Bad Behavior or Health Issue?

As pet parents we deal with all kinds of behavior issues in our pets. Especially if you have raised your pet(s) from a puppy or kitten, you know how much time and effort we pet owners put into reading and molding behavior.  Potty habits are no different.  We spend weeks and sometimes months ensuring our pets’ potty habits become established correctly.  But what about health issues which may interrupt those established habits?  Sometimes when there are changes in their potty routine, pet parents may think the pet is “acting up” or entering into an age where defiance is commonly rumored.  

It is important to know, any drastic changes in potty habits can be a sign of a health issue.  Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are not uncommon in pets, and urinary crystals and blockages are also possible; particularly in cats.  

How young is too young for a UTI?  There is no age minimum or limit on when a pet can develop a UTI or urinary issues.  The pet’s lifestyle, environment and water consumption can all be contributors.  

You need to be cognizant of what is normal for your pet.  If your pet is a grown adult, fully litter or house trained and all of sudden they are urinating in odd places or changing their potty behaviors, do not ever assume it is simply behavior related!

If your pet has just urinated outside the litter box or indoors instead of outside, what should you do?  Consider it a red flag to watch them carefully over the next couple visits to the litter box or yard and take some notes.

If you see ANY signs of straining, frequent squatting with little to no production, dribbling urine or blood in the urine – a trip to the vet is needed ASAP.  If you see increased production in urine outside the norm, that is also a red flag to make a vet appointment.  

When in doubt about changes in your pet’s potty routine, err on the side of caution and call your vet.   UTI’s are easy to clear up but can be painful.  The faster they are treated, the faster your pet can return to his or her normal established potty habits in good health!

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