Aromatherapy For Cats: Is It Safe? 

Aromatherapy For Cats: Is It Safe?

Cat parents will do just about anything if it means their precious baby is happy and healthy. There really are no limits to what you might do for your pet, but you should always do your research first when trying out a new method. Aromatherapy is something that humans have been using for years to help with everything from sinus problems to anxiety and depression.

If you practice aromatherapy at home with your pets, you might be wondering if it’s even safe for them to be around. Essential oils are found in many common household products, so it’s likely that your cat has already been exposed to some of them. Not every essential oil you use for yourself will be safe for your cat. It’s all about knowing what to stay away from and how much is too much.

To learn more about aromatherapy for cats and the safety precautions to take, keep reading.

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the practice of inhaling diffused essential oils or applying them topically through a massage to help alleviate stress and other ailments. Essential oils come from the extraction of certain plants and can have specific abilities and purposes. That means that if you are trying to create a calm and relaxing environment, there are essential oils that are specifically used for that.

Interest in aromatherapy for cats is starting to arise more and more; people are wondering if it can carry the same health benefits for cats as it does for humans. Studies have shown that some essential oils could have a place in holistic veterinary medicine practices to fight against bacterial and fungal infections. Some oils, like very heavily-diluted oregano oil, can work as a flea repellent.

Aromatherapy may help reduce anxiety, repel insects, help with nausea, and promote overall better sleep. The main focus of aromatherapy seems to be its preventative care abilities. So, if it can help you, can it help your cat? Let’s discuss.

How To Use Essential Oils Safely Around Pets

The answer to the question, “Is aromatherapy safe for cats?” is — it depends. It depends on what essential oils you use in the aromatherapy, what brand you have, and how you use them. Pure essential oils can be extremely toxic to cats when consumed, so it’s vital to dilute the essential oils so they aren’t being exposed to them in their concentrated form.

When cat-proofing your home, store the essential oils away in a safe location that your cat cannot get into and or knock over. Some essential oils are going to be considered not safe to use around cats. If you have a cat in your home, check to make sure all your essential oils are safe.

How To Blend Essential Oils With a Carrier Oil

The way to ensure that your essential oils will not harm your cat is to make sure that they are properly diluted. Using 100% pure essential oil on a cat can be toxic and have adverse effects. The last thing you want to do is cause your cat pain when you’re trying to help them out, so be wary of what products you are using.

Before applying an essential to your cat’s skin, dilute it with a few drops of a high-quality carrier oil. Cat-safe carrier oils can be jojoba oil, aloe vera, olive oil, and coconut oil.

Essential Oils To Avoid

Cats do not metabolize things the same way that humans (and even dogs) can. A cat’s liver lacks the P450 cytochrome metabolic pathway, so they can’t metabolize and break down certain medications and essential oils.

The most toxic essential oil to cats out there is tea tree oil (aka melaleuca essential oil). Tea tree oil can cause toxic shock and seizures in cats and should be avoided in your household. Even if you are using tea tree oil for yourself, it can have a negative effect if your cat rubs up against you or licks your skin. It is best to skip this oil entirely for the safety of your cat.

Other essential oils that you should refrain from using if you have a cat and are attempting aromatherapy are:

  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Juniper
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Pennyroyal
  • Flowering plants like rose, geranium, and ylang-ylang
  • Sandalwood
  • All citrus essential oils, like orange and lemon
  • All mint essential oils, like peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen

Not only should you be avoiding these certain essential oils, but when you do use aromatherapy for your cat, limit how much exposure they have: Essential oils can become irritating for your cat and cause adverse reactions. Everything should be done in moderation and under supervision so that you can monitor your cat’s reaction.

Review the symptoms of essential oil poisoning. Concerns include:

  • Respiratory distress (difficulty breathing)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty walking

If you have cause for concern, call the ASPCA’s Pet Poison Helpline.

Safe Essential Oils to Use

When it comes to safety and aromatherapy, monitor your cat when the essential oil diffuser is on. You don’t want to leave it on for too long or have your cat plop themselves down directly in front of it while it diffuses. It’s best to keep it out of your cat’s direct way while it diffuses.

Some cat-safe essential oils that can be used in moderation during aromatherapy are:

  • Cedarwood
  • Rosemary
  • Copaiba
  • Helichrysum
  • Frankincense

At certain dilutions, the following essential oils can be used in moderation with your cat, but too much of them can cause irritation or discomfort:

  • German chamomile
  • Roman chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Valerian

Lavender essential oil can have calming effects but can be dangerous if not diluted correctly before application to your cat’s fur or skin. If you are not comfortable trying to figure out all of this on your own, you should consult with an aromatherapy specialist. You can also chat with a veterinary expert at AskVet and find an answer at any time of the day or night.

Introduce Essential Oils Slowly

Your cat might not be interested in using aromatherapy, and that’s okay! Before you start, expose your cat to the diffused oils to see if they enjoy it or find another room. Some cats are not going to be a fan of it, and some may seem indifferent.

If, over time, your cat seems to become irritated or uninterested in the diffuser, it might mean that their time with aromatherapy is over.

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Answers for Pet Parents From the Pet Experts

When practicing aromatherapy for your cat, questions about what to use, how much to use the diffuser for, and what not to do might come up. With AskVet, you can hop on our vet chat and talk with a pet professional almost instantly. They can let you know whether or not what you’re doing is harming the cat and might be able to alleviate the stress you feel about the aromatherapy.

If you’ve been seeking out aromatherapy to soothe your cat’s anxiety or behavioral issues, talk with our Certified Pet Coaches about different resources and guides that can help.

Sign-up today for a virtual session where we can learn more about your pet and their needs.


Use of Essential Oils in Veterinary Medicine to Combat Bacterial and Fungal Infections | NCBI

Clinical Aromatherapy | NCBI

Essential Oils For Cats | Iowa Veterinary Wellness Center

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

Concentrated Tea Tree Oil Toxicosis In Dogs And Cats: 443 Cases (2002–2012) | AVMA

The Essentials of Essential Oils Around Pets | ASPCA

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home: 13 Tips

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home: 13 Tips

Bringing a new dog home into your life is an exciting and emotional process. Not only are you excited to introduce them to your family and friends, but you get to learn about the new personality that will be running around your house.

How you introduce a new dog into your home can depend on if you have other animals, family members, or children. No two dogs are going to be the same, so you can’t always anticipate how they will act when coming into a new space.

When a new dog comes into your home, be prepared to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings. Giving them space and letting them explore before bombarding them with new introductions can help to ease them into your family.

For tips on how to introduce your dog to your new home and other animals, keep reading!

New Dogs Need Time

Whether you adopt a new puppy or an older dog, they will need time to settle in (often referred to as the 3-3-3 Rule). Depending on their background, some dogs need more time, so there’s no telling when they will start to act like themselves. Some dogs settle right in and make themselves at home, while others might be more hesitant to relax.

If you’re bringing a new dog into a home with other dogs or cats, the timeline could look very different. Not only do you need to make your new dog comfortable in their new space, but you also have to ensure that your other animals are responding positively, or at least neutrally. Ensuring that all parties are comfortable with each other will help the process move along efficiently and can make the transition easier.

Perp Work: What To Do

Every dog is unique and will require their own specific way of settling into their new home. Still, there are things that you can do to show trust, safety, and love to your new dog as they make their way into your family.

1. Gather All Supplies Ahead of Time

Have all of the supplies you need ready to go. Have a crate set up for them in their new designated spot, a new dog bed, a comfortable harness or collar, a durable leash, water and food bowls, dog food, and some training treats available. This will make things easier on you when they get to your home.

2. Introduce Your Scent to the New Dog

Give your new pup an old towel or piece of clothing with your scent on it. Before you even get into your house, give your new dog something with the scent of you and your home. This will familiarize them with you and make their new home recognizable.

3. Remain Calm

It’s best to keep a neutral emotional state when introducing your new dog to yourself, your family and friends, their new space, and new animals. If you’re overly excited, your dog will feed off that energy and might become either anxious or riled up. It might set the wrong tone when doing introductions with their new family members.

How To Introduce Your Current Dog to a New Dog

You know your dog best, including how they normally react with other dogs. Take into consideration how your resident dog prefers introductions and base your actions on that.

Here is some information to help get your plan started:

1. Introduce the New Dog’s Scent

Give your resident dog something with your new pooch’s scent. This can prepare your dog for a new friend, getting them familiar with their scent before seeing the new pet. Dogs use their scent to perceive their surroundings, so it can make the transition process easier.

2. Start in a Neutral Territory

Schedule the first meeting to be in a neutral location. Don’t bombard your dog with a new friend by walking them straight in through the front door unannounced. Take your dog to a park, and have a family member with you to introduce them on-leash, allowing for slack in the line. Tandem walks can also make for a nice and neutral introduction, letting them get to know each other’s scent as they walk.

3. Watch the Body Language

Let them sniff each other while paying close attention to each dog’s body language. For example, if the hair on your dog’s back is raised, that indicates arousal (which could be negative or positive).

If a dog rolls on their back, this could be a sign of fear or stress. Commonly seen between a puppy and an adult dog, the younger pup wants their new elder to know they submit.

One of the most positive postures is the play bow. When you bring new dogs together, and you see a play bow, it’s typically a solid indication that fun times are afoot.

Your dogs don’t have to pay attention to each other if they don’t want to. It’s actually somewhat preferred to have your two dogs take notice of each other’s presence and then be able to go off and smell or urinate elsewhere. Let them establish their relationship without prompting them.

4. Go for a Short Walk

Before going back to the house, you can try to go on a short walk together to see how they respond to each other. Dogs that ignore each other and can coexist sometimes make for the best pairings!

When you get home, stay outside first. Let your dog show the new dog around their backyard, continuing to monitor their body language. If your backyard is fenced in, feel free to let your dog off-leash, keeping your new dog on a leash. If your dog feels playful and confident, you can take the leash off the new dog and see how they respond.

How To Introduce Your Cat to a New Dog

Some dog breeds may have a higher sense of prey drive than others; consider this when introducing a new dog to your resident cat. Your first priority is to keep your cat safe. Some shelters and rescues perform a cat test before releasing a dog to a new home. Ask the shelter’s dog trainer or behaviorist how they fared before bringing your new puppy home.

1. Introduce the Scent Before the First Day

Introduce your cat to the new dog’s scent before they meet, which should help your cat become accustomed to the new dog’s scent before they arrive. This could be on dog toys or a blanket. It gives them the heads-up that someone new is going to be coming into their space. At the same time, ensure that the incoming pup can’t get into the cat’s litter box or food. Having a dog-free area for your cat to go can help your cat to feel less threatened by their new family member.

