How To Train Your Husky Puppy Like a Pro

How To Train Your Husky Puppy Like a Pro

In order to be a good husky pet parent, you need to be willing to spend time each day training your pup. This is a breed that is often recommended for skilled and knowledgeable dog lovers who have the time and want to put a lot of work into their dog. While they are regarded as great dogs with loads of energy and unique, quirky personalities, they are not meant for beginner dog people.

A husky is a dog with plenty of drive and deep ancestral roots. Prepare yourself for loud banter, karaoke nights that involve no music, lots of walks, daily grooming, so much physical activity that you might be able to cancel your gym membership, and a new best friend.

Training a husky puppy is essential. With early intervention, you can gain your dog’s respect and lead them to live a fulfilling life. Huskies can get bored and need to stay entertained for the majority of the day so that they don’t begin misbehaving.

If you’re new to having a husky in your life, keep reading to learn tips and tricks on how to train your pup in no time.

Background of a Husky

Huskies are one of the easiest breeds to recognize in public. They are a beloved dog breed that is famous for their bright blue eyes, thick coats, curly tails, and sing-song voices.

Husky pet parents also know that huskies are the number one escape artists of dogs and can have an independent streak. They are generally not considered ideal dogs for beginner pet parents. But if you are familiar with huskies, you have a wonderful chance at providing a loving and entertaining household.

Physical Traits

Huskies are considered a part of the working dog breed group, meaning that they are high-energy and need plenty of one-on-one time in a day to feel fulfilled. They are usually medium-sized, weighing between 35 and 60 pounds, with females being slightly smaller.

However small yours might be, huskies are extremely strong and powerful. They can pull sleds, so without proper leash training, your husky will likely pull you on every walk you go on.

Huskies thrive in colder weather because of their thick and dense coats. They will want to lay out in the snow for hours and might not listen when you call for them to come back inside. They have long life spans, so teaching them proper behaviors early on can ensure that the next decade of your life isn’t in complete chaos.

Personality Traits

Huskies have personable and friendly personalities, but this also means that they can come across as easily excitable and just a bit crazy (in the best way, of course). They are filled up to the brim with zoomies and will sing and talk with you all night long if you allow it. Meeting new people can be very exciting; huskies love to jump up to get as close as possible to new friends.

They are quickly bored and will look for anything to destroy if they don’t meet all of their needs. They are often stubborn — but also highly intelligent. They like to have a task, and once they finish it, they will be looking for another.

A husky needs consistency to be successful. They need a person who will put significant time and effort into them. If you can make training interesting and rewarding, your husky will be quick to learn. As much as they like to be independent, making their parents proud is still high on their list of goals.

How Should You Train a Husky?

Everyone might have their own opinion on how to train a high-energy breed like a husky. Depending on factors such as where you live, what kind of outdoor access you have, and what your job is, your training might look different from someone else’s.

To be fulfilled, huskies will need both physical activity and mental stimulation. Typically, an hour of outside physical activity is necessary for your husky to get the majority of their energy out. This might look like three 20-minute walks a day or a few miles of walking before or after work. If you are someone who works long hours and is rarely home, a husky might not be the best idea, as they do require a lot of attention.

Take into consideration your huskies temperament and personality when training. You’ll see better results if you work with your husky’s quirks rather than try to eliminate them. Training a husky will take mental and physical energy from you yourself, so be sure to stay patient and take time for your own breaks.

Establish a Hierarchy

Huskies are self-assured and don’t love listening – especially to people they don’t know. You need to establish yourself as the leader so that your husky understands they need to respect you. Huskies often pick one or two people to look up to, and most others will find themselves having a hard time getting your husky to listen to them. If you aren’t a husky’s parent, don’t expect them to respond well to you.

Trying to establish yourself as the leader of a puppy is easier than to an adult husky. Your puppy will instinctively look for someone to look up to, and that individual should be you. Huskies are bred to live in packs and thrive when a boss makes themselves present.

Practice Positive Reinforcement

Having a husky means that you have to be patient. They may be destructive and independent, so don’t be surprised when they simply ignore you and refuse to listen to your commands. Staying calm, cool, and collected will give you the best opportunity to teach your dog what the correct behavior is and what is unacceptable.

There is no such thing as a good punishment. Frankly, your dog doesn’t understand why they’re being punished, just that they are. It doesn’t fix any of their behaviors and instead reinforces poor behaviors. That, or you’re likely to send confusing signals to your dog, creating a rift in your bond.

Instead, reward your dog whenever they listen to your commands. Give them a treat when they obey your command and spend 15-minute intervals doing this several times a day. Your husky is going to be intelligent, so learning new things might be exciting for them. Followed up with a treat, and your pup is in heaven.

Crate Train Your Pup

Huskies can become destructive when they get bored or are left home alone. Some huskies can get pretty bad separation anxiety, so the safest option for leaving your dog at home is to crate-train them. This may be a battle, and your neighbors might dislike you for a while, but leave them a nice note and some noise-canceling headphones, and they should be fine! (While you’re at it, you might want to get some for yourself.)

Huskies sometimes put up a fight when it comes to their crates. They are dogs that like to be free, and we can’t blame them for that… but you can blame them when they destroy every pair of your favorite shoes after being left home alone for an hour.

When crate training is done properly, the crate becomes a safe space for your husky. It’s a place they can take naps if they need one or go if they are feeling anxious due to a thunderstorm. You can feel safe knowing they are contained and can’t get into anything that can hurt them while you’re away.

Embrace Their Vocality

Your husky is going to find their voice quickly. They might cry at night or during the day while in the crate, but they will surely talk back to you, and they will sing you songs even if you aren’t interested in hearing any. Huskies are an ancient breed, and their voices reflect their ancestral roots. It’s also the easiest way for them to communicate with people.

You can’t take the vocabulary out of a husky, but you can teach them when it’s an acceptable time to use their voice. Giving them a “Speak” command can teach your husky when you’re welcoming of their howling and when you aren’t.

You will want to teach your dog the “Quiet” command so that they can distinguish between when you want them to bark and when you need them to be quiet. Reward them when they listen to you (and maybe give yourself a pat on the back too).

Safety Tips

Huskies are big and powerful dogs, no matter how loving and goofy they are with your family. They typically have pretty good temperaments within families, but they take a while to recognize their size and strength.

You will want to teach your husky a “Halt” command so that they stop and sit when you ask them to. This can prevent them from knocking into objects or children and doing serious damage. You should also teach them a “Down” command so that they don’t jump on people and knock them over.

“Stay” and “Come” are other essential commands you should teach your husky to ensure the safety of them and others. You don’t want your husky charging at a new person trying to greet them, and the goal is to have them be as calm as possible.

Plus, if they are ever off-leash, they need to know the “Come” command so that they don’t run off and get themselves lost. Just in case, keeping a One Pet ID current with your information is always a smart bet.

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Connect with Other Husky Lovers Through AskVet

Raising a husky can take a whole village. Talking with other husky parents and with people who have high-energy dogs can help you become aware of tips and tricks for you to try. Every dog is going to be different, but it’s helpful to know there is a community where you can feel comfortable and confident asking questions and seeking solutions.

With AskVet, you can get answers to questions you may have about your husky, but also connect with the AskVet Clubhouse to gain more knowledge from other pet parents.

Your husky will be fulfilled and happy if you put in the work to train them properly. Having a husky is one of the best things that you can do, as long as you raise them with the goal of giving them the best life possible. And when a question pops up — about your husky, your Siamese cat, or your betta fish — simply log onto your AskVet account to schedule a virtual chat with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™.


Description Of Breed Ancestry And Genetic Health Traits In Arctic Sled Dog Breeds

Modern Siberian Dog Ancestry Was Shaped By Several Thousand Years Of Eurasian-Wide Trade And Human Dispersal | PNAS

Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? 5 Common Reasons

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? 5 Common Reasons

You turn your back for one second, and your dog is taking in a mouthful of grass. Why, you might ask? The reasons for your dog to be eating grass can vary. There is not only one reason for your dog to eat grass whenever you go outside, but it’s also not something to always be worried about.

In fact, the more you tell your dog not to eat grass, the more likely it is that they’ll think it’s a game. Before you rush your dog to the vet, read on to learn more about five common reasons why your dog is treating your lawn like a salad bar.

Is Eating Grass Bad For My Dog?

Most dog owners associate a dog eating grass with them having an upset stomach or simply being hungry. Unfortunately, it’s hard to determine what comes first: the upset stomach and then the eating of grass to soothe it, or the eating of the grass and it resulting in an upset stomach.

Eating too much grass might make your dog vomit if they aren’t used to eating grass. Additionally, it might be a sign that something else is lacking in your dog’s diet. Keep an eye on your dog’s grass intake, and don’t be afraid to interfere if it’s clearly making your dog sick. Some grass does include pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides that can make your pet sick.

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Dogs eat grass for a number of reasons, none of which give a simple answer. Some dogs enjoy munching on the roughage and won’t overindulge to the point that it makes them empty out their stomach contents. A few might think that it’s a game of keep-away, doing it in a playful sense. For most, this form of plant-eating is a rather common and natural behavior.

Some canines will experience anxiety or stress ,and it can result in them nibbling on grass, similar to the way a person might bite their fingernails when anxious. Not every reason for your dog’s grass-eating behavior should concern you, but monitoring what your dog eats is wise.

Nutritional Deficiency

The literal term to define a dog who eats non-food items is pica. This can be associated with a nutrient, mineral, or vitamin deficiency. Most dogs get the recommended nutrition naturally in their well-balanced diets, so eating grass isn’t always a clear indicator of that being the problem. However, eating grass may signify that your dog needs to start a high-fiber diet to get the nutrients and roughage they need.

If your pup is eating grass frequently, consult with your DVM about the dog food you are feeding your pet. You might need to switch up your pet’s food and find something that has more vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.


Dogs — especially younger dogs — that are experiencing anxiety might eat grass to self-soothe. If your dog thinks you are going to be leaving soon, the taste of grass might calm their nerves.

If they know that eating grass is a frowned-upon behavior, they might begin to eat more of it as their anxiety increases, almost as a way to get attention from their humans. Sometimes bringing chew toys or a good-smelling shirt outside with you can ease your dog’s anxiety and limit their need to chomp on some grass.


Dogs often get bored when they are outside and look for any sort of stimulation. To be fair, eating grass is probably better than them trying to eat rocks or sticks. At some point in our childhood, it’s likely we’ve put grass in our mouth as if it were a vegetable, so we can’t blame our dog for doing it themselves!

Most dogs would rather be entertained by their humans, and so if they are left outside alone for any amount of time, eating grass sounds like a way to entertain themselves.

Getting a Quick Snack

It may be that your dog simply enjoys the taste or texture of grass. They might have tried it once and figured out that it was a nice snack to get while outside. Many dogs will grab a mouthful while walking as if taking a snack on the go. Unfortunately, this curiosity and interest in food may motivate your dog to eat other gross stuff they find along the path (such as another animal’s poop).

Again, monitoring what your dog is consuming is your best course of action. That way, you can keep track of anything that might cause her an issue later on.


Before wild dogs were domesticated, they scavenged for food. While they have always eaten both meat and plants, most people assume that dogs need meat and only meat to survive. Grass has a lot of fiber in it and can help with digesting food. Additionally, it’s easy to come across, so when you’re hungry, you’ll take what you can find.

Your dog might just be grazing because it’s a part of their instinct to scavenge for food. There’s no real reason to stop your dog from exhibiting normal dog behavior, only if it’s going to hurt them in the long run.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Grass?

While it’s not necessarily the worst thing that your dog can do, you might not want your dog to eat certain types of grass or eat grass altogether. There are a few ways that you can limit the amount of grass that your dog eats when outside and on walks.

  • Teach your dog the “Leave it” command. When your dog is eating grass, you can call out this command; over time, it should become known that grass is off-limits, and hopefully, your dog will pick up on that.
  • When outside, keep him occupied with toys or playtime. If they start to eat grass, redirect them with a toy.
  • Keep houseplants away from dogs; anything leafy and green might attract your dog. Recall that certain houseplants are toxic to pets.
  • Feed your dog smaller and more frequent meals so that you satisfy their desire to eat high-quality food instead of grass.

