Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts? 3 Reasons

Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts? 3 Reasons

Nice to meet you! As humans, we like to greet each other by waving, handshakes, or hugs. Each varying degree of greeting is determined by our relationship with a person.

However, with dogs, they really get up close and personal by sniffing each other’s butts! No matter if they are meeting another dog for the first time or if it is their best buddy, to each other’s rear ends, they go. Talk about making a first impression!

While we would never imagine greeting another person like this, this is “Etiquette 101” for our furry pals. It leads us to wonder, why in the world would you sniff there? Let’s chat about some reasons why our dogs like to sniff butts.

Sense of Smell

As a pet parent, you know the shenanigans your dog can get into when they follow their nose. Trash cans get overturned, holes get dug in the yard, and Houdini has nothing on some dogs if there is something out there they want to investigate.

Humans rely on their sense of sight to get to know the world around them, but your puppy uses their nose. Your dog’s sniffer is a powerhouse in the senses department, and it is the main sense they use to perceive information about the world around them.

A dog’s nose is hyper-sensitive — it’s 100,000 times more powerful than our smelling abilities. Our pups can be overwhelmed by scents we wouldn’t even pay attention to.

Let’s get into some reasons why dogs sniff each other’s butts and how that helps them learn about the world and other animals around them.


While it’s easy to think that your dog is trying to smell another dog’s poop, that is certainly not the case. While the location is a bit unfortunate to humans, to dogs, it is just a part of nature. Dogs have anal glands, which are two sac-like glands that produce pheromones that give chemical signals that relay info about diet, health, gender, and mood.

By sniffing each other’s rear ends in greeting, dogs can exchange a wealth of information. Dogs can also remember each other’s scents and recognize when they have met a particular fluffy friend before.

Gathering Information

If you are old enough to remember chat rooms of the early days of the internet, you would remember being asked A/S/L, which stands for age/sex/location. This acronym helped to establish a little bit of personal information with whoever you were chatting with.

Dogs do the same when meeting new dogs or when they are in a new location. Canines use their sense of smell to gather information about the world around them. This even includes if things happened in the past, like another animal wandering through the area. A quick sniff gives them a multitude of important information.

When dogs meet each other, their smelling habits help to establish or reestablish their relationship. Even if your pups have met before, they will likely still sniff each other’s butts to get a status update on how your dog is doing. Like humans, dogs want to catch up with each other and get all the updated information since they last saw their pals.

Establishing Dominance

We know that dogs like to mark their territory, as this tells other dogs in the area that this particular patch of grass belongs to them. Urine marking helps your dog feel more secure in their space and that they are in charge.

When other dogs come into this space, they can smell that another dog has marked this territory. When the canines sniff each other’s rear ends, the connection is made that this dog’s scent matches the markings in the territory, and this helps to establish a social hierarchy.

While other types of body language help to establish dominance in dogs, you can see this dominance by order of sniffing. A dominant dog will initiate the sniffing, and the submissive dog will wait their turn.

If your dog is meeting another dog for the first time, watch this interaction closely. Some dogs do not like lengthy smelling sessions, and they may show aggression if it is going longer than they like. Watch for growling, raised hair on the back, certain tail positions, and raised lips. If this occurs, separate the dogs and try again later. Even dogs who have puppy play dates frequently should be monitored as they romp.

If things get a little hairy and you aren’t sure what to do next, check out our dog training resources for advice and training tips.

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Get To the Bottom of Things With AskVet

While our dogs exchange information in ways that we may otherwise opt out of, we still want to get reliable and trustworthy information about our pets. Dog behavior can leave us scratching our heads sometimes. You may ask yourself, “Why does this behavior happen” or “Is this behavior normal?”.

AskVet is your go-to anytime you have a pet parent question. While sniffing butts is completely normal in the dog world, your human guests may not quite enjoy that same greeting when coming to your home. You may want advice on if there is anything you can do to get your dog from being the most personable welcome wagon ever, and our behavioral specialists can help you with that.

