By Dr. Becker
Sadly, many animals, including family pets, are victims of abuse at some point in their lives. Abuse can be active in the form of physical attacks or punishment, or it can be passive, for example, neglect. In fact, abuse comes in many forms, including:
Depending on how old the pet is when the abuse occurs, it can affect him for the rest of his life, even if he’s taken away from his abuser and adopted into a loving home.
- Depriving a young animal of its mother through too-early weaning
- Chaining or tying up an animal or forcing it to spend most of its time in a kennel or cage; causing chronic stress or pain
- Yelling, hitting or other forms of verbal or physical punishment
- Lack of proper care in feeding, grooming, and attending to health needs
- Partial or complete social isolation; lack of appropriate learning experiences
According to world-renowned veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, writing for PetPlace:
“An older animal may bounce back from a bad situation, but a young, impressionable pet will show lasting mental scars. He or she often has to be coaxed out of a shell of resistance and will likely never be fully trusting.”1
Was My Adopted Pet Abused? What to Look For
Pets who have been abused are easy to spot if you know the signs. They are very often withdrawn, distrustful, depressed, physically inactive, and unwilling to play. A particularly sensitive abused animal will be off in the corner of the room or in a hiding place, too insecure to even explore her environment. Often the fear extends to the outdoors and open spaces. Many abused pets are hyper-vigilant, tend to isolate themselves, and make very little noise.
Other signs of mistreatment depend on the type of abuse or neglect the animal has endured. For example, a young pet who has spent much of his time alone may exhibit extreme separation anxiety when separated from his new adoptive guardian.
If kitties aren’t exposed to people during their first seven weeks, they develop a permanent distrust of humans. Cats that have been frightened or physically hurt during those seven weeks may develop generalized hostility that cannot be overcome. Read the entire article
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