Why does my dog despise cats?

Sara Farell
Sara Farell

There are many reasons why a dog may despise cats. Some dogs may have been raised with cats and never had a good experience with them, while others may simply be afraid of cats. Some dogs may perceive cats as being threatening or dangerous, while others may simply find them cute and cuddly. Some dogs may simply be territorial and feel that cats are encroaching on their territory. Whatever the reason, it's important to try to figure out why your dog is reacting this way and to find a solution that works for both of you.

I recently received a letter from my city's animal control department reminding me that it's time to pay for my dogs' annual licenses and that Otto, my senior dog, requires a rabies vaccination before he can be licensed again.


Nancy Kerns


Published on April 12, 2018; last updated on July 30, 2019.April 12, 2018 Updated: July 30, 2019




Why does my dog despise cats?
Why does my dog despise cats?

Otto was brought into the shelter as a stray dog on May 7, 2008, and I adopted him on June 16, 2008.He was about six months old when he was vaccinated with a five-way vaccination (distemper, adenovirus-type 2, coronavirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) and a separate three-way vaccination (adenovirus-type 2, parainfluenza, and bordetella) made by a different company that day.

On May 14, 2008, he was immunized against rabies.

Otto was vaccinated several more times with the five-way vaccines before I adopted him, but I'm not going to discuss those vaccines right now; instead, I'd like to focus on the rabies vaccine, which is the only vaccine that dog owners are legally required to give their dogs in most states due to the historical threat that rabies poses to humans; as recently as my childhood in the 1960s, domestic dogs and cats were still common vectopathogens.Because of vaccination laws, this is no longer the case, and the most common rabies vectors are bats, raccoons, and skunks.

Nonetheless, there are laws in every state that require dogs to be vaccinated against rabies at least every three years, with the exception of three (Kansas, Minnesota, and Ohio); in those three states that lack state laws that require rabies vaccination for dogs, there are city and county laws that require it.(Interested in learning more about your state's rabies vaccination laws? Check out this fantastic website.)

In California, where I live, dogs must receive their first rabies vaccination at the age of four months, their second within a year, and subsequent rabies vaccinations every three years.

So far, I have followed my state's rabies vaccination laws; Otto was vaccinated for rabies on April 2, 2009, and March 20, 2012.

His most recent rabies vaccination was on October 28, 2015. (Please keep in mind that we were in violation of state law from March 21, 2015 to October 28, 2015.) As a result, he is "due" for a rabies vaccination by October 28 of this year.

Why should I be concerned about another Rabies vaccination for my dog?

Because rabies is a fatal disease that is present in the United States and is carried by wild animals (bats, raccoons, and skunks are the most common vectors), and because we live in an area where all three of those vectors are present, I believe that immunization against rabies is a fantastic idea.However, it has been demonstrated that dogs can be immunized against the disease safely with fewer vaccinations - and that the rabies vaccine can cause serious adverse side effects in dogs.

It's anecdotal, but in my experience, senior dogs are more likely to have negative reactions to rabies vaccinations. Rupert, my last senior dog, had suffered from environmental and dietary allergies his entire life.With careful diet management, he was able to keep these under control in his later years, but he did have a massive allergy flare-up within a month of his last rabies shot, and getting the allergies under control again took some time.And I can't tell you how many times I've heard friends and acquaintances say, "My senior dog was perfectly healthy until not long after his last rabies shot; he just sort of fell apart after that!" Perhaps this was all coincidental; after all, senior dogs are statistically at higher risk of all health problems, but the risk of these negative effects is unwarranted in dogs who have already been immunized against the disease!

The Rabies Challenge Fund has been working for a decade to increase the legally required interval for rabies vaccinations to five and then seven years, in an effort to reduce the number of unnecessary vaccinations our dogs would be required to have over their lifetimes.

On January 25, 2018, the Rabies Challenge Fund announced, "Results to date of the Rabies Challenge Fund research study showed protection from live rabies virus challenge five years after the dogs received two doses of rabies virus vaccine. Other data for the 6.5 and 7-year post-vaccination periods are still being collected and analyzed." In other words, the Fund's studies are proving what had been hypothesized: the rabies vaccines work for longer than their makers were wowed.