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Get Answers With AskVet

Whenever a question arises about a pet, it can send a person into a frenzy. Trying to find the best answers can be difficult, but not when you have AskVet. Any questions that you have about your animals can be answered by the Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC™) at any time of the day.

Schedule a remote session to get started on building a 360° Pet Care plan unique to your animal. You can discuss your pet’s diet and nutritional needs, exercise needs, or any health concerns you might have with an expert only a few clicks away.

Plus, you gain access to a network of other pet lovers in the AskVet Clubhouse who are just trying to navigate being a pet parent. Sign-up today to learn more about AskVet and how it can be beneficial to you!


Grass Eating Patterns In The Domestic Dog, Canis Familiaris | University of New England

Unusual Eating Habits in Dogs and Cats | UC Davis Veterinary Medicine

Why Do Dogs And Cats Eat Grass? | Research Gate

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants | ASPCA

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 5 Reasons Why

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 5 Reasons Why

Without a doubt, chasing after things is a favorite activity of dogs all over. From the squirrel in the front yard to a frisbee in the park, our pooches love to be in pursuit of fun. We love watching our adorable goofballs, and they love providing us with joyful moments.

A familiar silly moment that’s been depicted in movies or TV time and time again is that of a dog chasing its tail. Watching a dog twirl round and round, chasing after the end of their body, is sure to provide some giggles.

We know that our dogs can be quite the smartypants, as evidenced by their uncanny ability to nab treats right off the counter or escape their doggy crates. Surely they know that they are chasing themself? Are they just being silly, or is there another reason why they are pursuing their own tail?

Let’s look at some of the most common reasons for this common dog behavior.


Boredom can be one of the main reasons why your dog is chasing their tail. If they’re cooped up all day without a chance to have some physical or mental stimulation, they may take things into their own paws and figure out a way to let off a little steam. Enter chasing after that fluffy tail; they believe if they run fast enough, they will eventually catch it.

Bored dogs can become inquisitive dogs, and that can lead to trouble. If you sense that your dog needs a bit more stimulation, adding in more and longer walks can help get out all that pent-up energy in a more productive way. Bring a few dog puzzles home to engage your dog’s mind and keep it off their tail.


According to animal behaviorists, certain compulsive behaviors can certainly be predisposed across dog breeds. Hounds will follow their nose to the ends of the Earth. Herding dogs, like collies, will herd anything in a group. Sheep, ducklings, and even groups of children have been pushed close together by herding dogs. One of the main reasons dogs engage in these repetitive behaviors is genetics.

One interesting fact about tail chasing is that some breeds are more disposed to tail chasing than others. German Shepherds, Anatolian Sheepdogs, and Bull Terriers are known for compulsive tail chasing. While the exact reasons for their tail chasing are unknown, if you have one of these breeds, ensure they have plenty of other ways to keep occupied.

If you are still bewildered by your dog’s tail chasing, you can contact AskVet, and our behavior experts will help you find alternatives that will promote healthy, happy behavior.

Attention Seeking

Our pups can be fast learners, particularly when one of their actions results in positive behavior from you. Your dog may see that tail chasing causes you to laugh, act excited, and shower them with affection.

This positive reinforcement incentivizes their behavior; they’ll keep doing it whenever they want to get a positive reaction out of you. Keep this behavior at bay by ensuring you devote some quality playtime to your furry best pal every day.

If your dog has already started to chase their tail to elicit a response from you, ignore the behavior until it stops. Once it stops, praise your dog. Eventually, your dog will learn that you will no longer show any response to this action, and they’ll stop chasing after their tail.

Medical Condition

An itchy tail or bottom can be a big reason your dog is chasing their tail. They may have fleas or intestinal parasites. Perhaps their anal glands need to be expressed, or your pup has a skin condition that can cause itchiness or discomfort.

If your dog cannot reach this uncomfortable or painful area with their paws, they may try to use their mouth. This can cause your dog to look like they are chasing their tail. But in reality, they are trying to soothe itchy or irritated skin.

When persistent tail chasing happens out of nowhere, this could be indicative of a medical issue, and a visit to your veterinarian is needed to rule out any serious medical conditions. If something is amiss, your veterinarian should diagnose the problems and prescribe any medications that will give your best buddy relief.

Cognitive Disorders

Anxiety and stress can cause your dog to become a persistent tail chaser. Dogs can experience obsessive-compulsive disorder, just like humans. Instead of nail-biting or persistent hand-washing, dogs will chase their tails. When dog parents notice behavior problems like tail-chasing, OCD is sometimes a contributor.

Whenever your pet is feeling anxious, maybe they are feeling separation anxiety whenever their best friend (you) leaves the house, they may choose to chase their tail as a way to soothe their emotions.

This is not healthy behavior if your dog constantly does this while you are away. Especially if they can catch their tail, your dog may choose to chew on it and damage the skin. This can lead to infections. As your pet continues to feel anxious, it can become an all-consuming cycle.

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Chase Away Pet Parent Concerns with AskVet

Tail chasing can be a one-off cute behavior that your dog does from time to time. Just like the zoomies, it is laughter-inducing and provides wholesome entertainment. When this behavior occurs sporadically, it is a natural and normal behavior. However, if it starts to become a habitual behavior, it can be a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed by a DVM to rule out any concerning medical conditions.

A Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC™) at AskVet could be your best first stop when you are concerned about tail chasing. Our experts are just the partners you want to have when it comes to your pet’s wellness journey.

Your pet’s personality is one of a kind, and when you schedule a virtual consultation with a CPLC™, our experts can help you create an equally unique Pet Lifestyle Plan to lay the best foundation for your best pal to thrive. From fish to felines and very fluffy or scaly companions in between, the AskVet team and community are here to lend a hand.


A Vicious Cycle: A Cross-Sectional Study of Canine Tail-Chasing | PLOS ONE

Characteristics of compulsive tail chasing and associated risk factors in Bull Terriers | AMVA

Training and veterinary care | Britannica

Genomic Risk for Severe Canine Compulsive Disorder, a Dog Model of Human OCD | International Journal of Applied Research

Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?

Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?

Who here has been a victim of tripping over your dog after somehow forgetting that they are right behind us? Most of us who have dogs are used to having a canine shadow wherever we travel in the house, but that doesn’t mean we forget from time to time and end up bumping into them.

You might be wondering, “Why is my dog insistent on following me around?” “Why can I not go to the bathroom alone?” “Are they being clingy?” There are a few different reasons why your dog likes to be involved in everything you do, ranging from simply loving you to having separation anxiety.

Keep reading to learn more about why dogs trail after their humans so much:

My Dog Follows Me Everywhere. Why?

Dogs are loyal companions who are devoted to their humans. In general, dogs have a pack mentality and like to identify a leader to follow. If you’ve been able to train your dog and work with them to establish your reliability and authority, it’s likely that your dog views you as this leader.

Naturally, your canine companion is going to want to follow you and see what you’re up to because they like to spend time with you. They also rely on their humans for everything in their daily routines: food, water, playing, walks, bathroom breaks, and of course, treats.

If you’re moving about the house, they will be inclined to follow you from room to room simply to see what you are getting up to. You’re the center of your dog’s attention.

Remember: you are your dog’s best friend!

Your Dog’s Personality Has an Impact on Their Clingy Behavior

Not all furry family members are going to be as attached to their person as some will be. Dog breeds have different personalities that reflect how they act at home when with their pet parents. You might be a high-energy dog parent who ends up with a really lazy dog who wouldn’t move from their spot on the couch unless food was guaranteed!

Working and herding dogs like border collies are often deeply attached to their person, and the same goes for older dogs who rely on their humans for additional assistance. Smaller dogs like chihuahuas also like to stay close to their humans. Some puppies might be more rambunctious and ambitious, leaving your side to find trouble to get into, but more often than not, if you walk the opposite way, your puppy will come next.

What Is Separation Anxiety? How Your Dog Reacts to You Leaving.

There is such a thing as a velcro-dog. These dogs are attached to their human’s hips and prefer to spend all of their time next to them. The difference between a velcro dog and a dog with separation anxiety comes down to whether or not your dog suffers from anxiety.

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety can experience it in multiple different ways. When they are away from their person, even for a short period of time, they go into a true panic attack and make themselves ill or show signs of destructive behavior.

If you’re worried that your dog pursuing you around is becoming an issue, more so for them than you, consider talking with their veterinarian about ways to help. The best way to combat separation anxiety is to work on building confidence in your dog. The sooner you get your dog’s help, the happier they will be.

Reasons Dogs Follow Their Humans

Your dog relies on you for most things. They anticipate that you will give them food and water at set times, take them out for bathroom breaks when they need to go, and play and snuggle throughout the day. Even if they are getting all of that and more, they will still want to be close by when you’re home.

While most reasons that your dog is following you are harmless and quite sweet, there is always the possibility that your dog is feeling unwell or looking for you to help them.

They Love You

Dogs are incredibly social animals that like to spend as much time as possible with their humans. Whether you are playing with them, snuggling on the couch, or more, it’s a sign that they adore you.

Dogs release the hormone oxytocin when they interact with a person that they like. This hormone gives the feeling of happiness and draws your dog closer to you.

If your dog has chosen you to follow, it’s because they know that you will fulfill their needs and provide them with safety and security. Having a dog that is attached to your hip is not a bad thing; some might even say it is quite the compliment.

They’re Bored

When a dog is simply looking for something to do, they might tag along to see if you are getting into anything interesting. If your dog is following you, they might be bored. To address this behavior, keep plenty of toys available for your dog to play with throughout your house.

You can also spend time working on training with your dog. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation. Having puzzles, learning new tricks, and interactive toys can help limit your dog’s boredom.

They Might Be Looking for a Reward

As much as your dog loves you, they all know that you are the person who gives them what they want. Often it’s taught during dog training that listening and paying attention to their human is enough to reward them with a treat. Your dog might be following you because they think they can get something out of it based on positive reinforcement.

This is something that your pet will pick up on the longer they spend time with you. How do you react when your pet follows you? Do you give them a treat, do you ignore them altogether, or do you give them a pat on the head?

If you reward them when they follow you, they will continue to do so as they age. This is a dog behavior that is more learned than anything in this case, so you might have had a hand in teaching your dog to track you through the house.

Your Dog Might Need Something

Dogs communicate in multiple ways that are much different from how humans communicate with each other. Your dog knows that they need something but might not know the best way to ask for it. Can you blame them?

If your dog is trailing behind you, they might be in need of something. From attention to a bathroom break to needing physical activity, your dog might be trying to tell you what they need. You might be able to tell if this is the case if your dog is whining, pacing, and barking at you or acting strange compared to their usual self.

They Might Be Feeling Anxious

Dogs with separation anxiety are more glued to your side than others. However, separation anxiety isn’t the only cause of general anxiety. If your anxious dog is worried about something or thinks they must be alert, they might become more anxious and look to you for security.

If your dog is anxious or afraid, they might pin their ears back or give you “whale eyes” — when their eyes widen and their pupils dilate as your dog stares at you. If your pup is afraid of thunderstorms or fireworks, you’ve likely seen this reaction before.

Your dog’s body language might significantly change, including a tucked tail or even intense shaking. If your dog feels anxious, they’ll likely stick closely behind you or even hide in the darkest corner of the house. Separation anxiety usually requires some assistance from a professional dog trainer.

It’s a Natural Instinct

It is a part of a dog’s social behavior to stick close to someone they trust. If that happens to be you, then congratulations! You’re likely your dog’s favorite. Your dog might be nosy, but they truly just want to know what you’re up to.

As mentioned before, dogs are pack animals, and it’s in their nature to imprint on a leader and follow them. They will look to you to make sure that there are no threats, that they will be sure to eat, and will be fulfilled in a variety of different ways.

However, sometimes we don’t want our dogs following us. For example, we might not want older dogs climbing down the stairs to the basement. This is when pet-proofing additions like baby gates are a smart purchase.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Ask Questions Through AskVet

When you have a dog, there’s no such thing as a silly question. Being a dog parent can be anxiety-inducing, so it’s always nice to find others who are dealing with similar issues. When you sign up with AskVet, you can gain access to a community of other pet lovers looking to form connections.

