are my cat and dog playing or fighting

When a cat and dog are playing, both will have relaxed body language. Their eyes should be open and their movements should be light and agile – no aggression or tension. If you notice your pet’s fur standing up or ears back, it’s time to end playtime, as this could indicate fear or anger.

Why Do Pets Play Fight?

Playing together is an important part of socialization. Most kittens and puppies start play fighting with their littermates at a young age; via this, they learn self control and communication skills. At this point, animals begin to understand that biting or scratching a sibling too forcefully ends the game.

Puppies and kittens usually retain their playful nature as they become older. Play fighting is a great way for your pet to get some exercise regardless of their age, especially since it can help them burn off some extra energy.

Furthermore, your pet’s prey drive may find a healthy outlet in play fighting. Dogs and cats both have natural tendencies toward stalking and pouncing, and chasing a furry friend is an entertaining way to role-play predator and prey.

The simplest explanation is, of course, that play fighting is enjoyable! But occasionally, the game can get out of control or one pet may not be as enthusiastic as the other, in which case play fighting can escalate into actual fighting.

are my cat and dog playing or fighting

Pets paw and bat at one another without using force to cause harm, and they aim open-mouth restrained bites at each other’s legs and paws. You will witness dogs and cats chasing, grappling, and pinning one another alternately. Cats frequently aim for the backs of necks or collapse to one side in an attempt to pet another animal.

Many of us share homes with both dogs and cats because we are equal opportunity pet lovers. However, caution must be used to ensure that pets are safe around one another, particularly when playing. I share my home with Magic, a 90-pound German Shepherd, 17-year-old Seren-Kitty, who weighs only 6 pounds, and 1-year-old Karma-Kat, who weighs 13 pounds. The dog and Karma are best friends and play tag and chase every day, but the elderly cat doesn’t want anything to do with Magic.

Regular play between dogs and cats resembles heightened hunting, complete with tracking, stalking, chasing, attacking, biting, killing, and eating behaviors. Playtime throws the sequence off, causing pets to stop short of the kill and use an inhibited bite instead.

Dog play is noisy and includes growls and barks. These noises may sound threatening but instead are playful. Cat play is silent. When a dog is barking, a cat may mistake it for a serious dog when it’s just playing.

When the games are mutual, the dog and cat jump right in and don’t stop playing. One or more of the pets are injured or scared by bad play. Here are four indicators that it’s time to stop your dog and cat from playing:

Playing vs. Fighting: Dogs

It’s important for pet owners to understand if their dogs are playing or fighting. Ultimately, you don’t want to yank him from a harmless game or allow a real altercation to continue longer than necessary.

Signs that dogs are playing include:

  • Front down, and rear end up—like a play bow. An animated dog may occasionally even slap his front legs on the ground to start a game of play.
  • Open mouth (like a big, silly grin)
  • Bouncy, relaxed movement
  • Showing vulnerability by “falling” and being caught
  • Play biting (soft nibbling)
  • Wagging tail
  • Returning for more, and taking turns chasing each other

Signs that dogs are fighting include:

  • Raised hackles
  • Stiff body
  • Closed mouth, sometimes with a growl or snarl
  • Curled lips
  • Ears pinned back
  • Tucked tail (fear) or raised tail (asserting dominance)
  • Short, quick, strategic movements
  • usually a brief meeting that ends with the “loser” swiftly leaving the area

Never let your dog get ganged up on during a playdate with other dogs, even if it appears to be playful. This could easily spiral out of control and create a bad association with socializing in general, which could result in anxiety. If your dog is fighting a lot at the dog park, it might be best for him to play with his friends at home or to limit his play dates to dogs he knows well.

Since dogs are inherently territorial animals, keep an eye out for their possessiveness toward food and toys and take them out of the situation if necessary.

It might be wise to step in if you see a dog getting territorial or if one dog isn’t acting as enthusiastically as the other before the lack of interest escalates into irritation or even aggression. Play fetch or give the more energetic dog a chew toy to help him release some of his energy without upsetting his friend.

Pet Honesty’s Premium Hemp Calming Chews, which use natural ingredients to help calm and soothe an anxious dog, are a good option for dogs with nervous energy.

are my cat and dog playing or fighting


How do you tell if your cat is playing or fighting with dog?

Your kitty might swipe, but always with claws retracted, and your doggo will mouth the cat without using teeth. You might notice cat hitting dog, but it won’t cause any pain. The pretend fighting might draw some excited noises from your dog, but your cat usually remains silent.

Is it okay to let my dog and cat play fight?

Preferably, if you know your cat and dog fight, you should keep them separate. Preventing fights is often the best way to “intervene.” If your dog and cat aren’t allowed to fight, then you’ll have fewer fights to intervene in. If your pets are already fighting, you have a few different options.

How do you know if your cat and dog like each other?

They like to snuggle up close to one another and fall asleep “If they are sleeping with each other and snuggled up together — really truly making contact with each other — then that’s an obvious sign that there’s true affection between the animals,” Nelson explained.

How do you know if your dog is aggressive towards cats?

WARNING SIGNS If at any time the dog lunges toward, growls, snaps at or shows any aggression toward a calm, quiet, still cat, this match will probably not work out. The same holds true if a cat attacks a calm, quiet dog.