The Veterinary Relationship: Discussing Your Dog’s Behavior with Your Vet

When you book a behavior consultation, it is common that you will be asked to provide your dog’s medical record and chart notes of your dog’s Veterinary history. These document underlying medical concerns, what treatments were administered, and what was discussed during past appointments. Through these records, a behaviorist or behavior consultant can get a glimpse of how the dog behaves at their appointments and can review any prior recommendations given by your vet.

It is very important for you to include your Veterinarian in the behavioral health of your dog along with their physical health. Just as your Physician should know about any mental health struggles you are having, it is important for your vet to understand any struggles you are having with your dog’s behavior.

Some behavior issues can be obvious at your vet appointments as many dogs show their fear during their visit. Some dogs, however, only display the issues that you are experiencing outside of the Veterinary visit. It is imperative for you to document any aggression or bite history that your dog has and share that with your vet.

While it is a great first step for you to reach out to a Dog Training Professional for help with your dog’s behavior, often they are only half of the solution to solving what is going on. Your Veterinarian is an integral part of solving any behavior issues you are having.

  • Your vet will help to diagnose and treat any potential medical concern for a behavioral issue
  • Your vet may prescribe or refer you for behavioral medications to aid in a behavior modification plan
  • Your vet will be part of any discussion regarding behavioral euthanasia

Underlying Medical Concerns

If you see a sudden change in behavior or personality you should first reach out to your vet to confirm there are no underlying medical causes. Pain, illness, and other physical ailments can greatly impact your dog’s stress levels and directly result in increased fear, sensitivity, and aggression. A behavior plan will not be effective at improving behavior that has an underlying medical component and your dog’s condition could continue to worsen if left untreated.

Behavioral Medication

Behavior medications act to reduce underlying stress, fear, and anxiety which can greatly improve the dog’s ability to function in their environment and be more receptive to behavior modification plans. There is a variety of behavioral medications available. Medications can be prescribed situationally, short-term, or long-term. Your veterinarian is integral in prescribing the medication and the dosage. They also monitor your dog’s baseline health and oversee any side effects that may occur. Depending on your vet’s comfort (or lack of) in prescribing behavioral medications, they may refer you to consult with a Veterinary Behaviorist, who is specialized in behavioral health and the various treatment options available.

Behavioral Euthanasia

Sometimes the behavior issue that you are experiencing is so severe that you can no longer keep the dog in your home. Aggression issues of all kinds can be very difficult to manage and your dog’s behavior may be of high risk to your home, visitors, or other pets. It is imperative that your veterinarian knows of the various training or rehoming (if applicable) attempts that you have implemented. The decision to euthanize can be incredibly difficult. No vet wants to euthanize a physically healthy dog, but if they have been involved in your struggles with their behavioral health, it will be a lot easier for you to have a conversation about the subject.

When you contact Our Companions for Behavioral help with your dog we are happy to guide you in overcoming any Training or Behavioral issues that you have with your dog. Please include your vet in those issues too.

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