After setting up a virtual call with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™, you can ask any question that you have and have an intelligent and helpful response given back to you. Sign up today in order to learn more about your pet and how you can improve their life.


Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Communication In Dogs | NCBI

A Review of Domestic Dogs’ (Canis Familiaris) Human-Like Behaviors: Or Why Behavior Analysts Should Stop Worrying and Love Their Dogs | NCBI

The Role of Oxytocin in the Dog–Owner Relationship | PMC

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Remember drawing a cat when you were young? You put so much care into making perfect triangles for ears and a long curling tail. The finishing touch to your hand-drawn kitty was always two or three whiskers on each side of their face.

A cat’s whiskers are synonymous with their purring and meowing, but exactly why do cats have whiskers, and are they important?

What Are Whiskers Made Of?

If you think that whiskers (AKA vibrissae) resemble hair, then you are on the right path. Whiskers are made of keratin, just like our hair and nails.

Whiskers are a thicker type of sensory hair that is connected to nerves via the hair follicle, which is deeply embedded in your cat’s skin. These hair follicles have their own blood vessels. What’s more, areas in your cat’s brain are also connected to their whiskers via sensory organs called proprioceptors. A true internal radar!

Facial whiskers do fall out on their own, but they do not shed as easily as your cat’s fur. While you may brush your cat’s coat to try to get rid of their shedding hair before it gets all over your home (and you), there are no preemptive measures you would need to take for your cat’s whiskers.

In fact, the best course of action is to leave them alone. Since they are connected to nerves, they are quite sensitive, and it’s best to avoid messing with them.

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

While they give our cat a cute appearance, whiskers are more than a facial feature and serve an essential purpose. Like an insect’s antennae or a TV antenna, whiskers help cats tune into signals around them.

There are whiskers in several parts of a cat’s body. However, the most abundant whiskers are on a cat’s face. These tiny tactile hairs grow around their eyes, on their chin, on either side of their nose above their upper lip, and, interestingly enough, on the back of their forelegs. The aforementioned foreleg whiskers are called carpal whiskers.

These whisker signals help cats determine if a space is too small for them and even help them pick up the movements of prey they may be on the hunt for. It’s pretty mind-blowing how much the itty-bitty nerve endings in a cat’s whiskers influence the cat’s behavior!

In addition, some cat breeds have longer whiskers than others. For example, Persians and Maine Coons are known for their exceptionally long whiskers.


Being a cat parent, you are well aware of the shenanigans that your furry pal can get into. Among those antics is your cat’s amazing ability to squeeze into small spaces. Their whiskers are to thank for that ability.

Cat’s whiskers serve as a built-in warning system to let your cat know if they are able to fit into a space or not. Your cat’s whiskers usually grow on each side, depending on how wide your cat is. If you have a skinny kitty, their whiskers would be shorter than a more robust feline, who would have longer whiskers to match their roundness.

While knowing if a route is wide enough for passage is helpful, another way whiskers come in handy is when your cat is just going about their day-to-day. If your cat enjoys climbing, running under furniture, or hanging out on top of the fridge, they will use their whiskers to help determine if there is anything near their face – which keeps their eyes, nose, and mouth safe.

This is all very helpful, as kitty vision is not as powerful as their hearing and sense of smell. This is especially helpful for those big cats who hunt for their food. Whiskers pick up any minor disturbance in the air current. This can help a big cat determine how their prey is moving or how close it is.

While your cat may not have to hunt for their dinner, they can still use their whiskers as radar when they play with their countless toys and prowl around for any dropped treats.


Like their tail, cats can use their whiskers to communicate their feelings. When our cats are in an inquisitive mood, they may raise their whiskers to get a sense of what is going on in a room.

If your cat feels anxious or aggressive (maybe because your dog is bugging them), they will pull their whiskers back tightly against their face. Look for their ears to be pinned back too, as their whiskers and ears will be a duo in non-verbal communication.

Protective Care for Whiskers

While there isn’t anything specific you need to do to protect your cat’s whiskers, there are a few things you can do to keep them from feeling overstimulated. The first is avoiding too much contact with your cat’s whiskers. Although your cat may love to have their chin or cheeks scratched, try not to grab their whiskers.

Another way your cat can be overwhelmed is if you have a deep dish for their water or food. When your cat dips their face in to take a drink or bite of food, their whiskers can touch the edges of the dish. If you see your cat quickly drinking or eating or tilting their head to one side when they do so, their whiskers may have too much contact with the bowl. Switching to a flatter dish will help with this overstimulation.

Another way to protect your feline’s whiskers is to ensure that everyone around them knows their importance to your cat. This includes small children who may think that whiskers are cute and may try to touch or pull them out.

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Whiskers For Them – AskVet For You

While your cat has their personal system of navigation, you have your own way of navigating life as a cat parent. AskVet is your system to help you stay focused on your pet’s lifestyle and wellness, so they can live a longer and healthier life. With our 360° Pet Lifestyle Plan, we are with you every step or pawprint of the way.

Book a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Expert™, so you can feel empowered to address your pet’s needs confidently. Get answers to your questions and concerns and build a well-rounded care plan for any feline, canine, or reptilian (etc., etc.) family member in your home.

Then, join other pet parents in our online community, the AskVet Clubhouse. You can trade stories, give and get advice, and all the cute anecdotes of being a pet parent.


Why Do Animal Have Whiskers | North American Nature

What can whiskers tell us about mammalian evolution, behavior, and ecology? | Mammal Review

The Mechanoreceptors of the Sinus Hair Organ on the Cat’s Foreleg | ScienceDirect

Cat Sleep 101: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Cat Sleep 101: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

If you’re a cat parent, you might be jealous of all the deep sleep your cat gets throughout the day. First-time pet parents might worry that their cat is sleeping too much, but it’s true that kittens and adult cats alike love a good nap. In most cases, it’s likely that you have nothing to worry about.

Every cat will have their unique sleeping habits that you will begin to pick up on. You’ll know what time of day they get a lot of energy, where their favorite place to nap is, as well as knowing what to look out for that might tell you your cat seems to be sleeping too much. Keeping track of their sleep habits might ease your worries and alert you to anything wrong with the amount of sleep they’re getting.

Keep reading to learn more about why your cat is sleeping so much!

Why Does My Cat Nap So Much?

Unlike humans, cats don’t usually sleep for an extended period of time. Cats won’t lie down and get eight hours of sleep like humans are encouraged to. Instead, cats nap at any moment’s notice. This means that every few hours, they are in need of some shut-eye to recuperate and gain back their energy for more playtime.

You may find your cat dozing off in the sun or catching a quick snooze in your bedroom. Many cats love to cuddle with their humans while they nap, so you might notice your cat lying down in areas where they know you’ll be.

Don’t be surprised if your cat is sleeping periodically throughout the day because they were likely up in the twilight hours, causing mischief.

How Much Sleep Do Cats Need? 

Not all cats will follow the same sleep schedule, so there is no right answer. Typically, cats will sleep between 12 and 15 hours throughout the day, but this sleep cycle can fluctuate.

Depending on their environment and age, their sleep could range from ten to 20 hours, with older cats sleeping the most in many cases. They have a unique sleep-wake cycle that can change based on their environment.

Cats who find themselves in more stressful or high-stakes environments, like in shelters or on the street, might not sleep as much as house cats. A highly stressed cat in an unsafe environment might not be able to sleep as much, whereas a cat experiencing no stress in a home might sleep more.

Many factors play into how much sleep a cat generally needs:

Their Ancestors Were Nocturnal

Many people believe that having nocturnal ancestors plays a role in how house cats function. Most cats will be dormant during the nighttime hours when their people are sleeping because they pick up on your schedule. However, it’s not unusual to be awoken by your cat jumping off of a bureau or hunting shadows in the middle of the night.

Cats are natural predators; throughout history, wild cats would find themselves hunting in the evenings, early mornings, and throughout the night. Even your domesticated cat might be getting back to their ancient roots and using the night to practice their hunting skills. If you hear them pouncing in the middle of the night, that’s probably the case.

They Are Conserving Energy

Your feline friend uses up their energy throughout the day, so when they feel they need to recharge, a quick cat nap is in order. Since they don’t sleep for only one long period, they use naps as a way to rebuild their energy.

You might notice that after some naps, your cat is bursting with energy and needs to do some zoomies to get them under control. Once they feel nice and energized, they’ll be sure to let you know.

Your Cat Could Be Bored 

If your cat can’t find anything entertaining to do, they might just decide to take a nap. This really shouldn’t be a concern! You likely aren’t able to interact with and entertain your cat 24/7, so if they know that taking a nap is an option, let them take it.

You might be worried that your cat is too bored. In that case, finding new ways to entertain them and stimulate their brain might be beneficial. You can create obstacles for your cat, install cat shelves at different heights to jump to and from, or even teach your cat new tricks.

Mental stimulation and physical activity are vital ways to keep your cat entertained, and it also helps you to tire your cat out naturally and through interaction. Your cat will be happy to play or learn something new with you, followed up but a snuggle on the couch.

Stress Might Be a Factor

Some cats that are experiencing stress will cope by sleeping more or disappearing for long stretches of time. During these times when they are hidden, a cat might be trying to rest due to anxiety. Anxiety can make us more tired, so you’ll want to take note of any behavior changes in your cat.

If you can locate the cause of stress, work to eliminate it from your cat’s life so they can get back on a normal sleeping schedule. At this point, it might be beneficial to reach out to an expert in animal emotional wellness and behavior.

Your Cat Might Be Sick

Cats that are feeling unwell might rest more. If your cat has a change in their everyday behaviors and starts to hide away or sleep for more hours in the day, they might be sick. You should keep note of their new sleep patterns and if there are any other symptoms.

If you notice other symptoms, such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, constipation, or general soreness and agitation, you should contact your cat’s veterinarian to get medical attention.

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Take a Cat Nap With Them!

Maybe your cat isn’t sleeping too much, and you just need to take a cat nap with them. Have you thought of that?! Your cat might be trying to remind you that you should be resting and not working too hard.

Cat naps are great for recharging and regaining energy. It’s actually necessary for your cat to nap throughout the day so they can stay more alert when needed. If you have questions about your cat’s behavior, head to AskVet to get answers. By joining, you also gain access to a community of other pet lovers who have similar questions and worries.

When you schedule a virtual chat with the AskVet team of Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, you can help your cat — and any other non-human family member — live a more well-rounded and fulfilled life. Develop a 360-degree care plan for your cat, lizard, dog, fish, and more — and raise your pets with the village we all need.


The Polycyclic Sleep-Wake Cycle In The Cat: Effects Produced By Sensorimotor Rhythm Conditioning | Science Direct

Domestication And History Of The Cat | Research Gate

Behavioral Awareness In The Feline Consultation: Understanding Physical And Emotional Health | SAGE Journals

Are Cats Color Blind? How They See the World

Are Cats Color Blind? How They See the World

When you go out shopping for a new toy or bedding for your cat, you’ll often try to find a color that vibes well with your cat. Whether you think the color suits them or if it fits in with their coat colors, the question is: does your cat know the difference? Can they even tell that there are a variety of colors?

From a young age, we might have been told that most animals can’t see color, but how true is that statement? While cats struggle to see certain hues and shades, they do see some things in color–just not everything.

Keep reading to learn more about cats and color blindness.

Color Perception in Cats

Color blindness does, in fact, affect our feline friends. To be color blind means that you are unable to discern certain colors from one another, especially in low light. It doesn’t always mean that you see in just black and white. Most people that are color blind have difficulty seeing reds and greens or blues and yellows.

With cats, it’s a bit more difficult to decipher what colors they can and cannot see simply because they cannot undergo a color-blind test the way humans can. Studies have been done to try to determine how cats see in comparison to human vision and what that means for their eyesight and ability to see different wavelengths of light.

Cat Vision Explained: How Do Cats See?

The eye has two specialized receptor cells in the retina. One type is called rod cells which aid in light vision. The other is cone cells, which are photoreceptors that aid in color vision.

People have three types of cones: one that allows us to see reds, one to see greens, and one to see blues. These three together help people see various colors in a range of shades and hues.

Cats were originally thought to have dichromatic vision, which means a cat’s cones help them see color, but they have a lower number of cones than humans — only two.

