Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Many dogs and cats have cute behaviors that warm our hearts and make us smile such as giving us kisses, chasing the light from a flashlight or fetching their favorite toys. However, when animals indulge in behaviors that are harmful or annoying, they can be good reasons for concern. These behaviors are known as obsessive compulsive disorders, or OCDs, and they can involve many different things including excessive licking, self-mutilation, barking or yowling, fence-running, chasing cars or over-eating. These are quite common pet health concerns but there are some steps you can take to solve these problems.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

How it Affects your pet

What this mental condition can do to your pet depends entirely on the behavior your dog or cat chooses to obsess over. In many cases, your pet's obsessive behavior may be a minor annoyance that you can withstand; however, this is not always so. Sometimes, obsessive behavior can harm your pet. This is especially true if you have a dog or cat that bites, chews or licks itself constantly. When pets engage in this type of behavior, it can result in various health problems such as hair loss, open lesions and infections. Additionally, animals that insist on chasing cars put themselves at risk of getting hurt or even killed. If your pet likes to overeat, it can become overweight placing it at risk of many different health problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. All of these problems can be avoided though, with proper exercise regimens and veterinary attention if necessary.

Common symptoms

Symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder in a pet will vary as well depending on the behavior animals choose to engage in. However, it is quite easy to recognize behaviors as being obsessive compulsive, and the following symptoms are some of the most common. Common Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Pets are Excessive Licking, Scratching, Biting or Chewing, Chasing Tails, Cars or Small Animals in Excess, Overeating and/or Eating Rapidly, Constant Fence-Running, Barking, Whining or Yowling too Much, Fetching Toys or Other Objects in Excess, Constant Digging, Hair Loss and/or Skin Lesions, Excessive Weight Gain and Any Other Behavior That is Uncontrollable.

Treatments

Research has found that animals typically engage in obsessive behaviors due to anxiety and/or boredom. With that said, in most cases, treatments for this disorder are focused on relieving your pet's anxiety or boredom and diverting their attention elsewhere. Keeping your pet busy by playing with it regularly and taking it for daily walks can help reduce obsessive compulsive behaviors. Make sure you keep your pet clean, clip its nails regularly, and keep its bedding and elimination areas clean as well. Provide your pet with plenty of toys and company so that it will not become bored. Finally, it is always a good idea to take your dog or cat to a veterinarian for a checkup to make sure there are no underlying causes of its behavior. Additionally, if your pet has harmed itself to the point where it has open lesions, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infections. In some cases, an animal behaviorist can help.

Breeds Affected

Any pet that is bored or under stress can resort to obsessive compulsive behaviors. However, there are certain conditions that encourage some animals to engage in these behaviors more often than others. There are also some animals that engage in certain behaviors more than others do. Animals most vulnerable to obsessive compulsive disorder: cats that groom themselves excessively, all terrier breeds, many toy breeds, animals that have recently moved to a new home or family, animals that are confined to a chain or kennel, animals that are left alone all day, animals that are abused or neglected and animals that live in filthy environments.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Affects

  • What this mental condition can do to your pet depends entirely on the behavior your dog or cat chooses to obsess over. In many cases, your pet's obsessive behavior may be a minor annoyance that you can withstand; however, this is not always so. Sometimes, obsessive behavior can harm your pet. This is especially true if you have a dog or cat that bites, chews or licks itself constantly. When pets engage in this type of behavior, it can result in various health problems such as hair loss, open lesions and infections. Additionally, animals that insist on chasing cars put themselves at risk of getting hurt or even killed. If your pet likes to overeat, it can become overweight placing it at risk of many different health problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. All of these problems can be avoided though, with proper exercise regimens and veterinary attention if necessary.

Similar conditions

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