Pets can develop behavioural issues at any time! Animal behaviour is influenced by a combination of genetics, early socialisation, and ongoing physical or mental experiences.
Unfortunately, if a pet inherits a more anxious or highly-strung personality, or has traumatic or stressful experiences (especially at a very young age), they can develop behavioural issues such as anxiety, compulsive or obsessive behaviours, or aggressive behaviours.
When might my pet develop a behavioural issue?
A common indicator that a certain behaviour has become a problem is if it prevents your pet and/or you from undertaking or enjoying certain “normal” activities. Owners of very anxious or aggressive pets may have trouble:
- Taking their pet out
- Medicating their pet
- Grooming their pet
- Having visitors to the house
- Leaving their pet alone
Owners should also seek help if their pet is at risk of hurting themselves or others whilst performing the behavioural issue. This can occur in cases of:
- Storm phobia or separation anxiety, where the pet may injure themselves while attempting to escape
- Aggressive behaviours, e.g. the pet inappropriately guards objects or territory
- Obsessive behaviours, e.g. tail chasing, where the pet may bite their own tail to the point of causing damage
What should I do if my pet is showing behavioural issues?
If your pet is showing worrying behaviours, it’s best to book them with us for a behavioural assessment, where we can take a full history and ideally examine your pet to rule out any medical causes of the issue (e.g. chronic pain).
Depending on your pet’s particular issue, we may recommend a combination of:
- Home environment alterations
- Working with a recommended trainer
- Starting behaviour-modifying medications
- Referring your pet to a veterinary behaviouralist
With appropriate, consistent treatment, our Pet Doctors team should be able to improve the mental health of your pet – resulting in better quality of life all round! Call us on 5576 0400 to find out more!