Changes in behavior must be explored
An interesting story came along that we would like to share with you. Often when dogs are acting “out of character” there is an organic reason. It doesn’t always present itself as a limp or a bump or something visual and sadly, our dogs can’t tell us when they don’t feel good. ANY abrupt change in behavior should be taken seriously and looked into. Here is one dog owners story:
My dog, Karma, became extremely agitated and aggressive on Sunday– she has NEVER, ever been that aggressive. After an altercation with another dog, I was beyond mortified and I contacted my dog’s behavior specialist and my dog’s vet. Like I said, my dog has NEVER been aggressive.
After talking to the vet and Karma’s trainer, we finally figured out what her issue was. Karma is on a strong medication for her allergies and some medicines (like hers) can raise a dog’s “cortisol” levels. Karma’s levels were through the roof.
What does that mean? Cortisol is a way that vets can determine stress and other reactions in the body. It is normally produced at very stable levels in dogs, but medication can raise the levels. If the levels are too high, the dog can be in an elevated state of agitation. This can cause the dog to act out and be aggressive.
This is NOT a common problem, but with larger dogs on prednisone, it can happen. I had no idea that this was a possible side effect or that my dog was stressed/agitated.
I wanted to share this information for other dog owners so that you might be able to ask your vets if any of the medications your dog takes could affect their cortisol levels. I am not a vet, but my understanding is that it is most common with stronger allergy meds. The cortisol levels will taper off when the medicine is finished, but it is something to be monitored.
Thank you all for reading this. As I mentioned, I was in a state of disbelief on Sunday when my dog– otherwise easy going and playful– was quickly agitated and aggressive. This is just one more thing I am glad that I had a chance to be educated about, so that I can avoid issues in the future.
Changes in behavior can be a signal of many different issues. What this owner did was 100% correct. Contacting a behaviorist, trainer and/or vet to get to the bottom of the issue IMMEDIATELY gave them not only an answer, but the means to prevent any future issues.
Know your dog.