[KENNETT SQUARE, PA] (Gloucestercitynews.net)– With more than 100 million households nationwide owning cats or dogs, pets have become integral members of American families. But when “Fido” and “Fluffy” start to act in unusual, frustrating, or frightening manners, where can owners turn?
Recently, Penn Vet’s Dr. Carlo Siracusa, Director of Penn Vet Ryan Hospital’s Companion Animal Behavior Medicine service, shared insights on his integrated approach to treating unsavory behavior to help owners offer a better life for their four-legged family members.
Our animal companions can face a full gamut of complex emotions, including anxiety, jealousy, compulsive behavior, and even depression. Pet parents, however, are frequently under-equipped to decipher the underlying emotions causing their furry friends’ unsavory actions.
Aggression, for example, is a behavior seen in nearly 90-percent of Siracusa’s patients. Often the outcropping of a physical pain or fear, it is repeatedly misinterpreted by owners as an attempt to “step out of line” and establish disobedience.
Other behaviors commonly treated at Penn Vet include destructive chewing of furniture and doors, obsessive behavior like tail chasing and ceaseless barking, eating fecal matter, and hypersensitivity to being left alone.
"There are a lot of misunderstandings about these behaviors in animals and why they express them," said Siracusa. “My job as an animal behaviorist is to understand the animal’s point of view and the mechanisms behind the behavior to create effective, personalized treatment plans that are safe for both the patient and their family.”