How To Tell if Your Dog Is Pregnant: 5 Clear Signs

How To Tell if Your Dog Is Pregnant: 5 Clear Signs

Whether you’re planning to responsibly breed your dog or suspect that your dog might be pregnant unintentionally, learning about the signs of pregnancy can make the situation less stressful. Caring for dogs can be hard work, and having multiple adorable puppies running around your house can be overwhelming. Knowing the early signs of pregnancy can prepare you for all that comes with dog pregnancy.

Every dog is different, and not all display the same symptoms. If you are breeding your dog, you might already be aware of some of the main behavioral and physical signs that puppies are soon to be on their way. Otherwise, if you aren’t anticipating puppies, some of the symptoms of pregnancy might alarm you.

Unfortunately, home pregnancy tests meant for people won’t be able to detect a possible litter of puppies growing inside your furry friend. That’s why you’ll want to keep reading for the signs of dog pregnancy and when to contact your veterinarian.

When Can Dogs Become Pregnant?

Dogs can become pregnant when they have reached sexual maturity. For larger dog breeds, this can happen anywhere from six months to two years, and for smaller dog breeds, it can start as early as four months.

That means if you don’t intend for your female dog to become pregnant, you might want to keep them away from unneutered males until they undergo spaying. While female dogs can get pregnant early on, this isn’t often healthy for their developing frame.

The window that a dog can become pregnant is when she “comes into season” every eight months or so. This period is often referred to as “being in heat” and can last for several weeks. If, during her heat cycle, your dog interacts with an unneutered male, the risk for pregnancy is high. Until your dog is spayed, this cycle will continue for the entirety of her life!

How Long Are Dogs Pregnant For?

Dogs have a gestation period of around two months, with some variety, depending on the size and breed of the dog. Development is rapid once the eggs are fertilized and embedded into the lining of the uterine horn. It takes around a month before a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and by the end of the second month, the babies are almost ready to be born.

When Do Pregnant Dogs Start To Show?

Because of how fast the puppies develop in the short time that your dog is pregnant, it might not be until halfway through the pregnancy that you notice her belly starting to swell. Keep in mind that if it’s your dog’s first time being pregnant, she will likely have a smaller litter size.

Many factors play into your dog “showing” during pregnancy, including the size and breed of the dog, the number of puppies she is having, and the dog’s health. A dog’s belly might not be the thing that makes it clear she’s pregnant, though if you are observant, it might be easier to point out.

Signs To Look Out For

There is no pregnancy test that you can give to your dog to find out if she is pregnant, but there are several signs. First, though this might seem obvious, if your dog is spayed, she will not get pregnant. So if you notice any of the following signs, it is due to something else, and it might be time to seek veterinary care.

If your dog is not spayed and exhibiting the following signs, it could be that puppies are on their way:

1. “Morning Sickness”

At the beginning of your dog’s pregnancy, she might be more nauseous than usual. This would be like experiencing morning sickness for pregnant humans.

Your dog might throw up or lose her appetite in the early stages. This is because of the changes in hormones that are happening as the fetuses begin to develop.

2. Change in Food Intake

A change in appetite is generally one of the first symptoms that something new is afoot. This is one reason why maintaining a healthy diet and keeping tabs on a dog’s appetite is essential. When something changes, we can take note quickly and assess any reasons for the change.

In the first few weeks of your dog’s pregnancy, you might notice a decreased appetite. Certain foods that she loves might no longer be appealing. She also might eat less food than normal or even skip feedings altogether. This often happens before any of the puppies have begun developing in the womb.

However, during the second month, it’s more likely that your dog’s appetite will increase, likely because she is now eating for many rather than just herself. Don’t be alarmed over these changes, but instead, work with them — you might be buying more dog food than usual for a month.

3. Behavioral Changes

A pregnant dog undergoes many changes in her body and brain. Every dog is unique, so their behaviors can range from clingy to avoidant. You never know how your dog will act until you have a pregnant one in your care.

Some pregnant dogs will want to stick by their people and be provided with lots of love and comfort. Others might want to be alone and isolate themselves rather than experience nesting behaviors.

Your dog might become quieter than usual and might have less energy. She might not be as eager to go play fetch over and over in the backyard and might find the comfort of the couch more appealing. Maybe belly rubs were once her favorite, and now she’s more hesitant. These could be signs that something is going on.

Providing for your dog’s needs can make the pregnancy easier for her. Some to-do list items before her due date are to buy/build her a whelping box, make sure her vaccinations are in order (always, but definitely pre-pregnancy), and take her for regular checkups.

Additionally, it can also build your trust with her so that when the babies come, she sees you as a safe person. If your dog experiences discomfort due to the pregnancy, don’t be offended if she seems irritated by your attention. She’s just trying to get through it!

4. Swollen Belly and/or Nipples

While it’s likely that a pregnant dog’s stomach will swell as the puppies grow inside of them, it’s not always very noticeable. However, if you notice that your dog’s belly is more round and enlarged, pregnancy could be the reason why.

Also, a dog who is pregnant might have enlarged nipples. This might be an easier way to determine if your dog is pregnant or not because their teats will become swollen and longer than usual.

The dog’s nipples might release discharge as the pregnancy moves along. It might start off similar to the appearance of mucus, but it’s the milk that is preparing for the newborn puppies. However, it’s worth mentioning that milk production can also signify a false pregnancy — checking with a vet will give a clearer answer.

5. Weight Gain

In conjunction with a swollen belly, your dog’s weight might begin to fluctuate. Once the puppies start to develop inside the womb, they will rapidly grow, which will add weight to your dog. Your dog might eat more than usual which will add to the weight gain. If there are no other reasons for your dog to suddenly gain weight, it might be due to pregnancy.

How Can You Be Sure?

There is no way for you to test at home to determine if your dog is pregnant or not, so the only way to be positive is to visit your veterinarian.

Your vet can administer a few different tests to determine if your dog is pregnant or not and how far along they are. This is helpful so that you can prepare for the puppies and give yourself enough time to ensure everything is in order.

The different methods include:

  • Ultrasound: Between days 25 and 35, your vet could perform an ultrasound to help detect heartbeats and see how many puppies your dog is carrying.
  • X-ray: X-rays are the easiest way to determine if your dog is pregnant because it shows a clear picture of what’s going on in your dog’s belly. Though, they aren’t effective until about the third trimester, when the skeletal systems of the puppies are visible.
  • Hormone test: A hormone test can be done between 25 and 30 days to determine if the hormone Relaxin is being produced and to track your dog’s hormone levels. This hormone is only produced when a dog is pregnant, so if it’s evident in the blood test, it’s very likely your dog is pregnant.

AskVet: Here for Your Q&As

Trying to determine if your dog is pregnant on your own is not an exact science. Unlike a human pregnancy, it’s hard to tell at home; it’s time to dial up your vet.

With dog pregnancy comes many questions, and AskVet is here to answer them. You can consult with a Pet Coach or veterinarian to get guidance on all your pet health and lifestyle issues.

Whatever questions arise during your dog’s pregnancy can be answered at any given point in the day. If you wake up in the middle of the night worried about your pet, they are here to help! When you sign up today, you gain access to these coaches at all times of the day. The AskVet Team can help craft specified treatment and behavioral plans to find ways to improve your pet’s life.

You don’t have to be alone trying to keep your pet comfortable and healthy during her pregnancy; we are here to help. And, if it happens that your dog is pregnant, we congratulate you on becoming a grandparent!


A Review Of Maternal Behavior In Dogs And Potential Areas For Further Research | NCBI

Dog Pregnancy: Signs, Care, and Preparing for Puppies | American Kennel Club

Physiology and Clinical Parameters of Pregnancy in Dogs | VIN

6 Signs of a Pregnant Dog | The Village Vets

False Pregnancy (Canine) | Mar Vista Animal Medical Center

When Is a Dog Considered a Senior & How Care Changes

When Is a Dog Considered a Senior & How Care Changes

A dog’s stages of life can seem to fly by when you are caring for them. One day they are running around like crazy, and the next, they need an extra hand to get up onto the couch. As your pet goes through each stage of life, they are always relying on you, their human parent, to take care of them and to give them the love and care they need.

Watching your dog get older can be difficult, and depending on the breed and size of your dog, their senior years can be different. Physical and behavioral changes begin to take place, and health issues may arise more frequently. All breeds have different life expectancies, so taking that into account can help in planning your pup’s golden years.

There are some signs to look out for that your dog is beginning to start their senior stage of life. Recognizing them can help you to determine what the best care for your older pup is going to be. This way, the rest of your dog’s life will be happy, healthy, and loving.

The “1 Dog Year = 7 Human Years” Calculation

Most of us have heard that each year in a dog’s life is like seven human years – except this isn’t a proper calculation. Every dog breed you come across will have a unique calculation that usually depends on their size. The scale we’ve always been given is very general but doesn’t reflect the life stages of a dog properly.

For example, for the first two years of a dog’s life, it’s typical that the ratio is actually one dog year being equivalent to 10.5 human years. So by the age of two, a dog is at the same level of maturity as a 21-year-old human. Then for every year there on, you can add four human years. So a seven-year-old dog would be considered to be 41 in dog years.

Larger dogs tend to have shorter life spans than small dog breeds, so this math may not always make sense. And that’s okay! While the calculation is interesting, it’s not really indicative of how long your dog might live or when they might enter their senior years. Instead, taking note of certain signs can signal when your dog is entering the later stage of their life.

When Does My Dog Become a Senior?

Dog breeds have different life spans, so when they become a senior might depend on that. If a dog’s lifespan is ten years, years seven to ten might be considered the senior years, whereas a dog with a lifespan of 15 years could be deemed a senior from 11 to 14 years of age. Lifespan is heavily influenced by the dog’s size as well as other factors like health, exercise, and eating habits.

Small Dogs

Small dogs under 20 or so pounds tend to age to maturity quicker than larger breeds of dogs, but after they mature, they age more slowly. Many small dog breeds have lifespans that reach upwards of 16 years, making their senior years from ages eight to 12 and on.

Every dog breed is unique, and some breeds are an exception to this generalization, but for the most part, small dogs have a longer life with fewer health-related issues (until they are much older than their larger counterparts).

Medium Dogs

Medium breeds between 20 and 50 pounds usually aren’t considered senior dogs until they are seven years or older. They might begin to show signs as early as seven of their aging process, but the more difficult changes might not be apparent until a few years later as their energy will not fizzle out first!

Large Dogs

Large dogs typically have the shortest lifespans of other breeds. Some extra-larger breeds, like the Great Dane, have a lifespan of eight to ten years, so their senior years can start as early as age five or six. Other large-size breeds like Golden Retriever have a longer lifespan of ten to 12 years and don’t show signs of aging until they are a bit older — closer to eight or nine years.

Larger breeds can be prone to more health-related issues that can shorten their lifespan or contribute to more signs of aging than smaller dogs. Regardless, these dogs will have so much life in them until the very end and won’t let their old age slow them down too much.

What To Expect When Loving a Senior Dog

When your dog begins to age, there will be a few signs to let you know the process is starting.

Some signs to look out for are:

Physical/Medical Changes

  • Thinning and graying hair: Sometimes, one of the first signs a dog is aging is gray hair forming underneath their chins and around their eyes. Their hair may also feel less thick and begin to fall out.
  • Cognitive decline: Older dogs can develop canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), which can cause irritation, agitation, confusion, and restlessness. They might have changes in their behavior, including becoming more stubborn and sleeping more often.
  • Dental issues: Older dogs can have many dental problems, such as gum decay and teeth falling out. Their teeth will become weaker, so eating food can become challenging, and hard chew toys may be painful.
  • Loss of mobility: As your dog ages, their joints might begin to hurt more due to arthritis. Going up and down stairs might become difficult, and getting onto the couch or bed might require additional support.
  • Hearing and vision loss: Your dog might begin to lose their vision and hearing abilities. They might not answer your calls as frequently and could begin knocking into walls and objects in their path.
  • Temperature regulation: Dogs get older and may struggle to regulate their body temperature. They might not be able to cool down as fast or stay warm enough, so you should keep an eye out during changes in the weather.
  • Other medical issues: As dogs age, they are more likely to suffer from various medical issues. Issues like cataracts, kidney disease, and arthritis. Additionally, some cancers are more prevalent in older dogs, making regular vet check-ups a must.

Behavioral Changes

  • Reduced activity: Your dog might begin to slow down and find themselves napping more frequently. They might run around for a bit but rest for longer.
  • Eating habit changes: Sometimes, as a result of dental issues (and sometimes as a result of other health issues), senior pups may change their eating habits. As dogs stop exercising as much, they might gain weight. Conversely, they may lose too much weight if they have trouble eating.

How Care Changes for Senior Dogs

Care changes as a result of the changes above. As your dog gets older, they will need more support from us people. They need more check-ups with the vet, and they need us to keep an eye on any abnormalities. We may have to change our patterns to keep up with care for our senior dogs.

Some ways that you could change how you care for your senior dog include:

  • Instead of long walks daily, focusing on light physical therapy and training mental capacity can encourage your dog to feel young for longer.
  • Switch from dry food to wet food as your dog’s dental issues increase, and it’s hard for them to chew.
  • Provide sweaters or cooling jackets depending on the temperature to regulate your dog’s body temperature.
  • Wake up in the middle of the night to bring them out to the bathroom as their bladder becomes weaker.
  • Note any bumps or lumps that form on their body. Not every lump requires treatment and many that form are benign. But keeping track can help ease your own worries.
  • Looking into joint supplements if your dog is struggling with their mobility. Sometimes providing stepping stools to get onto higher surfaces can help as well.

