What type of medicine may be necessary to be prescribed by my veterinarian to cope with sibling rivalry outbursts between my two dogs?

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Most cases of canine sibling rivalry are caused by social hierarchy issues and that would require non-medical methods.

Although infrequently, dogs can pick on each other because of an underlying neurological or pain-inducing problem. Pain, especially, can cause aggression. That does require the appropriate medication; only a veterinarian can determine the best one—and only the veterinarian should prescribe and administer.

It’s also important to remember that a dog will often try to pick on a sick or aging canine sibling; conversely, an aging or ill dog can get irritated by a younger, rambunctious one. That would not only require the appropriate medications prescribed by a vet, but also some non-medical intervention.

So what do you do to stop dogs from picking on each other?

• Take them to the vet for complete examinations and blood workups to rule out any medical problems.
• Establish yourself as a leader so always be calm, confident, firm and authoritative. Both dogs need to respect you and view you as the head of the household. They need to be listening and obeying your verbal commands and behave themselves while on a leash. Treats and toys should only be given at your decision and not because one of the dogs is whining or requesting them.
• Support the more dominant dog. This is a difficult concept for people, but it is instinctual for dogs. If one dog is more authoritative then the other, support this hierarchy by giving the dominant dog first access to food and attention. Disciplining the authoritative dog or assisting the more submissive dog in a dispute between the two can prolong fighting problems.
• Supervise and separate. Keep the two siblings apart from each other when you are not home to prevent disputes. Once you are available to watch them, allow the dogs to interact with each other while you monitor and reward them for good behavior.
• Use muzzles if necessary. To keep both dogs safe from injury, use muzzles on them if there is the possibility of aggression when they are interacting with each other.

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