What is a stereotype in animals?
Especially in the zoo, in animal refuges or in small and unsuitable enclosures, we can observe what stereotypies are in animals.
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These are repetitive actions that the animal carries out without a goal, very clear examples are the dogs that spin around themselves without stopping or barking. Sometimes they may be related to a mental problem, although in general we speak of serious stress situations that lead to stereotypies.
Want to know more about this? Find out what a stereotypy in animals is and how or why it happens in this article by YourCatCareguide.
Why does it happen?
As we said, stereotypies are repetitive movements that are consequences of stress and usually occur in animals that live in captivity, such as shelter dogs, zoo animals, etc.
Its main cause is the inability to satisfy its natural behavior , either by lack of space, food, a drastic change in his life or little physical activity. Stereotypies are clear examples of distress directly related to the five freedoms of animal welfare .
It is important to understand that once we offer an animal all those stimuli or factors it needs, stereotypies can be reduced and even disappear. It will not always be like this, it depends on each case.
Examples of stereotypies
On the Internet we can observe a great amount of videos that circulate in the sections of humor in which we can observe stereotypies. It is normal for anyone who does not know what is really happening to the animal, find it interesting and funny, but in reality is not at all funny, because it is an animal that is suffering.
Do you think your dog or other animals nearby may be suffering from stereotypies? Next, let’s explain the most common stereotypies we can find in animals:
- Biting the tail : It is the most common stereotype that dogs usually develop and consists of spinning on themselves trying to bite the tail.
- Non-stop beats : It is another clear example and very common in dogs of refuge, can spend hours and hours barking aimlessly and without any stimulus provoking it. You can cry, too.
- Self-directed or redirected aggression : In this case the animal injures itself, usually on the paws and tail, sometimes it can also redirect the aggression to inanimate objects or people.
- Concrete repetitive movements : Walk side by side, jump, give back on themselves, etc.
- Hunting : Another example of stereotypies are those animals that hunt bugs, flies (including invisible animals) as well as the pursuit of lights.
- Excessive licking : Sometimes it leads to bites.
What should we do if an animal suffers from a stereotypy?
We must understand that most of us are not able to offer adequate therapy to any animal, we could confuse the symptoms of a disease with a stereotype or worse, not know how to treat it and make it worse. For this reason it is essential to resort to specialists : ethologists .
After observing the animal, the ethologist will offer a diagnosis that will rule out mental and / or physical problems and confirm the cause of stereotypies: frustration, conflicts, aggression, little space, separation anxiety or others.
Offer appropriate treatment
Any animal that suffers from stereotypies is communicating to the outside its discomfort, for this reason it is fundamental to offer a fast and effective treatment before it gets worse. Not all stereotypies can be solved.
- Change of environment
- Behavior modification
- Physical activity
- Elimination of punishment
- Anti-stress games
- Affection and love
Although some of these options may be caused by ourselves, the truth is that in some cases we will have to resort to the help of a professional who is the one who will better understand the specific situation of the animal.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read the similar articles in What is a stereotype in animals? , we recommend that you enter our Mental Problems section .