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Ask Your Pet

by Jennifer Dickman

Dear Jennifer,

I have a parrot named Kaia who is constantly picking her feathers. My dog, Al, has a lick granuloma that he is always making worse. What is causing this? Are the two situations related?



Dear Genie,

Yes, the two situations are related. Basically, your parrot and dog are stressing each other out! I started off by speaking to Kaia. She complained that she doesn’t feel safe because Al "stalks" her, especially when you aren’t around. Even in her cage she feels vulnerable, because he will stand under and growl or stare at her. She feels like she always has to be on guard and is in a constant state of stress. The feather picking is her only way of coping, and provides a temporary stress release for her.

I have several suggestions to help Kaia feel more safe. First, if you do see Al engaging in anything that seems like stalking behavior, gently step in and stop him. Just seeing you do this repeatedly will help Kaia feel more safe. You can also drape a blanket or towel over one side of her cage so that she can retreat there and feel less vulnerable. You might want to give her some alone time every day in a room that Al can’t enter; just make sure you tell her you’re putting her in there as a special treat and not to punish her.

Next, I spoke to Al. He said that he was in your home first, and that you didn’t ask his permission to bring Kaia there. He is still upset about that. I told him that you didn’t realize how much it would affect him, and that you’re sorry you didn’t ask him first. He said that Kaia’s "constant noise" is very irritating and jarring and makes him feel on edge all the time. He also dislikes the attention that you give to Kaia. Al said that previously all of your attention was for him, but now Kaia noisily demands your attention. He feels that Kaia is spoiled and too needy. The lick granuloma is Al’s method of coping with all this, and also a cry for help

To help Al, I’d first just sit down with him and apologize for not asking him before bringing Kaia into your home. I’d reassure him that you have enough love in your heart for both of them. Tell him every day that you love and adore him. When Kaia has her time in another room, you can use it as a special time for bonding and playing with Al. And, I’d always make sure he has an escape if Kaia’s noise becomes too much for him.

Additionally, there’s a flower essence formula from www.GreenHopeEssences.com called "Anxiety" that is useful for anxiety and related behaviors, including both lick granulomas and feather picking. Flower essences are easy to use, and can just be placed in your animals’ water dishes or misted in areas they frequent.

Many Blessings,

Jennifer Dickman

Jennifer Dickman is an Animal Communicator, Pet Reiki Specialist, Reiki Master-Teacher, and Intuitive Counselor. She is available for phone sessions worldwide. Jennifer can be reached at 215.817.0833 or Jennifer_Dickman@ymail.com. To receive a free copy of Jennifer’s "Five Things Your Dog or Cat Wants You to Know" please subscribe to her newsletter by emailing her with the subject line "newsletter request". More information is available on Jennifer’s web site: www.JenniferDickman.com.

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