Do Pets get jealous and why?

Feeling jealousy, is a trait, widely exists in the animal kingdom as well. Anybody thinking jealousy exists only between siblings, friends, don’t become jealous on knowing your pets are also capable of exhibiting this complex attribute. Initially, it was assumed to be prevalent only among humans, but later, experts did prove jealousy is as much a part of pets. 

Major causes of jealousy in pets

This emotion is aroused in pets when attention is showered on another of their own. It could also be a toy bearing close resemblance to their appearance that makes the pet jealous. Not limited to a toy or another pet, the emotion is also triggered when a new member, predominantly, an infant gets added to the family. Experts hotly debated, the existence of this distinct trait in pets, when Charles Darwin first proposed it a couple of centuries ago. Craving for attention is cited as the most common reason for the pets to experience jealousy.

The study on jealousy in pets

Biologists were of the opinion; anger is the major emotional feature, the pets shared with humans. Successive studies, adequately proved, apart from anger, pets also exhibit anxiety, happiness and fear. And jealousy is a yet another complicated sentiment exhibited by the pets. The studies revealed, pets, especially dogs have the nature of pushing their masters when affection is shown towards a toy designed as a dog capable of barking or wagging the tail. Incidents of disturbance by pets were also reported during instances of the pet owners reading a book aloud. Almost one-third of the dogs attempt to squeeze in between their owners and toys. More than 80% of the dogs exhibited brilliance by bottom sniffing the toy to realize they were being tricked.

Jealousy – a reason for stress in pets

Jealousy, a primitive emotion, is often mistaken with envy and psychologists interpret it clearly, identifying both as distinct in expression and the underlying causes are also different. Envy is an attribute which arises when the pets see themselves as lacking in certain aspect whereas jealousy is a result of perceived threat to the special bonding they are enjoying. It requires cognitive capability for animals to exhibit this attribute, no doubt, a tougher proportion for them. Jealousy primarily stems from the fact if there is an unexplained shift or drop in attention they have been experiencing from their masters. It is nearly important to interpret the emotional traits of the pets, as failing to do so, has the hidden possibility of the problem aggravating into a physical ailment. Pets suffering from stress are also vulnerable to increased heart rate, modified gastrointestinal function and last but not the least, high blood pressure. In certain circumstances, similar to humans, animals also face the threat of bacterial infection.

Adjustments in the habitat

  1. If we aren’t cautious enough to address the issue at the beginning itself, the problem can lead to aggressive behaviour in animals. 

  2. Pet parents would do well, by proactively making changes in the environment if they foresee things would undergo a change for any reason. 

  3. Small alterations help in making the transition smooth that may have occurred due to a change in environment or the addition of new comer in their living space. 

  4. One may also attempt keeping the pet occupied with activities of their interest and spend quality time in bonding. 

These measures go a great way in maximizing their confidence level, a critical factor which also controls pets’ behaviour. Another smart way of controlling jealousy in pets is through rewarding them with gifts, could be a mattress or a toy. When the emotional comfort level increases it is very much visible in the pets and transforms into a peaceful atmosphere for everyone.