immagini I falsi miti sul rapporto tra animali e bambini

False myths about the children and animal relationship

How many times do we hear our mom say, "we would like to adopt a dog, but we have a small child!" or "I had to separate him from the cat, because otherwise he would have infected my newborn son with god knows what diseases!”. These are just some of the mostly well-founded beliefs that lead most parents to give up the special relationship that can be created between an animal and a child. What many of these apprehensive parents ignore, however, is that living with a dog or cat at home can also be a very useful factor in the growth children of all ages, of course paying attention to some important precautions.

We should evaluate many aspects based on parents’ concerns. Let's try to analyse some of them.

 “Animals make a mess around the house and bring diseases”

This statement must be analysed in detail.

If we want to welcome a stray dog inside our house we must adapt many more safety precaution as they usually dig in garbage bins.

gatto bambino guardano pesce

However, the situation is different with dogs and cats that live in the house and that go outside for daily walks only.

House animals, in fact, when regularly subjected to deworming, vaccinations and the necessary parasite control treatments, cannot transmit any disease to us or to our children.

We could instead think of how many viruses and bacteria we transmit amongst us every day, simply by getting on a tram or by using a public toilet. We would be impressed if we compared this with the risk of diseases that the dog or cat could transmit.

Furthermore, one aspect that many people ignore is that most viruses and bacteria in animals only affect animals. In fact, these are species-specific microorganisms, which therefore could not reach our organism.

For greater safety, however, you can try to intensify the hygienic care of the home and of the animal, using specific products for thorough cleaning of floors and clothing, without harming either children or animals.

Avoid the contact with the animal's saliva with your child and with the parts which are most exposed to its feces. Furthermore, lets teach them to wash their hands well before sitting at the table and in all situations where it is considered appropriate.

Often clean the dogs bowl and cat and prevent the child from having easy access to them.

cane bambino dormono insieme

“My dog can bite my child”

This concern is usually one of the most common ones amongst parents.

Unless it is a dog with severe behavioral problems, it is very difficult for it to attack a child without any reason.

As we know, children are intrigued by everything that appears "different" to their eyes. The same thing also applies to dogs and cats, which can in some cases become real victims of impertinent and persistent children. Asking the dog to remain impassive in front of a child who does not respect his space and his habits is absolutely disrespectful of us.

In fact, it is typical for children to beat the dog, pull the cat's tail and disturb the animal while it sleeps or, even worse, whilst he is eating his food. In these cases, the animal will surely react by scratching the source of stress.

To avoid all this, we should be the ones who show and explain to the child what the best attitude to communicate with the animal is and above all what are the situations in which the dog or cat should not be disturbed.

We must also make sure we respect our pet by providing an appropriate and personal space for him in the house. We must make sure he has the peaceful environment he needs.

 “My child will feel really sad when my pet dies”

There is no doubt about this. When our lifetime companion leaves us, the pain and emptiness are the same to the death of a loved one.

Even in this case, however, this event can represent a reason for personal growth for the child.

We can say to them that even if our friend has gone away, he still left us many good memories and many beautiful emotions, linked to all the moments we spent together. We will introduce him to real and painful life events, which sooner or later must happen.

Denying oneself and one's children of the joy of living with an animal in anticipation of what will happen in the future, precludes all those experiences that are part of the individual and emotional growth of the child.


immagine Perché il gatto fa le fusa?

Why do cats purr?

Purring is one of the most special characteristics of our cats. What is its meaning? Let's find out together.

How is purring produced?

Purring is very often produced not only by the cat, but also by many other felines, such as the lynx or the cheetah. What we hear from the outside is the typical "ron ron" that owners like so much, because it always symbolized the affection of the cat.

In reality, the sound we can perceive when the cat purrs is the result of a series of events that occur within its body. Over the years, many hypotheses have been advanced to explain the functioning of the purr, but at the moment the most accredited are only two.

The first is that the purring would correspond to vibrations produced by the blood flowing in the large veins that carry the blood to the heart.

The second, on the other hand, states that the purring would be generated by the repetition of some events involving the diaphragm and the vocal cords. When the cat breathes, the air is emitted at great speed through the vocal cords, causing them to vibrate, with a series of alternating movements.

