Your furry companion at home is smarter than you think. Although you’re constantly grooming them, checking for sick symptoms, and taking them to the vet, truth is, they can probably survive in the wild by themselves better than you can.
Animal health and survival tactics has always been a subject of interest to me. For example, at times I look at my cat and though she’s extremely resourceful, I know she’s dependent on me for a decent amount of things. Her health is based on how well I recognize sick symptoms and taking her to the vet to help her get better.
However, when I get sick, I either go on WebMD or I peruse the aisles of Rite Aid until I come across something to ease my symptoms. If it’s really bad, I’ll make an appointment to visit my doctor. It doesn’t make sense that an animal, perfectly capable of faring for itself on the streets, would need my human hands for assistance. Granted, raising an animal in a different environment does reduce its ability to survive in wild — animals, like humans have methods of survival, that are instinctive to them whether they are domesticated or not.
We know that animals each have unique traits that allow them to survive against harsh environmental factors and predator threats. But what about the common cold? Are humans the only ones who seek out Robitussin to ease their discomfort when confronted with various viruses? Even without medicine, when we get sick, we seek warmth and are inclined to hot fluids. Long before the age of Google and readily available medicines, we would find ways to nurse ourselves back to health, mortal illness aside.
Though it has been difficult to observe, outside of their standard patterns, it turns out that animals instinctively gravitate to “home remedies” as well. In a study, black ants changed their diets when they get fungal infections. They would eat more foods containing hydrogen peroxide in an attempt to fight the infection. Once the risk posed by infection was lowered, the ants would then return to their regular diets. Outside of the ant world, what does this say about our furry friends?
We may be able to catch ailments in our pets earlier by providing them with different environments, and paying attention to their eating habits. Taking note to when they start hovering around different environments or start gravitating to different foods consistently, may alert us to the fact that they’re seeking particular nutrients or comforts, that will ease discomfort that isn’t physically visible.