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Pet Behavior Counseling 

Common pet behavioral problems and treatment plans.

Our veterinarians offer a special service that gives owners an opportunity to have a complete assessment of their cat or dog’s behavioral issues.  These consultations are typically an hour long and involve a thorough history, a complete exam, full blood work, and a plan of action for beginning to correct the unwanted behavior.  

There is a behavior form (found here) that is to be filled out and submitted at least 3 days prior to your visit.  Please feel free to bring in any videos or pictures that might help explain your pet’s behavior.  If your dog is aggressive, please bring a muzzle with you or be prepared to put one on your dog once here.  

We ask that only the animal being assessed be brought to the appointment and only 1-2 adults accompany them. Obviously whoever brings the pet in should have intimate knowledge of the animal’s behavioral and health issues and be very involved with any treatment recommendations.  A full write-up of the visit and all treatment suggestions will be sent to you within a week of the visit.

A behavioral consult could include the following additional diagnostics and treatments – full blood work and urinalysis, resources, and/or medication at an additional cost.  Our veterinarians do not do house calls for behavioral consults.  If for any reason it is advised that you have in-home help with your pet, our veterinarians will recommend an appropriate referral.  If your pet’s issues appear severe or particularly worrisome or complex, you may need to be referred to a specialist.

Common Pet Behavioral Problems

  • Aggression toward people or other animals
  • Separation anxiety from owners or other family pets
  • Thunderstorm phobia
  • Unruliness
  • Self-mutilation
  • Destruction
  • Compulsive disorders (repeatedly performing a behavior to the extent that it interferes with everyday life) like tail chasing, shadow chasing, licking, fly snapping, spinning, pacing, chewing, and toy fixation
  • Nuisance actions such as excessive barking, digging, biting, scratching, and jumping
  • Urine spraying/marking

Types of Treatment Plans

  • Behavior modification
  • Medication
  • Environmental changes
  • Medical recommendations

Are Pet Behavioral Problems Common?

Actually, yes. But most problems are easily preventable if diagnosed and treated early. Do be prepared to try different approaches to the problem – not every pet is the same!

If it's a behavior problem, don't I need a trainer? How can a veterinarian help me?

Some behavior problems, like obedience issues, are best solved with a professional trainer or behaviorist. More complicated problems, like aggression, may need a combination of veterinary intervention and obedience training.

A veterinarian is professionally trained in assessing behavior problems. We can help diagnose the specific problem and recommend appropriate action. Most importantly, if your pet has developed an unpleasant behavior, the first thing we need to do is rule out underlying health issues. Your cat is missing the litter box? This could mean a urinary tract infection. Sudden change in personality? Perhaps it's related to abnormal thyroid hormone levels.

In many cases, a behavior problem will be one we've seen before. And for many problems, there are tried and true remedies. For example, a different litter type or an extra pan in the house may help with cases of inappropriate elimination in cats.

Do some behavior problems require medication?

We will always try behavior modification first. However, there are some cases where medication, used in conjunction with behavior modification, can help to manage a problem. Of course, we'll discuss the pros and cons of any treatment with you so you can better choose what's best for your pet.

Behavior Consultations

If you feel you do not understand your pet's behavior and need help, we are here to assist you. Through a behavior consultation, we gather information regarding possible causes and contributing factors of the problematic behavior to make a diagnosis and an individualized behavior modification plan that fits your pet's needs.

Call us at (734) 973-7224 or request an appointment online to discuss your pet's behavior needs.

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