Pain Relief For Cats: Safe Pain Medications

Pain Relief For Cats: Safe Pain Medications

When your cat is in pain, there is nothing more that you want to do than resolve it for them. You just want them to go back to kneading biscuits and knocking vases off the countertops. Whether they have a scrape, irritated skin, or abdominal pain, you want to make the ouchie go away ASAP.

There are many different ways that you can help reduce your cat’s pain, both naturally and with the help of medicine. One method is not better than the other, so it’s essential that cat parents are sure they’re doing what’s best for their cat specifically.

If you’re wondering whether or not the medications that you keep in your medicine cabinet are safe for your pets, consult with your veterinarian before administering anything. Very few human medications are safe to use on cats. Those that can be given to them must first be approved by your veterinarian.

We want your cat to feel better as quickly as possible, but keeping them safe and using safe methods is essential for their recovery. Keep reading to learn about the various safe pain medications you can give to your cat in need!

How To Tell If Your Cat Is in Pain

Your cat might be in pain for a variety of different reasons. Some of them might not necessarily require pain medication to get better, but it can help in many cases. The first step to treatment is to identify what the problem is.

There are many signs that your cat might be in pain, such as:

  • Changing behaviors and activity levels
  • Showing a lack of appetite
  • Limping or moving stiffly
  • Vomiting
  • Refusing to use the litter box or having difficulty eliminating
  • Growling when you get too close
  • Decrease in grooming

If you notice any of these changes, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to identify the underlying issue and create a treatment plan.

Causes of Feline Pain

There are a variety of reasons why your pet might be in pain, including:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Post-surgery discomfort
  • Infections
  • Dental issues
  • Conditions like arthritis

All of these will require specific pain medications or relief methods, and not all medications work the same for each ailment.

Safe Pain Medications for Cats

The key to resolving your cat’s pain is to use safe pain relief methods. This means not using human pain medication in order to treat their pain unless a veterinarian has prescribed it to them. Always consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet anything. The last thing we want to do is worsen the problem at hand.

That being said, there are many different safe pain medications that can be prescribed by the vet to help your cat’s pain. It’s vital to follow the proper timeline of administering these medications, as well as in the correct dosages for the right length of time.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually prescribed first when a cat is in pain. Note that many human NSAIDs like ibuprofen can make cats very sick. It’s important to only use medications prescribed by your cat’s veterinarian.

NSAIDs are used for short-term pain relief in cats and they aren’t cleared for long-term use. Generally, the maximum number of days for you to give your cat NSAIDs is three days, but your vet can tell you more.

There are several different NSAIDs that your vet might prescribe, like robenacoxib or meloxicam. Both work to alleviate pain, especially after surgery or while actively hospitalized.


If your cat is experiencing severe discomfort, your vet might prescribe them an opioid. This pain medication is often given after surgery, for arthritis, or during advanced stages of cancer.

Different opioids that your cat might take are:

  • Tramadol: This is usually given in a liquid form and can help with short-term pain relief, especially after an injury or surgery.
  • Fentanyl: This is only prescribed if a cat is in need of severe pain relief for a few days after a traumatic injury or surgery. Usually, this is done under vet supervision. Some pet parents might be advised to place a fentanyl patch onto their cat’s shaved skin and wait until it wears off. This can take up to five days.
  • Buprenorphine: This can be administered to treat both short-term pain from injury or surgery and long-term pain from chronic illnesses like cancer and osteoarthritis.


Gabapentin is another medication that is prescription only and should not be given to your cat if they are not prescribed it. This medication was originally intended to help with the side effects of seizures and is now used to also treat both chronic pain and post-operative pain.

Gabapentin has minimal side effects, making it a common feature in the feline healthcare community.

What Can I Do Without Giving Medication?

Depending on the type of injury your cat has, medication may not help them. However, other things might be effective in relieving their pain.

Here are a few temporary solutions your vet might recommend:

Vitamins and Supplements

To bolster a cat’s overall health over time, your vet may recommend certain supplements or vitamins.

These additives can help ensure that your cat has ample vitamins and minerals to help keep them healthy. Many supplements work toward reducing inflammation or promoting gut health.

However, nothing can totally replace the need for a balanced diet, regular exercise, and plenty of water.


Though some might consider it medicinal, CBD is a natural way to help your cat experience pain relief. CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate certain pains. These anti-inflammatory properties can be very beneficial for cats with arthritis and gastrointestinal issues.

Before giving your cat CBD, you should talk with your veterinarian about the proper dosage and potential side effects.

Chiropractor Work

This may not be something that you do with your cat on your own, but definitely with an animal chiropractor. Chiropractor work can help to alleviate pain and swelling due to trauma in a specific area.

This kind of pain relief is great for cats with back, neck, and hip pain. Cats that struggle with arthritis might find relief through chiropractic work, which can help with future flare-ups. Never attempt chiropractic work on pets — always go to a certified and vetted professional.

AskVet Can Help

If your cat has been prescribed pain medication, you might find yourself coming up with questions after leaving the vet’s office. With AskVet, you don’t have to worry about your vet’s out-of-office hours because we have the advice you need 24/7 for only $9.99 a month.

We understand that questions pop up all the time about your pets, and we can all use a little helping paw (or fin or hoof) now and then.

If you’re as obsessed with your pets as the rest of us, any slight change in behavior can set off alarm bells in your head. By using the AskVet app, you can put your mind to rest, knowing all the answers to your questions are at the tip of your fingers. Not every issue that arises is a cause for rushing to the emergency vet, but we don’t blame you for wondering!

When you become a member of AskVet, you can get all the personalized answers you need and a 360° Lifestyle Plan unique for every non-human member of your household.



Get the Facts about Pain Relievers for Pets | FDA

Practical Use Of Opioids In Cats: A State-Of-The-Art, Evidence-Based Review | SAGE Journals

Cannabinoids In The Management Of Difficult To Treat Pain | NCB

Chiropractic Adjustment for Animals | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

7 Ways to Tell If Your Cat is in Pain – Some May Surprise You! | Metropolitan Veterinary Center

How To Discipline a Puppy: 4 Methods To Help Train Your Pup

How To Discipline a Puppy: 4 Methods To Help Train Your Pup

When a new puppy enters your home, there is a lot to think about and prepare for. You have to get toys, food, treats, a leash and harness, a collar, tags, a comfy bed, and a crate. The list never seems to end. The parts leading up to bringing your new four-legged best home are exciting and carefree.

That’s not to say that when you get your puppy, the excitement goes away, but really the anticipation of what comes next sets in. How will your puppy behave? Will they have funny quirks? Will they require special needs and assistance? You never know how your puppy will behave until you have them in your home.

What comes next is the hard stuff: training your puppy to become a well-behaved dog. Everyone’s definition of well-behaved is different, and there might be some training that you do differently than others.

This all depends on what your goals are for your dog, as well as their breed. It’s important to thoroughly research the breed (or breeds) your soon-to-be pup is; for example, Border Collies will likely need a significantly different lifestyle than a pug.

When it comes to training and disciplining your puppy, there can be conflicting messages out there, and every dog is unique.

Read on to learn more about the variety of methods you could use to help train your pup.

Is Punishment OK When Training a Puppy?

The short answer is: no. Punishment is never OK to use with your puppy, simply because they don’t understand what it means to be punished. Instead of teaching good behaviors, it can instead traumatize them.

When you first get your puppy, you’ll want to show them that you can be trusted and that you are a safe space for them. They should know that you are a consistent and predictable part of their life. They should never fear you — that does not set up a strong foundation for trust.

Your puppy doesn’t necessarily know why you’re angry at them. Therefore, puppies will associate scary behavior with you as a person, not resulting from something they did, like chewing the sofa. We want the opposite of that. We want to be seen as safe people that they can always come to.

A dog is less likely to respond positively to their pet parent’s requests if they tend to be unpredictable people. Dogs thrive on routine, including what is expected of them. It’s sort of like how human kids struggle if one parent allows candy before dinner while the other doesn’t.

Patience, kindness, love, and consistency are all you need to begin seeing the changes in their behavior that you are seeking. Your puppy wants to please you! You just have to learn the best way to communicate your needs with them and learn their needs as well. Soon enough, you’ll be the picture of the perfect duo at the dog park!

Basic Puppy Training Methods

There are four basic puppy training methods that can help you to get desirable behaviors from your pup. Your puppy is going to make a mess or a mistake every once in a while, and you need to be prepared for that. Even brilliant German Shepherds and Poodles can’t be potty trained overnight. The most well-meaning Golden Retriever might destroy unattended shoes for months before you see improvement (or learn to place your belongings out of reach).

