Category: Training

How to redirect cats’ aggressiveness with feline ethology

The relationship between humans and cats goes back a long way. Sometimes these small cats (although still wild, less and less so) create true bonds with “their humans”. Other times, the relationship between cat and human is not good and problems arise. Cats behavior can be very unpredictable, and when problems like aggression arise, you need to know how to help them. It is just at that moment that feline ethology appears as a solution to problems like this.

What is feline ethology?

When we talk about feline ethology we refer to the science that studies the behavior of cats. During a cat’s life cycle from birth, it goes through a series of stages through which its behavior develops. These are the neonatal period, the transitional period, the period of socialization (probably the most important in behavioral aspects) and the juvenile period.

Thanks to the ethology and scientific studies developed in this field, we can get an idea of ​​what is the “natural” way of behaving in cats and what behaviors are expected of them. Ethologists are able to explain the reason for their behavior and help us distinguish when that behavior is not appropriate, or how to modify it.

Feline ethology itself has its clinical branch. This is the veterinary practice that studies the behavior of cats, is responsible for diagnosing possible behavioral problems and is an appropriate veterinary treatment to solve them.

Redirecting cat aggressiveness through ethology

In general terms, aggressiveness in cats originates when, in certain situations, a stimulus appears that generates fear, discomfort, surprise or pain in the cat. But the stimulus is not accessible at that moment, so the feline decides to choose another target that is within reach: it can be another animal, an object or another person. The problems come when from that moment on, the cat develops fear towards the chosen target, since at any moment another attack can take place.

For this reason, when the target chosen by the cat is another person or domestic pet, great tensions and concern are created by the family, which does not know how to manage the situation.

The stimuli that usually motivate this type of behavior in cats are:

  • Unknown people in the household.
  • Living with other cats in the home.
  • Housing changes.
  • Loud noises.
  • Medical problems that may be causing you physical pain.

The prognosis of feline aggressiveness

This type of feline aggressiveness is the most common, unpredictable and dangerous that these animals can suffer, so it is important to go to your trusted veterinarian first so that he can rule out other types of health problems, and then be referred to a specialist. cat ethologist.

In any case, they must be evaluated by specialists, since the treatment will be very different depending on the cause that motivates their behavior.

Do you have kittens at home? Do you think any of them may be suffering from an aggressive problem? From the beginning, good socialization with them is important, as well as a good environment in the home in which they live. If you think your cat needs help, do not hesitate to go to a professional.

Causes and treatment of canine coprophagia

Whether due to alterations in health, behavioral problems or nutritional complications, many dogs tend to ingest their own feces or those of other animals. This behavior is called coprophagy and although it occurs quite frequently, it usually causes confusion among the owners of the animals.

In order to know what the causes are and what solution can be used to correct this behavior in dogs, we have prepared the following note.

¿Why do some dogs eat feces?

In the veterinary literature, canine coprophagia is the scientific name of this behavior and is defined as the voluntary ingestion of feces by the dog, due, generally, to behavioral alterations or behavioral disorders of the animal, although in certain cases it can be considered as a normal behavior of our pet.

There are several reasons why a dog comes to ingest its own feces or those of other animals. In some cases, dogs begin to consume these droppings because their own body drives them to naturally correct some alteration generated in their digestive process.

Some veterinarians believe that coprophagy tends to be more frequent in those dogs that are fed commercial croquettes which, being biologically inappropriate, can create a chronic deficiency of digestive enzymes. Thus, dogs that have this deficiency, ingest feces of animals whose stools are a good source of digestive enzymes.

But canine coprophagia can also be due to other natural causes.

¿What are the causes of canine coprophagia?

In principle, during the first weeks of a dog’s life, the mother ingests the feces of her pups at the time of performing the ano-genital stimulation so that they can meet their needs. This practice is also common as it allows you to keep the space clean.

However, there are some clinical causes that can generate a problem of canine coprophagy, although these do not usually represent most of the cases that occur.

Among the medical causes that can cause canine coprophagia, we can mention pancreatic problems, nutritional deficit or malabsorption syndrome, among others. Some pathologies such as diabetes mellitus, parasitosis or Cushing’s disease can also cause this problem.

