When routine behavior changes look for a health problem

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When routine behavior changes look for a health problem

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

Our wonderful sweet rescue dog, Pippin, has developed some sort of anxiety at bedtime. This behavior has come out of the blue. He is about eight and we have had him almost five years. Until recently, he seemed to really love bedtime. He would jump into our bed and cuddle. When we turned the lights off, he would move to the end of the bed to sleep for the night.

He still jumps onto the bed during the day, but suddenly, he stopped jumping onto the bed at night and wants to sleep in the bathroom. When we pet him to comfort him, we can feel him trembling. During the day, his behavior is normal. The only other time we have seen this anxious behavior is in the car, but we chalked that up to some trauma in his life before we adopted him. We feel so bad for him. We hope you can give us some advice. He weighs about 18 pounds and is a Schnauzer/ Yorkie mix.

– Harriette Westbury, New York

Dear Harriett,

When a pet suddenly changes a routine behavior, it’s time to take him to the vet for a health exam. Health issues can impact and change a pet’s behavior overnight, especially with older pets. In fact, sometimes the only way you know something is wrong with your dog or cat is that they suddenly stopped doing a behavior they always do.

Pain, thyroid and gastric problems, cancer, ear infections, toothaches, can all cause a sudden change in behavior. Often, dogs feel worse at night because they are less distracted. So, take Pippin to the vet and let me know what the doctor says. I am almost certain there is something going on health-wise.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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