How to Spot Overheating in Dogs During the Summer Months: Keeping Your Furry Friend Safe and Cool

overheated dog

Summer brings sunny days, warm temperatures, and outdoor adventures. While we humans enjoy the sun, it’s important to remember that our furry friends, especially dogs, are susceptible to overheating and heat-related illnesses. Dogs have a limited ability to regulate their body temperature, making them more vulnerable to heatstroke and other heat-related problems. As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs of overheating and take appropriate measures to keep our dogs safe during the summer months.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to spot overheating in dogs and offer some practical tips to help you ensure your canine companion stays cool and comfortable. We’ll also explore the idea of keeping dogs indoors on the hottest days.

Recognizing the Signs of Overheating in Dogs:

Dogs show several signs when they are overheating, and it’s important to be vigilant and recognize these signs early on. Some common symptoms of overheating in dogs include:

  1. Excessive Panting: Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting. If you notice your dog panting heavily and excessively, it could be an early sign of overheating.
  2. Excessive Drooling: Dogs may drool more than usual when they are overheating. Keep an eye out for thick and sticky saliva.
  3. Lethargy and Weakness: Overheated dogs often exhibit signs of fatigue, weakness, or even collapse. If your dog seems unusually tired or struggles to walk, it could be due to overheating.
  4. Bright Red Gums and Tongue: When a dog’s body temperature rises, their gums and tongue can turn bright red. This is a sign of heat stress and requires immediate attention.
  5. Vomiting and Diarrhea: Overheating can cause dogs to vomit or experience diarrhea. These symptoms, along with other signs of overheating, should be taken seriously.
  6. Rapid Heartbeat: An elevated heart rate is a sign of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. If you can feel your dog’s heartbeat racing, it’s time to take action.


Steps to Prevent Overheating:

  1. Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your dog from overheating. Here are some essential steps to keep your furry friend cool and comfortable during the summer months:
  2. Provide Ample Water and Shade: Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water, both indoors and outdoors. Create shaded areas in your yard or use a canopy or umbrella to shield them from direct sunlight.
  3. Limit Exercise during Peak Hours: Avoid vigorous exercise or long walks during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, opt for early morning or evening outings when the temperatures are lower.
  4. Never Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car: Even on a moderately warm day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to dangerous levels within minutes. Leaving your dog in a car, even with the windows cracked, can be fatal.
  5.  Use Cooling Products: Consider using cooling products designed specifically for dogs, such as cooling mats, bandanas, or vests. These products can help regulate your dog’s body temperature and provide relief from the heat.
  6. Supervise Outdoor Time: If your dog spends time in the yard, keep a close eye on them. Avoid leaving them unattended for extended periods, especially in high temperatures.


Keeping Dogs Indoors on the Hottest Days:

On scorching summer days, it’s often best to keep your dog indoors to prevent overheating. There are still plenty of fun activities to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. 

  • Try setting up an indoor obstacle course using household items like chairs, tunnels made of blankets, or hula hoops.
  • Engage your dog in interactive toys such as treat puzzles or KONG toys filled with frozen treats. 
  • You can also teach them new tricks or engage in a game of hide-and-seek using their favorite toys or treats. 
  • Indoor fetch with soft toys or playing tug-of-war can also be enjoyable for your furry friend
  • Additionally, consider setting up a designated play area with toys and engaging in gentle indoor exercises like “follow the leader” or simple agility exercises. 

These activities will help keep your dog active, happy, and entertained while they stay cool indoors. 

However, this raises the question of providing them with an appropriate indoor potty solution. That’s where products like DoggieLawn and Bark Potty come in handy. These all-natural dog potty solutions offer convenient alternatives for dogs to relieve themselves indoors while keeping them comfortable and maintaining a clean environment.

DoggieLawn: DoggieLawn is a real grass patch made from hydroponically grown grass. It provides a natural and familiar surface for dogs to do their business indoors. With convenient delivery to your door, DoggieLawn absorbs and controls odors, making it an odor-free option. It’s an easy transition for dogs, promoting better potty habits, and it’s eco-friendly, as it is fully biodegradable and can be composted or disposed of in a green waste bin.


Bark Potty: Bark Potty is an indoor dog potty solution that blends real bark and synthetic grass. This combination creates a comfortable surface that mimics the outdoors, giving dogs a natural experience. Bark Potty is easy to maintain, thanks to its proprietary odor-fighting additive and washable synthetic grass. It’s lightweight and portable, making it convenient to move around, and it’s environmentally friendly, with the bark made from reclaimed and recycled materials.

Remember our Certified Pet Trainers and Veterinary team at AskVet are always available to help you with ideas and plans for your pooch on hot summer days!

5 Dog Commands Every Pet Owner Should Know

Dog Commands

Congratulations on becoming a pet parent! It’s truly a gift to build a bond between you and your pet. They offer us loyalty, love, and fun memories. You can always count on your pet to be at the door waiting to greet you after a long day and give you companionship when you need a friend!

Pets can help reduce stress and anxiety; they are a source of comfort when you aren’t feeling your best. Our health is positively affected by dogs, as they force you to get out of the house and go on walks.

Basically, you win in every category when you become a pet parent. The only exception being the amount of space you now have on the couch and the constant need for a lint roller!

While being a pet parent is fun, you have a little work cut out for you. When bringing a new furry friend into your home, teaching them basic commands is a must. Training helps you to effectively communicate with your dog on what you would like them to do and how to appropriately live with you, which increases obedience and keeps your dog, yourself, and others safe.

Teaching basic commons is the key to good dog behavior. Your home will be peaceful and harmonious when your pup has structure and knows the expectations you have for them.

In this article, we’ll discuss the basic commands every pet parent should know (outside of potty training, of course).

1. Sit

The “sit” command is the most fundamental command to teach your dog. It’s often the first command a dog learns, as it provides a foundation for the rest of their obedience training education.

Once this important command is in the books, build on what your dog knows. This is the starting ground for your dog to realize that if they do what you ask, they’ll receive a reward, increasing their attentiveness to you.

Teaching your dog to sit is relatively simple. Using one of their favorite treats or toys, hold it above their head. As your dog follows the treat, they’ll move into the sitting position as you move the treat over their head and toward their tail.

Whenever they sit, immediately say “sit” and give them a treat. Soon your dog will connect the word and the action together. They know once this happens, they will be rewarded.

2. Stay

The “stay” command helps teach your dog self-control and keeps them safe.

The “stay” command is very helpful when you are trying to enjoy dinner and don’t want your dog at the table begging. It can also help prevent dangerous situations, making it a key component of puppy training courses. A well-taught stay command can keep a dog from running across the street to see their canine bestie or running to the ice cream truck.

Many pet parents add a hand signal with this essential command to reinforce the message.

To teach the stay command, tell them to sit and then put your hand out, palm facing them. Make eye contact to check they’re paying attention. As you slowly back away, say, “Stay.” Start the process over if your dog moves. Once they stay for a moment, present their reward and start to gradually increase their stay time.

Eventually, this basic dog training command can set the stage for more complex ones, like “place” or “kennel,” sending your dog to a specific place for an extended period of time.

3. Come

This command is important as you are telling your dog to come to you. This is important for your dog’s safety, especially if they are off of their leash and you need them to come back to you right away. It’s useful in the middle of the night when you let your dog out to use the bathroom, and they are taking their time to come back in.

Grab a friend to help here. Have your friend hold your new puppy as you amp up your dog, calling your dog’s name and shaking a toy or drumming your hands on the floor. After your dog is sufficiently excited to run to your welcoming arms, say “Come” and have your friend release your pup.

When your dog comes to you, give them a treat. Keep the practice up until your dog comes to you every time you call them. To go the extra mile, you might have your dog sit or lie down upon reaching you. (This is where basic obediencehand signals can come in handy.)

4. Leave It

Your dog’s nose can call the shots, and sometimes they become very intrigued by something that could be harmful to them.

The “leave it” command prevents your dog from approaching or grabbing something they shouldn’t, like food, harmful objects, or even other animals. We don’t want our pups pulling toward service dogs, for example. Those pooches are hard at work!

You’ll be grateful that your dog knows the “leave it” command when they find some type of discarded food on walks, and you won’t have to reach in their mouth to remove it.

To teach your dog to leave something alone, place something on the ground that your dog would be interested in, like a toy. While your dog is on a leash, approach the object, but then say “Leave it” and gently pull them away.

It may take a few tries, but when they leave the object alone, give them a treat and lots of praise. Practice until your dog can leave the object alone without being on a leash.

5. Heel

You’ll likely find that your time outside will increase after you get a dog. Our pooches love being outdoors and sniffing all the good things (and sometimes smelly things) the world has to offer. The heel command will be a huge help whenever you walk your dog. This command teaches your dog to walk with you rather than pulling you down the sidewalk.

As you walk, pay attention to the slack of the leash. As soon as the leash becomes tight due to your dog pulling, say “heel” and give the leash a directional tug. Repeat the process until your dog walks beside you without the leash being tight. Keep a treat or two in your hand to entice your dog to stay by your side and reward them for slack in the leash.

