Skip to content

Behavioral Changes to Look Out For in Your New Market Pet

New Market Veterinary Clinic

If you love your pet, you want them to have as good a life as possible. You buy them food, get them special toys, take them out for walks, and take them to your favorite New Market vet for regular checkups.

Just like with humans, health problems can occur with a pet between checkups. But unlike humans, pets aren’t able to use words to let you know that something physical is bothering them. Instead, both cats and dogs will exhibit a number of similar behaviors that need to be paid attention to. Pet health can change slowly or quickly, so keeping an eye on changes in your pet’s behavior or personality is vital to knowing when you should bring them to a New Market veterinary clinic.

You and those in your household know your pet the best, and you’re accustomed to the way your cat or dog behaves on a daily basis. Drastic changes should not be taken lightly. Pets get food poisoning and have bugs just like humans do, but such sicknesses are short-lived. It’s when the problems persist — or they exhibit strange behavior like we’ll talk about below — that you should consult a vet in New Market as soon as possible.  

Why Pet Behavior Changes

Before we get into the specifics of the symptoms and what they can mean, it’s important to go over some of the primary reasons why your pet might be acting strangely.


Illness will make any creature act differently than they usually do, and pets are no different. The bulk of the problems we’ll talk about below — and the signs that something is wrong — can be caused by both short- and long-term illnesses.

Pets get sick just like everyone else in the house, so it’s understandable if they’re feeling lackadaisical for a few days. That might be enough to get you to bring them into our New Market veterinarians, but if the problems persist then you should definitely bring them in.


Obesity often causes many health problems in pets, many of which we’ll detail below. The problem with obesity is that it can sneak up on both you and your pet. Because it happens so gradually, you might not notice when your dog changes from “active little guy” to “big fella.” It’s much more likely that you New Market animal clinic will notice the weight differences between checkups and let you know what changes to diet and exercise should be made.


When people hear the word poison, their first thought is often “death.” But there are various degrees of poisoning. Some are quick and bacterially based, like food poisoning. Others poisoning occurs over time, such as lead poisoning. And yes, some poisons are near instantaneous.

If you know that your dog or cat has gotten into a poison, you’ll definitely want to bring them in right away. But if they’re just acting strange, it could that they got into something poisonous that making them feel bad. Sometimes poisons work their way through a pet’s system, but other times the pet has no way of expelling it. Be sure to look around and see if there’s an empty container of a dangerous substance that shouldn’t be empty.

Household Changes

When people experience big changes in life— a new family member in the house, a job change, a death in the family — we know exactly why they’re responding the way they do. It makes sense that they’re under a lot of stress.

But we often forget that such changes are also stressful to pets. While the situation might not affect them directly, they will pick up on the emotions of everyone in the house. They might feel ignored if a new baby is brought home, or they might not know what to do when someone is crying. But change can affect them all the same, so just be aware that changes in your life might mean a different mood for them as well.


A Change In Diet

Sometimes something that’s not important to us can be very jarring to your pet. If your favorite pet store was out of the pet food you usually buy, you might not think twice to purchase the replacement. But your pet might!

If something changes regarding your pet’s habits or personality, you might not notice for a few days. At that point, you might not even remember that you changed up your pet’s diet, but they know. It’s always important to look back and ask yourself “Has anything changed recently?” when evaluating our pet’s health.

Old Age

No one wants to admit it, but our pets get old. Isn’t it strange that we decide to bond with creatures that will only live a sixth as long as we do?

Middle-aged dogs aren’t puppies, and elderly dogs aren’t middle-aged. Dogs go through different stages as they age, and (just like humans), their personalities can change as well. Talk to your local vet about what is and isn’t normal behavior for an aging pet.

Rodents In The Walls

If your pet is acting strangely, there’s one problem that causes them no harm but could be a big problem for you: rodents in the walls!

If you have rodents, it’s going to drive the average pet a bit crazy. They’re picking up on the sounds you might not be able to hear, and they’re definitely smelling something before you’ll be able to. For cats, they want to get to the rodents because they want to hunt. Dogs are trying to alert you that something is going on in the walls that you might not know about.

When pets pick up on rodents, they will often show interest in areas of the house that they might never have paid attention to before. They might stare at a particular corner and bark, or start clawing at the baseboards. If this starts to happen, make sure to look for other signs of rodents around your house, such as destroyed food containers or droppings in the pantry.

Danger Signs To Watch Out For


Vomiting doesn’t always mean that something is horrifically wrong. Sometimes an animal simply ate something that didn’t agree with them (like a bug), or maybe they have a bug (like a virus). As long as the episode is short-lived and your pet feels better afterward, there probably isn’t any cause for alarm.

But there are certainly times when vomiting should cause you to visit your New Market veterinarian. If a pet is vomiting several times a day, won’t attempt to eat, or acts lethargic, take them in to see your vet. It’s also vitally important to take them to a New Market animal clinic if you notice any blood in the vomit. (This includes anything that looks like coffee grounds, which could be partially digested blood.) Blood can be a sign that the animal swallowed something sharp, such as a bone. Vomiting and/or diarrhea can also be a sign of roundworms, hookworms, or Giardia. It can also be a sign of ulcers.

Blood in Stool or Urine

Blood in the stool or urine is bad for many of the same reasons that blood in vomit is: it’s simply not natural and is a good indication that something is wrong. Do you know why your local vets in New Market are busier after the first snow of the season? When the owners let their dogs out to urinate in the snow, it’s the first time that they notice that the urine is pink or red. Better late than never!