Whether you have a specific question or need to construct a personalized plan for your unique dog (or any other pet), book a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ from AskVet who can help.

With personalized plans for your dog and the AskVet Clubhouse, you can feel like a well-prepared pet parent, no matter your dog’s breed or age. No need to go sniffing for solutions — we have them here!


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

Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications | National Library of Medicine

Understanding Dog Appeasement Signals | Whole Dog Journal

Urine Marking in Dogs | UC Davis

Dog Behavior 101: Why Do Dogs Bark?

Dog Behavior 101: Why Do Dogs Bark?

Isn’t it funny to think about how our dogs can communicate with us and how we can communicate with them? We live with actual animals, but we can interpret and convey messages back and forth with each other. We love them so much, but the entire idea can be a wild one when you think deeply about it. We’re social, and so are they!

Our dogs understand “treats,” dinner,” “bath time,” “vet,” “walk,” and countless other words. We also know that they act accordingly to whatever word they hear. We witness this by our dog getting all tippy-tappy and excited when they hear a word they like or hiding behind a piece of furniture when they hear a word they don’t like.

It’s clear that our dogs understand us. We can see that they comprehend our words and actions through the canine training process (and their reactions to things we say and do).

The big question is, do we truly understand them? Dogs communicate in various ways, and the most famous way they make themselves known is through their bark.

Let’s dig in on what our dog’s barks mean and if there are ways that we can figure out what they are trying to tell us.

Why Do Dogs Bark?

Out of all the sounds in the animal kingdom, a barking dog is probably one of the most well-known and recognizable sounds. Dogs use their bark to communicate, and just like humans use their voices, barks can be used in a variety of ways.

Of course, barks can sound different from breed to breed. Larger dogs will have a more intimidating boom of a bark, while smaller breeds will have a high-pitched yap. As the relationship between you and your dog grows, you’ll recognize their barks and determine what they are trying to communicate.


Do you have a built-in welcoming committee when you walk through the door every afternoon? Your dog is excited to see you, especially if you have been at work all day. You may see them act the same no matter if you’ve been gone for thirty minutes or eight hours.

Either way, it is a sweet way to be welcomed home, and we appreciate our furry best friends for always being excited about our presence.

With their happy barks, your dog is showing that they are thrilled to see you and have missed you. Their barks will be more high-pitched and can be compared to a cheerful “Hey! You’re home!” This is often seen with a wagging tail. Your dog may even hop around and jump on you during their welcome greeting.


Does your dog hang out by the window all day and bark whenever another person or animal passes? Your dog is telling the passer-by that they are encroaching on their territory.

These barks might go on for longer and be louder than the “I’m hungry” barks. This will likely be partnered with a stiffer stance with direct staring at the trespasser in question. Essentially, the more worked up your dog is about something, the more excessive the barking.

To our dogs, it doesn’t matter if it is a mail carrier dropping off a package or a cat slinking through the yard, someone is in their area, and your dog is going to tell them and you all about it.

Attention Grabbing

When your dog is trying to get your attention, they’ll use different sounds along with their bark to indicate that they want something. Maybe their food or water dish needs to be refilled, or they need to relieve themselves outside. Either way, your dog may have more of a commanding bark along with other vocalizations to indicate that they need something.

Your dog may pair their vocal calls with certain body language, like trying to lead you to the door or to their empty dish. Depending on the urgency, like the call of nature, dogs may whine to indicate that they are in a hurry.


Do you ever catch yourself whistling or singing when you are doing a monotonous task? If your dog is bored, they may bark as a way to alleviate the silence and stillness that is around them if they are left alone for long periods of time. They are looking to release pent-up energy and seek attention from anyone or anything that will respond to their bark.