Get Answers with AskVet

As your pet ages, you will likely have many questions arise. With AskVet, you get access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches (CPLC)™, who can provide professional advice about your dog’s aging process (or any other pet-related concern you may have).

Our teams of veterinarians and coaches can bring peace to your mind by coming up with exercise and diet plans that can improve your dog’s last stages of life. With AskVet, there is no such thing as a stupid question. If something is bothering or concerning you, you can ask us and get an insightful response every time.

Your dog counts on you to provide them with a happy home, and no matter what stage of life they are in, they are simply happy to be with the people they love. If your goal is to give them the best life, finding support from outside professionals can only help you! Sign-up today and have your old dog feeling like a brand-new pup again.


Prevalence, Duration And Risk Factors For Appendicular Osteoarthritis In A UK Dog Population Under Primary Veterinary Care | NCBI

Periodontal Disease In Dogs: Etiopathogenesis, Prevalence, And Significance | ScienceDirect

Physical Signs Of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction | NCBI

Your Big Dog May Be More Likely to Develop These Health Problems | Crossroads Animal Hospital

Pregnant Cat vs. Fat Cat: 6 Signs To Look For

Pregnant Cat vs. Fat Cat: 6 Signs To Look For

All cats are different — they can weigh anywhere from six to 25 pounds, depending on their breed. There is a fine line between an overweight cat and a robust, chunky (but healthy) cat… but what if your cat is not fat but pregnant?

Of course, you know your cat best, so if there is a potential that the weight your cat has been gaining could be little kittens, you want to figure it out sooner than later.

There are signs that you can look out for to help you determine whether or not your cat is pregnant or just gaining weight. Regardless of what is happening, figuring it out early on can help you to prepare for either a bunch of adorable kittens or a new diet and exercise plan.

Why Is My Cat Gaining Weight?

A cat who is gaining unwanted weight could be experiencing a variety of conditions, including pregnancy, obesity, or even illness. Though this may be obvious, if you have a male cat that is gaining weight, it could be due to a number of conditions, including overeating or an underlying health condition.

In this case, consult with an AskVet veterinarian about what the cause may be.

Female cats who are gaining weight could also have an underlying health condition or lifestyle habits, but unspayed females also run the risk of becoming pregnant. If your cat was spayed and there’s no way she could be pregnant, keep an eye on what she does.

Is she active? Does she whine for a second breakfast? Maybe your cat is neither pregnant nor fat; perhaps what you’re seeing is the primordial pouch. These tidbits can be helpful clues when playing detective.

Signs of Pregnancy in Cats

Outdoor cats and unspayed cats that live with unneutered cats are more likely to become pregnant, but it can still happen if an indoor cat gets out one day and goes on an adventure.

If there is a possibility that your cat could become pregnant, there are signs that you can look out for. You will want to find out as soon as possible to prepare yourself for caring for a pregnant cat and the incoming kittens.

If you begin to notice changes in your cat’s behavior, appetite, or body, you might want to take note of them and consult with a veterinarian. A cat will begin showing signs of pregnancy two weeks into the process but are pregnant for around two months.

1. Your Cat Is in Heat

Even though we still view them as kittens, at four months, they can go into heat, which means they are capable of getting pregnant. While pregnancy is possible, it’s not recommended for cats at this age since their bodies are still growing.

If your cat is unspayed, they can go into heat for two or three cycles during the breeding season, which happens from February to October. Her behavior can change (sometimes only slightly) to signal that she’s in heat, such as becoming more affectionate, raising their behinds higher in the air as they walk, and being more vocal.

2. Physical Changes Pop Up

Rapid weight gain is a part of the symptoms of pregnancy in cats. This is because the process from fertilization to birth happens very quickly. A cat’s gestation period is nine short weeks (around 61 to 65 days), so your cat will take on significant weight in a short period.

What is really different from simply gaining weight is that the weight that is gained won’t be distributed evenly. If your cat is pregnant, all of the weight gained will be in the stomach and not the legs, neck, or face.

You may notice that their belly is swelling, and their nipples will likely be enlarged and very pink. This is called “pinking up,” and it happens as a response to being pregnant and preparing for milk.

3. Change in Eating Habits

Your cat might begin wanting more portions of food each day, and this could be a response to pregnancy. You don’t want to be overfeeding your cat, so confirming with a veterinarian that your cat is pregnant can avoid giving the wrong amount.

If your cat is pregnant, monitor their eating habits and ensure they receive enough nutrition. They will need more food as their pregnancy progresses, so feeding them a bit extra won’t likely hurt them.

It’s completely normal for a pregnant mama to want something more to nibble on, but keeping an eye on the weight gain and eating behaviors can determine how the pregnancy is going. A well-fed cat that gains a healthy amount of weight will have a healthier pregnancy than an underfed cat.

4. Morning Sickness

Cats, just like humans, can experience morning sickness — especially in the early stages of pregnancy. If a cat has become pregnant, they may vomit within the first three weeks before it usually settles down. However, not all cats experience this, though.

In the case of repeated vomiting, continue to monitor your cat. Your cat might not be pregnant and instead suffering from some sort of illness, so the sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner your cat will feel better.

5. Behavior Seems Abnormal

A pregnant cat might experience some behavioral changes that are apparent to their human parent. To many, these changes might be imperceivable, but you, as their parent, you’re more likely to recognize something has changed.

For example, a feline mama-to-be might become a bit more territorial and cling to one specific person in the household. Very few become aggressive, but if a stranger startles them enough, it’s possible. Other cats become even more cuddly and affectionate, wanting you to spend all your time with them.

If your cat is experiencing behavior that worries you, you can ask an AskVet Pet Coach. They can help clue you into what’s happening with your pet before needing to schedule an office visit at your vet.

6. Exhibits Nesting Behaviors

Another change of behavior that often signals your cat is pregnant and preparing for babies is “nesting” behavior. This is when a cat will begin to create a space, often in a small corner tucked away, that will serve as the place she gives birth. She might bring blankets or pieces of clothing into this area to create a nest of some sort.

This is likely to occur as your cat nears the end of her pregnancy. Providing a box or safe area for your cat to do this can help to build trust with your cat. Still, don’t be surprised if your cat chooses a spot on their own away from everyone. Some cats prefer to be in isolation during the birthing process.

Or Is Your Cat Simply Fat?

Not all cats that gain weight are pregnant, and there are some signs to look out for to determine if your cat is becoming obese.

For the benefit of your cat’s health, help them maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise. If they begin gaining weight, there is likely to be an underlying reason.

To determine if your cat is overweight, there are a few things you can take note of:

1. Body Condition Score (BCS)

Large cats are not uncommon, and actually, many cats that you come across are considered to be overweight. We all know the trope of a “lazy, fat cat.”

Though we love them dearly, sometimes the weight gained can create issues for their health. If you want to assess your cat’s body fat and muscle mass to determine if they are just a bit overweight, look into the Body Condition Score (BCS) systems.

This system can give you an idea of your cat’s size compared to the ideal weight. If your cat is nearing the end of the point system, it might be time to consult with one of AskVet’s Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ about an eating and exercise regime.

2. Watch Their Eating Habits

If you think your cat is gaining too much weight, it might be time to watch how much they are consuming.

How many portions is your cat eating? How many treats are they getting in a day? How much exercise is your cat getting daily? Consider the home size — while you may not be giving your cat any snacks, a roommate or parent might.

Once you have a better idea of how much your cat consumes, you can figure out if that contributes to their weight gain. If they seem to be eating a regular amount and exercising but still gaining weight, underlying issues with their health could be at play.

Still Unsure? Phone a Friend.

A cat’s weight can fluctuate for the tiniest of reasons, including stress, change in environment, pregnancy, illness, and so on. It’s essential to understand exactly what the issue is so that we can provide the best care for our fluffy friends.

Some cats are lazier than other breeds and put on weight easier. This can be normal, but it’s still our responsibility to get them back on track. Fat cats often live very happy lives, but their health should always come first!

For pregnant cats, weight gain is simply a part of the process. Once the kittens are born, the proud mama will slowly start to return to her previous weight. If you notice changes in your cat’s behavior that concern you, you can sign up with AskVet to chat with a veterinarian whenever you need to.

Having 24/7 access to veterinary professionals dedicated to providing care for your pet can ease a lot of your stress. As you determine the cause of your cat’s weight gain, many questions and concerns might arise. Getting answers fast can lead you to make the best decisions for your cat in the most efficient amount of time. Whether your cat is pregnant or just a bit overweight, AskVet is here to guide you through it!


Clinical Management Of Pregnancy In Cats | NCBI

Breeding And Reproduction Of Cats – Cat Owners | MSD Veterinary Manual

Body Condition Scoring (BCS) Systems | Journal Of The American Animal Hospital Association

Pregnancy in cats and dogs | Glendale Veterinary Clinic

Is Your Puppy Crying At Night? 4 Common Causes & What To Do

Is Your Puppy Crying At Night? 4 Common Causes & What To Do

No matter how many times you’ve cared for an adult dog, no one can prepare you for what the first few nights with your puppy are like. While puppies bring happiness and fun to your life, the nighttime can be difficult. Not all puppies will cry at night, but a good majority of them will.

Of course, this isn’t going to last the entirety of your time with your new pup, but don’t be surprised when the first few nights are spent listening to your pup whine from the crate. Puppies crying during the night is to be expected (for a while). It can be a stressful transition for a new pup, so we must show them lots of grace and patience.

Keep reading to learn more about the common reasons why your puppy might be crying and ways you can help them.

Why Do Puppies Cry at Night?

When you bring your pup home, most experts recommend beginning crate training overnight. This is so you can help build up your pup’s confidence and create a safe space within their crate. The goal is to get your puppy to enjoy crate time, but that can be quite the challenge.

We love our dogs — so much. Sometimes, hearing your pup cry through the night can feel more distressing for you than for the puppy. In many ways, your pup crying is their way of trying to communicate with you. It’s difficult to know what your puppy needs, but there are a few common causes for your puppy to cry at night.

1. They Need To Use the Bathroom

Puppies have small bladders and often need to use the bathroom every few hours. This means that we will need to wake up in the middle of the night to take our pups outside — sometimes, their cries signify to you that they need to use the bathroom.

In general, dogs try to avoid peeing in their crate. As such, puppies tend to cry out so that we can help escort them outside for a midnight bathroom break. If they know they have to go but don’t want to use their crate, they will try to vocalize their need to you, no matter what time it is.

2. They Are Hungry or Thirsty

Another reason that your puppy is crying is that they are hungry or need water. Puppies might have a unique feeding schedule that isn’t as cut-and-dry as their adult canine peers’ twice-a-day dining arrangements.

Meal schedules tend to depend on the breed size in question. For example, until three months old, young toy breeds will need more meals (around four to six) than large breed puppies (who eat three to four meals).

Younger puppies might nibble on their food continuously throughout the day whenever their energy fluctuates, which means a late-night snack is quite possible. Even the slightest drink of water before bed could result in the need to pee only a few hours later.

3. They Might Be Scared or Nervous

Especially during the first few nights of having your puppy at home with you, they might cry due to nerves. It’s the first time they have been away from their mom and littermates, which can result in some loneliness. Plus, if they know you are nearby, they might think that crying will bring your attention to them (which we all know to be true).

Up until now, your puppy has always had a littermate nearby to play with or snuggle up with. And you could let your puppy sleep in your bed with you if you so choose to, but crate training really does help to build up their confidence! If you ever want to have a night to yourself in bed, crate training will come in clutch.

4. They May Not Be Feeling Well

Another reason for a crying pup could be that they are not feeling well. Puppies can get sick or have upset stomachs, especially if they are nervous or changing foods and routines. It might not be more serious than an upset stomach, but if your puppy is in pain or discomfort, it might be something worth bringing up with their vet.

Puppies are prone to getting sick, especially before they are able to complete all of their vaccinations. They are susceptible to intestinal worms, viruses, vomiting and diarrhea, and growing pains, all of which might keep your pup up at night in pain. In this case, it’s best to contact their veterinarian as soon as their office is open.

If you are worried in the middle of the night and seeking answers, you can also sign-up with AskVet and consult with one of our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches (CPLC)™.

Is Ignoring My Pup Recommended?

You might have heard that ignoring your puppy’s cries is the best way to help them get over whatever issue they are having. But that’s not always the case. What if your pup needs to use the bathroom? Or could they use a little bit of water? You want to build up their confidence, not teach them that you aren’t there to be helpful.

Of course, once you make sure all of their needs are met, closing your eyes and attempting to sleep might be the best course of action. It is true that they will tire themselves out, but ensuring they aren’t in distress before moving on can strengthen your bond and communication with each other.

How Can You Help a Crying Puppy

Finding ways to help comfort your dog in the crate and through the night will reduce the crying. Many methods could be used to crate train, and help soothe your puppy through the night, but not all will work for your dog. Every dog is unique, and you have to learn what brings them comfort so that you can help build their confidence.

You might realize your dog thrives when laying on blankets and pillows, so you add in some extra comfy cushioning to help make a little nest. Whatever your pup needs, you will likely be on top of it. You’re a pet parent now, and that means anything goes for your baby!

Take Them Outside for a Potty Break

The first thing to try if your puppy is crying in the middle of the night is to take them outside for a bathroom break. It’s very likely that your pup needs to use the bathroom. They can only hold so much in their bladders, so a few trips every night is to be expected.

Offer Them a Comfort Toy

Some puppies really bond with a soft plush toy. Whether it’s because it simulates having one of their littermates with them or if it’s comfortable, having a comfort toy can soothe your pup at bedtime.

Over time, this toy will pick up your dog’s smell which can bring an additional level of comfort to your dog. You can try bringing this toy around when your pup settles for naps throughout the day and have the toy snuggle up against them.

