Thanksgiving Safety for Your Pets

Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Holiday Gifts for Your Pet Have Arrived!

Now in stock at the Barkery: Holiday Pet Gifts!

We’ve got something for everyone – and every four-legged friend on your list! Aside from all of the normal treats, toys and goodies we have, check out some of our holiday items:

  • Gift Baskets of all sizes, loaded with treats, toys and more –  the perfect gift for your furry best friend, or a pup-loving pal!
  • Plush toys for playtime
  • A personalized treat jar you can’t find anywhere else in KC!
  • You can even serve a holiday feast to not just your guests, but also Fido! Merrick’s Homecoming Holiday is sure to please your pup’s palate while you entertain
  • Not sure what to get? Barkery gift cards are great for any pet-lover!

Stop in today and celebrate the Howl-idays with the Barkery!

Keep Your Pup Warm with Kumfy Koatz this Winter!

Now available at the Barkery – Kumfy Tailz Koatz!

Kumfy Koatz are designed to utilize gel pack technology to assist dogs in maintaining a healthy body temperature regardless of their age, breed, injury, cardiovascular issue, or even just adverse weather conditions. It’s the perfect solution to keeping your dog warm during the harsh midwest winters!

“Our products have been veterinarian designed to work in conjunction with a canine’s natural physiology by applying the therapeutic powers of warming and cooling to its core, where not only are the skin and fur are the thinnest, but also where the majority of the major organs and vasculature are located.” – Kumfy Tailz site

The Kumfy Pax is a puncture-resistant nylon/pvc enclosure filled with a homeopathic, non-toxic UltraGel. Freeze or microwave the Kumfy Pax and simply insert into the special Kumfy Pouch, where it helps to keep your dog warm or cool for up to an hour.

Kumfy Tailz is also a high-quality dog harness you can use year-round, with or without the Kumfy Pax.  Kumfy Tailz has been designed with input from licensed veterinarians and thoughtful dog owners all over the US. Stop in and pick your up today before the first snow!


Healthy Winter Tips for Your Pet

Kansas City is known for winters that get out of control! Stay ahead of the game this season with your four legged friends with tips from Pet360.

Winter storms, cold temperatures and dark skies can contribute to the winter blahs, but also can be hazardous to a pet’s health. If you plan ahead, you and your pets can stay safe and healthy with these money-conscious pet tips.

1. Light therapy

If your pet is sleeping more than usual during the darker, drearier months, your dog or cat may be suffering from the wintertime blues- a mood disorder that causes depression during the winter season Like humans, dogs and cats are sensitive to changes in light, and less light in the winter may cause a decrease in natural brain chemicals, like serotonin, that contribute to their mood. Other than opening the curtains on sunnier days, the quick fix is to leave a lamp on during the dark days, preferably one with a full spectrum light bulb, purchased at lightening stores or larger hardware retailers. In recent years, full-spectrum lighting has been used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder through the use of these types of light bulbs that mimic natural sunlight.

2. Walk safely in the winter

Icy sidewalks in the winter can make it dangerous to walk your dog, especially if he’s a puller. To protect yourself, teach your leashed dog to heel when walking. Start by having your leashed dog, sit by your left side, and call her name to attract her attention. Instruct her to “let’s go” and start walking. When you are walking, keep her shoulder at your left leg. If she pulls ahead, tell her “NO!” and give her a gentle tug with the leash and say, “Heel.” Praise your dog with a treat when she obeys. After your walk, give her lots of pets and praise for job well-done.

3. Protect paws

Daily walks are a must for your dog, but ice, salt and chemical de-icers can lead to painful paws. Trim the hair between your dog’s toes and paw pads with rounded scissors so ice and salt won’t cling to his feet. Also be sure to check out Pawks socks when you’re in the store! Additionally, after your dog comes in from the outside, mix ¼ cup of Epsom salt in a bathtub with cool, shallow water to soak your pet’s paws for at least 10 minutes. The cool water will soothe the itching, while the Epsom salts will treat any irritation. To avoid stomach upset, don’t allow your dog to drink the water.