Until a few years ago, it was believed that cats had another pair of vocal cords, although this theory has not been properly demonstrated yet.

Why do cats purr?

Some owners will be disappointed with the explanations that we will see now.

Contrary to popular belief, in fact, cats would not purr to communicate affection and esteem to their "human", but for a long series of completely different reasons;

  • gattino fa le fusa con mamma gattaTo communicate with the mother cat: the mother cat begins to purr at the moment of birth, to stimulate the little ones to get closer to her body to feed themselves. At the same time, kittens also purr at only two days of life, especially while they are being nursed, probably to tell the mother that they are fine;

  • To relieve pain and stress: some cats purr to release stress or when they are not feeling well. In fact, when they feel pain or feel particularly agitated, they can begin to purr without other people or animals being around. It seems, in fact, that purring is able to stimulate the release of pain-relieving substances from the brain;

  • To relax: until a few years ago it was believed that purring had a communicative purpose only. Cats purr to send a message to humans or other animals. According to the most recent theories, however, felines could simply purr for themselves. This hypothesis could be confirmed by the fact that the purr frequency (25-50 Hz) is very similar to what can be recorded on our brain when we are relaxed. By producing the purr, therefore, the cat tries to relax, indirectly involving anyone who is nearby. This is why when we are close to our cat, we magically feel calmer;

  • By regression to the infantile stage: when the cat begins to produce the typical "ron ron" sound without anyone around, he is probably so relaxed and dozing, that he is imagining that he is still a small, sweet newborn kitten, next to its mother's belly;
  • To repair bones: According to the latest findings, the frequency of the cat's purr may also stimulate bone healing in the event of fractures or any other joint disorder. This theory could confirm the popular belief that cats heal faster than other animals. Cats probably don't really have seven lives, but they sure do have an edge. 

In the light of this new information, some of us will continue to confirm without a doubt that our cats purrs simply because he loves us. Regardless of the conclusions, we can't help but appreciate the wonderful characteristics that make cats so special.

immagine I feromoni nel cane e nel gatto: cosa sono e come funzionano

Pheromones in dogs and cats: what are they and how do they work

We hear a lot of discussions about pheromones, especially in relation to specific diffusers used to solve some behavioural problems in our pet. However, not everyone knows what they are, so in this article we will try to explain what pheromones are and how they work in dogs and cats.

What are pheromones?

Pheromones are particular substances that are produced by most species, even by us humans. To our sense of smell, pheromones have no particular smell, but they can still be perceived by a precise structure of the body, the Jacobson’s organ, located between the palate and nasal cavity.

At this level, in fact, there are cells capable of "capturing" the pheromones, which contain a kind of secret message inside them. Once they are captured, they are sent to the brain where they can be "deciphered".

gatto feromoni flehmen

We know that our animals have a much more developed sense of smell than ours. It is precisely for this reason that dogs and cats are able to immediately perceive the presence of pheromones in the environment.

In fact, animals often perform a particular gesture when they are intent on perceiving the pheromones of other dogs or cats: they slightly open their mouths and push their tongue backwards, against the palate. This attitude is called the flehmen response and is used to direct the smell towards the Jacobson’s organ.

The glands that produce and release pheromones in dogs and cats are located in different places on the body:

  • Area around the muzzle: not surprisingly, cats rub their muzzle against other animals, people and objects to mark their territory;
  • Ears: some pheromones are released from the glands of the auricle;
  • Fingertips: another example is represented by “getting their nails done” against the furniture, releasing specific pheromones;
  • Area around the anus: in this point we find the perianal glands, which release a foul-smelling secretion, rich in pheromones;
  • Genitals, both in the male and in the female;
  • Mammary glands during breastfeeding.

How do they work?

Pheromones, as we said earlier, are nothing more than coded messages. For this reason, it is up to the receiver’s brain to be able to interpret their meaning.