With practice, your new puppy will walk on a loose leash by your side. While a heel position generally means your dog is on your left side, it’s essential dogs be able to adapt to anything. Train your new dog to strut on both sides, and you’ll walk in confidence.

Useful Training Tips

When it comes to training dogs, there are a few tips to follow so that your sessions go smoothly and your dog stays engaged:

  • Patience. It will take time until your pup gets all the commands under their belt, or should we say collar? Dogs learn through repetition and consistency. Every dog is different, so learning speeds vary from pup to pup. Typically, the more complex the command, the longer it will take to master. Obedience command mastery can also depend on your dog’s breed, age, and personality.
  • Utilize the idea of positive reinforcement.Positive reinforcement is giving a reward when a desired behavior occurs. Dogs are highly food-motivated, so a piece of their favorite treat, or even a few kibbles of their dog food, will reinforce the behaviors you desire.

You can also use praise or play with them with their favorite toy. Keep training sessions brief. Know how your attention wanders during a long meeting? Same thing for our pups.

Five to 10-minute sessions are the perfect amount of time until your dog’s attention starts lingering elsewhere. You can have more than one session a day, but keep them brief so your dog’s attention doesn’t wander and they keep wanting more.

  • One command at a time. Focus on mastery of one command before going to the next. This will ensure that your dog fully understands each useful command and won’t get the terms mixed up.
  • Change up the environment. Train your dog in different places, like at the park when other people and dogs are around. This will help with your dog’s attention and give them further opportunities to respond in different surroundings.

Give you pet the personalized care. Get the app!

Pawsitive Training With AskVet

If you’re having difficulties or experiencing challenges training your dog, don’t hesitate to seek help. When you are a member of AskVet, you’ll have the expertise of our Certified Pet Coaches™ who can help create personalized pet plans for whatever concerns you have during the pet training process. They can provide guidance and additional techniques to address your dog’s specific needs.

It’s easy to get answers to training and behavioral questions you may have. First, become a member of AskVet for only $9.99 per month. Then, easily sign up in our app for a virtual session with a professional dog trainer.

The added bonuses of becoming a member are not limited to chatting with a Certified Pet Coach™. You also have 24/7 access to a veterinary expert anytime you have a health-related question. In addition to access to a peer-to-peer community to chat with other pet parents. Share cute stories and get advice for whatever part of the training process you are in!

Remember, training is an ongoing process that requires time, effort, and patience. Celebrate every success with your furry pal, and keep things pawsitive! Before you know it, your dog will have several commands down pat, and your relationship with your four-legged best friend will be strong and full of love.


The Power of Pets | NIH News in Health

How to Train Your Dog & Top Training Tips | RSPCA

Teach Your Puppy These 5 Basic Cues | AKC

Positive ReinforcementDog Training: The Science Behind Operant Conditioning | AKC

Training ‘stay’ vs. ‘wait’ | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Clicker Training: Mark & Reward Dog Training Using Clickers | AKC

Littermate Syndrome: What It Is & How To Handle It 

Littermate Syndrome: What It Is & How To Handle It

What’s better than one puppy? Two puppies! Twice the paws, twice the love. Raising puppies from the same litter seems like a great idea since siblings would get to grow up and play together, and they would have each other whenever you weren’t around.

However, too much of a good thing can, in reality, be a not-so-great thing. When you bring home multiple puppies from the same litter, or even puppies of the same age but from different litters, a behavioral condition called littermate syndrome can develop.

What Is Littermate Syndrome?

Littermate syndrome describes a behavioral condition when puppies of the same age bond too closely with each other, affecting how they act with other dogs and even their owners. While it will be cute to watch the two puppy siblings play, eat, and sleep together, problematic behaviors can start to develop and become more prominent as they age.

We may think of them as bonding, but this too-close relationship causes the puppies to become inseparable. This intense bond can hinder their individual growth, independence, and ability to adapt to new situations.

How Can Littermate Syndrome Affect Puppies?

Littermates can become socially dependent on each other, and this can cause them to not interact adequately with other dogs and humans. This can cause them to experience fear and anxiety when exposed to other dogs and unfamiliar people.

If littermates are separated after they have bonded, they can experience severe separation anxiety. This can lead to destructive behaviors, excessive barking, and emotional distress. Dogs with littermate syndrome can develop aggression towards each other, resulting in fighting.

When it comes to training, littermates may have difficulty focusing on training exercises as their attention will be focused on each other rather than the task at hand. This can also affect their independence, as they may struggle with individual problem-solving skills when faced with new experiences or environments, as they will always look to their littermate to see how they are reacting.

Managing Littermate Syndrome

Littermate syndrome can be avoided by not raising two dogs from the same litter in the same space. If you desire two dogs from the same litter, try socializing and raising one in a separate residence for a few months.

This will ensure that both dogs are socialized properly and will reduce the likelihood of behaviors like separation anxiety occurring. After six or so months, you can bring the two dogs back together again.

If you already have two littermates at home, you’ll need proper management to help littermates grow into well-adjusted and independent dogs. The overarching goal is for each puppy to be independent and functioning without their sibling. Read on for some effective strategies to handle littermate syndrome.

Separate Crates and Individual Feeding Areas

Crate training is effective for puppies, especially when you have multiple in the home. Dogs have the natural instinct to take refuge in quiet places, and a crate provides them with that den-like space to give them a cozy place to wind down.

With littermates, crate training each puppy separately can help them feel secure and provide them with a designated space of their own. This promotes independence and reduces over-reliance on their siblings.

Don’t allow your puppies to crate together. If your puppies have been crating together, procure a separate crate as soon as possible. Put the crates side by side and gradually move them apart. It may be helpful to also cover each crate with a towel or blanket to help with the separation.

The goal is for your pup’s crates to be in separate rooms or at least far enough apart so they cannot see each other while in their crate. While in their crates, provide interactive toys and puzzles that can help distract them and make the separation more enjoyable.

Create separate feeding areas for each puppy. This will help to prevent territorial aggressiveness and resource guarding. Think of one puppy shoving the other puppy out of the way to eat the rest of their bowl or the two puppies trying to eat as fast as they can to get to the other puppy’s bowl.

Place each set of bowls in separate areas to ensure that each puppy will have their own space during meal times. If space is an issue, put each puppy on a slightly different feeding schedule so their meal times don’t overlap.

Individual Social Visits

Socialization is important for dogs, and it’s vital to provide individual and positive socialization opportunities for each puppy. Introduce each puppy to new dogs and people separately so they are given a chance to develop their own social skills.

Puppies should start the socialization process between three weeks and 14 weeks of age. Before a puppy is fully vaccinated, some spots (like dog parks) won’t be safe for them. Playing with a healthy and vaccinated dog or going on walks can work. Reach out to a pet care professional to see if they recommend any puppy training classes in your area.

Watch your puppy carefully and keep the sessions short and positive.

Separate Training Sessions and Attention

Promote individual learning by keeping your puppies separate during training sessions. This format will allow them to focus on the commands you are teaching them rather than paying attention to their siblings. This also gives you a chance to spend some quality one-on-one time with each puppy, developing a stronger connection with you and reducing the reliance on their sibling.

Take each puppy on separate walks, and give each separate time to cuddle and spend time with you. When you give each puppy individual attention, you are building their confidence, building your bond, and you are able to spot what makes them unique. At the same time, the other puppy learns self-reliance and independence from their littermate.

Rotating time apart helps your puppies to develop individual identities and reduces their reliance on each other. If you have other family members in the home, implement a schedule where each puppy has individual time with different members. This helps them socialize by bonding with other humans.

If you need assistance with your pet training, reach out to AskVet’s Certified Pet Coaches™.

Monitor Playtime

Playtime is important for puppies. It provides physical and mental stimulation and also helps to get all that puppy energy out. Allow your puppies to play with each other, but monitor this playtime carefully.

Introduce toys and engage them in activities that encourage independent play. This helps the puppies develop their own play styles and reduces the reliance that they have on each other for entertainment.

Be Consistent and Keep Things Positive

Managing littermate syndrome requires planning, patience, and consistency. You’ll have to establish clear rules and routines that everyone in the household agrees on. This not only helps to give your puppies structure but also helps your puppies understand expectations.

Dogs, like people, can learn how to maintain appropriate behavior in a wide variety of settings. It can be hard to stay consistent, but having two well-rounded dogs is worth the hard work.

Positivity works wonders for humans and dogs too! When your puppies receive praise and treats, they will continue exhibiting the behaviors that keep the rewards coming. This means their favorite treats when they behave or fun activities when they have alone time. By rewarding your puppies’ accomplishments, you reinforce their continued growth.

Two Puppies – One AskVet Membership

If you ever feel that you are struggling with managing littermate syndrome or you are encountering other behavioral challenges, consider seeking guidance from one of our Certified Pet Coaches™. They can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific situation and help you develop a customized training plan. Our experts can assess each puppy’s individual needs, provide specialized techniques, and offer support throughout the training process.