As mentioned above, patience, kindness, love, and consistency are key. We all must remember that puppies are young and navigating puppyhood without a litter of pups beside them. They aren’t getting corrections from their mother anymore, which means we have to learn how to do so. By behaving calmly but sternly, we can set a tone that informs our dogs we would rather they didn’t bite through our new sunglasses.

Positive Reinforcement

One of the easiest ways to train your pup is to associate good behaviors with positive reinforcement. If your puppy barks or whines at the door to go outside for the bathroom, you reward them with a treat and a command similar to, “Yes!”

When coming up with commands, it’s always best to keep them simple and different from the rest so your dog can easily identify them. You should begin by pairing the command with a treat so that your pet develops a positive associate with the action and the word.

In many cases, clicker training can help during positive reinforcement training. Like with the command “Yes!” the clicker sound becomes associated with a reward. Your dog might end up “sitting” over and over, looking for a treat.

If your dog barks a lot and it’s beginning to become an issue for your neighbors, you might try a “Quiet!” command associated with a click and reward with a treat whenever they listen and quiet down. Positive reinforcement is used in training frequently and can help teach your dog desired behavior. It’s used in leash training, potty training, crate training, and when trying to calm an excited pup down.


Conditioning is paired with positive reinforcement, but the goal is to teach a dog a desired behavior. This can be very helpful in learning how to train a puppy without punishment because it focuses on positive associations.

Potty training can be a process. You aren’t always sure when your pup is going to go, and not every pup lets you know when they need to go. Puppies have accidents, which means you are the one who has to clean them up every day. To minimize these accidents, potty training is essential.

One way to use conditioning during potty training is to get a set of bells that you can hang on whatever door brings you outside. Whenever you bring your puppy outside to use the bathroom, gently guide their nose to the bells and have them ring. Then take your pup outside and let them relieve themselves. Soon, they will begin pairing the bells with their need to use the bathroom.

Now, dogs can make mistakes and mess up from time to time; stay calm and guide them back to the door to ring the bells before going outside. If your dog does have an accident, it’s important to still bring them outdoors. That way, puppies (or adult dogs) can understand that there is a difference between the two locations.

One of the most critical aspects of successfully training a dog is remaining consistent. Conditioning can work and does work, but if you aren’t upholding the reaction to certain behaviors, your dog will get mixed signals and not understand what you want from them.


While puppies don’t have the longest memories, timeouts after bad behavior can work to correct behavior. If your pup is exhibiting undesirable behavior, like jumping, nipping clothing, overstimulating another dog, or mouthing your hands and arms, taking them away from the stimulus can help calm them down.

If every time this behavior occurs, you remove yourself or the dog from the scenario, your dog can begin to associate the bad behavior with a total halt in interaction. This signals to your dog that something they have done is not wanted.

These timeouts do not need to last very long, especially because your dog will forget what it is you’re correcting them for if it goes on for too long.

An example of this behavior would be turning your back to a dog who is constantly jumping up on you to lick you. Eventually, your pooch will realize that they aren’t getting the attention that they want by jumping. Pair this with positive reinforcement when they sit and wait for you to pet them; they will understand what you want a whole lot faster.

Replace Forbidden Objects With Toys

When your puppy participates in undesirable behaviors, you can replace what they are doing with acceptable behavior to deter them. For instance, if your dog is chewing on your shoes, don’t get angry and yell at them. Instead, tell them “No” and replace the shoe with something they are meant to chew on, like a toy.

If your dog nips at your hands, grab a toy to act as a replacement. If your dog won’t stop jumping on you and trying to play, providing an acceptable alternative is the best way to distract them and divert their energy elsewhere.

How Not To Discipline Puppies

While there are many methods that you could use to help discipline your puppy without punishment, there are clear actions you should avoid. The golden rule applies to dogs, just like people.

Yelling or Intimidating

We don’t want to try to scare your dog by raising voices, screaming, staring down, or intimidating. A tone of voice is telling enough.

They don’t associate intimidation with their individual behavior but rather with that of their pet parents. Yelling and raising your voice will not produce the results you think they will, and rather a calm and firm tone will do the trick. If you want your dog to understand and listen to you better, keeping your tonal flares to a minimum can help with the training process.

Physical Punishment

We feel as if this should be a given, but it needs to be addressed. You should never move to physical punishment in order to discipline a dog. When you physically punish your dog, you are telling them that aggression is acceptable as a means to communicate. Punishment provokes fear and aggression in your dog, as two wrongs do not make a right.

Shock Collars and Electronic Fence Collars

Shock collars have been in the dog training community for a long time. However, these are never recommended for general use. Some dogs might not understand why they are being shocked or hurt.

Since the dog doesn’t necessarily pair cause and effect, these collars might not even help solve long-term behavioral issues. Instead, these collars can instill fear or anxiety into the dog. They can never be too sure when they might be hurt, so they are always tense and on edge.

E-collars or electronic fencing collars are used to establish boundaries when a physical fence isn’t present. Often these collars will emit a tone to a pet, letting them know the boundary is approaching, and then issue a shock when the perimeter is crossed. However, since the collar will also shock the dog upon re-entry, some pups will opt not to come back inside, potentially leading to a lost dog situation.

Training the Trainer (You!)

With puppyhood comes a variety of new questions — almost daily. If you don’t know many others who have raised puppies before, seeking professional help might be useful. When you sign up for AskVet, you have the ability to ask as many questions as possible.

We get that raising a puppy can be scary, so we want to be there for you through it all. Whenever something pops into your head, you can go into the AskVet application and chat with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ at any point in the day. Your CPLC™ will create a 360° Lifestyle Plan to help keep your dog (or cat, lizard, horse, or fish) on the best path possible.

If you have questions about your puppy’s health, behavior, or training method recommendations, AskVet is there to help you for just $9.99/month.



The Effects Of Using Aversive Training Methods In Dogs—A Review | ScienceDirect

Positive Reinforcement Dog Training: The Science Behind Operant Conditioning | American Kennel Club

Behavior Guide for Your New Puppy | OSU Veterinary Medical Center

Mark & Reward: Using Clicker Training to Communicate With Your Dog | American Kennel Club

Dog Collars | The Humane Society of the United States

Distinct Cat Meow Meanings: From Squeaking to Snarling

Distinct Cat Meow Meanings: From Squeaking to Snarling

Our pets have many ways of communicating with us to get what they want. If you have a cat, you’ve probably heard them meow at you to let you know it’s dinnertime or purr as you’re petting them. But have you ever been stumped by a trickier-to-decipher sound? Do you wish your cat came with a translation dictionary?

Join us as we discuss the meanings behind cat sounds and body language and figure out what your cat is trying to tell you.

Decoding Your Cat’s Body Language

Cats aren’t able to use facial expressions in the same way that dogs do, so instead, they rely on vocalizations and body language to communicate their needs. Anything from your cat’s posture to their vocalizations can tell you what mood they’re in and might even be a signal that they aren’t feeling well. Perhaps your cat is trying to tell another cat to back off. But how do you know which is which?

Let’s explore a few typical cat behavior and body language :

Rubbing and Kneading Objects

Kittens knead when nursing. As they get older, kneading becomes something they do when they’re happy, and they will usually do it against a soft surface such as a pillow or blanket. This is affectionately referred to as “making biscuits” in the cat parent community.

What about rubbing? Cats tend to rub against objects to mark their territory and spread their scent. They may do this with most objects in your home, including rubbing against you and your clothes — they want all the other cats in the neighborhood to know that you are spoken for!

Arched Back

When your cat arches their back, it can mean several things. If their fur is flat and their back is arched when you are petting them, this means that they want to be pet — they’ll probably start purring in this position.

On the other hand, if their fur is raised while their back is arched, they could be trying to make themselves appear larger and more threatening because they are scared or angry.

Tucked Tail

If their tail is tucked between their legs, it’s usually a sign that they are anxious.

Swishing Tail

While a dog wagging their tail is happy, a cat swishing their tail is typically angry, especially if their tail is moving quickly. It can also represent general excitement, like before pouncing on their favorite toy.

Airplane Ears

When your cat’s ears are flat, facing sideways and backward, this is often referred to as “airplane ears” because it resembles the wings of an airplane. It occurs when they are feeling irritated or angry.

Common Cat Sounds and Their Different Meanings

Your cat may use a variety of cat noises along with body language to communicate with you. Some of these coincide with the cues mentioned above.

Here are a few sounds that you might hear often:


This is a noise that female cats use to let male cats know that they are prepared to mate. It is a moaning sound associated with being in heat.

Hissing, Howling, and Growling

These three sounds can all indicate that your cat is in pain or feels threatened. They might make these noises in the presence of new cats, other animals, or people. A hissing or growling cat feels unsafe or distressed.

