Behavior Counseling

Extending your family by bringing a new pet into your home is a wonderful feeling. But you may question that decision if your pet starts to urinate in the house, scratch at furniture, bark insistently, pull on a leash to the point of putting himself or others in danger or not get along well with other animals. Our team of veterinarians and team members will work with you even prior to bringing a new pet in the home to determine the right breed for your family. Our team will then help you be proactive in introducing your new pet into your home. The goal is always to prevent the problem rather than reverse the problem. But if the problem arises with a pet you already have or develops after the new pet is brought home, we will help you identify what the root cause of the problem may be (the cause often is not what the behavior is) and what type of training will work best to over come the behavior.

As your pet ages, you may begin to notice a few changes in their behavior. Some changes may be very subtle and occur slowly over a long period of time. You may not think about it, but your pet’s aging process is very similar to ours. The three main behavior changes we see are urinary incontinence, senility and increased irritability.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is common in older pets. Most of the symptoms are not exhibited in the exam room but instead are things you will notice at home. Symptoms may include:

  • wandering aimlessly
  • appearing lost or confused in familiar places such as the backyard or the house
  • getting “stuck” in corners or behind furniture
  • having difficulty finding the door/going to the wrong side of the door
  • barking at night for no apparent reason
  • sleeping more
  • staring into space or at walls
  • inability to recognize loved ones
  • having accidents in the house/not asking to go outside

If you notice a sudden onset of any of these symptoms, your pet should be seen by a veterinarian right away as these can also be signs of more serious conditions such as vestibular disease, a brain tumor or pain.

There are medications that can help pets with cognitive dysfunction syndrome. By increasing certain hormones in the brain like dopamine and serotonin, your pet’s symptoms may be lessened increasing their quality of life.

There are other non-prescription supplements which can be used with our senior pets when the symptoms of senility are not as severe. Omega-3 fatty acids are required for normal brain and visual function, and have been shown to slow brain aging. They have also been shown to decrease the growth of cancer cells. Another supplement which can be used safely is Choline. Choline is a B vitamin used to make acetylcholine and dopamine, nerve chemicals essential for normal brain function. Choline may also help some pets with urinary incontinence.
In recent studies, 75% of dogs and cats with CDS who displayed varying degrees of symptoms improved when treated with Choline.

Hill’s Science Diet® has recently improved their diet B/d which is utilized to slow the senility process. It provides high doses of Omega 3 fatty acids as well as providing choline. It is indicated for senior pets exhibiting behavioral changes related to brain aging and can improve learning ability and alertness.

If you think your pet may be exhibiting some of these symptoms please discuss your concerns with your veterinarian so we can help you make these years much more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your pet.