Let them see each other with your new dog leashed. Your dog might become easily excitable at the sight of a cat: Teach them to be gentle and calm. Cats are highly independent and might not want anything to do with the new dog the first time they meet.

2. Your Cat Sets the Pace

Let your cat determine the speed at which they meet. You don’t need to rush anything when it comes to this introduction. Keep your dog leashed until they can be trusted off of it.

Let your cat come to your new dog, sniffing and checking them out to get a feel for them. This is often best done through a baby gate. If your dog fixates on the cat, lead the dog away and try again in a little bit.

When you bring your new dog home, ensure the cat has a different room they can retreat to that the dog cannot enter. Maintaining separate areas in the home if your cat needs more time is wise.

3. Teach Dog-Cat Playtime Manners

Don’t allow your dog to chase the cat.Even if they look like they’re playing, this behavior can become hazardous and should be avoided. Teach your dog that there are certain toys to chase after and that the cat is to be respected and left alone.

Luckily, cats are pretty good at setting boundaries, so as their relationship grows, they should begin to learn each other’s behaviors and limits.

4. Focus on Comfort

You don’t want to rush your new dog into anything, and you want them to adjust on their own. Promote trust by keeping interactions positive and encouraging them to explore. On a similar note, you also don’t want your resident pets to feel overwhelmed or like their space is threatened.

5. Keep Routines Consistent

Don’t switch up the routines of your resident pets for the new dog. You want to allow for a hierarchy to establish itself and let your resident pets know that they are not being overtaken. Greet your current pets before your new dog, keep with the same feeding and exercise schedule, and carve out plenty of time for giving them attention.

6. Monitor All Interactions

It’s smartest to supervise your new dog consistently, even if they are the single pet in the household. Allow for some independence, but keeping them safe and out of trouble will alleviate anxiety for you and make future training much easier.

Until you feel all pups can be trusted, don’t leave them alone with each other. As your new dog gets to know your other pets, they will understand each other better. For now, there is too much uncharted territory to let them off alone together.

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Say Hello to AskVet

No matter how exciting it is to get a new dog, it can be nerve-wracking to learn how your new dog will react to your home and to your other pets. Staying positive and calm will show your dog that there is good energy that they are coming into. However, you can never be certain about how they will react.

When questions arise, you can go to AskVet with them to find answers. Whether you are concerned about your resident animal’s emotional wellness, if you notice that there is an undesirable behavior that pops up, or if you just are wondering about different training and resources, AskVet has got you covered.

Sign-up today to chat with a Certified Pet Coach and make introducing your new dog to your home a whole lot easier.


Pet Dogs’ Relationships Vary Rather Individually Than According To Partner’s Species | NCBI

Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications | NCBI

3-3-3 Rule of Adoption | Winnipeg Humane Society

Understanding Dog Body Language: Decipher Dogs’ Signs & Signals | AKC

Dog Chewing Shoes? How To Stop Destructive Chewing

Dog Chewing Shoes? How To Stop Destructive Chewing

One of the most common behavioral issues when talking about our dogs is their habit of destroying our things, specifically our favorite pairs of shoes. Some dogs, if left alone for any amount of time, will make it their mission to find a shoe or a slipper and have their way. Being greeted at the door with a destroyed shoe is not what most of us want, but it’s a reality many people live through.

In order to save your shoes, you have to get to the bottom of your dog’s behavior. While you can make it a rule that all shoes must be put away in the house, what happens when someone comes to visit and doesn’t realize the consequence of not hiding their shoes? The solution is to work with your dog to train away the behavior and ensure they get everything they need to be content.

To learn more about why dogs chew shoes and how to stop their destructive chewing habits, keep reading!

Why Do Dogs Chew?

It’s tricky to change your dog’s behavior without understanding why they are displaying it in the first place. Dogs chew shoes for a variety of reasons, so understanding your dog’s motivation for their action will help to come up with a plan to stop it. Generally, the main three reasons a dog chews up shoes are related to boredom, anxiety, and teething.


Destructive chewing is often a sign of boredom. When your dog has nothing to occupy themselves with, they will search for something to solve their problems. In retrospect, shoes are often easy to get to and closely resemble chew toys that they are allowed to chew on. If your dog isn’t getting enough mental and physical stimulation throughout the day, they need to find a way to burn up their energy.

Chewing is not necessarily a bad behavior, considering we let our dogs chew on toys and bones, so your dog might resort to it knowing that it’s enjoyable. They likely aren’t seeking to ruin all of your shoes, but that’s one of the results of their boredom. We need to teach our dogs which items are appropriate to chew on and which items are not.


An anxious or nervous dog might resort to destructive chewing as a way to cope and self-regulate. The act of chewing can be self-soothing for your dog in times of anxiety. Some dogs with anxiety separation have more difficulty controlling their impulses, especially when left alone. As a preventative measure, if your dog has separation anxiety, make sure there is nothing they can get into lying around while you’re gone.

For dogs with excess energy that manifests as anxiety and nervousness, chewing can help them to calm down. Shoes, in particular, are loaded with their favorite human’s scent, so it makes your loafers a very easy target.


If your puppy chews on seemingly everything in their grasp, they might be in the teething stage. Puppies that are teething will feel more aches and pains as the process is happening, which will push them toward finding relief. Chewing on something, whether it’s your shoes, a rawhide-free chew, or the wooden leg of your dining room table, relieves that pain for them.

You can’t blame your new puppy for teething, but you can provide them with proper objects to teeth on.

How Do You Stop Destructive Chewing?

Once you have figured out why your dog is deciding to chew on your shoes, you can begin to stop the behavior. The most important thing is to maintain consistency while trying to train them out of their bad behavior and praise them when they choose an object other than your shoe.

Start Teaching Them Young

As soon as you get a new puppy, training begins. Puppies don’t yet have established habits, so they rely on their humans to teach them what habits are good and which are bad. This means prevention and properly disciplining whenever they’re caught in the act.

Remove any chance of your dog picking up the behavior, but if they ever decide to chew on a shoe, telling them “No” and “Drop it,” then replacing it with an acceptable option is key.

Swap the Shoe Out For Dog Toys

Whether your puppy or adult dog is ever chewing on a shoe, try to exchange the object immediately with a more appropriate item. This could be a high-value bully stick or a favorite squeaky toy.

When you change out the object, they begin to realize that the problem isn’t chewing: They just have the wrong thing. Giving them a new appropriate chew toy and praising them helps to reinforce that more welcome behavior.

Consider this scenario: You get home from the store, and your dog greets you with an acceptably chewable object. They know they won’t get the same satisfaction if they bring you an old shoe because you’ll simply take it from them. However, if they bring you one of their toys, they are met with praise and joy, reinforcing them to find that specific object every time.

Provide Enough Stimulation Each Day

Boredom is one of the leading causes of chewing up shoes. If your dog is not getting rid of the energy in their bodies throughout the day, it becomes pent up, often resulting in unwanted behaviors.

Your dog needs both mental and physical stimulation to be content. When dogs don’t get this kind of stimulation, they can turn to destructive chewing. Eventually, they might upgrade to more damaging objects, like doors, table legs, furniture, and more.

Interact with your dog as much as possible in a day so that they can release all of that pent-up energy. Going on twice (or more) daily walks, playing with them, and cuddling on the couch is good for your dog. This will help to meet their needs, and as a result, they will not destroy your property.

Offer Them Enrichment Activities

Beyond basic physical activity, enrichment activities are a great way to get energy out of your chewer. Similar to how walking and playing reduces boredom, enrichment activities, such as lick mats slathered with peanut butter, games of hide and seek, and training exercises, can help your dog feel satisfied — aka not feeling the need to start chewing things.

Perhaps one of the best ways to keep your dog’s mouth (and brain) occupied is with puzzle toys. You can make DIY puzzle toys like the tea towel snuffle m
or purchase ready-made treat dispensing puzzles. Fill them with high-value dog treats or their regular dog food, and say goodbye to the barricade of baby gates in front of your shoe rack.

With enough physical and mental stimulation, dogs are more likely to settle down quickly and leave destructive behaviors behind. They aren’t acting out to try to get more attention because their needs are being met.

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Talk with Pet Coaches at AskVet

Teaching a dog acceptable behaviors is hard enough. Trying to unlearn bad behavior can be even more difficult.

Luckily when you talk to the Certified Pet Coaches at AskVet, you can receive various dog training resources and ideas on how to improve this behavior. Questions may arise during your training process, and you can get quick and helpful responses 24/7 with our online chat.

When teaching your dog not to chew on your shoes or other off-limit objects in your house, don’t be shy to ask for some outside assistance! The important thing is that you get the help you need and are successful with training your dog. Sign-up today for a virtual session where our coaches learn about your dog, their behaviors, and what you wish to accomplish!


Chewing Behaviour In Dogs – A Survey-Based Exploratory Study | ScienceDirect

Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Changes in the Dentition of Small Dogs up to 4 Months of Age | MDPI

Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Dog Behaviour: Pilot Study | NCBI

Are Rawhide Chews Dangerous for Dogs? | American Kennel Club

DIY Cognitive Dog Toys for When You Are Stuck at Home | American Kennel Club

How to Teach Your Dog to Sit, Drop, Come and Stay | Northcote Animal Hospital

Dog Enrichment: Keeping Your Dog Entertained

Dog Enrichment: Keeping Your Dog Entertained

Canine enrichment refers to the many ways that you work to keep your dog healthy, both physically and mentally. Just like people, dogs can become bored, and we know that destruction and depression are two ways that dogs show us they are feeling this way. To keep your dog as healthy and happy as possible, adding enrichment activities to your daily routine is a great place to start.

What you’ll find is that enrichment activities benefit you as well as your pup. You can practice some of these activities while you’re working from home and need time to focus on a particular task. Enrichment activities can help to tire out your dog through mental stimulation and will leave them feeling very content.

Keep reading to learn more about the different ways you can keep your dog entertained and happy.

The Importance of Enrichment Activities

Dogs need healthy stimulation in their daily life. They aren’t meant to live a life where they sleep all day long (though some might prefer it). As their parents, we have to provide them with activities to encourage this kind of stimulation so that they can be as healthy as possible. Studies have shown that providing dogs with an enriching environment improves their mood, decreases stress, and enhances their cognitive abilities.