Howling could also mean that they feel threatened or are trying to alert you to an illness or injury. If you notice that they begin to howl frequently, you should have them examined by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Repeated or Short Meows

Also called chirrups or mews, this meow sound can mean that your cat is greeting you. They are excited to see you, and they want your attention right away.


This type of meow is used when cats experience pain from something short-term, such as having their paw or tail stepped on. A yowl can let you know that they are hurt, but it typically isn’t used to express pain from a long-term injury.


When cats see something they are excited about but don’t have access to, they chirp because they are frustrated and excited. Domestic cats might chirp when they see small animals that they consider prey from their perch near your windows, such as a bird or mouse.


Mother cats trill to get the attention of their kittens. Later on, your cat may mimic this to get your attention.

Adult Cats and Kittens: What’s the Difference?

Adult cats communicate differently than kittens because adult cats are more mature and employ a broader range of sounds. Now that you know what sounds an adult cat might use, are you curious about how these differ for kittens?

Let’s learn more:

Mother Cat’s Bond

Kittens learn the sounds their mothers make when they are born. Early on in life, they can recognize their mother’s sounds and tell them apart from those of other mother cats.

This is a crucial aspect of bonding between the mother and her kittens. Until they are old enough to be separated from her, the kittens rely on their mother’s sounds to communicate.

Since kittens learn their mother’s sounds almost instantaneously, she can tell them when she is near, discipline them, and signal that she is ready to feed them. Additionally, they can ask her for attention or comfort by crying.

The mother’s sounds are distinct to them; kittens will easily be able to discern them from those of other cats. So how does this instinct remain with them throughout adulthood?

Adult Cat Communication vs. Kitten Communication

Although adult cats have an expanded vocabulary compared to kittens, there are some sounds that they might continue to use once they reach adulthood.

Some speculate that they might do this simply because it feels comforting. Or, it might be a cause and effect — your cat discovered that certain sounds are effective in getting your attention in the same way they used them to beckon their cat mom.

Here are a few ways adult cats and kittens might use similar sounds to express their needs:


Meowing is one of several sounds that kittens mimic from their mother. Since adult cats don’t need to communicate directly with other cats by using this sound, they mainly use excessive meowing on their pet parents or other people to get attention. Through years of living with people, cats learned how to communicate with us, which is pretty darn impressive.


Adult cats respond to pain by yowling, and kittens could do this as well. You might hear a small kitten yowl if their siblings get too rough during playtime or when they experience any other type of short-term pain.


Just like adult cats, hissing might be a sign that a kitten feels scared or uncomfortable. It’s a real “stay back” sound.

There’s an interesting point to make here about feral cats vs. stray cats. Stray cats are those who are used to people and may have lived indoors but are now lost from their original families.

Feral cats have never lived with people, and it can be challenging to acclimate them to humans and domestic life. Feral kittens will hiss and be fearful of people, just like their mother cat.

However, note that kittens born to lost house cats or feral cats can become healthy, happy house cats as long as they experience human contact under the four-month mark.


Growling is similar to hissing. Kittens may growl to show they feel threatened, but this sound can also be used during playtime. Sometimes kittens might growl to exert dominance over siblings in a playful manner, such as when they are fighting over their favorite toys.

Kittens start socializing with their feline brothers and sisters around four to seven weeks old. Play is an important part of their development and how they learn to interact with other cats, including positive play fighting.


Adult cats chirp when they are excited about prey that is out of their reach, but kittens can use this to express excitement too. As with most sounds kittens make, they could use it to get their mother’s attention.

What If My Cat Is Extremely Vocal?

Some cats tend to be (adorable) chatterboxes. If your cat has the gift of gab, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Is Your Cat Hungry?

If your cat is extremely vocal, it is best to figure out the root cause, as there are many possibilities for this cat behavior. If your cat purrs or flat-out meows to beg for cat food or get attention from you, you can gently discourage this behavior.

For example, you could refrain from giving them food when they beg; this will help them understand that being quiet = getting food.

However, if your cat is on a diet and begs for more in their food bowl because they aren’t full, you might want to discuss this with your vet and consider making adjustments.

Are They In Pain?

If pain is the reason for this behavior, you should take them to the vet. When your cat is meowing to tell you they are hurt, they may stop when they are feeling better after their injury or illness is properly examined and treated.

Are They Expressing Emotions?

Cats express emotions through vocalizations, and if you spend an extended amount of time away from home without them, they might be lonely. One thing that might help is to hire a pet sitter who can play with them so they won’t feel isolated.

Playing with your cat when you return is a task we all love, so that’s an easy choice to make. You can also make sure that your cat has toys or enrichment activities while you’re out and about.

Other Reasons for Vocalization

Aside from using their wide range of vocalizations to express their everyday needs, there are other common reasons your cat might vocalize that require medical attention.

Reproductive Behaviors

If your cat hasn’t been spayed or neutered, you might notice that they exhibit certain behaviors, including being more vocal than normal. Female cats may show more affection towards you and become vocal while in heat.

Consequently, male cats typically become more vocal when they can sense a female in heat nearby.

Medical Needs for Elderly Cats

Elderly cats who begin to meow more than usual could be trying to tell you that they are in pain. It is important to stay up to date on your cat’s vet visits, even when they’re young. This can help them grow up healthy and keep an eye out for potential health issues.

If you have an elderly cat, you should have them regularly examined to keep an eye out for age-related conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or cancer. Your vet can help you provide them with appropriate care.

Noisy Cats: What To Do and What They Need

When your cat is vocal, they’re simply giving you a heads-up that they want or need something.

You will likely be able to figure out what they need as long as you pay attention. After all, no one knows your cat better than you do!

Of course, sometimes your cat screaming for attention at 3 AM when you have work at 7 is not an ideal situation for you (or for your neighbors).

In that case, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Clean their litter box before going to bed (cats hate a dirty litter box)
  • Place nightlights around your home (helpful for older cats)
  • Ignore them to the best of your ability (acknowledging them is a kind of positive reinforcement for them)

If your cat is hissing or growling at a new cat or other pet, reach out for professional help to help your whole family (fur-babies included) get along famously.

Because Your Cat Can’t Talk For Themself

We love our cats, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out what they want or need. Whether you’re looking for advice for your feline friend, fish, puppy, lizard, or more, AskVet is here to help.

Sign up on the AskVet app to get advice and a personalized pet care plan for any animal member of your household. For only $9.99 a month, you can get all the support you need from experts veterinary professionals and pet trainers, the AskVet Clubhouse, and a free One Pet ID.



The Cat’s Meow | The Humane Society of the United States

Meowing and Yowling | ASPCA

How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other? | Library of Congress

Stray Cats, Feral Cats and Kittens | East Bay SPCA

Bladder Stones in Dogs: Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Bladder Stones in Dogs: Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Does it seem like your pup is whining at the door to use the bathroom far more than usual? Is your normally very polite pooch having accidents indoors?

This all might be a sign that their bathroom routine is disrupted and there is something wrong with their urinary system.

Figuring out if your dog has bladder stones while at home isn’t black and white. You can’t necessarily tell if your dog is passing a bladder stone or not at any given moment, but if their behavior is changing and they are in some sort of discomfort, it’s best to ask your veterinarian.

Bladder stones are one of those things that, until we are seeing the x-rays of your dog’s bladder, we won’t understand the exact severity of it.

If you are worried that your dog might be dealing with bladder stones, contact your vet immediately to figure out the next best steps. If you’re on the fence, keep reading to learn more about bladder stones, their symptoms, and their treatment.

What Are Bladder Stones?

Bladder stones, also known as uroliths or cystic calculi, are formations of minerals that form in the urinary bladder and resemble little rock-like substances. There are four main types of bladder stones: struvite stones, urate stones, cystine stones, and calcium oxalate stones.

These stones aren’t necessarily one size and can instead be a range of different sizes. A dog might have one large stone that won’t pass or multiple stones of all sizes that are passing at different times.

Regardless of what kind of bladder stone affects your pup’s health, the pain is often high and can be very uncomfortable. Seeking help as soon as possible can put their pain at ease and help them get through this very unwanted ordeal and back to playing at the park.

Symptoms of Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder stones might start small and seemingly insignificant, but they can compile and grow in both size and number. Some signs of bladder stone formation include abnormalities like:

  • Blood in your dog’s urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Struggling to urinate due to blockage
  • Frequent urination and dribbling urine
  • Urinating in the house
  • Licking at the urinary opening
  • Overall discomfort

If your dog is unable to urinate and hasn’t gone to the bathroom in a noticeably long time, you should contact your veterinarian immediately, as this is likely an emergency.

