Dogs and cats are territorial creatures so fights are always a possibility. Animal fights are scary especially if your pet is in the middle of one. Here are some things you can do to prevent a fight from happening in the first place and things that you can do if a fight breaks out.
First you should always know the difference between a fight and play. Cats are fighting when the ears are flat back and they are growling, hissing, and showing their teeth like they are about to hiss but no sound comes out. For dogs you need to watch body language, growling, and snapping.
When you have multiple cats in the home they work who is the alpha cat who gets to control what territory. If you are living in a small or crowded place cats are more likely to fight with each other. The solution for this is to build cat shelves, cat trees, window seats, etc in order to provide them with more space. If space doesn't seem to be the issue it could be a fight to determine dominance. If you are always breaking it up the cats don't get an opportunity to figure out who is top cat. If you let it continue one of the cats should cry uncle before either of them get seriously hurt (consider this as a last resort).
If your cats are in a fight don't try to use a broom or reach in and separate them. This can make the cats more aggressive and get you injured. The best way to break up a cat fight is to dump cold water on the cats. If you don't have water handy make lots of noise like yelling and clapping. Loud noises usually stop cat fights.
When outside be sure to keep your dog on a leash. Dogs are less like to become aggressive on leash. Be sure to know the difference between play sounds and fight sounds that your dog makes.
When you come across an aggressive dog turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Keep your dog close and stay calm and walk - don't run. Running will only make matters worse - you will get chased.
If you have a fight don't jump in and try to separate the dogs. This increases the chances for injury to you and the dogs. The dogs could also become more aggressive. If at all possible dump cold water (you can use any kind of drink) on the dogs. The shock should be enough to end the fight. Your other option is to make lots of noise to distract them. You can throw a shake can at the ground near the aggressive dog's feet. You can make a shake can with a clean soda can. Put 10 pennies inside and seal the hole with duct tape.
Be Wise... Bewaggle!
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