Scheduling a virtual session is easy. First, sign up to become a member of AskVet (if you haven’t done so already). At $9.99 per month, it’s a no-brainer, especially when you have more than one dog under the roof.

Along with our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, you also have 24/7 access to our veterinary experts in case of healthcare questions. You can even utilize our peer network, connecting you with other pet parents who may be going through the same thing. You can share experiences and gather advice from those who have gone through the same journey.

Give you pet the personalized care. Get the app!

Double the Puppies, Double the Work, Double the Love

No doubt, having two puppies will make your home, hands, and heart feel full. While littermate syndrome can be a challenging task to address, consistently putting these strategies to use can help each of your puppies develop into well-rounded and independent dogs.

Remember that your key goal is to focus on individual growth and independence. With patience, effort, and lots of love, you’ll be able to raise two independent puppies and share unique and love-filled bonds with them.


How To Crate Train Your Dog Or Puppy | American Kennel Club

Socialization of dogs and cats | American Veterinary Medical Association

Why Play? | Oak Tree Veterinary Hospital

How to Feed Multiple Pets Without Conflict | American Kennel Club

Acupuncture for Dogs: What You Should Know

Acupuncture for Dogs

You might have heard of acupuncture in the context of treating humans, but did you know that acupuncture can have many benefits when used on dogs? Acupuncture is an alternative medicine practice that can help soothe a variety of ailments, notably arthritis and nerve pain.

When you love your dog, you’ll try anything to ease their pain. If you’ve been looking into alternative medicine practices and have stumbled upon acupuncture, don’t let the needles scare you away. When done by a professional acupuncturist, there’s usually nothing to worry about.

To learn more about what acupuncture is, what it can help treat, and what to expect during the procedure, keep reading!

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice where a trained administrator enters fine needles into specific points where nerves and blood vessels converge. These points are called acupuncture points; they’re believed to control the energy transmitted through a body. Much of traditional Chinese medicine is based on the idea that illness is caused by an imbalance of energies within your body.

When the fine needles are inserted into these points, they can help enhance blood circulation and promote healing capabilities. It stimulates the nervous system to release anti-inflammatory substances into the dog’s body to relieve pain. Research suggests that acupuncture could work by modulating the nerve pathways by interacting with nerve fibers in the skin. This activates a release of chemicals, many of which can help alleviate pain.

How Does It Help Dogs?

Acupuncture can help dogs the same way that it helps humans. The process of acupuncture and the outcome won’t be much different because it has the same function. It improves a dog’s blood flow, relaxes muscles, may limit how much pain medication they need, reduces the amount of waste product produced, and helps to increase the metabolic waste the body removes.

There are no real systemic side effects of using acupuncture as a treatment for your dog because it covers a more holistic approach. For dogs in poor health who could be at higher risk when undergoing certain surgeries or using certain medications, acupuncture might prove a suitable alternative.

Let’s review a few of the benefits associated with canine acupuncture.

Conditions Acupuncture May Help

Acupuncture can help soothe the symptoms of multiple conditions, including some of the following:

  • Arthritis: Dogs with arthritis and other joint diseases often experience chronic pain and stiffness. Acupuncture helps relax the muscles, rejuvenate the joints, and alleviate some of that pain.
  • Nerve pain: Acupuncture could help to alleviate discomfort from pinched nerves or slipped discs.
  • Cancer side effects: This treatment can help boost energy and even limit nausea, which can be a side effect of cancer or cancer treatment.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: This can work to soothe cases of diarrhea and other symptoms of stomach issues.
  • Surgery: Acupuncture can relieve anxiety and pain from surgery.

What Is the Acupuncture Process?

During a typical first acupuncture session, you’ll go over your dog’s overall health, any concerns you have, and what you’d like to focus on with the provider. The provider will conduct a physical exam and then decide what should be treated. Your next few sessions will be where needles are placed, and the treatment begins.

The veterinary acupuncturist will insert needles into specific areas of your dog’s body. Your dog is highly unlikely to even feel this happen and soon should relax as they begin to do their magic. The first session can take up to an hour, but the next few will be anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. Your vet will come up with a plan of how many sessions a week your dog could benefit from, and then you go from there.

For the most part, even the most nervous of dogs will relax after the needles have been inserted. It’s part of the benefit of acupuncture and often a sign that something is working.

Are There Side Effects?

Most people that want to bring their dog in for acupuncture treatment wonder if there’s anything that can truly go wrong. The most common side effects are soreness and mild bleeding. Sometimes you might notice a bruise at the sight of insertion, but this can easily heal up with some icing and rest.

Dogs with heart conditions, who may be pregnant, or have seizure disorders, should avoid doing electroacupuncture because they may have adverse reactions. Talk with your dog’s primary veterinarian before you begin any other treatments just to keep them updated and to get their opinion on things!

Alternative Methods Are Impactful!

Acupuncture is often where you end up when you’ve tried everything else in the book. Alternative medicine can be really impactful for dogs that have nowhere else to go, but ideally, it should be done in addition to regular veterinary treatment. It can be hard to navigate medical treatment for our pets, especially because they can’t communicate the exact problems that they are having.

Alongside acupuncture, your vet might recommend other alternative methods, such as massaging. If you think about how nice a massage feels for yourself, it’ll be easy to understand how your dog might benefit from it. Many of these alternative methods can be used in conjunction with each other, which can only promote the benefits that they have.

Similarly, some veterinarians may recommend your dog take herbal supplements in addition to their full care plan. Holistic treatments might not be enough to treat your pet, but when used in conjunction with other methods, we can provide our beloved four-legged friends with the best care possible.

Give you pet the personalized care. Get the app!

Ask Questions With AskVet

With something like acupuncture, you’re bound to have a variety of questions. Even after an acupuncture visit, you might be wondering if your dog is okay or if there are ways to monitor for any reaction. For these questions, you can speak with the experts at AskVet.

When you sign-up with AskVet, you can gain access to our team of veterinary experts and Certified Pet Coaches. Talk to our veterinary experts to discuss your dog’s issues and what you’re doing for treatment. They can offer advice and give you a better picture of what your dog is going through and the process of acupuncture.

If you’re looking to work towards improving your preventative care techniques and setting your dog up for success, AskVet has got you covered. Get started today to gain access to a variety of resources, use our vet chat 24/7, and join a community of pet parents who are all looking out for their pets.


Acupuncture | College of Veterinary Medicine | Purdue University

Effect Of Acupuncture On Pain And Quality Of Life In Canine Neurological And Musculoskeletal Diseases | NCBI

Evidence-Based Application of Acupuncture for Pain Management in Companion Animal Medicine | Veterinary Science

Effect Of A Single Acupuncture Treatment On Surgical Wound Healing In Dogs: A Randomized, Single Blinded, Controlled Pilot Study | Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica

Acupuncture in Veterinary Patients – Management and Nutrition | Merck Manual

Electroacupuncture – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Service Dog Training: A How-To Guide

Service Dog Training: A How-To Guide

Service dogs take the saying, “A man’s best friend,” to the next level. They are a necessary and essential part of many people’s lives, helping those with disabilities and medical conditions. In general, dogs are great workers and companions and can help lower stress levels, increase physical activity, and boost morale.

Training a dog to be a service dog takes hard work and lots of practice, but it is possible! Due to the high demand, there are some puppies that are born with service dog training in mind, so if you aren’t able to train your own, you can often find a service that matches you with an already-trained service dog.

To learn more about service dogs and how to train them to help you, keep reading!

What Is a Service Dog?

Service dogs are companions and helpers to people with disabilities, assisting them so that they can live more independent lives. A person’s service dog will be trained to perform specific tasks that help that individual with their daily life. The tasks that are taught to that dog are directly related to that person’s disability.

Common service dog tasks might be related to those who are blind or visually impaired, have difficulty hearing, have mobility issues, have psychiatric conditions, such as PTSD, or need to be notified about the onset of a medical issue such as low blood sugar or seizures. There are so many services that a service dog can provide!

Some types of service dogs are:

  • Psychiatric service dogs
  • Mobility service dogs
  • Visual impairment service dogs
  • Medical alert service dogs

Service dogs are considered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as working dogs and aren’t technically considered pets. This allows them public access to any environment or building and gives them certain protections against discrimination.

What Is Not a Service Dog?

Service animals are different from emotional support dogs and therapy dogs:

Service dogs are trained specifically to do at least two tasks to help with a disability. On the other hand, emotional support animals (ESAs) can be any type of animal, including rabbits and snakes. These animals might help us through a panic attack by silently supporting us, but only a service dog would know to offer trained responses like deep pressure therapy.

Therapy dogs are dogs trained to go into hospitals, libraries, schools, or other venues to offer emotional support to the people there. Typically, a therapy dog needs to pass a therapy dog test similar to the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

Our canine companions improve our quality of life no matter what, and obedience training is always essential!

