Common Compulsive Disorders in Dogs and Cats

May 12, 2018

Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, chief of the Behavior Medicine Division at the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia, explains some of the most common compulsive disorders in dogs and cats.

Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, chief of the Behavior Medicine Division at the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia, explains some of the most common compulsive disorders in dogs and cats.

The most common for dogs are light and shadow chasing, blanket and flank sucking, and tail chasing and spinning. Dr. Pike says sometimes dogs perform these behavior in lieu of normal behaviors, such as eating and drinking. The most common for cats are wool sucking and pica—the eating of non-food material.

Each of these disorders is different in how they present and manifest, Dr. Pike says, but usually they form around 7 to 8 months of age in dogs and cats. During this time, animals initially use these behaviors as coping mechanisms for stress, but later on these behaviors can then turn into compulsive disorders.