problems are more commonly seen in dogs rather than cats, and
manifest as the dog being
HYPERACTIVE : AGGRESSIVE
: TIMID : NOISY: ANTISOCIAL : POSSESSIVE : DIFFICULT TO CONTROL.
Various surveys* show that between
20% and 80% of owners complain of problem behaviour of their dogs.
This wide variation is probably due to differing perceptions of
what constitutes acceptable or tolerable behaviour.
There are numerous reports of behaviour
problems being directly linked to diet and the management of all
behaviour problems should include attention to the diet.
It is likely that a significant proportion of these are related
to adverse reactions to food ingredients.
A basic principle of holistic medicine
is that there is no division of our being into separate physical
and mental compartments. Good physical health promotes good mental
health and vice versa.
Traditional Oriental Medicine had
a Five Element system of classification.
A weakness of the Water organs (Kidney
and Urinary Bladder) would cause excessive fearfulness. Healthy
Water organs would ensure healthy caution.
A weakness of the Wood organs (Liver
and Gall Bladder) leads to anger and aggressiveness.
All behaviour problems should include
consideration of diet. Stable mental and physical health are necessary
aspects of eliminating undesirable behaviour and they depend on
Behaviour problems may be
Genetic: breeders have a responsibility
to avoid breeding from dogs with poor temperament
Early environment: young puppies need to socialise with humans
and other dogs; diet of dam and of the growing puppy are vital.
Owners should consider the
Suitable breed: e.g. Border Collies
need lots of exercise and stimulation
Buying a puppy: a puppy bred in a household may be better adjusted
to family life than a puppy from a large kennel or dealer
Re-homing: dogs from rescue centres may have been abandoned because
Upbringing: correct rearing as regards diet, socialising, separation,
Many dogs are destroyed because of their behaviour. The quality
of life of a family can be significantly impaired because of a
troublesome dog; it may be impossible to have visitors; normal
dog-walking may be impossible. Correct diet combined with a suitable
emotional relationship plus re-training can help achieve a rewarding
relationship between owner and pet.
* V. O’Farrell (1992). Manual
of Canine Behaviour, BSAVA publication.
Common pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health Management