How to Tell if Your Pet’s Behavior Issue is a Sign of a Health Problem

Behavioral problems can be very common in dogs, cats, and other companion animals.  When pet owners look up behavioral issues, such as cats going outside of the litter box, or obsessive grooming in dogs, many websites will tell you to see your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.  How can you tell if your pet’s problem behavior is the result of a medical issue, and if so, what kind of medical issue?

The website VetVine is a great resource for both veterinarians and pet owners.  They have created a helpful checklist which outlines common categories of pet behavior problems, and the medical and behavioral causes that could be behind each problem.

Problem behavior categories are: house soiling, excessive grooming, aggression, and excessive vocalization.  Possible medical and behavioral causes are listed for each problem.  For example, did you know that a cat that goes outside of the litter box could have diabetes?  Or a dog that shows signs of aggression could have thyroid disease or epilepsy?  Does your pet meow or bark a lot?  It could be an indicator of hearing loss.

Check out the VetVine website for the complete list of conditions and causes, and be sure to see your veterinarian for additional help.  Interested in exploring more pet wellness topics?  The VetVine Hub on YouTube contains dozens of videos for pet owners on all sorts of pet health and behavior issues.  You can watch informative videos on everything from pet cancer and obesity to flea and tick control to dealing with pet anxiety, fear, and stress.


19 thoughts on “How to Tell if Your Pet’s Behavior Issue is a Sign of a Health Problem

  1. Living with as many cats as I do, I’ve learned so much about behavioral problems. Cats don’t misbehave just because they have nothing better to do. There is ALWAYS a reason. I study them, I observe them, I question, and I at times know why the “accident” happened and so address it. Some of the reasons are … stress (even an unexpected knock at the door), pain, a chronic disease symptom flair up, boy competition, an indicator that Daddy *will* get angry (and sure enough he does), and even yes “payback” for not doing something they wanted. Their ways of communication are fascinating and very complex and it takes someone with a lot of patience and “skill” to figure out what they are communicating. Great post!! 💝

    • Agree that there is always a valid reason for any pet behavior issues. If there’s not a physical problem, there is some stressor in the household that needs to be addressed. Even past bad experiences (as with a rescue cat) can lead to long term problems. One of my cats lost his mother at a very young age and he definitely still suffers the effects of trauma.

      • I so understand. I only stated a few reasons but I have many more. I have one cat whose barn cat mother taught him how to mark his territory and to this day, that is what he does. No amount of discipline or teaching on my part will break this habit. So I’v learned to live with it and clean (a lot). Not many people would put up with what I do yet I do it because I LOVE these guys. They all have come from really terrible beginnings in life so I see it as me coming into their lives to give them the best of everything that I can. And so I do. 🙂

      • You are so welcome. I’m the one who is honored for they chose me and trust me explicitly. That is saying a lot when the majority of them are scared stiff of humans.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.