One is sensitive to blue-violet, and the other is sensitive to greens and yellows, leaving red out. One study found that cats had photopic trichromatic vision. This means that they see a similar range of colors as the human eye but with lower visual acuity; the colors are not as vibrant.

What Different Colors Can a Cat’s Eyes See?

There is much to debate about when it comes to what colors cats can see. If we say cats have photopic trichromatic, then it would be safe to say they can see all of the colors, but differently from how humans would. If we say that cats are dichromatic, then they can only see hues of purple, blue, green, and yellow.

Some people will think that their cat is unable to see certain colors based on how they react to toys or blankets. However, this is probably unlikely because of what colors they can and can’t see, and more so just about which objects your cat likes better.

What Colors Can’t Cats See?

Cats seem to show similarities to people with red-green color blindness. They also seem to be more sensitive to blues and yellows. This would mean that the main colors that cats likely have difficulty distinguishing are red, orange, and brown.

It’s possible that the way humans and cats see color is vastly different. Feline eyes are more likely to see in pastels than in vibrance, especially if we consider them to be photopic trichromatic.

How Do Cats Make Up For Color Blindness?

Cats rely on all of their senses to survive, but eyesight is still important. If your cat has more difficulty with their color vision, do not worry! They make up for it with their spectacular night vision and peripheral vision.

Night Vision

While they might not see as vibrant as humans, cats can see in the night better than us and need a lower amount of light to see clearly. They have more rods in the back of the eye than us, making their sensitivity to light more acute. The lack of color that they might experience is made up for by how well they can see in dim light.

Additionally, cats’ pupils can adjust in a range of light conditions. In the daytime, you might notice that their eyes look like thin slits. That’s because they don’t need to work hard to let any light in to see. In the dark, a cat’s pupils can dilate so that they are almost the same size as their eye, allowing for more light to come in and helping them see.

Wider Peripherals 

Cats’ eyes are not as centered as humans, giving them a wider range of vision. This feature is to help them hunt and for other survival purposes. They can see at a 200 degrees angle, compared to a human’s 180 degrees, making it easier to spot predators and prey.

This does mean their depth perception isn’t as great as that of humans, but it is still considered very good in the animal kingdom.

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Get All of Your Questions Answered with AskVet

No matter how long we have been a pet parent, there are new questions you’ll find yourself asking. You might find it helpful to be a part of a community of other pet parents looking for similar answers. When you sign-up with AskVet, you can gain access to this exact community.

Not only does AskVet provide you with answers when you schedule a virtual visit with our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC™), but you can join in with other pet parents in the AskVet Clubhouse to share stories and concerns you might have about your pet.


Cat Color Vision: The Effect Of Stimulus Size, Shape And Viewing Distance | Science Direct

Neutral Point Testing Of Color Vision In The Domestic Cat | NCBI

Trichromatic Vision In The Cat | NCBI

Husky Shedding 101: 7 Tips & Helpful Facts 

Husky Shedding 101: 7 Tips & Helpful Facts

As a husky lover, you’ve likely seen the viral videos on social media of huskies at the groomers with what looks like an explosion of fur all around them. The husky in question looks extremely pleased with themselves, with tufts of fur floating all around them.

We love our huskies for their vibrant personalities, ability to be very vocal, and lovely appearance. Who can resist those beautiful eyes and lush, thick coats? You may not be able to resist those eyes, but that coat can be the bane of your existence from time to time.

Husky Coat 101

Huskies were the canine companions of nomadic peoples living in the Arctic. A thick coat is a means of survival in those bitterly cold temperatures, and a husky was absolutely made for winter weather with their built-in insulation.

Huskies have a thick, double coat of fur that keeps them warm. The outercoat is made of long, straight hairs that help to repel moisture from rain and snow. The undercoat is made up of short, thick hairs that trap heat close to the body. This undercoat is especially protective against the cold, hard ground of the Arctic.

Wind protection is critical, as it can be a significant source of heat loss. You are probably well aware of those blustery days when it can feel almost nice when the wind isn’t blowing. The Arctic can be a windy place, and a huskies coat keeps them feeling nice and cozy even on the most blustery of days.

In fact, huskies love the cold, and you may have to do some serious bribing to get your husky inside when there is snow on the ground.

Why Does My Husky Shed So Much?

During the fall and winter months, your husky will go through the process of “blowing their coat.” What this essentially means is that their undercoat will shed at a more rapid pace for new, healthy growth to come in.

You won’t ever have to ask yourself if your husky is blowing their coat or not. You’ll find clumps of hair all over the house, on clothing, and on furniture. You’ll literally be living in a cloud of your husky’s fur.

This shedding is a natural process, and there isn’t too much you can do to prevent your husky from blowing their coat. It is also a long process as your husky will not blow their coat all at one time.

This process usually covers a span of anywhere from two to four weeks. However, there are some ways that you can proactively get control of the crazy amount of fur that your husky will shed.

Brush, Brush, Brush

Devote some time each day to grooming your husky’s coat. Routinely brushing their coat will help remove loose hair before it has a chance to fall out on its own. (Slicker brushes are perfect for removing dead hair (and freeing tangles) from the undercoat.)

As you brush, you’ll probably wonder if you’ll end up with a bald husky as the pile of hair grows bigger and bigger every time you clean out the brush. Don’t worry! There is plenty of fluff left, and your furbaby won’t be left shivering. Seeing the massive pile of hair really gives you the idea of how insulated and well-prepared they are for the colder months.

When grooming your pup, brush in the direction of hair growth to avoid damaging the coat or causing skin irritation. If your husky’s skin becomes irritated, they may scratch and cause more fur to fly everywhere.

Make Time for Bath Time

Bathing more frequently during the spring and the fall can help to loosen up any dead hair from your husky’s coat. Make sure you use dog-specific products to keep their coat looking shiny and healthy. Give your husky a thorough brushing so you can remove as much hair as possible. This will help to keep your drains clear of any fur clogs.

If your husky is not a huge fan of baths, make it positive with plenty of treats and praise. Some pet parents find it helpful to slather Xylitol-free peanut butter on the shower wall to keep their dogs distracted. Lastly, since huskies are larger dogs, make sure they feel safe in the tub by placing a rubber mat so that they don’t slip.

Use a Blower

A hair dryer or even a specially designed pet blower can help loosen up loose fur. This is especially useful if you can do this process outside, so you don’t end up with husky hair flying around your home.

If you are using a hair dryer, turn on the low-heat or no-heat setting. Don’t concentrate the hair dryer on a single spot; keep the dryer moving. If you have never used a hair dryer on your husky before, give them a chance to sniff the dryer while it is off and feed them plenty of treats during the introduction so that things start on a positive note.

Introduce your husky to the noise by having them in the bathroom with you while you use the hair dryer on yourself. As long as your husky is calm and relaxed, slowly start to blow some of the air their way to see their reaction.

Vacuum Regularly

Part of being a pet parent is investing in a great vacuum cleaner. It’s a fact of life that things are just a little furrier with our dogs around. Vacuuming regularly keeps the hair in your home more of a subtle accent feature rather than an attention-grabbing statement piece.

Not everyone has time to vacuum every single day. In this case, a robot vacuum helps keep things a little less hairy between your big vacuuming days. You also get to spend more time with your husky while your robot vacuum does the work for you.

We have a pro tip when picking out a vacuum to deal with pet hair: Select a vacuum with anti-wrap technology, which saves you from having to untangle pet hair from the rolling brush.

Another crucial tip when using a robot vacuum is to avoid the auto-vacuum function if your dog is not house-trained. We’ll spare you the details, but if your dog has an accident while the robot vacuum is on auto, you will have quite the mess waiting for you when you get home.

Invest In an Air Purifier

It can be beneficial to have an air purifier with any pet in the household, but especially with a high-shedding dog. Air purifiers help to trap pet hair, dander, and other allergens non-pet related like dust and pollen.

Air purifiers are even beneficial for your dog, too, especially if your dog has any underlying respiratory conditions. They are a valuable addition to any home as they can help to improve the air quality for everyone in the household, whether they have two legs or four.

Play Outside 

Huskies are energetic, high-energy animals who need plenty of physical exercise. They were bred to pull sleds, after all! All of this pent-up energy needs somewhere to go, and if your husky is not getting enough physical stimulation, they may become bored, which can lead to destructive behaviors (including howling endlessly).

Remember that huskies absolutely adore cold weather, so make sure you are okay with getting bundled up and heading outside with your dog. They will love, play fetch, and play tug of war with you.

An advantage to getting outside is while your husky is running around and playing, all of that loose fur has a chance to get blown away outside and not in your house. Both of you will be happy and healthy, and you’ll love not having to clean up the extra fur.

Don’t Be Tempted To Shave

It is a temptation to want to get all the shedding over with and just shave your husky’s coat. You may think they will be more comfortable during the warmer months without their thick coat. However, this double coat helps your husky to regulate their body temperature.

Although they have a thick coat, the undercoat also works to keep cool air close to the skin during warmer months. The outer coat helps to prevent sunburn by blocking UV rays. Think of a huskies coat like a well-insulated house. Warm air is kept in during the winter, and cool air is kept in during the summer.

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Your Husky Loves You, and You Love AskVet

Being a husky parent means putting a lot of care and energy into raising the cutest and best husky out there. Their vocal and fun personalities will fill your day with happiness and laughter. Their love for you will be evident in all the fur-covered clothing you’ll wear. (Invest in a reliable lint roller!)

Whenever you have questions about huskies, head over to AskVet to chat with experts and other husky parents so you can share in the love of having a high-energy dog. You can get tips and tricks for new games, toys, and even more helpful ways to deal with the biannual “coat blowout.” It is also nice to have someone share in the feeling of emptying out your vacuum canister for the third time in a day.

Set up a time for a virtual chat with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ and discuss everything from wellness to behavior to nutrition to exercise to behavior and much more. We’re here to make your lifestyle with your pet the best that it can be. No matter what the time — day or night — we are here 24/7 when you need quick and convenient answers for every non-human member of your family.


Genome Sequencing Highlights the Dynamic Early History of Dogs | PLOS Genetics

Ask the Vet: Why Does My Dog Shed? | Sunset Veterinary Clinic

Double Coat Dos and Don’ts | Merryfield School of Pet Grooming

Are air purifiers safe for pets? | Live Science

How to Groom a Dog at Home | American Kennel Club

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? | American Kennel Club

How To Leash Train Your Cat in a Way They’ll Love

leash train your cat

We would do anything for our feline friends — groom them regularly and take them to the vet when they aren’t feeling well. We install cat trees and scatter toys in our homes to keep them entertained and occupied. But did you know one of the best ways to stimulate your cat and promote good health is through exercise?

Letting your cat explore the great outdoors may seem nerve-wracking at first, but it’s also one of the best ways for them to get exercise and mental stimulation. Luckily, there’s a safe way to accomplish this: leash-train your cat! It might sound odd at first, but leash training isn’t all that unusual. In fact, it’s an exciting way to provide enrichment and exercise for an indoor cat.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about leash training your kitty below.

Why Should I Leash Train My Cat?

Leash training your cat can be beneficial for a number of reasons. For one, it allows your feline friend to safely explore the great outdoors. Both cats and dogs need mental and physical stimulation, which helps to prevent boredom and the destructive behaviors that can come along with it. Even just ten to 15 minutes of mental stimulation a day can help keep your kitty happy and healthy.

Plus, leash training can also come in handy in emergency situations, allowing you to quickly and easily evacuate your cat from a potentially dangerous situation. And let’s be real, there’s nothing quite as adorable as seeing a kitty strutting around on a leash.

Depending on the personality of your pet, though, leash training might not be the easiest thing to accomplish. Before we walk you through a step-by-step guide for leash training even the most stubborn kitty, note that not all cats will want to go for a stroll on a leash. That’s ok — we have other ways to get creative with your pets below!

But in the meantime, why not give leash training a try and give your cat the gift of adventure? Let’s go!

Cat Leash Training: Simple Steps 

Leash training your cat may seem like a daunting task — after all, most cats don’t exactly enjoy being strapped into even the best cat harness. But with some patience and positive reinforcement, you can have your furry friend strutting around on a leash in no time.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:


Start by introducing your cat to the leash and collar for the first time. Let them sniff and investigate the equipment, and offer plenty of treats to help them form positive associations with the collar and leash.

