As veterinarians we obviously assess and help to treat the physical health of your dog or cat when it comes to the vet. What you may not know is that we can also help evaluate your animal's mental health and help guide you on the best path forward for your pet.
Common Behavioral Problems in Dogs
Some of the most common complaints heard from owners regarding canine behavior include separation anxiety, noise aversions (fireworks, thunder, etc.), abnormal urination or defecation, chewing, barking, and aggression.
In puppies, many of these behaviors are common. Specifically, accidents in the house and nibbling while teething occur in almost all puppies. These behaviors in puppies may be addressed using various training techniques, such as crate-training and toy substitutions.
In adult dogs, however, changes in behavior may reflect new fears, anxieties, or health problems. When evaluating these behaviors, it is important to pay attention to any behavioral patterns or changes in the environment occurring at home. Sharing information about you and your dog's home life may be very beneficial for your veterinarian in determining the source of the problem. Furthermore, sometimes a change in environment or lifestyle may help treat the behavioral change. However, many dogs benefit from behavioral medications, either intermittently or on a long-term basis.
All Animals are Different
Each case must be assessed individually and medical causes for changes in behavior must be ruled out prior to treatment.
Common Behavioral Problems in Cats
Some of the most common complaints heard from owners regarding feline behavior include urinating or defecating outside of the litterbox, changes in drinking habits scratching on furniture, increased vocalization, over-grooming, and aggression toward housemates or owners. Similar to in dogs, assessing any changes in lifestyle or home-life may be crucial in finding the source of the behavioral change in cats. Small changes to the home, such as adding elevated surfaces, additional litterboxes, and extra water bowls may improve feline wellness. However, cats also often benefit from behavioral medications.