Mind, Body & Health
FUN PUN: What do you call one-hundred rabbits walking backwards? A receding hare line!
The Erindale Advantage
At Erindale Animal Hospital we take every aspect of your pet’s health very seriously, which is why we offer extended consultations and questionnaires to get to the bottom of your pet’s behavioural issues. Dr. Vivienne Jones has over two decades of animal behaviour experience to help you and your pet navigate everything from basic house training to complicated inappropriate toileting behaviours.
We also take your pet’s stress and the resulting behaviour very seriously, which is why we have Adaptil and Feliway pheromone diffusers in our clinic and can advise the best use of these products in your home for specific behavioural issues. We can also recommend prescription diets that contain nutraceutical products such as the Calm or C/D Urinary Stress diets to help reduce your pet’s stress levels and get back to their healthy, happy self.
Some Behavioural Problems Include:
Attention Seeking Behaviour
Managing behavioural issues takes time and commitment, but there are ways to both prevent these issues before they occur and to treat them once they have begun.
Exercise is very important for your pet, no matter what their size or breed. Exercise is not only important for meeting your pet’s physical needs, but it also serves to promote mental well-being. Every dog and cat needs to be provided with the opportunity to expend their energy in a constructive way. For some this may be as simple as a quick walk around the block, while for other high energy pets, additional exercise in the form of long walks, ball playing, running, or swimming may be required to meet their exercise needs. For pets with high-energy levels, doggy daycare, treadmills, and specialty classes are great options. Regular outings provide opportunities for exploring their environment, and socializing with other pets and people. Cats should also be provided with structured play-times that mimic their natural hunting and prey seeking behaviours. Some exercise options include playing with toys on a string, feeding balls, and kitty agility courses.
Environmental enrichment provides your pet with mental stimulation, redirecting their attention and energy away from destructive behaviours. Environmental enrichment for dogs can include providing toys to play with and chew on, feeding balls and interactive puzzle toys. For cats enrichment can include interactive treat toys/games, toys (with/without catnip), accessible vertical perches and space, and scratching posts/trees in opportune locations where they can “bird watch” or just sit and sun bathe.
When exercise and environmental enrichment aren’t enough there are further options to keep your pet’s mind and body healthy. For dogs that require extra exercise and attention during the day, there is the option of sending them to doggy daycare. This will help to prevent potential destruction to the house, or harm and distress to themselves when left loose or in a kennel. You can also use a treadmill to exercise your pet indoors during the winter months or to save time year-round. Specialty training like agility, rally-o, and scent classes can be fun for both you and your pet, benefiting both mental and physical health.
For those pets that experience increased levels of anxiety there are pheromone products for both dogs (Adaptil) and cats (Feliway) that are available as plug-in diffusers for the home, collars to be worn at all times or sprays that can be used during times of increased stress. There are also nutraceutical products such as Zylkene or Anxitane, as well as special diets that are specially formulated to calm anxious pets.
Behavioural Modification And Drug Therapy
Although we hope it never gets to this point, there are options for cases where you need a little extra help. Behaviour modification therapies can help pets change the way they behave in specific anxiety triggering situations. Pharmacological interventions may be recommended by your veterinarian concurrent with behaviour modification protocols to alleviate anxiety while retraining pets to redirect their anxious energy into positive behaviour.
Please call us today to book a behaviour consultation to discuss your pet’s specific behaviour needs.