According to animal behaviorists, positive reinforcement is your best friend when it comes to getting your kitty to look forward to, rather than fearing, the sight of the leash and harness.

Start Practice

Once your cat is comfortable with the leash and collar, it’s time to start practicing. Be prepared to have your cat lay down or roll around with the harness on. Give them time, space, and plenty of treats to help them acclimate. This may be a slow process, be patient!

Starting off with walking in your home is wise. Your cat is familiar with your home, naturally, and will feel safer and more comfortable there. This will make it that much easier for them to wear the leash in the outside world.

Head Outside

Once your cat is at-ease walking on the leash in your home, it’s time to take things outside. Start in a quiet, enclosed area, such as your backyard or large patio. Allow your cat to explore and get used to their new surroundings.

Release any expectation of walking your cat like you would a dog. They are much slower and prefer to take their time sniffing and exploring. Plan to do a lot of standing around while your cat explores!

This shouldn’t be a long journey. Just like with training dogs, short sessions are far more preferable.

Go Forth and Adventure

As your cat becomes more confident on the leash, consider venturing further and exploring new areas and environments together. Be patient and consistent with your leash training efforts. Reward your cat with cat treats and praise whenever they do something right.

One thing you should be cautious of when leash training your cat is to not let them explore the outside world until they’ve had all of their vaccines. Cats are curious animals, and exposure to different surfaces and other animals without the necessary vaccines can pose a risk to them.

Only once they’ve gotten all their shots and been cleared by a vet to walk on a leash should you begin leash training. And with time, patience, and plenty of positive reinforcement, your cat will soon be a pro at leash walking, ready to explore the world by your side!

What Should Pet Parents Use for Harness Training?

One of the most important steps to successfully leash training your kitty is choosing a well-fitting harness and sturdy leash.

Select equipment that was specifically designed for cats, not dogs. Simply using a small dog harness is not a good idea. You’ll want to avoid any type of chain leash; opt for a lightweight cloth or nylon harness and leash instead.

If you aren’t quite sure which leash or harness is best for your kitty, reach out to your friendly animal behavioral expert or your local vet. A harness that is too small or ill-fitting can be uncomfortable or even harmful to your pet.

When it comes to the collar vs. harness debate, both dog and cat parents have differing opinions. It’s worth noting that collars can prove a tad more dangerous: Cats could potentially become tangled or slip out of a collar. Harnesses also support neck and thyroid health, especially if your pet is prone to pulling.

That’s not to say that collars don’t have a purpose. Collars with a tag identifying your cat and listing your contact information are critical if your cat slips away. Additionally, indoor and outdoor cats can benefit from the One Pet ID from AskVet. The One Pet ID can be updated with your smartphone and alert you if your lost pet is located.

Other Ways To Provide Mental Stimulation for Your Cat

Mental stimulation is essential for the well-being of young and adult cats and dogs, just like it is for us. Bored and frustrated animals can resort to obsessive behaviors like chewing, digging, and generally destroying things, which can frustrate you and your pet.

On the flip side, even just a few minutes of mental stimulation and enrichment each day can wear out your kitten or adult cat and vastly improve their overall quality of life.

Puzzles and Toys

Leash training your kitty and letting them explore the outside world is one way to provide enrichment, but there are plenty of other options as well.

Providing plenty of toys and games for your cat to play with is a good start. Anything from simple cardboard boxes and paper bags to more advanced puzzle toys and interactive laser pointers can be entertaining for your pet.

Encouraging your cat to use their natural hunting instincts can challenge them. You might try hiding treats or cat food around the house, which playful, adventurous cats love to root out, or providing puzzle feeders to mentally wear them out while they retrieve their kibble.

Cat Furniture

You can incorporate cat furniture to build a stimulating environment for your cat to explore. This might include things like cat trees, scratching posts, and cat tunnels for them to investigate and play in.


Alongside investing in cat toys and furniture, provide your cat with regular opportunities for exercise and physical activity. Set aside a dedicated time each day to play with your kitty using a laser pointer or cat toy.

Teach New Tricks

Another way to engage your cat is by engaging in regular training sessions. Teaching a cat new tricks and commands provides a mental challenge that can help keep their minds sharp. It’s also a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your furry friend.

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Leash Training: Worth the Struggle

Wearing a harness and leash might not come naturally to your kitty, but once they get used to the sensation, it can be a fun way to let your cat explore the outdoor world, get exercise, and enjoy some mental stimulation and enrichment. A stimulated cat is a happy cat, and a happy cat means a happy pet parent!

If you have any questions or concerns about exploring Mother Nature with your feline friend, we can help. When you sign up for AskVet, you can schedule a virtual appointment with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ for info on cat training, behavior, routines, and more. Whether you’re looking for assistance providing a well-balanced life for your cat, dog, fish, reptile, or any other pet, the CPLCs™ at AskVet are only a click away.


Positive Reinforcement: Training Your Cat | Napa Humane

Did Your Cat Swallow String? Here’s What You Should Do | Sykesville Veterinary Clinic

Vaccinating Your Pet | American Humane

Should I walk my cat on a leash? | RSPCA Knowledgebase

Cat Grooming 101: The Definitive Guide

Cat Grooming

A healthy cat is a happy cat — and while cats tend to be great at grooming themselves, even the most independent felines need a little extra care every once in a while! Whether your kitty needs a bath, a haircut, or a nail trimming, we’re here to provide all the guidance you need.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about grooming your cat.

Do I Need To Be My Cat’s Groomer?

First, let’s start with the basics: is cat grooming even necessary in the first place? After all, cats are notoriously fastidious about keeping clean. You’ve likely observed your kitty spending hours grooming, and/or licking their fur. Their natural aversion to baths of any sort might have you questioning whether the hassle of forcing them into the tub is really worth the aggravation and fuss.

It’s true that your kitty can, for the most part, take care of themself. Generally, a cat’s teeth and tongue are well-suited to handle the hairballs and grime of everyday wear and tear.

Still, every once in a while, cats might need extra help. If your cat has long hair that tends to get matted, is getting older and can no longer keep up with their own grooming needs, or has gotten into a literal sticky situation, this article is for you.

Note that if your cat proves to be rather tricky to bathe, you might want to head to a professional pet groomer. Your local veterinarian or pet salon (including mobile pet groomers) are experts.

How Do I Bathe My Cat?

We’ll jump right in with possibly the trickiest part of grooming your cat: bath time. Cats are notorious for despising water. Even the most relaxing and luxurious home bath routine can be fraught with the peril of getting clawed. (Despite this reputation, some very playful cat breeds, like the Bengal, do like water and might have tried to hop in the shower with you before!)

But maybe your cat got skunked or spent a bit too much time skulking through a trash heap, and you have no other option. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide to make the grooming process as painless as possible.

Consider Trimming Your Cat’s Claws

Step number one for bathing a water-averse feline: invest in some self-protection. Have you ever noticed your cat digging their claws into a piece of furniture or a scratching post? This is often a form of self-trimming, ensuring those claws are a sharp and healthy length. (However, this behavior can also signify boredom.)

Usually, you can get away with trimming your cat’s claws once a month. If you’re bathing your cat, though — an activity most cats aggressively dislike — you might want to trim those bad boys to protect yourself from getting sliced.

To trim your cat’s claws, you’ll first want to gather your supplies. You’ll need a pair of cat claw trimmers (scissors or clippers work fine), a towel or blanket to wrap your cat in, and some treats to reward your kitty for being a good sport.

Next, wrap your cat in the towel or blanket, making sure to leave their paws exposed. This will help keep them still and prevent them from scratching you. Then pick up your cat and locate their claws.

Be sure to identify a pink area at the base of each claw, called the “quick.” This area contains the blood vessels and nerves that keep the claw avoid, so it’s crucial to avoid cutting it.

Using your claw trimmers, carefully snip off the sharp tip of each claw, repeating this process several times if necessary to get all of the nails trimmed. Finally, reward your kitty with lots of praise (and maybe some treats) to help reinforce the idea that claw trimming isn’t ALL that bad.

Bath Time: An Essential Part of Pet Grooming

Bathing a cat may not be the most fun activity for either you or your feline friend. Still, it’s an integral part of being a responsible pet parent and is definitely worth the trouble if your pet has gotten itself into a sticky situation.

To give your cat a bath, you’ll need a cat-safe shampoo, a towel, a washcloth, and a cup for rinsing. Fill your sink or bathtub with a few inches of warm water, making sure the water isn’t too hot or too cold.

Then gently place your cat in the water and wet them down with the washcloth. Avoid getting soap on their face, especially in your cat’s ears or eyes. Take care to rinse them thoroughly to avoid leaving any soap residue on their fur.

Next, apply a small amount of cat-safe shampoo to your cat’s fur, and lather it in using your washcloth. Work the shampoo into their fur, taking care to avoid getting it in their eyes or ears.

Finally, rinse your cat thoroughly with warm water, and use the towel to gently dry them off. Reward your kitty with treats and lots of praise to reinforce good behavior next bath time (although chances are, they’ll streak away as soon as possible to sulk for a few hours under the nearest bed).

Do not use a hairdryer on your cat, as the noise is too loud for them to handle. Make sure they are left in a warm room to dry off fully, as their body temperature can drop quickly when wet.

Bathing a cat may not be the most enjoyable experience, but it’s an important part of keeping them healthy and happy and is a key part of regular grooming.

How Do I Brush My Cat?

Like we talked about earlier, even the most fastidious cat can use a grooming session every once in a while. Not only does regular brushing remove loose hair and prevent shedding, but it also helps to distribute natural oils throughout the fur and prevent tangles and mats.

To brush your cat, you’ll need a cat brush or comb with rough bristles and a quiet and comfortable spot to work. Not every cat enjoys the de-matting process; brushing somewhere quiet and relaxing might help make your job a little easier. A bed or couch works well. Additionally, you may want to wrap your cat in a towel or blanket to make them feel more secure.

Start by gently petting your cat and getting them desensitized to the cat brush. Slowly work your way up to their head, avoiding their ears and face, and brush in the direction of their fur growth.

Once you’ve finished brushing the top of your cat’s body, move on to their legs and paws. Gently brush out each leg and paw, avoiding their claws. Finally, brush your cat’s tail and backside, again brushing in the direction of their fur growth. (Brushing against the fur growth can exacerbate the buildup of tangles and mats rather than make them better.)

How Often Do I Need to Brush My Cat?

Some kitties might enjoy the grooming process, and you’ll have no difficulty corralling them for their regular brushing. With others, it might be more difficult and have you wondering how long you can go in between grooming sessions.

The answer depends on a few factors, including your cat’s breed, age, and health. In general, most cats benefit from being brushed at least once a week. This can help prevent tangles and mats. Plus, it can remove loose hair before it has a chance to shed and end up on your furniture or clothing.

If your cat has long, thick fur — in other words, if they are a long-haired cat, such as a Persian or Maine Coon — they may benefit from being brushed more often. This is especially true for older cats or cats with health conditions that make self-grooming difficult. In these cases, brushing your cat two to three times a week can help keep their coat healthy and prevent tangles and mats.

On the other hand, if your cat has short, smooth fur — a shorthaired cat, such as a British Shorthair or Russian Blue — they may not need to be brushed as often. In general, once a week should be sufficient, but you can adjust the frequency based on your cat’s individual needs.Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Cat Ear Care: First-Time Tips 

Ear cleaning can be another key aspect of pet care (although not every kitty will need your help with this step). You don’t need special equipment to clean your cat’s ears — just some ear-cleaning solution and a few cotton balls or pads. Never use Q-tips.

Start by gently lifting your cat’s earflap and using the cotton pad or ball to wipe away any dirt or debris you see in the ear. Be careful not to insert the cotton too far into the ear, or use cotton swabs or other pointed objects to clean your cat’s ears, as this can cause injury.

Once you’ve wiped away the visible dirt, put a few drops of ear-cleaning solution into your cat’s ear and massage the base of the ear gently to help the solution work its way into the ear canal.

