Behavior Issues

By Mike Sweet, DVM, Milan Veterinary Clinic


When we succumb to puppy love or kitten kisses life is wonderful.  As time goes on things beyond responsibility creep into the relationship, like needing to exercise (walk the dog).  Kittens are prone to early morning sneak attacks.  Those little critters are so full of energy it amazes me.  As in our lives get beyond the fascination of another pretty face we get busy with the needs of employment a myriad of other life demands something has to give for the pet. They have pent up energy from sleeping and waiting for their “littermate” to come home.  When frustration builds the pet starts investigating interesting pillow objects and whatever else it can chew.  Electric cords look like a horizontal stick or a snake.   They need to be separated from chewing pets and or infants and toddlers.


Other “behavior” issues such as animal aggression, people aggression, destructive and separation anxiety which may lead to an animal injuring themselves are a partial list of concerns.  All of these are devastating to an owner that has spent money and time to fill an inner need of animal ownership. Elimination issues in cats such as “thinking outside the box” and dogs that are not house trained will start enlarging their “toilet” area.


There are things that can be done with retraining a dog. You did complete an obedience class with your puppy didn’t you?   If  you skipped this supreme bonding time while waiting for the pup to get older you probably now have a boatload of behavior issues to resolve and retrain. As a general rule the correction time is twice as long as the bad habit has existed to resolve.  It involves ALL of the humans in the household and is four times the work to fix.


Cats have elimination problems and are multiplied exponentially by the number of cats in a household. The mythical magic number to exacerbate an out of box experience is five. There are different reasons cats develop litter aversion. The texture preferred is not given. It is too dusty or it has a perfume scent put in for the owner. It may be the box is not, humph clean enough for a cat’s preference; it may need to be scooped daily and dumped weekly or more often as needed. Too much litter not enough litter.  Use of 1 more litter box than number of cats in a house hold is recommended by Animal Behavioralist. They recommend purchasing a new litter box about every 6 months. Plastic retains urine ammonia odors and acts as a “gas” chamber to the cat.  Use of box liners is not recommended. If you have a cat that sprays vertical surfaces when eliminating get a Sterilite storage box throw the lid away, and cut and opening from top down to three inches from the bottom and as wide as your full sized cat needs to get in.


Pheromone collars and other medications are available for the sanity of the pet and its people. For more information about a specific case, consult your veterinarian.

The outside of a pet is good for the inside of a human.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login