Common Service Dog Breeds

Any dog can be a service dog if they are able to complete the set of tasks they’re required to. There isn’t a requirement for your dog to be any certain breed, but you may want to consider what you need your dog to do before settling on a breed. For instance, smaller breeds may not be great for guide dogs or to help perform tasks requiring mobility assistance but could be fabulous alert dogs or something along those lines.

The three most common service dog breeds that you will come across are German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers. This is because these dogs are of good size and strength, are extremely intelligent and trainable, and bond deeply with their humans. They like to be given a task and are already protective of their humans to the point where they want to help them.

Other breeds that are known to make great service dogs are:

  • Poodles (Toy, Mini, and Standard)
  • Border Collie
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Pomeranians
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • English Setters

How To Find the Best Service Dog for You

Some people don’t have the ability or time to train their own service dog, and that’s okay! There are plenty of training programs out there that breed and train service dogs so that you don’t have to.

In these programs, the people training the dogs check to ensure they have a good temperament, are sociable, are in good health, and are trainable. Often, there are very long waiting lists for obtaining one of these already-trained service dogs.

When you adopt or go to a reputable breeder and are matched with a dog from one of these programs, your needs are taken into consideration, and you usually meet with the different dogs available first. This helps you to form connections with potential matches and see which one is the best fit.

Training Your Own Service Dog

Now, you may have a dog at home you love and want to make into your service dog. Maybe they already perform some basic obedience tasks for you, and you think they may be a strong candidate for training.

If that’s the case, you can give it a try! Especially if you already have a relationship and have built trust with this dog, it may make the training process easier and more fun.

1. Is Your Dog a Good Fit?

Before starting the training, be sure your dog is a good candidate for a service dog training program. Are they alert and easily trainable? Does your dog get distracted easily or too excitable?

Do they have any behavioral obstacles such as reactivity in public or have fear issues? Overall, what is your dog’s temperament, and have you witnessed them in a variety of different situations?

Not all dogs are meant to be service dogs, and that’s okay!

2. Go Through the Basics

When you’ve decided that your dog is ready, start with the basics. This can set the stage for how the rest of your training will go. If your pup picks up on tasks easily and shows signs of being interested, that’s a great sign. Future service dogs must be socialized with people and other dogs, as well as cats, if possible.

Ensuring that they can behave on the leash and walk without interruption or disruption is a sign that they will make for an attentive service companion. Additionally, they should be well-behaved off-leash and never run off or stray from your commands.

3. Test Their Attentiveness

The next step is practicing eye contact. You don’t want your dog to be easily distracted. Maintaining eye contact with you is a great sign for a successful service dog. Train them to keep their eye on you a lot of the time so that they don’t miss a command from you.

Practice this by bringing a bunch of different distractions to your dog. This could be another person, a dog, a couple of toys, and a really enticing treat. Work with your dog to ensure they know you are the most important thing to them, and only when you give them the command to go see the distraction are they allowed to.

4. Expose Them To New Places

Service dogs need to be exposed to new places so they don’t become easily overwhelmed. They need to learn how to adapt and stay focused no matter where they are. Bringing your dog to public places that you frequent is a good way of exposing them to new places and getting them comfortable. This way, they will be prepared when they arrive at a location they’ve been to before.

Service dogs in training are allowed in all the public spaces where fully-trained service dogs are. While the ADA grants service animals access, there are a few exceptions. For instance, some animal sanctuaries or zoos do not permit service animals to enter the premises or certain areas (like open-air topiaries or carnivore enclosures).

You could end up in any kind of environment; your dog should be prepared as well. That way, there are no surprises when you take your dog to a busy shopping mall or to a concert venue.

5. Determine Their Tasks

Lastly, when training a service dog, determine what tasks you’d benefit from. This knowledge helps you focus on specializing your dog’s abilities and making sure they perform tasks that are useful to you. If you are someone with a mobility disability, making sure your assistance dog can open doors, reach light switches, retrieve items, and assist you as you move around is essential.

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Training Your Dog With a Helping Paw

As you continue to train your service dog, you may find yourself coming up with questions you can’t answer. When you sign-up with AskVet, you gain access to Certified Pet Coaches who can provide you with support and advice on the training process. They can recommend certain resources to you that will be helpful and connect you with behaviorists that can help you understand your dog’s actions and responses.

Sign-up today for a virtual consultation about what AskVet can offer you. You’ll find that having this additional resource does wonders during your training sessions, so don’t wait another day!


How to Stay Healthy Around Pets and Other Animals | CDC

ADA Requirements: Service Animals | ADA

Enhancing the Selection and Performance of Working Dogs | Frontiers

Mobility And Medical Service Dogs: A Qualitative Analysis Of Expectations And Experiences | NCBI

How To Manage Leash Reactivity in Your Dog

How To Manage Leash Reactivity in Your Dog

Do you dread taking your dog on walks because of how they behave while they are on their leash? Are you constantly rubbing your shoulders due to them pulling or lunging at other dogs that pass by?

These types of behaviors that your dog displays while on a leash is called leash reactivity, and it’s a common behavior challenge faced by many pet parents. These intense reactions can make walks stressful, challenging, and downright unworkable for both you and your dog.

These behaviors can be managed and improved, though. With proper understanding, training techniques, and patience, a peaceful and relaxing walk with your dog is on the horizon. Today we’ll chat about what you need to know about leash reactivity, ways to address the behaviors, and some practical strategies to help you address this behavior.

What Causes Leash Reactivity?

Think about all of the stimuli you experience on a walk. Cars pass by on the street, sometimes honking. People walk past; they may be talking on their phones or carrying a load of shopping bags. Birds are whistling; kids are playing; other dogs pass by, and not to mention all the smells that catch your attention (so imagine what your dog’s nose picks up).

Being outside can be overwhelming for your dog, especially if they are in a new place. All of these external stimuli can cause your dog to feel excited, frustrated, or even stressed. They may also feel restricted by their leash.

While we know the leash is there for their own safety, your dog may not feel that way as they feel overwhelmed by all the activity happening around them. They aren’t able to get away and are now being confronted by these triggers, resulting in leash reactivity.

Preparing for Success

The key to managing a dog’s leash reactivity is first identifying the stimuli that cause them to feel overwhelmed. If your dog begins to bark and lunge at other dogs, then it’s safe to say that other dogs trigger their leash reactivity. If your dog whines and tries to approach other people, then people are their trigger. Sometimes it can be a combination of both or something else entirely!

If your dog’s trigger is other dogs, avoid the dog park or places where others are taking their furry friends on their daily walks. If this can’t be avoided, try to put as much distance as possible between your dog and the others.

The same thought goes for crowded areas with other humans. If your dog reacts to other people, take your dog to less crowded spaces. While we often can’t resist a cute dog while out and about, you’ll sometimes have to advocate for your dog if another human approaches them.

One helpful trick is to let the other person know what your dog is in training. This’ll send the message that while you appreciate their love for dogs, you and your dog need some space.

You should see some improvement on walks if you are able to avoid your dog’s triggers. While this isn’t a feasible long-term plan, in the beginning, this will help with effectively managing your dog while on walks.

Positive Reinforcement Training 

Positive reinforcement training is very effective when training your dog, especially if they are food motivated. When utilizing this type of training, you’re giving your dog a reward (treat, praise, anything positive that your dog enjoys) to reinforce behaviors and create a positive relationship with something that your dog does.

You’ll want to keep this training in mind while working on managing your dog’s leash reactivity. If you know your best buddy’s favorite treat or toy, stock up on these to help training go more smoothly!

Loose Leash Walking

If you start to see an improvement when avoiding your dog’s triggers while on a walk, then it would be a great opportunity to teach your dog loose leash walking. This is another skill that will help make your walks more enjoyable.

Loose leash walking is when your dog walks calmly near you during walks, which results in a loose leash. This will result in no pulling, and your dog will pay more attention to you during walks. This will help later if they see any triggers that cause leash reactivity.

Reward your dog with treats when they walk nicely on a leash. If they begin to pull, immediately change direction. This will let your dog know that pulling will not get them what they want. Once they start to walk calmly again, offer them a treat. They will soon learn that walking next to you instead of in front of you and pulling will result in a tasty morsel.

Managing Walks and Encounters

As we mentioned earlier, avoiding your dog’s triggers isn’t a long-term plan. At some point, a dog will need to be exposed to their triggers, but you can give them opportunities to deal with these stressful moments in a controlled environment.

You’ll have to help manage their behavior and desensitize them to their triggers. In the future, when you and your dog have to face these stressful moments, you’ll be prepared.

Positive Reinforcement Is Key

This is where positive reinforcement comes in. You know your dog best, so you know if they enjoy treats, a pet, praise, or a toy. Keep those rewards on you and go on your walk. Whenever you see one of your dog’s triggers, don’t avoid it like you usually do. Keep walking as normal until your dog sees the other dog or person, and offer them a treat. If your dog still reacts or does not take the reward, it means you came too close to the trigger. Try again, but this time keep more space between yourself and the trigger.

