How Should Pet Owners Deal With a Jealous Pet?

jealous dogs watching cat get pet

It’s only natural for pets to pursue (and thoroughly lap up) love and affection from their favorite people. But when their ploys for your attention go from adorable to downright aggressive, it could be a sign that your pet is jealous. 

At Ten West Bird & Animal Hospital, we’re happy to help restore harmony in your home if you’re dealing with a jealous pet. As with any behavioral problem, the first step is to schedule an examination so we can rule out medical issues that could be to blame for your pet’s behavior.

Most of the time, jealous-like behaviors in pets can be remedied with a few helpful strategies. Read on for our team’s tips for dealing with the green-eyed monster.

Signs Your Pet Might Be Jealous

Here are some common signs that could mean your pet is jealous:

  • Sudden aggression, including growling or hissing at another pet or person, or fighting with another animal in the household
  • Having accidents in the house or going outside the litter box
  • Being overly clingy or trying to wedge himself between you and another person or pet
  • Getting “all up in your business” when you’re trying to work 
  • Performing tricks or other overtures to get your attention

Causes of Jealousy in Pets

Our pets can experience jealousy for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common:

  • Changes in routine/moving to a new home
  • Not enough attention, exercise, or stimulation
  • A new pet in the home
  • A new baby or other new person in the home 

Dealing With Jealous Pets

Try these tips if you think your pet is jealous:

  • Make note of the circumstances surrounding your pet’s behavior. This information can help you spot patterns and will give us clues if you come to us for a consultation.
  • Give equal amounts of attention to all pets.
  • Create a separate “safe space” for every pet in your home. This strategy is particularly helpful for cats, since felines are picky about their personal space!
  • To avoid food aggression, feed pets separately.
  • Schedule a few training sessions to reinforce good behaviors. 
  • If your dog is jealous of another dog, take them on walks at the same time, and reward calm, good behavior.
  • If your dog is jealous of a baby, let the dog smell the baby’s blanket or a piece of clothing. Reward the pet for remaining calm when smelling the item. 
  • For a cat that is jealous of a new baby, pet your cat while holding your baby whenever possible.
  • Make sure all pets have plenty of exercise and mental enrichment.
  • Provide affection on your terms and walk away from a pet displaying bad behavior.

Managing unwanted behaviors is possible with patience, compassion, and a few effective strategies. Please contact us if you’d like more information about dealing with jealous pets or to schedule an appointment.