A grey cat opens its mouth wide.

Pets are the light of our lives, but it goes without saying that we don’t love everything about them. Pet behavior problems are common, and can put a real damper on our enjoyment of our furry friends.

A thorough understanding of the common pet behavior problems is the first step towards correcting them. The good news is that most behavior issues can be fixed relatively simply and quickly.

Common Pet Behavior Problems

Certain pet behavior problems can be due to underlying medical conditions. Before you tackle your pet’s issue, please see your Animal Family Veterinary Care veterinarian to rule out any health concerns.

Jumping Up

Jumping up is a natural behavior in puppies (they jump up to greet their mothers), but it can get annoying, and even dangerous, as a puppy grows into an adult dog. 

Because jumping is an attention seeking behavior, yelling or using your knee or hands to stop your dog may only reinforce the behavior. In this case, ignoring your pet may be the best strategy. Turn around and wait until the jumping has stopped before looking at and talking to your dog.

Inappropriate Elimination

Eliminating in the home or outside of the litter box is arguably one of the most frustrating pet behavior problems. Appropriate house training is a must for puppies – older dogs may require serious behavior modification if the habit has become ingrained. 

Litter box etiquette is important to keep cats happy. Make sure to scoop the box daily and change litter every week or two. Likewise, cats should have a litter box on each level of the home, and for multiple-cat households opt for one litter box per cat, plus one extra. 

Sudden disruptions in your cat’s routine (a move, houseguests, workers in the home, etc.) can lead to litter box issues. Striving to keep your cat’s routine stable is always a good idea. Always bring your pet in to see us if they suddenly begin house soiling as it can indicate a serious medical concern.

Destructive Chewing, Scratching, and Digging

Destructive behaviors are extremely frustrating, and also extremely common. Anxiety or boredom is typically at the root of digging, chewing, scratching, and other annoying habits. 

Make sure your pet has plenty of exercise each day and lots of things to occupy their time while you’re away. A great place to bring your pet while you’re away is Camp Canine. Camp Canine is a doggie daycare that offers a safe place to socialize your 4-legged family members. Dogs can play and learn how to be a dog with other 4-legged campers in a “Pack” setting. Our brand new facility is open Monday-Friday from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm, and we have both day & monthly passes available. We understand that dogs are part of the family, and we want you to have a fun and safe place to bring your pet every day, rather than having the guilt of leaving your dog at home bored. You can call our main number (563) 391-9522 to reserve a spot for your dog. 

Aggression in Pets

If you’ve ever been petting a cat only to have your hand attacked seemingly at random, you’ve been a victim of cat aggression. Aggression in cats can often be alleviated when humans make an effort to understand their body language. A cat with flattened ears, twitching skin, or a lashing tail should be left alone.

Dog aggression (snapping, snarling, growling, biting) can be aimed at people or other dogs and can occur for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Fear
  • Protection of property
  • Defensiveness
  • Pain/illness
  • Predatory instinct
  • History of abuse

Dog aggression should be taken seriously in order to protect other people and pets. Consult your vet to rule out underlying health issues and to come up with a plan for getting the behavior under control. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information on pet behavior problems. We are here for you!