First behavior clinic for pets opens in China

21:00, December 17, 2010      

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A veterinary hospital in southwest China's Sichuan Province has opened the country's first animal behavior clinic to help owners solve behavioral problems for their pets.

The clinic, run by Huaxi Pet Vet Hospital in Chengdu, had received dozens of cats and dogs since its opening on Dec. 12, said Liu Aiguo, one of its five vets.

"The common problems are aggression, destructiveness and soiling in house," Liu said. "Some pets are so spoiled that they suffer separation anxiety when their owners have to travel, and become gloomy and destructive when their owners cuddle other animals."

Animals behavior clinics are found in many Western countries, but the field is relatively new in China.

Liu and his colleagues said they had observed many animal behavioral problems since last year and believed a special clinic was necessary to solve their problems.

"About 10 percent of the pets brought for treatment at our hospital suffered behavioral, or rather, psychological problems," said Liu. "But these problems are often neglected by their owners."

The new service targeted pet owners as well as their animals, he said. "Pets' behavioral problems are very often a result of their owners' inadequate expression of love."

Liu compared the relation between pet owners and companion animals to that between parent and child. "Your love should be stable and you should neither pamper them nor be indifferent to their feelings."

China has ushered in a booming "pet economy" in the last decade, as urban parents keep dogs, cats or guinea pigs as companions for their only children, who often have no playmates under the one child policy. Many elderly people enjoy the company of pets after their children grow up and leave home.

Yet many first-time pet owners are new to the burdens of keeping an animal. Some cats and dogs end up on the street when their owners grow tired of constantly caring for a big animal that they took on as a pup or a kitten.

Source: Xinhua
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