This is where you want your dog to start making the connection that when they see another dog or person, they get a treat. This is the sweet spot where your dog starts to associate the trigger with treats. In their mind, this starts to turn the negative into a positive.

With consistent training and counter-conditioning, your dog’s triggers will elicit less of a reaction. This will take time and consistency on your part. With each training session, start to get a little closer to the triggers while giving your dog their treat and showing them that everything is okay.

Watch Your Dog’s Body Language

Watch your dog’s body language during all training sessions. Your dog may show signs that they are anxious but haven’t completely started to react. Look for raised ears, panting, lip licking, and whining.

When these behaviors increase, pull away from the situation to a calmer environment. You don’t want your dog to show their typical reactive behaviors like barking or pulling. You’ll have to constantly monitor your dog while walking so you can pivot and change direction if needed to help your dog feel more comfortable.

Note that if a dog has a history of biting or a risk of biting, ask your dog trainer if it would be safer for everyone involved (including the pup) if the dog wears a basket muzzle or similar safety device.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Remember that just because your dog shows leash reactivity, this doesn’t mean that they are a bad dog or can’t learn. There’s no such a thing as a bad dog anyway — everyone needs a little help now and then, including our dogs.

Sometimes, we need a bit more guidance in this area when our approaches aren’t working. Professional guidance can be very helpful, as these experts deal with these types of issues on a regular basis and have received special training.

AskVet can be your tool in helping minimize leash reactivity in your dog. For one, our Certified Pet Lifestyle Experts™ can help you better understand why dogs behave the way they do. This will allow you to be better equipped to handle your dog’s leash reactivity, especially if you have already tried other approaches.

Together, you’ll be able to come up with a personalized plan for your dog. Frequent check-ins will allow your expert to make changes as needed to better suit your pet. Think of these as lifestyle coaching sessions for your dog. Schedule a chat with a Certified Pet Coach and get started today.

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Walk in Sync With AskVet

Managing leash reactivity in your dog requires patience, consistent training, and a positive mindset. By understanding what causes leash reactivity, you can implement positive training techniques to effectively address and manage this behavior.

Progress may take time, and we’re here whenever you need any guidance. Remember to reach out to AskVet and schedule a virtual session whenever you have any behavioral questions. We’re here for your and your best furry pal every step of the way.

As a member of AskVet, you’ll also have access to a pet parent community so you can share and get advice on any pet topic you can think of. If you need a more personalized touch, our Certified Pet Lightstyle Experts™ can help to create a personalized pet plan for your dog.

Additionally, anytime you have any health-related questions, AskVet has veterinary experts on hand. They’ll let you know when it’s time to go to the vet or if there is anything you can do to help your furry friend be comfortable when they aren’t feeling their best.

Together with AskVet, you and your furry buddy will be able to walk in sync and enjoy peaceful walks together.


Positive reinforcement training | The Humane Society of the United States

Managing reactive behavior | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Anxious behavior: How to help your dog cope with unsettling situations | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Teach your dog to walk on a loose leash | Animal Humane Society

Dog Muzzles: When, Why, and How to Correctly Use Them | AKC

How To Train a Rescue or Shelter Dog

How To Train a Rescue or Shelter Dog

Becoming a pet parent to a rescue or shelter dog is a very rewarding experience. Not only are you saving a life, but you are also gaining a new friend and family member. While it may take a few weeks to a few months for you both to adjust to this new life together, before you know it, you’ll have a comfy-spot-stealing, shenanigan-starting, good-time-having best pal.

While this relationship doesn’t occur overnight, there are a few things you can do to establish a positive relationship with your new pal. By training your rescue or shelter dog, you’re giving them structure, routine, and building a lasting relationship that will be one of the most rewarding in both of your lives.

Understand Your Dog’s Background

One of the most critical aspects of understanding where to start the training process with your pooch is to understand their background. Your new dog may have experienced a not-so-positive start in life, whether it be neglect or abuse.

Like in people, this may affect a dog’s ability to trust or influence certain behaviors, so knowing what challenges may lay ahead will help you plan accordingly. Take all the notes you can from the rescue on the dog’s past (if they have them), the dog’s likes and dislikes, and everything else. By being patient and understanding, you can create a safe and supportive environment for them to thrive.

Establish a Consistent Routine

You want to start off on the right foot (or should we say paw?) when bringing your dog home. To maintain consistency, start your dog’s training the day that they come to their new home from the shelter.

This can be established quite successfully in the beginning by having a routine. Dogs absolutely love having a routine, and you can help make your new family member feel welcome in their new home by giving them some predictability in a new place.

One of the best ways to establish your dog’s routine is to feed them on a regular schedule in a consistent place. When you have a regular feeding schedule, your dog will likely start to be on a regular bathroom schedule. Getting your dog on a regular schedule can be a big help with their training. Many rescue dogs are already potty trained, but some might not be.

Give your dog a space of their own, whether it be a dog bed or a crate. Along with giving your dog a space of their own, it’s also equally important to set boundaries. This may include not allowing them to beg for morsels at the dinner table, lounging on the sofa, and using a baby gate to keep them out of certain rooms.

While you may want to show them extra love to make up for the time they spent in the shelter by letting them do as they wish, these will be difficult habits to break down the road.

Provide Opportunities for Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Just like humans, dogs need physical exercise to maintain their health. Not only does it help keep weight off, but your dog will get a chance to get outdoors and sniff to their heart’s content. They’ll be able to burn off excess energy and be less likely to get themselves into trouble when left alone. Going on walks with your dog also gives you extra time to bond, which is important in the early days.

We may we wish we could, but we can’t spend the entire day walking our dogs. This is where mental stimulation comes into play. Giving your dog puzzles and interactive toys helps to keep them engaged and keep their mind working, which is a perfect way to distract your dog while you are not actively interacting with them. Better to load a toy with treats than your dog to discover what a trash can is!

Both regular exercise and mental stimulation are important for your dog. Their physical health will benefit from getting outside and moving around, and their brain will get some well-deserved exercise by figuring out puzzles. This will come in handy when it comes to training your dog.

Prioritize Training

When it comes to training your rescue or shelter dog, assume that they are coming to your home not knowing any training or how to properly behave in your home, and you will be starting from the very beginning. Training your dog is a must so that your dog can function around other people and other dogs. This keeps them and everyone around them safe.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the best way to instill skills in your dog. Whenever your dog exhibits a desired behavior, you give them a treat to enforce the behavior and let them know it is desired. Many dogs are highly food motivated, so they’ll be eager to figure out what to do to get another treat. Positive reinforcement is very effective, and your dog will be learning essential skills in no time.

1. Teach Your Dog Their Name

One of the first skills your dog will need to learn is their name. Anytime you say their name and they look at you, give them a treat. After a while, your dog will learn that anytime they hear their name, they’ll get something positive in return, whether that is a yummy morsel or a sweet scratch behind the ears.

2. Teach Your Dog To Sit

Next, teach your dog to sit. While your dog is standing, hold a treat over their head and slowly move it back over their head. This will make them look up, and they will sit on their bottom on the ground. As they do this, you can say ‘sit’ and give them a treat. Continue this behavior until you just say “sit,” and they do the action. Always reward them when they obey the command!

3. Adjust 

If you find that your rescue or shelter dog has come home with less than desirable behaviors, like jumping or chewing, redirect them to a positive behavior and then reward them. If your dog jumps on you when you first enter the door, ignore them. Once they stop jumping and engage in another behavior, present a treat.

If your dog is chewing an object you don’t want them to, give them an alternative toy. This will show your dog the items that they are allowed to gnaw on.

What To Know About Separation Anxiety

If your rescue or shelter dog had a less-than-positive past or even a well-meaning pet parent who didn’t work on training and surrendered their dog, you might see some behavior issues pop up. While this is not the only behavioral concern you could see with your pet, a very common behavioral concern in dogs is separation anxiety. This is completely understandable in rescue or shelter pets, especially if they were surrendered by their previous owners.

Separation anxiety occurs when your dog becomes upset that you are not home with them. Behaviors may include excessive chewing, barking and whining, and using the bathroom in the home. Your dog may start becoming clingy when they get the sense you are going to leave, often when you get your bag, grab your keys, or put your shoes on.

One key way to help this behavior is not to make a big deal when you leave or come home. Being calm lets your dog know that everything is normal. Taking your dog on a walk or leaving them with interactive toys prior to leaving gives them an outlet to get rid of excess energy. When your dog has been physically or mentally engaged, they are more likely to snooze when you are out of the house.

Seek Professional Help When Needed

Other behavioral concerns are fear and aggression. Your pup may have experienced fear while in the shelter since there is so much unknown, and this can come out as aggression when your dog feels stressed out. When it comes to addressing these behavioral concerns, working with an experienced dog trainer or expert can help with omitting unwanted behaviors.

When you are an AskVet member, getting in touch with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach is easy when you have behavioral concerns. You can sign up for a virtual session easily, and before you know it, you’ll be chatting with your Certified Pet Coach and coming up with an action plan that will help your pet live with you comfortably.