4. Quick dry

After a romp outside, drying your dog off quickly is imperative in the winter months. According to a recent study conducted by David Hu and his colleagues at Georgia Tech, a 60-pound dog with a pound of water on its fur would use a full 20 percent of its daily caloric intake staying warm if she is air-dried. To quickly dry off your dog, use a microfiber towel. The microfiber’s high absorption ability allows for quick and effective moisture and dirt removal before your pet can track snow and dirt into your home. Moreover, by thoroughly wiping off your dog’s legs and stomach, you are ensuring he does not ingest salt and other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws.

5.  Indoor games

Since your dog is spending more time inside during the winter months, you need to keep him active and stimulated. Turn a game of fetch into a training game, by having him “Sit,” “Stay,” “Retrieve” and “Come.” Also, play games like Hide-and-Seek in which your dog and cat can use their natural instincts. Go in another room and call your pet to come to you. Wait about five minutes and if she doesn’t find you, come out and praise her enthusiastically about his noticing you, as if she had found you. To keep the game fun and inspirational, reward him with pets and treats. Eventually, hide in more challenging spots. If you play Hide–and–Seek regularly, your pet will have a great time hunting you down because he’ll associate the game with lots of fun.

6. Get a pet to sleep in her own bed

Cats and dogs are naturally drawn to warm areas, especially during the winter—which is why Fido and/or Fluffy may be more interested in sleeping with you rather than in their own beds. To encourage your pet to sleep in his or her own bed, try this: before bedtime, run a towel or the pillow of the bed through the dryer for a few minutes to warm it up, then tuck it into her sleeping area. She’ll gravitate toward her own warm bed, allowing you both to get a good night’s sleep.

7. Grooming your pet without static

Brushing your cat or dog in the winter helps remove dirt and debris from pet’s coat, but it can also be a shocking experience-  compliments of the of the static electricity caused by dry indoor air. To prevent shocks during grooming sessions, avoid brushing your pet when he’s on a synthetic surface. Instead have your pet stand on a 100% cotton natural-fiber rug or hardwood floor.

8. Ease anxiety during a storm

Even if your pet is generally a confident pooch or kitty, he may just be afraid of winter storms with their howling winds and barking skies. As a result, they whimper, pant, hide and display other signs of distress. Calm your pet by outfitting him with a Thundershirt. A Thundershirt uses gentle, constant pressure to calm your dog or cat, effectively aiding anxiety, fearfulness, and more. In addition to his wearing this calming coat, set up a crate or pop-up tent to serve as a protective retreat for him.

10. Boost your pet’s immune system

In the winter months, boost your pet’s immune system like you would your own by supplementing his diet with cod liver oil. Cod Liver Oil – a natural, fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids, and Vitamins A, C and D will contribute to healthy skin and coat, flexible joints, strong heart, sharp eyesight and youthful energy.  Apply oil directly to food. For cats, give ¼ tsp and for dogs:  give dogs 0 – 20 lbs./1/4 tsp.; 20 – 55 lbs./1/2 tsp. and dogs over 55 lbs./ 1 tsp. As with all supplements, consult your veterinarian before giving them to your pet.

11. Humidify your home for less

Your dog or cat can suffer an asthma attacks when the air in your home is dry. The trigger:  the cold winter weather outside, coupled by indoor heating systems, which easily depletes all the moisture out of your home. Adding a humidifier is an easy way to replace this lost moisture in your home, but humidifiers can be expensive, require high maintenance and surface area.  To replace some moisture in the air and soothe your pet’s airways, boost the humidity level in your home with a large pot of water simmering on the stove every day. This method releases moisture into the air in the form of steam; the same way as a humidifier. The downside is that the moisture is limited to the area in close proximity to the stove. If you want to circulate the moist air, add a fan next to the stove to blow the air out and away, increasing the reach. Additionally, be cautious by never leaving the house with a pot simmering on the stove.

How to Translate a Dog Food Label

“Natural,” “beef flavoring,” or “gluten-free” — how do you know which ingredients to say yes to, which to avoid, and which ones are just plain marketing?