Kidney Stones and Gallstones: What You Need To Know

Bladder stones are not to be mistaken for kidney stones or gallstones. While all are uncomfortable and affect the same structure, they are different in their own ways. Gallstones form in the gallbladder, and kidney stones form in the kidney. To see what exactly is going on in your pet, your dog will need to undergo an x-ray.

How Do Bladder Stones Form?

Bladder stones usually form in one of two ways:

  • The first is when certain minerals in a pet’s body aren’t processed correctly in the urinary system, and they begin to build up in rock-like forms.
  • The second is when specific mineral levels in your pet’s body become too high; the minerals crystallize and harden into bladder stones.

This could be caused by a multitude of things: an issue with your dog’s metabolism, dietary factors, or a previous disease like a bladder infection. It can happen at any time and at any age, so it’s not like one group is more likely to get it than another.

For the most part, the main kinds of minerals found to create bladder stones are struvite crystals, calcium oxalate, urate, and cystine crystals. Some types are more common in male dogs than female dogs.

Different underlying conditions and issues can also influence the stone formation in a dog. If your dog has any of the following, it might increase the risk of them developing bladder stones:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Kidney disease
  • Urine acidity and alkalinity (urine ph)
  • Nutritional imbalance
  • Decrease in water intake
  • Genetic or breed predisposition

How Long Does It Take for a Kidney Stone To Form?

The crystallization of minerals in your dog’s bladder doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for a bladder stone to fully form. Depending on the quantity of crystalline material available, your dog’s bladder stones hardly have a known timeline.

It may take months for a very large bladder stone to form and then affect your dog. You might not even realize that something so sinister is building in your dog’s body until they struggle to use the bathroom and look in pain.

Diagnosing Bladder Stones

The only way to truly diagnose bladder stones is for a DVM to perform an x-ray or radiographs on your dog. Before you get to this point, your veterinarian will do a physical examination and ask about your dog’s diet and history. At the same time that they will recommend an x-ray, they will also probably want to run a urinalysis, urine culture, and bloodwork to ensure there isn’t anything else wrong.

A dog’s bladder stones can also be identified through the abdominal wall with your fingers by being palpated. Some, though, will be too small to feel or too large to actually palpate. The earlier that you get this diagnosis, the better off your dog will be. They might be able to avoid any urinary obstructions later on and instead find treatment immediately.

Treatment Options for Bladder Stones

Due to the variety of bladder stones, including their size and location, treating them is very personal. It’s likely that your veterinarian will discuss treatment for your pet specifically so that they can get the exact treatment that they need.

There are three main treatments for bladder stones:

  1. Surgical removal
  2. Urohydropropulsion
  3. Dietary dissolution through a special diet

Surgical Removal

Surgical removal is the quickest way to treat bladder stones, although it’s not an option for every pup since some dogs don’t tolerate anesthesia well.

In this surgery, the stones are removed via a cystotomy (when the surgeons go in and open the bladder to remove the stones). This procedure can remove the stones if they happen to be blocking your pet’s urethra, yet it’s not always necessary, and other options are available.


Urohydropropulsion is useful when the bladder stones are small and somewhat passable. You put a catheter into the bladder to help flush out the stones. This is usually done under anesthesia as well. Additionally, your vet might use a cystoscope, a small instrument that can sometimes remove small stones without surgery.

Dietary Dissolution

Dietary dissolution is the third way to treat bladder stones. This involves feeding your dog a diet that is formulated to dissolve bladder stones. These diets are always tailored to a specific kind of mineral found in your dog’s body.

This is a great option for those trying to avoid surgery, but this method has some disadvantages:

  • This method doesn’t work for all stone types, and your dog will have to undergo stone analysis to find out if they are dissolvable.
  • It can take several weeks to dissolve the stone, and your dog might have recurring infections during the process. They often are placed on antibiotics to help prevent other bacterial infections.
  • Lastly, not all dogs will eat the prescription diet, so you might be out of luck. These diets only work if it’s what is being fed to your dog exclusively. No treats or supplements can be given to your dog during this time, which is sometimes harder for the owner than the dog.

Preventing Bladder Stones

In some cases, prevention is possible! This will depend on the mineral composition of the stones, but you can get a better idea of this once the stones are removed. If they are removed or small enough to pass through the bladder, they should be tested for their chemical composition. You might be able to alter their diets to help balance out the mineral composition in their body.

Encouraging your dog to increase their water consumption can help to prevent bladder stones as it can lower the acidity in your dog’s body. Some vets will recommend that you switch to the canned dog food version of your pet’s food to increase their fluid intake.

By staying on top of your dog’s health, you can also help to prevent bladder stones. This looks like taking care of other underlying conditions and getting them checked out at the vet regularly. If your pet is suffering from a kidney infection or UTI, this might aid in the formation of bladder stones, so treating all other issues with your dog can better protect them from forming other health-related issues.

Get Answers From the Experts

When it comes to your pet, even the littlest thing can pique your interest. If your dog’s behavior changes in the slightest, you will be the first person to recognize it. This can be a good thing, especially when your dog is in pain.

When you aren’t sure what to do, reach out to AskVet Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ 24/7. You can reach out and talk with the highly-trained CPLCs about your dog’s change in behavior, and they can recommend the best next steps.

If you think your dog might be struggling to urinate or experiencing pain, AskVet can help determine the issues and provide support as needed. Sign up today and get started in a whole new world of pet care for only $9.99 a month.



Urinary Stones | American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Stones In Cats And Dogs: What Can Be Learnt From Them? | NCBI

Canine Struvite Urolith Medical Dissolution | Minnesota Urolith Center

Cat Constipation Massages: Palpation At Home

cat constipation massage

No one likes feeling constipated, including our cats. You might notice that your cats are having some difficulty when trying to use the litter box. Maybe they are struggling to get any stool to exit their body, and when they do, the pieces are abnormal and quite small, like little pebbles. It might not be a glamorous duty looking after your cat’s feces, but it’s a job that needs to be done!

Most cases of cat constipation aren’t all too serious and may be resolved at home with some massaging and a change of diet. Others might need a more official evaluation to determine the cause and best treatment mode.

You might already do this for yourself and not even realize you’re doing it when your stomach aches, but massaging around the bowels can help stimulate movement. This goes for cats too!

Keep reading to learn more about cat constipation and how palpations can help.

What Is Constipation in Cats Like?

If your cat is constipated, they might be having irregular bowel movements where little to nothing actually comes out. On average, a cat will defecate one to three times a day, so if you notice after two days that you aren’t picking up anything in the litter box, your cat might have constipation.

Constipation happens when feces get stuck in the large intestine and absorb too much water, becoming very dry and hard. It no longer moves easily through their intestine to be emptied.

One common reason for constipation is a lack of fiber in a cat’s diet. Let’s elaborate on the causes below:

Causes of Cat Constipation

Cat constipation is idiopathic, meaning there is no identifiable cause, but many factors can influence constipation. There are four common things that can lead to constipation that can be avoided with a watchful eye. Of course, it can happen to any cat, and you shouldn’t blame yourself.

Some frequent causes of constipation include:

  • Improper diet: Like said above, if your cat is not getting a proper diet with enough fiber, constipation could occur. If your cat is dehydrated and not drinking enough water, constipation is more likely. Feeding your cat a diet high in fiber and protein can help regulate your cat’s bowel movements.
  • Ingesting a foreign object: Your cat could consume something they aren’t supposed to, making it more difficult to pass through their intestines. Sometimes string from toys can get caught up in your feces, making it harder to pass. Hairballs can also assist in this obstruction. Pelvic
  • injuries: If your cat’s pelvis is injured, the pelvic canal might become too narrow for objects to pass through easily, creating a build-up.
  • Obesity: Studies have found that older, overweight cats with kidney disease were more likely to become constipated.

Symptoms of Cat Constipation

If your cat struggles with constipation, there are a few signs and symptoms you can look out for. Your cat relies on you to make medical decisions for them, so being mindful of your cat’s bowel movements means an easier time making a diagnosis. Trust us; no vet is going to think you’re weird for keeping track of your cat’s feces. Some symptoms of cat constipation are:

  • Vocalizing and crying in their litter box
  • Several days of an empty litter box
  • Straining to defecate
  • Hard and dry fecal matter
  • Blood in the stool
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Small amounts of diarrhea
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, you can reach out to AskVet to see what they think. If it seems to be an emergency and it has been going on for several days, reach out to your local veterinarian immediately.

How Do You Diagnose Constipation in Cats?

To better understand what’s happening with your cat, you should take them to your veterinarian’s office. There, your cat’s doc can provide x-rays, a physical exam, a rectal exam, blood work, ultrasounds, and might even massage your cat’s stomach to feel for any obvious blockage.

If these behaviors are new to you, going to the vet is your best option so you can learn about ways to help your cat. If you have a cat that is more prone to constipation, there are ways for you to help at home when it happens again. This is where a cat constipation massage comes in, also known as palpation.

