Dogs and cats in Paraguay are usually approached in the same way that farm animals are—they serve a purpose and people are not emotionally attached to them. One common exception is puppies, which children tend to play with and adults tend to pet.
Dogs guard houses. They aren’t trained, spayed, or neutered. Sometimes female dogs are given a birth control shot, but several Paraguayans have told me that if you spay a dog before she has at least one litter she will die early. Dogs tend to have fleas and are dirty. They generally don’t come in the house and are often fed leftovers instead of special dog food.
There are dogs everywhere and you have to be aware when walking around at dawn, dust, and dark because dogs won’t hesitate to attack you. Luckily, however, a stick or pretending to pick up a rock will scare them away.
Cats are for killing rats and mice. They tend not to be welcome in the house and aren’t fed. Most cats I’ve met don’t really have owners and don’t really have names. Paraguayans call all cats “Michî,” which means “little” in Guaraní.