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Pet Psychiatrists, Will Pet Psychiatry Work For Your Dog or Cat

Updated on July 13, 2015

Can Pet Psychiatrists Help With Cats and Dogs Emotional Problems?

Psychiatrists work with humans to find reasons behind many behavioral problems with men and women, so can they also work with pets such as dogs and cats ?

Pet psychiatrists have received many negative as well as positive comments in recent years. With some pet owners claiming that their pets now have a better understanding of their own lives.

Many more pets now receive psychiatric treatments than ever before. Animal psychiatry becomes 'the norm' for pets with behavioral problems, depression, as well as anxiety and distress disorders. Can animals have ADHT or ADD?

This may be due to the new fashionable dog accessory of carrying small breeds of dogs in ladies handbags. Or, as in many humans, the stress and strains of trying to live in a modern era where work commitments and lifestyles are getting so complex.

Animals have emotions. They can love, fear, and be scared.

Qualifications For A Pet Psychiatrist

A 'veterinary behaviorist' or 'applied animal behaviorists' as they are referred to, require certain qualifications for their chosen profession.

Applied animal behaviorists requires and internship as well as either a masters degree or doctorate in behavioral science.

A veterinary behaviorist requires a doctorate of veterinary medicine as well as another 2-3 years further education on animal behavior.

What Does An Animal Psychiatrist Do ?

Animal behaviorists provide services to pet owners whose pets are having 'social issues' and behavior problem. They look for certain triggers which sets off each individual pets dilemma or behavior.

They provide an outsiders point of view whilst attempting to gain the trust of the animal by providing companionship.

Once a pets behavioral problem compromises the bond between the pet and the owner, it may result in the removing of the pet from the home.

The psychiatrist looks into the home life of each pet. And not just the animals of the home, but also at their owners and even visitors. They may ask some questions which may not seem relevant to the pet, but they are.

Questions on normal behavior and pet temperament are required to ascertain the history of the 'patient'. Then answers are needed to help determine the current state of the pet including recent changes and turmoil's in their everyday life.


Cats are solitary predators whom spend much of their time away from socializing and other groups.

They are very prone to anxiety, similar to humans, and pet medicines can be used to help treat them. Anti depressants are usually prescribed and at the end of the animal psychiatric course each animal receives a behavioral handout.

Costs can vary greatly, but an average price for a course of psychiatric visits can range from $350 to $450. This will include a 1 - 2 hour visit with several months of follow up phone calls or emails.

Pet Medicines

Certain pet medicines are FDA approved for dogs and cats. Some are designed to help with anti social disorders and to help relax the animal in certain circumstances.

Some human medicines can be used on cats to treat various symptoms. These are called 'extra label use' which means that although not designed for cats, it does not mean that they cannot take them.

Should You Use An Expensive Pet Psychiatrist ?

It is up to the pet owner if they decide to use an animal psychiatrist or not. Many people would not use one, preferring to consult their local veterinary surgeon for advice.

Many animals 'moods' soon disappear without the use of medicines or receiving psychiatry of any kind. A simple yet creative approach to nurturing the needs of an animal, may have a resounding effect.

Is pet psychiatry just a modern fad which has no real bearing on an animals life.? Have your say in the comments box below.


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    • KathyH profile image


      5 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Good reading! I wrote a similar hub about cat behaviorists, I'd love to link your hub to mine, if that's OK. You have some good tips and information here! :)

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      5 years ago from USA

      A great read. Too many people today call themselves "dog behaviorists" today when use of this term is inappropriate. A behaviorist is someone who has a doctorate level graduate degree such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist which is certified through the The Animal Behavior Society. As a dog trainer specializing in behavior problems, for example, I cannot use the term behaviorist, but am allowed to use the terms behavior consultant, behavior counselor or behavior specialist. Great read, voted up!


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