OCD IN CATS AND DOGS
Do you think your pet may have Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder? Both cats and dogs can show symptoms of OCD. It appears to occur in
about 5% of pets. The most common behaviors in dogs are obsessive licking and
tail chasing, spinning The most common behaviors in cats are wool sucking (a
compulsive, misdirected form of nursing behavior), and incessant grooming.
If your dog has OCD, it can interfere with his quality of
life and health. It can also cause stress in the household. Cats that chew or
suck on wool and other fabric can move on to swallowing it, causing dangerous
OCD is found in dogs who are stressed, anxious, or bored.
It can be a part of your petís genetic make-up and some breeds are more
susceptible to having OCD.
Cats do not handle change or stress well. If you find your
cat is suffering from OCD, try to limit the amount of changes that occur in his
day. Make sure you stay on schedule with his feeding and keep it in the same
place. The same with the litter box--clean on a schedule and keep it in the
It is best with your pet to create a solid foundation for
their health. If you have read my articles this will not be new information for
- Make sure their diet is balanced and appropriate for
your pet. Again, if you are not feeding raw in the diet, I would consider
this. Nutrition plays a key role in your petís behavior and the way they
feel. Cats are true meat eaters. They utilize little to no carbs in their
diet and they need a high-moisture diet.
- Make sure you pet is getting plenty of exercise. For
a dog, especially a large one, going for a walk once a day is not going to
be enough. It is a great bonding experience for you and your pet, but it is
not going to do anything to get his heart rate up and expel excess energy.
- Eliminate or keep chemicals to a minimum. This means
vaccinations, flea and heartworm treatment, etc. It is important to keep
their immune system strong.
If you believe your pet may have OCD, it is best to get
this confirmed with your vet to rule out any other problem that could be
occurring. Your vet may want to prescribe something like Prozac or Zoloft.
This should only be done in server cases. If your dog or cat is diagnosed with
OCD, I would highly recommend that you seek the advise of a Holistic Vet to see
what your alternative treatments are.
Here are some things you can do to relieve some of the
anxiety and stress of OCD.
Get your dog playing, moving and thinking. You can play
fetch; take long, brisk walks; go hiking and/or swimming; get involved in
agility, tracking or other sports; create mind games for your dog, like hiding
his food, using toys that make him work for it, or use obedient training tricks
to make him focus on you and what you want him to do. If you like to roller
blade or ride your bike, this is great exercise for your dog. I know here in
Washington when the weather gets bad, itís hard to get out with your dog. I am
a strong proponent of a treadmill and believe it has worked well for my beagle
who has anxiety issues. If your dog likes to play with other dogs, putting him
in daycare a couple times a week can be beneficial for both of you.
Provide an assortment of toys. Cats like to play in paper
bags and boxes. I have seen people make tunnels out of emptied cases of pop
boxes. A good scratching post is great for your cat to get up on, play in or
even feel secure to take a nap on and of course they like to scratch. The treat
balls, like SlimCat can be very entertaining for your cat. If your cat is
alone, you may want to consider leaving the TV on or playing some music in the
background. Spend time playing with your cat. Laser pointers can be a great
source of entertainment for both you and your cat.
For both cats and dogs, you can look into providing
pheromones. We usually have the plug in for cats, but can also look into
ordering products for dogs.
OCD is not something that will go away by itself and will
get worse if not take care of. It is important that you are proactive in
whatever treatment you decide best for your pet.
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