Use a fresh cotton pad or ball to gently wipe away any excess solution and dirt that has been loosened. Repeat the process on the other ear. And voila! You’ve taken care of your kitty.

Become a (Quasi) Pro Cat Groomer (at Home)

Although most cats are great at grooming themselves, every once in a while, they’ll need extra assistance, whether that be ear cleaning, brushing, or getting a bath.

If you have questions about grooming your feline friend or any other pet-related matter, reach out to the Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ at AskVet. Whether you have a question about a dog, cat, fish, lizard, or more, when you schedule a virtual session with CPLCs™, you have an expert to talk to. From behavioral to nutrition and everything in between, AskVet here is to help.


Cat Grooming Tips | ASPCA

Skunk Spray: Cats | San Francisco SPCA

How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears | United Veterinary Center

Why Do Dogs Get Zoomies? 6 Reasons They Go Bonkers

dog zoomies

Dog zoomies are an adorable and entertaining form of energy that simply can’t be contained by dog parents. If you are a pet parent, you are likely familiar with your dog’s random bursts all around the house and yard. They will sprint around you, spin around, and zig-zag between objects, all with a crazed look in their eye.

You may be familiar with these acts, but are you positive about why your dog has them? There are several reasons that dogs get zoomies, so keep reading to learn more!

What Is a Case of the Zoomies?

Zoomies are known as random bursts of energy, but they have a scientific name. Frenetic random activity periods (FRAPS) is the technical term for this excess energy, and they can happen for a number of reasons.

It is a normal phenomenon that all dogs will have at some point in their life, especially dog breeds that are happy and comfortable. They are very common in young dogs, who tend to have more energy than other ages, but that doesn’t mean senior dogs won’t get the zoomies and show you that they are still young at heart.

Should I Be Concerned When My Dog Goes Wild?

Zoomies are rarely canine behavior to be concerned about, especially in puppies in high-energy dogs of all ages. Still, if your dog is doing zoomies relentlessly, they might need more attention and enough exercise. It’s likely they have too much pent-up energy and need to find new ways to release it. Zoomies are the easiest way to do so.

Mental stimulation and physical exercises are good for a dog who has a lot of zoomies. Both can tire out your dog in a good way without overworking them or putting them in any danger. Your dog needs exercise anyway, so change it up and offer them several avenues to do so! Who knows? Maybe you’ll each find a new hobby, like agility or herding!

6 Reasons Dogs Get Zoomies

When it comes to the zoomies, the simple reason for them is that your dog has a lot of energy pent up. This is true, but there could be other factors involved that influence your dog’s zoomies. From warming up, releasing anxiety, and even relieving pain, there are plenty of reasons that your dog might be running around the living room like crazy.

1. They Are Trying To Warm Up

If your dog is feeling particularly cold or it’s a chilly day, they might do the zoomies to help warm up quickly. They might do them in the backyard a few times or when they get back inside from a walk. Zoomies allow them to get their blood pumping and warm up easier than if they were to stand still.

This might also happen to dogs who get out of a lake or bath and are looking for a way to dry off.

2. They Are Releasing Anxiety or Tension

Some dogs who have a build-up of stress or tension will do zoomies once they are feeling a bit better. It’s kind of like the zoomies will help to shake off their anxiety and get all of the tension out of their adorable bodies.

If your dog is in a stressful situation, the zoomies might happen right afterward. For dogs that hate bath time, releasing their nervous energy and needing to warm up is the perfect reason for zoomies.

3. They Are Feeling Super Excited

According to animal behaviorists, zoomies are a tell-tale sign that your dog is happy and excited. They might need to release that excitement, and an appropriate way for them to do so is to run around like a madman in the dog park — or start jumping over the coffee table.

If your dog has specific people or dogs they are in love with, they might get the zoomies when they see them. You might arrive at grandma’s house and watch the zoomies unleash straight out of the car.

When your dog gets the zoomies because they are excited, don’t be afraid to egg your dog on and keep them in that mode! They will love it if you begin to play with them.

4. They’re Celebrating After Going to the Bathroom

Some younger dogs will have a quick zoomie if they have finished going to the bathroom. For some reason, after having a nice poop, your pooch’s first instinct might be to run around as if in celebration.

Be sure they don’t run directly into their fresh business, or else a real mess will be on your hands.

5. They’re Following Their Daily Cycle 

You might notice that your dog gets the zoomies at specific points in the day. This might be based on the built-in biological rhythm that your dog experiences. They might get sudden bursts of energy in the early morning and later on in the evening, usually accompanied by dinner.

6. They’re Trying To Relieve Pain

The last reason that your dog might be experiencing zoomies could potentially be a cause for concern. Some dogs will experience zoomies after feeling a sharp pain, specifically in their legs or behind. Dogs with arthritis or flea bites might feel pain and instinctively start moving quickly.

If your dog has zoomies accompanied by other issues like limping, itching, whining, or extensive licking in one area, there might be something wrong. Reach out to your veterinarian if this seems to be an issue.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Zoom Over to AskVet for Virtual Help

No question is a bad question, but sometimes they can feel a bit silly. Like, “Why do dogs get zoomies?” The answer might seem obvious, but often there is more to it than you might be aware of!

When you sign-up for a virtual session with AskVet, you gain access to chat services available 24/7. With AskVet’s Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM (CPLC), you can ask a dog expert any question you have. Not only that, but your CPLC can come up with a 360-degree lifestyle plan that encompasses nutrition, behavioral, and dog training resources.

Having a pet can be a lot of work, but with AskVet, you can join a community of other pet parents who just want the best for their animal friends. And we are sure you’ll be able to share zoomies stories.


What Are Zoomies? | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Stress-Related Behaviors in Companion Dogs Exposed to Common Household Noises, and Owners’ Interpretations of Their Dogs’ Behaviors | Frontiers

Daily Rhythms of Serum Lipids in Dogs: Influences of Lighting and Fasting Cycles | NCBI

Night Vision: Can Cats See in the Dark?

Night Vision: Can Cats See in the Dark?

Cats are known to be quick, agile, and strong hunters. In order to move so effortlessly around the room, pouncing from chair to ledge, one has to assume that their vision must be top-notch. Even in the dark, cats are known to be quite nimble (with the occasional knocking of a knickknack off a shelf).

Cats have remarkable vision, and it’s no coincidence why: They are natural-born hunters who still possess many of the same instincts as their ancestors. Their vision is essential to them, though it isn’t perfect. Keep reading to learn more about your cat’s night vision and how it came to be!

Can Cats See in the Dark?

The short answer is yes, but it’s not as superior as you might think. A lot of people think that cats are nocturnal, but that’s not exactly true either. They are actually considered crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. In fact, around dawn and dusk is when most cats are reported as going missing.

Cats need a small amount of light in order to see. It’s not like they have actual night vision and can see perfectly when it’s dark, but it still is better than human eyes when the sun sets. In utter, pitch-black complete darkness, they are unlikely to see very well (similar to dogs and humans), but they might have better instincts moving around in the dark than we do.

The Evolution of a Cat’s Night Vision

Cats are known to be solitary hunters, meaning that they easily rely on themselves to survive and have adapted certain instincts to make survival easier. They have vertical slit eyes that allow for more light to be let in. Plus, cats have great peripheral vision that makes hunting easier than it would be for a human in a low-light situation.

As we mentioned above, cats are more active in the early morning and evening as the sun sets. This is an opportune time for hunting, and though cats nowadays don’t need to work so hard to survive, they still have some of the same behaviors. Your cat might be more active at night or in the morning and take advantage of their ability to see better when the rest of the world is sleeping.

What Makes Cats See Better in the Dark?

While their night vision isn’t necessarily a real thing, a cat’s vision is remarkably good in any other case. They rely on their sight to help hunt, watch, and play just as much as their other senses.

Their eyes have unique aspects to them that improve their vision and help them see better through all times of the day. There is a reason that it’s hard to get by your cat without them noticing you! Thanks to their keen visual acuity, they’ve likely noticed you before you have noticed them.

How Cats See the World: The Makeup of Their Eyes

Compared to a human, a cat’s eye develops with different chemistry and functionality. For instance, a cat’s eye has completely different photoreceptors from humans. They have a high number of rods that are responsible for motion detection, peripheral vision, and night vision. Basically, their vision in the dark is as useful as their vision in the day.

This also means that in very bright light, your cat might not actually see as well because the additional rods in their eye can make what they are looking at seem overexposed.

Cats have what is called a tapetum, which is the reason for their glowing eyes in photos taken of them at night. Tapetum is a layer of tissue that reflects light back toward the retina. The reflective layer then bounces light back to sensory receptors and allows more than 50% of light into the eye.

The tapetum can come in handy for humans in a roundabout way. One way to find a missing cat is to shine a flashlight alongside the edges of the homes in your neighborhood and in nearby bushes. Hopefully, the flashlight will reveal your cat hiding, and you can bring them home.

Expandable Slit-Shaped Vertical Pupils

A cat’s eye is designed to adjust to light well and help bring more focus to the large picture. A cat’s cornea is curved, and they have a very large lens. In lower light, a cat’s pupils will expand to let more levels of light in, improving their vision as a whole.

This is why in the daytime, your cat’s eye might have a thinner slit that allows them to focus better on objects around them. They don’t need extra light as they do in the middle of the night, so it’s able to remain smaller.

Peripheral Powers

Cats are a bit near-sighted, meaning that they can’t fully focus on objects that are further away from them. However, what they lack in distance vision, they make up for in peripheral vision and the ability to see in dim light.

The field of vision for a human is about 180 degrees, but a cat’s field of vision is 200 degrees. This helps them to survey their surroundings more efficiently and keep an eye out for predators or prey.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Why Is a Cat’s Vision So Important?

Cats are used to being lone hunters, even when inside a loving home. Their instincts might tell them to hunt and to stalk, so they are going to need their vision to help them complete their journeys.

Since they are nearsighted and don’t always see things so clearly, having a wider range than human vision and the ability to function better in very low lighting helps them survive. They will feel more confident prowling around the house and stalking mice when they can make use of their eyesight.

Of course, a cat will also use their other senses to be successful, but it’s hard to ignore the power of their beautiful big eyes watching and waiting for someone to make the next move.

AskVet Has All of Your Cat Questions Covered

When we get a pet, whether it’s a dog, a cat, a hamster, or a snake, we are never prepared for all of the little questions that arise. When you sign-up for AskVet, you can gain access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™.

Schedule a session with a CPLC™, and they can help come up with cat behavior, cat exercise, and cat food plans to better your pet’s life.

With cats, it can sometimes be hard to guess what they are thinking. They are strong and independent animals who might not realize how much we need them in our lives (and in our homes). That’s why AskVet offers a free One Pet ID to help you be reunited with your cat, dog, horse, or more!

Join in with other pet parents to gush over your pet and talk about their quirks and behaviors that stick out to you when you join the Clubhouse. Don’t wait, and get involved today!


The Taming Of The Cat | NCBI

Circular Pupil Shape Linked To Animals’ Ecological Niche | EurekAlert

Vision In Dogs And Cats | DVM 360

Why do cats sleep so much? | BBC Science Focus Magazine

Tapetum lucidum – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Why Do Cats Hate Water? What They’re Thinking

Why Do Cats Hate Water? What They're Thinking

The strange quirks and behaviors of our pets can provoke a lot of emotions. Sometimes they can be fascinating; sometimes, they can be frustrating and worrisome; and sometimes, they can just make us laugh. One behavior that has brought out all of these emotions in cat owners is their somewhat adversarial relationship with a substance that we humans find so normal — water.

It’s likely that you’ve heard of this cat quirk at some point, and you’ve probably seen a viral video online that captures the phenomenon. But you also may have wondered, especially if you have a cat yourself, what exactly causes this behavior.

In this article, we’re taking a deeper look into the topic. We’ll clue you into what they’re thinking and how you should respond to your cat getting wet.

Why Do Cats Hate Water?

If domestic cats and wild cats alike hate water, then why do ours seem to be big fans of drinking from their water bowls? And why are they sometimes attracted to tap water coming out of a faucet?

Cats and Hydration

This is an important distinction to make for a cat’s relationship to water. Cats are generally perfectly fine with drinking water.

