13 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Nibbles On Your Cat

Your dog may munch on your cat for a variety of reasons. It could be a show of love (dogs nibble), teething (if your dog is a puppy), nervousness, grooming, playfulness, or even herding. You don’t have to be concerned as long as the cat doesn’t mind.

One of the most rewarding aspects of owning a pet is witnessing two very different species coexist and form deep friendships, as is the case with cats and dogs.

Animals have their own ways of expressing friendship that humans don’t always understand. One of them is gnawing on something. Dogs gnawing on cats, in particular. It’s not harmful, but what is the point of this behavior?

Why your dog nibbles on your cat

why does my dog nibble on my cat

Each of the several reasons why your dog nibbles on your cat is likely to be accompanied by some hints.

I’ll explain why your dog could be doing it, as well as what factors make each of the possibilities more plausible.

It has a strong prey drive

It might be that it has a strong prey drive, which is why it nibbles on your cat. If the dog is of a breed recognized for having a high prey drive, such as a Husky or a German Shepherd, this is more likely. Cats and other small animals have been known to be killed by these breeds. If your dog appears to have a strong prey drive, it’s best to keep it away from your cat as much as possible.

It hasn’t learned to control its bite

Dogs learn to regulate their bite when they are young because other pups will howl and stop playing with them if they bite too hard. If your dog did not spend much time with other puppies, it is possible that it did not learn not to bite other animals, which is why it nibbles on your cat.

In this scenario, utilizing the suggestions listed below to educate your dog to leave your cat alone might be beneficial.

It is just playing

why does my dog nibble on my cat

When your dog appears to be nibbling on your cat, it’s possible that it’s only trying to play. If it does not appear to be doing it forcefully, this is more likely.

Even though it appears to be playing, it is still necessary to teach it to leave your cat alone by following the steps outlined below.

It is being dominating

It might be that it is being domineering by nibbling on your cat. This is more probable if it happens when your cat is eating or when your cat does things like sit higher than your dog.

It would be beneficial in this scenario to avoid allowing them to be together when they are likely to become more domineering. As a result, feeding them separately might be beneficial.


It’s also possible that your dog feels envious of your cat. If your dog nibbles it when you offer your cat more attention or while you are really giving your cat attention, this is more likely.

In this instance, giving your dog attention throughout the day might be beneficial. However, it would be beneficial to provide it with extensive training so that it learns to obey your commands and behave in the manner that you desire. Follow the steps outlined below to discover how you can train it in this situation.


When puppies are curled together in the litter, they frequently bite on one another, and some dogs carry this tendency into maturity.

It’s a natural way of releasing energy, confirming intimacy, and alleviating teething pain.

If your dog nibbles on your cat or other members of the pack, it’s most likely because he loves them.


As previously said, teething difficulties can lead to nibbling, but this nibbling is less gentle and can really damage the dog, even if this is not the dog’s aim.

If your dog is teething, be careful to provide him with a variety of teething toys so he may work through the discomfort without injuring others.


why does my dog nibble on my cat

Nibbling is a typical indication of extreme anxiety in shelter dogs and dogs that have been neglected.

Situational nervous nibbling as a self-soothing method can progress to full-fledged compulsion if the situation that is producing the behavior persists.

Anxious nibbling can be done on the dog’s legs, the furnishings, and, yes, the cat.

If your dog is nibbling out of fear, it’s a good idea to see a pet behaviorist who can retrain the habit before it becomes worse and leads to the dog eating all of her own hair or injuring other pack members.


Nibbling might be an ancient grooming need associated with pack bonding. Many wild animals groom one another, which is considered to build communal relationships.

This lends credence to the notion of nibbling as a gesture of affection.


Your cat may be acting out a herding tendency if your dog’s nibbles are persistent and driving her to flee.

This is especially true if the dog is a herding breed like:



Cattle Dog from Australia


This nibbling is normally not painful, but it is more assertive than the delicate nibbling that indicates fondness.

If it doesn’t happen frequently or your cat doesn’t appear to mind, the activity isn’t harmful. However, if it annoys the cat or the dog becomes excessively domineering about it, you may need to retrain the habit to avoid it being a problem.


At dog parks, it’s not unusual to witness dogs nibbling on each other in an attempt to start a game.

If your dog is feeling playful, he can start a game by nipping on your cat. If he’s more comfortable, the nibbling may be enough of a game for him, since it reminds him of when he was a puppy nibbling his littermates.

Attention Seeking

why does my dog nibble on my cat

If your dog is feeling neglected and yearns for attention, nibbling is a good approach to obtain it. When a dog is pawing or whimpering for attention, it is common for it to be followed by whining or pawing.

It’s alright as long as the cat isn’t irritated. Still, an extremely persistent dog may test any cat’s tolerance, so if he’s intensifying the behavior or the cat appears to be getting bored of it, separate them and offer the dog something else to do.


People and other animals are frequently nipped by dogs as a warning that a boundary has been breached.

Nipping and nibbling, on the other hand, are extremely different. A nibble is typically an indication of proximity, but a nip is a signal to back off.

The distinction is quite obvious:

A nibble is a repeating motion in which just the front teeth are used, comparable to when a dog bites at an itch.

A nip is a quick bite that involves extra teeth in the back of the mouth. A snarl or defensive body language may accompany it.

If your dog nips at your cat, it’s typically nothing to be concerned about as long as the cat understands and ignores the dog. After all, we all need alone time, and dogs are no exception.

If it happens frequently, or if the cat ignores your dog’s warnings and continues to torment her, the two should be separated until the habit can be retrained.

How to Stop Dog Nibbling On Cat

As previously said, your dog nibbling on your cat is typically nothing to be concerned about, and is actually a good thing that strengthens their friendship.

However, if your dog’s nibbling is excessive or the cat doesn’t enjoy it, it’s a good idea to put a stop to it.

The strategy you employ will be determined by your dog’s personality as well as the cause for his nibbling.

When your dog started to nibble on your cat

If your dog didn’t always chew on your cat, it’s worth thinking about what happened around the time it began.

It’s more likely to be related to things like feeling jealous if it started doing it all of a sudden.

When your dog does nibbles on your cat

It’s also worth considering the time of when it tends to do it the most.

If it only seems to do it while it’s being fed, it’s far more likely that it’s because it’s in charge. If it appears to do it at random times, it is more likely to be related to a high prey drive, a desire to play, or jealousy.

How to get your dog to stop nibbling on your cat

There are a few things you may do if your cat is being nibbled on by your dog. The best alternative for your dog will be determined by the reason for its behavior.

I’ll list a few things you can try to get it to stop in the section below.


Although there are a few things you can do to prevent your dog from chewing on your cat, most of the time it isn’t necessary. If anything, the fact that your dog and cat are so close is usually a good indicator.

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