Vail pets: Addressing common behavior problems |

Vail pets: Addressing common behavior problems

Nadine Lober
Vail, CO COlorado

VAIL, Colorado “-If your Vail Valley, Colorado cat starts urinating in unusual places, he may be upset. First of all, it is important to rule out physiological causes for this behavior. Usually if the urine is in a small puddle and occurs frequently, this implies the cat may have a bladder infectionand needs medical attention. A urinalysis is performed to confirm the presence of the infection. If the puddles are normal size, and aren’t frequent, then the analyzing begins. Veterinarians play the role of psychoanalysts quite often when it comes to cats and their routines. When your cat starts peeing and marking in the house, we try to find a reason that could have perturbed him. Sometimes it’s because of a new pet, a new human baby, an outdoor animal roaming your property, a new significant other visiting more often or a dirty litter box. Those are all possible reasons why your cat might be mad. Once the behavior is established, it is important to clean up the mess and remove the odor. The next step is to lock your cat in a room (uncarpeted) for a while until he only uses the box. Make sure that the litter box is always clean and you may want to purchase an extra one. Try to block the area where your cat soils with plastic or other barricades. Since many urination and defication disorders are anxiety related, pharmacological treatments can be used. In conjunction with environmental modifications, medications that address the anxiety component of the problem are prescribed. There are a few drugs that can help to choose from. Discuss this with your veterinarian before the urine marking becomes a habit.

Doggie seperation anxiety

Does your dog go nuts when you leave him alone? Your dog may have separation anxiety, which is a physical or behavioral sign of distress (destruction, elimination, vocalization or salivation) exhibited only in your absence. The behaviors are usually worse in the first 15 to 20 minutes of separation and some may begin when the owner is getting ready to leave. It is very important to rule out other causes of this ill-mannered behavior ” incomplete house breaking or training, teething, or some response to a scary event. Addressing this issue is multi-faceted. First, prevent your pet from self injury by crating or barricading him. Use caution here, because confinement sometimes makes these dogs worse. Try to have someone else around while you’re treating the problem. Sending the animal to day care for a while might help. Counter-conditioning and desensitization can be used to change your dog’s response to cues that initiate the behavior. For instance, grabbing your keys or your briefcase may initiate the anxious behavior. Try grabbing the keys or briefcase, going to the car and coming right back in a few times a day without actually leaving. Medication can often help treat the problem, whether you choose anti-anxiety drugs or natural supplements and herbal remedies. If your dog barks when you leave, then remember that bark collars may simply mask the problem without treating the actual separation anxiety issue. Consult with your veterinarian and dog trainer for more ideas and treatments.

Our pets have issues too, which may need professional attention in order for them to lead happy, fulfilling lives.

Dr. Nadine Lober can be reached at 970-949-7972.

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