Put a Piece of Your Clothing in the Crate

Your puppy will bond with you almost immediately. As soon as they recognize that you are the one providing food, water, love, play, and snuggles, you will become a source of comfort. If they can’t have you every night to be with, the next best thing is a piece of clothing that has your scent on it: Extra points if it’s fluffy and soft!

Your scent in their crate can bring a sense of peace to your pup and encourage them to fall asleep. Sometimes their cries signify that they want your attention, but in the middle of the night, that’s not always what you are willing to give. But a piece of clothing from your closet or something you’ve recently worn will do the trick!

Answers for the Whole Family

If you are looking for answers or suggestions on how to help this issue, consider signing up with AskVet so you can ask any question you might have.

AskVet’s Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ are here to help guide you through puppyhood, coming up with behavior goals and helping to monitor any health changes in your pup. Being a new puppy parent is hard work, and not everyone gets that. Once you have a puppy, your whole life becomes dedicated to giving them whatever it is they need, and hearing them cry can hurt your heart.

When you sign up for AskVet, you can chat with a veterinarian or CPLC™ 24/7 — no wait time needed. Whether you have a question about your puppy’s first tooth falling out or your goldfish looking a tad tired, AskVet has the experts with the answers.


Housetraining Puppies & Dogs | American Humane

Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Crate Training Your Dog | Brown University

How to crate train your dog or puppy | The Humane Society

What to Do if Your Puppy Keeps Going Potty in the Crate | AKC

Feeding Your Dog: How Often Should Dogs Eat And How Much? | AKC

How To Make a Dog Throw Up Safely at Home

How To Make a Dog Throw Up Safely at HomeHow To Make a Dog Throw Up Safely at Home

As much as you try to prevent it, your dog might still get into something that they shouldn’t have. There are many precautions to ensure nothing is dangerous out in the open, but a determined dog will find their way into trouble. The best thing that we can be for our dogs is prepared. As pet parents, we’re always prepared to help, cuddle, and love them.

Knowing the proper steps to take and what to look out for can help you when it comes to dealing with a sick dog. It’s not always recommended that you induce vomiting, so knowing in what instances it’s safe to do so is important. Throwing up is a quick way to solve some problems, especially if you catch the issue early.

Read on to learn more about when (and when not) to make your dog throw up.

Why Might You Need To Induce Vomiting?

Dogs who get into something that is bad for their bodies will sometimes throw up on their own to get the substance out. However, this isn’t always the case.

If you notice that your dog is acting funny and they throw up, you should be sure to monitor their symptoms after the fact. It might help you to determine if this was a one-time thing or if you should seek professional veterinary help.

Dogs can get into foods they aren’t supposed to eat, items they aren’t supposed to chew on, and materials that can get stuck in their stomachs. It happens to the best of us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. If you have seen your dog swallow something they aren’t supposed to, you might be able to induce vomiting right away to try to get it before it can do any damage.

The First Step Is To Call Your Vet

Before you induce vomiting in your dog, it’s important to talk to a veterinarian. However, pet parents are all too familiar with this situation: Your dog gets into the trash at 5:05 PM, but your local vet’s office closes at 5:00 PM.

Luckily, with AskVet, you can chat at any time of the day or night. AskVet members have 24/7 access to our virtual veterinary experts, who can help advise you on your next course of action.

Inducing vomit is not recommended to do on your own without supervision or assistance from a professional, but if you can’t get to a hospital, you might need to take things into your own hands.

When you work with a veterinarian, they can walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to induce vomiting safely. With a veterinary expert on the line, you can ask questions and explain the scene live to get the best care possible — start your chat with AskVet’s veterinary experts today!

Whether you are talking to your vet or an AskVet 24/7 vet, they will ask you your dog’s size and weight, what exactly you think it is they ate, at what time, and how much. This will help determine what your next steps should be. In many cases, they might urge you to get to an emergency vet clinic as soon as possible.

When Shouldn’t You Induce Vomiting?

It’s more likely than not that your vet will tell you to come into the office or visit an ER rather than induce vomiting in your pet on your own. It’s not always safe to make them throw up, even in a terrifying emergency.

Be aware of the following when considering whether or not to induce vomiting in your dog:


When exactly did your dog ingest the unwanted object? If it happened more than two hours before you’re reading this, then throwing up might not help them.

It’s likely that the substance has been absorbed into their bodies or begun the digestive journey. If it’s more recent than this, or you are unsure of the timing, you can try to induce vomiting.

Item Ingested Was Sharp or Solid

If your dog has ingested an item that is sharp or solid, trying to make them throw it up could create an esophageal injury. This goes for items with sharp edges, batteries, or anything solid.

Some items will pass through their digestion system fine and exit out normally, so it’s not always the end of the world if your dog swallows something they shouldn’t have. The problem arises when those items block the small and large intestines and create an obstruction later on.

Chemical Ingestion

Dogs who get into chemicals risk burning and damaging their esophagus and mouth when vomited back up. Though you might think it would be helpful to get the chemicals out of their bodies, you do risk extra damage to their throats.

Contact Animal Poison Control immediately if your dog has ingested any kind of chemicals.

Difficulty Breathing

We never want to make a dog who is struggling to breathe throw up. This could make a dog choke and breathe the vomit into their lungs.

The repercussions from this could be severe complications like fatal pneumonia. At this point, contact a vet immediately to figure out the next best steps.

Health Conditions

If your dog has underlying health conditions, inducing vomit isn’t always recommended. For instance, if your dog has recently had surgery (specifically close to their abdomen), it might not be safe.

Dogs prone to seizures might not do well with induced vomiting either. This is why it’s important for you to contact your vet or an emergency vet before trying anything out.

How To Make Your Dog Throw Up

If your vet gives you the go-ahead to induce vomiting, there is likely one method that they will tell you to do. They will talk you through it and let you know exactly what your dog should be able to handle.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Most vets will recommend 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting at home without the help of a trained professional. This is likely to be recommended if your dog has ingested something in the last two hours. Anything higher than 3% could be potentially harmful to your dog, so be sure to stick to this exact kind.

Vets have recommended one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per five pounds of dog, but you should never exceed over three tablespoons in a sitting. You might need to use a turkey baster to ensure that it’s going down your dog’s throat. Wait 15 minutes and see if anything comes up. If nothing does, you may administer another teaspoon if your vet approves it.

Monitor Your Pup

For the next few hours, watch your dog like a hawk. Take note of any side effects, like lethargy or diarrhea. If your dog is continuously vomiting for more than 45 minutes, you might want to reach back out to your veterinarian.

During this time, you will want to keep your pet comfortable. They might be distressed and in pain from vomiting. Stay by their side and give them a nice space to lie down in. Make a follow-up appointment with a veterinarian no matter how well the inducing goes to ensure that everything is alright with your furry friend.

24/7 Animal Advice: AskVet

When you are in a panic, and your vet doesn’t pick up the phone, it can send you spiraling. As dog parents, we want our companions to be safe and healthy at all times.

If you have any concerns, you can always reach out to a representative at AskVet. When you sign up, you get 24/7 access to live chats with a veterinarian. You can also meet with a certified pet coach or trainer to discuss behavioral issues, nutrition, overall wellness, and more.

The less time you have to spend worrying about what to do to help your pet, the more time you can spend building memories with your best friend. AskVet provides reliable and professional care to you whenever you need it so you can feel a bit more at ease in your everyday life!


Emesis in dogs: a review | NCBI

The 10 Most Common Toxicoses In Dogs | ASPCA

Effectiveness And Adverse Effects Of The Use Of Apomorphine And 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Solution To Induce Emesis In Dogs In | Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Esophageal Foreign Bodies in Dogs: Presentation and Removal | TVP

Animal Poison Control | (888) 426-4435 | ASPCA

Black Spots on Dog’s Skin: When To Worry

Black Spots on Dog's Skin: When To Worry

As a dog lover, you probably notice even the slightest change in your dog’s behavior or appearance. You’re the one that is likely petting your dog all over and feeling their every nook and cranny. So, if you come across a change in the feeling or look of their skin, you will likely notice it.

If you see black spots on your dog’s skin, the first thing you might want to do is panic, but we urge you not to. Black spots on a dog’s skin are common appointments in veterinary offices, so your dog will be in good hands.

These spots can pop up anywhere but are most frequently near the underbelly and genitals. This condition is often referred to as “hyperpigmentation.” It can happen to any dog of any age and can allude to something else going on related to your dog’s health, but it’s not always life-threatening. That being said, your dog might be due for some vet care.

Keep reading to learn more about black spots and hyperpigmentation on your beloved pet.

Black Spots and Hyperpigmentation

If black spots have begun forming on your pup’s skin, it could be due to hyperpigmentation. This refers to when your dog starts producing higher amounts of melanin, which makes their skin’s natural pigmentation darker. This might become most noticeable on dogs with lighter coat colors than on darker-coated dogs.

These spots can come from aging, intense friction in one area, or even sun exposure. For the most part, hyperpigmentation could be harmless. As with anything, you’ll want to watch to see if new, unusual, or worrisome behaviors begin. For example, if your dog starts scratching, licking, or rubbing those areas, there might be something else going on.

Hyperpigmentation: What To Watch Out For

Hyperpigmentation is usually a sign that something else is going on. There might be other symptoms that accompany hyperpigmentation, but it’s not necessarily a diagnosis. It is not a specific disease you can treat but a symptom itself. Your dog might have skin that becomes hyperpigmented due to several different reasons.

Along with black spots showing up, you might notice that the skin becomes irritated. It might become rough or red, with the possibility of hair loss. It’s possible that your dog also experiences scaliness or itchiness around the black spot.

Some dogs experience hyperpigmentation that is moist, and others experience black spots that are very dry. It’s completely random and might be dependent on the kind of dog and the specific situation.

When your dog is experiencing other symptoms along with hyperpigmentation, consult with your veterinarian to find out about underlying conditions.

Is Hyperpigmentation a Primary or Secondary Condition?

Hyperpigmentation is a secondary condition, meaning that it is a secondary effect. It’s usually the result of something else. In many cases, these spots could form after skin trauma or due to the natural process of aging.

What might accompany black spots on a dog’s skin is an underlying skin-related issue. If you can figure out the underlying problem, you’ll have a much easier time learning how to treat hyperpigmentation and ensure your dog is comfortable.

What Causes Black Spots?

Black spots can show up on a dog at any point. If you notice black spots on your dog, you shouldn’t jump to the worst conclusion. First, consider if there have been any changes in their diets, behaviors, medications, or life that might be causing added stress or discomfort.

Some of the more common reasons why black spots might appear on your dog are:

  • Trauma: When a dog undergoes trauma to a certain body part, either from an injury or surgery, they might experience hyperpigmentation. The skin cells will go into repair mode and will release more melanin to protect the damaged skin.
  • Allergies: If your dog has an allergic reaction to something in their food or environment, it may cause black spots on the skin. You may not be able to cure them, but you can manage allergies to help soothe the skin.
  • Aging: As dogs age, they are more likely to experience hyperpigmentation. Monitoring your pup’s spots can help you protect your dog’s health.

Can These Spots Be Cancerous?

Unfortunately, these spots can be an indicator of melanoma cancer, but this is not always the case. These spots might be malignant (cancerous) or benign, but it will take further testing to provide you with exact answers. Cancerous melanomas are more likely to be found in hairless dogs, and these spots might grow quickly. If there is any rapid change in a black spot, you should reach out to your veterinarian immediately.

Skin cancer is the most common type of canine cancer. A range of culprits could be to blame, including UV radiation, chemicals, and more.

Benign melanoma should still be monitored for any change, but they usually just appear underneath the hair and are a few shades darker than the normal skin color. They might grow and change but at a much slower pace. They are viewed as not much more than a freckle!

The only way to know if a spot is benign or malignant is to book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

What About Black Spots That Look Like Dirt?

If there are flecks of dirt on your dog’s skin (usually on their underbelly) that you can never wipe off, your dog might be dealing with a yeast infection. This kind of infection is nothing to worry about and is easily treatable. This is caused by a fungus that grows in the darker and danker spots of the dog’s body, like ear canals and the groin area.

Your vet might recommend bathing your dog with special shampoo. If the yeast infection requires more care, your vet might be able to prescribe an ointment to assist with the treatment.

Treatment for Black Spots

If your dog has black spots, you’ll need them to receive a full evaluation by a veterinarian. The best way to figure out why your dog has black spots is to determine the underlying cause. If your dog has hyperpigmentation, there will generally be a reason for it — it’s just a matter of figuring it out.

If they’ve received a trauma to that area recently, it’s important they recover using the proper materials. If your dog has a skin infection, they should be prescribed the proper antibiotics and ointments needed to help resolve the issue. Managing their allergies can also help with hyperpigmentation as soon as you figure out what they’re allergic to.

With aging dogs, keep them as comfortable as possible and don’t let them irritate those areas any further. Keeping your little guy happy and comfortable is the goal!

Get Help With AskVet

Before you jump to conclusions, reach out to the professionals at AskVet, via our app and subscription for only $9.99/month. The Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ at AskVet are available to answer all your pet-related medical and behavioral questions. So if something seems to be going wrong, or even if you just have a question about your pet, we are here 24/7.

For a 360° pet wellness plan, schedule an appointment with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) and have all your questions answered.



Hyperpigmentation (Acanthosis Nigricans) in Dogs – Dog Owners | Merck Veterinary Manual

Cutaneous hyperpigmentation in dogs | NCBI

Comparative Aspects of Canine Melanoma | NCBI

Understanding principal and secondary conditions | The Loop

Dog Skin Cancer: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment | American Kennel Club

How To Express Your Dog’s Anal Glands in 10 Steps

How To Express Your Dog’s Anal Glands in 10 Steps

When we become dog parents, we look forward to long walks in the park, long cuddle sessions on the couch, and so much more!

