Why Pets Become Aggressive

Seeing your easy-going pet suddenly turn into a raging animal can be quite unsettling. The cause of such behavior isn’t always clear. However, there are some common catalysts that you should be aware of to quickly address the aggression before it becomes a habit.

Causes for Dog Aggression

If your dog has suddenly started growling, nipping, or biting at things, animals, or people, there are a few obvious reasons for this aggression. He may perceive these things as a threat to him (or you) and reacts aggressively out of fear. Even the most mild-mannered dogs may become aggressive if they feel they’re being backed into a corner.

Dogs will also show aggression when trying to establish dominance. If a dog wants to feel in charge, he will growl, bark, or bite others so that his dominance is not challenged. Training is very important in correcting this behavior, especially if your dog is trying to establish dominance over you.

Less obvious reasons for aggression include underlying medical problems. If a dog is sick or in pain, he may become more irritable and short-tempered. If you suspect your dog may be ill, it is best consult with a veterinarian.

Frustration can also cause dogs to act out with aggression. You will see this commonly in dogs that are tied up a lot, restrained, or kept in cages. The lack of freedom and ability to get to interesting things that are out of reach will cause the dog frustration and he will act out. You should give your dog as much freedom as possible so that he is happy.

Causes for Cat Aggression

Cats act aggressively for much of the same reasons as dogs. Fear, frustration, and pain are all primary sources of cat aggression. Medical issues will cause a cat to be grouchy or confused, leading him to act aggressively toward others. Cats are very good at hiding illnesses, so this is an important symptom to watch out for.

Cats also become easily stressed. They do not like change and are extremely sensitive to their environment. Going to the vet, having a new cat introduced into the family, or even just being near arguing humans can put your cat on edge and cause him to react aggressively.

You should strive to make your home as calm and consistent as possible. If changes to your cat’s environment must be made (you should never shy away from taking your cat to the vet), make this transition as easy as possible so that your cat remains in a good mood.