How and Why Pets Can Increase Conflict

18 Aug

When I first started my research for this post, my original thought was: Pets must reduce conflict because they reduce anxiety (in general). In fact, in our home, our new Chihuahau, “Nacho,” has significantly reduced conflict between my children, since they now have a distraction from their favorite pasttime (arguing with one another).

But, to my surprise, every article that popped-up talked about ways pets actually INCREASE conflict, especially in couples. Why? Turns out, everyone is raised to regard pets differently. For some, domesticated animals are part of the family. For others, animals are animals and that’s that. Here are a few differences of nachoopinion that might come-up when you bring a pet into your relationship, courtesy of

  • Our pets must have the best of everything/ We need to save money by buying inexpensive things for the pets
  • We should spay and neuter our pets/ Our pets deserve to have babies
  • We must train our pets solely through positive reinforcement/ Punishment is necessary when training pets
  • Any medical expenditure is justified because our pet is special and loved/ We can just get another pet
  • Pets should live indoors/ Animals belong outdoors
  • Our pets’ needs come before our own/ Humans come first at all times
  • We should adopt a pet/ We should purchase a purebred pet

Then, of course, there is the conflict that arises when a couple splits-up – who gets our beloved pet?!

More on that in my next post…

P.S. the image you see is “Nacho,” all six glorious pounds of him!


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