At The Barkery, not only can we help you select a great all-natural food for your dog (or cat), we can also help you distinguish what complicated food labels really mean. Here are some helpful tips for Pet 360 to get you started:

1) Check the Guaranteed Analysis

This is the mandatory guarantee that your dog’s food contains the labeled percentages of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Keep in mind that wet and dry dog foods use different standards (the percentage of protein in a wet food isn’t the same as in a dry food). Convert wet food to dry matter to compare two different types of food (it’s easy to do online) or ask your vet for the low-down. For instance, 8% protein in a canned cat food isn’t the same as 8% in dry food (wet will be a lower percentage), since canned food contains 75-78% moisture and dry only has 10-12% water.

2) Choose Dog Food that Fits

Size-specific formulas can be helpful in determining what food is the right fit for your dog. A dog food labeled “Small breed formula” caters to toy dogs like Chihuahuas with kibble that’s tinier and a serving size that’s lower in calories; a large breed puppy formula would provide nutrients geared at minimizing diseases such as arthritis for a big dog down the road.

3) Consider Allergy Needs

Does your dog have an allergy? Hughes cites beef and dairy as the most common food allergies in both dogs and cats, while wheat tops the charts for dog allergies. While there is no legal requirement on dog food labels that tout food as wheat- or gluten-free, Hughes says it’s normally a trustworthy claim. If in doubt, scan the ingredient list the first time you buy to make sure.

4) Find the Protein

Ingredients on dog food labels are listed in order of weight, starting with the heaviest. Since your pup needs plenty of good protein sources in his diet, including chicken, beef, fish and lamb, double check that these are listed within the first few label ingredients. Hughes says chicken meal (chicken that’s dehydrated) packs more protein than fresh chicken, which is 80 percent water. The same goes for beef, fish and lamb. So, if chicken meal or beef meal are number one on the ingredient list, you can be sure your dog is getting an appropriate amount of protein.

5) “Flavor” Ingredients

Additions such as “beef flavoring” can help dogs look more favorably upon some foods, giving them a meatier, richer taste. However, pet foods with ample amounts of high quality protein usually make additional flavorings unnecessary. Be sure proteins are in the first few ingredients and that a flavoring is not being used to cover up a grain-heavy formula. If a dog food has flavorings, opt for specifics like “beef flavoring,” instead of “meat flavoring.” This offers a better idea its origins.

6) Opt for Natural Dog Foods

Feeing Fido food labeled “natural” means that all ingredients haven’t had any chemical alternations, according to FDA guidelines. While natural dog foods can be beneficial, be wary of foods touting a “holistic” label. Hughes cautions due to its lack of legal definition, it likely means nada when slapped on a pet food label. Looking to go organic? Like human products, dog food should tout an official organic label from the USDA. If the seal says “organic” it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not counting added water or salt. If it says “Made With Organic Ingredients” it must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, not counting added water or salt. If a manufacturer wants to show that a product has some organic ingredients, but they make up less than 70% of the total, it can denote those ingredients as “organic” in the ingredient list, but no seal is used.

7) Opt for ‘Natural’ Dog Foods

This is easy when you visit us at The Barkery! Feeing Fido food labeled “natural” means that all ingredients haven’t had any chemical alternations, according to FDA guidelines. While natural dog foods can be beneficial, be wary of foods touting a “holistic” label. Hughes cautions due to its lack of legal definition, it likely means nada when slapped on a pet food label. Looking to go organic? Like human products, dog food should tout an official organic label from the USDA. If the seal says “organic” it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not counting added water or salt. If it says “Made With Organic Ingredients” it must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, not counting added water or salt. If a manufacturer wants to show that a product has some organic ingredients, but they make up less than 70% of the total, it can denote those ingredients as “organic” in the ingredient list, but no seal is used.

8) Determine AAFCO Nutrient Profile

Dog foods are generally marked with one of two AAFCO labels, “All Life Stages” or “Adult Maintenance.” All Life Stages is formulated to meet requirements for a growing puppy (or a lactating dog), and are generally higher in calories, calcium and phosphorus. All other healthy adult pets should eat “adult maintenance” foods, says Hughes.

