Why Pet Behaviours Matter and How to Respond

Klarisse Galido - Editor in chief of Knose Pet Insurance

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Klarisse Galido

As the content curator of Knose, Klarisse is all about blending vet advice, practical pet tips, and stories from the pet-loving community. Her passion for pets brings to life the everyday joys and challenges of pet ownership.

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Pets are loving members of our families, bringing joy, companionship, and unconditional love. However, their behaviours can sometimes be confusing or challenging. Understanding pet behaviours is important for us to maintain a good relationship with our furry friends. 

Many pet owners face a dilemma when it comes to translating their pet’s body language or understanding what they are trying to do. To answer the burning questions, we held a Facebook live Q&A discussion last May 16. Our host, Laura V, a pet trainer and qualified pet behaviourist was joined by Nathan Harris, our COO at Knose. To watch a replay of the discussion, click below.

Why Pet Behaviours Should Not Be Ignored

Ignoring pet behaviours can lead to various issues, both for the pet and the owner. Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to pay attention to what your pet is trying to communicate through their actions:

1. Health indicators

Dogs and cats cannot verbalise their health issues. Changes in behaviour can be the first sign of a medical problem. For instance, sudden aggression, lethargy, or changes in eating and drinking habits can indicate underlying health conditions. Ignoring these signs could delay necessary medical attention.

For pet behaviours that are linked or associated to certain medical conditions, it would be best to see your local vet for advice. In the Q&A discussion, Nathan also explains what Pre-Existing Symptoms and Conditions are and how pet insurance works with certain health issues. 

2. Well-being

Dogs and cats experience emotions just like us. Pet behaviours such as excessive barking, meowing, or destructive actions can be signs of pain and other issues. These pet behaviours may impact overall quality of life. When it comes to understanding your pet’s behaviour, Laura advises pet owners to ask “Who is it bothering? Me? Or my pet?”. Oftentimes we think we know best for our pet’s well-being but we may be acting for our own benefit.

3. Improving the human-pet bond 

Understanding and responding to pet behaviours allows us to build a stronger bond with our pets. This mutual understanding encourages trust and respect, making our relationship with pets more fulfilling and harmonious. It also teaches us to be more responsible pet owners.

girl holding a white dog in her lap knose dog insurance
Responding appropriately to our pets improves the way they communicate with you.

How to Respond to Pet Behaviours

Addressing pet behaviours at the first sign involves a combination of observation, understanding, and action. Here are some general steps to follow:

1. Observe and record

Monitor and document any changes in your pet’s mood or behaviour. Take note of the frequency, duration, and context of the behaviours as detailed as you can remember. This will be especially helpful when consulting with your vet or pet behaviourist. Detailed observations can help identify patterns and underlying causes. Sometimes taking a video may be an easy and effective way to document these observations. 

2. Consult a professional

If you notice any persistent or concerning behaviours, seek advice from a veterinarian or a certified pet behaviourist. They can help diagnose any underlying medical or behavioural issues and recommend appropriate treatment or training plans. As professionals in the field, both Laura and Nathan were able to address behavioural questions in the discussion. Here’s an example from a concerned pet owner who posted a question during the live Q&A. 

Hi. My dog is a rescue, Staffordshire Terrier cross and he is 5 months old. He was dumped with his brothers and hardly had any human interactions. He is healthy, scared of noises, over active, jumping a lot, against doors, cars, people. What training method will be good for him? As there are so many options and I don’t know which one will be the best for him.

To listen to Laura and Nathan’s advice, feel free watch the replay. For those who have posted their questions during the Q&A, Laura offers that you may take a video of certain pet behaviours so that it could be sent to her or to Knose for further discussion.

Knose’s 24/7 pet health hotline is also available to pet owners with questions and concerns. Our team of registered vets will be able to help you at your convenience.

3. Provide an engaging environment

Ensure that your pet’s surroundings are stimulating and engaging. This includes providing a variety of toys, regular exercise tools or devices, and opportunities for social interaction. An engaging environment can lessen boredom and anxiety, leading to healthier and happier pets. For dogs, this might involve daily walks, playtime with interactive toys, and opportunities to socialise with other dogs. For cats, consider scratching posts, climbing trees, and puzzle feeders to keep them mentally and physically engaged.

A puppy training indoors during winter - Knose
Pet training can bring out certain pet behaviours that we should observe.

4. Training and socialisation 

Proper training and socialisation are important at managing pet behaviours. Positive reinforcement techniques can help teach pets appropriate behaviours. Early socialisation, particularly in dogs, can prevent fear and aggression towards people and other animals. Enrol your pet in training classes where they can learn basic commands and interact with other pets and people in a controlled environment. Consistent training at home, reinforced with treats and praise, can also promote good behaviour.

5. Regular health check-ups

Routine veterinary visits are important for maintaining your pet’s health. Regular check-ups can help detect and address health issues before they become severe. Preventative care, including vaccinations and parasite control, should also be part of pet care. During these visits, discuss any behavioural changes with your vet, as they might be linked to health issues. Early detection of conditions such as dental disease, arthritis, or allergies can prevent them from escalating and impacting your pet’s behaviour.

Ensure your pet’s best interest with pet insurance

Understanding pet behaviours is a pillar of responsible pet ownership. By paying attention to and addressing these behaviours, we can ensure their pets lead healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives. For pet owners who are ready to take the next step into pet care, why not try Knose?

Knose Pet Insurance may provide peace of mind for the times when your pet needs treatment for an injury or an illness. With a range of pet insurance options available, take the time to consider what cover suits your pet’s needs and your budget. 

If you’re looking for a way to better manage your pet’s vet bills and have questions or contact us at Knose.

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