What Is a Cat Constipation Massage?

During your cat’s physical exam, the veterinarian will likely palpate your cat’s stomach to feel for fecal matter built up in the colon or even for a full bladder of urine. To pass built-up fecal matter through the intestines, it needs to be soft. This can be helped with an abdomen massage, referred to lovingly as a cat constipation massage. But how does it work?

Before you try this at home, ask your vet about the specific methods they might suggest for your specific cat. By massaging your cat’s belly, you can help to stimulate movement and work to soften the obstruction. If at any point your cat seems to be distressed, you should look into other options to help soften their stool, as you may be causing more stress for them.

Treatment for Cat Constipation

While cat constipation massages can get things going, there are other treatment methods that you can use at the same time to help your little pal feel better. Your vet might recommend prescription wet food or potentially pumpkin puree. Pumpkin puree is loaded with fiber and moves nicely through your cat’s digestive system.

Ensuring that your cat is drinking enough water. Sometimes, a fountain-type bowl will look more enticing to our picky feline friends. Encouraging regular exercise can also help to regulate bowel movements — sounds like a good excuse to play with our cats!

Get Help at Home: AskVet

At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for our furry friends. If your cat is in pain, it’s no fun for anyone involved. Palpating on your cat’s stomach to determine if there is an issue might help you figure out underlying issues that your cat might be having.

If you are wondering about your cat’s health, you can hop on the AskVet app and please reach out to one of our Pet Coaches for help. Join AskVet to find the answers and support you need.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!




Constipation | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Practice Tips | NCBI

Retrospective Evaluation Of Risk Factors And Treatment Outcome Predictors In Cats Presenting To The Emergency Room For Constipation | SAGE Journals

How do we define the term idiopathic? | NCBI

Natural Pain Relief for Cats: Real Remedies vs. Myths

Natural Pain Relief for Cats: Real Remedies vs. Myths

There is nothing worse than knowing your beloved cat is in pain. Maybe the only thing worse than that is not knowing how you can help them. You question how you can heal your buddy, what they need from you, and how to get them to a pain-free zone.

We all would do anything to help our pets feel better. They’re our little fluffy babies, after all! Whether your cat suffers from chronic pain or pain caused by an injury, there are both natural and medicinal ways to help them feel better.

If you are treating your cat for an injury or after surgery, your veterinarian might prescribe them antibiotics or pain medication. If you notice that your cat is suffering, there are other remedies to help alleviate pain or symptoms to include in your vet’s treatment plan.

But, not everything that you read on the internet is true! Some home remedies are more of a myth than a fact, but we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about natural pain relief remedies for cats.

What Causes Pain in Cats?

There are many ways your cat could be feeling discomfort, but first, we must identify their source of pain as fast as possible to treat them properly.


If your cat has recently undergone surgery, they might feel sore and uncomfortable after they are discharged from the hospital. If your cat has been prescribed painkillers, this discomfort might be more apparent once the bottle is empty.

On the other hand, if your cat has had surgery in the past, maybe for a broken bone or to remove a tumor, they might experience pain months or even years later. This especially is common when surgery is done on a bone or a sensitive area. This type of pain might not require more pain medication, which is where natural remedies could really shine.


One of the more immediate causes of pain could be trauma. This would be if your cat jammed a body part or got their paws stuck in a door hinge. It also could be related to recent surgery but likely would be an event that would cause bruising, a sprain, or a gash.

You might recognize that a trauma has just happened to your cat because they will react immediately to the pain. Their reaction might seem scary or abrupt, similar to how the trauma occurred. However, if you aren’t home at the time or aren’t in the room with your cat, you may not realize this event occurred until later.


A cat that is dealing with arthritis might experience extreme pain that looks like swelling, soreness, stiffness, lameness, or a lack of flexibility. Depending on where the arthritis is flaring up, your cat might struggle to walk or move fluidly. The pain can range from constant to occasional, with flare-ups that are sometimes random.

Digestive Issues

A cat experiencing digestive issues might have severe inflammation in their stomach that would disrupt a normal digestive flow. Your cat might struggle to keep food down comfortably, have trouble moving around, and sometimes, the stomach can even shift around inside your cat’s body.


Cancer is another potential cause of pain in your cat’s body. Cancerous tumors might press on the tissues and bones of your cat’s body, causing intense discomfort. Cancer can also cause inflammation, making it challenging to move around and feel comfortable. Your cat’s appetite and functionality might decrease due to this ailment as well.

How Do You Know Your Cat Is in Pain?

You know your cat, and you know when something is wrong. Not only might you experience a gut feeling, but your cat will probably let you know how they are feeling. However, if you have a strong, silent type, your cat might not want to alarm you — you’ll need to keep a close eye on them.

There are a few signs to look out for; however, this is not an exhaustive list. If you recognize any of the following changes in their behavior, you should contact your cat’s veterinarian to figure out the next best steps.


There’s a difference between a lazy cat nap and pain-induced lethargy. If your cat is beginning to act lethargic, it might be a sign of pain. The pain might make them nauseous, woozy, dizzy, or tired, resulting in an overall increase in weakness.

If you notice that your cat is not moving as much as usual, having difficulty standing up or staying up, doesn’t want to eat, or won’t play his favorite games, this could be a sign that something worrisome is afoot.


At the opposite end of feeling weak, your cat might instead feel very restless. Your cat might not be able to sit in one spot for too long or at all. They might be unable to put pressure on a certain area of their body for too long, causing them to move around more frequently.

If they are pacing, making noise, and acting a bit confused or distressed, this might be a sign. While restlessness may look similar to boredom, restlessness generally accompanies a decreased appetite and reduced desire to play.


Your cat might let you know they are in pain by simply telling you through loud and consistent noises. Perhaps your cat might express a loud, high-pitched howl or a low and long moaning sound. If your cat is not normally vocal, this could be a clear indicator of the pain they are experiencing.

Now, if your cat is a talker, it might be normal to hear them speaking to you (or to themselves). If you notice an uptick of vocality, accompanied by other symptoms, like the ones mentioned here, this might be a sign that they are in pain.


Another sign of pain in cats is an overall change in their behavior that might lead them to act out more aggressively. This might look like them swatting or hissing at you when you come close to a sore spot. They might lash out at you if they are trying to protect their body, even though they don’t mean to hurt you!

A cat that is experiencing pain is going to want to protect themselves, and who could blame them?

Lack of Appetite

If your cat is experiencing pain, one of the greatest indicators of their discomfort is their lack of appetite.

This could be a result of their weakness, inflammation in their stomach, or a symptom like cancer. If you notice your cat is not eating, chat with a veterinarian to discuss your options. Take note of any other symptoms that might accompany your cat’s lack of appetite.


Limping is another sign that your cat is experiencing pain. They might have an issue with the paw or leg they are limping on, including a fracture, sprain, or even a splinter. Additionally, your cat might be limping due to stiffness or numbness that causes them to struggle walking.

Myths Related to Pain Relief for Cats

You may come across myths related to your cat’s diet and how to relieve them of any pain; there is a lot of information out there, and it can be difficult to figure out what is true and what is false.

When it comes to your pet’s health, you should always consult with your veterinarian or ask AskVet about whether or not a piece of information is correct or not.

Some myths that you might come across are:

Myth: Pain Medication Is Unsafe

Cats shouldn’t take any medication that is prescribed or over-the-counter medications meant for humans.

But if your cat isn’t feeling well and natural home remedies aren’t working, consider consulting with your vet about pain medications. Your DVM can help you to administer the right dose in order to hone in on a specific pain or issue.

Myth: Cats Can Get Over It On Their Own

Yes, we all hear about how cats have nine lives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain or can get over it easier. Yes, research suggests that a cat’s purr hits the sweet spot of 25 and 150 Hertz, which is associated with healing capabilities. However, cats still need us to take care of them (even if some of our feline friends don’t quite act like it). If treatment is delayed, the pain could worsen.

It’s true that cats are fierce, strong, and resilient animals, but they still need proper health care, just like the rest of us!

Myth: A Quiet Cat Is a Happy, Healthy Cat

It could be that your cat has gotten so used to the pain that they no longer can keep up with vocalizing it. If your cat has become accustomed to the feeling, they will tough things out and might stay quiet. How cats communicate their struggles will be unique to your specific cat. We must be mindful of the changes in their behaviors.

Natural Remedies for Pain Relief

If your vet doesn’t recommend feline pain medication for long-term use, there are natural and home remedies that might help relieve your pet’s pain. It’s important to consider all options, including deciphering what remedies are real and which might just be a myth.


