Dr. Schwartz, Pet Behaviorist Dr. Stefanie Schwartz is the veterinary behavior specialist on the specialty team at California Veterinary Specialists in Carlsbad. Appointments in Carlsbad are available Tuesdays only. Appointments in Orange County are also offered Monday - Friday at The Veterinary Neurology Center, 3051 Edinger Avenue in Tustin, CA 92780. Please call (949) 342-6644 for more information or to schedule an appointment at either facility. You may also email Dr. Schwartz at:


What is a Veterinary Behavior Specialist?

Veterinary behavior is a board certified specialty of
veterinary medicine. Veterinary behaviorists use techniques that are used in human psychiatry and psychology, including behavior modification and life style changes. Psychoactive medication may also be appropriate in certain cases to complement other treatment recommendations. The possibility of an underlying medical illness is always considered in any patient referred because of a behavior problem. 


Veterinary behavior requires many years of training and clinical experience. Self-proclaimed dog or cat experts are not qualified to diagnose or treat your pet’s behavior problem and may actually make things worse. Specialists in veterinary behavior have trained intensively; there are less than 50 veterinary behavior specialists in the world.


The treatment of behavior cases requires thoughtful insight into your pet’s life history. A behavior consult generally takes two hours time to investigate and explain the behavior problem, and to discuss the treatment plan. The goal of treatment is always to restore the love you have for your pet and to improve the quality of life for you both for many years to come.


What Problems Does A Veterinary Behaviorist Treat?

Behavior problems are the most important causes for the abandonment, euthanasia and relinquishment of otherwise healthy pets. Many behavior problems respond to simple treatments, whereas others gradually improve. Longstanding problems can be more challenging but should not be given up for lost. Here are a few of the reasons to see a veterinary behavior specialist:



  • Aggression toward People, including Children 
  • Aggressive Conflicts between Housemates
  • Nipping and Overly Active Puppies or Kittens
  • Separation Anxiety Syndrome
  • Anxiety, Fears and Phobias
  • Compulsive Behaviors
  • House Soiling Cats
  • House Training Problems in Dogs
  • Destructiveness
  • Introducing New Pets
  • Behavior problems of Senior Cats and Dogs

What Do I Bring to My Pet’s Behavior Consult?

Please bring any relevant records and notes you may have to your first appointment. Copies of any recent medical tests are of primary importance. In addition, any imaging studies, such as x-rays or ultrasound, are helpful if these are related to the behavior problem in any way. In some cases, laboratory tests and other diagnostics may be repeated or recommended at the time of your appointment to get precise updates on your pet’s health. This can be important to clarify a suspected underlying cause or to plan an effective treatment. Your pet’s lab results and consult summary will be shared with your referring veterinarian. Also, please don’t forget to download and complete the Behavior History Form (see the link on this page and on the Forms tab), and bring it with you to your scheduled appointed.

Dr. Stefanie Schwartz

A native of Montreal, Canada, Dr. Stefanie Schwartz earned a BSc in Psychobiology from McGill University in 1979 before graduating from the University of Montreal’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. She has a Master of Science in Ethology (University of Montreal 1988) and is board certified in Veterinary Behavior Medicine by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.  


Dr. Schwartz is Clinical Adjunct Professor at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine since August 2009. She was previously Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Studies of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts (1990-2006). She has lectured at veterinary schools and conferences around the country. Prior to relocating to California from the East coast in 2009, she was on staff at prestigious specialty practices including Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.  


Dr. Schwartz has published extensively in veterinary journals and reviews articles submitted for publication in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Associaiton.  Her retrospective study of cats proved the existence of separation anxiety syndrome in cats and showed how it resembles separation related issues in dogs. She is also the first to discuss grief reactions in pets as a special type of separation anxiety.  


Dr. Schwartz has appeared on television and radio broadcasts. She was featured on the PBS series "NOVA: Animal Hospital" (1998) and the television journal 'Chronicle' (ABC Affiliate Channel 5 in Massachusetts, 1995). As spokesperson for Arm & Hammer’s Cat-panion Crusade in 2004, she appeared on a national satellite media tour and on CNN Headline News. She has contributed to many web sites and pet magazines, and offers advice and support to pet owners on her own web site at


Dr. Schwartz lives in Southern California with her three dogs (Ezra and Ziva, both Salukis; Georgyanna, a Boston Terrier), three cats (Teddi, Eden and Angelica Darling), and two daughters (Julia and Alana). In her spare time, she enjoys sleeping. 
Books and book chapters by Dr. Stefanie Schwartz:  


  • Schwartz S Psychoactive Herbs in Veterinary Behavior Medicine. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA;  2005
  • Schwartz S Dr. Cookie’s Guide to Living Happily Ever After With Your Cat. St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY; 2002
  • Schwartz S. No More Myths: True Facts About Pet Care. Random Value Books, New york, NY; 2000
  • Schwartz S  First Aid for Dogs MacMillan/Simon & Schuster/Howell, New York, NY; 1998
  • Schwartz S  First Aid for Cats   MacMillan/Simon & Schuster/Howell, New York, NY; 1998
  • Schwartz S No More Myths: Practical Answers to Common Misbeliefs About Pet Problems
  • MacMillan/Simon & Schuster/Howell, New York, NY; 1996
  • Schwartz S Aggression in cats In: Cat Behavior and Training Ackerman, L (ed) TFH Publications Inc., Neptune City, NJ, 1996;243-256.  
  • Schwartz S Dogs and kids: the family pet in the family with children In: Dog Behavior and Training Ackerman, L (ed) TFH Publications Inc., Neptune City, NJ, 1996;219-230
  • Schwartz S Instructions for Veterinary Clients: Canine and Feline Behavior Problems.  1997. Mosby-Year Book Inc.,  St. Louis, MO
  • Schwartz S Instructions for Veterinary Clients: Canine and Feline Behavior Problems.  1993. 2nd edition, American Veterinary Publications, Goleta, CA
  • Schwartz S A Comparative Study on the Chemotherapeutic Control of Aggression in the Cat Master's thesis, on fear-induced and irritable aggression in the domestic cat, University of Montreal, June 1988.  
  • Schwartz S  Le comportement animal appliqué à la médecine vétérinaire   (Introduction to Animal Behavior Applied to Veterinary Medicine). University of Montreal Press, 1981; revised 1983.