Felines generally don’t seem to drink as much water as dogs — over the course of one day, cats need about four ounces of water for every five pounds of lean body weight. One reason behind the apparent disparity is that cats tend to consume wet food, which is sometimes up to 80% water. If your cat seems to struggle with staying hydrated, reach out to your veterinarian for assistance.

Presence of Water vs. Immersion in Water

Scientists believe cats actually like the sound and movement of running water: It’s believed that it stimulates their strong prey drive.

What the average cat really hates is getting wet, especially with large bodies of water. The list below applies primarily to when cats get their fur wet — they’re not swimmers or big fans of bath time.

Water Changes a Cat’s Weight

If you get caught in a downpour without an umbrella, the first thing you’ll likely do when you get home is to change out of your heavy, soaking-wet clothes. This is what cats feel like when they get wet, except the “clothes” are attached to their skin.

Cats are extremely agile creatures, and the extra weight that wet fur puts on them can make them feel quite uncomfortable. It puts them out of their natural element and messes with their navigation.

It’s an Evolutionary Trait

Depictions of cats can be found on the walls of the ancient pyramids of Egypt — they have historically lived in mostly dry climates. From an evolutionary standpoint, this has made them ill-equipped to deal with things like rivers, oceans, and lakes.

If a cat is placed near a bathtub, their primal instincts are likely signaling to them, “danger!”

Compare this to big cats that hail from warm climates — they tend to enjoy water. Jaguars, ocelots, and tigers love water. Cats from cold areas (the lynx, snow leopard, and bobcats) might avoid water to stay warm.

Past Negative Experiences

If a cat has experienced a stressful situation with water during their kitten years, they could possibly carry that fear with them into adulthood.

If your cat hates water, it may not be their ancestral memories affecting them. It may just be the early memories of their first interactions with water affecting them. If your cat despises water, cat-proofing your home could be wise.

They Don’t Like the Smell of Bathwater 

Cats have a much stronger sense of smell than we do. While a bathtub full of tap water may be completely odorless to us, it is not for our feline friends. They can pick up on the smell of the chemicals added to municipal water and aren’t comfortable if their coat is covered in it.

They’re Not in Control

When a cat interacts with a dripping tap while sitting on a dry countertop, they feel in control of the situation. If any threat arises, they can easily escape. If they become drenched, they lose their sense of control.

They can’t see as well, they lose their traction, and their coat is weighing them down. They just feel trapped.

Are There Any Types of Cats That Like Water?

While it’s true that most cats avoid getting wet at all costs, there are a few exceptions to the rule.

Here are the breeds of cats that could have no problems with water:

Maine Coon

This breed of cat has a special water-resistant coat. They’re often attracted to water and love to splash around in it — If you leave a tap running in your home, they’ll likely seek it out!

Maine coons have historically been used on wooden ships to control pests. This may have made them more comfortable around water over time, or their genetics made them one of the only felines able to do the job. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma, but regardless, these cats are cool with water.


This breed is a descendant of water-loving Asian leopard cats. This is what likely makes them fond of and comfortable around water. Bengals are naturally adventurous and playful; people often consider them the dogs of the cat world.

Turkish Van

These cats have been given the nickname “the swimming cat.” Their coat does not hold onto water, which has made them comfortable getting wet. Owners of Turkish vans often buy kiddie pools so their cats can paddle around all they want.


There’s nothing particularly unique about this breed’s coat; they are just comfortable around water. Experts believe it has something to do with their genetic history — they arrived on the European continent hundreds of years ago by boat, so they likely feel rather content around bodies of water.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

What Should a Pet Parent Do if Their Cat Gets Wet?

Although cats are masters of staying clear of water, the occasional accident can happen — with their affinity for exploration, a slip or fall into a sink, bathtub, toilet, or pool is not uncommon.

Here’s what to do if your feline friend gets soaked:

  • Try to keep your cat calm. Getting wet can be a really stressful experience for your cat, so be sure to be as calming and comforting as possible while they dry off.
  • Wrap a towel around them. You can hold them in a soft towel on your lap and gently squeeze the towel to help the water absorb.
  • Keep them warm. It’s best to put your cat in a warm room while they continue to dry. It will comfort them and help them dry faster.
  • Don’t use a hairdryer. The sound and sensation of a hairdryer may scare your cat and can cause them to get aggressive. Additionally, the hot air can irritate the cat’s skin.
  • Give them space. Your cat probably needs to decompress from the experience, so perhaps give them a treat and leave them alone for a little while. If your pet is showing signs of stress, check out our dog and cat anxiety resources.


There are several factors that play into a cat’s innate fear of water. Some of it is evolutionary, and some of it has to do with the anatomy of their senses. While there are some unique breeds of cats who might enjoy water, most felines will avoid getting wet at all costs.

Whether you’re looking for ways to keep a water-adverse cat away from the bathtub or are seeking info on how to help your cat safely engage with water, AskVet can help. Upon signing up for an AskVet membership, schedule a virtual chat with our team of vets and pet coaches.

Our CPLCs™ can help build a 360-degree Lifestyle Plan for every animal member of your household, answering any questions you have and offering guidance along the way. An AskVet membership also includes access to the AskVet Clubhouse, a free-for-life One Pet ID, and all the 24/7 support you need!

It takes a village to raise a pet, but that village can be anywhere in the world with AskVet.


Why Do Cats Hate Water? | Britannica

A Cat’s Five Senses | Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Hydration | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Cats in Ancient Egypt | Acoma Animal Clinic

Five things you didn’t know about tigers | World Animal Protection

Abyssinian | Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital, Inc

Why Do Dogs Howl & What Does It Mean?

Why Do Dogs Howl & What Does It Mean?

Any dog is capable of letting out a random howl every here and there, and some dogs like to howl whenever they are given a chance to. Howling is a behavior that comes naturally to all dog breeds, and they utilize their voices for a few reasons. When you learn more about your dog as you grow together, you will come to figure out their unique habits — howling might be one of them.

When your dog is howling, your first instinct is going to be to figure out why. There could be a few different reasons for this, and with some deductive reasoning, you’re likely to figure out the culprit.

To learn more about why dogs howl and what their howling means, keep reading!

Dog Vocalization 101 What Dog Owners Need To Know

According to animal behaviorists, dogs can’t communicate with their humans in one specific way, and vice versa. For your dog to get their point across, they are going to use their voice.

Your dog might howl, whine, bark, bay, or growl to let you know how they feel about a certain situation. Each form of communication listed above may have been passed down to your pooch from their wolf and coyote ancestors.

A dog howling is often to alert the people or other animals around them of their presence, for attention-seeking, or to alert them to some kind of danger. Another reason your dog might be howling is that they are experiencing pain. If this might be the case, contact your dog’s veterinarian immediately.

Dogs are known to be pack members, not lone wolves, and it’s likely that they are using their instincts to try to communicate, even if they are not sure who is on the receiving end.

What Is Your Dog Trying To Say When Howling?

Your dog might just howl for the fun of it, especially if they are a basset hound, Alaskan malamute, or similar breed. If this is the case, you probably have given up on trying to figure out why your dog howls. They simply do because it’s in their blood (they might also be a husky or beagle).

If your dog howls randomly, there might be more intention behind it. For this reason, getting to the bottom of it and distinguishing howls, barks, and bays from each other can help us to understand our dogs better.

Responding to the Environment

Sometimes something in your surrounding environment will set off your dog and result in them howling. A loud or high-pitched sound, like a siren wailing or the backfiring of a car, another dog howling in the neighborhood, musical instruments, or loud noises on the TV might trigger a reaction from your dog. High-pitched noises are known as one of the key reasons dogs howl.

In this case, the howling is in response to something that’s off-putting to your dog. You will likely recognize the correlation because you will hear the sound they are reacting to.

If your dog is howling consistently based on a reaction, you might want to work on desensitizing them to these noises to avoid constant howling. Your dog is likely howling because they’re startled by stimuli and confused as to where the sound is coming from. Be patient and work to teach them that what they are reacting to is not a threat.

Needing Attention

Dogs will howl when they are looking for attention from their humans. They might learn that when they howl, you come to their attention and give them what they want — whether that be pets, a dog treat, or an action like going outside.

While we do want our dogs to alert us if they need something, like going out for the bathroom, excessive howling can be disruptive. When it’s not directed towards anything other than needing attention, it is a behavioral issue that should be corrected.

Rewarding a dog when they are quiet and ignoring them when they are howling at you for attention is the first step in changing their howling behaviors.

Alerting to Danger

Another reason for your dog to howl is if they feel like they are in danger due to potential predators or other threats. They might feel the need to alert you and others around them of the potential threat. This type of howling also makes their presence known to that specific danger to hopefully ward them off.

Dogs might howl if someone is approaching them who the dog is scared of. They might howl if someone tries to get into your house to tell them to back off. Many people and other animals will view a dog that is loud and rambunctious as a potential threat and will opt to stay away.

In these cases, it’s never a bad thing to have a dog who is howling by your side. It’s for this reason that teaching your dog when it’s appropriate to bark is so important.

Separation Anxiety

Many domestic dogs that come from rescues, have experienced trauma, or have severe attachments to their parents can suffer from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is when a dog is left for time alone in the home or without their owner, and the result is acting out. Dogs might pair the howling with scratching, whining, or pacing and cause damage to objects around them.

Some dogs are not used to time spent without their humans, so when they are left alone for any amount of time, it can feel like an eternity. Medication can help this issue, but training and building up confidence in your dog will be key in teaching them how to manage their bark.

You may not be aware of this if you leave your dog when it’s happening, so talking to neighbors or even setting up a camera to see what your pet does when you’re gone might give you some better insight.

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Medical Issues

The last thing that you want your dog to be howling because of is a medical issue. If your dog is not a howler, then their howling might signal that something is wrong with them physically. They could be hurt and trying to signal to their human that they are experiencing pain.

Keep note of your dog’s behaviors so that you can easily point out when something is off. If howling is odd for your dog and they have been doing it more than usual, you can reach out to your vet and see what your options are.

Hopefully, this is not the case, but if it is, you will want to take your dog to the emergency veterinarian immediately.

AskVet Has Answers for You!

When you can’t get to the bottom of your dog’s behaviors, AskVet is there to give you some answers. Sign-up for a virtual session and gain access to our Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM (CPLC) around the clock to answer any question you may have whenever you have it.

You know the feeling of being a crazy dog parent? And wondering if you’re the only person who has this many questions and concerns about your (probably very healthy) dog? You can now feel that way but surrounded by like-minded pet parents with AskVet’s Clubhouse.

The AskVet Clubhouse is a simple (and fun) way to gain access to a community of pet parents who want a space to learn more about their pets and hear from other people who struggle with the same concerns. We are sure you’ll find other howling dog parents who are looking for solutions to their very loud (but adorable) problems.


Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Howling | ASPCA

Slobbery Kisses: Why Do Dogs Lick You So Much?

Slobbery Kisses: Why Do Dogs Lick You So Much?

It’s one of the trademark signs of canine affection: Big, slobbery kisses. Whether you’re a dog owner yourself or a dog lover, you likely know the experience of going up to say hello to a furry companion and being greeted by enthusiastic licking. But why is that? What makes dogs lick their human family members so much?

Keep reading for this and more questions about our furry companions decoded:

Why Does My Dog Lick Me So Much?

Dogs are known for their affectionate behavior: Helicopter tails, jumping on us to say hello, and licking are some of the many ways they show their love. Licking behavior might be their favorite, though. From giving us a slobbery kiss on the cheek to frantically licking our faces when we come home, it’s clear that dogs love to lick.

But why do they do it?


Licking is a behavior inherited from wild dogs. Adult dogs and puppies lick for many different reasons, including showing affection and for attention-seeking purposes. It could also be a sign of submission or to show their respect. However, the overarching reason dogs lick is to communicate.


When dogs lick, it often conveys a message to other dogs or to humans. For example, a mother dog will lick her puppies to both clean them and show her affection. Similarly, a dog may lick its owner as a way of saying hello, as a sign of affection, or to signal that it’s time for dinner.


But dogs don’t just lick other dogs and humans. They also lick objects, such as toys or furniture. There are many reasons for this; one thought is that it’s a way for dogs to learn more about the world around them. By licking an object, a dog can get a sense of its texture, taste, and even its scent.


