FAQs: what you need to know about behaviour vets.

We understand that navigating the world of animal behaviour can be daunting, so we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about behaviour veterinarians and what they do. Our goal is to provide you with clear, supportive information to help you and your furry friends lead happier, healthier lives.

How is a behaviour veterinarian different from a dog trainer?

  • A behaviour vet is a licensed veterinarian with specialised training in animal behaviour and is qualified to diagnose and treat medical and psychological conditions that may be contributing to behavioural problems.
  • Dog trainers typically focus on teaching specific skills and addressing obedience issues but do not have the medical training to diagnose or treat behavioural disorders.

What types of animals do behaviour vets work with?

  • They mainly work with companion animals like dogs and cats but can also help with birds, horses, and exotic pets.
  • The majority of Synergy patients are dogs and cats, but please reach out if you have any concerns about your parrot, your rat or horse. If we determine that we are not the most suitable professionals to assist you, we can refer you to leading experts in the field.

What kind of issues do behaviour veterinarians treat?

  • They address a variety of mental illnesses including learning difficulties, anxiety, aggression, phobias, compulsive behaviours, and toileting challenges.

What methods do behaviour vets use to treat behavioural issues?

  • They use a combination of behaviour modification techniques, changes to the animal’s environment, and medication if necessary.
  • Treatment plans are tailored to the individual animal’s needs and may involve treatment of underlying medical conditions, training, routine changes, and sometimes specific pharmaceuticals.

When should I consult a behaviour veterinarian?

  • The short answer: as soon as you can. it is very unlikely for behavioural problems go away on their own; if anything- they tend to worsen and spread into other concerning behaviours.
  • You should see a behaviour vet if your pet is showing behaviours that are harmful, distressing, or unmanageable, or if standard training methods haven’t worked. You don’t need to struggle alone. We are here to help.
  • Many behaviour problems can be greatly improved with proper treatment, but some might need ongoing management. The aim is to enhance the quality of life for both the pet and their guardian (owner).

How long does it take to see improvements in my pet’s behaviour?

Can behaviour problems be cured, or are they managed?

  • The time frame can vary greatly depending on the issue, the individual pet, and how consistently the treatment plan is followed. Some improvements might be seen quickly, while others could take months to achieve significant progress.
  • Most families notice an improvement within days of starting treatment.

Do behaviour vets work alone or with other professionals?

  • Veterinary behaviourists often collaborate with other professionals like primary care vets, qualified ethical fear-free trainers, and vet nurses to provide comprehensive care.
  • We also work closely with allied health professionals, like canine physical rehabilitation therapists, canine massage therapists, natural veterinarians, veterinary acupuncturists and board-certified veterinary nutritionists to provide holistic care to your pet.

We hope these FAQs about how a behaviour veterinarian can help your family have answered some of your questions. Of course, if you have a question that is not included amongst these FAQs, please reach out to us via email to synergyvetbehaviour@outlook.com.