However, when we think about all of the less-than-ideal things we have to do for our dogs, that lengthy list isn’t quite so “warm and fuzzy.” Cleaning up when they have diarrhea on the rug or vomit in the car is no walk in the park, but we love them, so we deal with it. Unfortunately, those aren’t even the stinkiest things your dog could conjure up.

When our dogs’ anal glands release, they smell similar to that of a very stinky fish. This usually signals that we need to express their glands to provide them with relief. Plus, this will clear up the smell in the air.

This kind of treatment is often available at your bi-yearly veterinarian check-ups (or sometimes at the groomer) for an additional price and can be very helpful. Yet, some dogs are more prone to impacted anal glands than others, and twice a year might not be enough.

This is where learning how to do it on your own comes into play. Keep reading to learn more about how to express your dog’s anal glands at home!

What Are Anal Glands?

The anal glands — also referred to as anal sacs — are scent glands located on both sides of your dog’s rectum. When your dog poops, these sacs usually empty out a small amount of fluid that passes your dog’s scent into their stool.

Dogs can express their anal glands involuntarily, too, not just when they are going to the bathroom. This might happen because your dog is scared or anxious and is always followed by an extremely pungent odor. It’s hard to miss the smell; it isn’t nearly as sweet smelling as a new puppy.

How Do They Become Impacted?

An impacted anal gland will have difficulty expressing on their own. They can become clogged and infected if they don’t express themselves, and your dog’s behavior might raise a few concerns. Pups might scoot around on the ground trying to find relief as a full anal sac can be very uncomfortable.

Anal sacs become impacted due to inflammation in the anal ducts. This inflammation thickens the ducts and causes a backup because anal fluid cannot secrete out. If this becomes the case, it’s time to take our dogs to the vet to get checked out.

Do Dogs Express Anal Glands on Their Own?

Normally, your dog will express their anal glands on their own every time they poop. This happens naturally, as a little bit of liquid is supposed to come out every time they go. They might mistakenly express when anxious, but these are the only two ways they can do it on their own. If there is an issue with their expression, dogs will need help from humans.

How Do You Know if Anal Glands Need To Be Expressed?

Your dog might become visibly uncomfortable if they have issues with their anal glands. An impacted anal gland can be swollen and irritated to the point that it is painful. Your dog might try to scoot their rear around the carpet or outside on the grass, searching for relief. They might begin to lick at their bottoms incessantly because of this irritation.

Additionally, your dog might have difficulty going to the bathroom, to the point that they are straining very hard when pushing. You might notice blood in the stool or near the rectum if the discomfort is that bad.

Anal Gland Expression at the Vet’s Office

Dogs can get their anal glands expressed when they go into their veterinary check-ups. Usually, this has an additional cost, but it is so worth it if your dog is prone to issues.

This is also the easiest way to get your dog’s anal glands expressed because your vet knows what they are doing. But what if your dog has a frequent need for anal gland expression?

Learning how to do it at home can be very valuable:

How To Express Them at Home

Expressing them at home doesn’t seem ideal, but it will bring comfort to your pet. Plus, as dog lovers, we have to be prepared to do anything for our furry friends… including expressing their anal glands.

What You’ll Need

You will want a solid surface to place your pet when expressing their glands. Small dogs can be placed on a table, and larger dogs can sit on the ground.

Some supplies you’ll want to consider are:

  • Disposable medical gloves
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Towel for underneath your dog
  • Paper towels
  • Washcloth and warm soapy water
  • Trash bag
  • Someone to help you keep your dog calm and still
  • Lots of treats!

This process can feel intimidating the first few times you try to do it with your dog, but the more often you do it, the better you’ll feel about it. (PS: Sometimes, having a lick mat filled with peanut butter can help to distract your dog.)

Expressing Anal Glads Step-by-Step

The process of expressing anal glands at home is not always fun — for your dog or you.

Every dog and situation is unique, but here are some general guidelines:

  1. First, load up your lick mat with peanut butter and place your dog on a flat surface.
  2. Have the person who is helping you gently restrain your dog. They can do this by placing one arm underneath and around your dog’s neck and the other holding onto their body.
  3. Put on your medical gloves and put some petroleum jelly onto your index finger and thumb.
  4. Think of your dog’s anus like a clock (it might be weird, but trust us, it will likely help). The anal glands are located at the 8 and 4 o’clock positions. Lift your dog’s tail and place your lubricated index finger about an inch into your dog’s rectum.
  5. Bring your thumb and index finger together to begin releasing your dog’s anal glands. You will feel for a firm pea-sized object.
  6. Once you have located the anal sac, you will place a paper towel in front of the area to capture any oil that comes out. They are known to squirt outwards at you, so be prepared!
  7. Slowly squeeze until you can no longer feel the gland. Once it’s gone, that means the sac has been fully released.
  8. You will repeat these steps when doing the other anal gland.
  9. Afterward, use warm soapy water to clean the area. This will help to limit the fishy smell that comes out.
  10. Praise your dog and give them lots of treats and loving.

Have More Questions?

You may find that you’re asking yourself lots of questions when it comes to your dog’s health and behavior. Regardless of if you’re a long-time or brand new pet parent, your dog will surprise you with what they can get into. While most dogs are generally healthy and happy, issues and concerns may arise that you need answers to.

With AskVet, you can talk to a Pet Coach who can help answer any questions that pop up about your pup (or your fish, cat, horse, lizard, or more).

When you sign up for a membership with AskVet, not only do you have 24/7 assistance from our expert veterinarians but also access to the  AskVet community, and One Pet ID.

Not only can we answer your questions, but we can create personalized treatment and behavioral plans to help with training or pain management. Join AskVet, and the next time you need to express your dog’s anal glands at home or need any other guidance, we’re here.



Description Of The Bacterial Microbiota Of Anal Sacs In Healthy Dogs | NCBI

A Cross-Sectional Study On Canine And Feline Anal Sac Disease | NCBI

Anal Glands in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know | American Kennel Club

When Is a Dog Considered an Adult: Life Stages 101

When Is a Dog Considered an Adult: Life Stages 101

If you’re the pet parent of a young dog, you might be wondering, “At what age will my dog be considered an adult?” You might be wondering this as your puppy chews your shoe or starts licking your face at 3 AM.

Generally speaking, puppies are considered adults at one year old. However, dogs mature at a different rate than humans do. Depending on the breed, they stop growing at various points in their life. We’ll discuss how to best navigate the transition from puppyhood to adulthood. Then, we’ll review what signs might indicate the beginning of adulthood for your dog.

Let’s get started!

Puppyhood Milestones

Puppies learn skills throughout the different stages of their development that are built upon in adolescence.

Join us as we review a general timeline and the puppyhood milestones that can influence your dog’s adolescent years.

Behavior: From Birth to Adoption

During the first seven to 13 weeks of their lives, puppies learn basic behaviors from their mother and littermates. These become the foundation for future interactions with other dogs. This includes showing submissiveness and exerting dominance appropriately, as well as being receptive to another dog’s cues and boundaries.

Puppies are not mentally mature enough to adjust to change until after seven weeks, so it is important that they stay with their litter until then.

Eight/14 Weeks: Time To Go Home!

At eight weeks, puppies are mature enough, both mentally and physically, to be adopted into their forever homes. However, many pet experts believe that 14 weeks might be a better age than the traditional eight-week mark previously used. This is the age where they are capable of bonding with you, and while they adjust to being in your home, you can begin training them.

Let’s discuss how you can help them through this transition:

Eight Weeks to Adolescence: What To Expect

When you first bring your pup home, it will take time for them to trust you. Training classes are a great way to bond with them; dogs are pack animals and thrive in a structured environment.

Puppies are energetic, and training will allow them to use their energy productively. Ideally, by the time they reach adolescence, they will rely on you for reassurance as they begin to gain independence.

You can also begin feeding them regular puppy food at eight weeks, as they would have been weaned off of their mother’s milk by this time. Check with your pup’s previous home to continue the food they were already on. We don’t want any upset tummies!

Sixteen Weeks: Training and Emotional Development

From the age of eight weeks to sixteen weeks, puppies begin to observe their surroundings more closely. Experiences during this stage, whether positive or negative, can strongly influence their perspective of the world around them.

The key to this period of their development is exposing them to many positive experiences while making negative experiences appear safe and positive. This can help ensure that their experiences (especially experiences that are necessary, such as vet appointments) do not have a lasting negative impact.

Now is the ideal age to start training your pup. They can easily learn commands as they have already begun to absorb information about their environment. During training, use positive reinforcement, such as rewarding them with treats when they follow instructions. This could lead to them associating a reward with following commands correctly, allowing them to understand more quickly.

Four Months to Adolescence

Before they reach adolescence, your dog might become less dependent on you and feel more confident. You can encourage puppies during this time by continuing to expose them to unfamiliar experiences to learn how to behave in different environments.

When Does Adolescence Begin?

The age at which adolescence begins varies between breeds, as certain dogs may develop faster than others. However, it usually begins between the ages of six months to one year for most dogs.

During adolescence, dogs can experience hormonal and behavioral changes that are often mistaken for general disobedience. Your dog’s adolescent stage is similar to a human’s teenage years, making this time extremely important for continued socialization and training.

Adolescent dogs are impressionable and motivated to learn new things but lack impulse control. Providing them with mental and physical stimulation can help keep them active.

Let’s talk more about what you can do to navigate this stage of your dog’s development:

What Does My Adolescent Dog Need?

Rather than trying to teach your adolescent dog to control their impulses, it is best to give them a variety of ways to utilize their energy. This can help keep them entertained, as they may want to be more active than they were previously. You might consider investing in different types of chew toys, puzzle toys, or rawhide bones to keep them occupied.

Taking them on long walks is another great way to ensure they can stay active regularly. The bottom line is that adolescent dogs need plenty of stimulation so that they can be well-adjusted to a wide range of environments and circumstances in adulthood.

Your Dog’s Physical Development

Now that we’ve discussed how your dog’s mental and emotional development may progress from puppyhood to adolescence, you might be curious about how they develop physically until they reach full maturity in adulthood.

Let’s learn more:

When Will My Dog Reach Full Size?

Dogs stop growing once they reach their full size in adulthood, but the amount of time this takes can vary based on what breed your dog is. It is important to understand when your dog will reach full size; different breeds have specific requirements for diet and exercise to help maintain their health.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re wondering how big your dog will get:

Does One Size Breed Grow Faster Than the Others?

Large dogs usually take more time to reach full size because they have bigger bones that develop more slowly compared to small dogs. Most large dogs could continue growing until one year to 18 months old. Small dogs could reach their full size between six to eight months old.

Puppies of medium size breeds can stop growing once they are one year old. If your puppy is purebred, you can predict their potential adult size based on their breed and dog parents. By contrast, it might be more difficult to know your puppy’s full size if they are a mixed breed.

How Do I Feed and Exercise My Dog?

Your dog’s ideal diet and exercise routine can depend on age and breed size. Exercise is a crucial aspect of a dog’s health during puppyhood. Rigorous activity early on in their lives can damage bone and joint health in the long term.

A puppy’s diet differs from an adult dog’s, as puppies need a diet that supports their growth. Puppies who become obese could be likely to have health issues when they get older, so it is best to feed them a diet that keeps them healthy.

How Will My Dog’s Diet and Exercise Change After Puppyhood?

When it comes to diet and exercise, puppies who are still growing don’t have the same needs as fully developed adult dogs. Now that you know the advantages of giving your puppy a diet and exercise routine which benefits their long-term health, you’re probably wondering how these could change once they reach adulthood.

Let’s explore your dog’s needs further:

Nutrition in Puppyhood

Puppies and adult dogs need the same six essential nutrients in their diets, though the proportions of these can depend on your dog’s individual characteristics. All dogs need minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, fat, and water. Bowls of fresh water should be inside and outside so that your dog is always well-hydrated.

Puppy food with critical nutrients in the proper amounts is key to maintaining their health. All six nutrients are equally vital to their diet, as disproportionate amounts can impact both short-term and long-term health. So what happens if a puppy’s diet isn’t balanced?

How Diet Can Impact Your Puppy’s Health

An unbalanced diet can lead to several health issues for your puppy. Some possibilities can include inadequate calcium resulting in affected bone growth and immune system issues.

Nutrition and Exercise in Adulthood

Adult dogs have similar nutritional needs to puppies, but adult dogs can exercise more frequently without negative health consequences.

The amount and type of food you can feed your adult dog can be determined by their size, breed, and how active they are. Their activity level on a regular basis is important to their overall diet, as they need to replace calories lost during times of activity.

Knowledge Is Power: What To Know and Why

Now you know all about your dog’s development, milestones, and needs from puppyhood to adulthood. Why? Well, when you have an idea of the potential timeline for your dog’s growth, it can be easier to get supplies for them.

This includes items like leashes, collars, and harnesses that properly fit your dog as they grow. If you have the right supplies for them, they are less likely to become uncomfortable due to ill-fitting equipment. This can help training go smoothly, especially during puppyhood, when they might be more sensitive to unfamiliar textures and sensations.

Additionally, being aware of your dog’s development process can help you better understand your dog’s overall temperament. For instance, some dogs may be more active or energetic than others simply because of their breed.

Understanding your dog’s temperament could make it easier to train them and know how much training, stimulation, and enrichment they’ll need.

As Your Pup Grows Up

For more help navigating your dog’s transition from puppyhood to adulthood, you can become a member of the AskVet app for only $9.99 a month.

Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ can provide you with a personalized pet care plan for your pooch, 24/7 advice, and more. Schedule an appointment with a CPLc™ today and get started on growing with your pets!



When Does My Puppy Finish Growing? How Long Do Puppies Grow? | American Kennel Club

Developmental Stages of Puppy Behavior | PAWS

Managing Your Adolescent Puppy | RSPCA

At What Age Should Puppies Be Brought to Their New Homes? | Psychology Today

The 4 Best Pet Snakes & What They Need To Thrive

The 4 Best Pet Snakes & What They Need To Thrive

Going through the process of adopting a snake is exciting and unique because depending on which snake you end up with, you’ll have to cater to their specific needs. Every snake that you come across is different and requires certain care requirements and commitment. Before you get a snake, you need to cover all of your bases — from your available space, budget, knowledge, and what care they will need.

If you want a snake, it should be because you care deeply about their well-being and want to invite them into your family, regardless of how involved they become. Having a snake can be a cool thing and an amazing experience, but it’s a pretty big commitment.

To learn more about a variety of beautiful snakes and how to help them thrive, for beginners and experienced owners, keep reading.

How To Pick a Snake

Before picking out a snake to adopt, consider all your options. When you research the breeds, prepare yourself for what kind of life they will need, and make educated decisions about their lives, you will find yourself a perfect match.

Not everyone is capable of caring for a snake, and it often comes down to how much time and commitment you have to a particular snake or breed. If you are a brand new snake parent, you don’t want to try and adopt a more complex or unpredictable snake breed. This puts yourself (and your snake) at risk for danger.

How Advanced Is Your Snake Care Knowledge?

You might have seen stories about snakes in the media that seem unreal and that has drawn you in. Maybe you really, really like large snakes because they are fascinating and powerful creatures. We get it; we love snakes too!

However, not everyone (actually very few) is capable of properly caring for some of the more well-known snakes. Even snakes that are considered to be docile considering their impressive size, like the Boa constrictor or Burmese python, require a certain amount of expertise and skill.

If you are new to having pet snakes, your knowledge might be limited to what you’ve read online, and that’s okay. You’ll learn from first-hand experiences and by discussing caring for snakes with others in the reptile community. This just means that starting off with beginner snakes can ensure that both you and the snake get the most out of the experience.

Understanding the Breed

Before you take in a snake, you should do as much research as possible on that snake breed. You want to understand what kind of care they need, what their eating regimen is like, their shedding cycles, their levels of comfortability, and what kind of space they require.

You should probably avoid venomous and constricting snakes since they require a much higher degree of knowledge and hands-on skills to care for safely.

Where Should You Get a Pet Snake?

It’s preferred that you get your snake from a reputable breeder or adoption agency. While it might be fun to come across a wild snake and ponder what it would be like to keep it and take it home, they will never be considered tame. You won’t have an easy time with a wild snake, and they are more prone to parasites and diseases.

Breeders can let you know about any health issues that might or have arisen, but it’s more likely that your snake will be healthy if coming from trustworthy sources.

Things You Should Consider With Pet Snakes

Loving a snake is not the same as carding for one goldfish or one hamster. Snakes are known to be predators, and some are more dangerous than others. A snake will usually know how to protect itself from threats, and at first, they could view you as a threat as well. Unlike with dogs, you don’t get a snake and start cuddling on the very first night.

While you should be able to handle your snake, you might find that it is best if it happens infrequently and only when necessary. And that’s okay! Not all snakes enjoy human contact. Snakes can easily be stressed out (just like us!), and we want them to be able to chill.

Don’t be upset if your snake isn’t the biggest fan of being handled. Just like the old breakup phrase, “It’s not you, it’s them.” Your snake still appreciates you, but they might be better at loving you from afar.


To properly care for a snake, you have to be sure you’re ready to commit to their care and wellbeing. Snakes can be a decades-long commitment, depending on what their lifespan is. You might even want to make plans for their continued care in any wills or similar documents.

All breeds are different, so you have to be prepared to learn about whatever breed you’re bringing home. You might need special food, a certain size enclosure, certain kinds of heat lamps, particular humidity levels, and specialized places for your snake to hide or climb.

Snakes kept in enclosures have no way to take care of themselves when it comes to food and cleanliness, so they rely on their owners to help them feel their best.

Overall Costs

House snakes for beginners might not cost too much to purchase at a pet store, but all of the equipment you will need can add up. That, and the live feed that they will likely need. They are relying on you to feed them, so a consistent stream of mice is going to be necessary.

As your snake grows, you might need to upgrade their enclosures, making them more spacious while still including objects and obstacles they enjoy. You will need lightbulbs for your heat lamps to keep your cold-blooded companion warm when needed.

It is a serious financial commitment. So, before you go ahead and adopt a snake, you should make sure you’re fully capable. This just helps to ensure you and your snake are happy and stress-free.


You will want to be adept at handling your snake, and there is a proper way to prepare for it. First, clean your hands before you handle your snake so that they don’t mistake your fingers for food. Get your snake used to your hands by placing them against the glass for several minutes and letting them flick their tongues at you.

Keep your movements slow and steady, so you don’t surprise them at all. At the same time, you want to take note of their behaviors. If you think your snake is uncomfortable or nervous (like hissing, for example), back away and give your slithery friend some space.


As for their enclosure, your snake is an escape artist in the making. They will try to figure a way out and will likely be successful, so the enclosure you choose should be completely locked up when you aren’t around. Look into what enclosures are known to be safest, and check that it’s closed properly when you leave.

The last thing you want is a snake on the loose.

Every Snake Is Different

No two snakes are the same, so they require different needs. Even snakes that fall into the same family, like the different kinds of pythons and constrictors, have vastly different needs and attitudes. Being a first-time snake parent is certainly a wonderful learning opportunity!

There are unique feeding routines, temperatures, objects, and safety protocols you have to undergo to properly handle them and keep both you and the snake happy. But once you get used to your new friend, you’ll understand just how amazing of an experience it is to have a snake in your home.

Snakes for Beginners

All snakes are cool and fascinating, but not all make the best pets, especially for beginners. If you are new to owning a snake, you should consider some of the following beginner-friendly snakes to start with. Not only are they great pets with their own quirks and needs, but they are rather easy-going creatures.

1. Hognose snake

The Western Hognose snake is best known for their adorable upturned nose. They are native to the Western parts of the United States, as well as Mexico and Canada. They like to be active around dawn and dusk and usually make for easy-going pets. In the wild, they might go for small lizards, bugs, and toads but will also eat mice in captivity.

The Hognose snake is usually around two feet long, but some adults can reach up to four feet. They can live up to 20 years in captivity, so it’s a long commitment.

If a Hognose feels threatened, they will flatten their heads and hiss at you, potentially striking but rarely biting. Even in the scariest situations, the Hognose would rather play dead than bite you. When they gain your trust, they become much easier to handle and take care of.

2. Corn snake

The Corn snake is often best known as the easiest beginner snake, and it’s an excellent pet reptile in general. This is because of their docile nature and the fact that they stay pretty small. They grow up to four feet long and usually require at least a 20-gallon tank. Similar to the Hognose, a Corn snake can live up to 20 years in captivity.

Corn snakes are usually reddish-orange with dark red-black blotches. They like a warm environment to keep them feeling good. These snakes need their tank to be between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and like enough obstacles to keep them busy. They will eat pinky mice happily and live a long and healthy life.

3. Garter snake

If you’ve ever seen a snake in your backyard or in the woods, you may have seen a Garter snake. This is one of the most populous snakes out there, both in the wild and as pets. These snakes are virtually harmless and only grow up to four feet long, making them relatively small.

They eat worms, small fish, and bugs and don’t require much maintenance. This is a great snake to own if you have kids because they are very low risk and a fun way to educate them on this snake species.

They do enjoy basking in the sun, so you should give them a good rock to lay out on, along with a nice heat lamp. Now, that’s a nice life!

4. Ball python

The Ball python is another great first snake option for beginner snake owners, but it should be noted that they are known to be picky eaters. They could go through periods of time where they refuse to eat or will only eat if the mouse is recently killed. This can cause problems for people looking for a more structured care routine. Unfortunately, you might not get that with a Ball python.

On the flip side, you’ll love their calm nature. This snake likes being held, making the ball python a good beginner snake. Once you and your Ball python are comfortable with each other, they become a very interactive pet to have.

These snakes get to about five feet long and need plenty of space and substrate like shredded newspaper in their terrarium or vivarium to hide away and relax.

These non-venomous snakes can live from 20 to even 50 years if properly taken care of, so be sure to keep that in mind.

Other Reptiles and Amphibians To Consider

If you’re looking for other good pets in the reptile and amphibian kingdom, consider the ones listed below:

  • Bearded dragon
  • The Milk Snake
  • Smooth Green Snake
  • Leopard Gecko
  • Children’s Python

Have More Questions?

At AskVet, we wonder why it’s dogs and cats that get all the fun! Our team of Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ are trained in all manners of animal care for all animals. Fish? Naturally. Dogs? Of course. Cats? Lizards? Snakes. Triple yes.

For a 360° Pet Wellness Plan created just for your pet, access to any questions you have (24/7), and everything a pet parent needs, become a member of AskVet.

If you have questions about your snake’s behaviors and feeding habits, or if they are undergoing a shedding cycle and something looks astray, you can reach out to AskVet any time of the day. We love your pet almost as much as you love your pet, so sign-up today for just $9.99/month to start today.



Hognose Snake | Behavior, Size, & Facts | Britannica

Garter Snake | Habitat, Diet, & Facts | Britannica

Python Regius | University of Michigan 

Your First Pet Snake- the Best Choices | Tampa Veterinary Hospital

Snake Predation Strategies – Part 2: Venom and Constriction | The University of Melbourne

How To Help Your Grieving Dog in Mourning

How To Help Your Grieving Dog in Mourning

For many of us, losing a part of our family is one of the most difficult times to experience. Yet, we don’t always consider how these losses can affect our furry canine friends. Whether we lose a grandmother, sister, uncle, dog, cat, or bird, there is a sense of mourning that is bound to settle on the house — and humans aren’t the only ones who feel it. The loss of a pet is as heartbreaking as the loss of a human in many cases.

Our dogs are highly sensitive and intuitive creatures, who can tell when something is off with their normal routine. Especially when they are able to recognize the absence of a family member. Your dog’s best friend could have been your cat, and when they pass, your dog might not quite understand where their buddy went and why they aren’t able to find them in the house.

So how are you supposed to help your dog when they are struggling with the changes but unsure exactly why? It can be tricky to communicate these changes to a pet, but there are ways that you can comfort your pup so that they can grieve for their friend and learn ways to cope.

Continue reading for more information on the mourning process for dogs and ways you can help comfort them.

Do Dogs Mourn the Loss of an Animal or Person?

While we cannot verbally communicate our emotions with our pets, pet parents often have a good sense of what their dogs are expressing. Based on behavior and mood, we can pick up on how our dog might feel, even if we can’t be 100% certain.

It’s well recognized that dogs do feel happiness, fear, sadness, excitement, and possessiveness, so they can likely experience the feeling of grieving. It ties in with sadness, but there is a bit more to it. Your dog has experienced a loss. Without that presence in their life, the confusion mixes with their sadness and creates even greater pain.

What Are Signs of a Grieving Dog?

When your furry friend has lost a loved one important to them, you might recognize changes in their behavior resembling mourning. If your dog has a sudden mood change and is moping around more frequently and not showing interest in activities they love, they could be depressed.

If they are showing signs of loss of appetite or avoiding play time (which is unusual behavior for them), they could be under the stress of the change in their daily routine. Similarly, they might sleep more and have lower activity levels. Perhaps it seems like they are sulking or moving more slowly than you’re accustomed to.

If these signs are persistent and either a person or pet a part of your family has recently passed, your dog could be reacting directly to that loss.

Why Might a Grieving Pet Be Mourning?

It can be challenging to explain to your dog what has happened to someone they love. For instance, explaining death to a dog is impossible. One day someone is here, and the next, they aren’t. Sometimes the loss isn’t related to death, but other life changes.

For example, dogs who have family members go off to college, experience divorce or breakups between their human parents, or have a neighbor that moves might struggle to know where their person has gone. They will often show signs of grief as you go through your own grief process.

So your dog might not have experienced a death in their close circle, but rather just the act of no longer being with someone they love. This experience is still hard, despite you (as the owner) knowing these people can come to visit.

If the individual visits often (like a college student), your dog may become used to this and be lifted from the grieving process. Then, it’s back to cuddles and playing fetch. Sometimes, this is possible, and your pup keeps feeling blue.

The absence of a person or pet that your dog has grown accustomed to is devastating to an animal, and we need to lend them a supportive paw. Then, you can work on ways to help your dog grieve the loss of something they love.

How Can You Help a Mourning Dog?

Your dog is undergoing something that even they can’t quite explain. All they know is that things have changed, and someone they love is not around all the time. If it’s a person they grew attached to, your dog might be struggling with a sense of purpose. If their routine is disrupted because of the loss of this individual, your dog might benefit from new routines to help distract them.

If your dog has lost one of their siblings or other animal companions, keeping items that the animal liked available to your dog can provide comfort. Dogs grieve the loss of animal companions, which comes as no surprise.

Imagine losing your best friend, the one you share treats with, go on walks with, cuddle with, and play with all day when everyone else is at work. It can be hard to accept that things are now different! It can be difficult for your dog to learn to cope, but you can help make things easier.

Spend Some Quality Time With Them

When your dog is in mourning, they will need more of your time. They will likely be extra lonely and will not want to leave your sign. If they have grown to become more anxious, fearing that you too will leave, they might form some separation anxiety.

