Curbing Bad Behaviors in Dogs and Cats

By Prev Info - October 06, 2022

dogs cats

If you own a dog or a cat, you probably have a tender spot for animals. They're family members and we can love them without guilt, but sometimes these wonderful animals suffer from behavioral problems and the result can be messy, expensive and perhaps, ultimately, heartbreaking.

Bad behavior in dogs and cats (and certainly in puppies and kittens) must be attended to. The good news is that animal behaviorists know a range of strategies for dealing with these problems.

The Nature of Bad Behavior

For dogs and cats, bad behavior is not necessarily "abnormal." Instead, it's normal behavior that becomes excessive. Bad behavior can be serious because it might lead a pet owner to give up an animal or even to have it put to sleep. Talk to your vet and try to solve the problem first.

Bad Dog Behavior

This list represents the major behavioral issues that come up with canines:

- dominance and territorial aggression
- separation anxiety, exhibited by property damage or soiled carpets after leaving your pet alone
house soiling, while you're present or when you're away from home
- fighting or aggressive behavior in a multi-dog home
- various compulsive behaviors including tail chasing, chronic chewing or licking, monotone barking and snapping at the air.

Cat Behavioral Problems

Most feline behavior problems fall into these categories:

- the most common problem: inappropriate elimination (failure to use the litter box)
- spraying urine on a variety of surfaces
- Aggression towards people or towards other cats in the household—natural "hunting" behavior in kittens should not be mistaken for aggression
- a number of fear-based problems such as hiding, refusing to eat, howling, aggression and inappropriate elimination.

Several Ways of Treating Bad Behavior

Once you become aware of a behavioral problem in your pet, you must first rule out a medical problem that might be causing the behavioral difficulties. Urinary tract infection, diabetes, metabolic disease and other conditions can all explain what appears to be a behavioral problem. If the behavior is a result of a medical condition discuss the most appropriate form of treatment with your veterinarian. If the behavior is not tied to a medical condition, you have several options for curbing the behavior in your pet.

Behavior modification can be very effective.

Teaching animals new habits to counteract troublesome ones, changing the way you interact with your pets and altering your puppy or kitten's physical environment may all help or even cure the problem. Generally used as a last resort, certain drugs, which can be prescribed by your vet, may help curb undesirable behaviors. Veterinary pharmacology is still relatively new but getting more advanced all the time. Discuss these treatment options with your veterinarian and get on the right track toward solving your pet's problems.





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