Supplements are an easy way to stay on top of your cat’s health, even before you run into any health issues. Supplements contain vitamins that keep your cat’s body functioning properly. They also help to reduce possible inflammation, which can be helpful if your cat is struggling with arthritis or digestive issues.

You don’t want to give your cat too many supplements as an influx of certain vitamins, like D3, could be toxic to your cat. Consult with a veterinarian about what your cat should be taking for supplements to reduce the risk of harm.

Once you have the go-ahead from your vet, you now have to tempt your cat to take the supplement. You can find supplements in the form of a tablet or a liquid that gets mixed in with their food. It may take some trial and error to find one your cat tolerates.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is also a supplement; it’s a specifically beneficial one that you might see marketed frequently in pet stores or at veterinarian offices. It can be a preventative health measure but can also come in clutch when a problem arises.

Fish oil is high in Omega-3s, which helps to naturally reduce inflammation. It also boosts immune function and may help fight against dementia and promote cognitive functioning. You can get these in tablets or a liquid that can be added to your cat’s food.


Before giving your kitty some CBD, consult your veterinarian — CBD affects all cats differently. Just like people, CBD supports cats’ endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBD has soothing properties that can help make your cat feel calmer. CBD also reduces physical pain and brings anxiety down.

You’ll want to determine the proper dosage for your cat and find a highly-regarded and reputable CBD brand. CBD usage can vary depending on weight, method of ingestion, and how frequently it’s being used.

You might come across CBD treats, CBD oils, or CBD tablets. Treats and tablets are likely to be easier to determine the exact dosage you are giving out because they are measured before being made. With oil, you can give more or less each time, so it’s not exact (unless you measure it out the same each time).


Curcumin is an active ingredient from turmeric with a natural anti-inflammatory property that can be especially good for joint pain and arthritis.

Some pet parents have found success with mixtures of turmeric powder, coconut oil, and a crack of black pepper, but too much coconut oil can cause loose stools and weight gain. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount to add to your cat’s food.


If you want to find a way to relieve your cat’s pain without adding anything to their diet, pet acupuncture might be your solution. Acupuncture calms irritated nerves, which can be good for cats with chronic pain. Schedule your cat with a veterinary acupuncturist; this practice differs between cats and people.

Acupuncture may relieve nerve problems by directly diving into the problem areas. It’s a safe method, but it really comes down to how much your cat can tolerate it. It’s not every cat’s favorite to sit still while dozens of needles are placed into their body!

Chiropractic work

Another non-ingestive natural pain relief remedy is chiropractic work. This is especially helpful for swelling or trauma irritating a specific spot. Cats with pain in their neck, back, legs, and arms can benefit from a readjustment. Adjustments could prevent future inflammation and swelling and can even help your cat stay flexible and active as they age.

Your cat might also get a nice massage from an animal chiropractor (to the point where you might become jealous of their amazing treatment). While you should not try any chiropractic work on your cat yourself, your feline chiropractor might be able to offer you some great advice for at-home additions to your pet’s care.

AskVet Is Here To Help

If you ever feel like you aren’t sure if something is true or helpful, working with AskVet can bring you the answers you are looking for. AskVet is an app that you can download and gain access to 24/7 care, including veterinarians and behaviorists. Now, for just $9.99, if you have any questions in relation to a natural home remedy for your cat, you can hop on the app and ask our professionals!

Need some assistance in a specific situation or looking for a lifestyle plan specifically made for your pet? Schedule an appointment with an AskVet Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ for unique, 24/7 care for every kind of pet in your household.



Introduction To Digestive Disorders Of Cats – Cat Owners | MSD Veterinary Manual

Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents For Pain Relief | NCBI

Cannabinoids In The Management Of Difficult To Treat Pain | NCBI

Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials | NCBI

Chiropractic Adjustment for Animals | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

Why Do Cats Purr? | Purring | Live Science

Puppy Development by Week: What You Need To Know

Puppy Development by Week

Watching a puppy grow into themselves and their personality is one of the greatest things in life to experience. If you’re a dog lover, you know this to be true. From the moment they open their eyes to when they are bounding around your home as young pups and being a loyal companion in their adulthood, a dog’s life is a journey.

While not everyone experiences their pup from day one, it’s still important to understand how a puppy develops. This can help you better understand your dog’s behaviors, temperament, and quirks, all of which will impact how you will interact with them in the future.

If you’re someone who has adopted a puppy and is getting them at eight to 14 weeks, the weeks after will be much different than the weeks the puppy has already lived. Keep reading to learn more about your new furry friend and the stages of their development.

Stage One: Birth – 2 Weeks

When a puppy is first born, they don’t have too much awareness of the world around them. They don’t open their eyes immediately, need assistance feeding, can’t move around comfortably yet, and aren’t responsive to human stimuli. Instead, you’ll notice that a newborn puppy will sleep almost the entire time.

Don’t stress about this, though, because sleep is vital. If you are someone who is assisting an adult dog through the birthing process, you will want to ensure that you are handling her puppies, even for a few minutes a day. Tactile stimulation helps to reduce their stress from outside stimuli and can assist in their overall development.

There is very little training that you can do in this period. Punishing will only cause harm, so learning how to steer a puppy away from unwanted behaviors is the better alternative. You’ll also want to introduce these little puppies to stimuli they need to be accustomed to. This could be other animals or different noise levels and sounds.

Stage Two: 2 – 4 Weeks

During this period, a puppy will begin to walk around (clumsily) and will officially wake up from their sleep phase. This is the time when the mother can begin correcting the puppies’ behaviors and helping them socialize with their siblings. At this point, a puppy’s senses are strengthening, so they react to their environment in ways we humans can easily perceive.

Your puppy will soon begin their vaccinations, but until then, they shouldn’t be exposed to a wide variety of dogs. You don’t want your puppy to risk getting sick, but bringing them to clean environments, like puppy classes, is usually safe. Dog parks are not meant for unvaccinated pups.

Stage Three: 5 – 8 Weeks

At this stage, your puppy will likely be more involved with their environment and begin building their personalities. Your dog might be the one to greet every person that walks in the door, or maybe they are the one sunbathing away from all the commotion, enjoying their solitude.

This is the stage where your puppy will begin to learn how to play and gain social skills from their siblings, like biting to play, not to hurt. A puppy might also learn how to bark and growl during these stages.

During these stages, your puppy should interact with a variety of different people to become accustomed to them. Young children, older people, male and female, should come to meet your puppy so that they don’t become fearful of any type of person. Luckily, inviting people over to play with puppies is pretty much a guaranteed yes RSVP.

At the same time, you’ll want to vacuum around your pup, knock and ring doors, go for car rides, get used to a crate, drop things on the floor, or even ride a bicycle near them to normalize new experiences for them. You should also feel comfortable touching all parts of your puppy so that they see it as normal. Additionally, try to stop resource-guarding before it even begins by touching their food while they eat.

Starting early with house training makes your life a whole lot easier. There will be a lot less mess to clean up if your puppy is not having any accidents in the house. You can introduce them to a collar and lead and go for “walks” in your backyard and begin the basic training. Always use positive reinforcement.

Vaccination information

During this stage, your puppy will need to get a few different vaccinations in order for them to go out and socialize with other dogs. They will need parvo, distemper, and hepatitis vaccinations, along with anything else your vet recommends.

If your pup isn’t vaccinated yet, it’s best to keep them away from other dogs to minimize any risk. Once your dog is vaccinated, they can go out in more populated dog settings to learn how to make some friends.

Stage Four: 8 – 14 Weeks

If you haven’t watched your pup grow from birth, this might be the time that you are getting your dog. Between eight and 14 weeks, a puppy is usually ready to go out and meet their new family.

Some people might suggest waiting longer to give your puppy more time to understand their surroundings. They have done the basics of their development, learning a bit about how to just be a dog.

When a puppy no longer has their littermate or mom to correct unwanted behavior, you need to take on that role in a way that wouldn’t traumatize them. Your pup might express some anxiety and fear, especially if they have just left their siblings.

It’s not personal: During this stage, their fear response becomes more pronounced. As a pet parent, you’ll figure out ways to increase your pup’s comfortability. Positive reinforcement with treats can make the training a lot easier, as many puppies are food motivated.

While it can be tricky at first to communicate with your pup, the best way to help them succeed is to learn about what their triggers are and what kind of interactions they enjoy the most. You can reward them for getting through hard times with something they really enjoy.

Here’s a hypothetical situation: Say your puppy is afraid of meeting children. If you give the child your pup’s favorite treat, have the child sit very still, and without making eye contact with your pup, have them reach the treat towards them.

This exchange allows for your puppy to make contact on their own terms and with more confidence. They will smell that treat from a mile away and reinforce a scary stimulus with something positive.