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Furever Love

Adopting a rescue or shelter pet is a remarkable decision, but it does come with responsibilities. It will take patience and understanding to help your new best pal overcome their past and develop into a well-adjusted and loving member of your family.

Becoming a member of AskVet gives you one-to-one support in managing your pet’s daily health and wellness — like having a life coach for your pet. You also have 24/7 vet support anytime you have a health-related question.

With AskVet, you can transform your new pal into a beloved family member in a wag of a tail. Join us today!


​​Why Your Dog Needs a Routine at Every Stage of Life | American Kennel Club

Benefits of Exercising with your Dog | VMBS News

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

Developing Diagnostic Frameworks in Veterinary Behavioral Medicine: Disambiguating Separation Related Problems in Dogs | Frontiers in Veterinary Science

Separation Anxiety | ASPCA

Dog Skin Cancer or Wart? How to Tell the Difference

Skin Cancer or Wart? How To Tell the Difference on Your Dog

One day you might be running your fingers along your dog’s body as you always do and come across something that piques your interest. Bumps and scratches can appear on your dog without you knowing how, so they might stand out on their otherwise smooth skin. When you first come across a bump, your first instinct is going to be to grab your flashlight and look closely at it.

Don’t freak yourself out by assuming the worst. Warts can be a common and harmless thing for your pet to have on their bodies. There are key symptoms that you can look for when inspecting these warts to infer if they might be more than just your everyday wart.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between skin cancer and regular warts so that you can provide your dog with emergency medical attention if needed.

Coming Across Something Suspicious

The first time you notice a wart on your dog, it will definitely spook you. You might find yourself snatching your hand away at the idea of a foreign object being on your dog: Is it a tick? A scab? You’ll have to find out for yourself by inspecting it further.

What you are noticing could very likely be benign, but being on the lookout for any abnormality means you are being a good pet parent. It also means that if it is cancerous or life-threatening for any reason, early diagnosis and intervention can improve your pet’s health and wellness.

Not all warts require a trip to the vet, but it can be helpful when you are able to distinguish between regular warts and abnormal lumps. If you think that you are coming across something abnormal, it’s best to set up an appointment with your vet immediately to get further testing done.

Are All Dog Warts Cancerous?

Not all warts that you come across are going to be cancerous. A good majority of them will be nothing more than a regular wart, and you won’t have to worry yourself sick about your pet’s health. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the wart checked out, though – mainly for your peace of mind.

If you want to determine what the growth on your dog is and if it’s a cancerous lump, you will need to get it examined and tested by your veterinarian. Once testing is done to determine what kind of bump your dog has got, necessary treatment can begin. If it’s a benign wart on your dog, your vet might still remove it, but otherwise, your pup should be in the clear.

Benign Warts on Dogs

Warts are small and round bumps that form on top of your dog’s skin. They usually range from a dark brown to a black color and might be flat or raised. It varies for each wart, but these traits don’t mean that they are more likely to be cancerous or not.

It’s very rare for a wart to become cancerous over time, but it is possible if they grow deep into the layers of skin beneath them. Warts form due to a contagious virus to other dogs, though they are rarely life-threatening. Even if not dangerous, your pup might find these warts annoying and uncomfortable.

Cancerous Warts on Dogs

Cancerous warts on dogs will look pretty different from normal warts. They might be large and abnormal in shape. Cancerous warts also will have a bumpier feel to them and might grow at a rapid rate. If you monitor your dog’s warts closely, you are more likely to notice if any moles change.

While you should always consult your veterinarian if you notice a mole, these are of particular concern:

Lumps that grow faster than others

Lumps that do not go away

Lumps that change color or texture

Lumps that are abnormally shaped

Your vet will likely take samples and send them to a lab for further testing if they suspect something is wrong with the wart. They will also ask about any changes in behavior or symptoms that your dog has experienced recently.

If the tests come back with undesirable news, your vet will then come up with a treatment plan for your dog’s specific cancer type and needs. These results will also help determine how far it might have spread.

Should You Remove Your Dog’s Warts?

Not all warts will need to be removed, but your vet might suggest surgery for some. Ultimately it comes down to their evaluation of the wart: How big is it, where is it, and is it causing discomfort to the pet?

Warts can appear anywhere on your dog’s body, and some may cause your dog more discomfort than others. Papillomas are caused by a virus and can come in multiples or just one. All cases are different, but they can usually be treated. Some might not be a bother to your dog, and therefore, a vet might not recommend removing them.

If your vet notices a suspicious-looking wart, they might recommend its removal. Potential options include (but aren’t limited to) having the wart frozen off with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) or removal with a scalpel.

Vets offer surgery to remove warts or be frozen off with liquid nitrogen, and they will go over the best options for your dog with you.

Give you pet the personalized care. Get the app!

How Much Will Dog Wart Removal Cost?

The cost of wart removal for dogs depends on a few different factors. All vet offices will have different prices based on the office’s size, the wart sizes, how many there are, and what kind of anesthetic is needed to be used. Your vet might charge you a flat fee for everything or charge you per lesion. Before you make any decision, your vet’s office will go over all of your options.

Typically, people can spend anywhere from $150 to $1,000 on removing their dog’s warts. If your dog has multiple warts that you wish to remove, the total cost of the visit might be on the higher end than if you were to remove just one. There might be payment plans available at your vet, so be sure to ask.

Ask and Answer: Help Is Here

When you find a new wart (or your first) on your dog, you might want to panic, but it’s best to remain calm.

If you want answers and guidance fast, consider signing up with AskVet. You can get connected with a veterinary professional whenever a question arises. Yes, that means 24/7!

You can join a live chat session where you go over your pet’s symptoms or concerns. Whoever you speak with will guide you through some steps to try to distinguish if the wart you are seeing is benign or abnormal. They can provide you with advice on whether or not to seek further veterinary assistance.

When you join, you can even come up with different behavioral and treatment plans to improve your pet’s health and wellness. You shouldn’t feel alone when you are concerned about your dog, but you don’t always have access to your vet’s office. With AskVet, you don’t have to worry about waiting for answers. Schedule a session with a CPLC™ so you can get back to that game of fetch with your furry best friend.


Current Status of Canine Melanoma Diagnosis and Therapy: Report From a Colloquium on Canine Melanoma Organized by ABROVET (Brazilian Association of Veterinary Oncology) | Frontiers in Veterinary Science

Characterization Of Canine Oral Papillomavirus By Histopathological And Genetic Analysis In Korea | NCBI

5 Types Of Skin Cancer In Dogs | NC State Veterinary Hospital 

Benign Skin Masses of Dogs | MSPCA-Angell

How To Greet a Dog (and How Not To)

How To Greet a Dog (and How Not To)

Every dog that you come across will be different. How you might greet your own dog or a dog you know will likely differ from how you greet an unknown pooch. When greeting a dog, the goal is to create a calm environment that minimizes the risk of excessive barking, nervousness, or even aggression from the dog.

The best thing to do is learn more about canine body language to better understand if a dog is enjoying your greeting or wishes to disengage. This can help prevent any harmful interactions between you and the dog.

To learn more about the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of how to greet dogs, keep reading!

What To Do When Greeting a Dog

Whether you see an unfamiliar dog approaching you on-leash or you are being introduced to your friend’s dog inside of their house, there are things that can help ensure the meeting is relaxed and positive.

For starters, whoever is handling the dog will likely inform you of the best way to greet that specific dog. They might have some specific needs or considerations to keep in mind based on Fido’s history or what their dog trainer recommends.

Listen to what their human parents have to say to succeed in making a new canine friend. If you yourself have a shy dog who you want to introduce to the world, check in with AskVet’s dog training resources for tips and tricks.

In general, there are a few things to do when meeting a new dog that will help you gauge how the interaction is going. Dogs have very specific body language signals that they send out to let people and other animals know how they are feeling. Once you’re able to pick up on some of these signals, meeting a new dog becomes a lot easier.

Ask First

While this one might seem obvious, ask first so you don’t infringe upon a dog’s personal space.

It’s very important to teach this lesson to children as they approach dogs, especially since many dogs who haven’t seen babies don’t understand what these tiny humans are (which naturally makes them nervous). You can’t run up to a dog or advance towards them head-on without asking their human, as it could seriously startle the dog, causing an adverse reaction.

This is the easiest way to keep you safe, as that dog’s human might tell you that they aren’t interested in being approached. But don’t worry: There are plenty of other dogs in the world that will want to be pet!

Let Them Come to You

If their human does say that you can greet the dog (hooray!), allow the dog to come over to you. Crouch down to let the dog come over near you. For a shy or anxious dog, this helps them recognize that you’re not a threat. You don’t want to move too quickly towards them, as that might cause them to jump back or become reactive or protective.

If the dog sniffs you and decides to distance themselves from you, they are making it clear that they are looking for some personal space. Encouraging them with a treat can help, but make sure you are tossing it to the dog — you don’t want them to come to you because they want the treat and realize they accidently are closer to you than they are comfortable with. Give them time to come around to you, and you’ll see the greatest results.