Not only does enrichment keep them entertained, but it also tires them out. If you have a high-energy dog who is constantly in the mood for an activity, implementing enrichment into their routine will leave you with a very pleased and tired pup.

Types of Enrichment and How To Do Them

Playtime is how dogs work — from problem-solving to exercising — when your dog rips apart a cardboard box, you’re seeing a mind at work. When it comes to brain games, you can buy store-bought versions or make your own.

That means it’s time for some inspiration. While you can hop on the AskVet Clubhouse to ask the pet parent community, we also have a few unique enrichment ideas here.

Let’s talk about the DIY dog toys and games that work as hard as your pup does:

Food Puzzles

We talk a lot about how using a dog’s natural instincts to motivate training and what’s more instinctual than looking for nourishment? Food-based enrichment toys work amazingly well at keeping food-motivated dogs occupied and happy.

While these are often referred to as treat-dispensing toys, don’t feel like you have to fill them with treats. These toys can (party) replace mealtime — subtract some of their kibble from their daily allotment and put it in their puzzle feeders.

How To Make Puzzle Toys for Dogs

Grab a handful of treats (or dog food) and a towel, wrap the treats up in the towel, and tie it into a knot. Let your dog see you preparing this before giving it to them. Depending on how complex the knot is, your pup could spend upwards of an hour trying to get it undone.

Engage their scavenging and smelling instincts with a muffin tin and some balls. Grab an old muffin tin and several tennis balls, place a treat in one of the tins, and cover half of them with the balls. Your dog will have to push and sniff to find where the treat is. Some breeds, like the beagle and bloodhound, might naturally excel at these games more than others, but all breeds can benefit from nose work.

Introduce Slow Feeders and Lick Mats

Slow feeders and snuffle mats are great forms of enrichment. You can purchase slow feeders and snuffle mats for your dog to use for every meal. Not only does this make your dog’s feeding times longer, but it uses up more mental energy to complete the task.

While not quite a scent game, your dog might enjoy lick mats. Lick mats smothered in peanut butter can be used as an enrichment snack for the middle of the day and are especially helpful during long Zoom meetings. In addition, you can look online for fun and healthy recipes to use for your dog’s lick mat!

How To Make Dog-Friendly Popscicles

After a long day of playing (or lying) in the sun, a cool frozen treat is a luxury. Grab a container and fill it with water and fruits that are both safe and tasty and that your dog will love. Freeze this container overnight and then give it to them the next day once it’s in a solid form.

It has a slight hydrating benefit and requires patience and persistence (aka mental engagement) to get to the dog treat — a win/win.

Social Enrichment

Going around the block and following the same pattern is not always the most fun for a dog. Some dogs thrive off routine, and others need to spice things up every once in a while.

For enhanced social enrichment, take your dog to a new location where there will be other animals and humans around. Dogs find enrichment in simply sniffing around a new place (but you can also work on training for greeting other dogs and humans).

You can also find isolated areas that are new for your dog and let them have a romp around there without the stress of coming in contact with other people. Find dog-friendly beaches or lakes in your area, especially if they like to swim. The beach offers endless romping, sensory enrichment, and can even act as one giant dig pit (which you can make at home too).

Physical Exercises and Challenges

If you notice your dog is always jumping onto higher surfaces as you walk along the street or loves to bound around in the woods, adding physical enrichment objects into the home might bring them pure joy. Pop-up tunnels, sand pits, and obstacle courses help burn energy and make the environment more complex and mentally stimulating.

Hide and Seek is an interactive game that you can play that involves several forms of enrichment. For one, your dog has to use their senses to find where you (or a special object) have hidden, might be frantically running around during the search, and also burning mental energy while waiting patiently for the “Seek” command.

Getting involved with the enrichment activity will make it even more enticing, and who knows — you might find yourself enjoying the game too!

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Dog Training Exercises 

You can never go wrong with practicing basic training exercises throughout the day. This is the easiest way to enrich your dog, as it brings the focus to you. Our dogs love to impress us, and spending time with us is all they ever want.

Making them sit, stay, down, spin, paw, and whatever else you are training them for 15 minutes every day is just as much enrichment as a 30-minute twice-daily walk. This is great for rainy days or sick days when you don’t want to leave the house.

Find a Well of Pet Well-Being Knowledge

Feel like you might be running out of ideas? Talk with our Certified Pet Coaches at AskVet to learn more about training resources and behavioral guides. We can come up with new enrichment ideas and get to the bottom of what your dog needs.

Sign-up today for a virtual dog training session where we get to know your dog and come up with a plan on how to make them the happiest and healthiest pooch on the block!


Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Dog Behaviour: Pilot Study | NCBI

Implementing Environmental Enrichment for Dogs | Purdue Extension

Training as Enrichment: Basic Skills | University of Illinois

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? | AKC

Using Nosework to Help Solve Behavior Issues | West Suburban Humane Society 

Understanding the Dog Who Digs | Arizona Humane Society

Dog Growling: Is It a Sign of Aggression?

Dog Growling: Is It a Sign of Aggression?

You may be able to guess what your dog is trying to tell you when they growl simply based on context clues. As we develop a connection with our dogs, we are able to understand the types of growls they use. A variety of different types of dog growls exist, and you don’t need to be an animal behaviorist to understand basic canine communication.

Growling is not always a sign of aggression, but it can be a warning. To translate how your dog feels, learn more about the different reasons why dogs growl below.

Who Do Dogs Growl? Seven Reasons. 

A growl is a form of communication for dogs. It’s their way of letting others around them know how they are feeling, whether that be intimidated or excited. The best way to understand your dog’s growl is to watch their body language.

If a growl is paired with a straight, still tail and raised hackles, they might be on the edge of an attack. If you’re playing a game of tug-of-war with your dog and they let out a growl, it’s more likely to be playful than anything else. Knowing your dog’s body language will help determine if there is a threat or if you’re crossing a boundary.

1. They’re Feeling Threatened

One of the more common reasons for a dog to growl is that they are fearful or feel threatened by something. They might get a bad feeling from someone approaching you and let out a growl to warn them off, followed by barking, which is more of a protective action than anything.

Dogs that become cornered during play or by people are likely to let out a growl due to their discomfort. Dog park etiquette can be tricky, which is why socialization is essential.

This is the best way for your dog to communicate to others to “back off” without having to physically defend themselves, though that could be the next step. Take these warnings seriously but get to the bottom of why they’re happening. For example, resource guarding and being territorial might be the cause for this, which is a behavior that you will want to stop with the help of professional dog trainers like those at AskVet.

2. They’re Feeling Frustrated

Frustration may be perceived as aggression, but it depends on your dog and what they’re trying to relay. Perhaps your dog is growing at the couch because their favorite ball rolled under the couch, and they can’t get it out. Or maybe your pup wants to go on a walk right now and doesn’t understand your “Five more minutes” explanation.

While you might realize what your dog is trying to say with their growl, it can be taken the wrong way by other dogs and people alike, especially when out and about. In the public mind, the growl usually symbolizes a warning, so when paired with a dog dragging their pet parent to greet other people or dogs, it can feel threatening.

Just because they have an excess of energy doesn’t mean that they should decide how they use it. Teaching them appropriate ways to greet others and not letting them get what they want when they growl can help stop this behavior. Leash manners are an absolute must.

3. They’re Trying To Play

Some growls are more playful than you might think. If a dog is having a good time with another dog, they might let out a higher-pitched and shorter growl. This indicates to the other dog that they want to keep playing at the same level, particularly during games like tug-of-war.

If your pooch is bending forward with their behind in the air and front paws in a bow, this typically indicates your dog is having fun. Keep an eye out for other body language associated with playtime — wagging tails (in a neutral position). However, wagging isn’t always happy. An insecure or fearful dog might wag low and slow. A high, upright wag might indicate aggression.

Monitoring this kind of play growling is essential, as you don’t want it to progress into something aggressive.

4. They’re Showing Affection

Some dogs let out a sound similar to a purr when they receive affection. It’s their way of showing you that they like what’s happening and want it to continue. A deep and long mumble paired with relaxed body language indicates that your dog wants more pets and love.

During a case like this, it’s usually pretty easy to determine that your dog is enjoying themselves compared to them telling you to “back off.” This vocalization might also involve snorts or gentle mouthing.

5. They’re Expressing Pain

When a dog is in pain or discomfort, they might let out a growl, similar to a warning growl. This is especially true the closer you get to the part of them that’s in pain.

If your dog is acting differently and not letting you get close to a specific part of their body, it might be time to call up your veterinarian and get an appointment as soon as possible. For 24/7 access to professional support, chat with AskVet’s virtual veterinary experts any time of the day or night.

6. They’re Displaying Aggression

The worst growl to come across is one that communicates aggression. This usually occurs when a dog is trying to assert or gain dominance over another dog in their presence. Your dog’s body language will change drastically as they tune in to the thing they are addressing. This emotion is often associated with lunging or snarling.

When not handled properly, an aggressive dog growling could result in an injury. Your best bet to help your dog is to talk with a professional dog trainer. They can help you to understand where your dog’s aggression might be coming from and different desensitization exercises to help them overcome it. With positive reinforcement and professional advice, it’s usually possible to minimize dog-reactive behaviors.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Different Answers for Different Situations

No one wants their dog to exhibit aggressive signs. They want a dog that is friendly and loving towards all, but we can’t control every situation our dog is in. If your dog has begun growling more than usual, you can talk with AskVet’s Certified Pet TrainersTM to figure out where it’s coming from.

AskVet can help you better understand your dog’s behavior and come up with solutions to try to fix it. Aggressive growling can be dangerous for both a human and a pet; the goal should be to fix the problem and work on building up your dog’s confidence. Reach out today for a virtual consultation to learn more about how AskVet can help you and your dog!


Communication in Dogs | NCBI

‘Beware, I Am Big And Non-Dangerous!’ – Playfully Growling Dogs Are Perceived Larger Than Their Actual Size By Their Canine Audience | ScienceDirect

Dog Growls Express Various Contextual And Affective Content For Human Listeners | NCBI

Should My Dog Go To The Dog Park? Dog Park Etiquette Tips | AKC

Cat Enrichment: A Guide for Bored Cats

Cat Enrichment: A Guide for Bored Cats

As cat parents, our goal is to give our pets the best life possible. Though many cats exude an independent personality, it is still our duty to provide them with everything they might need. Every cat is different; their needs might not look the same. As you continue to get to know your cat, you’ll learn what their habits are and what they might benefit from more of.

Cat enrichment is all about providing our pets with different opportunities to exercise their mind and body. Cats can and do get bored — maybe they show it by wanting to lay out in the sun or they get into some trouble.

