Nipping. Scratching. Litter box issues. Leash pulling. Meowing at night. Urinating on the floor. Chewing shoes. Are these pet behaviors just part of being a “normal” dog or cat, or not?
Actually, some common behavior issues are due to underlying medical problems. Unfortunately, these illnesses are tough to recognize even for the most observant pet parents.
For example, your dog may urinate on your floor. It may be from excitement, but it also can be from a urinary tract infection. If your dog gets up suddenly in the middle of the night, it’s more likely to be abdominal pain or acid reflux than panic attacks. Many anxious behaviors like restlessness, lip smacking, and licking the air or the floor can be a gastrointestinal, liver, or pancreas issues.
Your cat may stop jumping on your lap, not because she’s being unfriendly, but because she has arthritis and jumping is too painful to her joints.
If these behaviors are left unchecked, it’s a triple issue. The behavior may worsen, the underlying illness may progress (which puts your pet’s health at risk), and most importantly, your pet’s quality of life as part of your family is compromised.
Here’s where we can help. We have the expertise when it comes to analyzing, identifying and resolving behavior issues with your pet. Here’s some things we can discuss during your pet’s wellness exam:
- If your dog is petrified of fireworks, we can discuss desensitization techniques to give him or her relief.
- If your older cat is suddenly drinking a lot more water, our physical exam may reveal that your cat has an illness. We’ll run the right tests and prescribe medications if needed.
- We can talk about your pet’s behavior. Some behavior issues are related to medical problems, but many just require new training strategies. Either way, we can help fix those behaviors and give your pet a new “leash” on life!
Make an appointment for your pet’s annual exam today. We’ll check to make sure all of your pet’s behaviors are appropriate and signs of good health. We are committed to your pet’s well-being all the way! Call us today!
Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital