Offer basic behavior counseling for every pet at every visit - Veterinary Medicine
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Offer basic behavior counseling for every pet at every visit
By preventing behavior problems or catching them early, practitioners can fortify the human-animal bond.


Beyond cleanliness, veterinarians should discuss the various types of litter with owners. Most cats, Dr. Neilson says, prefer clumping litter. The average time clumping litter should stay in the box is one month, with constant topping off. No one knows the perfect depth, she says, but cats prefer 1 cm to 3 cm. Scent is important, but most scents have been developed with human considerations, not feline. Density is important. Cats like to scratch.

In fact, Dr. Neilson says that if cats don't dig enough in the litter, it is a warning signal. Normally, they like to pre-dig in the litter, and if they do this in an abbreviated manner, the litter may not be to their liking, and elimination problems may follow.


Behavior problems are an important cause of pet relinquishment. Through basic behavior counseling, practitioners can help make sure a lifelong bond is formed and prevent relinquishment.


1. Salman MD, Hutchinson J, Ruch-Gallie R, et al. Behavioral reasons for relinquishment of dogs and cats to 12 shelters. J Appl Anim Welfare Sci 2000;3:93-106.

2. Scarlett JM, Salman MD, New JG, et al. The role of veterinary practitioners in reducing dog and cat relinquishments and euthanasias. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:306-311.

3. Patronek GJ, Dodman NH. Attitudes, procedures, and delivery of behavior services by veterinarians in small animal practice. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;215:1606-1611.


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