Pet Health Concerns: Compulsive Behavior

Compulsive behavior is a neural condition in which a pet  behaves inappropriately in excess to where it interferes with their normal behavior. Compulsive behavior can lead to injuries, strained relationships (between the dog and owner), and the inability to behave normally. This condition appears to be caused by large levels of anxiety and stress that can be caused be moving to a new location. Being alone for a long period of time can also exacerbate stress and anxiety levels that may cause this condition to worsen. The pet may not be able to control their actions, such as pacing, tail chasing, fence running, and running in circles. Many of these actions may occur frequently and be repetitive since these are compulsive behaviors. This can occur in many dog breeds, but the most common ones that may experience this are the Parson Russell Terrier and the Bull Terrier.

Treatment involves desensitizing the situation by ignoring the dogs behaviors and avoiding punishment, because that may only worsen their stress and anxiety. Training to relax on command and having a routine for feeding and exercising will also help reduce the symptoms. Another great method of treatment is social interaction with other dogs when going on walks or visiting dog parks. Currently, there are no available medications for compulsive behavior, however, some veterinarians may be able to prescribe antidepressants if they see the need.

To learn more about Compulsive Behavior in pets, check out our Pet Health Concerns Guide. By enrolling your pet with Trupanion pet insurance, your cat or dog’s policy will include coverage for diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, hereditary and congenital disorders, as long as treatment for a certain condition is required after enrolling and is not pre-existing.

Has your pet ever been diagnosed with this condition? If so, we’d love to hear from you and any comments, advice, experiences, of thoughts on this condition.

About Akvile @

Akvile is an avid fan of surfing on snow, on water, and the web! Growing up in NY, she moved to Seattle a few years ago and has found her happiness here, where she can do all of the above. Aside from working during the week in the Trupanion office, she has her hands full being the mother of Batman, her massive-eared mini schnauzer who is a cuddle monster by day and super hero by night. She enjoys traveling, wakeboarding, snowboarding, camping, painting, and DJ'ing for fun.

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