If you engage more with your dog in doing activities they love, it might help to distract them from the loss. Going on walks and taking car rides or getting puppy-safe ice cream are good ways for you to spend time with your pet in a positive way. You might even want to make sure that someone is home at any given point in the day so that your dog isn’t alone for the first few weeks might soothe your pup’s stress.

Offer Lots of Extra Attention

Tying into quality time is giving your dog more affection than normal. Petting can be very soothing for both you and your pet, and it can help when your dog is grieving. If your dog likes being petted and kissed, now is a time to bump up your efforts. Carve out more time cuddling with your pet, petting them whenever you walk by or checking in on them every half hour.

Your dog will appreciate the additional love that they desperately need. Interacting with your pet frequently allows your dogs to get a little burst of serotonin. If your dog begins to feel lonely, these additional bouts of affection can boost their morale.

Consider Veterinary Assistance

If your dog has undergone several weeks of grieving, it might be best to consult with a veterinarian about prescribing them medications. Some medications can be prescribed to dogs to help reduce their anxiety and depression. You might not want to do this for a prolonged period, but it can help your dog as they struggle to mourn.

Your vet might want to do a physical exam before prescribing your dog any medication to rule out any other issues.

Introduce Your Dog to New Friends

If your dog is grieving and lonely, it might be nice to introduce them to new or old friends. Having dog playmates that your dog gets along with and feels respected by can bring out a puppy-like charm in your dog.

Not all dogs love to socialize in large groups, but setting up puppy playdates with neighborhood or other family dogs can give your pup a well-deserved energy boost. You can even invite some of your dog’s favorite people over to play with. Any kind of happy distraction is worth it to watch your dog pull themselves out of a funk!

What To Do When Introducing a New Dog to Your Family

While we don’t expect you to do this immediately, it might be worth adding another dog to your family when you are ready. Your pup might be missing their best friend, and not that they could be replaced, but having a new dog around can help your dog heal. If you add a new pet to the equation right away, it could add stress to your already grieving dog.

Once your pet has had time to adjust to the loss of a companion, adding another pet to the family can bring them joy. It helps them focus their energy on new tasks and interactions. No, it doesn’t replace the loss you all feel, but there is a sense of happiness from watching everyone fall in love with a new family member.

Support From People for Your Pets

Grieving dogs can experience many similar symptoms to having other diseases or issues. But, if your dog has just experienced a loss, these symptoms are likely in direct relation to that loss. To be sure, you can reach out to AskVet and let us know what your concerns are.

When you sign-up today, you get 24/7 access to our team of Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ who can guide you through what your pet is experiencing. We can offer support and a plan to help your pet overcome their grief and become their happy, normal self. If you don’t address their grief, things can progress, and your dog can begin to have behavioral changes.

Sign up to access individualized care, FREE One Pet ID tag, a supportive community, and more. And don’t forget to give your pet an extra squeeze tonight from all of us here at AskVet!



Study Suggests Pets Grieve | American Veterinary Medical Association

Domestic Dogs (Canis Familiaris) Grieve Over The Loss Of A Conspecific | Scientific Reports

Use Of Trazodone As An Adjunctive Agent In The Treatment Of Canine Anxiety Disorders: 56 Cases (1995–2007) | American Veterinary Medical Association

Prednisone for Dogs 101: Uses & Side Effects

Prednisone for Dogs 101: Uses & Side Effects

Your veterinarian has prescribed prednisone for your dog, and you want some additional clarification on what exactly it is and what it does. No worries, we are here to clarify some of your questions and get you more familiar with this new prescription. If your dog has an inflammatory condition, itchy and irritated, or has Addison’s disease, they might be prescribed prednisone.

Keep reading to learn more about prednisone and how it can impact your dog:

What Is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid similar to cortisol but much more potent, having a quicker and more immediate effect. Corticosteroids help to manage inflammation and have anti-inflammatory properties. Basically, it’s a steroid that works to help your dog feel better in the now and down the line.

Prednisone can be administered orally, topically, or by injection. When administered, the liver takes it and processes it into prednisolone. If your dog has liver disease, your vet might opt for synthetic prednisolone to reduce hepatic stress on the dog.

What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Prednisone?

Prednisone is a commonly prescribed medication for a reason: it’s safe and effective. But that doesn’t always mean that your dog will avoid any potential side effects of short-term use. In general, these side effects aren’t usually too debilitating; they might just require a bit more love and attention to help your dog adapt.

Some common side effects of prednisone are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Behavioral changes
  • Increased urination
  • Panting
  • Increased hunger

Most of the time, your dog will return to feeling normal within a few days of coming off the medication. If you have any concerns about your pet’s behavior, it’s essential to reach out to a professional with your questions. This just ensures your pet’s safety and your peace of mind.

Uses of Prednisone in Dogs

Prednisone is prescribed to dogs for a variety of reasons. It’s usually prescribed as an immunosuppressant or anti-inflammatory medication. Prednisone is known to be used as replacement therapy for endocrine disorders like Addison’s disease. Replacement therapy means that you’re supplying the body with what it’s lacking, maybe hormones or nutrients.

It can also treat abnormal cells, anaphylactic shock, or spinal cord trauma. Some of the other reasons might include:

  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Allergic reactions
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases like lupus and autoimmune hemolytic anemia

Dosage for Dogs

The dosage for prednisone is based on your dog’s weight and condition. You shouldn’t be giving any more than what is prescribed and give it to your pup on a strict schedule.

If you were to give a higher dose by accident, you could lead to an overdose, which causes serious side effects:

  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy and muscle weakness
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure

If any of these occur after administering your dog prednisone, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Long-Term Effects of Prednisone in Dogs

Most pets will be put on prednisone for a short period of time, but that’s not always the case. The longer that your dog has to be on prednisone, the more likely for side effects to start popping up. Some dogs need to be on it for up to four months or longer, but your veterinarian will likely monitor the situation extra carefully if this is the case.

If your dog has a serious health condition, like IBS or arthritis, you might want to ask your veterinarian about other options. Long-term use of prednisone can lead to a variety of side effects. When there is a surplus of prednisolone in the body, it can lead to liver dysfunction and even Cushing’s disease.

If you have had your dog on prednisone for some time, it’s advised that you don’t just let them quit it cold-turkey. Instead, your vet will advise you on how your pup should taper off. This method can help prevent any adverse side effects or withdrawal symptoms.

For example, your dog could possibly have a suppressed immune system after relying on prednisone for so long, so stopping it quickly can disrupt any healing that’s being done.

Is It Safe?

There is always a risk with any medication. The best way to ensure that your dog is safe and comfortable is to monitor their behavior and ask questions when they arise. You’ll know better than anyone else if your dog is in need of a check-up or if they are just extra tired that day.

Vets typically recommend avoiding prednisone if your dog has viral infections, systemic fungal infections, ulcers, and a few others. Make sure to consult your vet before using prednisone if your dog has any of these medical conditions.

In addition, prednisone has several drug interactions, including:

  • CBD supplements
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and carprofen
  • Phenobarbital
  • Cyclosporine

Feel Better Soon

When your questions and concerns do arise, you’ll want a friendly face available at any time of the day or night. Say goodbye to 2 AM frantic Google searches and hello to AskVet for the immediate and professional response you need.

The purpose of AskVet is to provide pet parents with 24/7 assistance so that they can put their worries to ease. We get that not every question or action requires a trip to the vet, but sometimes you still want answers in a timely fashion. AskVet pairs you with Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, who can help answer questions about any pet members of your family (fish, lizards, dogs, cats, and more!).

Of course, if there is anything completely out of the ordinary that’s causing you to panic, you should call the emergency vet and get your dog help. AskVet is here to help your pet to a healthier lifestyle with a 360° Lifestyle Plan, individualized to each fluffy, feathery, or scaly member of your household.

Schedule an appointment with a CPLC™ today for just $9.99/month and access our wide range of experts, resources, community, and more.



Pharmacokinetics of Oral Prednisone at Various Doses in Dogs: Preliminary Findings Using a Naïve Pooled-Data Approach | Frontiers In Veterinary Science

Management Of Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease) In Dogs | NCBI

Prednisone-Induced Morphologic And Chemical Changes In The Liver Of Dogs | SAGE Journals

What Fish Can Live With Bettas: A Tank-Mate’s Guide

What Fish Can Live With Bettas: A Tank-Mate’s Guide

Perhaps one of the first things that you associate with the Betta Fish is a fighting fish. Their perceived aggressiveness towards other fish might have you wondering if they are a fish that you can cohabitate with other species. The short answer is: yes.

But there are certain fish that can live better with Betta’s so that everyone can be comfortable and content. The last thing you want to do as a fish lover is for your fish to be unhappy in their environment. You don’t want anyone to fight, and you would much rather watch your little companions live peacefully together as part of an ecosystem. You want every day to be like an underwater pool party for your fishy friends!

If you are wondering if your Betta is lonely, they might be. So, it’s good to know what kinds of fish will do well in your tank alongside them. Not every fish is the same, and they have their own individual needs that need to be considered before adding them to your tank.

Keep reading to find out which underwater friends would live happily with your Betta:

A Little Bit of Background on the Betta

Betta fish are the beautiful, multi-colored, solitary fish you usually see upon entrance into any pet store. They are a beautiful fish that comes in an expansive variety, making each one unique from the next. These fish are known to be aggressive, fighting fish, so many people are unsure of whether or not they would do well in a larger fish tank setting.

What Is the Temperament of Betta Fish?

When it comes to temperament, the sex of your fish can determine how they act with other fish. In organized fish fighting competitions, male Betta fish were pitted against each other. These contests are often protested and are slowly being shut down.

Unfortunately, male Betta fish are known to be aggressive towards each other. Therefore, keeping two male Betta fish in a tank could result in fighting. Otherwise, Betta fish do well with a variety of other fish.

Another factor that might play into their aggressiveness is how big their tank is. The more space they have, the less likely they are to pick a fight with any other fish.

What a Betta Needs from a Tank

Often, Betta’s start off in tiny containers that they aren’t meant to live in forever. If you want to give your Betta fish a good life, you need to give them space to swim around in.

Best Tank Size for Betta Fish

Bettas can be kept in tanks as small as five gallons. Note that the smaller the tank size, the less likely they are to get along with other animals. While a five gallon tank can fit them comfortably, the larger you go, the more fish you can add. A Betta fish will be happier the larger the tank and with more enrichment.

As you expand to larger gallon tanks, like ten gallons, 15 gallons, or even 20 gallons, the variety of fish you can add in with your Betta becomes more complex.

Optimal Water Temperature and pH Levels for Betta Fish

It is important to note that all fish have slightly different water needs, such as pH balance, temperature, hardness, and flow strength. By choosing fish that can accommodate themselves to a similar environment as your Betta, you will have happy and healthy fish.

A typical Betta will require their water temperature to be around 78 degrees, so coldwater fish might not do as well in this setting.

What Fish Can Live With Betta Fish?

If you want to know what fish would do best with your Betta fish because you are looking to expand your fish tank, you’ve come to the right place:

First of all, you don’t want your Betta to become overly territorial, so before adding any fish to your tank, you want to ensure plenty of live plants and coverage. This will allow your Betta to “escape” and take some time to relax without feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes we all need a little space to decompress!

You can never truly know how your Betta will react, but if they have ample space and area to swim in, things should turn out just fine with the following fish.

Nerite Snails

If you are keeping your Betta in a smaller tank, like a five-gallon tank, it’s not advised to put other fish in the tank. A great alternative to fish would be including snails in the tank with your Betta.

Snails are unlikely to get in your Betta’s space and cause any issues. This is also a good test of how your Betta might act if you decide to upgrade to a larger tank and introduce new fish down the line.

Nerite snails are one of the best options to go with if you are looking for a non-invasive snail. They are fantastic at eating up algae and tend to avoid snacking on the live plants in your aquarium. These little snails come in a variety of colors and distinctions; some even sport horns!

They prefer that you keep their water temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with a water pH level between 7.0 – 8.7. They can live up to two years and make a wonderful tank-mate to have.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails

The Malaysian Trumpet snail is another snail that would do well in a space with Betta fish. These snails are, as you might have guessed, found in Malaysia and other parts of Asia. They only grow to about one inch in size and keep to themselves — true introverts of the aquatic world.

Malaysian Trumpet snails enjoy their water between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they will do well alongside a Betta. Their pH level should rest between 7.0 – 7.5.

You will have to keep an eye on these snails because if they begin to breed, the population can quickly become uncontrollable. They are capable of having many babies and can easily overrun your Betta’s tank.

Ember Tetras

While the Ember Tetra is a petite fish, they need more space than just a five-gallon tank. These fish are fast, making it a lot easier for them to avoid a Betta fish, or at least swim away before any issues can arise. They are a bright red color that makes them appear faster than they are.

One reason why the Ember Tetra needs more space is that they do best in groups. Otherwise, they can become very depressed, which can lower their lifespan. They thrive in temperatures between 73 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kuhli Loach

These fish, which kind of look like eels, grow up to 3.5 inches long and need at least 15 gallons of tank space. These cool guys are ultimately no risk with your Betta because they will stay away, cleaning up after the food that your Betta drops.

They are also nocturnal, so during the day, they will hide away and not bother your Betta. At night, they look for food along the bottom of the tank and help to keep it clean.

They require water temperature between 70 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit but will definitely thrive in a space shared with Bettas.

Platy Fish

The platy fish is a very easy-to-care-for fish, making them ideal for beginner fish keepers. “Platies” are peaceful and tend to get along well with Betta fish because they stay out of their way.

These fish are known as livebearers, which means that if you put a group of them into a tank, they are going to multiply. What comes with this is the need for a larger tank.