There are plenty of activities that you can do with your cat to enrich and improve their livelihoods. Keep reading to learn more about them.

What Does Enrichment Do for Your Cat?

Enrichment helps to satisfy your cat’s natural instincts. The ideal cat’s environment is much more than picking out the best litter box or healthiest cat food. While those are naturally essential, a few different types of enrichment are necessary to ensure your cat’s life is as fulfilling as possible.

Different feline enrichment activities target a cat’s natural behaviors, including hunting, exploring, snacking, climbing, and solving puzzle toys. Some activities are as easy as grooming your cat: They’ll feel and look better and get to spend quality time with their human.

Benefits of including enrichment activities in your cat’s life include improved emotional well-being, cognitive functioning, and physical health.

Once you find something your cat likes, think of different variations of it so that they don’t become bored again as they master the task or game. Don’t forget: Cats are smart! They might need a variety of enrichment activities to stay content.

Enrichment Ideas for Cats

You know your cat best — from their favorite toy to their go-to hiding place — you likely know where your cat needs a bit of a boost. (And if you’re not sure, reach out to ask a professional Pet Coach!)

If your cat isn’t burning up enough physical energy in a day, that calls for extra physical activities. If they need more mental stimulation and are looking for a challenge, consider focusing on puzzles and training.

The possibilities are endless, especially when many enrichment activities can be DIY’d. Have fun with it, and don’t forget to get creative!

Food Enrichment

Plenty of cats can get bored with their food routine and want to spice it up. Introducing new ways to make breakfast and dinner a challenge can motivate your cat and help them to use their brain to solve the problem.

How To Make DIY Enrichment Toys for Cats 

Place kibble into a paper towel roll that’s been cut up randomly on the side (smaller cats or kittens might have an easier time with a toilet paper roll). Fold in the top and bottom to make it into a tube. The allotted kibble can be an entire meal or part of one. This food puzzle is part mealtime, part exercise, and 100% adorable.

Consider leaving a few cat treats around your house for your cat to find throughout the day. This can help to satisfy a cat’s scavenger and hunting instincts.

Environmental Enrichment

Cats love to explore, but it’s not always safe to let them alone outside. Let’s discuss how to bring your cat’s inner lion out.

Outdoor Walks

Introduce your cat to the great outdoors (safely) by training them to walk on a leash. Cat leash training can take a long time and isn’t for every feline.

So, if your cat isn’t inclined to strut on a leash, there are other methods to try. Your feline friend might prefer cat backpacks or cat strollers. Not only can your cat see the world, but just think of all the social enrichment that comes from taking your cat in a stroller to the farmer’s market.


Bring the outdoors in with “catios.” A catio is an outdoor enclosed space for cats that lets them enjoy fresh air without any dangers to themselves (or the natural environment). Fill the catio with scratchers, tunnels, and cat beds, and watch your cat live their best life.

Window Perches

If your cat struggles to find a sunny and clear spot to watch out the window, consider getting a window perch to place on one with a good view. Cats love watching (and probably judging) the world go by. Bring the entertainment value up a notch by hanging a bird feeder, which is basically a TV show for cats!

Basic Training 

While we mostly associate dogs with training, cats have the ability to learn as well (and quite quickly). Practicing basic training routines with your cat allows them to use a part of their brain that they might typically shut off.

Cats are known to be independent and selective listeners, but training creates a positive atmosphere for listening and learning. Your cat does want to impress you, and working on training cues is an excellent way for them to do this.

Training with treats fosters a sense of community between you and your cat. They do what you want them to, and they get a little treat, some praise, and your undivided attention out of it. It also will burn up some of their energy as they focus on the task at hand. In fact, some experts suggest clicker training for cats (similar to how you would do it with a dog!).

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Cat Toys and Cat Furniture

Cats love to play. Playing is one of the easiest ways to get some energy out of your cat, but they can become bored if they are using the same toys each day.

Some great toys to have around the house are ones that involve you in them, like wand toys that engage their instinct to pounce. Your cat loves when you get involved and will be more likely to play for longer if you’re also enjoying yourself.

Some cats want to burn their energy by exploring, but to do so safely in the house, keep plenty of cat furniture pieces scattered around. Cat trees, scratching posts, and perches will allow your cat to feel like the king of the jungle and have them on alert as they survey their space.

Enrichment games don’t need to be expensive. Many cats simply need cardboard boxes or paper bags (maybe with a bit of catnip in there) to have a good time, so don’t feel bad about all those packages you want to order! Your cat can get some enrichment out of those daily deliveries.

Get More Ideas With AskVet

Your cat will thank you for finding new ways to keep them enriched and happy. Not only will this help build your relationship with your cat, but it will make them healthier and more content. When you start to run out of ideas, consider asking the Certified Pet Coaches of AskVet for ideas. Not only can they come up with enrichment activities, but they can help you to pinpoint what your cat’s boredom means and how to fix it.

Sign-up today for a virtual session with a Pet Coach to discuss your cat’s behaviors and needs in more detail.


Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats | NCBI

Feeding Cats for Optimal Mental and Behavioral Well-Being | NCBI

Indoor And Outdoor Management For Cats: Inferences About The Welfare And Cat-Caretaker Relationship | Science Direct

Environmental Enrichment: Practical Strategies for Improving Feline Welfare | Sage Journals

Cats rival dogs on many tests of social smarts. But is anyone brave enough to study them? | Science

Why you should build a catio for your cat | BC SPCA

Assessment of Clicker Training for Shelter Cats | PMC

5 Free (Or Darn Close) Feline Enrichment Ideas | ASPCApro

Aromatherapy for Dogs: 3 Benefits

Aromatherapy for Dogs: 3 Benefits

As loving pet parents, we will try just about anything for our dogs. Nothing is off limits to try if it means our dog could feel a sense of relaxation and peace, and aromatherapy is known to have these exact benefits. People have been using aromatherapy for themselves for years, and our pets can also reap the benefits.

With any new method you try, be aware that your dog might not have the reaction that you expect. For example, some oils that are safe for people aren’t safe for dogs. Additionally, some dogs may be allergic or not get a lot out of this practice. Like their dotting humans, all canines are unique.

If you’ve been considering starting aromatherapy for your dog, read on to learn about how it works and some of its benefits.

What Is Aromatherapy for Dogs?

Aromatherapy for dogs is the practice of using essential oils to help with both physical and behavioral troubles. Essential oils are combined specifically to help certain ailments: Not every dog will need the same essential oil mixture.

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

Aromatherapy for dogs can work in two ways: through smell and through skin absorption. You can diffuse oils into the air, massage oils onto your dog’s body, and use different skin or paw balms on your pet to maximize the effect.

Diluting Essential Oils: The Basics

Dog’s skin is sensitive — often more so than our own. Just like when we use essential oils, we want to dilute them. Diluting essential oils is easy. Simply combine a few drops of essential oils with a dog-safe carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. Pure essential oils are highly concentrated — too much for pups and people.

What Are the Benefits of Aromatherapy?

If you’ve done aromatherapy for yourself, some of the following benefits might sound familiar! Don’t be surprised if it takes a few days or weeks to see some of the benefits, as your dog has to get used to the new smell. Sometimes wearing the essential oils on yourself for a few days supports a positive association with the oil, boosting the effects when introduced to your dog’s care plan.

1. Reduces Anxiety

One of the main benefits of aromatherapy is how using specific essential oils can help reduce your pet’s anxiety. Aromatherapy targets the limbic system, which regulates emotions and mood. A dog that is in a panic is going to be experiencing an overwhelming response in their limbic system, but aromatherapy may help calm the central nervous system.

A dog’s olfactory bulb is connected to their limbic system, which also influences memory. A dog uses their nose so often that it carries a more intense connection to certain smells. When exposed to aromatherapy, a dog is impacted by it quicker than a human would be, and it can calm them down at a faster rate. This is especially true as a dog memorizes certain smells and associates them with feeling calm and relaxed.

If your dog experiences separation anxiety, having a diffuser going while you’re away for a little might do just enough to calm your dog and help them through it. Ensure the diffuser is dog-safe; if the device is tipped over, there should be no risk of hot water burns.

Lavender essential oils are especially helpful in reducing anxiety in dogs, mixed with Frankincense. You will also need to ensure that all of the essential oils are pre-diluted so that your dog doesn’t have any irritation due to the strength of the smell.

Treating anxiety often requires more than some chamomile and calming music. In those cases, chat with a Certified Pet Trainer to develop a well-rounded wellness plan. The team at AskVet is available 24/7 to advise on all animal family members’ health and happiness.

2. Boosts Happiness Levels

In addition to anxiety when separated from their humans, dogs can feel sad or depressed at other times as well. When you’re gone, their motivation to play might be down, and they might spend most of their time looking out the window, waiting for you to come home.

One possible solution to this can be aromatherapy. Essential oils like geranium Rose and bergamot can help balance your dog’s mood and frustration levels.

You can also spend time with your dog by massaging these essential oils into their body, which benefits both you and the dog. Your dog will never turn down quality time spent with you, and you get to see them happier. A win-win!

3. Physical Health Benefits

Beyond emotional wellness, oils are also associated with physical health benefits. Namely, they can work as a holistic flea and tick repellent. When you mix a certain combination of oils, it can help ward off fleas and ticks due to their own sensitivity to smells.

Combine geranium oil, rosemary, lemongrass, and bergamot together and put it on the back of your dog’s head so they can’t lick it. Of course, if you are using some sort of flea and tick medication, you should continue to do so to best protect your dog. This is simply another way to help repel fleas from even trying to latch on.

We know and love peppermint air fresheners in our cars, but they have a not-so-secret superpower: This puppy-safe essential oil has antimicrobial properties.

How To Diffuse Essential Oils Safely

Dogs have a very strong sense of smell, so if you think your perfume or shampoo smells too strong, your dog would probably agree.

Finding top-quality oils that are pre-diluted can help you to avoid adverse reactions. Overusing aromatherapy might also be dangerous for your dog, so you don’t want to overdo it.

When you do use an essential oil diffuser, don’t let it run for more than an hour (and that’s a tip for us humans as well), or keep it next to where your dog sleeps. Too much might overwhelm them and can cause an adverse reaction.

Think about how sometimes smelling a certain candle can give you a headache; it’s similar to how a dog can respond to too much aromatherapy exposure.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

What Essential Oils Are Safe for Dogs?