There are specific pheromones for each type of message:

  • Sex pheromones: they can be released to communicate messages to other animals, as in the case of the sexual pheromones released by the female in heat to communicate their availability for mating;
  • Emotional pheromones: they are real modulators of emotions, used, for example, to induce relaxation;
  • Territorial pheromones: they are found mainly in urine markings and fingertips, and are used to mark the territory;
  • Social pheromones: are produced when animals are in a group and need to communicate with other dogs or cats;
  • Alarm pheromones: used to communicate one's fear to other animals, alerting them of any dangers
  • Fulfilment pheromones: they are released by the mother to attract the babies towards their breast and to stimulate the mother-offspring bond.

gatto spruzza urina


cane con collare feromoni

Synthetic pheromones

In recent years, research has managed to recreate in the laboratory the same chemical structure of the pheromones produced by dogs and cats. By doing this, it was possible to make synthetic pheromones, which are now sold in specialized stores to alleviate and solve a large number of behavioural problems.

These are essentially two types of pheromones: contentment and social.

As for contentment pheromones, these are mostly used in dog diffusers. When adopting a puppy, synthetic pheromones can act as a substitute for maternal pheromones, to reduce the sense of dispersion that babies can feel when introduced into a new environment.

In the case of synthetic pheromone diffusers for cats, substances similar to those produced by the feline's facial glands are released. By doing this, fear and stress can be neutralized, as well as all type of discomfort. It can also stimulate the social aspect of the cat, which will be ready to accept humans and other animals in the house.

When cats no longer perceive their own smell as the predominant one in their territory, they can begin to manifest territorial behaviours, such as scratching and inappropriate urination. Synthetic pheromone diffusers can create an environment with very similar odours to those produced by the cat, so it can avoid these problems.

In conclusion, thanks to the synthetic pheromone diffusers, it is possible to prevent and solve a large number of behavioural problems in dogs and cats, helping to create a calmer environment in the house.



immagine Insegnare al cane a rispondere al richiamo

How to teach your dog to respond when we call him

The basics of dog education include all those essential commands to ensure optimal safety for us and for our pet. One of these is the come command, which is used by us owners to make the dog returns back home under our command or call, such as "come!". Here are some tips to teach your dog to respond when we call him.

The call from the owner is a fundamental signal for the dog, which very often tends to run away from home. In these cases, the provident owner who has already taught his dog to respond will be able to avoid numerous risks on the road.

If, on the other hand, you have not "gifted" your friend with this command, in most cases you will begin to run after your pet, who will only increase the speed to gain freedom. In fact, most dogs react to the chase by the owner, running even faster. This is why it is very important to know how to get the dog back home safely.

If the dog walks away, there can be many reasons. To get an idea of ​​the most frequent reasons that lead the dog to run away from home or to move away from us, read the specific article, which will also explain in detail how to solve the problem.

In any case, one of the most frequent situations is linked to the dog being released in the dog area or in the open countryside, without having in any way the opportunity to interact with the owner (who is more keen in other things such as talking with friends or staying on the mobile phone). So what happens if you only talk to the dog when it's time to go home? Considering that, dogs are highly intelligent; they will understand this and refuse to respond to your call because they want to play longer.

The goal of this command, on the other hand, is to teach him to run towards us, regardless of whatever activity he is doing. Here's how to do it.

How to teach him to respond

For the first few times, it is advisable to get close enough to the dog, possibly without any particular distractions in the surroundings that could distract our friend's attention. Of course, in order to entice the dog to get close to us, we must make ourselves as “palatable” as possible. We equip our pockets with tasty morsels, show off a cheerful and convincing tone of voice, lower ourselves as if we wanted to cuddle him or play with him, but above all  leave behind bad moods. Which child would gladly approach an angry parent ready to shout at him?

cane scappa di casa scava terreno recinzione

While the dog is free just ahead of us, let's put all these tips into practice, let's get down and call him joyfully by its name or with the command "come!". As soon as he approaches, let's grab him firmly but not abruptly by the harness and give him some treats. We continue by increasing the distance between us and our dog from time to time.

Lets always remember to take him by the harness or collar before rewarding him, because if we did it only when we want him to stop, he would not be able to accept the gesture willingly, associating it with returning home, therefore with something negative.

Once the dog has managed to run towards us several times in a row, we repeat without rewarding him with food treats, but only with cuddles and compliments.

