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Bad Temper

Bad Temper

If a pet is irritable, or in an angry mood, either afraid or very defensive, will display a bad temper. A cat or dog can be in a bad mood for different reasons. Behavioral changes in pets is often caused by a medical condition. The medical condition can vary between infection, diseases, and traumas. Behavioral changes can also be caused by psychological problems, such as anxieties. It is advised to consult a veterinarian to determine the cause of the bad temper.

How to Recognize

Is your cantankerous cat or crabby canine copping a bad attitude? Bad tempers in pets should never be ignored, physically punished or laughed off. If your normally placid pet is suddenly displaying such behavior, it could be in response to illness or pain. If the behavior has been present from the beginning, the problem will only worsen with time unless you intervene with the help of a board-certified animal behaviorist. Bad tempers in cats are seen as hissing, growling, biting and angrily swatting with their paws. Some warning signs that a hissy fit may be imminent include a direct stare and a thrashing tail. Bad tempers in dogs are seen as growling, snarling, aggressively lunging and biting. Often, a low growl, curling the upper lip to expose teeth and a rigid posture all serve to warn that an outburst of aggression is about to take place.

Causes of Bad Temper

Pain and discomfort can incite bad tempers in dogs and cats. If an older dog is feeling arthritic, he may not take kindly to being prodded to get up for a trip outdoors. If a cat has painful bladder stones, she will not appreciate being picked up around the middle. Snapping and biting are instinctual defense responses to pain. Psychological conditions, such as feelings of insecurity, fear and intimidation, can also cause cranky behavior. An overprotective animal can become aggressive in his attempt to defend his household. This defense behavior is also common among mothers during the birth and nursing of their new puppies or kittens. An male dog that has not been neutered can become aggressive when he senses a female in heat.


Before attempts are made to correct the bad behavior, it is imperative to see your veterinarian. After thoroughly examining your pet and discussing the behavior in detail, he can rule out the possibility of illness or pain as the contributing factor. He might be able to determine the cause of your furry friend's wrath, but he may refer your dog or cat to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. This specialist will be able to gain deeper insight into your pet's background, lifestyle and personality, enabling him to recommend the best course of action to restore your companion's good nature.

Similar Symptoms

Growling, biting, hissing, swatting and lunging are all signs of a temper gone bad. These aggressive behaviors are unmistakable. If they occur once in response to an obvious trigger, such as if you accidently step on your dog's tail while he is asleep, he can have a pass. This is not a nasty temper if the occurrence is an isolated incident. Dogs and cats who repeatedly display this behavior without obvious provocation are the ones whose temperaments need to be addressed and corrected.

Possible Conditions

Aggressive tendencies in cats can fall into any of the following categories: Pain-induced aggression, Fear aggression, Territorial aggression, Maternal aggression, Play aggression, Predatory aggression, Petting-induced aggression, and Redirected aggression. Aggressive tendencies in dogs can fall into any of the following categories: Fear aggression, Pain-induced aggression, Territorial aggression, Protective aggression, Defensive aggression, Predatory aggression, Sexual aggression, Frustration aggression, Redirected aggression, and Social aggression.

Treatment for Bad Temper

Pets with aggression issues can inflict severe injury to family members. It can be risky to attempt correcting these behaviors without the guidance of a qualified professional that deals specifically with these problems. A behaviorist will assess your pet's overall demeanor, and some behaviorists perform consultations in thepets' homes in order to have a complete picture of the home environment. Once the behaviorist has all of the pieces of the puzzle, he will put together a customized plan that may include a combination of behavior modification techniques, training tips and medications. With a new understanding and plenty of patience and love, you will be able to restore your pet's inner peace and coexist in harmony for years to come.

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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