In addition, poor diet can also cause canine coprophagia; in this way, if the diet established for the animal does not cover its nutritional requirements determined by professionals, the dog will seek to fill this deficiency by consuming its own excrement.

Alterations in dog behavior

Some of the cases of canine coprophagy may be due to behavioral causes. For example, on certain occasions, dogs eat their own feces or those of other animals as a way to explore and discover their surroundings.

Also, it may be the case in which a dog imitates the behavior of another who observes eating feces. Many times, a dog shows submission to another by consuming its feces; This situation often occurs when there is more than one dog at home.

When a dog is set aside and does not receive the attention of its owner, it usually consumes its own feces as a way of attracting attention or simply as a fun for lack of sensory stimulation.

Certain compulsive behaviors on the part of the animal as a result of suffering from anxiety and stress situations can also cause canine coprophagia problems.

Other conditions such as overcrowding or lack of cleanliness can also trigger this behavior in the pet.

According to specialists, canine coprophagy may also be due to the fact that the dog simply found it pleasant to consume the depositions of other species, without manifesting health problems or any behavioral disorder.

¿How to correct canine coprophagia?

Based on the causes that may have triggered this behavior in the dog, it is possible to determine the ideal solution for this problem. Thus, if it is an alteration in your health, the veterinarian will establish the appropriate treatment to cure the disease or pathology directly.

If, on the other hand, canine coprophagia is due to a behavioral problem, there are some recommendations that can help correct this behavior in the animal:

Extreme cleaning measures in the area where the dog lives. Keeping the environment clean will help reduce the likelihood of stool consumption by the pet.
Placing a muzzle in the dog’s snout can be a good remedy to avoid this problem, especially if the animal is accustomed to eating feces while being alone at home or when it is taken for a walk.
Offering the dog some toy that distracts him is an excellent practice to keep him entertained, grabbing all his attention.
The punishment can be considered a bad practice to correct the problem since, on the contrary, it can induce the dog to consume its own feces because it considers that it must eliminate the proof that it acted badly.
On the other hand, rewarding him when he defecates could serve to encourage him to seek his prize and distract him from what he has just done, making him forget to consume his own bowel movements.
Many veterinarians recommend adding some preparations that alter the smell and taste of excrement in the animal’s diet, making them repulsive for the dog.

Canine coprophagia can represent a serious health problem for the dog; the stool consumed may be contaminated with bacteria, fungi or parasites. The animal can face intestinal infections or other diseases of greater or lesser severity.

Correct the behavior of our pet can become an odyssey and success will depend on the personality of the animal. For best results, it is advisable to consult with the veterinarian about the best way to modify the dog’s behavior.

¿How to prevent my puppy from destroying everything?

Having a puppy at home can be a great experience for all household members. Sharing and raising your own puppy from birth is an adventure for the whole family; In fact, experts recommend that people have a dog at least once in their life.

But, like any adventure, it has its risks. And is that puppies, like babies, can be difficult to raise and often require constant care.

One of the situations that must be dealt with is his eagerness to bite and destroy everything around him; Puppies like to break clothes, shoes, paper and even furniture, while they are in their growth stage.

This can represent a risk for the family and even for the animal itself, so it is a behavior that must be eradicated. For this, we are going to give you some very valuable guidelines.

¿Why do puppies destroy everything?

The desire to bite, tear or destroy the puppies, is usually related to the exit of the teeth. This behavior usually occurs between three and six months of age, when the puppy’s permanent teeth are developing and the gums usually become inflamed.

Gum discomfort leads them to look for objects to bite and relieve itching or pain.

However, depending on race, this behavior may be more prevalent. Puppies of breeds such as golden retriever, poodle, labrador or cocker spaniel, tend to be very playful, so the behavior of biting and destroying is more frequent.

Risks of disastrous puppies

Although we know that our puppy can cause damage, it does not mean that it is something we should allow. The fact that the puppy walks by biting different things and chewing different materials, can pose a risk to his health.