The hardest part is surely using the call in the presence of other stimuli, such as other dogs, food, children playing ball and even fearful situations. To succeed, we will have to have a lot of patience. Compared to other more "immediate" commands, the calling one certainly takes longer, so do not be discouraged if the first attempts are not successful, but try again until they are.


immagine La depressione nel cane e nel gatto, conoscerla e affrontarla

Depression in cats and dogs, lets fight against it

Our pets can also experience symptoms of depression, just like us. The reasons behind this problem can range from some triggering situations in the family and in the environment in which they live, to various diseases and disorders. Let's see what depression is and how to avoid it.

Probably one of the reasons that can affect the mood of the dog and cat is linked precisely to the fact that at home they cannot do the same things they would do in nature. In fact, both pets are predators, so they are used to living outdoors, hunting, rolling around in the grass, mating...

gatto triste depresso

Having a family is undoubtedly a more than a positive aspect. Affection, attention, not having to feel hungry, medical care are certainly just some of the privileges of animals living in the house.

At the same time, however, they are in a way, undergoing a reprogramming of their needs and activities. The owner always makes food available, toys replace the enthusiasm of hunting and the pleasure of mating is precluded from sterilization.

For this reason our pets can often feel little motivated, precisely because they cannot find the same stimuli at home that they would always have available in nature.

A good owner should be able to compensate for the needs of his friend from this point of view. This can only be achieved by spending quality time with your pet, with cuddling, daily walking activities and games outdoors.

Causes of depression

Among the main reasons for depression we find above all the lack of these activities. They are left alone in the house with more frequency each time without the possibility of playing or interacting with other animals or the owner.

In addition, depression is mainly caused by the change in a fixed routine the animal used to have. The arrival of a newborn or another animal, the loss of a family member, are also among the causes of depression.

The most common situations that can promote depression include:

  • Moving house;
  • Old Age;
  • Birth of a newborn;
  • Adoption of another animal;
  • Removal of the puppies from their mother;
  • Relocation of a family member;
  • Temporary absence of the owners for holidays;
  • Adoption by another family;
  • Shorter or longer stay in a dog boarding house
  • Kennel syndrome or sensory deprivation, typical of animals that have always lived isolated, without any contact with normal objects and noises typical of a house or a city, and react with anxiety, depression and phobias when placed in a context different from what they are used to;

cane triste depresso

At the same time, some diseases or medical conditions can also induce a state of apathy in the animal that can lead to depression.

Symptoms of Depression

What are the typical signs of this problem and how can you recognize depression in dogs and cats?

  • Sleeps more than usual;
  • He eats little and refuses the food you offer him;
  • Has no interest in his favourite games;
  • Tends to isolate itself;
  • He doesn’t want to go out for daily walks with the owner;
  • Doesn't respond if you call him.

What should I do?

In these cases, it is very important to contact your veterinarian to rule out the presence of a health problem. Later you can intervene by following a series of tips and tricks to help your pet overcome depression. The main ones are:

  • Make him feel your presence;
  • Caress him often;
  • Talk to him in a low, sweet voice;
  • Try to stimulate him with his usual games. In cats, it can be useful to choose games based on catnip, which all felines particularly appreciate. There are also attractive sprays on the market to spray on toys, making them more stimulating;
  • Offer him his favourite food, preferably after slightly warming it up. In fact, the heat makes the smell of food easily perceptible;
  • Bach flowers: they represent one of the most famous remedies of alternative medicine. They are special natural preparations capable of directly acting on mood and emotions. In recent years, they have also been increasingly used in pets, to treat problems such as depression, phobias and anxiety. Ask a homeopathic doctor or your veterinarian for advice, who will be able to prescribe a Bach flower preparation specifically for your pet.

Depression is a problem that is often underestimated, but it can also lead to serious consequences. So try to act as soon as possible, helping your pet to return to the playful and carefree state of mind of all time.


immagine Cosa fare se il cane morde mani, piedi e oggetti

What should I do if my dog bites my hands, my feet and random objects?

One of the most annoying behaviors that some dogs can develop since they are puppies is definitely the tendency to bite hands and feet. Whether he does it to attract attention or for fun, it is always an inappropriate action, which should be eliminated from the first months of the puppy's life, because otherwise you risk finding yourself with an adult dog that continues to pounce on the hands, feet and clothing. Let's try to understand why the dog takes this attitude and how to teach the puppy and adult dogs not to bite.