To ensure your dog doesn’t resort to barking to alleviate their boredom, give them ample opportunities to exercise and stimulate their mind. If you work out of the home, leave your dog with chew toys and treat puzzles to keep them occupied. You may also want to arrange a dog walker or take them to doggy daycare, depending on how long you’ll be away.

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Bark Up the Right Tree With AskVet

As your relationship with your dog grows, you’ll be able to determine what your dog’s barks mean. You’ll know when they feel excited or when it’s time to take a potty break.

Sometimes though, our dogs may bark at things we don’t hear, see, or smell. While we know that a dog’s senses can differ from ours, sometimes it’s hard to tell if our dog is barking at something tangible or if there is a behavioral issue occurring.

Enter AskVet. Our experts can help out when you are having a ruff time with behaviors your dog is exhibiting. If excessive barking is giving you and your home a headache, our team of Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ can help with tips and tricks to help reduce any unwanted barking.

Schedule a virtual session with a CPLC™ and see how our experts can help with not only problem-solving solutions but also creating wellness plans so you and your pet can enjoy all the time you have together.


Ethology of Barking – Why Do Dogs Bark? | Australian Institute of Animal Management

The Meaning of Your Dog’s Barks | American Kennel Club

Do children understand man’s best friend? Classification of dog barks | ScienceDirect

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

Why Does My Dog Stare at Me? The 411

Why Does My Dog Stare at Me? The 411

The more you get to know your dog, the more you will become familiar with their behaviors: one of them could be the stare-down. Most dogs have quirks that can notify you of changes or peculiarities, as a dog’s behavior is indicative of how they are feeling.

Staring at their human can be a dog’s way to communicate several different things. In general, your dog staring at you is exactly that: them trying to relay information. It’s generally the same reasoning for why cats stare at people as well. Using other context clues, you might be able to determine what your dog is trying to tell you.

Keep reading to learn more about why your dog is staring at you and how to guess what they are thinking.

Dogs Pay Attention To Dog Lovers

It’s no secret that dogs like to follow their humans. Not only are they intrigued by everything that you do, but you are their main source of — well, basically everything. You feed them, give them treats, pet them, take them outside for walks and bathroom breaks, and much more! If you’re at home and around your pet, their eyes are going to be checking in on you as much as possible.

Despite your dog’s eyes being on you all the time, they might not be trying to say the same thing to you with each stare. Every stare could mean something different, from needing to use the potty to simply showing you affection. You can usually figure out what their needs are by looking at the other behaviors they are exhibiting.

Reasons Why Dogs Stare 

There could be multiple reasons why your dog is staring at you. You know your dog best and might be able to figure it out quickly, especially after years of figuring out their communication style.

Being fluent in your dog’s body language and what certain changes mean can help you understand your dog better. However, if you’re a new pet parent or meeting a new dog, you might be wondering what their stares mean.

1. Your Dog Wants Something

The most common reason for your dog to be staring at you is that they simply want something. They might be standing and staring at you because they want you to get a toy that has rolled under the couch. Or they could be staring at you on the couch, wondering when you will make your way over to give them a good cuddle. Dogs use eye contact to express all these desires.

When you or a dog trainer are training your dog, you often reward them when they look at you. During dog training sessions, this becomes a learned behavior that teaches your dog that when they look at you, they might get a treat or a pat or some kind of positive acknowledgment.

Consider what is going on around your dog that might be an indicator of what they want. Is the food you’re eating during mealtime more appetizing than the dog food in their bowl? Is it your spot on the couch? Are they staring at the door because they need to go potty?

A dog’s stare (and the so-called “puppy eyes”) can be quite powerful and persuasive.

2. Showing You Affection

Dogs staring at you can be a sign of affection from them. When you know a pup personally, staring into your eyes could be a way for them to convey how they feel about you. Studies revealed that mutual staring between a human and their pet could cause an increase in the release of oxytocin, AKA the love hormone.

To reward them for their loving gaze, shower them with affection. It is what they deserve!

