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Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians


Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses is a behavior 101 textbook that’s crammed with information about animal behavior and is co-edited by pioneering specialists in the field, Debbie Martin and Julie Shaw.

With so much misinformation regarding animal behavior, my first pet book of Christmas, Decoding Your Dog, is authored by veterinary behaviorists for the general pet owning public; this—my seventh pet book of Christmas—offers a more clinical approach/guide and is authored for pet health professionals, but there’s no reason why pet owners wouldn’t understand this book or appreciate its content. And, I think it ought to be a law that all veterinary technicians/nurses read this spectacular book. After all, more pets die because of behavior issues than cancers or heart disease. That’s because when the human-animal bond is fractured, like when a cat has one too many accidents outside the litter box or a dog bites someone in the home, the animal lands at a shelter (and if a behavior problem is disclosed, some shelters will immediately euthanize). Some pet cats aren’t even taken to a shelter; they’re just tossed outdoors to fend for themselves.

The point is to encourage pet caretakers to seek qualified help before the human-animal bond is broken. I appreciate that there’s an entire chapter on the human-animal bond and another chapter on problem prevention. For example, it talks about ensuring there are the right number of litter boxes in the right locations and that they’re scooped daily. With four cats at home, this litter box insurance might prevent an issue from occurring in the first place. Also, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and others in the field of animal behavior are increasingly understanding the importance of enriched environments and Fear Free Happy Homes. In conjunction, low-stress handling skills are explained in this book.

There’s an excellent introduction of neurophysiology and psychopharmacology (authored by veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sara Bennett and neurology technician Carissa Sparks).

For those who may have more than a cursory interest in animal behavior and want to understand the “why” and the research behind what experts do every day, this book is a superb choice.



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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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