Pet Etiquette

Pet Etiquette

Does your dog bark a lot? Has your cat forgotten how to use the litter tray? Well Polite Pets Month is here to help.

It is not uncommon for pet owners to experience behavioural issues with their pet. However, many aren’t aware that the veterinarian can help. Much of your pets behaviour exists because its previous experiences have taught it that in this situation this is the best way for it to behave.

Your vet can help by giving you the skills to teach your pet another way to behave that is more worthwhile than their current behaviour.
As with most things early intervention is the key, so consulting your vet about a behavioural issue straight away will make things much simpler and easier for you and your pet.

There are often underlying causes which once identified can help owners to resolve these problem behaviours.

Anxiety, boredom, stress or a medical condition may be the reason your pet isn’t doing what you want it to do.

Many owners have questions about their dog’s behaviour. Following is some general information about some of the common behavioural problems in dogs, including barking, aggression, boisterous behaviour, destructive behaviour and toilet training.
Barking: barking is a normal way that dogs communicate with others. Dogs bark to get attention, during playing, hunting, herding, territorial defence, threatening displays and fearful and anxious situations.
Aggression: many clients ask how to control aggressive behaviour in their dog. It’s important to remember that aggression is a normal behaviour expressed by dogs in a wide variety of situations.
Boisterous Behaviour: this is often a sign of ineffective training, but it can occasionally be due to a neurochemical abnormality.
Destructive Behavour: dogs do not destroy things vindictively, but there are many reasons your dog may be destructive including, boredom, inadequate exercise, investigation of environment, anxiety, fear or phobia.
Toilet Training: issues with toilet training in dogs can be caused by simple things like ineffective and or inconsistent training, but it can also have its roots in a behavioural problem like anxiety, fear or phobia, or a medical issue, such as cystitis, renal disease or parasitism.

In co-existing with us, cats can sometimes develop behaviours that may cause problems for their owners. The most common problems we see in cats include, spraying or eliminating on furniture and carpets, scratching indoors, hunting, hiding and yowling.
Spraying: this is one of the most common behavioural problems that owners report in their cats. As with most of the feline elimination issues, it is a message not a mistake when a cat sprays – especially around doors and windows – or eliminates on the carpet. Cats that exhibit this behaviour often have an issue that involves environmental stress, anxiety or fear, which will need to be diagnosed and managed by your veterinarian.
Scratching: scratching surfaces is normal behaviour that is used to communicate or mark territory. It is something they must do and it can be easier to direct their scratching towards an acceptable surface, especially in the early stages, rather than trying to stop the damage later.
Hunting: hunting or predatory behaviour is a completely normal behaviour for cats. There is really only one way to prevent predatory behaviour and that is to keep your cat confined to a cat enclosure so that is cannot catch the local wildlife.
Hiding: many cat-owning clients are concerned about their cats being shy or scared. A certain level of shyness around strangers is normal, as cats are a vulnerable size, so they should be allowed to take refuge in a safe haven.
Yowling: owners can find that this is a common problem, particularly early in the morning. Often, crying at night starts because the cat is hungry, in pain, seeking attention, demanding food or defending its territory.

The first step in addressing any concern you have with your cat or dog is to take them to your vet to check if there is an underlying medical condition that could be causing the problem. Once this has been determined you can begin to look at understanding the motivation for their problem and determine the best treatment for your four-legged family member.

Macquarie Rd Vetz will be providing advice to pet owners throughout March on how to overcome some of these common behavioural pet problems.