Can Your Pet Get Jealous?

by on January 31st, 2012 at 7:00 am

It may seem hard to believe, but animals can feel jealousy, and I know from firsthand experience. Every time my sister brings over her Boxer named Buddy, my Pekingese Pawz gets extremely jealous. The moment I go to pet Buddy, Pawz jumps in the way and demands my full attention. If I ignore Pawz, he will start whining and eventually start fighting with Buddy. It’s pretty amusing, and being that they rarely see each other it’s not a big deal. However, some pets have jealousy issues with animals they live with, which can become troublesome or annoying at best. For most this problem may be more prominent when introducing a new animal into the house, or even bringing a new baby home.

Here are some signs your pet may be jealous:

  • Barking or hissing at the source of jealousy. Whether it is a baby or a new pet, if your pet shows signs of aggression towards him or her, chances are, it may be jealousy.
  • In contrast, your pet may disappear when the subject of jealousy is near. This is more common for cats. They can disappear for days if they feel another animal or person is encroaching on their territory.
  • Acting out when the other animals or people are around. This may include chewing, going to the bathroom in the house, scratching or even excessive grooming (licking).

If your pet is experiencing these issues he or she is most likely jealous. Take time to assess the situation and act accordingly.

Here are some tips to curb your pet’s jealousy issues:

  • Give your pet extra attention – This may seem counterproductive but sometimes your pet just needs a little extra attention. This will reaffirm to them they are still a part of the house.
  • Find out the source of the problem – For example, if one pet gets jealous when the other plays with its toys or eats from his bowl, try to reduce the trigger. Don’t allow the dogs to use each other’s bowls or play with each other’s toys. This can go a long way in reducing the problem.
  • Stay with your pet during change – When introducing a new pet or baby, make sure you are supervising and  correct any behavior problems before they get more serious
  • Do not tolerate misbehavior – Anytime your pet acts out or shows signs of aggression, make sure to let them know it’s wrong. If left unchecked the problematic behavior will only get worse.
  • Lastly, give it time – Many of these jealousy issues will go away with time. So give it some time; your pet will eventually adjust to his or her new situation.

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