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Pet Behavior Issues

The excellent team of staff here at Champlin Park Pet Hospital can be your first stop when it comes to pet behavioral issues. Our first step for any sort of new behavioral issue in your pet is ruling out any underlying medical issues. When your pet comes in for an exam regarding behavioral changes at home, we start by recommending diagnostics to rule out any potential underlying health issues, such as a urinary tract infection, ear infection, chronic pain, etc. If we find no underlying causes to behavior changes, then your pet’s veterinarian can offer some different recommendations going forward if deemed purely behavior alone.

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Fear Based Aggression/Anxiety
at the Veterinary Clinic

Dogs and cats who are very stressed and scared at the veterinarian are unfortunately more common than you may think. Pets become stressed due to feeling trapped, anxious, and many other reasons when they arrive. If your pet experiences fear-based aggression or anxiety when they come in for veterinary visits, your veterinarian will most likely recommend your pet come in with either an anti-anxiety or mild-sedative type medication. This is meant to keep your pet less stressed and to keep you, your pet and our staff safe while they are here with us.

Our goal is to make sure a pet’s experience here is a positive one, and a place where they can get some snacks and head scratches while they’re at it. We don’t want your pets to fear us, we know that makes it difficult for you to get them to us safely. In these circumstances, medical management can really be beneficial for your pet.

You can also help your pet’s visit be less stressful by bringing their favorite toy or treat along. We also recommend all dogs to have an appropriately fitting collar and to be leashed when in the clinic, as we don’t want them to slip out of their collar while in the parking lot.

We also recommend cats to be in a secure carrier when brought in for vet visits. Dogs are often in the lobby, and we do not want your cat to get loose in the clinic out of fear. To make cats less afraid of carriers, we recommend keeping your carrier in an accessible area of your home with one of their favorite blankets in it. This allows the cat to think of the carrier as a safe space, and not just as a transportation device to the vet clinic. 

Common Behavior Issues


  • Aggression
  • Barking
  • Destructive chewing
  • Food guarding
  • Howling
  • Mounting
  • Mouthing, nipping and play biting in adult dogs or puppies
  • Separation anxiety
  • Whining 


  • Aggression between cats in household
  • Aggression towards humans in household
  • Destructive scratching
  • Litter box problems
  • Meowing or howling
  • Older cats with behavior changes
  • Urine Marking 

If you believe your pet is exhibiting any of the above behaviors, then it may be time to make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian here at Champlin Park Pet Hospital, to rule out any underlying health issues. Your pet’s veterinarian can also discuss the possibility of medical management to use in your home. If you want recommendations on local trainers or behaviorists, we can also offer referrals.

Another great resource to start learning about specific behavior issues is on our local Animal Humane Society website.

When Should I Get My Vet’s Help?

Most owners feel confident tackling many of the common training issues that come up with their cat or dog. However, a veterinarian can always help you rule out medical causes for behavior and give you evidence-based training tips that can make everything simpler. You should contact us if:

  • Your usual training techniques aren’t working
  • Your pet has adopted old bad habits
  • It’s taking longer than you think it should for your pet to learn

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