Like certain plants have high toxicity levels to dogs, some essential oils that aren’t safe for dogs:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Wintergreen
  • Pine
  • Thyme
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree oil
  • Anise
  • Clove
  • Ylang ylang
  • Juniper

When it comes to aromatherapy for cats, the list slightly differs but has many crossovers.

The Sweet Smell of Success

When you aren’t sure which oil to use or if you think you need more help when it comes to your dog’s anxiety, AskVet is here to help. Download the app to join today, and you’ll gain access to a variety of resources, from preventative care to behavioral health to diet and nutrition. Plus, with 24/ access to Certified Pet Trainers and veterinary experts, you can call on your virtual support system any time of day or night.


Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Evaluation Of The Effect Of Topical Application Of Lavender Oil On Autonomic Nerve Activity In Dogs In | American Veterinary Medical Association

The Nose Knows: Is There Anything Like a Dog’s Nose? | AKC

Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications | NCBI

Use of Essential Oils in Veterinary Medicine to Combat Bacterial and Fungal Infections | PMC

10 Garden Plants That Are Toxic to Pets | UC Davis

Essential oils for Cats | Iowa Veterinary Wellness Center

Running With Your Dog: 5 Helpful Tips

Running With Your Dog: 5 Helpful Tips

If you’re looking for ways to get your dog more involved with exercising, you might want to look into running together. This is especially true if you’re already an avid runner yourself and are looking to add a running partner to your daily excursions. Or maybe you love the idea of starting a fitness training plan but think the motivation of bringing your pup along will help.

Most dogs love to run, hence their adorable daily zoomies that have the backyard looking like a racetrack. However, not all dogs are ready to go on a long run with their humans.

Before you start bringing your dog on runs, be aware of their limits and understand that not all dogs are distance runners. Here are five helpful tips to help kickstart your dog’s running career and make the process easy and rewarding.

Know Your Dog and Their Limits

Certain dog breeds may be more or less likely to be a runner, and it comes down to their drive, their age, their breed, and their personality. For some dogs, running is not encouraged, whereas other dogs may need it in order to feel fulfilled and content.

Dogs that might really enjoy an energetic run include high-energy breeds like huskies, border collies, and retrievers. Dogs that struggle with the following might not be best suited for long runs, so keep this in mind as you start to prep your dog for runs:

Before planning your early morning runs, consider these points:

  • Brachycephalic dogs might have difficulty breathing while running, especially in the heat. Brachycephalic breeds can include bulldogs and pugs.
  • Older dogs and young puppies should proceed with caution. Senior dogs may have decreased stamina and loss of hearing/vision and are more susceptible to temperatures. Puppies need to take things slower to protect their growth plates.
  • Proceed after consulting with your vet if your dog has: arthritis or hip dysplasia. Have questions? Chat with a veterinary expert here 24/7.
  • If you have a smaller dog, especially a Chondrodysplastic breed like dachshunds and basset hounds, proceed with caution. Their short, curved legs are prone to premature disc degeneration and other injuries. Short distances are best.

If your dog fits into any of those categories, consider lower-intensity workouts. Running might only further exacerbate current issues or cause new ones.

Helpful Tips To Start Running With Your Dog

After ruling out potential problems, if your dog is in the clear and motivated to do this activity with you, there are ways for you to make the process easier.

1. Start With Walking

Your dog needs to go on walks daily. It’s a great way for them to log some exercise, get their bodies moving, and burn off energy.

Don’t just jump into running long distances with your dog. Walk the routes you intend to run and follow similar paths so that your dog can become used to them.

That way, when you start running, your dog has built up their stamina through walks. You can start increasing the distance you go every week — slow but steady absolutely wins the race.

Walking isn’t the only basic skill to master — dogs should know how to heel and display polite leash manners. Keeping your dog in a heel might be easier at a walk, but they could be more easily distracted when at a run. Request the assistance of an AskVet Certified Dog Trainer to ensure that your team is ready; plus, get all the help you need along the way.

2. Use Running Gear That Works for Both of You

Invest in running gear that benefits both you and your dog:

  • Leash: Keeping your dog on a short leash or even attaching them to a harness that goes around your waist for hands-free running can help to keep them close by to you. In most cases, you don’t want your dog straying from your side; it can be easier to control them if they’re on a short leash. Speaking of leashes, investing in a dog leash with a poop bag container is vital.
  • Harness: When it comes to the harness vs. collar debate, harnesses are typically better for dogs since they don’t put added pressure on the trachea.
  • Booties: Depending on the terrain, booties can help protect your dog’s paws to make the running experience much more enjoyable, even if they think the boots are awkward at first.

3. Schedule Rest Days

Just like humans, dogs need a few days a week to rest. Even if you don’t run every day, take your dog on gentle walks on their rest days so they can continue to use their body and exercise their muscles. This will help them to build stamina even if it doesn’t seem like it would!

You might notice that in the beginning, your furry friend becomes a bit sore. They might move slower or use more effort to jump up onto the couch after a few days of running. This is typically nothing to worry about, especially because humans experience the same difficulties.

4. Let Your Dog Set the Pace

Your dog will let you know what pace is good for them. They might start off really strong but then decide to slow themselves down midway through the run. This helps them to maintain their stamina and lets them go for longer.

Follow along with your dog’s pace so that you can be mindful of how they feel. Remember, though this run is for you, it’s just as much for your pooch! You don’t want to burn them out or make going on runs seem like a punishment. They should want to run with you and look forward to the activity but on their own terms.

Your dog may surprise you: Greyhounds are known as great running pets, but you might find that your Terrier prefers to go out on a jaunt more than their long-legged canine sibling.

5. Bring Water and Stop for Breaks

Don’t forget to carry with you some water with a collapsible bowl and water bottle for when your dog becomes thirsty. A little bit of water here and there can prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated.

If you see a small puddle of stream, don’t be afraid to let your dog jump in to cool down. This can help to regulate their body temperature; heat stroke can be a concern even on cloudy days.

A note on heat: Excessive panting isn’t the only sign of heat danger to watch out for. Paw pads are very susceptible to heat and rough surfaces. Asphalt can reach up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit on a 75-degree sunny day, which can burn paw pads.

Booties are a must, but it’s better to avoid taking your dog running at all when the weather gets too hot. Instead, venturing out in the early mornings and late evenings is best.

Water breaks are smart for you and your dog, so if you come across a scenic view on your run, allow yourself to stop and take it all in.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Talk With the Experts at AskVet

For more tips and tricks on how to best run with your dog, consider using the AskVet app to find resources on training, emotional wellness, and behavioral problems.

Our Certified Pet CoachesTM (CPC) can help offer guidance on taking your dogs on walks while also answering behavioral questions like “Why does my dog do that” and “How do I stop them from barking at the vacuum cleaner?”

Join now for access to veterinary experts and Certified Pet Trainers. Your pets are members of your family — and the AskVet Family is here to support yours.


Behavior Guide for Your New Puppy | OSU Veterinary Medical Center

Canine Brachycephaly: Anatomy, Pathology, Genetics and Welfare | NCBI

The Dog As An Exercise Science Animal Model: A Review Of Physiological And Hematological Effects Of Exercise Conditions | NCBI

Chondrodystrophy (CDDY and IVDD) and Chondrodysplasia (CDPA) | UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

How to Prevent Dogs and Hot Asphalt Meeting This Summer | The Animal Hospital of Sussex County

How Hot is Too Hot? Heatstroke in Dogs | American Kennel Club

How To Stop a Dog From Begging: A Guide

How To Stop a Dog From Begging: A Guide

Have you found yourself standing at your counter trying to enjoy a meal because your dog won’t stop begging for food when you are seated? Do you avoid having guests come over for meals because you don’t want your dog to harass them for a morsel?

Pet parents everywhere can relate; it is hard to resist those puppy eyes staring you down, maybe as they throw in a dramatic whine. We know you love your dog, but the begging can be annoying. It can also cause health issues for your furry best bud.

Dogs who beg successfully end up consuming too much human food, which can be harmful to their health. Obesity, digestive problems, and other health issues can arise from the consumption of healthy foods. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to teach your dog to stop beginning.

Let’s explore some of those tips so you can put an end to this behavior and enjoy your meals in peace.

Establish Clear Rules and Boundaries

You want your buddy to be by your side everywhere you go; we get it. However, your dog thrives on structure and routine. One of the first steps you can take to knock out the begging is to not allow your dog at the table at mealtimes.

Make sure everyone in the household is on the same page when it comes to this rule. Being on a united front will help make the process easier. It’s also important that everyone agrees to the next tip: ignoring the begging.

Ignore the Begging

Sometimes this can be easier said than done, but one of the most effective ways to stop a dog from begging is to ignore it completely. Dogs are very persistent, but when your dog figures out that this behavior isn’t getting them what they will want, they will give up. This is not going to be an overnight fix, though. It will take time, but eventually, your dog will see that this behavior is fruitless.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Full

While we know that most dogs are food motivated, your dog may simply be hungry when they are begging for your food. Make sure that you’re feeding your dog enough and that it is high-quality food. Nutrient-dense food is going to keep your dog satiated for a longer period of time, which means that they may be less likely to beg.

If you are ever unsure of how much food your dog should be consuming daily, you can easily get an immediate answer from one of our veterinary experts in the AskVet app.

Alternative Activities

Before you sit down to enjoy a meal, give your dog something to do that will keep their attention away from the table. Give them toys, puzzles filled with treats, or games that will keep them busy. This will prevent your dog from begging and provide time for mental stimulation.

You can also feed your dogs at the same time you enjoy your own meal. Vary things up by adding savory broth or tasty vegetables to your dog’s bowl. Your dog will be excited to see what new thing has been added to their bowl and will take their focus away from your plate.

Consider a Crate

If your dog finds resisting the urge to beg difficult, consider using a crate during mealtimes. Before sitting down, place your dog in their crate with their favorite treat or toy. This is especially helpful if you already crate train, as your dog likely finds their crate as a positive space where they can retreat and rest. This is a win-win as your dog will get some quality time with their favorite treat, and you’ll have a peaceful meal.

You may find that after some time, your dog will associate mealtimes with the time they get a treat in their crate and may even start to exhibit the desired behavior on their own.

Command Training

Command training is another effective way to stop begging. “Sit” and “stay” are useful commands to use when you want your dog to stay away from the table.

Positive Reinforcement and Patience 

Speaking of treats, a friendly reminder that positive reinforcement training is a powerful tool. Rewarding your furry pal with praise, treats, and affection will reinforce behaviors and encourage your dog to continue with their polite behavior.

