Is your pet over-grooming?
Our pets bathe and groom themselves quite often. How can you tell how much grooming is too much? Generally, you should be concerned about over-grooming if there is hair loss, the skin is red, irritated, or inflamed, or obsessiveness (ignoring their favorite things in favor of grooming). Keep reading why they might be over-grooming and how you can help.
Why Does Over-Grooming Happen?
In general, excessive licking and grooming stem from a desire to soothe an emotional struggle or relieve physical discomfort. There are medical concerns that can lead to over-grooming, including parasites, skin or food allergies, infections, or even constipation.
The emotional upsets that might be driving your pet to over-groom could include stress or boredom. Some potential causes of stress include new or absent family members (including other furry family members), moving to another home, reorganizing furniture (especially the litter box), or chaos in the household.
Solutions for Over-Grooming
Start with taking your pet to the vet to eliminate any possibility of it being a physical or medical cause before you start making environmental changes to your pet’s life. It may be fleas or an allergy that could require medication or a problem with their diet that needs addressing.
If your doctor gives your pet a clean bill of health, you start looking at some of the emotional problems. If your pet is bored, try adding some new toys to their environment, or add some playtime to their daily routine. A little more time together can help your pet feel more engaged. If you think your pet may be missing an absent family member, try putting something of theirs out so your pet can soothe themselves with that smell instead. Introduce new elements to the house slowly, especially other living creatures! Make sure your cat has a safe place to hide when they get overstimulated.
If there is no improvement after trying these changes, speak to your vet again. They may have more options for treatment, including pheromones or traditional medication.