3. Expressing Aggression

While this isn’t always the case, sometimes a dog staring at you can be a sign of aggression. With your own dog, you might be able to sense when something is off with their behavior if they are staring at you and it’s making you uncomfortable. However, with dogs you don’t know, the stiff posture and hard stare can be intense and aggressive behavior.

You should never make prolonged eye contact with a dog that you don’t know or that is seemingly aggressive. This can send the wrong signal to that dog. Dogs that are staring you down while also being very still and seeming agitated are warning you to back off. At this point, listen and ensure your personal safety, as well as the dog’s comfort.

4. Your Dog Is Aging

As dogs enter their golden years, they might try to convey distress through an intentional stare.

Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome can affect older dogs, and it can result in more confusion and disorientation. This stare might look blank as if searching your eyes for more guidance.

If your dog is staring at you with a glazed-over look, contact your veterinarian to seek help or possible treatment. They can help you treat any underlying conditions as well as make things easier by helping them to live in a stress-free environment.

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Should You Be Concerned?

Unless you feel uncomfortable or sense that something is wrong with your dog, their staring and fixation with you is likely quite normal. They love you and don’t know how to say it in the same language we would with them. They want to look at you because they do genuinely like you and want to communicate with you.

When we say you know your dog best, we mean that! But that doesn’t mean that questions and concerns never come up. When you feel a question forming, chat with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ from AskVet for help.

You can get real-time responses that can help guide you to the next steps in understanding your pet’s staring behavior better. Schedule a virtual session with a CPLC™ for any assistance you need with every non-human member of your family.

With access to answers, a community of other pet parents, and resources for helping your pet, AskVet has got you covered.


Oxytocin-Gaze Positive Loop And The Coevolution Of Human-Dog Bonds | Science

Communication In Dogs | NCBI

A Review On Mitigating Fear And Aggression In Dogs And Cats In A Veterinary Setting | NCBI

Cognitive Decline In Aging Dogs: What To Know | VMBS News

How To Train Your Husky Puppy Like a Pro

How To Train Your Husky Puppy Like a Pro

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

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

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

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

Background of a Husky

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

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

Physical Traits

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

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

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

Personality Traits

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

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

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

How Should You Train a Husky?

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

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

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

Establish a Hierarchy

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

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

Practice Positive Reinforcement

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

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

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

Crate Train Your Pup

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

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

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

Embrace Their Vocality

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

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

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

Safety Tips

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

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

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

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

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Connect with Other Husky Lovers Through AskVet

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

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

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


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

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

Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? 5 Common Reasons

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? 5 Common Reasons

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

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

Is Eating Grass Bad For My Dog?

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

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

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

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

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

Nutritional Deficiency

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

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


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

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


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

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

Getting a Quick Snack

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

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


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

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

How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Grass?

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

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

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Get Answers With AskVet

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

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

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


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

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

Why Do Dogs And Cats Eat Grass? | Research Gate

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants | ASPCA

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 5 Reasons Why

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 5 Reasons Why

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Attention Seeking

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

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

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

Medical Condition

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

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

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

Cognitive Disorders

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

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

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

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Chase Away Pet Parent Concerns with AskVet

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

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

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


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

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

Training and veterinary care | Britannica

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

Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?

Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?

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

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

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

My Dog Follows Me Everywhere. Why?

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

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

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

Remember: you are your dog’s best friend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons Dogs Follow Their Humans

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

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

They Love You

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

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

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

They’re Bored

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

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

They Might Be Looking for a Reward

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

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

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

Your Dog Might Need Something

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

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

They Might Be Feeling Anxious

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

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

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

It’s a Natural Instinct

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

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

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

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Ask Questions Through AskVet

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

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


Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Communication In Dogs | NCBI

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

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

Cat Sleep 101: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Cat Sleep 101: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

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

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

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

Why Does My Cat Nap So Much?

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

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

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

How Much Sleep Do Cats Need? 