Remember that you do not do it because of hunger or the desire to consume the product but, rather, to scratch your gums or play. However, in the attempt you can end up consuming some piece of the material.

Any object inside your body can choke, pierce or even intoxicate the small animal, so it is necessary to educate the dog so that, since childhood, he loses the habit of biting everything.

Tips to teach the puppy not to destroy

The best way to keep the puppy away from your shoes, furniture or even the remote control, is to buy toys suitable for their age. The best are those that make noises, as they find it more entertaining.

There is nothing that relaxes a puppy more than a bone. There is a wide variety of synthetic bones on the market that are safe for the gums, allow them to scratch and are not dangerous.

You can also opt for a natural bone, but it should not be in any case a chicken because they are splintered and are a risk to your health.

Your puppy can understand when what he is doing is not well received. Thus, it is best to be attentive to their behavior and be firm when the puppy is doing something inappropriate.

A clear and resounding NO at the appropriate time is an excellent way to extinguish behavior.

As we have said, quite apart from the gum problem, the dog also seeks to bite as a way to have fun. Therefore, it is essential to take the puppy for a walk at least twice a day.

Take it to open spaces, although safe, that allow you to run and relax enough to burn energy.

If after the toys, walks and scolding the puppy continues to destroy, it is necessary to consider other causes. Canine anxiety is a disorder of the behavior of dogs that, if left unattended, can affect the development of the puppy.

Talk to your veterinarian and study the different causes that may be influencing.

Cognitive dysfunction in pets

One of the most common mistakes among those who have animals at home is to think that some changes in the behavior or physical condition of their pets are due to the passage of time and that there is nothing that can be done about it. The truth is that there are certain pathologies that can manifest in the animal and be confused as symptoms of old age. One of these pathologies is the syndrome of cognitive dysfunction, a progressive disease, similar to Alzheimer’s in people, which must be known to take the necessary measures to improve the condition of the pet.

¿What is cognitive dysfunction syndrome?

When we talk about the syndrome of cognitive dysfunction we are referring to a state of dementia that occurs in companion animals, in which the cognitive process is compromised and manifested with changes in behavior, motor alterations and problems in their health.
The cognitive dysfunction syndrome directly impacts on the behavior of the pet, being able to be aggressive and irritable due to the sensation of discomfort due to the decrease of mobility as a cause of a degenerative process of the joints of the body.
This problem occurs in some animals when they are in advanced age and is a consequence of the degeneration of the central nervous system. It is a progressive disease with a very high prevalence, although many cases do not even get diagnosed.

¿What are the symptoms that occur in pets?

There are four categories in which the symptoms related to cognitive dysfunction syndrome in pets are classified:
The first category refers to the disorientation that pets suffer and, in general, is the first symptom that occurs in animals. The owners identify that the pet is confused and has problems recognizing its environment and moves from one place to another, without a specific address.
In addition, the animal tends to bark and be fearful because it does not recognize what is around it.
In the second category, changes are manifested in the social relationships of the pet, showing hostility to other animals, as well as little communication with their owners. The animal decreases the frequency of its games, becomes more irritable and tends to isolate itself.
The symptoms that are part of the third category are related to alterations in the sleep cycle since the pet considerably reduces its rest hours at night, spending a great part of the day sleeping. These changes usually go unnoticed by the owners.
Other symptoms related to the syndrome of cognitive dysfunction and that are grouped in the fourth category are associated with the alteration of the learning processes, manifested with the loss of defecation and urination habits. Pets forget the habit of making their depositions, making them in different parts of the house.

¿How is the cognitive dysfunction syndrome diagnosed?

The veterinarian, through the performance of certain tests, can determine the condition of cognitive dysfunction in the pet. Usually, the diagnosis is made by exclusion because it discards any other disease that may be generating the same symptoms. By observing and analyzing samples, the specialist will be able to determine if the animal in advanced age has any special pathology or suffers from cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
The observation is made by the veterinarian through a complete physical examination and a thorough investigation of the animal’s clinical history. Depending on the symptoms presented, the specialist will perform additional tests that include a blood test and a blood count. Other more specific tests that include ultrasounds and radiographs may also serve to rule out any pathology.
Many times, the veterinarian may order a computerized axial tomography or an MRI scan because the alterations in the animal’s behavior may be due to problems in the central nervous system.
With the discarding of any other disease that may be generating similar symptoms, the specialist will be able to diagnose the syndrome of cognitive dysfunction.

