What is petophilia and what are its consequences? – Pets – Life

It’s clear: having a pet provides countless benefits for people: companionship, security, socialization, and more. However, for several years there has been talk of a psychological disorder that develops in some people: petophilia.

What are you talking about?

Also known as petophiliaa word introduced with relative novelty in the psychological field and originally used by journalists and writers John Katz, is used to describe people who have a hobby, attraction, or obsession with pets that reaches excessive levels. It is derived from the English word sum pet which translates to “pet” in Greek. Philosmeaning “love” or “friendship” that leads to an exaggerated obsession or preoccupation with pets, even constituting an unhealthy relationship that harms both humans and animals.

What does it consist of?

Today, there are many people who like to share moments and spaces with their pets, which is absolutely normal.

The difference between healthy and excessive behavior is that people with petophilia have excessive love for their pets, causing them to treat animals as human beings, preventing them from exhibiting species-typical behavior; spend exaggerated amounts of money acquiring items such as clothes, toys, medicine, etc. and even, in the most advanced forms, it causes them to isolate themselves from all contact with another human being and from the environment, finding no satisfaction in human relations.

All of the above results in the affected person developing a disorder, hyper attachment and an unhealthy dependence on their pets, which in turn can affect the animals’ quality of life.

(Also: The story of “Panchito,” the eyeless kitten who drives social media).

Petophilic disorder goes beyond simply “humanizing” pets.

This disorder goes beyond the simple “humanization” of pets, which at appropriate levels would consist primarily of humane treatment of dogs and cats with values ​​such as respect, care, love, etc., to begin limiting their normal behavior, potentiating of alien behavior for each species; develop fears, phobias or stress and even generate metabolic, dermatological, respiratory, cardiac diseases, among others.

For example: when instead of walking the dog in the park, the teacher prefers to take it to the mall, which is an environment that lacks incentives for them. All of the above leads to behavior that is even considered animal abuse.

(Continue reading: Senior dogs: Dementia risk doubles with each year of life.)

signs of the disorder

The most common signs shown by people with petophilia are:

– Treat your pet as a person:
By giving them feelings, emotions or behaviors typical of human beings and in addition, offering them items such as clothing, costumes, attention, exaggerated care (such as spas, therapies, etc.), food, accessories, luxuries, among others, which cannot be appreciated by the pet due to its status as a non-human animal.

– Invest exaggerated amounts of money: Even ignoring personal or family needs to invest these sums of money in pet items.

– Excessive affection: This causes them to constantly think about their animals and develop problems such as difficulty sleeping, agitation or excessive nervousness, trembling and sweating, and gastrointestinal diseases, etc.

Insulation: To places, events or people, because she only achieves satisfaction and happiness when she is surrounded by non-human animals. This, in turn, leads to an inability to communicate with other people when there are no pets, which gives rise to anxiety, fear, stress, depression, etc.

aging in dogs

Excessive attachment is one of the effects of the disorder.

Why is it generated?

Although the origin of this disorder is not clearly known, some psychologists agree that it may be due to emotional gaps or deficiencies that people experience and develop that are projected onto the relationship with pets.

All of the above because they don’t generate negative feelings, leading to an endless and unhealthy source of gratification. Other theories mention loneliness, disappointment in human relationships, inferiority complex, eccentricity and the development of obsession.


You can also read:

– What if your dog could live a hundred years? Scientists are working on it.

– The cold affects the health of dogs and cats: how to protect them?

– Dogs ‘cry’ with joy when reunited with their owners, study finds.

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