Stage Five: 12/14 – 24 Weeks

Around this time, you’ll want to keep your shoes off the floor and anything important to you out of reach. Welcome to the teething stage. Your pup’s teeth are growing in, which can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, and chewing makes it feel better.

Supervise your puppy whenever they are chewing on something so that they don’t destroy something they aren’t supposed to. Having plenty of safe toys, maybe some with food inside can help to curb your puppy’s boredom and redirect their energy. Your puppy will need a lot of stimulation to avoid unwanted behaviors, like gnawing on chair legs and rugs.

This is an excellent time to start training with your dog, which will burn their energy and keep them occupied — a huge plus. With positive reinforcement, your puppy will catch on to tricks much easier and understand the concept of house training better.

Stage Six: 25 – 48 Weeks

By this point, your puppy might not feel like a puppy anymore since they’ve grown so much in a few short weeks. But trust us, your dog will forever be a puppy, especially during this stage when they are still one! Your dog might be more confident and active now, meaning regular walks and perfect potty training.

It’s likely that by now, your dog is more comfortable with you and you with them. You can communicate better and work together to meet your goals — whether in socialization or training sessions.

Your walks might become longer because they want to stop and sniff every spot they pass (this actually never goes away), they might be picking up on tricks faster, and you might be introducing them to new dogs and people that they can begin to form bonds with.

Around 24 to 26 weeks is when most dogs will be spayed or neutered, but consulting with your vet can help to figure out the best timing for your pup specifically. After this stage, your pup will enter their last year of puppyhood. Most dogs reach adulthood in two years, but they are still easily influenced by the environment. It also depends on breed and breed size.

Staying on top of training and socialization is the best way for your dog to see success in their future and live a happy and healthy life!

Get Support from AskVet

With raising a puppy comes lots of responsibility but also a lot of questions. Unless you know an expert personally, getting the best answers can be difficult, and the internet can tell you a variety of different things. AskVet is here to help. We want to see your dog thrive, but we know that it can be lonely sometimes trying to figure it out all on your own.

Reach out to a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) at AskVet and schedule a session today. Our CPLCs can answer any questions you have and put together a 360° personalized health and lifestyle plan for your pet. Dogs, cats, fish, lizards, and more — all are welcome here!

Sign-up today and download the app for just $9.99/month and gain access to all the information you could possibly need!



Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS): Implications For Canine Welfare And Management | Purdue Veterinary Medicine

A Puppy Growth Timeline: Transitions in Puppyhood | American Kennel Club

Current Vaccination Strategies in Puppies and Kittens | NCBI

How Old Should a Puppy Be to Adopt? | Care Animal Hospital

A Timeline of Puppy Teething | American Kennel Club

Safe Pain Relief for Dogs

Pain Relief for Dogs

Watching your dog suffer in pain can be really difficult. You want to figure out what is wrong and how you can help them as soon as you can. There are some ways to help alleviate your pet’s pain and work with them towards recovery in the comfort of their own home. (However, sometimes medication and treatment are needed.)

Keep reading to learn more about pain relief for dogs and how to make your pet as comfortable as possible.

What Are Common Causes of Pain in Dogs?

Dogs might exhibit signs of pain for a variety of reasons. Some dogs have even been known to fake being hurt to get extra love and attention (not to say that your pet would ever do that, but it’s a possibility).

Dogs are always running around and bumping into things; your pet could likely give themself a minor injury during their everyday goofy lifestyle. Anything can happen at any point in a dog’s life. Only you know what kind of trouble your pup can get into, so you have to be prepared for little hiccups along the way.

Some causes of pain that your dog might experience are:


Your dog could get a splinter from your hardwood floors, bump their head on the corner of a table and get a cut and bruise, scrape their bellies on concrete or rock as they try to jump over an obstruction in their way… the list could go on and on. And each dog is unique, so their injuries could be all over the place.


Your dog could have an infection somewhere on or in their body that could be causing them pain, whether it’s an ear infection or a bladder infection. The best way to determine if your dog has an infection of some sort is to get testing done by your veterinarian.

Digestive Issues

If your dog has a blockage in their stomach and they are having difficulty using the bathroom, it can also be very painful. It might be due to issues like ulcers.

Otherwise, different foods or things they consume might be causing stomach pain that’s not related to blockage, but rather the ingredients.


Another reason your dog might be experiencing chronic pain is if they are becoming an older dog and beginning to feel the effects of aging due to conditions like osteoarthritis. Their bodies might become tired and sore quickly, and they might not have the same energy or stamina.

Possible Signs That Your Dog Is in Pain

You know your dog best. If there is any significant change in their behavior, you will pick up on it. Some signs that your dog is experiencing pain are:

  • Increased vocalizations
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Increased licking of the spot
  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • Reluctance to walk or play
  • Increase panting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Restlessness

Safe Methods To Help Your Dog in Pain

While waiting for your pup to be evaluated in person, keeping your dog confined to a small room or crate is usually the most effective form of pain control.

It’s hard to tell your pet to settle down, so if they try to be active, they need to be kept confined. It’s the easiest way for them to avoid overdoing it and injuring themselves further.

1. Restrict Movement

Dogs should only be taken outside on a leash to prevent them from excitedly chasing animals and people and walk only long enough to use the bathroom before coming right back inside.

As much as we know you want to see your pet play, it’s best to follow the doctor’s orders and keep them calm. As soon as your vet gives you the go-ahead to take them on short walks, you can! But still, prepare for them to be extra excited.

2. Wear the Cone If Recommend

Once evaluated, your pet might be sent home with the “cone of shame.” While they might be displeased, it will help you tremendously if they keep it on as per the doc’s orders. This will keep your pet from irritating their injury, playing too hard, and getting into things they shouldn’t.

3. Cold Compress

Sometimes, an injured area becomes swollen, and it is obvious what part of the body is painful. In these cases, a cold compress may be your pet’s best friend. Place some ice cubes in a baggie, wrap it in a light towel, and hold it gently to the painful area for ten minutes at a time. This can help numb any pain and decrease inflammation.

4. Warm Compress

In some cases, a warm compress may provide more relief than a cold compress. For a warm compress, simply microwave a damp washcloth until it is comfortably warm. (You can test it on the inside of your wrist, just like a baby bottle.)

Place it in a baggie to keep your pet dry, and wrap it in a light towel before gently placing it on the sore area.

5. Physical Therapy

Just like people have physical therapists, dogs do too. These restorative sessions are led by a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist who has been specifically trained in improving pet health.

Common techniques involve the underwater treadmill, a tool often recommended for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, and neurological injuries. Sometimes, this modality is combined with acupuncture.

What Are the Best Pain Medications for Dogs?

If your dog is in pain and you bring them to the vet, they might prescribe pain medication to help ease their discomfort.

Here are some bottles you might come home with:

Doggy NSAIDs

NSAIDs are Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs that interfere with the body’s production of inflammatory molecules that trigger mild to moderate pain levels. These drugs should always be prescribed because there is potential for problems related to the stomach, liver, kidney, and intestines.

NSAIDs can be used in the short term to control the symptoms of arthritis, joint pain, or after surgery.

If you think that your dog might be having adverse effects from the NSAID they were prescribed, look out for the signs of BEST:

  • Behavior changes
  • Eating less
  • Skin redness, scabs
  • Tarry stool/diarrhea/vomiting

Pet Health Supplements

Supplements aren’t something that will solve your pain within an hour. However, some supplements like those with Omega 3 fatty acids, turmeric, or glucosamine can boost your dog’s immunity.

Some supplements have anti-inflammatory properties (like joint supplements), which can provide natural pain relief as they build up and protect you in the long run. Starting your dogs on supplements geared towards helping their specific pain can bring relief to them over time. Make sure to check in with your vet about the supplements you research.

What Other Medications Can I Give My Dog for Pain?

If your dog is prescribed an NSAID, they likely won’t need any other painkillers, but their DVM might prescribe a few other kinds of medication. Two common drugs to be prescribed are gabapentin and tramadol. Other popular options include: deracoxib (Deramaxx), firocoxib (Previcox), and Metacam.

Gabapentin treats pain from damaged nerves and might make your dog feel a little drowsy. This is usually prescribed along with other medications.

Tramadol is a painkiller that partly works like an opioid medication. This is usually given to pets with high anxiety or constant pain. Especially as a pet ages, this is more likely to be prescribed to help with the discomfort.

Can I Give My Dog Human Pain Medication?

Dogs should never receive human pain medication. Unfortunately, there are no safe over-the-counter medications that you can give your dog. In fact, most human pain medications are toxic to pets—and, in some cases, can even cause kidney failure and liver toxicity.