We recommend you keep Platies if you have a 15-gallon tank so that when they multiply, you have the space. They thrive in water between 68 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, though they prefer neutral to alkaline water conditions, usually between 7.0 – 8.3.

Corydoras Catfish (20 Gallon)

The Corydoras Catfish is a bottom-dwelling fish that tends to stay out of the way of Betta fish. They like to be in small groups and get along well with other kinds of fish. This makes them relatively easy to take care of, and in return, they keep your tank nice and clean.

These catfish can grow up to 2.5 inches in length and live for ten years, so you have to have plenty of space for them to grow and thrive. This means a 20-gallon tank minimum.

There are many types of Cory Catfish, like the Pygmy Corydoras and Bronze Corydoras, but all of them will do well with a Betta. It’s important that you keep any Corydoras in a pack of at least six so that they don’t become anxious or unhappy. They require a water temperature of 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of 5.8 – 8.0.

A Pool of Experts

Having questions about your fish is completely normal, and you should have a space where you can ask your questions. With AskVet, you have the ability to ask a team of Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ questions at any point in the day. If something is going on with your Betta and you are concerned, a CPLC™ is here to help.

We get that having fish is not just an easy thing to do. There is more thought and effort that goes into keeping them healthy and happy than one might think. But we see you, we hear you. We know how much those little guys mean to you! And we want to see them happy just as much as you do.

When you schedule an appointment with a CPLC™ today, you only have to pay $9.99/month, and you get 24/7 access to our trained professionals. Dive in today!



Evolution, Culture, And Care For Betta Splendens | University Of Florida

Your Betta Needs More Than A Bowl | Veterinary Medicine At Illinois

Xiphophorus Maculatus (Southern Platyfish) | Center For Agriculture And Bioscience International

Betta Fish: The Beautiful, and Very Popular, Siamese Fighting Fish | Live Science

Types of Dog Vomit & How To Treat Them

Types of Dog Vomit & How To Treat Them

A dog might vomit for a variety of different reasons, not all of which you should be overly concerned about. When your dog vomits, they are forcefully ejecting contents in their stomach or upper intestine out of their body, usually to try to feel better.

Of course, if your dog vomits once, you should pay close attention to how they act afterward. This can help determine if there might be a further issue.

Not all dogs will need treatment after throwing up because it might be something that passes fairly quickly. But it’s never a bad idea to get to the bottom of things and ensure that your dog is feeling well.

To learn more about different reasons why your dog might be vomiting and how to help them, continue reading:

Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

The first thing that you should do when your dog vomits (other than cleaning it up is to take note of any other symptoms and look for a culprit. Your dog might have gotten into something they shouldn’t have, or drank too much water, causing them to throw it all back up.

Sometimes, you can determine what exactly they threw up by looking in the vomit and searching for an indicator. Yes, this might be gross, but it’s partially what you signed up for when you adopted your dog!

There are several common causes of vomiting in dogs. A few that are less dangerous than others are:

  • Diet change: Simply changing your dog’s food abruptly can sometimes upset your dog’s stomach and cause them to retch. This is why it’s important to slowly introduce your dog to a new food to avoid these issues.
  • Food allergies: If your dog tries a treat or new dog treat or human food that has an ingredient they are allergic to or intolerant to, this might be the cause. For example, if your dog is intolerant to chicken and eats a chicken treat, they might throw it all up until it’s out of their digestive system completely.
  • Constipation: If your dog has a bit of a blockage and can’t poop, they might begin to vomit as a way to empty out their upset stomach. While this might pass, you should still reach out to your veterinarian to figure out the next best steps.

Concerning Reasons

Some more serious possible causes for your dog’s vomiting are:

  • Ingestion of toxic foreign bodies
  • Bacterial infection
  • Intestinal parasites (giardia, roundworms)
  • Foreign objects in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Heatstroke
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Acute liver failure or another form of liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Colitis
  • Ulcers
  • Uterine infection

As a pet parent, you always want to do whatever you can to protect your dog from life-threatening situations, and that often means visiting the vet. It’s always best to take your adult dog or puppy to the vet if you notice your dog throwing up frequently.

Make sure to observe what the vomit looks like — white foamy vomit is typically less concerning, while dark vomit that looks like coffee grounds is often a sign of a serious dog health issue.

How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Going To Vomit?

Your dog might give you a few different signs that they are feeling unwell and are going to vomit. Every dog is different, so it might come down to learning their specific behavior associated with when they are going to vomit. In general, the signs that you will see are associated with nausea.

Some things that you can look out for are:

  • Restlessness
  • Spacing out
  • Pacing
  • Crying or whining
  • Licking their lips
  • Staring intensely at you
  • Swallowing repeatedly
  • Drooling

Additionally, your dog might begin to peel back their lips and gag. They might lurch a few times before actually vomiting, but this might give you some time to get them out into the backyard or place a trash bag beneath their faces.

Is Vomiting Considered Normal?

If you’ve been a dog parent for long, you know that sometimes they just throw up white foam. Maybe they ate too much grass outside or drank too much water too fast on an empty stomach. Whatever it is, your dog’s body wants it out, and vomiting helps.

Your dog might get sick and then continue on with the day as if nothing has happened. Those instances are usually nothing to worry about. If your dog throws up and has no other symptoms, your dog is likely fine. If they have the energy to play and want to eat and drink after, these are generally encouraging signs.

Vomiting vs. Regurgitation

Sometimes, your dog might actually be regurgitating something rather than vomiting. Knowing the difference might not seem that important, but it might save you some anxiety to be able to distinguish between the two.

Regurgitation happens when undigested foods and fluids are expelled from the body in a more passive way. They aren’t forcibly expelled, but rather your dog is trying to get something out that they might be choking on.

Signs that your dog is regurgitating something rather than vomiting are coughing and difficulty breathing. A regurgitated item might still be similar in shape to the esophagus.

Types of Vomiting

So you might consider “normal” as one type of vomiting, but there are a few different variations of vomiting that could occur. To determine what your dog is experiencing, keeping track of all their symptoms can help with this.

In order to diagnose your dog’s problems, you will need to speak with a veterinarian. This way, you can learn about different treatment methods that could relieve your pet of their pain.

Acute Vomiting

Acute vomiting is a serious symptom of a few different diseases and other complications. It happens when your dog has sudden or severe bouts of vomiting. Usually, you, as the human, have to work out the details to investigate the cause behind the acute vomiting.

You might have to consider if your dog got into something they shouldn’t have or if they have been out in the heat for too long and are suffering heat stroke and other situations. Be aware of what your dog is doing, and if you leave them alone, you should make sure nothing dangerous to them is left accessible.

Some causes of acute vomiting are:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Ingestion of irritating substances
  • Toxins
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Bloat
  • Heat stroke
  • Medication reaction
  • Bacterial infection
  • Pancreatitis
  • Viral infection

Chronic Vomiting

Chronic vomiting alludes to when a dog has bouts of vomiting that occur for an extended period of time. It might be several days, weeks, or even months when your dog is vomiting regularly. Your dog might throw up every once and a while due to too much water or grass ingestion.

If your dog is throwing up with these other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately:

  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Blood is present
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Change in behavior

Some different conditions or diseases that can be the underlying cause of chronic vomiting are:

  • Cancer
  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Internal obstruction
  • Pancreatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Kidney/liver failure
  • Intestinal inflammation

Vomiting in Puppies

When a puppy vomits, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. For puppies, their immune system is not as strong as when they are with their mothers.

During the early weeks, they are more susceptible to getting parvovirus or other parasites. If they haven’t gotten their vaccinations yet, they are even more at risk. Don’t wait around for your puppy to feel better, talk to their vet immediately and take action.

How To Diagnose Vomiting

If you are looking to diagnose the cause of your dog’s vomiting, there will be several steps your vet will take to figure it out. First, they might ask you about your dog’s access to the garbage or toxins. They will want to know about your dog’s eating habits and if there have been any changes to their diet recently.

Then your dog will have to undergo a physical exam, and their veterinarian might recommend blood work or further testing. This will help to eliminate diseases and test for others the vet might suspect. It might take some time to get the results back, but in the meantime, your vet can begin developing a treatment plan to help them.

How To Treat Vomiting in Dogs

Every dog is different, and so is the cause of vomiting. Not every dog is going to respond to the same treatment methods, so once the cause is determined, their veterinarian will begin to tailor a plan directly to your pet. This will allow your dog to receive treatment that is specified to their needs and can give you the best results.

If your dog is dehydrated from vomiting so much, they might be placed on fluids. If your dog is nauseous, they might be prescribed anti-nausea medication. Other medications might be of help, as well as changing your dog’s diet.

When To Call a Vet

To review, not every instance of vomiting warrants a trip to the vet. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it every time.

You should consider contacting your veterinarian if your dog has any of the following symptoms:

  • They are vomiting continuously
  • Vomiting a lot at once
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting blood
  • Bloody diarrhea

Remember, you know your pet best, and if you are worried, there is likely a reason for it! Trust your gut, and your dog will thank you later (likely in lots of kisses).

Feel Better Soon!

Worrying about our dogs is something we, as pet parents, do all the time. No matter how much time we spend on making sure they are happy and healthy, we can’t help but wonder if something else is going on under the surface. It’s not like we can just ask them how they are feeling and get a swift response!

When you need answers fast, AskVet is there to help you. If your dog has vomited and you aren’t sure what to do next, you can hop on a chat with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ who can provide you with advice. There is always someone available on AskVet, no matter what day or time it is.

When you sign up today, you can access all of the perks for just $9.99/month. Not only can you ask us all your burning questions, but you can schedule a session with a CPLC™ who can create a plan to help you with your pet’s needs.

Life with a dog is not always a walk in the park, but with expert advice, you can get back to walking through your park soon enough.



​​incidence Of And Risk Factors For Postoperative Regurgitation And Vomiting In Dogs: 244 Cases (2000–2012) | Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Emesis in dogs: a review | NCBI

Canine Parvovirus: Current Perspective | NCBI

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? | American Kennel Club

5 Reasons Hamsters Bite & How To Prevent It

Hamsters Bite

While small and unassuming, a hamster can still protect itself if they feel the need to. This usually occurs as a small little nip when they are scared or uncomfortable, and it might not even hurt. Still, no one wants to be bitten by their hamster, and avoiding it altogether is the goal.

Don’t assume that your hamster hates you because they bite you — this isn’t always the case. Your hamster might bite you for various reasons, but there are ways to prevent it and gain your hamster’s trust.

In most cases, hamsters are known as very affectionate and cuddly little pets who like to run in circles on their wheels and snack on apples or sunflower seeds. You might need to put in the work to get your hamster to trust you, but once they do, you’ll have a great furry companion by your side (potentially keeping you up all night).

To learn more about why hamsters bite and how to prevent it, keep reading:

Why Do Hamsters Bite?

Hamsters aren’t known to be aggressive. They don’t randomly bite people to assert dominance, so if your hamster has bitten you, there is likely an underlying cause. Most of the reasons that a hamster would bite can be resolved with time and understanding.

You might not get results overnight, but if you take the time to learn what your hamster likes and dislikes, you can better protect yourself from being bitten and keep your hamster’s anxiety at ease.

They Are Afraid

If your hamster is new to you, they might be a bit fearful at first. Being in a strange new place can be overwhelming, even for these little guys, so fear is not abnormal.

If you dive right into trying to handle your hamster without letting them warm up to you, they might bite you. Hamsters need to get used to their space and familiarize themselves with your scent before they can become comfortable.

To prevent a bite, you need to recognize when your hamster is displaying signs of fear or irritation. This might look like them staring at you and diverting their gaze, searching for an escape route, or hiding in their cage from you. If your hamster is acting fearful or irritated, the best thing you can do is avoid handling them, so you don’t get bit.

Additionally, if your hamster is not comfortable with being held, the act alone might make them panic, and they might react by biting you. Unlike dogs, hamsters can’t bark like dogs as a warning — their fearful clues are more subtle.

They Are Hungry

Maybe your hamster isn’t scared of you but instead is beginning to get hungry, therefore slightly irritated. In people we call that “hangry,” we aren’t alone in that — hamsters feel it too.

This kind of bite might be more like a nibble and is a way of them letting you know it’s time to be fed. If your fingers smell like food, they will be even more likely to try to snack on them.

Due to this, it’s recommended that you wash your hands thoroughly before trying to handle your hamster. This way, they won’t mistake your fingers for carrots. While this might not be aggression, this kind of behavior is not ideal and should be stopped. By keeping to a strict feeding schedule, your hamster should not experience the need to bite.

They Want Some Alone Time

Sometimes your hamster will bite you because they don’t want any attention. If you’re handling them when they don’t want to be handled, they might become irritated and let you know to put them in their cage by biting you. Obviously, this isn’t ideal, but the best thing you can do is give your hamster space.

As you begin to form a closer bond with your hamster, you might begin to pick up on signs of this discomfort. You can avoid unwanted biting altogether by preemptively stopping it. Some hamsters simply aren’t going to want to be affectionate with you. Introverts are introverts, no matter the species.

Not all hamsters are overly friendly, and some like to live more solitary than others. You’ll learn these quirks about your hamster the more time you spend with them.

You Need To Adjust Your Handling Techniques

A bite from your hamster might signal that you need to be more gentle with them, especially if you are handling them. For your hamster, biting serves as a defense mechanism, and it helps them let you know they are feeling irritated by your behavior.

They might associate your handling of them with aggression, and their reaction will be to protect. You should never just grab your hamster without warning. Other people that might want to handle your hamster should take their time and go through all the same steps that you had to gain their trust. This will let your hamster feel more comfortable and less stressed when meeting new people.

