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July 18, 2024
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The Petfix Vet Spot on RTE’s At this time Present: chewing, aggression and coprophagia

The Petfix Vet Spot on RTE’s Today Show: chewing, aggression and coprophagia


On this vet spot, we talk about among the commonest behavioural issues seen in pets. Watch the video to be taught extra, or learn on under.


Chewing is a traditional behaviour and a basic want for canines. They use their mouths to research the world round them in a lot the identical manner we use our palms. Canines chew for a lot of causes, for instance:

  • To alleviate stress and tedium
  • To play
  • Cut back nervousness, and for enjoyable.
  • Chewing releases endorphins (the neurotransmitter that opioids mimic) so it stands to purpose that they get pleasure from it.
    canine with orange ball in mouth

Chew Toys

To assist canines perceive when chewing is okay and work out their desire, they have to be supplied with a spread of applicable chew gadgets. This will embody toys which have completely different

  • Textures
  • Tastes
  • Smells
  • Shapes
  • Sizes

In the event that they’re not supplied with chew gadgets they’re more likely to discover their very own and go for the issues round them, like footwear and furnishings. They don’t know the distinction between what’s allowed and what’s not, so it’s necessary to not punish your canine in the event that they chew one thing they’re not imagined to. To punish them will solely make them really feel anxious and will result in additional chewing.

For those who do catch your canine chewing one thing that you simply don’t need them to, attempt distracting them with a deal with or a toy and encourage them to chew one thing they’re allowed. Wherever attainable, hold issues they’re not allowed to chew out of attain and rotate chew toys they’re allowed, so that they don’t lose their novelty worth too rapidly.
By constantly guiding and inspiring your canine to make use of enjoyable chew gadgets and distracting them from inappropriate gadgets, you’ll train them what’s proper and mistaken and encourage good behaviour.


It’s straightforward to be unfavourable about aggression and neglect that it’s really a traditional a part of communication between canines. Usually, it’s designed to happen at a low degree, to warn others away, in order that it really prevents battle. Maybe the one largest manner that we people can stop issues linked to canine aggression is to be extra conscious of canine physique language in order that we perceive what’s happening, and we are able to take steps to cease it from escalating.
Extreme aggression hardly ever occurs out of the blue: there are often warning indicators of tension, stress, or concern that folks could not recognise.
Indicators of early aggression embody:

  • Licking the Lips
  • Yawning
  • Trying Away
  • Narrowing the Eyes
  • Tucking the Tail between the Legs
  • Hunching Down Low
  • Trying Tense
  • Making an attempt to Transfer Away

If these indicators are seen, early motion may be taken to stop biting. Sadly, not all canines present these warning indicators, and aggression can occur seemingly spontaneously with out warning. Particularly when large, sturdy, muscular canines are concerned, there are occasions when conditions like this may be very harmful certainly.

Fundamental Causes of Aggression in Canines

1. Concern and ache: if a canine is frightened or feeling ache, aggression may be their pure strategy to attempt to scare away the thing/animal/particular person they’re afraid of or that they consider could also be inflicting them to really feel ache.
2. Territorial: one of many principal the explanation why canines had been initially saved by people is for his or her pure sense of territory. Many canines will assault what they see as intruders, even when they’re calm, relaxed and pleasant at different occasions.
3. Possessive: some canines are susceptible to “useful resource guarding”. This is the reason canines shouldn’t be approached whereas they’re consuming, and why care needs to be taken if eradicating a favorite toy from them. There are very efficient methods to deal with extreme instances of useful resource guarding
that typically occurs.
4. Maternal: like with many different species, a mom canine may be extremely and uncharacteristically protecting of her offspring. Additionally, feminine canines present process false being pregnant can show sudden aggression as a result of they’re affected by the identical hormonal modifications
5. Male to Male Aggression: male hormones could make canines extra more likely to be aggressive to one another, which is among the indications for castration. That mentioned, some male canines additionally present fearful aggression, by which case castration might make issues worse, as removing of the male hormone testosterone could make them really feel much less assured and extra fearful. So discuss to your vet earlier than doing something everlasting like castration.
6. Proprietor/ Household Aggression, when a canine is aggressive to an individual or animal in the identical home. This usually hyperlinks to underlying emotional points that may take some teasing out needing lengthy consultations with behavioural specialists to resolve.
7. Redirected Aggression: an instance of this might be the place an individual intervenes in a canine battle, and the canine activates the particular person intervening. There are numerous different examples of events the place the canine is in a heightened state of pleasure, and so they activate the closest human nearly unintentionally, simply because they occur to be there. Aggression is tough to take care of: human security should all the time come first. It’s finest to seek the advice of together with your vet first, maybe transferring on to a referral to a behavioural specialist. Within the quick time period, sensible security measures like muzzling make sense.

Aggression all the time must be taken severely: a session together with your vet and/or a behavioural specialist is all the time a good suggestion.


Coprophagia (when a canine consumes its personal or one other canine’s faeces) is a typical downside. It doesn’t seem like associated to age, intercourse, food regimen, medical, or any particular behavioural downside, however canines in multi-dog households could also be extra more likely to be coprophagic.
Little is understood about why canines carry out this behaviour, making therapy tough. There are quite a few merchandise available on the market that declare to assist, however there’s little confirmed success.
Therapy of coprophagia is usually made worse when homeowners try and take away the faeces earlier than the canine investigates them. Canines be taught rapidly that the faeces they’re eager about is more likely to be eliminated and due to this fact make exaggerated makes an attempt to cease this from occurring or examine sooner.
It’s necessary to not punish your canine for this behaviour because it’s unlikely to cease them and so they could resort to doing it in secret.
The simplest strategy to change this behaviour is to show another one, like educating your canine to concentrate on you and comply with the ‘go away’ command. Use gadgets of low-value to start with and construct as much as higher-value treats earlier than going close to faeces.
Reward your canine with a high-value deal with when your canine manages to concentrate on you and go away the faeces. Encourage your canine to comply with you by working in the other way and after they come in direction of you, have interaction and distract with numerous treats and reward.
At house, give your canine numerous methods to expend psychological and bodily vitality. Use exercise feeding toys as a substitute of feeding them from a bowl, get them engaged in video games, and use puzzle toys that they perceive the best way to use, so there is no such thing as a frustration. Additionally make it possible for your canine is just not merely hungry: some canines usually are not fed sufficient, so that they eat faeces out of pure hunger.


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