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Behavior Problems in Cats & Dogs

Behavior problems in dogs and cats can be frustrating for their owners to decode and address. In this post, our vets in Clackamas discuss signs of behavioral issues in pets, the value of early intervention, and how consulting with your vet can help stop problems from becoming worse. 

Signs of Behavioral Issues in Pets

As a responsible pet parent, you do your best to keep your four-legged family member happy and healthy. After all, your cat or dog is an important member of your pack, and you want them to live a long, happy life. That said, there's a significant language barrier between even the most doting pet owner and their fur babies. 

Since our canine and feline friends can't use words to tell us if they're sick, scared, depressed, hungry, anxious, or dealing with any number of other issues, they often use their behavior to send SOS signals and provide clues that something is wrong or "off". 

If your cat or dog has been exhibiting behavior problems, read on to learn about common signs of issues that need your vet's attention. We'll also explain how our veterinarians can help diagnose the underlying cause of your pet's confounding conduct and address your concerns. 

Excessive Hiding or Withdrawal 

While cats or dogs may sometimes seek out a cozy place to nap or spend some quiet time, beware if they seem to do this more often than usual. If your normally happy-go-lucky dog or affectionate cat starts to consistently isolate or hide themselves, they may be in distress due to anxiety, fear, or pain. 

Any number of factors, including but not limited to a stranger paying a visit, stress, a fear of storms, or anxiety about loud noises, could be the cause of the problem.

Restlessness or Pacing 

Have you noticed your dog is unable to settle and fall asleep at your feet as he usually does? Perhaps your cat has been restlessly pacing the house. If so, their restlessness may indicate discomfort, anxiety, pain, or an undiagnosed medical condition. 

Destroying Possessions 

Dogs love to chew stuff, and cats seek out items to scratch. While this is normal to a certain extent, the behavior can be frustrating to deal with (and expensive to encounter). If you've taken steps to curb your pet's appetite for destruction by ensuring they have ample opportunity to exercise and stay mentally stimulated, it may be time to consult your vet. 

Just like kids, our pets can have difficulty knowing where to direct stress, pent-up energy, or boredom. They may even have an obsessive or compulsive tendency that can (and should) be managed with prescription medication or other measures. 

Aggression or Unusual Irritability 

When normally well-trained dogs or laid-back cats become aggressive or irritable, you can bet there's a reason behind their change in demeanor. Your pet may demonstrate this behavior by snapping, growling, or even biting.

It goes without saying that there are a number of reasons to discuss these symptoms with your veterinarian, one of which is to ensure the safety of yourself and any other individuals or animals that find themselves in close proximity to your pet.

Increased Vocalization - Whining, Whimpering & Meowing 

An increase in vocalizations and sounds of distress, such as whining, yowling, or howling, may indicate that your pet is literally pleading for assistance. This is true even though some dogs and cats may normally be talkative and possess a high level of vocalization.

It is important to investigate the cause of your pet's vocalizations in order to ensure that any potential health problems are identified. All of your animals, as well as your neighbors, will be grateful to you.

Behavioral Counseling for Dogs

Just like us, our pets have their own unique quirks and personalities. However, some behaviors may be problematic - or even dangerous to their health. 

When it comes to addressing behavioral issues in dogs, early intervention is key to identifying the underlying cause of the behavior, effectively addressing any physical or emotional health issues, and ensuring your pet's continued health and happiness. 

If your four-legged friends behavior has become concerning, you might want to consider veterinary behavioral counseling. Our team would be happy to refer you to a reputable behavior counselor to get your pup's behavior on the right track.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Wondering if behavioral counseling is right for your dog? Contact our Clackamas veterinarians today to book a consultation.  

New Patients Welcome

Clackamas Pet Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of your companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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