Pets enrich our lives in an almost endless number of ways. Whether greeting us at the door, keeping us company when we are down or simply entertaining us, having a pet in your life is a great way to improve the quality of your life. For all that they add for our lives, we owe it to them to do all we can for them in return. One of the ways to ensure your pet enjoys a long, happy life is to understand the common problems pet owners face.
Inappropriate elimination refers to the unseemly practice of dogs urinating, defecating, or both inside the house. The first step is to find out why your dog is having accidents inside the home. Dogs do not naturally soil their dens, so why the home?
Puppies and kittens less than nine weeks old are too young to know any better, but for adult dogs there’s often no excuse. Some offenders were never properly housebroken in the first place and that’s usually the owners fault. Others were housebroken but, for some reason, have suddenly started having accidents inside the house again after years of appropriate behavior.
Medical conditions that increase thirst and urination, or in which the bladder or gastrointestinal tract are irritated, may contribute to the house-soiling problems in pets. It is important to have your veterinarian perform a thorough physical examination to rule out underlying medical conditions as a cause of inappropriate elimination behavior. This is particularly relevant if your dog has had a sudden breakdown of its house training.
Dogs and cats, like many other species, use urine and feces as a method of communication. Territory markings are a mark that signals possessions and territoriality. Marking typically involves the spraying of small amounts of urine in strategic locations around the house. Unneutered male are regular urine markers, but some neutered males and even spayed females mark their territory with urine, too. Neutering and spaying your pet corrects this problem in about most of the cases, but many pets persist in marking for months or years after the surgery. It is crucial to spay and neuter while they are still young and have not picked up the habit.
The behavioral approach to treating territorial urine-marking in neutered males and females involves increasing your leadership status and thoroughly cleaning urine-marked sites with an odor neutralizer. If the slightest trace of odor remains, your pet is likely go back to that same area to eliminate again. If this measure fails to address the problem, treatment with medication may be the only solution.
Your pet eliminate when you are away from home. In all likelihood anxiety is triggering the behavior. Dogs with separation anxiety typically have a dysfunctional history, follow their owners around the home, look distressed when about to be left alone, whine or bark immediately after their owner leaves, fail to eat in their owners’ absence, and greet them exuberantly when they return home.
Anxiety-based problems are now treatable, thanks to modern medicines and a better understanding of the root cause of these problems. Drugs like buspirone (Buspar®) and fluoxetine (Prozac®) have revolutionized the treatment of anxiety-based inappropriate elimination problems.
Litter Box Problems
This is a behavior problem in which the cat chooses not to use the litter box for any one of a variety of reasons, electing to use an alternative area for elimination. Affected cats simply avoid shun the litter box and select a quiet, carpeted spot behind a chair or in the closet.
There are many reasons why your cat may dislike his litter box:
o Too few boxes
o Inappropriately positioned boxes (high traffic area)
o Inconvenient location
o Hooded box (most cats don’t like hoods)
o Box too dirty (rarely scooped)
o Box cleaned with harsh smelling chemicals (such as bleach)
o plastic liners
o Plastic underlay (not always appreciated by the cat)
o Wrong type of litter
o Litter not deep enough
o Animosity between cats in the house (guarding of litter boxes)
o Difficulty getting into/out of the box, especially in elderly
As most of us know, our pets can wreak havoc. While dogs use their teeth, cats use their claws. Before attempting punish you pet for their behavior, consider the signs or symptom of the matter.
Scratching is Good for Cats
Scratching provides your cat with a form of physical therapy for the muscles and tendons of his paws. While he is scratching, his claws are getting practice extending and retracting. The front legs and shoulders are getting some stretching and strengthening exercise, too.
Knowing why your kitty likes to scratch your expensive couch might make it easier to understand. However, you don’t have to live with that behavior. By gentle and consistent correction and by providing alternative scratching areas, you can persuade your cat to scratch where you want him to.
There are several Deterrents are things that discourage your cat from scratching where he isn’t supposed to scratch.
o Covering a piece of furniture with heavy plastic may alter the texture so your cat doesn’t enjoy scratching there.
o You can spray moth repellent that contain naphthol. You’ll have to spray periodically because the odor fades.
o Feliway may work. The spray contains a pheromone that deters your cat from scratching.
o “Soft Paws”(TM) (or Soft Claws) are plastic nail caps that can be super-glued to a cat’s claws following a preliminary nail trim. The caps have to be replaced every month, or you can replace each one as it falls off. They usually keep the furniture from being damaged.
o Keep your cat’s nails well trimmed will ensure that you cats don’t inflict injury on other and themselves. You must use a sharp pair of nail trimmers made specifically for cats – don’t use human trimmers.
o Having a Scratching Post preferably near scratching sites that your cat has selected for himself. Gradually you can move it to another place that you like.