Why does the dog bite?

Firstly, it would be better to talk about chewing rather than biting. All dogs, in fact, have this particular need to chew to keep the muscles well trained, to clean their teeth and even as a game. We must also add the fact that the dog's complete dentition is fully developed only after 18-24 months. Therefore, just like babies, puppies need to massage their gums to relieve discomfort.

Normally, after this period, the attitude of inappropriate chewing should disappear. In some cases, however, the dog can continue to bite objects, clothing or people's hands and feet even as an adult into old age.

Let's see what are the reasons that push the dog to bite:

  • Teething: the puppy feels discomfort in the gums, so he gnaws everything that happens to be in front to him;
  • Puppies separated too early from the mother: during their growth, the puppies are educated by their mother, who also teaches them how to inhibit the bite. When the puppy bites his mother or a little brother too hard during play time, he takes a good bite from his mother. This allows him to understand what is the limit beyond which he must not push himself during the game. This is why puppies should not be adopted before they are 2 months old;
  • Uneducated or inexperienced mothers: mothers are not always able to teach their puppies the inhibition of the bite, because they do not know how to become good teachers or because they have never learned this control themselves;
  • Inappropriate reaction from owners: if the puppy bites our hands and feet while we are engaged in another activity, we should ignore it. By laughing, picking him up to move him or even just talking to him, we make him understand that by biting he will get our attention, so we will reinforce this attitude;
  • Inappropriate playing: If we play with the dog by moving our hands in front of his muzzle and holding our hand between his teeth, we will show him that we like to play this way, so he will keep biting us as soon as he feels like playing.

What to do

What we have to do in these cases in general is to make the dog understand that by biting he will not get what he likes, whether it is a caress or simply our attention. This type of association is called "negative punishment": inappropriate action drives away the pleasant stimulus. We consider that even shouting can be pleasant for the dog that feels neglected, because in any case we are giving him attention.

The first thing to do, therefore, is to stand up, put our arms folded and ignore it. If we are sitting on the sofa next to him, let's get up immediately and stop cuddling him as hard as it may seem.

  • cane gioca mastica kong gioco

If he does not get the message and moves on top of us, we leave the room and pass into another one, closing the door. We even avoid looking at him in the eye and remain silent until he has stopped biting or following us.

A very effective solution is to introduce a voice command, such as “Ouch!”, Every time it bites us. Therefore, as soon as he grabs our hand with his teeth, we immediately say "Ouch!" and stop cuddling or playing.

Of course, teaching your dog what it shouldn't do is not enough, it also needs to be shown what it can do. For dogs, it is very important to chew, so we will simply have to make them understand what objects they can bite.

We enrich his personal playground with balls and chewable toys made of hard plastic. An excellent idea may be to use special toys that can be filled with appetizing snacks, which they will immediately find irresistible.

We can also begin to introduce the "Leave" command, which is particularly useful even in dogs that do not have the habit of biting hands, feet and objects. It is a command that must be taught to all puppies sooner or later, because it helps to safeguard animate or inanimate prey that you absolutely do not want the dog to destroy, whether it is expensive objects, birds or even poisoned baits.

There are several methods for teaching this command to the dog, all based on the reward with a clicker or snack when the dog drops the object we are using for training, for example one of his favourite toys. Playing who pulls harder is useless and stimulates the dog to bite even more.

What not to do

As we have just seen, some of the causes that can lead the dog to bite objects and people are to be found in our way of behaving and relating to him.

Among the most frequent errors we find:

  • Have the puppy play with inappropriate toys, such as shoes, socks, rags and newspapers. As clever as he is, a dog will never be able to figure out for himself which of these objects he can play with and which he cannot. A shoe always remains a shoe, regardless of brand, colour and use, so if we show him that you play with shoes, he will deem it appropriate for all of them;
  • Let the puppy bite our hands: the dog finds interesting anything that he considers pleasant. By letting him bite our hands and feet or tug at our pants, we only reinforce this behaviour;
  • Shout at him or beat him: violence never leads to anything, not even with our dogs. If the dog is biting us, shouting at him or hitting him will give him what he is looking for: attention and fight.

By following these tips, your puppy will begin to understand the correct behaviour to become an educated dog.