The dogs and cats in our lives are like family to us. So when something happens to create tension between our furry family members, it is understandably upsetting for us pet parents.
Blame can be an easy trap to fall into; but at other times, knowing how to diffuse the situation or re-connect with your pet may provide a better solution than blame.
These tips will help you navigate through some common issues that may develop between your pets to ensure that everyone remains happy, fed, and loved.
Here is how you can help your pets get along :
1) Identify common triggers
Not all dogs and cats will play nice together, so it is important to identify the specific things that cause tension between your pets. It may be as simple as how they greet each other or as serious as an aggressive lunge during feeding time.
2) Observe interactions and look for warning signs
Pay attention to both of your furry friends: How do they interact with each other? What body language signals are being sent? Watch for bared teeth, raised hair, snarling, or growling.
3) Separate the animals before a fight ensues
If you see any signs of tension between them, separate the pets immediately. This can be done by physically picking up each one and moving them away from each other, or by using baby gates to section off the space.
Separating them may be especially important when you are not home.
4) Address negative behavior immediately
If your pets are allowed to fight it out, they will not learn positive behaviors between them – only that aggressive displays work. Interrupt the behavior quickly with a loud noise (clapping works well). If you find yourself yelling more than once during the day at your pets, then it is time to take action. You may need some help training either your cats or dogs or both.
5) Teach proper etiquette for greeting each other
Even if you have already addressed negative behavior between your felines and canines, you can still take extra precautions to keep everyone safe and happy.
The way your pets greet each other is a common issue that can cause tension.
Here are some tips to help ensure a peaceful greeting:
a) Dogs should always enter the home first
When coming home from work or taking a vacation, do not allow the cat an opportunity to pounce on the dog as they come through the door. This sends a signal that it is okay for the cat to attack when new people arrive.
b) Create distance between them immediately after reunion
Immediately after being separated, both pets should be given their own space away from one another before stress levels increase. time for them to smell and adjust. This space can be a small room, a baby gate, or a crate – something that will give them both time for them to smell and adjust.
c) Avoid face rubbing
Face rubbing is very common between dogs but it can be threatening or uncomfortable for cats.
If your cat does not enjoy this type of greeting from the dog, they may let you know by hissing or swatting at the dog’s nose with their paws. Instead, offer your pets ample space to sniff each other from a comfortable distance before getting too close together.
d) Reward good behavior with treats and praise
Good behavior should always be rewarded! Create positive associations with reward-based training through food treats and/or positive words of praise. Be sure to only reward the positive behavior and ignore any unwanted actions that may happen as well.
6) Don’t force interactions between them
Socialization and playtime should always be on your pet’s terms, not yours! Forcing your pets to interact when they are stressed out by the other animal will do more harm than good – this could even lead to an injury or a fight. If you see these warning signs between your pets it means that they need time apart before re-introducing them again later in the day.
7) Create multiple areas for both dogs and cats if possible
If you live with two or more furry friends, giving each his own space can be very beneficial.
Creating multiple areas for both dogs and cats can help lessen the tension between them. If there are certain rooms that your pet does not have access to, the other animal won’t feel so threatened by their presence.
For a cat, a room with many windows and high spaces is an ideal place for them to retreat to when they feel stressed out – even if it’s just a cardboard box or a stool with a small blanket over it.
8) Enlist some assistance from others
Getting assistance from another person is one of the best ways you can ensure peace at home! If you find yourself having trouble controlling interactions between your pets, ask someone else (spouse/friend/family member) to come around during times of tension when you know the interactions could get too intense.
9) Recognize and address any medical problems that may arise
Even though it is rare, in some cases, pets that live together can become overly aggressive due to a medical problem such as hyperthyroidism or other health issues.
If you think this may be the case with one of your furry friends, consult a veterinarian for an examination and diagnosis of the problem.
10) Be patient and understanding
If a fight does occur between your pets, be sure to remain calm. Never interfere with a dog fight as it can lead to serious injury, for both the dogs and yourself! It’s important to remember that some fights are unavoidable and will happen from time to time. The key is learning how to minimize their occurrence while working on proper socialization techniques.
11) Keep a feeding schedule and designate a neutral territory
Having a set routine for distributing food, treats, and water is more likely to prevent friction during feeding time. Keep each pet’s food bowl in a different room or section of the house. If your pets have free range while you’re away, keep the bowls on opposite sides of the house so they don’t run into each other while looking for their next meal. Dog’s can not eat cat food, so be sure to keep it out of their reach!
12) Use proper grooming techniques
Grooming can be a very stressful time for our pets, for obvious reasons. To help them cope with the stress, it is best to use slow and calming techniques during each session to avoid further irritation or injury.
Dogs are usually submissive when being groomed so you should lead the process by remaining calm and relaxed. Do not force your dog into any position that puts him at risk of fear-induced aggression – this could include making him sit still against his will. You should also have treats on hand to reward him during each step of the grooming process if he remains calm and lets you touch him without trying to get away. If your pet does happen to lash out during bathing or brushing, stop what you’re doing and try again later.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
There you have it – 12 tips for making sure that your pets can live their lives happily in the same house. With these tips, you can be sure that the lives of your furry companions will continue to run smoothly and you won’t have any more unwelcome surprises like a fight.