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Aggression is a symptom usually defined as the intent to do harm, which means that some pets may show aggressive behavior toward other pets, or humans. Pets may show aggressive behavior when protecting their territory or family. Causes of aggression vary immensely, for example brain damage or another illness, may cause your pet to feel uncomfortable and irritated. This health conditions can lead to aggressive behavior. Also some breeds are more protective than others, and may be more likely to show aggressive behavior.

How to Recognize

Your once loving dog has turned into an animal that you are afraid of. Your once docile cat has become an animal that attacks without warning. Behavioral changes in pets are easy to recognize. When your pet becomes aggressive, you know it. Aggression in dogs is often exhibited by biting. Aggression in cats may be exhibited in both biting and clawing behaviors. When your pet becomes aggressive, your entire family is at risk. You are also putting other animals, guests in your home, and strangers in public at risk. Discovering the cause of the behavior is an important first step in curing it.

Causes of Aggression

Dog aggression and cat aggression are often signs of an underlying medical condition. Dogs and cats may display aggressive behaviors when they are sick or injured. For example, if you touch your dog's ear and it turns to snap at you, chances of an ear infection are high. If you stroke your cat's back and it swats at you with its claws, it may be sore or injured. Another very serious cause of dog aggression and cat aggression is a brain tumor. Brain tumors are difficult and expensive to diagnose. Many general practitioners will diagnose your pet as having a tumor or mass on the brain when other conditions have been ruled out.


Aggression in dogs and aggression in cats can be difficult to diagnose. Your veterinarian will look for underlying medical conditions to discover the cause of the behavior. You can expect your veterinarian to request a general health profile or workup. This may include radiographs, blood testing, urine testing, and a physical exam. If your veterinarian is unable to determine a physical cause for the aggressive behavior, he may refer you to a veterinary behaviorist. These professionals are veterinarians with additional training in dog and cat behavior. They are able to combine medical and behavioral therapies in order to help your pet.

Similar Symptoms

There are no symptoms similar to aggression in dogs or aggression in cats. A dog or cat either displays aggressive behaviors or it does not.

Possible Conditions

There are several reasons for dog aggression and cat aggression. If your dog or cat is typically loving, aggressive behavior can signify illness or injury. In some dogs and cats, a brain tumor or other mass on the brain can cause behavioral changes. In adult and senior pets, a change to aggressive behavior may be a symptom of dementia or cognitive dysfunction. Many pet owners are not aware that pets can suffer from dementia. If your dog or cat displays behavioral changes, does not seem to recognize you at all times, and appears to be lost within their own home or yard, dementia can be the cause.

Treatment for Aggression

If aggressive behavior is caused by a physical condition such as illness or injury, treating the underlying condition curbs the aggressive behavior. If your dog or cat is suffering with dementia, medications can help your pet regain cognitive function and curb the bad behavior. Training and behavioral therapies may also be prescribed by your pet’s veterinarian. Because aggressive behaviors can be dangerous to both humans and pets, it is important to follow through with the therapies and medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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