Our pet’s health is important to us, that’s why we strive to provide our pets with the best mental stimulation! While enrichment is vital to keeping our pets mentally fit, there are some problems that enrichment alone can’t solve. It is important to know what is normal for your pet and make note of any sudden or worsening symptoms. Here is a list of possible behaviours that aren’t necessarily ‘normal’, and my point to a larger issue that requires professional intervention.

Obsessive Behaviour

Any type of overly obsessive behaviour can be a red flag. This can be the result of a very widespread issue. OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) or CCD (Canine Compulsive Disorder) in the case of dogs.

To determine if this is an issue for your pet, you’ll have to watch them closely. Is it repeating a detrimental or non-detrimental action? For a dog, the action might be as simple as licking. For a bird, it might be plucking out its feathers. These unnoticeable and harmless signs can refer to more severe conditions underneath. Moreover, this behaviour can affect various animals, including cats, dogs, horses and so on.

Common symptoms might include are:

Increased vocalization

Tail chasing

Excessive pacing

Obsessive licking, sucking or chewing

Self-mutilation

Aimless circling, etc

Make sure to note any new or worsening behaviours as they occur, so you can have a detailed record to share with your Veterinarian, or other pet professional.

Sudden Fear, Snapping or Panic Attacks

Watching your beloved companion quivering and shaking in fear can be a devastating experience. This might also be a sign your pet requires your attention and help. Sudden freaking out of your pet often has a trigger attached. This may point to the possibility of your pet having a phobia. All animals can have fears or feel nervous at times, but it’s important to note when a reaction seems over the top, or out of proportion for the situation. Phobias should only be handled by Certified Pet Professionals who counter or classical conditioning techniques and positive reinforcement to help alleviate the emotional response related to the trigger.

Your pet can show its fear in several ways, which include:

Panting

Shivering

Loss of appetite

Immobility

Aggression

Self-mutilation

Escaping or hiding

Again it is important to look at the situation as a whole and decided if your pet’s reaction is appropriate, or inappropriate given the stimuli.

Irregular Eating

Has your pet not been eating like before, or has it been overeating? Whatever the condition may be, it can be a sign of an underlying unsolved issue. Once your Vet has ruled out any physical possibilities for the change in eating habits, it may be time to look for an underlying physiological explanation.

Separation Anxiety

Our pets share a unique and inseparable bond with us, and while this is part of what makes us so fond of them, there is a possibility your pet’s reaction may be over the regular amount of missing you while you’re out. Separation anxiety is often just part of the picture when it comes to your pets mental wellbeing as a whole.

Final Thoughts

We are not Veterinarians, so any information stated here should be taken as a guideline, always consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health. While enrichment may never solve all your problems, it’s still an important step to take in maintaining your pet’s health.