Handling behavior issues in older pets

September 20, 2018
Julia Albright, MA, DVM, DACVB

Dr. Albright is an assistant professor of veterinary behavior and PetSafe Chair of Small Animal Behavioral Research at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Veterinarians are in the perfect position to guide pet owners though a potentially distressing situation.

Behavior problems are often expected in adolescent pets: Aggression, separation anxiety and nighttime waking go with the territory of having a puppy or kitten. But Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Julia Albright, DVM, DACVB, says many of those same issues can appear in older animals.

She says veterinarians are perfectly equipped to advise clients how to deal with the often troubling behavioral tics that can develop as pets age.

Geriatric medicine resources

Veterinary Medicine Essentials: Geriatric medicine.

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Protein-restricted diets in healthy geriatric cats.

"Clinicians can really help by providing medications or supplements," she says.

She goes on to point out the importance of suggesting environmental alterations that can be beneficial. For example, masking outside sound or making changes to sleeping arrangements can be very beneficial, Dr. Albright says.

And here's a big one: Practitioners can authoritatively advise against aversive measures, which she says only serve to increase anxiety.

Watch the video for more.

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