However, it will take some time for these promising results to be used to change state laws and extend vaccination requirements.

Currently, there is only one legal way to avoid vaccinating your dog: have a veterinarian assist you in applying for an exemption from your state or local animal control authorities. Each state has a different process (again, see the fantastic resource, RabiesAware.org); in California, a veterinarian must submit an annual request for an exemption, and be able to verify and document that a rabies vaccination would endanger your dog's life.

I know people who, unable to persuade a veterinarian of the potential risk of giving their senior dogs a fifth, sixth, or even seventh rabies vaccination, have instead reported their dogs to their local animal control agencies as "deceased."

Given Otto's high-profile job (modeling for both WDJ and its Instagram page), I'm not sure I could pull that off, but I have until October 28 to come up with something else.(However, because my city's animal control department will not issue Otto another license until his legal rabies vaccine period exceeds the licensing period, he is currently unlicensed; if he is picked up as a stray or bites someone before all of this is resolved, the fines will be much higher than if he were currently licensed.)Neither of those things are likely to occur, but...)

I don't want to sound trivial about a disease that can kill people, but the chances of my four-times-vaccinated dog contracting or transmitting the virus are virtually nil - and the chances of the vaccine harming him are far greater.I believe four vaccines are sufficient, and I'm looking for a way to stay within the law while avoiding any additional vaccines.

Are you worried about giving your senior dog the rabies vaccine? Have you found a way to avoid it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!




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Why does my dog despise cats?
Why does my dog despise cats?

Nancy Kerns

Nancy Kerns has been editing horse and dog magazines since graduating from San Francisco State University's Journalism program in 1990. She was the founding editor of Whole Dog Journal in 1998, and she regularly attends cutting-edge dog-training conferences such as the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Pet Professional Guild, Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and Clicker Expo.She also attends pet industry trade shows such as Global Pet and SuperZoo, educational conferences of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, and the Pet Food Industry's Pet Food Forum to stay up to date on industry developments. As a regular volunteer for her local animal shelter, the Northwest SPCA in Oroville, CA, she fosters large litters of puppies and helps train wayward adolescent dogs to increase their chances of adoption.Nancy lives with her husband and two NWSPCA alumni, mixed-breed Otto (whose adorable fuzzy face was incorporated into WDJ's masthead a few years ago) and Pit/Lab-mix Woody.

How can I persuade my dog to stop hating cats?

Positive reinforcement and redirection training can frequently prevent a dog from being aggressive toward cats..
Match Personalities. ... .
Teach Basic Commands. ... .
Redirect the Behavior. ... .
Keep Your Pets Amused and Busy...
Introduce Them All Over Again..

Do dogs automatically hate cats?

Cats and dogs have an innate dislike for one another, which means they will fight until they draw blood or one retreats, tail between its legs; however, because both animals are carnivorous, their mutual hatred must go deeper than a simple predatory instinct.We'll look at why cats and dogs dislike each other in this article., meaning the two will naturally fight until they draw blood or one retreats, tail between its legs. But their mutual hatred must go deeper than a simple predatory instinct, as both animals are carnivorous. Here we look at why cats and dogs hate each other.

Which dog breeds despise cats the most?

These are not them...
This adorable herding breed makes a loyal and devoted pet, but your cat might have a different opinion.... .
Beagle. ... .
Greyhound. ... .
Jack Russell Terrier. ... .
Miniature Schnauzer. ... .
Siberian Husky. ... .

How do I make my dog like my cat?

Build positive associations with the other animal before the first meeting by placing items that smell like the cat, such as toys or a blanket, in the dog's area.Drop them near the food dish or present them with treats to help the dog associate the cat with good things.build positive associations with the other animal. Place items that smell like the cat, like toys or a blanket, in the dog's area. Drop them near the food dish or offer treats when you present them to help the dog link the cat with good things.

dog hate cats

Sara Farell Twitter

Social media ninja. Subtly charming troublemaker. Wannabe entrepreneur. Reader. Typical travel fanatic. Internet trailblazer. Extreme communicator.

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