Many photos and videos of pet dogs are posted on social media sites on a daily basis.

Dog owners are always ready with their cameras to capture their dog's cute appearance.

However, when they're overly concerned with making their dogs look cute, some owners unwittingly engage in behavior that could be detrimental to their dog's health.

Japanese dog trainer and pet industry veteran 松本秀樹 Hideki Matsumoto (@macha_daichi) was recently angered by videos he saw on social media, and issued a warning on his Twitter account.

Know your dog's limits

Videos showing a pose known as かわぴ kawapi in which owners hold their dogs' front paws and press them against their cheeks or make them "dance" by holding their paws and moving them up and down and side to side are popular on social media such as TikTok and Instagram. For example, on TikTok, you'll find examples if you search for the #かわぴ hashtag.

In a series of Tweets that begins with "I'm angry," Matsumoto explains that while there is no problem with pressing a dog's paws against its cheeks, there was something he noticed in some of the videos that shocked him: spreading the dog's paws open.

Dogs don't have collarbones, so they can essentially only move their front legs back and forth.

When a dog is made to spread its front paws open, the pain is said to be equivalent to forcing a human to stretch their legs into a split when they're unable to do so on their own.

Matsumoto continued to explain that dogs support two-thirds of their weight with their front legs. Therefore, if the muscles that connect the shoulder area to the neck are injured, a dog may not be able to walk or run or may dislocate a joint.

The older your dog is, the more dangerous this becomes since muscle mass tends to decrease.

If the ligaments in a dog's front legs become loose, it may eventually become impossible for it to stand up from a lying position or even walk, Matsumoto cautioned.

Learn a little bit more...

The dogs in the videos reflect how much they are loved by their owners.

Nevertheless, Matsumoto cautions social media users to "try to learn a little bit more about Canis familiaris, the animal you have (chosen to make) a member of your family."

The response from people who have also seen videos like this on social media has been overwhelmingly positive. For example, here are some of the comments on Twitter:

  • "Humans and animals can't communicate with each other through words, so we have to be careful."
  • "(After reading this,) I thought I should learn how best to spend my time with my dogs."
  • "I know they are cute, but if you make a mistake, it could be abuse. You shouldn't get a dog just because it's cute."

Obviously, pet owners like the ones in these videos who spread their dog's paws wide open aren't doing so with malicious intent. However, they may be unwittingly hurting them.

Indeed, it's important to learn about your furbabies, including how their bodies work, and not just think about how they can look cute.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.