Is It Bad Behavior or Canine Pain?

While most undesirable canine behaviors can be eliminated with proper training techniques, some behaviors may be signs of underlying medical conditions. Since our dogs can’t tell us when they’re not feeling well, they sometimes use unwanted or even destructive behaviors to try to tell us something is wrong. Check out this list of of behavioral changes that may be caused by an illness and/or disease.

  • Excessive urination: If your housebroken pet is asking to go out all the time or having accidents in the house, check with your veterinarian.  It could be a symptom of a urinary tract infection, bladder problem, etc.
  • Unprovoked aggression: If your pup has always been as sweet as can be and has all of a sudden seemed to develop illogical aggression towards any person, other animal, or object, make an appointment with your veterinarian.  Various ailments, including physical pain/trauma, seizures, thyroid disorders, or medication side effects can cause aggression.
  • Extreme phobias: Regardless of the trigger, it’s best to check with your veterinarian if your pup starts hyperventilating, pacing, excessively barking, or self-harming as a result of an irrational fear [thunder, brooms, cars, and more].  While these behaviors are typically more behavioral, it won’t hurt to have some blood tests done to ensure there’s no hidden cause.  If they are entirely behavioral, your vet can supply some calming aids to help deal with the phobia.
  • Decrease in mobility: If your dog is no longer willing to hop in the car or climb up the stairs, she may be in pain.  Taking her to the veterinarian for a physical and maybe even x-rays can help to see if she’s injured herself or has an other condition such as arthritis.
  • Lack of response to known commands: If your dog has always known “Sit,” and “Rollover” and has suddenly stopped responding to those commands, his hearing may be declining or he may be having some kind of neurological ailment.  Don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for a check-up.
  • Excessive self-licking: If your pet is licking or chewing at themselves til their skin is raw, chances are a skin condition is the cause.  Head to the vet to see if your pet has any allergies or skin condition.
  • Continuous head shaking: This could be a sign of allergies or an ear infections.  Ear problems can be very painful for a dog, so be sure to head to the vet so they can take a look inside those ears.

Canine behaviors are tricky as they may be entirely treatable with training, but sometimes are signs of illnesses.  Here at Emerald Animal Hospital, pet health is our #1 priority.  Our veterinarians and staff are fully equipped to run diagnostic tests to rule out any medical cause for these types of behaviors and are knowledgeable in training tips to help your pup overcome these behaviors.  If needed, we are fully capable of recommending a local canine training facility or a behaviorist to help you with training.  Give us a call at 216-749-7161, and we’ll set up a time to meet you and your lovable pet!