9) Find the Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Shop for dog food that meets minimum nutrition requirements, and has a label that confirms this: “[Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog (or Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for [life stage(s)]”.

Even better, look for a food that meets the minimum nutritional requirements “as fed” to real pets in an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defined feeding trial. Then you know the food truly delivers the nutrients that it is “formulated” to. AAFCO feeding trials on real dogs is the gold standard. Brands that do costly feeding trials (including Nestle and Hill’s) will indicate it on the dog food package.

10) Take Caution with Supplemental Food Sources

Dog food that’s labeled “supplemental” isn’t complete and balanced, says Hughes. Unless you have a specific, vet-approved need for it, it’s not something you want to feed your dog for an extended period of time, she says. Check with your vet if in doubt.

Does Your Cat Have Food Allergies?

As humans, we have several options to determine what might be causing an allergic reaction, especially to food. But how can you determine this with a cat? One sign could be a red sore on his body. Arnold Plotnick from Cat Channel, explains.

Plotnick, DVM, notes that, “Many cats with skin allergies will develop a large circular red sore on their back, often right in the middle of their back in the shoulder blade area. Often, the sore will ooze a little serum, and it can sometimes become infected. These are similar to “hot spots” that commonly develop in dogs.”

A few things can cause them:

  • Inflammatory or Auto-Immune Condition Anti-inflammatory medication — steroids such as prednisolone, a synthetic version of cortisone — often cause the sore to resolve. I personally prefer to prescribe tablets rather a steroid injection, as I feel it is safer. Steroids didn’t work, so an inflammatory or an auto-immune condition seems unlikely.
  • Bacterial Infection If a secondary bacterial infection develops, it might need antibiotics. Antibiotics didn’t work, so an infection is unlikely.
  • Flea Allergy Cat flea allergy can certainly cause scabs throughout your cat’s skin, but usually doesn’t cause a persistent open sore. Flea treatment didn’t help, so fleas are unlikely to be the cause.
  • Food Allergy Cat food allergy can present in a variety of ways, although a persistent sore is not your typical presentation. I’m surprised that the steroid injections had no effect. The next step is to determine whether your cat has a food allergy.

How to Determine Whether Your Cat Has Food Allergies
•    Start a hypoallergenic diet. A hypoallergenic diet contains a protein source that your cat has not been exposed to before, such as rabbit, venison or duck. (Most veterinarians carry prescription diets designed for this purpose.)
•    Feed this food, and ONLY this diet, for up to 10 weeks, before concluding whether or not food allergy is the culprit.
•    Alternatively, you may opt for a skin biopsy. This simple procedure will very likely reveal the diagnosis.


NEW Bocce’s Bakery Treats

Bocce’s Bakery is based in NYC and is an all-natural dog biscuit company. The ingredients are so fresh, your dog will think he’s sitting at the dinner table!

From the Bocce website: “We believe dogs deserve real food. Organic, All-Natural, Local, Healthy Food. Our treats are all wheat-free, baked in small batches, with fresh human grade ingredients. No strange chemicals, no watery broths as flavoring. Just real, simple, wholesome ingredients.

Stop in today and select from several flavors, including Apple Pie, chicken Cordon Bleu, Lobster Roll, Truffle Mac n Cheese, Green Juice and PBnJ!

How to Leash Train Successfully

Taken from Dog Channel

A dog pulls on the leash for several reasons:

• Sees, hears, or smells something exciting.
• Excess energy makes it hard for her to contain herself.
• Through experience, realizes that pulling on leash makes the handler walk faster or go the direction she wants.
• Because she can.

Why this dog behavior is a problem

Pulling on leash can start off innocently, but can become a problem for both the dog and the handler. The added pressure of the collar against the dog’s windpipe (trachea) can cause wheezing or coughing, which may be only temporary, or may cause long-term or even permanent damage to the dog. A dog who pulls strongly can cause the handler to lose balance and slip or fall. Strong leash pulling by a large dog, especially near roads with traffic, can lead to serious accidents.
Changing from a neck collar to either a head halter or front-attachment body harness can bring an immediate solution to leash pulling. These tools provide a mechanical advantage for the handler and do not cause pain for the dog. Using a head halter or front-attachment harness immediately allows the handler to control the direction and speed of the dog, without needing a lot of physical strength to accomplish this, but the dog still needs to learn how to walk politely, without pulling at all.

