What to Do When Your Pet Gets Into a Fight

Posted on
August 20, 2018

As much as we love our pets, caring for them isn’t always a walk in the park. Even if your pet gets along with people, it can be a different story when it comes to other animals. If you know your dog or cat is aggressive, there are a lot of things you can do to prevent any negative interactions. But, whether they’re the aggressor in the fight or not, it’s good to know what you should do before, during, and after a fight.

  • Preventing a fight
  • Breaking up the fight
  • Caring for your pet’s wounds
puppy growls as other nips at his ear
If you know your pet has trouble interacting with other animals, be prepared to distract them in case of an altercation.

Preventing a fight

If you have multiple animals living together in your home not-so-harmoniously, make sure you have strategies in place to cool any animosity that might arise. Always have separate rooms or crates where you can put them, whether it’s for safety or punishment. You can also consider separating their resources, such as food and litter boxes, so they don’t have to compete or cross paths when going about their days. Usually animals will fight because of territory or rivalry, so separating them can be a much-needed break for both you and the pets.

Another way to combat aggression is by identifying stressors and eliminating or altering them. A lot of stressors, such as another animal in the house or on a walk, may be unavoidable. However, many pet owners are able to change their pet’s reaction to the stressor through counter-conditioning and desensitization. This includes strategies such as exposing the animal to small doses of the stressor until they get used to it and pairing the stressor with a positive consequence, such as a treat.

Even if your pet doesn’t have any problems interacting with other animals, there’s always a chance they can still get involved in an altercation. When walking your dog, make sure to treat any other pets you encounter on the sidewalk with a healthy amount of caution. Always ask permission before approaching the other animal, and keep treats in your pocket to distract them if another dog tries to instigate a fight. There’s no way to be 100% prepared, but being aware that a fight may occur will help you and your pup get home safe and sound.

dog stares at scared cat with hunched back
When you think a fight is about to happen, it’s important to stay calm.

Breaking up the fight

A fight between two pets may only last a couple seconds, so it’s important to be prepared to act before it goes too far. Unless your pet or the one they encounter is particularly aggressive, most negative interactions will likely just involve growling and barking. However, if one or both of the dogs starts to lunge, you may have a problem. If your dog or cat does get into a fight, it may become your job to break up the fight.

cat chasing aggitated, puffed cat

The one thing you shouldn’t do is get between the animals because you may get bitten. Try distracting the animals themselves before getting yourself physically involved.  If your only option is to physically separate the animals, avoid touching anywhere near their heads or mouth. For dogs, animal behaviorists typically suggest pulling one dog by their back end and/or pushing the other one back with your foot on their rib cage. Just remember: Your goal is to not get bitten. If you’re in a place where you have easy access to an object that can be place in between the animals, then try that. You can also try other training strategies such as spraying the animals with water if you have it on hand.

It’s important to observe your pet’s behavior, particularly in the moments after the fight. Are they showing signs of fear or continued aggression? This may be a good indicator of whether this altercation was a one-time thing or something to look out for in the future.

one dog going to bite another
If  your pet has serious wounds after a fight, take them to the vet to get checked out.

Caring for your pet’s wounds

Although any wounds acquired during a fight will hopefully be topical, it’s still very important to know what chemicals your pet is being exposed to in their wound care products. When caring for a wounded pet be sure you go with a brand you trust, and have it on hand so that you’re prepared. Fauna Care’s First Aid Spray the perfect option for treating and protecting the skin from further damage. A spray is also good for keeping the treatment sterile and hands-free.

Be careful when examining your pet after the fight, as they may be jumpy and could react aggressively. If you’re pet has any serious wounds or injuries after the fight, be sure to take them to your vet immediately.

Taking preventative measures to get in front of any behavioral problems is best to ensure the safety of both you and your pet. If your pet has regular behavioral issues, it may be time to consider getting professional help. Trainers and behaviorists can help you and your animal learn to cope with the stressors you encounter in everyday life for a healthier and happier pet.

Questions? Interested in being featured on this blog? Click here to get in touch!
Posted on
August 20, 2018