Dogs Love to Chew
Whether it is a bone or you dress shoes, a canine with a penchant for chewing can transform your valuable coffee table into rubble in a matter of hours. Because reasons for chewing are so diverse, it should be considered a sign or symptom of the motivation. Before attempting to change your dog’s chewing behavior, it’s first important to understand just why she’s laying into your stuff.
Curiosity Propelled Chewing
Dogs learn about their environment by mouthing and gnawing on objects. Typically the targets are random, and may include shoes, books or bedposts. Investigational or “play-related” destructiveness of this kind is a normal behavior for a growing dog.
Puppies seem to escalate such chewing behavior around teething time. The most expedient solution to play-related destructiveness is a dog bed. Ideally, your puppy should be acclimated to a bed from the first day in her new home. Also helpful for house-training, have the bed be in a small area to limits your pup’s access to valuable items while allowing her to rest and chew at her leisure on appropriate items provided by you.
When your puppy must be left alone for long hours, a bed’s too confining and among other things, may force your pup to stand or lie in her own urine or feces. Instead, when you have to leave your pup for a few hours, it is better to restrict your pup to a larger area, such as a kitchen, by means of a baby gate. Even then, introduce freedom only slowly and just for short periods. Well-designed “food-for-work” toys, which can be filled with treats, can keep your dog busy for hours.
Normal chewing is dog-years apart from the anxiety-based chewing of anxiety ridden dogs. Separation anxiety-related destructiveness happens when your dog is alone. The dog gets severely upset when “abandoned” by their owners each morning. In frenzied efforts to escape the house or find its owner, a dog of this persuasion will dig and chew at doorways, windowsills and curtains. The dog may also search for shoes, pillows, purses and other personal items to chew on to alleviate the anxiety. If your dog suffers from anxiety, it can cause dramatic damage to your house. Your dog may also develop fears of thunder, fireworks, wind, and a variety of other noises.
Anxiety-related chewing is treated indirectly by addressing the anxiety itself; if you suspect this to be your dog’s reason for chewing, ask your veterinarian for help in addressing the problem. Most typically, a temporary anti-anxiety medication will be prescribed – along with a behavior-modification program – to help your dog feel less stressed and react more calmly when left alone or when exposed to storms.
Training my Out-of-Control dog
Dogs like humans have a mind of their own and sometime it feels like they get too out-of control. Here are some tips to take control back:
o Use a head collar. Out-of-control dogs almost all universally respond to a head collar, or head halter, a humane and simple tool for training.
o A leash is valuable – even indoors. Dogs that jump, leap and run out of reach should be kept on leash before a problem actually occurs. He will quickly learn to behave appropriately if his good behavior is rewarded while his “bad” behavior is ignored or corrected each and every time.
o Increase your dog’s exercise. All dogs enjoy and appreciate regular exercise. Some dogs, however, require particularly vigorous exercise, such as running, swimming or regular and extended games of fetch. Whatever your dog’s exercise regime, consider increasing both its duration and quality.
o Consider professional help. If the problem seems too difficult to change without help, ask your veterinarian for assistance or for a referral to a behavioral specialist. Although most overactive dogs are normal and will respond to behavior modification, a minority may be suffering from true, physiological hyperactivity, which may require medication in addition to a training program.
Reward good behavior
We love our pets that’s no surprise, but what is surprising is that one of the big mistakes people make is focusing on punishing their pets for bad behavior rather than focusing on rewarding them for what we consider good behavior. A perfect example of this is letting a pup eliminate behind the couch when you are in the other room. The dog is unlikely thinking they are in trouble for eliminating in the house. They probably think you don’t like to see them eliminate, so they learn to hide behind the couch to do so. Like children, pet also need a clear set of rules and boundaries to help them stay safe and ensure that he or she is with you for their whole life. By rewarding your pet with treats or praises for going to their designated area to eliminate gives them the expectation that it is permitted only in that area. Punishing your pet will damage your relationship with your pet. They may end up fearing you make them more likely to eliminate when they see you enter the room. Instead, focus on managing them (using supervision and confinement, such as keeping them on a leash or in a pet-proofed room or crate) to set them up for success and rewarding for good behavior.
Spaying or Neutering pets
Some people still think that spay or neuter their pets is like mentally destroy them. Aside from the fact that there is a serious pet overpopulation problem, Spaying and neutering your pet means it is less likely to wander away to look for a mate and in doing so potentially get lost, hurt, hurt others, or contract diseases. Overall, spaying and neutering will greatly increase the length and quality of your pet’s life.
For males, neutering eliminates the chance of developing testicular cancer and may reduce problems with aggression and decreasing inappropriate urination issues. For females, spaying decreases the chance of developing breast cancer if done before the first heat cycle. It also eliminates the chance of developing pyometra (a potentially fatal infection of the uterus), decreases or eliminates mood swings associated with heat cycles and eliminates spotting.