Remain Calm

You don’t want to wind the dog up and make them act out, so try to remain calm during the interaction. Speak with a low voice, and don’t make any sudden movements.

Behave as you normally would and continue conversing with their human so they can get used to the sound of your voice. While the pup’s family members might be able to greet them with a high-energy hello (perhaps with some zoomie-activating running), strangers don’t quite have this privilege.

Use Caution

When everything seems to be going well, you can attempt to pet the dog. It’s advised that you pet the dog on their chest, side of the face, neck, or back rather than over the top of their head.

These positions are more neutral and don’t have your hand hovering over their face. If you happen to notice any signs of stress or agitation with the dog, slowly remove your hand from their space.

Caution is exceedingly important when it comes to approaching a lost dog. Go slowly, talk calmly and softly — you can even hold a treat or two. For a lost dog approach, never run or chase.

While deep down, we feel that strange dogs are simply friends we haven’t met yet, safety needs to come first. If it’s not safe to capture and contain this lost pup, call animal control or similar who knows better how to deal with a potentially aggressive dog in a safe (yet loving) manner.

What Not To Do When Greeting a Dog

Even more important than what you should do is what you shouldn’t do when meeting a dog for the first time. There are certain actions and behaviors to avoid doing to enhance your chances of success.

Certain human behaviors can make a dog anxious, so we will want to avoid them when being introduced to a new dog. Additionally, if the dog’s human asks you not to do something specific, listen to them — they know their dog best, after all.

Avoid Making Eye Contact

Direct eye contact with a dog can be perceived as threatening, so you want to avoid it at all costs. Specifically, prolonged eye contact can come across as a challenge. It’s okay to catch a dog’s eye, of course, but keep your face soft and demeanor friendly and light so that they don’t get the wrong impression.

Even though you aren’t gazing lovingly into their eyes (yet), monitor their body language. A wagging tail isn’t always a sign of happiness. A low, slow wag could indicate fear or apprehension.

Don’t Force an Interaction

If the dog that you’re greeting does not want to be petted, do not pet them. It can be hard as a dog person not to love on every dog we meet, but it’s simply manners.

Don’t force a dog into a situation that they are not approving. This includes grabbing, petting, hugging, patting, booping their nose, or trying to play with them. If the dog shows anxious or avoidant behavior, this could be a sign you might be crossing a boundary.

Don’t go for a dog’s face or a dog’s head as the first thing to touch. This is not often welcomed by most dogs, and you could be putting yourself at risk for a dog bite.

Don’t Yell or Become Overly Excited

The decorum for meeting strangers is similar, whether it be human or dog.

Just imagine that someone comes into your space and begins jumping around and yelling and making loud noises. Not only would that be irritating and scary, but it would be overwhelming. A dog doesn’t want this, either.

Dogs are sensitive to noise; an outburst being directed at them is very intimidating. The response to an act like this might be to pull away from you or look for something to hide behind.

Don’t Tower Over Them

The optimal position to be in when greeting a dog is a crouched position at the dog’s level with your back turned slightly away from them. If you approach a dog and tower over them, they may cower and become anxious about what your next movement will be.

Dogs don’t like when objects or hands come over the tops of their heads, in what’s referred to as “overhead dread.” They can’t anticipate what’s happening if they’re being approached from above. Give them a clear line of sight and an indication of what your actions will be.

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AskVet Has Answers

Maybe your dog is struggling with greetings, or you’re trying to encourage family and friends to behave more cautiously around your dog. Whatever the case may be, AskVet is here to answer all of your questions. Not only do our Certified Pet Coaches have training resources and guides to promote a healthy and helpful life, but you can chat with someone at any point of the day to get answers.

Sign-up today for a virtual session where we can learn more about your dog and their personal needs before coming up with a plan to improve their overall well-being!


Communication in Dogs | NCBI

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

Eye Contact Is Crucial for Referential Communication in Pet Dogs | NCBI

Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails? | American Kennel Club

Introducing Your Dog to Your Baby | Mallard Creek Animal Hospital

Dog bite prevention | American Veterinary Medical Association

If You Find a Lost Pet | American Humane Society

Service Dog Commands You Should Know

Service Dog Commands You Should Know

Whether you are training your own service dog or are simply interested in learning about the process, many basic obedience commands are part of this intensive training process. Even if you’re not looking for a service animal, it’s essential to teach dogs how to behave at home and out in public.

Even better, having an understanding of the tasks of service dogs may come in handy if you ever come across a service dog actively working. Most service dogs will undergo specific training starting when they are puppies to help train them to perform specific tasks and to help with specific disabilities.

Keep in mind that there are several differences between emotional support animals and service animals. Emotional support animals can be any type of animal, but they are not granted the same public access by the ADA. Essentially, your service dog can go to the movie theater or grocery store with you, but your emotional support dog cannot. Service dogs are working dogs, and interfering with one can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the action.

Be wary of any site that offers you a certificate or ID for an ESA/Service dog. These are scams — any dog trainer worth their salt could tell you that there is no certification process or ID necessary.

Service dog training never truly ends. As you age and change with your dog, new needs might come about that require assistance. It’s a never-ending process that helps build trust and a special bond between the handler and the dog. To learn more about different service dog commands that you should know, keep reading!

Which Breeds Can Be Service Dogs?

Any dog can be a service dog. It’s true that you’ll likely find intelligent, trainable breeds like the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever to be likely candidates, but don’t judge a book by its cover. While small service dogs might not be amazing at closing doors, they could do other tasks such as sniff out their human’s low blood sugar, warning them of an attack before it happens.

What Are the Different Types of Service Dogs?

The main types of service dogs are:

  • Psychiatric service dogs
  • Mobility assistance dogs
  • Guide dogs
  •  Hearing dogs

Service dogs can help people with visual impairments, hearing impairments, mobility difficulties, seizure disorders, mental health struggles, and so much more.

What Do Service Dogs Do?

These dogs learn a set of tasks to help make their human’s life more comfortable and overall easier. Service dogs help to foster a sense of independence in their human, which can boost their confidence and make everyday life easier and better.

Service dogs can be trained to help open doors, turn on and off lights, safely guide people across busy streets, navigate their ways through unknown environments, and monitor heart rates or blood pressure. These dogs can even warn their humans if they are going to experience an episode related to their medical condition.

For example, some service dogs alert people with PTSD to an anxiety attack. During a panic attack or flashback, these dogs are trained to perform specific tasks, like deep pressure therapy. Unlike emotional support dogs, who can cheer you up, service animals go through specific obedience training to perform these tasks either on command or independently based on an involuntary response in their person.

We know that dogs are intuitive, and service dogs hone in on this ability to read their human and provide the care that they need.

The Three Goals of Training Sessions

Most service dogs have to start their training as puppies. There are programs out there that specifically train puppies with the intention of them going on to become someone’s sidekick. If you’re looking to train your own dog to help you with specific tasks, you have to be sure that their temperament will help them to be successful.

The three main goals of training a service animal are:

  1. Socialization is important with people, other animals, and in different environments. This helps desensitize them from their surroundings so they can take care of the task at hand.
  2. Build trust. You are going to be a partnership that relies on each other to be successful. This kind of training requires an intense amount of determination and commitment in order to get the results you want.
  3. Teach basic commands and manners. Dogs need to be taught what behaviors are desirable for their specific task in order to do them correctly. They also need to remain calm and be able to perform basic functions when out-and-about.

Basic Commands To Teach a Service Dog

Take Time To Learn

As you build up the trust between you and your dog, there are basic service dog commands to work on. Some of the following are recommended to teach them before working toward any advanced commands.

Don’t move on too quickly before your dog has gotten the hang of each command they’re taught. Practice these commands in public and private so they can learn to ignore the stimulation going on around them.

The Basics

  • Name: They need to be able to respond to their name, so this should be the first thing that you work on with your dog.
  • Sit: Your dog will need to learn how to sit calmly when out in public, so this will be one of their most commonly used commands.
  • Down: Similarly to sit, they will need to be calm and lay down for possibly extended periods of time.
  • Stand: When you’re done with down and ready to continue on, the stand command teaches your dog it’s time to get moving again.
  • Come: This will get your dog to come directly to your side and wait for the next direction.
  • Stay: This can come in handy out in public if you need to direct your own attention to something else for a second and need your dog to be still.
  • Heel: This tells your dog to stay directly by your side and walk at the same pace as you.
  • Potty: This lets your dog know they should go to the bathroom since it might be a while before they get the chance again.

Adjustment Commands

  • Careful/Gentle: This tells your dog to continue with their task but at a more gentle speed and energy.
  • Quiet: Service dogs should not make any sound unless they are prompted to by a task or to warn you of something. This command helps to stop them from making unwarranted noises.
  • Leave It: This will tell your dog to stop touching something you don’t want them to.
  • No: This will tell your dog that they are behaving in a way that is incorrect.
  • Settle: if your dog is becoming anxious or excited, this can tell them that it’s not the time and they need to relax.

