Common Behavioral Problems in Pets

A dog sitting amongst torn-up tissues

It’s common to overlook some odd behaviors because we love our pets so much. However, because many behavioral problems in pets are caused by their physical, emotional, or mental states, it is necessary to address them. An understanding of an animal’s needs can go a long way toward their overall health and wellness, and we’re here to help. 

What’s Going On

Some behavioral problems in pets can sneak in under an owner’s radar, becoming habitual over a period of time. Others occur suddenly and without warning. Either way, ignoring them or making excuses for behavioral problems may make them more difficult to correct. 

The Roots

Behavioral problems in pets can be caused by various medical conditions. As a result, it is crucial to have your pet physically examined by your veterinarian. We can help you get to the bottom of what’s going on, if only to rule out medical concerns. Also, if we discover they’re ill or injured we can quickly and effectively treat them. 

If your pet’s behavior can’t be explained by a medical issue, we may recommend various tactics to train them at home.

Common Behavioral Problems in Pets

The following behaviors are the most commonly reported by owners trying to help their pets at home:

  • Inappropriate urination—This is understandably a huge deal for pet owners, especially if they previously housetrained their pet. When a pet that has shown mastery of proper bathroom behaviors suddenly starts to go inside the house or outside their litter box, for cats, it’s time to investigate. Physical illnesses like diabetes, kidney or bladder problems, bacterial infections, and Cushing’s disease, can cause soiling. Also, aging or senior pets can lose control over their bladder and bowels, or have trouble moving fast enough. 
  • Separation anxiety—Many pets succumb to feelings of isolation when their people leave for work or school. It can be very scary for them to face solitude and symptoms can include pacing, whining, and destructiveness. Changes in a pet’s environment, such as a move, new roommate, or a new pet can increase their vulnerability. 
  • Aggression—There are many reasons why pets behave aggressively, ranging from physical pain to lack of social interaction. Resource guarding their food or belongings is often seen. If your pet suddenly starts biting, baring teeth, hissing, or threatens the well-being of others in the house, it’s time to address what’s going on. 
  • Obsessiveness—Anxiety, fear, or boredom can cause obsessive behaviors in pets. They may spin, chase their own tail, lick at their body until open wounds appear, or suck on parts of their body. Left alone, obsessive behavioral problems in pets can become even worse. Genetics can explain some obsessiveness, and medications can help calm them.

Workable Answers to Poor Pet Behavior

Fortunately, most behavioral problems in pets can be diagnosed and treated. Positive reinforcement can be very useful in redirecting unwanted behaviors, and socialization with other animals and people can also help. Increasing your pet’s daily exercise can help them burn off steam. 

To facilitate a peaceful and happy co-existence, our veterinarians are here to address behavioral problems in your pet. When pet owners have the right tools, their pets can remain safely and happily at home where they belong.

As always, please call us at (570) 424‑6773 with any questions or concerns. Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital is always here for you.