Your dog’s begging didn’t get so awful overnight, and they won’t completely stop beginning overnight. It takes time and plenty of patience to change behavior. It can be easy to get discouraged, but stay consistent and keep reinforcing positive behavior when it occurs. Your furry pal will get the hang of it.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Ruff Time? AskVet Can Lend a Helping Paw

If you’ve tried different strategies to no avail, it may be time to seek outside help. A behaviorist can help you identify the underlying cause of your dog’s beginning and provide you with specific training strategies to address it. They can also help you develop a long-term plan to prevent begging in the future.

This advice is right at your fingertips when you’re an AskVet member. Head over to the app to schedule a virtual pet coaching session with one of our Certified Pet Coaches to discuss why your dog is having such a ruff time with their increased begging.

If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s easy to do. Head over to AskVet to sign up for an account, and once your account has been created you can schedule virtual sessions with one of our knowledgeable Certified Pet Coaches.

From there, you’ll work together to create personalized plans. Your pet’s coach will check in regularly to see how things are going, and make the necessary adjustments. It’s like having a personal life coach for your pet!

Another benefit of being an AskVet member is also having access to a peer-to-peer community where you can share tips and tricks, and even encouragement when training becomes a little difficult.

The help doesn’t end here. We can help support your pet with customized plans for pet health and wellness through every stage of their life. The best part? All of this support and knowledge is available 24/7 and for $9.99 a month.


Household Food Items Toxic to Dogs and Cats | NCBI

Why Your Dog Needs a Routine at Every Stage of Life | AKC

Crate Training Benefits: Why A Crate Is Great For You And Your Dog | AKC

Why Do Dogs Jump on You & How To Stop It

Jumping Dog

Jumping up on a human is a dog’s quickest and most efficient way to let you know they’re there. It’s hard to ignore a dog who’s jumping on you, especially when your arms are filled with groceries or you’ve had a long day and want to lie down. The act of jumping can be frustrating from a human’s point of view, but — for a dog — they don’t realize it’s wrong until you teach them.

Some people don’t mind when their dog jumps on them because they find it endearing and cute, but watching your dog jump on an unsuspecting victim is not so much fun. It can also become a hazard if your dog leaps up on older people and young children. The risk of knocking someone down is quite high, especially with larger-sized breeds.

If you’re looking to stop your dog’s jumping behavior, there are ways to go about training them to properly greet a person. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons a dog might jump on you and how to stop it.

Why Do Dogs Jump on You? 

Dogs are much closer to the ground than they are their favorite humans. Many dogs want to get as close as possible to their human’s face, usually to give them some slobbery kisses.

After a long day at work, your pup has missed you greatly, and all they want to do is shower you with love. This is something that you will want to train out of them to avoid injuries in the future.

To Say “Hello”

The most obvious reason for your dog to be jumping on you is for a greeting. Imagine that every time they pop up, they are saying “Hello, Human!” excitedly. If you’ve said “Hello,” back and consequently pet them after each hop, you reinforce their behavior so that they think it’s okay. This means that they will continue to leap up on you or other people when they are trying to greet them, as they know they will get a response.

To Get Your Attention

A dog might jump onto you randomly during the day because they want your attention. This might be because they want to play, are getting hungry, or need to go to the bathroom.

If you haven’t trained this behavior out of them, it might not immediately alert you to one of their needs, and you might think that they are just being playful. This kind of jumping might be your dog trying to communicate that they need more attention, and though you should tend to their needs, you don’t want to continue reinforcing this behavior.

Four Ways To Get Your Dog To Stop Jumping

Training your dog not to jump can protect people from injury and help contain their excitement. The best way to stop the behavior from becoming normal is to train it out of them as puppies. Adult dogs can also be taught to stop the bad behavior, but it might take a bit more reinforcement.

1. Turn Away From Them

The first thing to do is to physically turn away from your bouncing pup. This shows them that you are not reinforcing their behavior and that you won’t give them the attention they desire until they behave appropriately.

Eventually, your dog will realize that when they jump, they don’t get what they want. Then, they’ll keep their paws on the ground instead.

Sometimes even pushing your dog off is considered attention and might reinforce the behavior without you realizing it. A turned back is an obvious sign of ignoring your dog, which they will soon pick up on.

2. Train Them To Sit

You can train your dog to sit whenever they greet someone by having treats handy. When you see your dog, start by turning your back to them if they jump and tell them the command, “Sit.”

Once they sit, you can turn back towards them and praise them with both pets and a treat. You must maintain this behavior on your end to teach them properly, so a pocketful of treats when you leave the house can preemptively save you from being pounced on.

3. Put Them on a Leash

If your dog is struggling with keeping all of their paws on the ground, consider leashing them before they go to greet someone. This way, you have the most control over their bodies and can help them to sit down and relax. When your dog doesn’t catapult up, reward them with a treat and have the person they are meeting reward them as well.

4. Try a “Place” Command

Your dog might have a lot of pent-up energy if they know they are about to see a new person or dog. Teaching them a “Place” command where they go and run somewhere to relax, usually a bed or specific area in the house, can divert their energy into performing a task.

It takes a lot of mental power to present the correct behavior and wait to greet someone, so not only does this curb the jumping, but it also burns up some energy and encourages impulse control.

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Jump for Joy With AskVet

When questions come about in regard to your dog’s behavior and health, AskVet is there to provide you with answers. Reach out to one of our Certified Pet Coaches™ (CPC) and set up a virtual consultation to learn more about how we can benefit you and your dog. With 24/7 access to our experts, you can access support from veterinary experts and certified pet trainers at any moment during the day.


Behavior Guide for Your New Puppy | OSU Veterinary Medical Center

Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Incidence Of Dogs Jumping On Household Members Upon Entering Their Home In Comparison With Holding Food | ScienceDirect

How To Litter Train a Kitten: 5 Tips & Tricks

How To Litter Train a Kitten: 5 Tips & Tricks

Bringing home a new kitten isn’t quite as much work as bringing home a new puppy. Kittens tend to be more independent.

Cats are highly intelligent and motivated animals that pick up on what you’re trying to communicate with them. Because of this, training your new kitten on how to use a litter box tends to be fairly simple. If you commit to the training, your kitten should pick up on it in no time.

To learn a few tips and tricks on how to litter box train your kitten, keep reading:

When Should You Start?

For the first few weeks of a kitten’s life, their mother helps them to eliminate and cleans them up afterward, so a litter box is unnecessary. After a month or two, when they are with their new human, a litter box can be introduced. With adult cats adopted from the shelter, start litter box training immediately when they get home so they can figure out where it’s appropriate to use the bathroom. Luckily, many adult cats are pros at this already.

Litter training must be consistent on your end, but it will likely come naturally to your cat. You must keep it clean so that they continue to use it correctly. Additionally, you may have to try out a few different spots around the house, different cat litter, or use positive reinforcement to get your kitten to use it correctly, but it’s worth the trial and error!

5 Tips and Tricks When Litter Training

All cats are intelligent, but every cat is different and may need to be motivated to use the litter box. Some cats might struggle more than others or resist their litter box at first.

Cats famously love boxes, but how do we get them to love their litter box? Let’s get into potty training made easy.

1. Pick the Optimal Size

Before you even get your kitten, go shopping for supplies. Start with a litter box that suits the size of your new cat. For tiny kittens, a small litter box will work perfectly for them.

One of the most common litter box problems is that the litter tray is too deep or too large. Young kittens tend to do best with a 13×9-inch tray. Low sides are ideal since your newest furry friend might not be a top-notch jumper yet. If the kitten’s litter box is too difficult to get out of, felines might feel trapped and not want to use the box, leaving pet parents to deal with accidents around the house.

An older cat will require a larger litter box. As your cat grows, upgrade their litter box size so they fit comfortably in it.

2. Consider Litter Type

You will then have to pick out the best type of litter — this will depend on your cat’s preferences. Cats and kittens are notoriously picky in everything from cat food to litter type. When you bring your cat or kitten home, ask the rescue or breeder what type they previously used.

Using the right kind can help to avoid accidents.

  • Clay litter: Clay litter is one of the easiest ones to find in your local pet store. The particular can be fine or dense. Clumping clay kitty litter is generally made from bentonite. While it’s heavier, it’s easier to clean but tends to be more expensive. Non-clumping clay litter is made from wood fibers or non-bentonite clay. It’s lighter and less expensive.
  • Pine: This litter is made from lumber scraps. Opt for soft, harsh-chemical-free pine for your cat’s litter box.
  • Other Natural Materials: Wheat, corn, and walnut shell options are available. Some Wheat is a naturally clumping litter and comes both scented and unscented. Grass and corn litter are also biodegradable (like wheat) and naturally clump.

Kitten-specific litters often have pheromones added to encourage them to use the box. You might also want to add a mat underneath the box to make the house training process a tad neater.

3. Think About the Location of the Box

Depending on the size of your home or space, you might only have a few good spots in mind for the litter box. Ideally, the litter box will go in a spot that’s quiet and out of the way but not too far from human interaction. A low-traffic area is best since cats won’t want to go to the bathroom there if they feel frightened or on edge.

A litter box shouldn’t be near your kitten’s food or water dishes or in rooms that are known to be pretty loud. If you have space in your bathroom, that’s always a solid option or a spare room that isn’t used as frequently as others.

If you have multiple floors in your house, place a litter box on each floor with the same supplies for all locations. If you have multiple cats (lucky you!), there should be at least one more litter box than the number of cats in the home.

4. Reward Them for Using the Litter Box

While litter box training often comes naturally, try rewarding your kitten’s good behavior with a little treat. When your kitten is done using the litter box and exits it, give them a treat or praise ASAP. You want to associate them using the bathroom with the reward, so it’s essential that you give it to them immediately.

On the other hand, if your kitten has an accident, don’t punish them. It won’t send the right message, and they’ll be more confused and startled than anything.

5. Clean It Regularly

Your cat relies on you to keep their litter box clean. If you aren’t on top of it, they might begin to use other spaces in your home to go to the bathroom.

Cats like a clean litter box, and can you blame them? Just like humans, they don’t want to use the bathroom somewhere that’s messy. For cats, their solution is to go elsewhere: This means more accidents that you have to not only clean up but find throughout your house.

Not using the litter box is sometimes a medical issue. While it might be that the litter box isn’t up to the cat’s standards, it may suggest a urinary tract infection, parasites, cystitis, or something else. If your feline is urine spraying, that issue might simply fade once they are spayed or neutered.