Teaching your dog to walk on a leash

A good way to teach loose-leash walking to a dog who pulls on the leash is to show her that pulling no longer “works” they way she thinks it will. When your dog starts to pull, simply stop walking. Stand still and wait for your dog to realize she’s not getting anywhere.

If your dog continues to pull after you’ve been stopped for three seconds, start very slowly walking backwards. Your dog will realize she’s losing ground now, not gaining it. When the dog turns around to look at you, wondering what’s gone wrong at your end of the leash, the leash will loosen a little bit. At that point, you can praise her and start walking forward again.

By consistently repeating this process each time she pulls, she will start to realize that pulling activates your “brakes” and not your “accelerator,” and the frequency of pulling will gradually diminish and eventually disappear.

Once your dog understands how to walk without pulling when wearing a head collar or body harness, you’ll be able to re-introduce her to walking politely while wearing an ordinary collar.


Natural Dog Food No-Nos

Learn about the 10 most common chemical ingredients a natural dog food shouldn’t have.

By  for Dog Channel.

About the only thing dog-food manufacturers can agree on is that no one can agree on the optimal ingredients – or ratios of them – that belong in Molly’s dinner bowl.

For their part, manufacturers of more natural foods have tried to minimize the use of chemicals and synthetic ingredients. From anti-caking and anti-gelling agents to flavor enhancers and texturizers, dog food has plenty of them.

Here are 10 ingredients sometimes found in “regular” dog food that likely won’t be present in their “natural” counterparts:

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): There’s no getting around it – dry dog food requires preservatives to prevent spoiling. Natural brands tend to use healthier choices such as vitamin C (ascorbate) and vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), though they provide a much shorter shelf life. By contrast, synthetic preservatives BHA and BHT can extend shelf life to as long as one year. There is concern, however, about studies that have suggested they are carcinogenic.

Ethoxyquin: Another chemically synthesized preservative whose long-term safety in dogs has not been studied. Some reports have noted impaired liver and kidney function. Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded the additive does not pose a health threat, in 1997 the government agency reduced the amount of ethoxyquin permitted in dog food.

Propylene glycol: This clear, colorless liquid is used in some semi-moist foods to prevent them from drying out. It may be toxic if consumed in large amounts, causing central nervous system impairment and changes in kidney function. Propylene glycol is also the basis for less-toxic antifreeze used in dairies and breweries.

Propyl gallate: This fine white powder is an antioxidant that helps keep the fats and oils in a food from spoiling. In humans, it can cause stomach and skin irritation.

Coloring agents (such as Red 40 and Yellow 5): Manufacturers use these and other “food, drug, or cosmetic colors” to enhance the appearance of dog foods. More health-conscious brands seek out natural ingredients, such as carrots, for color-enhancement.

Phosphoric acid: This clear liquid is sometimes used as an emulsifier and flavoring agent. It also inhibits discoloration. But concentrated amounts can irritate dogs’ skin and mucous membranes.

Sorbitol: A popular synthetic sugar substitute, sorbitol is used as a flavoring agent. If eaten in large amounts, it can cause diarrhea and intestinal upset in dogs.

Dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate: Vitamin E is commonly used as a preservative in natural dog foods. This synthetic form of the vitamin is not as readily absorbed by the body as its natural counterpart (mixed tocopherols).

Menadione sodium bisulfate vitamin K3: This synthetic version of vitamin K is sometimes also listed as menadione dimethyl-pyrimidinol bisulfate, menadione dimethyl-pyrimidinol bisulfite, and several other variations. Critics contend it is an unnecessary ingredient in dog food, and reports indicate it can irritate mucous membranes, respiratory passages, and the skin.

Compulsive Cat Disorders

Is it just a habit your cat has or a disorder? Pet 360 investigates. 