Licking can be a self-soothing behavior for dogs that releases endorphins. Just like humans, dogs can get stressed or have separation anxiety, and licking can be a way for them to calm themselves down.

For example, if a dog is feeling anxious, it may lick its paws or lick the air to relieve the anxiety. This type of licking often occurs when their owner leaves for extended periods of time (separation anxiety) or when exposed to new environments. (Licking paws might also be a symptom of allergies which will require a vet visit.)

When To Talk to a Vet

Not all licking is normal or healthy. Excessive licking, or licking that is accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, can be a sign of a health problem. If your dog is licking excessively, talk to your DVM to determine the underlying cause and to get appropriate treatment.

How Can I Tell If My Dog’s Licking Is Normal Or Not?

If you’re concerned about your dog’s licking behavior, pay attention to the context clues that might help you figure out why this dog behavior is occurring. For instance, are they licking primarily as a greeting to other dogs, their pet parents, and other people?

In this case, it’s most likely a standard sign of affection. Are they fond of licking your exposed skin, such as on your legs and arms? Human skin is slightly salty, so perhaps your pet is simply enjoying the taste of extra salt.

Take note of when and where your dog is excessively licking and similar behavioral issues, and use context clues to determine whether their behavior is normal or cause for concern. In the case of the latter, definitely bring up the issue to your vet or an animal behaviorist. They’ll be able to take a look at your pup and figure out what’s going on.

Sometimes, licking might become a social issue for your dog — after all, not everyone enjoys being covered in doggy slobber. In that case, reach out to dog trainers or behaviorists. With some treats, tips, and positive reinforcement, qualified experts can help guide your family in the right direction.

Caring for an Anxious Dog

If you think separation anxiety or stress is a possible reason for your dog’s excessive licking, there are a few things you can do to help. Dogs can become anxious in new or unfamiliar environments; they need a place where they can feel safe and secure. This could be a crate, a bed, or a quiet room where they can retreat to when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Creating a safe environment that your dog has access to is step one for building a sense of safety and security.

If your dog is anxious around loud noises or new people, perhaps try practicing desensitization to help them slowly overcome this fear. With this, positive reinforcement is critical and expert advice is usually recommended.

Gradually expose them to their triggers in a slow and safe way, such as by having one new person over at a time and rewarding them with praise and treats throughout the whole encounter. This can slowly cause them to associate new people (or any other trigger) with positive experiences, such as treats.

Interpreting Your Dog’s Body Language

Licking behavior can provide insight into your dog’s mood and state of mind. But other body language signs can help you understand how your doggy is feeling, too.

Understanding your dog’s body language is an integral part of being a responsible pet owner. There are many ways that dogs communicate through body language.

The way they move and position themselves, the way they wag their tails, and even the way they make eye contact can provide clues to what they’re thinking. By learning to interpret your dog’s body language, you can better understand and address their needs, which is step number one in having a happy and healthy pet.


One of the things to look for when interpreting your dog’s body language is posture. Sometimes their posture is clear:

A confident dog will stand tall with their tail held high, ears perked up, and eyes focused. A scared or anxious dog may crouch low to the ground with their tail tucked between their legs, ears flattened against the head, and their eyes wide and fearful.

Other times, the tells in posture may be more subtle and less obvious. Every dog is unique. By keeping an eye on your dog’s moods and postures in various environments, you can start to get a feel for your puppy’s unique body language and how to interpret it.

Tail Movement

Another critical aspect of your dog’s body language is the tail. In fact, your dog’s tail might be the fastest giveaway to what they’re thinking and feeling at any given time.

A wagging tail is often thought to be a sign of happiness, but it may be a bit more complicated than that. A wagging tail can indicate a range of emotions, from excitement and happiness to fear and aggression. Interpreting your dog’s tail position requires you to look at the whole picture.

For example, a happy dog may wag their tail vigorously with their whole body, while a fearful dog may wag their tail slowly and tentatively. Pay attention to your pup, and you’ll soon learn what their different tail movements and positions may mean. Your dog’s way of telling you something may not be what you expect.

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Ears and Eyes

In addition to posture and tail wagging, you can learn a lot about a dog’s emotional state by watching their ears and eyes. A relaxed dog will have their ears perked up and their eyes soft and gentle. A tense or aggressive dog may have their ears flattened against their head, and their eyes narrowed.

By paying attention to your dog’s ears and eyes, you can get a sense of how they’re feeling and whether they’re likely to be friendly or aggressive.

It’s important to remember that you can’t always rely on body language to interpret your dog’s emotions. Some dogs may have atypical body language due to a medical condition or past trauma, while others may be more tricky to read due to their individual personality.

Spend time with them, observe them closely, and learn what their unique signals mean. Dogs are incredibly smart, and throughout this process, they will likely learn how to better communicate their needs with you and their other pack members, too. (They’re called man’s best friend for a reason!)

Learning To Speak a New Tongue? The AskVet Experts Can Help.

Whether we’re talking about licking, tail-wagging, or any other aspect of your dog’s body language, with some time and practice, you’ll soon be able to understand your dog like a pro. Every dog is different, and the best thing you can do to understand what your dog is trying to communicate is to pay attention to their specific behaviors and needs.

However, dogs and people don’t share much of a common language. Besides some commands and words like “treat,” your pets and you will need a translating dictionary from time to time.

The Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ at AskVet can be that dictionary. After joining AskVet, sign up for a virtual appointment with a CPLC™ who can guide you through your animal family members’ behaviors and quirks. Cats, fish, reptiles, dogs, and more — we can work with them all!


Separation Anxiety | ASPCA

Too Much Licking | Academy Animal Hospital

Why Is My Dog Licking Me? Tips To Identify And Alleviate Problem Licking | American Kennel Club (AKC)

Why Do Dogs Like to Lick? | Rocklin Park Veterinary Hospital

Are Allergies Making Your Dog Lick Their Paws? | Animal Allergy and Ear Clinic

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws & What Does It Mean?

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws & What Does It Mean?

Dog owners everywhere are well aware of the loud and often all-consuming sound of their dogs licking their paws. It’s an unmistakable sound that can warrant some very wet paws afterward. Surprisingly, your dog likely isn’t doing this to annoy you, and aside from simple grooming, paw licking can indicate something else is going on.

Paw licking is a part of normal dog behavior. After running outside and getting dirty, dogs will likely clean themselves up and get any dirt or debris out of their paws. However, if the paw licking continues, there could be an issue, like an injury or irritation, that needs to be checked out.

Keeping an eye on your pet and monitoring their behaviors can help notify you of any changes. Read on to learn more about reasons your dog might be licking their paws.

Why Is My Dog Licking Their Paws? Common Causes

Paw licking is considered a typical dog behavior; there are several common reasons for it. It may seem weird to you, but it helps your dog keep themselves clean.

There is a difference between casual, daily paw licking and constant paw licking. The former might be something you come across every day, or even a couple of times a day — depending on how dirty your dog might get throughout the day. This is nothing to worry about, considering that it’s something that all dogs do.

Should I Be Concerned?

You can begin feeling concerned about your dog’s paw licking when they are doing it pretty consistently. If your dog is licking their paws more than expected, so much so that it couldn’t possibly be to clean themselves again, there might be an underlying issue.

These issues can stem from allergies to parasites, but regardless of the issue, it’s time for a trip to your dog’s veterinarian. This is the easiest way to get to the bottom of the mystery and figure out how to ease your dog’s discomfort.

Normal Self-Grooming

Dogs might not be as in-depth in their daily grooming methods as cats are, but they do still put in the time to keep themselves clean. Most dogs aren’t as flexible as dogs, so they can only get a good angle on their paws.

You might notice that your dog is spending the time after being outside in the yard or on a walk licking their paws. If your dog feels they have gotten their feet dirty or sandy, they will likely dedicate some self-care time to cleaning this mess.

Skin Irritation

If your pup is suffering from dry or itchy skin, this may be the cause of your dog’s paw licking. Skin irritation is often the result of environmental allergies. Dogs can be allergic to certain kinds of grass and dust from around the house, making the undersides and in-betweens of your dog’s paws rather itchy.

In order to relieve the itch caused by a skin condition, your dog might partake in licking their paws; once they realize it helps, they won’t want to stop. If your dog is licking to alleviate dry skin, you’ll want to rule this out with the help of a veterinarian. This way, you can help avoid certain areas or foreign objects while out and about to keep your dog’s paw pads from getting irritated.

Injury or Pain

When walking your dog, they might step on glass or a thorn or, unfortunately, burn their paw pads on hot asphalt. Your dog might alert you to pain right away, but that’s not always the case. Perhaps a few hours later, it might be apparent your dog is uncomfortable due to their intense licking of the wound.

When a dog is licking their paws, it’s a good idea to check out the troublesome area to ensure that there isn’t a visible injury. Sometimes it’ll be easy to determine the issue, and other times you might need to consult your veterinarian about an injury that isn’t quite visible.

If there is an injury, your dog might pair the paw licking with whining, whimpering, limping, a change in behavior, or getting defensive when you touch the injured area. A dog’s tail might offer a clue as well. If your dog stops wagging their tail or hunches their back, it could signify pain.

Allergic Reaction to Dog Food or Human Food

Just like how environmental allergies can cause irritation, if your dog is allergic to a certain food on the menu, this might impact your dog’s paws. Similar to how humans experience itchy throats or itchy hands after consuming or touching something they are allergic to, dogs with food allergies often experience itchy paws.

If this is something that your dog is doing, you can think about testing for different food allergens based on what you’re feeding them, and then try to change up their diet to see if it helps with your dog’s allergies!

Behavioral Issues

Dogs can experience a variety of behavioral issues, including separation anxiety and boredom that leads to them acting out. With separation anxiety, your dog might begin doing “soothing” behaviors like excessive paw licking, nit-picking, or destructive chewing. Your dog might have trouble dealing with their stress, so they begin to lick their paws. It’s time to consult a dog trainer or similar expert.

Getting to the root of these behavioral issues can help your dog in the long run. You can work with the Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM (CPLC) at AskVet to develop different training and calming methods for your pet. Possible methods to curb compulsive behaviors might include introducing calming treats or ensuring they get enough playtime each day.

Parasites and Bacteria

One of the last things you want your dog to have is parasites, but it might be what’s causing your dog’s paws to itch. Fleas, mites, ticks, and mange can cause itching. Check out your dog’s paws for any signs of an infestation of these pests.

Likewise, bacterial infections can cause dogs to chew their paws. The underlying cause of this chewing may not be immediately obvious to pet parents, as there might not be any other visible signs or symptoms of infection.

The best thing to do is chat with your veterinarian about the best course of action. Standard treatments often include prescription medication. Your vet might also want to issue preventative medication for worms. These treatments will relieve your dog from all the itching and keep them healthy in the future.

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Learn How To Manage Your Pup’s Paw Licking

The best thing you can do for your dog is to watch their behaviors and take note of any changes. If your dog’s feet can’t get left alone, your pup might be in real discomfort, and you will want to bring them some sort of solution.

We don’t expect you to know the remedy every time this kind of thing happens, so don’t be afraid to ask the professionals to see what they can do to help.

Visit Your Vet

In case of emergencies, be prepared to bring your dog to their veterinarian or an emergency vet close by. You know your dog best and if you think there is something seriously wrong, take them in as soon as possible. Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your vet and see what solutions they offer. There might be several treatment options you can look into to help relieve the itch.

Talk with Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM at AskVet

If there doesn’t seem to be an immediate threat to your dog, consider chatting with an AskVet 24/7 vet or pet coach about how to improve your dog’s skin or diet and relieve the itch. There are many home remedies that are worth trying, and talking with our experts can help point you in the right direction. Schedule a virtual session to connect with a CPLC™ today.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to an AskVet representative to learn more about what signing up gives you access to. Whether it’s chatting with other dog parents through the Clubhouse or having access to professionals 24/7 to answer all of your questions, AskVet has got you covered!


Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Canine Atopic Dermatitis: Detailed Guidelines For Diagnosis And Allergen Identification | BMC Veterinary Research

External Parasites | American Veterinary Medical Association

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment | American Kennel Club

Protect Dog Paws on Hot Pavement | American Kennel Club