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Dogs + Behavior

  • Behavior problems can be due to medical or behavioral causes, or both. A clinical history, physical examination, and diagnostic testing will help determine if there are underlying medical conditions contributing to the problem.

  • Behavior problems may be a result of normal behaviors that are unacceptable to the owners or may be an abnormal behavior for that species.

  • This is a broad topic that includes a variety of therapeutic options including herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, nutraceuticals and supplements. There are few controlled studies to show that any of these treatments are effective in pets.

  • It is not unusual for behavior problems to develop in older pets, and often there may be multiple concurrent problems. Some of the changes associated with aging may not seem significant, but even a minor change in behavior might be indicative of underlying medical problems or a decline in cognitive function.

  • It is generally believed that a dog or cat’s cognitive function tends to decline with age, much as it does in people. If your dog or cat has one or more of the signs below and all potential physical or medical causes have been ruled out, it may be due to cognitive dysfunction.

  • Aggression is defined as threats or harmful actions directed toward another individual and can include threat displays, lunging, growling, snarling, snapping and biting. In animals, aggressive behaviors are a means of communication.

  • A number of drugs are now being utilized to treat pet behavior problems. To determine if drug therapy might be a consideration, it is first essential to determine the diagnosis and cause of the problem.

  • Dogs are natural scavengers and hunters so the use of food based activity toys is natural and stimulating. Activity toys have a variety of uses in behavior modification programs. Cats are natural hunters, so their toys will be most interesting if they are the size and texture of prey, if they can be moved around in such a way as to represent small prey (mice, insects, lizards, birds), or if they contain tasty food or treats.

  • Seeking guidance before obtaining a new pet can prevent many behavior and health problems in pets. Such a consultation will help you select the best pet for the household, but also provide information on how to prepare in advance for the new arrival.

  • Most animals are genetically wired to spend a certain amount of time on activities that meet their requirements for survival. For most domestic pets, particularly dogs and cats, these requirements include opportunities to play, explore their environment, rest, socialize, acquire and eat food, and eliminate.

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