These human pain reliever medications include (but are not limited to) aspirin, Advil, Aleve/naproxen, ibuprofen, and Tylenol/acetaminophen. Dogs process drugs differently than people (and different from each other!), which can cause unwanted side effects, so stick with the pain medication that your veterinarian prescribes.

Can Dogs Take Benadryl or Antihistamines?

You may be tempted to reach for some Benadryl to help relieve your itching, and you might have heard that it works on pets. Although Benadryl is generally safe in dogs (at a very different dose than used for people), it is only effective for itching in less than half of all dogs.

Other over-the-counter antihistamines are safe for dogs and may be more effective. Even though they still don’t work as well as prescription medications, sometimes they can help just enough to give your pet comfort until their vet visit.

If your dog has repeated episodes of itchy skin, ask your family veterinarian for a dosage of an over-the-counter antihistamine that is safe for your pet to have for future flare-ups. Write down the drug name, tablet size, and dosage, as well as the date your vet made the recommendation, and place it in your medicine cabinet for future reference.

Knowing how much Benadryl is safe to give your pet in case of a severe allergic reaction is always good information to have—so make sure to ask your vet about Benadryl, too.

If your vet gives you the go-ahead for one type of medication, always stick to that. Opting for a “non-drowsy” or another seemingly-similar version can be dangerous to your pup.

The Support You Need, Whenever You Want

You won’t always have the answers about your dog’s health and wellness when you need them, but with AskVet, it’s a whole lot easier to get them. You can have access to 24/7 care from AskVet’s highly trained Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, who can work with your dog’s specific needs.

When you sign up for an AskVet membership you can reach a veterinary professionals ask any question about your pet that you might have, as well as set up a plan to best take care of them. Schedule an appointment on the website with a coach who can answer any questions and guide you through a personalized plan for your pet. With t24/7 veterinary support, coaching sessions, and complimentary One Pet ID tag, pet parenthood has never been easier!



Pain and Problem Behavior in Cats and Dogs | NCBI

Treating Pain in Your Dog | FDA

2015 AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats* | American Animal Hospital Association

Physical Rehabilitation | Calabasas Animal Clinic

Best Dog Massage Techniques: Dog Massage Benefits

Dog Massages: How They Can Help

If you’ve ever had sore muscles, you know that getting a massage can provide some much-needed relief and relaxation. If you’re a pet parent, you’ve probably wondered what massages could do for your furry friend’s wellness and well-being.

Read along as we review the possible health benefits of massages for dogs and how to properly massage your dog.

The Benefits of Dog Massage

There are many reasons why dog massages can be paw-some. The health benefits for pups are similar to the kinds that people enjoy. Plus, massage can also be an opportunity for bonding.

Let’s learn more:

Pet Massage: Potential Health Benefits

Relaxing your dog’s muscles through massage can help relieve physical pain, discomfort, and stress. Touch can comfort them as well, furthering the relaxing effects of the massage.

In addition to providing a general sense of relaxation, you can use this time to check for health concerns such as tumors or suspicious bumps. These can present as lumps under the skin, making them easily detectable during a massage.

Dog massages may also help soothe arthritis pain, post-surgical swelling, and muscle spasms. Athletic dogs might appreciate a nice massage before and after a workout to help speed up recovery time and decrease the potential chance of an injury.

Let’s review the pros of canine massages, starting with bonding:


Canine massage can help you bond with your dog as it shows that you can give them relaxation in a safe environment.

Over time, they might begin to associate physical relief and relief from stress with massage, which could lead to them being more open to receiving it. However, if your dog appears uncomfortable, afraid, or expresses disinterest, it’s time to take a break.

Some dogs might enjoy massages with time, and others not. After all, our dogs are as unique as we are!

What Do I Need To Know About Canine Massage?

Here are some things you might want to consider before starting your doggy spa day:

Start in a Comfortable Environment

If your dog isn’t interested in this “me-time” activity, it’s time to stop and pick another activity for the day.

It is best to give the massage in a quiet environment where they can feel calm and safe. You might also want to choose a clean, flat surface where they won’t be inclined to move around too much. This could be on the floor of your home or on your couch.

Be Mindful of Touch Sensitivity

During the massage, being mindful of your dog’s comfort level can help you give them the best experience. You’ll want to take note if they flinch when certain areas are touched. If your dog has any touch sensitivity, you are already likely aware of their no-go zones.

For example, some dogs don’t enjoy having their paws touched (no thank you to that pedicure) or people petting them on top of their heads.

Introduce Them to Your Touch

It is a good idea tointroduce your dog to the sensation of your touch before you begin to apply pressure. This can lessen the chances of them becoming startled once pressure is applied.

Dogs that accept (or love) human touch will also have an easier time at the vet during routine checkups, which is a huge plus.

Canine Massage: The Basics

Canine massages are different from human massage, so you might be curious about the steps of the process itself.

Let’s dive in!

What Are the Different Types of Dog Massages?

Some common massage techniques used on dogs include petrissage, effleurage, and therapeutic massages.

1. Petrissage Massages for Dogs

This massage focuses on the muscles and tissues. To do this technique, gently knead the muscles and skin. It might be best to have a professional practice this or teach you to do it yourself.

You can massage the dog’s neck and head area first, then gradually start kneading with greater pressure as you move to other areas like the dog’s back legs and front legs, as well as the soft tissues at the base of the tail.

If your dog enjoys this one, look into skin rolling, which offers a similar sensation.

2. Effleurage Massages for Dogs

This massage is aimed at warming up muscles.

When performing an effleurage massage session, use long strokes and minimal gentle pressure. As you keep one hand on your pup, apply long strokes towards your dog’s heart.

Follow the direction of your dog’s hair growth. It is best to do this while your dog is lying down and in a calm environment. This may take more time than passive touch, as it requires more concentration to perform correctly.

3. Therapeutic Massages for Dogs

Passive touch does not involve pressure or continuous movement of your hands. Starting with the head, you can put your hand on different parts of your dog’s body, holding it on each area for a few seconds. This technique can be performed anywhere, as it does not take as much time as an effleurage massage.

What Do Professional Animal Massage Therapists Do?

If you think your dog might benefit from a professional full-body massage, you can schedule an appointment with a professional animal massage therapist. They may be able to provide more thorough treatment for your furry friend. Let’s talk about what that treatment could look like:

Animal massage therapists might sometimes only work with certain species, but other therapists are able to work with a variety of animals. A canine massage therapist may evaluate your dog to gather information about their health prior to working with them. They can communicate with you, as well as professionals involved in your dog’s care (such as your vet), to form a treatment plan.

Their comprehensive knowledge of animal physiology and various deep tissue massage techniques allows them to effectively treat your dog in a way that caters to their specific needs.

For instance, if your dog has a condition such as arthritis, they may ask you questions to determine what massage therapy techniques could best alleviate your pup’s discomfort.

Other Things To Keep in Mind

Canine massage is a great way to bond with your dog while simultaneously relieving stress and tension in their body. However, there are some things to remember, especially if you want to incorporate massage into your dog’s routine.

Here are a few things to be aware of during each session:

Avoid Uncomfortable Areas

Even though massage can help catch medical concerns such as tumors in the early stages, it is best for dog owners to avoid touching painful areas.

Don’t massage areas of the skin that look tender or might be infected. You can focus on applying light pressure to your dog’s muscles rather than massaging bones or joints.

Focus on a Calm Energy

It’s ideal that the massage takes place in a relaxing space. This allows your dog to feel calm throughout the session without any distractions to excite them. While they are in a relaxed state, it is more likely that their muscles might become relaxed, which can make the session easier.

Invite Them to the Lesson

If your dog doesn’t seem interested in receiving a massage, you can try to invite them into the session. Forcing them to relax when they are anxious or energetic might cause them to behave aggressively.

As people, we know when we’re anxious that if someone says, “Just relax,” it doesn’t help in the slightest. If anything, it makes us feel more anxious. 

Instead, slowly invite your pooch into the peaceful space you have created. Gradually, they may begin to sense that the space is meant to calm them and may be inclined to join the session. On a similar note, if your dog flops over for a belly rub, you can always use that as a great opportunity to get a mini-massage in.

The Calm Coach in Your Corner

For more support and advice on care for your furry friend, you can become a member of AskVet for 24/7 access to the Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, who can advise you on every topic for every pet. No late-night frantic Googling to see if your dog/cat/bird/fish just ate something they shouldn’t have.

For only $9.99 a month, our team can help you develop a personalized pet care plan that suits your pet’s individual needs. Schedule an appointment with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ and get started today.


How Massage Can Help Your Dog | American Kennel Club

Dog Behaviour Guide Touch Sensitivity | Edmonton Humane Society 

Why Does My Dog Duck When I Pat Him on the Head? | AKC

Canine Therapeutic Massage | Animal Rehab Center of Michigan