Why does my dog nibble on my cat?

Dogs nibbling on cats, what the heck? I’m not talking about biting them, but rather that nibbling thing they do. Make me wonder – why does my dog nibble on my cat?

Corn-on-the-cobbing

Pibble Nibble

They do that little pinching nibbly bite thing like they are trying to nibble fleas.

Nothing dangerous, just a friendly little nibble.

Your dog may be nibbling on your cat for a variety of reasons. It could be that your dog is trying to play with your cat, or maybe your dog is feeling anxious or stressed.

why does my dog nibble on my cat - header image

Why does my dog nibble on my cat? Is it affection? Curiosity? Hunger? Is It something to be concerned about or should I let them go at it?

You should talk to your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior. They will be able to help you determine why your dog is nibbling on your cat and whether or not it is a cause for concern.

Introduction

If your dog is nibbling on your cat, you may wonder why they’re doing it. Is it dangerous? Is it playful? Should you be concerned? Read on to learn more about why dogs nibble on cats and what you can do about it.

There are a few reasons why dogs may nibble on cats.

The majority of the time, we find it is simply playful behavior.

Dogs often play by nibbling on each other’s necks or mouthing each other’s bodies.

If your dog is nibbling on your cat in a gentle way and the cat doesn’t seem to mind, then this is probably just rough play.

However, if the nibbling is more aggressive or if the cat seems uncomfortable, it could be a sign of aggression.

Dogs may nibble on cats out of frustration or dominance, especially if they don’t get along well. If this is the case, you’ll need to take steps to stop the aggressive behavior.

It can also be a sign of affection. We find this is the case with our German shepherd and its favorite cat.

Finally, some dogs may nibble on cats out of curiosity.

If your dog is constantly sniffing and licking the cat, it may be trying to figure out what it is. This behavior is usually harmless but can be annoying for the cat. If you want your dog to stop, you can try spraying them with water or making a loud noise to startle them.

As a dog owner, I want to ensure the dogs and cats are happy and getting along, so I try to understand what is behind the behavior.

If you’re not sure why your dog is nibbling on your cat, observe their behavior and see if you can determine the reason. Once you know why they’re doing it, you can take steps to stop the behavior if necessary.

I thought it would be interesting to actually interview the players in this scenario to help us all get better insights into why this is happening. We went directly to the source to get the info straight from the horse’s…ummm…dog’s and cat’s mouths.

Dog and cat - interview about why dogs nibble on cats

Why do I nibble on the cat?

[Smoky, overly friendly German Shepherd]

When I nibble on my cat, I’m usually just playing around.

I know my cat is not one of the appropriate chew toys, but sometimes I can’t help myself.

I like to nip at their neck or mouth because it’s fun, and they usually don’t mind.

Sometimes I get a little too rough, and they’ll hiss at me, but I know they don’t really mean it.

I sometimes nibble on my cat out of frustration or dominance, but this is rare.

If I don’t like them very much, I might try to show them who’s boss by chewing on them. This isn’t always the case, but sometimes it is.

Finally, I might nibble on my cat out of curiosity.

If I keep sniffing and licking them, it’s because I’m trying to figure out what they are.

I know they’re not food, but I’m just curious about them.

Again, this usually isn’t a problem, but I’ll stop if my humans don’t like it.

So why do dogs nibble on cats? It could be for any of these reasons. If you’re unsure why your dog is doing it, observe their behavior and see if you can figure it out. And if you want us to stop, just let us know, and we will.

How do I feel about the dog nibbling on me?

[Grandma, inappropriately named young male cat]

I don’t mind if my dog nibbles on me when we’re playing.

It’s all in good fun, and I usually just swat at them or walk away when I’ve had enough.

Sometimes I might hiss if they get too rough, but I know they’re just playing around. I haven’t had to bite him yet, but I would!

I do mind if my puppy nibbles on me out of aggression or dominance, though.

If he’s trying to show me who’s boss, I’m not going to stand for it. I’ll let him know with my claws that I’m not going to put up with that kind of behavior.

And if my dog is just curious and nibbling on me out of interest, I can usually tolerate it. It’s not the most pleasant sensation in the world, but I know they’re just trying to figure me out. So I don’t usually mind too much.

So why do dogs nibble on cats? In most cases, it’s just playful behavior. But sometimes, it can be a sign of aggression or dominance.

Is cat nibbling something to be concerned about?

It could be.

You need to take action if it’s being done out of aggression or just plain ol’ dislike. Again, providing chew toys or other things to redirect the dog is the best first step.

What we want to avoid is getting out of control. Cat bites can be dangerous for dogs; obviously, dog bites aren’t great for cats.

You’ll need to be aware of your dog’s normal body language to help understand if this is playful or aggressive. Ears laid back, “whale eye,” brow furrowed to almost look like a frown – these are all indications that perhaps it’s gone beyond a playful love bite.

Dogs with strong prey drive may start with the nibbling but move to a more aggressive action, so keep that in mind as well. Again, you know your dog, your cat, and their normal behavior. Be on the watch for behavior that isn’t normal.

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. It is the principal difference between a dog and a man.” – Mark Twain

Another thing to look out for is what else your puppy is nibbling on. Is it just the cat? Or is it also nibbling on its own tail, paws, the couch, the new dog, etc.? Has the cat nibbling led to more destructive chewing anywhere else?

Excessive nibbling may indicate another issue, such as extreme anxiety – this is something you should talk to your vet about.

Thoughts about stopping the nibbling

You can try a few things if you want your dog to stop nibbling on your cat.

First, you can try spraying them with water or making a loud noise to startle them. This will usually get their attention and make them stop. We keep spray bottles of bitter apple around the house to help with any disturbances.

You can also try redirecting their attention by giving them a toy or treat to chew on or a chew toy to redirect their focus. This will help take their mind off of the cat and give them something else to do.

And finally, you can try training your dog with positive reinforcement. If they nibble on the cat and you give them a treat, they’ll learn that this is the behavior you want from them.

If all else fails, you may need to seek professional help from a trainer or behaviorist. They can help you figure out why your dog is nibbling on your cat and give you more specific advice on how to stop the behavior.

Dog nibbling on a cat in a friendly way

Conclusion

So why does my dog nibble on my cat?

There is a wide variety of reasons. It could be playful behavior, aggression, dominance, or curiosity. If you’re unsure why your dog is doing it, observe their behavior and see if you can figure it out. And if you want them to stop, there are a few things you can try.

If the problem persists, you may need to seek professional help from a trainer or behaviorist. They can help you figure out why your dog is nibbling on your cat and give you more specific advice on how to stop the behavior.

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