Cat behavior and kitten care can get tricky; this is when you want to reach out for professional help. Talk to your local vet or reach out to the veterinary experts at AskVet for 24/7 help to get answers and the support you need.

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Questions? Talk to Experts at AskVet

Some cats may show problems with litter box use throughout their life, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the issue. When these behaviors arise, you can talk with AskVet’s Certified Pet CoachesTM (CPC) about resolving the problems. AskVet gives you access to these professionals 24/7, as well as other pet lovers that might have dealt with similar issues.

You can gain access to resources for training, understanding emotional wellness, and creating behavioral plans to improve your kitten’s life. Talk with an AskVet Pet Trainer and get started today!


Feline Litter Box Issues Associate With Cat Personality, Breed, And Age At Sterilization | American Veterinary Medical Association

The Behavioural Effects of Innovative Litter Developed to Attract Cats | NCBI

Does Previous Use Affect Litter Box Appeal In Multi-Cat Households? | ScienceDirect

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

How To Stop Puppy Biting in 5 Easy Steps

Puppy Biting

When you get a new puppy, it isn’t before long that they begin to use their tiny, yet sharp, puppy teeth. Your puppy might start to bite you, the furniture, or other animals in the house. While this can be a sign of playfulness, teaching your puppy when it’s appropriate to use their teeth is essential. As your puppy turns into an adult dog, biting is no longer cute or harmless. It can end with severe consequences if not handled in puppyhood.

To learn more about five easy steps to help stop your puppy from biting, keep reading!

Reasons Why Your Puppy Might Be Biting

Puppies don’t have hands to pick up and interact with objects they come across, so they want to use their teeth. In this sense, it’s a very natural behavior. All puppies will nip and bite from time to time, but how you react will set up how your future looks.

A few common reasons for your puppy to be biting are:

  • When trying to reduce discomfort during the teething stage
  • When trying to get their human’s attention
  • When playing with other dogs or humans

How To Stop Puppy Biting

Puppy nipping is a pretty natural occurrence. While this is a common puppy behavior, it’s your job to teach them when it’s appropriate to bite and when it’s not. In most cases, biting is not encouraged, so it’s more about teaching your pup what objects are OK to bite. Chew toys and bones are usually in the clear, whereas clothing, furniture, and body parts are not.

When dogs play with each other, especially when they are puppies who are learning, they’ll involve themselves in play biting. When a bite is too strong or unwanted, the other puppy will tell them by omitting a loud yelping sound. This warns the other dogs that the style of biting is taking it too far. When a puppy is no longer alongside their littermates, it’s the responsibility of the human to teach them when their biting has crossed a line.

1. Teach Bite Inhibition

Bite inhibition is teaching dogs to control the force of their mouths. Your dog must understand that human skin is very sensitive, so they have to be more gentle when playing with you than with their fellow canine playmates.

Dogs teach each other bite inhibition when they yelp during play, so humans should mimic this reaction when playing with young dogs. If your puppy bites down too hard when playing with you, let out a loud noise and stop playing completely. Once your dog has calmed down, continue playing.

Instruct young children to do the same. Kids can sometimes be more tolerant of their fingers ending up in their puppy’s mouth, but this only prolongs this bad behavior.

Soon your dog realizes that rough play means that the fun times stop, so if they want to play, they have to be more gentle. There are plenty of dog training resources out there that can help you to stop unwanted behaviors, like the teams of expert dog trainers at AskVet!

2. Redirect the Biting

While stopping the play session and teaching bite inhibition is the first step, having other options to give to your dog when they start biting you is essential.

Keep a chew toy nearby. When your pup starts going too hard on your skin, give your puppy a chew toy instead. Then, make the toy a part of your game. This shows your dog what items are appropriate to chew on. Redirecting goes for if your dog is chewing on something inappropriate, like clothing or furniture. Tell them “No” and give them something they can go to town on.

If you find that your pup is nibbling a bit more than usual, they could be teething. Like human babies, puppies might experience discomfort as their adult teeth grow in. Giving your puppy teething toys can help relieve some of that tenderness. Typically, a puppy stops teething altogether at eight months old.

Keep in mind that some puppy toys are different from those of adult dogs. Puppy chews are generally made from softer materials for their weaker mouths and teeth.

3. Distract Your Pup

When your puppy is exhibiting undesired biting behaviors, try to distract them. Direct their attention elsewhere and have them put their energy into the new object or obstacle. Whether it’s having them perform a trick and receive a treat or initiate some sort of enrichment play with them, distracting teaches them that they don’t get the reaction they desire from nipping.

Enrichment activities are great because they put all of your dog’s focus and energy into receiving whatever treat is hiding in the toy. Try rolling up an old towel with all of your dog’s food in it and letting them unravel it to get their reward, or use a peanut butter lick mat to help divert their energy and get a nice snack.

Mental stimulation is key to lifelong good behaviors — not only in puppy training. Along the same note, routine socialization and leash manners are life-long lessons worth revisiting consistently.

4. Put Them in Time-Out

When your dog is not listening to you or reacting to your attempts at distraction and redirection, you may need to put them in a time-out. By not giving in to their behaviors, you choose not to reward them. Whatever the time out is, don’t use the crate or the time-out area as a punishment. The crate should be a safe place associated only with positivity.

A time-out shows puppies that they have to participate in human-approved behaviors. When they begin to bite, the playtime stops. And no puppy wants that!

5. Engage in Physical Activity

Sometimes, a puppy will bite because they are bored and have surplus energy. To ensure that your puppy is not biting excessively, make sure they are getting enough exercise each day. When your puppy won’t stop nipping, change up your activity and take them on a walk or run outside in the backyard for a bit.

Letting them burn off some steam will result in a tired and content dog that isn’t going to go looking for trouble.

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Dog Trainers On-Demand: Perfecting Puppy Play

Having a new puppy can be a lot of work. Whether it’s your first puppy or your seventh, each puppy you raise will have their own distinct personality. This means that no matter what you try, you may need a bit of guidance. AskVet can help answer the questions you have and put together wellness and behavioral plans for your pup.

Reach out for a virtual consultation with one of our Certified Pet Trainers™ (CPLC) to learn more about the services we offer. If you need to come up with a plan to curb your puppy’s biting habits, we are here to help you.


Chewing Behaviour In Dogs – A Survey-Based Exploratory Study | ScienceDirect

Behavior Guide for Your New Puppy | OSU Veterinary Medical Center

Training Bite Inhibition in the Dark | The IAABC JOURNAL

When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth | Veterinary Dental Services

How To Crate Train Your Dog in Nine Easy Steps | AKC

Is Peanut Butter Safe For Dogs? | Rau Animal Hospital

Common Dog Behavior Problems & What To Do About Them

Dog Behavior Problem

What humans view as undesirable behaviors from their dogs do not always have clear-cut solutions. To help change your dog’s behavioral problems, you have to get to the bottom of what is causing them before you can make any changes.

Some behavioral problems are relatively easy to fix, while others might require professional help to solve. If your dog is exhibiting undesirable behaviors, professional dog training can help.

Trained professionals can help bring peace and order back into your home. The main goal is to understand your dog’s issues and where they are coming from so that you can help to alleviate the issue.

To learn more about common canine behavior problems and how you can help to resolve them, keep reading!

The Seven Most Common Dog Behavior Problems

Dogs can display a number of behavioral issues throughout their life, some that pop up seemingly out of nowhere in adulthood and some that start from a very young age. Curbing those behaviors as soon as possible can help bring you peace of mind and avoid bigger ones from developing.

It’s also worth noting that some behaviors that your dog exhibits might not be concerning to you as it is to others. For instance, some people may not want their dog jumping up onto them as a greeting, while others might think it’s cute and encourage it. Your dog doesn’t know any better until you teach them, so you have to decide what you’re willing to tolerate.

Once you notice a problematic behavior, begin working towards changing it immediately so that it doesn’t progress and gets harder to fix.

1. Excessive Vocalization

Barking is a very common dog behavior. You can’t completely stop a dog from barking since it’s a natural instinct. However, excessive barking can be undesirable and problematic if it’s not addressed.

If your dog barks excessively, you need to understand why it’s happening to be able to fix it. Your dog might be trying to alert you, get your attention, or maybe they’re responding to another dog or sound. They might feel bored or have anxiety. If you can identify what is triggering the barking, you might be able to eliminate that stimulus and see results quickly.

What To Do: Rely on Obedience Training

The best way to fix this problem is by teaching your dog a bark/quiet command. This tells the dog when it’s appropriate to bark and when it’s not. When your dog begins to respond to your quiet command, reward them with a treat. This can take a lot of practice and commitment as barking is instinctual, but with time you can work towards appropriate levels of barking.

In older dogs, excessive vocalization might be more of a pet health concern than a pet behavior concern. Older adult dogs could possibly experience sun-downing syndrome or canine dementia. Pet parents should contact a vet for how to best treat their canine family members who are entering their golden years.

2. Destructive Chewing

As with barking, chewing is a natural behavior that most dogs do for a variety of reasons. As a puppy, chewing can help with the aches they feel from their puppy teeth, so you might find that excessive chewing starts young. Start by teaching your pooch what is appropriate to chew on and what is not.

What To Do: Refocus Your Dog’s Attention

Provide plenty of chew toys and keep your pup confined to a safe area when you’re not around. As soon as a dog gets bored, they start to cause trouble.

If you catch them chewing on inappropriate items, such as shoes and furniture, make a loud noise and swap that item out with an appropriate chew toy. You can avoid destructive chewing by ensuring your dog gets plenty of exercises to tire them out when left unattended and providing teething toys for puppies.

3. Inappropriate Elimination

As puppies, potty training may mean a few accidents before getting it right. This is a common behavior that doesn’t always result from an underlying issue but rather a lack of knowledge about right and wrong.

What To Do: Check Pet Health and Troubleshoot

If your dog is potty trained and begins inappropriately using the bathroom in your house, first check for medical issues or health problems. Ask a vet about possible health issues — the AskVet team is here for you day and night. If you’re wondering what’s normal behavior and what’s a health concern, chat with a veterinary expert available 24/7!

If there is no medical reason for urination or defecation in your house, it might be a behavioral issue. Your dog might be urinating when they get super excited, in which you should work towards doing greetings outside until they learn to control their bladder. If your dog is marking in the house well after puppyhood, it is a more complex behavior to fix and may require professional intervention.

You might place pee pads down to help keep your floors from getting damaged. If your dog starts to use the bathroom, make a loud noise to distract them and bring them outside to finish the job. Additionally, reward your dog when they signal they need to go outside to use the bathroom. This alert can be a noise or bark, standing at the door, or ringing a bell placed on the doorknob.

