time outdoors actually constitutes a form of animal abuse. Domesticated dogs and cats are completely dependent upon humans. They lack the outdoor survival skills that any being would need to be able to withstand the elements outdoors. Dogs and cats are used to temperature-controlled indoor environments with a stable supply of easily accessible food and water from their owners, and thrusting them into the outdoors is just going to shock them. Dogs and cats cannot understand that they are being let outside ‘to play’ the way a human child can, and they do not have the perspective to know that their owners are going to let them back in and everything will be fine again. There are better and healthier ways to make sure that your dog and cat gets enough exercise.
If you are a pet owner who has done these sorts of things, it doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t mean your pets should be taken away from you. It just means that you need to modify your behavioral patterns as a pet owner for the good of the animals that are in your care. In all likelihood, you did not cause your pet any permanent damage. You just need to get your pet ownership back on track.