While some of the ways in which cats behave may seem odd, it is only when the behavior becomes self-harming, obsessive, or repetitive to the point that the cat is neglecting other needs, that it is considered a disorder.

Signs & Symptoms of Compulsive Disorders

Some of the actions and signs associated with compulsive behaviors include:

  • Excessive sucking and chewing
  • Hunting and pouncing at unseen prey
  • Running and chasing
  • Paw shaking
  • Freezing in place
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Self-directed aggression, such as tail chasing or foot chewing
  • Over-grooming or barbering of hair

Causes of Compulsive Disorders

There may be a genetic predisposition to compulsive behaviors. For example, wool sucking is more common in Oriental breeds of cats.

Behavioral problems and compulsive, repetitive behaviors may be instigated by stress due to recent changes in the cat’s life, boredom, allergies, or neurological problems.

Feline hyperesthesia is a possible underlying cause, and this will have to be ruled out by your veterinarian before your cat can be treated for a behavioral disorder.

Diagnosis of Compulsive Disorders

The process begins with differential diagnosis – ruling out or treating any possible underlying medical causes.  Since a variety of medical disorders, including painful conditions, food allergies, neurological diseases, and dermatological disorders, can cause many of these signs, an extensive diagnostic workup will be needed to rule out any underlying medical problems before the behavior itself can be addressed. You will need to share your cat’s health history with your veterinarian, as well as any recent changes in your cat’s life that may have brought about the changes in behavior.

In cases where the cat is exhibiting self-directed or self-harming behaviors, such as tail mutilation or psychogenic alopecia, a dermatological workup will include taking samples of blood and skin for biopsy and culture to rule out infection or parasites. In many cases, doctors choose to begin a diet trial to rule out food allergies

Your veterinarian may also use a corticosteroid to rule out itching or inflammation as the cause for your cat’s behavior.

Treatment for Compulsive Disorders

Addressing the underlying motivation for the behavior is essential for the cat’s long term health. In addition to medical treatment to control the infection and pain of self-mutilation, behavioral therapy and behavioral drugs for compulsive disorders will likely be needed.

If the problem is diagnosed as a compulsive disorder, drugs that can be used to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin may be effective at reducing or controlling some of the signs, but concurrent behavioral therapy and environmental modifications are also likely to be needed.

Some of the changes your veterinarian may recommend are:

  • Providing a predictable daily routine
  • Providing a reward based training approach that shapes desirable responses and avoids the use of punishment or negative reactions
  • Avoiding the use of rewards except when desirable behaviors are exhibited so that the cat learns what behaviors will earn rewards
  • Providing a few regularly scheduled social interaction sessions (including social play, exercise, and training)
  • Minimizing boredom by providing stimulating play toys that use food and textures to maintain interest
  • Between social interaction sessions, providing a quiet area away from the business of the house for rest and relaxation
  • Devices such as E-collars (cones) may be used to prevent the cat from inflicting further damage on its body until the habits can be changed

Prevention of Behavioral Disorders

Some cats will chase and even viciously attack their tails. This may arise as a form of play, especially if there is boredom due to a lack of sufficient routine and stimulation. Situations of conflict and anxiety may lead to displacement behaviors such as tail chasing or over-grooming. The behavior may escalate to a more serious problem if done repetitively. Attempts by the owner to stop the behavior may add to the cat’s anxiety, further aggravating the problem.

Regardless of the underlying cause, if the cat manages to catch and bite its own tail, or is over-grooming to the point of skin damage, the problem may progress to more serious mutilation. The skin and tail will be painful and infected, and the tail may need to be amputated.

In particular, specific stimuli that precede or incite the compulsive behaviors should be identified. Then these situations of conflict can be identified and either prevented or resolved. Normalizing routines and providing daily interactions with positive attention are useful in the prevention of compulsive behaviors. It is important for cats to have an outlet for their energy. This may involve a set time of the day when you play with your cat using laser light toys or wands, providing plenty of cat friendly toys for your cat to play with when you are away, or using puzzle balls that require the cat’s interaction to get treats out of the ball.

Changes are unavoidable, so you will need to do your best to help your cat through life transitions such as moving or new members of the family.