4. Jumping on People

You may think that your dog jumping up onto you is cute, but it’s a pretty bad habit. Especially for young children, older people, and people with disabilities, having a dog jump up on them could be dangerous. If your dog is going to be around a lot of different individuals, you might want to consider curbing this behavior before they get big enough to scratch a person or knock a person over.

What To Do: Rely on Obedience Training

One common way to teach your dog not to jump is to turn away and ignore them when they exhibit the behavior. Interacting with them by putting a knee up or grabbing their paws and placing them down might send the wrong message to your dog. If you physically ignore the dog and don’t reward them until they stop jumping, your dog will pick up on what is expected of them.

You can also teach your dog an “Up” command, giving them the opportunity to jump up onto you when prompted. Without this command, the action should be off-limits.

5. Leash Pulling

Dogs can get very excited when they are on a walk. It usually starts when the leash gets taken off the wall that a dog starts building up this excitement. Depending on your dog’s breed, age, and training status, there are a number of different collars and harnesses that can be appropriate for your dog, and it is best to consult a professional to determine what is best for your dog.

Starting leash training as a puppy can help you to have better control over your dog as they become more confident, larger, and stronger.

What To Do: Rely on Obedience Training

Going on walks is a necessity for most dogs, but it’s also a privilege. You want your dog to pay attention only to you when walking on the leash, but this can be a challenge when there are so many stimulating things on your walk.

Work on using treats to help keep your dog by your side, rewarding them when they walk next to you with a loose leash, and not giving into their pulling by turning in a different direction. This shows your dog that you are in charge and you decide how the walk will go.

6. Aggression

Aggressive dogs exist in all shapes and sizes and usually as a direct result of their genetics, history, and environment. Socializing your dog from a young age is essential so they can meet a variety of stimuli, like other dogs, people, noises, and objects, with confidence as they grow into their paws.

What To Do: Seek Professional Training Help

Serious intervention is usually needed as your main goal is to protect yourself, others, and your own dog from any harm. Your dog might be experiencing anxiety or fear that encourages them to act out, thinking they need to protect themselves. Working with vets, dog trainers, and animal behaviorists can help to better understand your dog’s needs and keep them safe.

If your dog is growling, nipping, or lunging at you or other dogs, seek help immediately. There could be a medical problem that needs to be addressed, especially if the aggression seems to happen out of nowhere. Consult your local veterinarian or the 24/7 veterinary experts at AskVet, immediately.

Keep in that mouthing is also a way dogs play — review the differences of rough play to know if it’s just young dogs acting goofy or something to be cornered about.

7. Separation Anxiety

Many of the behaviors listed above can result from separation anxiety. This condition might manifest in other troublesome behaviors like excessive licking, destruction of household items, eating poop, and inappropriate elimination. They could even develop aggressive behaviors towards humans or other animals.

What To Do: Behavior Modification

Building up your dog’s confidence can help keep them safe and happy, but this can be difficult if they become anxious and agitated when you leave. Most of the time, intensive training, modifying anxiety-inducing situations, and desensitizing your dog can be extremely helpful. Since separation anxiety can be a very complex issue, contacting a pet professional can often be best in these circumstances. Additionally, your vet might recommend that you put your dog on medication to help limit their anxiety as well.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Dog Training Resources: Where To Get Started

When you have a question about your dog’s behavior, consider using AskVet to get an answer. With AskVet, you have access to experts that understand animal behavior and want to help you get to the bottom of it.

Our Certified Pet Coaches™ (CPC) can provide tips and tricks to help curb these bad behaviors and help to come up with a personalized behavioral plan for your dog’s specific needs. You can schedule a virtual session with one of our Certified Trainers™ to learn more about how AskVet can change you and your dog’s life!


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

Behavioral Problems of Dogs – Behavior | Merck Veterinary Manual

How Can You Tell if Dogs are Playing or Fighting? | AKC

Senior dog dementia | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Can Dogs Get Jealous? 7 Signs of Jealousy

Jealous Dog

Is your dog acting out? Could it be that your dog is jealous of the attention you are putting elsewhere?

Yes, actually, and it’s fairly similar to how humans experience jealousy. As you get to know your dog better, you might recognize certain behaviors that they exhibit as being of a jealous nature.

Does your dog push other people and pets out of the way to get to you? Do they act out by destroying items in the home? Both of these could be signs that your dog is feeling jealous. The more you pick up on their body language, the better you can understand their emotions.

Some acts of jealousy can be problematic, like your dog growling while on your lap at anyone coming near you. These are behaviors that you will want to stop as soon as possible to avoid further issues. Knowing the signs of jealousy can help you do this, so keep reading to learn more!

What Science Says About Dog Jealousy

University of California, San Diego

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, ran a real study involving fake dogs that sought to prove that dogs experience jealousy. Dog parents were instructed to fake attention to an automated stuffed dog, a plastic pumpkin, and a pop-up book.

The canine participants, who were all small dog breeds, acted up more when their person’s one-on-one time was lavished on the toy dog, with 86% of real pups investigating the toy by sniffing its butt. The pumpkin and book incited far less of a reaction.

University of Auckland

A relatively new study on pet jealousy from the University of Auckland published in the Psychological Science journal asked the same question. Dogs watched their pet parents pet a fake dog and a fleece cylinder. The dogs pulled harder on the leash when their human was spending time with the fake dog — called the “social rival” in this experiment.

University of Vienna

In Vienna, Friederike Range set up a study where two dogs completed the same task (to “shake hands”), but only one was rewarded. The dog that didn’t get the reward eventually stopped performing the task, acting frustrated and anxious when their pup peer was lavished with praise.

Ultimately, while researchers can suggest that as social animals, dogs may be jealous, they’re not sure if dogs experience jealousy in the same way as people do, especially when taking into account a person’s capability for heightened self-awareness.

Why Might a Dog Get Jealous?

Some reasons that your dog might become jealous are:

  • If a new dog or new pet enters the home
  • If a new baby or family member moves in
  • If there’s a change in their home environment
  • If their primary person gives another animal or human attention

When dealing with a jealous dog, understanding the signs can help you to work on building up their confidence, so they don’t react to those jealous feelings. By using training resources, you can help limit this jealous behavior.

Signs Your Dog Is Jealous

Any change of behavior in your dog is going to be recognized. When they start to act out or act differently, it’s easy to notice these changes, alerting us that something might be wrong. Whether it be an adult dog or a new puppy, if you recognize any of the following signs of jealousy in your dog, it might be time to get to the bottom of this reaction.

1. Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is when a dog becomes possessive over their home and everything in it. This may include dog food, toys, areas, and their humans. If they feel like something of theirs might be taken away, they can act out toward whoever is threatening to take it away.

Resource guarding could look like growling or snapping at you when you go near their food, or they’ll gather their toys in one specific area. They might guard their humans by not allowing other dogs or people near them. You might notice that when on walks, your dog pulls you away from social interactions with other people and their dogs.

2. Inappropriate Bathroom Use

Going to the bathroom around your house, whether it’s urination or defecation, is often a clear communication attempt by your dog. They may be jealous and are finding ways to get their pet parent’s attention.

If your dog is experiencing incontinence even after you’ve addressed the behavior and jealousy issue, it’s time to talk to your veterinarian. Going to the bathroom around the house, especially when they are potty trained, could be a sign that they are suffering from a health issue. Need to talk to a professional ASAP? Reach out to AskVet’s veterinary experts, who are available 24/7.

3. Pushing Into You

One of the most tell-tale signs of your dog’s jealousy is if they are directly pushing themselves into you when you’re in close proximity to another being. Your dog may find a way to squeeze in between you and a partner on the couch or jump onto your lap, pushing another animal off. By putting their bodies as close as possible to you, they assert themselves as your top priority.

While this can feel like a comical and loving gesture, if you let it continue, the behavior will likely only become more prominent.

4. Destructive Behavior

If your dog doesn’t feel they are getting enough attention, they might turn to destructive behaviors. They might tear up some of your furniture, chew on your clothing and shoes, or get into the trash can. Your dog may also act out by barking incessantly or whining.

Dogs do this to get attention from you, but it can be a costly and dangerous problem to have. You can often curb this behavior by involving yourself in exercise and enrichment for your dog. That way, when you aren’t paying attention to them they can remain calm and relaxed.

5. Performing Tricks Unprompted

While performing tricks isn’t usually a bad thing, when unprompted, it can be a sign of jealousy from your talented pooch. If your dog starts giving you their paw, laying down in front of you, or doing other tricks like spinning and rolling over without you asking them to, they are trying to get your attention. This is a cute but desperate plea for you to look at them and give them some sort of affection and interaction.

6. Leaving the Room

Similar to how you might ignore someone you don’t want to speak to, your dog might leave the room to show you their disdain. If there’s a person or another animal in the house that your dog doesn’t want to see you around, they might take themselves out of the situation completely.

Instead of following them to comfort them, let them walk away and wait for them to return. When they come back, feel free to shower them with love. If you follow them, it only reinforces their behavior and tells them that’s a smart way to get your attention.

7. Aggression

The most undesirable jealous behavior that your dog can have is aggression. They may begin to act out aggressively if they think their position in the home is being threatened or they are not receiving adequate attention. Aggressive behavior might look like jumping, nipping, barking, or biting. While this can be very difficult to deal with, you must sort it out immediately.

You don’t want your dog to feel threatened, but you also don’t want guests to be uncomfortable in your space. You have to consider the safety of yourself, others, and your pet. Talking with animal behaviorists, a dog trainer, and your veterinarian may be the best option to help your dog curb this issue.

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AskVet Can Help Give You Answers

When your dog is acting out in strange ways, there are plenty of questions that will arise. You might not want to call up your vet for every minor inconvenience that you recognize, which is where AskVet comes in.

With AskVet, you can reach out to our Certified Pet Coaches™ to discuss their jealous behaviors and come up with solutions. With access 24/7, if any issue arises, you can get quick and informal responses. Sign-up today for a virtual session with a Certified Trainer™ and learn more about how AskVet can help your dog overcome their jealous behaviors.


Investigating Jealous Behaviour In Dogs | Scientific Reports

Jealousy in Dogs | NCBI

Jealousy In Dogs? Evidence From Brain Imaging | Animal Sentience

Study: Dogs can feel jealous, too | CNN

Yes, dogs do get jealous – new study | The University of Auckland

Do Dogs Feel Jealousy or Envy? | American Kennel Club