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Behavioral issues in pets - behavior modification and pharmaceuticals

By ancientartsvet.com
Updated: 2009-06-05 9:29 AM 2838 Views    Category: - General Pet Care
 
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Aggression, inappropriate urination, hyperactivity, separation anxiety, sibling rivalry, feather picking in birds or excessive grooming or lick granulomas in dogs and cats are all issues that can be helped through acupuncture, herbal therapies, and other novel holistic approaches. These are often multi-tiered issues, and require patience on the part of the pet guardian and all members in the family to stay open-minded and understand how each member’s behavior affects that of the animal. It is also imperative to understand normal animal behavior, so we can work with what comes naturally to them to make adjustments more easily.

Behavior modification usually means modifying the human behavior just as much as that of the pet. Understanding the human-animal bond and the dynamics that interplay are quite individual, and are easily altered by stress in the house from the people or the animals. When we bring more awareness to our actions and moods, we also help our animals. Taking up qi gong meditation or yoga can greatly benefit not only ourselves but also the pets who live with us. For example, dog rivalry requires that all humans in the house acknowledge the pecking order, and constantly reinforce it through giving more attention and treats to the head dog. Of course the humans in the house are really the “alphas” and then there is the pecking order amongst the dogs. Don’t be tempted to try to coddle the lower dogs in the pecking order, as that can confuse the natural order and lead to more fighting amongst the dogs to reestablish the structure.
 
Kitties spitting at each other, or worse—spraying or urinating in the house requires a multi-pronged approach. Inter-kitty spats are best left up to them to work out on their own. The more we humans try to intervene out of concern can delay the cats working out their issues on their own. 
 
Psychoactive drugs such as prozac/reconcile, buspar, xanax, clomipramine, or amitryptyline can be helpful for some cats or dogs, but can have side effects or not be effective at all. All these medications stress the importance of behavior modification, so “pill-popping” in and of itself is not an answer, and can sometimes make the animals feel out of sorts, potentially aggravating the behavioral issues.
 

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