They Smell Something Unfamiliar

We tell you to wash your hands before handling your hamster because unfamiliar smells might trigger them to bite. Whether they get spooked or assume your fingers are food, washing your hands can usually help prevent this. If you are a new person trying to interact with a hamster, they might bite simply because you smell different than their humans do.

Hamsters have exceptional senses of smell, so they know when a stranger is approaching them. If this stranger spooks your hamster, they might bite them in the name of self-defense. Until your hamster is comfortable with someone, they shouldn’t be handling them at all. The risk of a bite is much higher when the person is unfamiliar with your hamster.

How To Prevent Hamsters from Biting

Hamsters don’t bite because they are being aggressive towards you. They bite because they are scared or anxious. This means that you can work to prevent hamster bites in the future as long as you put in the effort to create a safe space for your hamster.

Some of the following tips can help you to get used to your hamster and learn their behaviors and needs. This will also allow time for your hamster to warm up to you and begin the process of trusting you.

Build Trust

Don’t rush your hamster into doing things they aren’t ready for. You shouldn’t handle them the first day that you get them more than you need to. Be patient with them, and they will come around to you. Hamsters are loving creatures but will need time to learn more about you and understand you’re a friend.

You can do this by sitting by their enclosure and talking to them, giving them an item of yours (like a sock) so they can get used to your smell, and let them settle into their new space.

If you have to pick them up (like in the case of an emergency) before your bond is strong, it is possible. Scoop them into a soft towel so that they don’t try to bite your hands.

Offer Treats

As pet parents, we’re not above bribes.

You can try to get your hamster to warm up to you by offering them some of their favorite snacks. With a new hamster, you will have to learn what they like to snack on before you shower them with treats (not literally, though, because treats should only be given in moderation). Your hamster’s nutrition is important and can help keep them healthy and confident.

Over time, by handing your hamster treats out of your hand, they should begin to open up and trust you more. Eventually, they might start to approach you on their own (yes, looking for a treat — but don’t complain!) and sniff your hand for longer each time without actually nibbling on it.

Pet Your Hamster With Care

Once your hamster is used to your smell, you can begin to pet them very gently. This might start with one or two fingers gently scratching their back and head rather than covering them with your whole hand.

If your hamster seems to tolerate the petting, then you can move on to the next step of picking them up. If they aren’t comfortable with you petting them yet, don’t move on to this next step, or you could weaken their trust.

Cares and Concerns

All hamsters are different and unique. They will like specific actions and dislike others. They might love getting their head or chin scratched but dislike being picked up. Maybe they want to crawl all over you and play with toys, but they become anxious the second you pet them. You can’t help what your hamster feels, but you can do your best to accommodate them.

Questions can arise, and sometimes you need specific answers based on your unique pet. With AskVet, you can ask your questions and get personalized responses quickly. If you are wondering about a behavior change in your hamster, you can chat with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ from AskVet to get answers and come up with behavioral plans.

If your hamster loves being pet and picked up but begins acting anxiously out of nowhere, there might be a cause for concern. Join Askvet and personalize your pet’s lifestyle plan today.



Hamster Care | School of Veterinary Medicine

Chemical Communication In Rodents: From Pheromones To Individual Recognition | Journal Of Mammalogy | Oxford Academic

Nutrient Requirements Of The Hamster | NCBI

Primordial Pouch 101: Why Cat Bellies Hang

Primordial Pouch 101: Why Cat Bellies Hang

The first time you notice that your cat’s belly is hanging a bit lower than you remember, you might assume they have gained some weight. While this may be true for some cats, it could also be likely that you are noticing your cat’s primordial pouch. This is just fancy language for an “extra flap of skin underneath a cat’s belly.”

Some cat’s primordial pouches are more visible than in other breeds. This has to do with genetics and their appearance, so if you can’t notice your feline friend’s primordial pouch, don’t be surprised.

To learn more about the primordial pouch, keep reading:

What Is a Primordial Pouch?

A primordial pouch is the extra flap of skin that hangs underneath your cat’s belly. Regardless of male, female, neutered, spayed, or not, your cat will have one. The pouch is formed in one of the earliest stages of a cat’s development.

This flap is made up of loose skin and fatty tissue and it serves several biological purposes. Certain breeds’ primordial pouch might be more visible than others because of a lack of fur or more slender appearance.

Why Do Cats Have a Primordial Pouch?

It’s pretty simple: Cats have a primordial pouch for a variety of reasons, including organ protection, storing food, and flexibility.

Organ Protection

One of the main purposes of the primordial pouch is to protect your cat’s organs. This pouch allows for an extra layer between your vital organs, like the liver, and injury. Sometimes cats like to play rough, and claws can come out! If the pouch gets clawed or kicked, their organs are more likely to be safe.

Some cats will enforce a move referred to as “bunny kicking” where they will grab their opponent with their front legs and kick with their hind legs. This directly aims for the underbelly, where the organs are, so the pouch creates a barrier between this kind of attack. Pouches keep cats safe!

Food Storage

The softness of your cat’s primordial pouch allows for their belly to expand when they eat food. Not only domesticated cats have primordial pouches, even wild cats have these pouches. For them specifically, having this pouch helps them store food when food is low in availability.

Domesticated cats don’t usually have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Instead, they can use this extra space when they snack a little too much and feel extra full. It’s like wearing a nice pair of sweatpants after a big meal.


Primordial pouches also enhance felines’ movement and flexibility. The loose skin that comes from the pouch allows for easier movement. Cats can chase prey quicker and escape any predators they might come across by twisting and turning about.

The primordial pouch helps cats make stronger, more powerful strides — the primordial pouch elongates their body. Not only does this make them more nimble, but it conserves energy which they can divert to other tasks (like knocking your newly potted succulent off the table).

Other Reasons for a Cat’s Belly To Hang

Yes, cats have primordial pouches and that’s definitely a reason why you’re noticing some extra skin underneath, but there are other causes for a hanging belly. Sometimes, it’s not a bad idea to check out your cat’s stomach and see if there is anything else going on. If you think that your cat’s belly is hanging lower than usual, you can reach out to their veterinarian and schedule time for an evaluation.


It might be that your cat is gaining weight. This isn’t always an issue, especially if your cat is still happy and healthy. But if you notice that your cat is struggling with moving around or using the bathroom, their weight is something you should take care of.

In order to figure out if it’s extra weight or just the primordial pouch, you can feel your cat’s sides and stomach, looking for their ribs or an extra layer of fat. If you can feel their ribs, likely, you are looking at their pouch. If you can’t feel them and notice an extra layer of fat, you might need to begin implementing a diet and more exercise.

Taking your cat to the vet when you suspect they are overweight is probably best to create a plan to help them lose weight. They can provide you with food or exercise regimens that can help your cat maintain a better weight.


As your cat ages, it’s likely that their skin will begin to lose elasticity. This is normal and might make your cat’s stomach hang a bit more than usual. This is typically nothing to worry about as it happens as they get older and enter their golden years. Additionally, your cat’s metabolism will begin to slow as they get older and they will likely gain more weight than they might be used to.


Another reason for your cat’s belly to be hanging a bit more than normal could be due to pregnancy. If your cat is not spayed, there is always a possibility that they could become pregnant. If you think this might be the case, avoid touching the belly as it could bring harm to the kittens inside. Instead, contact your veterinarian and go in for a full physical evaluation.

If a cat is pregnant, they will begin showing around five weeks. Cats stay pregnant for eight to nine weeks (60 to 65 days), so it’s important to get a vet appointment as soon as possible to ensure your cat has a safe pregnancy.

Get Answers with AskVet

As a pet parent, you likely have two things: 1) a thousand pictures of your pet on your phone and 2) a list of questions to ask your vet at the next animal wellness exam.

You might have minor questions or serious concerns about your pet that you want answered, but don’t know where to ask. Look no further than AskVet. For any question or concern that you have, someone at AskVet has an answer.

So, if you’re wondering, “Has my cat’s belly always looked like that” at 2 AM, you can simply use the AskVet app to get that question answered. Become a member of AskVet and get 24/7 assistance through our online vet chat. No wait time and no “after hours.” Just the help you need when you need it, plus all the preventative care your pet family members need.


Overweight In Adult Cats: A Cross-Sectional Study | NCBI

2021 AAFP Feline Senior Care Guidelines | SAGE Journals 

Why do cats have belly ‘pouches’? | Live Science

Cat’s Primordial Belly Pouches– What is it For? | Science Times

Hamster Teeth 101: Keeping a Hamster’s Teeth Healthy & Clean

Hamster Teeth 101: Keeping A Hamster’s Teeth Healthy & Clean

When you think of hamsters, you might picture a tiny furry pet nibbling on a seed with adorably puffy cheeks. Hamsters are a part of the rodent family, which means they have strong incisors that love to gnaw. Pets that love to snack and chew might require their human parents to monitor their furry friend’s dental health.

Luckily, if your hamster has a well-balanced and nutritious diet, they should stay safe from any dental issues arising. There are a few things that you can do as a hamster pet parent to ensure that your hamster’s teeth stay healthy and clean (in addition to proper nutrition).

If you are thinking about adopting a hamster or already have one and want to learn about taking care of their teeth, keep reading!

Hamster Teeth

Hamster’s upper and lower front incisors have open roots, meaning they continuously grow throughout their lifetime. Because of this, it’s essential that your hamster is able to gnaw so they can keep their teeth at a comfortable length. Their teeth are not white but rather an orange-yellow color.

A hamster’s lower teeth are actually longer than their upper teeth, which might be a bit odd to see at first, but it’s nothing to worry about! With access to proper care and nutrition, your hamster will likely have relatively healthy teeth.

Common Dental Problems for Hamsters

Of course, there are always things that you should look out for when it comes to your hamster’s teeth. Fractures, cavities, overgrowth, and crooked teeth might lead to further complications without veterinarian assistance.

  • Overgrowth

When your hamster isn’t able to gnaw on toys, wood chips, or food properly, they risk overgrowth in their teeth. Hamsters need to be able to shorten their teeth constantly, so these teeth don’t poke into the gums and cause bleeding. If both the upper and lower incisors are too long, they could break off, which would be extremely painful.

  • Fractures

When your hamster’s upper and lower incisors are overgrown, they are at a higher risk of fracturing. If the incisors break off, they might not grow back in correctly, or ever at all. Not only is this painful for your hamster, but it could impact their ability to eat food comfortably.

  • Cavities

Just like humans, hamsters can get cavities. Prevention of cavities goes along with proper nutrition. Hamsters should get a healthy variety of different ingredients to get the proper vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain healthy teeth.

A well-rounded menu will work to keep your pet healthy and cavity-free. If you suspect your fluffy friend has a cavity, take them to their veterinarian for an evaluation.

Cheek Pouch Disease

Hamsters have cheek pouches that they use to carry a variety of things. They might use them for storing food, carrying their babies, or bringing straw to build a nest. To get these items out, a hamster will massage their cheeks with their front paws. Cheek pouch disease occurs when items get stuck to the lining of your hamster’s cheek pouch, and they cannot massage it out.

You might notice that your hamster is experiencing cheek pouch disease if they:

  • Have large swollen cheeks
  • Rub their pouches incessantly, but nothing is coming out
  • Bleed after they rub their pouches
  • Have a lack of appetite

How To Care for Hamsters’ Teeth

There are ways to prevent dental issues from arising in your hamster, and they are quite simple.

While having access to dental care is essential, pet parents can help with these steps:

Offer Fresh and Dry Food

Your hamster will need a variety of ingredients and food types in their diet. This helps to prevent cavities and keep their teeth strong. You should give your hamster both dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, oats, spelt, and a variety of seeds, like sunflower, millet, and soy.

You can also purchase dry food like pellets at a pet store. Incorporating dry food into your hamster’s diet can cover any nutritional gaps in the fresh food you provide. Dry food is also one avenue to keeping your hamster’s teeth short.

Keep Their Water Clean

Water will help to keep your teeth clean and rinse out anything that might get stuck between them. This can help limit food buildup that could cause a cavity in the future. By keeping an eye out on their water

Clean water will be the easiest way for you to help their cheek pouches stay clean. Water will keep them hydrated and help rinse the cheek pouches in case something is stuck to the lining.

Provide Chew Toys

Chew toys are an essential part of keeping your hamster’s teeth healthy. Wooden chew toys are some of the best for hamster dental health care, but you should invest in good wooden toys that won’t splinter.

Wooden toys should be free of paint or varnish, which could be potentially toxic. A plain, wooden toy will do the trick. Your vet or local pet store can provide animal-safe enrichment and health-promoting toy options.

Chew toys keep their teeth from growing too long and cutting into other parts of their mouth. You should have plenty to keep your hamster entertained. The more you have, the less likely your hamster will try to gnaw on objects that could cause them damage. There are other toys out there than just plain wood, so you can find fun options for your hamster to enjoy.

Get Answers with AskVet

Questions will arise no matter what kind of pet you have, and as a pet parent, you want answers as soon as possible. Not only does this ease your anxiety, but it also can get you started on a treatment plan for your pet. And we want to help!

When it comes to your hamster’s teeth, you might not be able to get a great view of them on your own. It’s important to stay tuned into your hamster’s habits and take note of any health or behavioral changes.

If something does come up, you can always reach out directly to a veterinarian or behaviorist through AskVet. With 24/7 availability, you can ask whatever question you have, whenever. For just $9.99/month, our team of Certified Petlifestyle Coaches™ is here to answer your questions and come up with a unique pet care lifestyle plan for any furry (or scaly or feather-y) pet you have.

So, whether you have a question about your hamster’s teeth or your fish’s tail, or more, become a member of AskVet today.


Cheek Pouch – An Overview | ScienceDirect

Dentistry in Pet Rodents | VetFolio

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