Fall Newsletter

Fall Newsletter

Resource Guarding

Resource Guarding is when an animal shows behavior like growling, lunging, or biting over a resource, like food, toys, furniture, or humans, and it can happen in any animal. Some animals with anxiety and/or fear may display resource guarding when they feel they aren’t in control of their environment. Others show boredom or frustration by resource guarding. And since animals don’t normally grow out of this behavior, safety for all of those around is the number one key factor in these situations.

Resource Guarding is one of the most misunderstood animal behaviors by animal owners. Many owners believe that if they show the animal “who is boss” the animal will learn to no longer act that way. Unfortunately, the result is that it makes the behavior worse. Other owners are confused when their normally mild tempered pet gets aggressive over their pet food, thinking they may be under feeding their pet. By treating the pet to more food, they are rewarded for their behavior. Although resource guarding can’t be cured, it can be managed.

There are 3 options when it comes to resource guarding:

  1. Do Nothing:  This makes the animal think they were successful in making the discomfort go away. Then the animal learns to continue the behavior to keep the discomfort away or doesn’t want to do something asked of them.
  2. Punish the behavior (take the resource away):  This makes the animal think they told the person they were uncomfortable, and the human didn’t listen.  Then the animal learns to choose other ways to make the person understand (lunging/biting/swallowing the object).
  3. Understand the behavior & make adaptations:  This helps the animal realize that when they give up the resource good things happen. Make sure there are enough toys in a multi-dog household. Use positive reinforcement when your pet shows good behavior, rewarding the lack of bad behaviors in stressful situations. If you must take the resource away, always offer a trade of a treat when you swap with your pet.

If you think your pet is experiencing resource guarding call us at 517-694-6766 to fill out a behavior questionnaire and schedule a behavior consultation with Erica, LVT.

-Erica Suarez, LVT

 

How do I know when it’s time?

Making the decision to say goodbye to our beloved companions via humane euthanasia is a major responsibility we are bestowed as pet owners and primary care takers. Oftentimes, the situation we find ourselves in is the “grey zone”. There is no clear-cut answer, no definitive correct choice, no obvious black and white for decision making. Clients often struggle with knowing how to tell when it is the right time. The fear most people face involves not wanting to make the decision too soon, and not wanting to wait too long promoting suffering. I first start by addressing the usual: are they eating, drinking, urinating/defecating, having vomiting/diarrhea, losing weight, seeming lethargic, having difficulty getting around, etc. These are basic questions you as an owner can ask and answer for yourself at home to help guide you in the decision-making process. In some instances, there are palliative treatments that can be provided to alleviate these symptoms.

What if that still doesn’t help you feel confident in your choice? I then recommend you start by listing 5 of your pet’s favorite things or activities. For example, let’s say your pet loves:

  1.  treats
  2. snuggling in your bed
  3. going for walks
  4. sun-bathing
  5. greeting guests

The advice I offer owners to consider at this stage is, if your pet can’t do 3 or more of the things on that list (i.e. more than 50% of the things that bring them the most joy) then they probably aren’t very happy any longer. Using the same examples provided above:

  1. the pet no longer has an interest in treats or vomits after consuming them
  2. the pet has a hard time jumping up into bed due to pain/arthritis
  3. the pet becomes overly exerted on walks/less enthusiastic/body language displaying they want the activity to be over sooner
  4. the pet is restless/hiding and not finding comfort in areas they once did
  5. the pet is anti-social/isolating or is in too much discomfort to get up without difficulty

At this point, humane euthanasia should be considered.

Hopefully, these examples help aid and guide you through some of the most difficult times of pet ownership. As always, if you are unsure or have additional questions regarding this matter, never hesitate to reach out to us.

-Dr. Hailee Cotter

Hours of Operation

Monday

9:00 AM - 6:00 pm

Tuesday

9:00 AM - 8:00 pm

Wednesday

9:00 AM - 6:00 pm

Thursday

9:00 AM - 8:00 pm

Friday

9:00 AM - 6:00 pm

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 pm
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 pm
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 pm
Thursday
9:00 AM - 8:00 pm
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 pm
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed

Our Location

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you