You will find that most veterinarians and so called animal health care practitioners say that, "A healthy pet is a happy pet." This is just not so. In fact it is just the opposite, "A Happier pet is a healthier pet."
As a healer and what has become known as a whisperer I have had many occasions to work on and help animals such as dogs, cats and horses. This is very rewarding work and the payment I receive for this is the affection of the animal. Animals are not subject to the placebo effect so when they jump up and run around pain free after years of suffering from arthritis there is no doubt that what I did was real and effective.
Animals, as a general rule, don't complain about their problems. If it is bad enough then they wince or stumble or cry then the problem/pain is very bad. That is the only time you will hear from them about their problems. For this reason having a regular checkup is a good thing to do for your pet. Just as in humans, if you let the problem continue in hopes that it will go away it only compounds and causes further problems making the cure more involved and time consuming.
Most problems such as arthritis are easily curable. I am not saying that masking the problem with drugs or surgery is a cure. In fact these things only make the problem worse because they only mask the pain and do nothing to correct the root cause of the problem. Just as in humans, taking a drug may alleviate the pain but if you stop taking the drug you see that it is still there. Why not make better use of the continuous stream of money spent on drugs to actually cure the problem?
Pain, stiffness, obesity, bad habits, etc. all have reasons for manifesting in the body. The reason veterinarians (and doctors) cannot cure these things is they don't realize that every person (and here I include animals in the definition of person) have different sources for their problems. Though many have the same or similar symptoms, the cause is different for each and no magic bullet exists to cure all. If problems manifesting the same symptoms always had identical causes then such diseases as the common cold would be long gone and forgotten.
As I said earlier, Happier = Healthier. Though all animals have similar reactions to emotional situations, they are most easily noticed in dogs. Dogs are probably the most loving and loyal creatures on Earth. They want nothing more than to be close to you and though they do not insist on it as a prerequisite to showing their love for you, they only want your love and affection in return. Being away from you for even short periods causes emotional problems which can translate into eating disorders, bad behaviors, nervousness, hyperactivity, illness and even death.
Understanding animals is key to them being happy and healthy. We know that junk food is not as healthy as a good balanced diet but yet we sneak that occasional cookie or bowl of ice cream or candy bar. This is not harmful. It satisfies a desire for such things and as long as it is not overdone, just like anything else, it does not create a problem. However, if it is withheld the desire to have some of these forbidden fruits becomes overwhelming to the point we will gorge on them at some point. Animals are just the same in this respect. You need to understand that denying them the occasional table scrap or the tidbit of fresh raw fish is the same as you being denied the occasional cookie. Make no mistake, humans are worlds apart from animals when it comes to digestion. Things that would make us gag are like candy to animals.
Young animals have the need to chew while teething just like human children. This need continues for years. The same is true for the exercising of their muscles, claws and voices. If you take an animal as a pet and all you want is something cuddly, soft and warm to be near you when YOU want it there, then buy a stuffed animal. The real thing has needs and feelings just like we do. Tying them up, ignoring them or keeping them in a pen is in most cases the same as child abuse and neglect.
Do not blame your cat if it claws at things around the house that you don't want it to. You probably taught it this behavior, albeit unintentionally. The innocent play that you initiate with your animals instills in them that this behavior is acceptable not only during your "play time" but all the time. So, realize that pulling that toy on a string across the floor to get the kitten to chase it, claw at it, bite it and tear it apart translates to the cat that doing the same thing to the beautiful mobile that you made or the Tiffany lamp with the strings of beads hanging from it also becomes fair game in the cat's mind. Rough housing with the puppy teaches it that biting you and jumping on you is acceptable and when they don't distinguish between jumping on you when you are wearing jeans and T-shirt or when you are wearing your most beautiful evening gown and they have muddy feet... Well, I think you get the point. Understand that it is YOU they are playing with and what you are wearing makes no impression on them at all. Disciplining them for doing what you demonstrated to them as being acceptable sends very mixed signals and causes great emotional distress which causes dis-ease.
Though I use cats and dogs as examples, because they are the most common pets, all that I have said is equally true for all animals.
The last point I will make concerns wild animals. These animals are very different from domestic animals. They are born free and without constraint except for their natural instincts which serve them well in their world. Humans make the astronomically huge mistake in thinking that wild animals find it acceptable to be cared for by us if they are injured. This attitude could not be further from the truth. I will relate a true, firsthand story here to illustrate this.
I was asked to help a female Golden Eagle that had a damaged wing by a group of "do-gooders" that captured and held her captive. They asked me to help because what they were doing was not working and the eagle was getting worse instead of better. They thought that what THEY wanted for the eagle would be the best for the eagle. As you will see, the only thing they were doing was what made them feel good about themselves.
This was the first time I had worked on a wild animal and so was surprised when my attempts to examine and correct the problems stopping the natural healing process were rejected by the eagle. I asked her to explain to me why she did not want my help. To make a long story short, she showed me that the only thing that mattered to her was to be free. Being injured, being in pain and dying were a natural part of her world and perfectly acceptable to her. What was not natural and not at all acceptable to her for any reason was to be kept confined.
I relayed this information to the group holding her and, of course, they completely ignored what I had to say. They obviously believe themselves to be Gods and therefore what they do to other creatures to be perfectly acceptable, no matter the outcome.