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Understanding Jealousy in Pets

 by jaime on 12 Jun 2014 |
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We have a lot of love for our pets, and it goes without saying that the feeling is almost always returned. The bond between human and animal is something that goes back thousands of years and has helped both species survive in precarious situations. Some people do not give enough credit to dogs and cats when it comes to the amount of emotion they are able to detect or able to express, but recent science has shown us that animals can in fact demonstrate emotional capacity in the form of jealousy. If your pet has recently changed its attitude and is exhibiting jealous behaviour, then you probably are curious as to why. Let's discover what causes this and when it can be expected.

Presence of New Pets

This perhaps is the most commonly observed initiator of jealousy in our pets. Whenever a new pet is introduced to the household, it is common for that pet to receive a temporary amount of increased attention that the existing dog or cat is not receiving. This can create a dynamic in which your older pet feels neglected or inferior to the new addition, and can lead to bad behaviour and spells of anger. Some pets may act out by using the restroom in inappropriate places, while others may begin to chew on items and create messes. This is believed to be the pet's way to gain your attention, but can often result in frustration. It is perfectly common for pets to be jealous of other pets, but a balanced amount of attention can help reduce any issues.

New Relationships

If you have recently began dating a new person, then your pets may show a tendency to be jealous when this new person is around. While there are different schools of thought on the matter, many people believe that animals - particularly dogs - view their masters as property that must be guarded. Whenever a new person comes into the picture, it can throw off a dynamic and make the pet feel inadequate or lonely. These feelings can then manifest in bad behaviour, including growls and barks, clawing and inappropriate restroom behaviour. It can be hard to incorporate everyone in a new relationship, but your pet will do its best to gain your attention whenever one arises.

New Children

If you have just had a baby, then you will probably notice a change in behaviour from your pets. These pets may be used to being the centre of attention; a change in this dynamic can suddenly leave them feeling neglected and upset. Especially the case when a baby is brought home, some of the pet's prior behaviour may no longer be appropriate; when you punish or chastise a pet for doing so, it can create confusion and that can cause increased bad behaviour in an animal.

Any situation in which there is a change in your home life or less attention given to a pet can result in jealousy manifesting in dogs and cats. The best way to take care of this is to provide the pet with special time each day, regardless of the difficulty. Without doing so, these fits of jealousy may take longer to subside and can be a negative, recurring event in your daily life.

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