Solving Behavior Problems
Before giving up on your pet, please check below to see if we have any helpful hints for your problem. If it is a medical problem please call your veterinarian.
Common Cat Behavior Problems and Recommended Tips
Litter box issues is one of the most common problems cited by cat owners. Litter box problems can start at any time and be due to many possible reasons, including stress or medical issues. If an issue has developed, some first steps would be to
- Ensure that the litter boxes are clean. Scoop and change your cat’s litter at least once a day. Rinse the litter box out completely with baking soda or unscented soap once a week.
- Ensure the litter box is roomy enough for the cat to enter easily.
- Provide only one to two inches of litter rather than three to four inches.
- Use the type of litter your cat used as a kitten and make sure to use unscented litter.
- Avoid using a box liner or lid with the litter box.
- Locate the litter box in a quiet but not “cornered” location. Cats like to have multiple escape routes in case they want to leave their boxes quickly.
If you would like to read more, the ASPCA has a good overview of causes and possible solutions.
Pregnancy with cats can be perfectly safe with certain considerations. If needed, extended family may be able to help with pet care during the pregnancy. Though some animals carry risks for pregnant women, knowing warning signs and taking action can keep both mom and baby safe. To prevent the risk of toxoplasmosis, the CDC provides great tips such as cleaning the litter box daily and wearing gloves when gardening.
Expanding your family with a new cat can be exciting but also stressful. The most important thing to remember is to GO SLOW and know that the process may take months; however, we want you set up for success. Please keep the animals separate at first and then slowly allow them to meet while creating positive moments (through treats and play). Finally, allow them to meet while supervised to ensure a positive relationship. We recommend reading more on this article from the Humane Society of the United States.
Aggression is the second most common feline behavior problem seen by animal behaviorists. Threats and aggression can be either offensive or defensive. In order to avoid injury and stress, a cat owner needs to learn how to read cat body language. Is your cat stiff-legged, yowling, and with hackles up (all offensive body signs)? Is your cat crouching, tail tucked in, and hissing (all defensive body signs)?
Cats can become aggressive due to being fearful, territorial, during rough play, or due to pain. Discovering the reason can help avoid problems and keep a positive relationship between your pet and your family. To read more, see the ASPCA's guide.
Inappropriate peeing is one of the most common problems people have with their feline friends. It can happen for many reasons. Medical issues such as kidney problems and arthritis can cause your cat to urinate in the wrong place. If these issues have already been ruled out, the cause is a behavioral one. There are lots of possible solutions, including blocking your cat from seeing any outside cats and ensuring adequate food is available. Read more about the causes and possible solutions from WebMD.
Common Dog Behavior Problems and Tips
Separation anxiety is when your dog exhibits extreme stress from the time you leave them alone until you return. The American Kennel Club outlines that separation anxiety is very different than normal canine behavior from boredom or inadequate training. If your dog is trembling, excessively howling, or digging at doors and windows when you leave the house, separation anxiety may be to blame. Separation anxiety can be treated through crate training, counter-conditioning, lots of exercise, and medication.
Expanding your family with a new dog can be exciting but also stressful. The most important thing to remember is to GO SLOW and know that the process may take months; however, we want you set up for success. The Humane Society recommends the dogs meet first in neutral territory, such as at a park. Once in the home, the dogs should be kept separated and be monitored closely. Make sure that toys and treats are kept put away when they are in the same room to avoid any fights.
When potty training a puppy, routine, consistency, and patience are key.