While you might not find off-colored snow if you’re a cat owner, it’s important to pay attention to the litterbox. It might be more difficult to interpret if it’s covered in litter, but do your best to note anything that looks “off.”

More or Less Frequent Urination

Again, we come to a difference between cats and dogs. Since cats are so independent, you might not notice if they’re going to the litter box more often. But you might notice if you’re having to replace the litter more frequently, or if there’s an odd smell to it. With dogs that spend most of their day indoors, it’s a bit easier to notice because they’ll be scratching at the back door and whining to go out more. In the case of both animals, you’ll certainly notice if you’re filling their water bowls more often.

If your pet has to urinate more often, it could be a sign of diabetes, kidney disease, or adrenal gland disease. Of course, you shouldn’t make the diagnosis yourself; bring them in to see our New Market veterinarians.


Occasional coughing is nothing to worry about. Every mammal chokes on water or inhales some dust at one time or another.

It’s the chronic coughing that should get you to bring your pet to our New Market veterinary clinic. While you might not want to hear it, coughing could be due to lung disease, heartworms, or heart disease.

If your dog has been boarded lately, it’s possible they simply have kennel cough. While this is seldom a serious health concern for mature, healthy dogs, it could turn into life-threatening pneumonia for puppies or older dogs. Kennel cough can also be more serious to brachycephalic (short-headed) dogs such as pugs, bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Boston terriers. If you have any concerns, it’s probably best to see your local veterinarian.


Hair Loss, Itchy Skin

After having your pet for a while, you know how much they shed. So if you start noticing that they’re losing more hair than usual — or seeing patches of skin where hair loss has occurred — you should definitely take them to a New Market Animal Clinic.

Losing hair can be a sign of both internal and external problems. Fleas, mites, ticks, and can all cause skin problems, especially around the ears. But hair loss can also come from infections and endocrine disorders, so you shouldn’t hesitate to take them to see your local vet.

Excessive Licking

It’s natural for dogs and cats to literally lick their wounds. Animals lick wounds because there are both blood-clotting and bacteria-destroying attributes to saliva.

But an animal in pain may not be able to distinguish between an external hurt and something that’s wrong internally. They may simply keep licking the part of their body that hurts, even if there’s no relief found. If your cat or dog can’t seem to stop licking a particular place in their body and it’s obvious they’re not just cleaning, let your vet know.

Head Pressing

When a person has headaches, it’s very possible that they may press their head against their palm as a soothing action. This can also happen in pets, and they might press their head against the wall or furniture in order to try to deal with the pain that’s in their head.

If your pet presses their head against you, it’s probably a sign of affection. But if they are doing the same to the wall, it’s a sign that you should contact New Market Animal Hospital.


It’s unfortunate but true: your dear pet might try to bite you if they are in pain. Part of it could be to bring your attention to their plight, but it could also be because you’ve inadvertently touched the part of them that’s hurting. Brain tumors or seizures can also cause more aggressive behavior in animals, and they might not even know that they’re lashing out.

It’s also important to note that aggression may show up in pets who are having trouble with their senses. An animal that is losing its sight, smell, or hearing may be feeling more vulnerable and nervous because they can’t sense the world like it used to. If you surprise it, you might get a growl or a hiss.


Dogs are social animals, and they usually want to be with just about anyone who will be their friend. After all, they’re pack animals and will usually want to socialize with the pack. But they might also want to hide any weaknesses they have, and that can make them go off and hide. If your usually friendly dog seems a bit more distant, you might want to bring them in to visit us at our New Market animal clinic.

Noticing if a cat is hiding can be a bit more difficult. Are they hiding, or are they just being…well, just being a cat? Still, if your cat isn’t frequenting their usual perches and you have a problem getting them out of their hiding places, you’ll probably want to visit your local vet.

Appetite and/Or Weight Changes

This one can be easy to identify but difficult to diagnose. After all, you know how much food you give your pet, so if there’s more than usual left over then there might be something wrong. If your pet’s appetite steadily decreases over time, you should probably give New Market Animal Clinic a call.

If your pet suddenly stops eating entirely for more than 24 hours, that’s another indication that you should see your local vet. It could be a host of sickness that’s causing them to stop eating. It can be especially dangerous for cats, because days without eating could lead to fatty liver disease.

Pain Getting Up/ Decreased Activity

Most animals that get old end up slowing down and having trouble getting up. After all, arthritis affects most animals and advanced age will slow down any creature.

But it’s different if your animal is a puppy/kitten and should be in their prime. While different breeds of cats and dogs will show various levels of activity, in general, they should all have no problems getting up from lying down and being active. If you notice any change in your pet’s behavior, such as decreased activity or lethargy, you should definitely bring them into a New Market veterinarian to have them checked out.

Needless Panting

While cats do pant, it’s an action that is much more often associated with dogs. It’s perfectly normal for either to pant, most often as a means of cooling down.

But if it’s cool outside and your pet hasn’t been running around, your pet shouldn’t be constantly panting. If they are panting all the time, it’s very possible that they are under either emotional stress or physical stress, such as pain.

Bring Them In To Your New Market Vet!

No matter the problems you have, New Market can perform the tests to let you know if you should be worried about your pet. When you need an emergency vet — our veterinarians are open on Sunday — we’re there to help. Click here to schedule an appointment!