¿What is the treatment of cognitive dysfunction syndrome?

It is important to take into account that the cognitive dysfunction syndrome can not be cured since it constitutes a progressive and gradual deterioration, so the primary treatment is referred to the relief of the symptoms, especially in the cases in which they are related to some specific problem
Thus, in cases in which pain has to be relieved, the specialist may prescribe analgesics, while, to reduce anxiety, may order some medication as a therapeutic option.
Being a process of progressive deterioration, it is essential to start treatment as soon as possible, through the application of behavior modification therapy in the animal, a food therapy and a therapy based on the intake of drugs.
Recommendations to improve the quality of life of pets
The early identification of this condition is essential to alleviate the effects on our pets. Therefore, the owner should be alert and notice any changes that may occur in the behavior of the animal, especially if you are of advanced age. Before the first suspicions, it is necessary to take it as soon as possible to the veterinary office so that they carry out the pertinent analyzes to him.
A special diet, based on a decrease in calories and the consumption of feed rich in antioxidants and protectors of cell membranes, can be of great help to improve animal conditions. Both the feed and any food supplement should be supervised and recommended by the veterinarian.
Short walks and activities that stimulate your mind, are recommended actions to improve the quality of life of pets. This will help increase their interest in the environment and increase social interactions.
Finally, some drugs that increase blood flow to the brain have proven to be very effective in the treatment of cognitive dysfunction syndrome. The specialist will be able to determine which of them is the most convenient for your pet.

How to control the stress of pets

In general, stress, that state of mental fatigue that is usually caused by the demand for a much higher than usual performance, is usually related to human beings; however, our pets may also feel it and, if not treated in time, may pose a major problem for the animal. Therefore, it is important to identify what is the root of the problem and determine the actions to follow to control it.

In dogs, race is a determining factor when establishing the reason why our pet is going through a moment of stress. This is because, according to their race, animals tend to be more or less nervous or react differently to some repeated stimulus.

Stressgineers may also be related to feelings of anxiety, exc ojosoples and fear ,oples’ emotions, as they are frequently perceived, can cause hyperact promover piedras and Alliance Structure.

Effects of stress on animals

The consequences of being exposed to situations of constant stress can generate health problems related to an imbalance in your immune system, which leaves you exposed to a series of diseases and infections. In addition, they may suffer alterations in gastric activity and an increase in heart rate.

Some of the most common symptoms of dogs with stress include hyperactivity, panting, aggression, vomiting, agitation, excessive thirst, lack of appetite, obsessive behavior, hair loss, lack of attention and diarrhea. In certain cases it can present an abundant salivation and rigidity in the muscles of the body.

In the most extreme cases, stress can produce desires for self-harm, chronic barking, digestive problems, lack of sleep and depression.

Guidelines to reduce stress in pets

If you have been able to identify some of these symptoms in your pet, there are a series of actions you can take to reduce your stress level and improve your health status.

The first step is to identify the source that is causing a high level of stress. Maybe something is causing fear or unrest and it is necessary to be clear what it is. Knowing the source will help us to know what measures to take in this regard.

From there, we will have to try to provide a quieter space, in which you can keep relaxed during the day and night.

The trainers recommend taking the dog for a walk, letting the nose allow them to explore the terrain freely. Smell is the sense that dogs have developed the most and this practice will stimulate them and help in their relaxation.

There is a method that can be useful for stress control of pets and is called anti-anxiety bandage and consists of placing a bandage and wrap the pet at certain strategic points; This will help her regain her emotional balance and raise her level of confidence.

In cases where the manifestations are more intense, do not hesitate to take it to your veterinary hospital; The specialist can determine the most appropriate treatment to solve your problem.