Pet owners who form deep, loving bonds with their pets become very familiar with their pet’s usual behavior patterns.  In fact, they may become so comfortable with these patterns that they will confidently assert things like, “My dog never bites!”   It can, therefore, be incredibly shocking when a pet misbehaves.  Fortunately, such an undesirable misbehavior may not mean that the pet himself has changed, but rather is suffering from a medical condition that, if treated properly, can restore them to health and appropriate behavior.

Medical Conditions and Pet Misbehavior

Following are five of the most common medical conditions that lead to pet misbehavior:

  1. Loss of hearing, sight or other senses, organ dysfunction, hormonal diseases, nervous system diseases, urinary tract diseases, and problems that affect a pet’s mobility can lead to misbehavior like fear and bathroom accidents.
  2. Any medical condition that causes pain or discomfort, such as infections in the ears, anal sacs, teeth and gums, bones, joints or back, may result in a pet’s increased irritability, anxiety, fear or aggressiveness toward anything or anyone they may not have misbehaved toward previously. This is often heightened if the pet’s medical condition also affects their mobility.  Unfortunately, if a pet’s medical-condition-related misbehavior results in a removal of whatever or whoever is determined to be the threat, it is reinforced and therefore more likely to resurface again.
  3. A decrease or loss of sight or hearing can affect a pet’s ability to detect or identify stimuli around them, which can cause them to respond oddly to or even ignore various commands, sounds and sights.
  4. Internal organ disease can cause toxins to accumulate in the bloodstream, which affects a pet’s overall health, comfort and behavior.
  5. Nervous system diseases can cause a pet’s behavior and personality to shift dramatically, which can often make owners feel that it’s not the same animal at all. When the brain is affected by disease, cognitive dysfunction and senility can result.

If your beloved furry companion is suddenly not acting like his normal self–whether he seems more withdrawn, ignoring your calls and commands, having more bathroom accidents or perhaps even acting uncharacteristically fearful or aggressive, it is best to have them checked by their vet.  It may very well be that they are suffering a medical condition that is causing them to not feel like their normal self, and treatment may be able to restore their health and pleasant behavior.