Direction Commands

  • Follow: This will tell your dog to follow behind you and not on the side or out in front.
  • Go Around: If there is an obstacle in the way, this directs the dog to move around it.
  • Closer: If your dog is retrieving items for you, this can be helpful to tell them to bring it a bit closer so you can reach it.
  • Go To: Followed by a name or location, this tells the dog to go directly over to a person or into a specific room or spot in the house (like a kennel or crate).
  • Under: When out in public, whether at a restaurant or entertainment show, the under command can help to move your dog out of the way of other people and place them underneath your chair or under a table.
  • Left Side/Right Side: This tells your dog where to stand in relation to you.

Focus-Up Commands

  • Watch Me: This will get your dog’s attention, especially in moments when there is a lot going on around you, and you need their attention.
  • Let’s Go: This shows your dog that you are both ready to move.
  • Release: This command will signal to your dog that they can break command or that you are done with work for the day.

Advanced commands will be more specific to what you are training your dog for. If you are training them to be a medical assistance dog, you might teach them ways to alert you to an episode, how to get the attention of a nearby person for help, or to bring you specific medications that are needed. Each dog’s training will begin to look different once they’ve mastered the basics.

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Get Answers with AskVet

Training your dog to be a service dog might take several years to complete, so questions are bound to arise throughout the process. When you sign-up with AskVet, you can talk with our Certified Pet Coaches about concerns you may have or questions that you want answered.

AskVet provides you with around-the-clock access to animal behaviorists and professionals that can help make the service dog task training process a bit easier. Don’t wait, and hop on a virtual session with us today!


Selecting Quality Service Dogs | NCBI

Mobility And Medical Service Dogs: A Qualitative Analysis Of Expectations And Experiences | NCBI

Professionally- and Self-Trained Service Dogs: Benefits and Challenges for Partners With Disabilities | Frontiers

Socializing Effects of Service Dogs for People with Disabilities | Research Gate

Interfering with dog guide or service animal | Washington State Legislature

Types of Services Dogs & What They Are Used For | UDS

How To Introduce a Cat to a Dog the Right Way

How To Introduce a Cat to a Dog the Right Way

For many, bringing a new cat into the home is exciting but, at the same time, can also be anxiety-inducing. When there are other resident pets that live in your home, take into consideration how they might respond to sharing their space. Cats and dogs are capable of living happily together, but it takes getting used to having another animal in the house before you start seeing the benefits.

When you bring a new kitten or cat into a home with a dog (or dogs) that already resides there, take some precautions before the introduction happens. You’re trying to create a space that is inviting and safe for your new pet without overturning everything your dog has ever known. As a pet parent, the main goal is for your animals to be healthy and happy, so we recommend taking this introduction seriously.

To learn more about some of the best practices to use when doing introductions between your new cat and your resident dog for the first time, keep reading.

Consider Both Pet’s Personalities

You’ve probably been considering bringing home a new cat for quite some time. Getting an animal is rarely an “on-a-whim” decision, so that means that you’ve done some thinking about if your dog is even capable of this new relationship.

You know your dog best, and you might have an idea of if they could live with a cat or not. It’s important to determine if your dog is able to live with a cat before going through the process of adopting.

For example, some dogs have a higher prey drive than others, making smaller animals an easy target. If your dog is one that gets overly excited and has a keen eye for hunting, you might want to reconsider getting a new cat or spend more time working on your dog’s drive and impulse control.

The last thing anyone wants to do is bring a new cat into the home, knowing that their dog’s personality might be too big for it. (While dog breed type can affect prey drive, it’s not a hard and fast rule.)

If you think that your dog would match up nicely with a cat, it would be helpful to seek out cats that have lived with dogs before. Even a kitten, who has no past trauma related to dogs would be ideal, as they are somewhat of a blank slate. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but it might help to have a more calm and anticlimactic introduction.

How To Introduce a Cat to a Dog

Introducing cats to a resident dog doesn’t always go as planned right away. It can take several days to several weeks for a new cat to warm up to your dog, and vice versa. They’ll need time to adjust. Don’t jump right in by throwing them in a room together; this could be a potentially dangerous first meeting, not to mention stressful for both animals.

By taking your time and going through specific interactions, you can get an understanding of how the two animals will react to one another. These initial stages can give you a good read on their body language and if they are taking to the new friend well or are labeling them an enemy.

Keep Them Apart

Before bringing a new cat into your house, establish a separate room set up for your cat to stay in. Have their litter box, toys, some food, water, a bed, and cat furniture in one room of your house so that they get used to the new space before having to get used to a new animal.

Have both animals eat on one side of the door. This will get them used to the new pet’s smell while doing something enjoyable. If the door-closed hello goes well, try an augmented face-to-face introduction through a baby gate.

Don’t rush into introducing them before either of them are ready; this situation can be overwhelming.

Swap Scents

Once the new cat has spent some time getting their scent on some of the items in the room, take out a toy or blanket of theirs and swap it with one of your dog’s. Have both your dog and new cat spend time with each other’s toys so that they can begin to get used to each other’s scents.

Dogs heavily rely on their sense of smell, and this will prepare them for their new sibling. You can even rub your cat and dog with two different towels and place the towel under their bowls while they eat, again, to build a positive association.

If you have multiple animals in the house, like another dog or even another cat, swap scents with each of them and your new cat. This way, all of your animals can get used to the new animal’s scent, and your new cat can have a better understanding of how many other animals are in the house.

Independent Exploration

The next step is to allow your new cat to explore the rest of the house without interruption for your dog. Take your dog into the room where your cat has been and let them smell the cat’s space as your cat explores.

Give your cat ample time to check out all the rooms, nooks, and crannies. This is their time to become familiar with their new space without having other animals in their face.

Swapping rooms and allowing for some independent exploration will give both of your pets the ability to become accustomed to the other’s scent without the pressure of seeing each other face-to-face.

Leashed and/or Gradual Intros

Once they’ve had time to settle in, your new cat might be itching to get out of their confined room, and your dog is probably wondering who the new scent is coming from. The best thing to do is leash your dog and have your cat in some sort of crate/kennel. Allow your dog to go up to the crate and smell the new cat, but then have your dog step away and sit or lay down.

After a few minutes, let your cat out of the crate with your dog still on leash. Your cat can then take their time to come up and sniff the dog. It might not happen right away; don’t force the interaction.

Baby Gate/Separate Room Intros

Remember, you know your pet best. Your new puppy or new cat might have a better first introduction through a baby gate in separate rooms. This allows the cat to have a safe space as well as an escape route if they decide puppies aren’t for them. The new/resident cat can have a large room set up with all of their stuff. Their scratching post, litter tray, and hiding places are all there and undistributed.

Then, the face meetings can take place at the cat’s own pace. You can use door stoppers to prop open the door safely after a few days of eating behind closed doors to begin the process of introducing them face-to-face.

Shy cats, in particular, might be wary of new situations and this new animal family member in particular. If your feline friend decides to stay sequestered, make sure your cat feels like they are still important by spending time with them in their personal room. The same goes for a dog — our pets can get jealous!

Allow for Space and Time

Let your cat decide when they are ready to go up to them. Many cats are curious, and some are very brave. If your dog is giving them calming signals and not showing them they are a threat, the interaction could happen.

They might begin to gaze at each other as if communicating silently as a way of building trust. Just be patient!

Positive Reinforcement

Whenever your new cat or dog does something desirable, like sits calmly, boops noses, or sniffs gently, reward them with a treat and some calm praise. You don’t want to sound too excited, or else your dog might hear it in your tone of voice and become excitable.

Offer cat/dog treats and pets and let them figure it out for themselves. Positive reinforcement helps your pets make good associations with whatever they are interacting with.

Be Mindful of Body Language

All of the above can be dependent on both of your animal’s body language toward each other. Your cat may be giving signals that they are uncomfortable by raising their hair, hissing, or running away. If you notice these behaviors, the situation is likely progressing too fast for your new cat.

On the other hand, if your dog shows signs of aggression or becomes too excited, they might need to work on some things before furthering the introduction. If your dog becomes extremely focused and alerted to your cat, this could be a sign they see the cat as some sort of toy or snack. Immediately separate them to avoid harm.

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Say Hello to AskVet

If you’re having difficulty with the introduction of your new cat to your current dog, consider using AskVet to get in touch with our Certified Pet Coaches. Our pet coaches can work with you to understand both of your pet’s needs and come up with behavioral plans to help your whole animal family thrive. They can also give you tips on how to improve the process and let you know if you’re doing anything incorrectly.

You want to make the introduction process as seamless as possible, but it’s much easier to do that with the help of AskVet. Sign-up today for a virtual session, and hopefully, you’ll be seeing a best-friend relationship form in no time!


The Gaze Communications Between Dogs/Cats and Humans: Recent Research Review and Future Directions | NCBI

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

Incentive Motivation In Pet Dogs – Preference For Constant Vs Varied Food Rewards | NCBI

Communication in Dogs | NCBI

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.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

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!

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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

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.

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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