Is there a reason for this behaviour? Print E-mail
News - Briewe
Thursday, 19 May 2011 15:11
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Lesley Wright writes to Dr Liesel van der Merwe:
I happened to read your article in The Bronberger yesterday and I am hoping that you can give us some advice. We are quite desperate. I am hoping that you can give me a few suggestions with regard to my Maltese.

Maybe I should first ask this question: Do you think dogs do certain things for a reason? We have two dogs, Oscar, a five-year old male Scottish terrier, and a two-year old, spayed, female Maltese called Juliette.

The problem we are experiencing is that Juliette continuously does her business in the garage and even on the blanket that they sleep on. They do have access to the garden from the garage.

Over the past few days she has also started doing her business in the house. Last night we let them sleep inside just to see what she did and in the middle of the night I woke up from a terrible smell and she had done it in our bedroom!

Yesterday she did it in the lounge and later in the kitchen. She sometimes gives a yelp when she does her business. I have given her laxapet in case she suffers from constipation.

There does not appear to be anything wrong with their appetites. We feed them Vet’s Choice and at night add hot water or sometimes the pedigree gravy mix.

Oscar, being a male dog, tends to urinate on everything; the car tires or anything he can mark. He also does this in the house and, if he gets the chance, on the washing. I Googled this and on the occasion that we have let them sleep inside, I have put their bowls of food and water where he tends to urinate and this does help, but he sometimes finds another spot. I guess this is just a male dog thing.

I want to believe that something is causing Juliette to mess in the house and garage. Do you have any suggestions that we could possibly try?

Dr Liesel van der Merwe answers:
Abnormal defecation patterns can be due to physical or behavioural problems. Colitis, which is an inflammation of the large bowel, can cause increased frequency of defecation, often with mucus and some fresh blood on the stool. There are various reasons for this condition including intestinal parasites and food allergies. Your veterinarian can examine her and her stool and maybe shed some light.

Dr Quixi from Edupet had the following behavioural advice: “If the problem started recently (i.e. hasn’t been ongoing for months or years), it is most likely due to anxiety which could have been caused by a change in the social environment (such as a new pet, baby or worker) or the physical environment (such as building taking place or other loud noises or changes in access to the home).

Inappropriate punishment can also play a role. It will definitely not help to correct or punish the dog as this would increase the anxiety, and it may help using a dog-appeasing pheromone product to help the dog relax. However, in order to provide detailed advice, a qualified be haviour practitioner should be consulted so that the history can be carefully evaluated and the dog and its environment properly assessed.

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