Your Dog’s (and Cat’s) Real Needs

In the age of pet parades and animal celebrities on social media, this leaves me wondering a dog’s real needs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as entertained by the dogs and cats as any other viewer of the animal videos.

Photo by Kat Smith on

But as an animal communicator, I point out that our pets are not humans. They are not consumers of popular culture, even if they go along with it for our sake, and more than fancy clothing and baskets full of toys, let’s look at the things a dog needs to feel the most content and to keep him or her in alignment with the true dog nature.

Granted, over the 5,000 years of bonding with humans, dogs have adapted well to our consumer culture and our need for constant stimuli. They have adapted to our strange musical choices, riding in automobiles, and hanging out at crowded events with too many smells that overwhelms their senses. And you wonder why Fido is so exhausted after a day of attending a concert in a park.

The typical dog needs a few items for playing with such as a Frisbee, a tennis ball, and a rubbery squeak toy to chew on or to tear apart pretending that it’s prey. A dog does not need a basket full of toys or his own bedroom that resembles one of a toddler or young child. I remind everyone that dogs are not human children. They are predators by nature even if we have mostly tamed that out of domestic dogs.

Dogs don’t want to stay home all day laying on a couch or playing with their basket full of toys. They want to go outdoors (even the toy dogs). They want to sniff out different scents left by other animals and humans. They want to roll or dig in the earth. They want to run on a beach (dogs) or roam the neighborhood independently (cats). Our pets also need fresh air and sunlight just like we do.

Dogs need to eat a healthy diet and there are too many debates about what that is. Is it a raw meat and eggs diet with cooked vegetables or is it a super foods kibble? I’m not an expert on dog nutrition. I recommend checking out the work of the retired holistic vet, Marty Goldstein. Is it better to feed dogs small meals throughout the course of the day or just feed them at breakfast and at dinner? That’s something for humans to consider with their vet.

The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan once mentioned that dogs require mostly exercise, then a good diet, and then affection–not too much affection and not enough exercise which the dog trainer said leads to unwanted behavior in a dog. Again, don’t baby the dogs by dressing them up, giving them rides in strollers, and treating them like human babies (that’s my opinion). Don’t spoil your dog even though I know it’s a challenge not to do when the dog’s stare up at you with begging puppy eyes, even when they are 16-years-old!

We must remember that dogs (and cats) are not humans. And when we treat them like they are humans we give them the wrong kind of attention and don’t give them what they actually need. It’s best to study the history of dogs (and cats) and consider that they still have the original instincts from their wild ancestors, and you see this in the working breeds such as huskies.

Photo by Inge Wallumru00f8d on

Dogs develop unwanted behavior when their true needs are not met, and this can involve miscommunication or a disconnect between the human guardian and the animal. This is where animal communication comes in. During a communication with the animal (hopefully) the animal will be honest with his or her communication with the animal communicator. And one of the questions that the communicator must ask the animal client is, “Are your needs being met?” Another question is, “What do you currently need from your person?”

The connections we have with our pets have been called soul mate connections or friendships. People often say that their pets are their best friends. And we see that a lot in YouTube videos featuring humans and their animals. But just like with our relationships with other humans, breakdowns in communications can lead to unwanted behaviors. Sometimes those behaviors are because the animal is trying to get the human’s attention over a health issue (theirs or the humans). Other times, the animal is venting frustration for not being heard.

Even when times seem good and delightful with your pet, communication is key to stay on track. If you would like to set up your pet with a communication session via Zoom or a phone call, please sign up on my Animal Reiki page. And may the bond between humans and animals always be based on equality and mutual respect.

Published by pnwauthor

I'm a former Washingtonian from Washington State, not Washington DC. I currently reside in Pennsylvania, even though my dream was to live and work in Vermont.

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