Why Do We Form Close Relationships with Animals?
As a committed animal lover, you most likely enjoy a special relationship with your pet. After a long day, your dog greets you with a wagging tail or your cat winds around your legs with a contented purr. Basically, they can’t wait to see you, and you look forward to giving them some ear scratches and belly rubs.
In fact, if you consider your dog or cat an exceptional companion, you have plenty of company. Almost 80 percent of US-based pet owners regard their pets as their best friends. For many people, pets also provided welcome companionship during the COVID-19 pandemic’s isolation.
In return for their unconditional love, you provide your pet with great food plus regular wellness care and dental care. They also get all the toys and treats they can handle. In fact, many pets are spoiled rotten, and their owners regard it like a badge of honor.
Of course, many pet owners have pets other than dogs or cats. Some owners even have a virtual menagerie in their home or apartment. Whether you share your home with a dog, cat, bird, reptile, or small mammal, you provide the same great care for your pet(s). By all accounts, it’s a win-win for both parties.
Why Do Animals Bond with Humans?
So, what’s behind this rock-solid human-animal bond? Why do animals bond with humans? Three likely reasons are behind this mutually beneficial relationship.
First, humans’ long standing relationship with animals may stem from the animals’ previous roles as living tools. For example, horses were used to work the land, and working dogs are still used for hunting or sheep herding. When animals and humans work closely together, they depend on each other and develop a special means of communication. There’s also a form of unwritten mutual respect.
Next, humans often find domestic animals’ physical features very appealing. For example, generations of selective breeding have given each dog breed a set of features that delight a certain group of owners. If owners find their pet very appealing, they’re more likely to create a bond with him or her.
Finally, humans often have very strong nurturing instincts, typically expressed in their love for their children. Pets often evoke these same nurturing instincts, leading some pet owners to regard their pets almost as infants or toddlers. For example, owners may dress their small dogs in cute outfits and carry them around in baby strollers.
Regardless of their species, favored pets depend on their owners for nutritious food and regular veterinary care. In return, the pets give unconditional love, often providing the owner with validation for their efforts in caring for their pet.
If your pet feels their best, they’ll be better able to share in a strong human-animal bond with you. Your All Pet Animal Hospital veterinarian can give your dog, cat, bird, reptile, or small mammal a nose-to-tail exam. Based on the results, the vet will provide targeted health recommendations. Call today for an appointment.