Melbourne: More than 80 per cent of Australians believe that they can understand what their pets are trying to say, a new survey has found.
The survey commissioned by an animal healthcare company of 800 Australian pet owners also found that more than 95 per cent of dog owners talked to their pets, while just over 89 per cent spoke to their cats.
Veterinarian Dr Alister Webster said the results raise concerns because by assuming to know what pets are saying only leads them to get their language wrong during times when they are actually crying out for help.
“Pets are important parts of our lives, and most of us believe they know their pet well - and can even communicate with them,” Dr Webster, from Pure Animal Wellbeing, said in a statement.
“Particularly in winter periods I see pets that have been generally unwell or struggling with continued pain for extensive periods of time and their owners are not realising this.
“Their owners may not have picked up on the signs, or have read them wrong. It’s not as easy to understand what pets are feeling as people think.”
Even more worrying is the perception of 57 per cent of dog owners and just under half of cat owners that their pets became grumpier as they aged, the report said.
What they dismiss as ‘grumpiness’ could actually be a sign of some illness, Webster said.
“They rest this belief of seeing their pet being less inclined to go for a walk or play; they are maybe slowing down and experiencing more stiffness, becoming intolerant of people or no longer jumping up on the furniture.
“But these can be common signs of arthritis and joint pain, rather than grumpiness,” he added.