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Are we meeting their needs?

I do not want to reinvent the wheel, but I would like to make note of the Hierarchy of Dog Needs, which was created by Linda Michaels, M.A., Psychology. [1]

This hierarchy was adapted from Maslow’s Hierarchy of (human) Needs™.

As you can see by the picture, as a great pet parent, we must first meet our dogs’ biological needs and by biological needs in other words – PROPER NUTRITION, proper nutrition is defined as a species-appropriate diet, and you can do this by proper formulation of fresh and whole foods or the very least a decent high protein kibble.

Despite what many say, it is no surprise that our canine companions can digest appropriate carbohydrates in the appropriate quantities, but MEAT and MEAT PROTEINS (not meat derivatives) should form the base of every meal, not having the proper nutrition will leave your dog with many dietary deficiencies leading to many diseases (which at your hands, can be prevented).

According to The World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare is defined as:

“Welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.”[2]

Being well-nourished means a SPECIES appropriate diet, in other words, a vegan diet is not ideal, this will leave your dog deficient in many nutrients unless you load up their food bowls with essential nutrients in all the right quantities (your kitchen will put your local health store and fresh food shop to shame) as well as costing you an absolute fortune.

The emotional and social needs of your dog need to be met; all aspects of their innate behaviour need to be fulfilled. This includes social activities, toys, enrichment, play, etc.

Further, the World Organisation of Animal Health ( OIE) defines Animal Welfare as follows:

Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, nutrition, humane handling and ….”

Simply put, this has been adapted into what is called the 5 Freedoms[3]

  1. Freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition (that’s right, you need to have FRESH water down for them all day so they can choose when they wish to go drink, and again, species-appropriate diets, malnutrition is defined as “inadequate intake of any of the required nutrients”)
  2. Freedom from discomfort
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease (appropriate vet care)
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour (allowing them to have toys)
  5. Freedom from fear and distress (ensuring that if they suffer from any form of phobia, you need to address that with a qualified animal behaviourist)

Look at the below body condition score…

If your dog is too thin, seek assistance URGENTLY!


[1] https://www.dogpsychologistoncall.com/hierarchy-of-dog-needs-tm/

[2] https://www.woah.org/en/who-we-are/

[3] https://www.sheltervet.org/five-freedoms

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