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

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

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

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

Their Ancestors Were Nocturnal

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

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

They Are Conserving Energy

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

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

Your Cat Could Be Bored 

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

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

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

Stress Might Be a Factor

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

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

Your Cat Might Be Sick

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

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

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Take a Cat Nap With Them!

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

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

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


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

Domestication And History Of The Cat | Research Gate

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

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

leash train your cat

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

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

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

Why Should I Leash Train My Cat?

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

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

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

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

Cat Leash Training: Simple Steps 

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

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


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

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

Start Practice

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

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

Head Outside

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

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

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

Go Forth and Adventure

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

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

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

What Should Pet Parents Use for Harness Training?

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

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

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

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

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

Other Ways To Provide Mental Stimulation for Your Cat

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

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

Puzzles and Toys

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

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

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

Cat Furniture

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


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

Teach New Tricks

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

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Leash Training: Worth the Struggle

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

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


Positive Reinforcement: Training Your Cat | Napa Humane

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

Vaccinating Your Pet | American Humane

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

Why Do Dogs Get Zoomies? 6 Reasons They Go Bonkers

dog zoomies

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

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

What Is a Case of the Zoomies?

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

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

Should I Be Concerned When My Dog Goes Wild?

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

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

6 Reasons Dogs Get Zoomies

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

1. They Are Trying To Warm Up

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

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

2. They Are Releasing Anxiety or Tension

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

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

3. They Are Feeling Super Excited

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

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

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

4. They’re Celebrating After Going to the Bathroom

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

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

5. They’re Following Their Daily Cycle 

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

6. They’re Trying To Relieve Pain

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

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

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Zoom Over to AskVet for Virtual Help

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

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

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


What Are Zoomies? | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

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

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

Night Vision: Can Cats See in the Dark?

Night Vision: Can Cats See in the Dark?

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

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

Can Cats See in the Dark?

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

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

The Evolution of a Cat’s Night Vision

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

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

What Makes Cats See Better in the Dark?

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

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

How Cats See the World: The Makeup of Their Eyes

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

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

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

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

Expandable Slit-Shaped Vertical Pupils

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

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

Peripheral Powers

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

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

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Why Is a Cat’s Vision So Important?

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

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

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

AskVet Has All of Your Cat Questions Covered

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

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

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

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


The Taming Of The Cat | NCBI

Circular Pupil Shape Linked To Animals’ Ecological Niche | EurekAlert

Vision In Dogs And Cats | DVM 360

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

Tapetum lucidum – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Why Do Dogs Howl & What Does It Mean?

Why Do Dogs Howl & What Does It Mean?

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

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

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

Dog Vocalization 101 What Dog Owners Need To Know

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

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

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

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

What Is Your Dog Trying To Say When Howling?

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

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

Responding to the Environment

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

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

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

Needing Attention

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

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

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

Alerting to Danger

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

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

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

Separation Anxiety

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

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

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

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Medical Issues

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

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

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

AskVet Has Answers for You!

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

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

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


Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Howling | ASPCA

Slobbery Kisses: Why Do Dogs Lick You So Much?

Slobbery Kisses: Why Do Dogs Lick You So Much?

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

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

Why Does My Dog Lick Me So Much?

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

But why do they do it?


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


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


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


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

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

When To Talk to a Vet

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caring for an Anxious Dog

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

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

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

Interpreting Your Dog’s Body Language

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tail Movement

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

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

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

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Ears and Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Separation Anxiety | ASPCA

Too Much Licking | Academy Animal Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Is My Dog Licking Their Paws? Common Causes

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

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

Should I Be Concerned?

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

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

Normal Self-Grooming

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

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

Skin Irritation

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

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

Injury or Pain

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

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

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

Allergic Reaction to Dog Food or Human Food

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

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

Behavioral Issues

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

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

Parasites and Bacteria

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

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

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

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Learn How To Manage Your Pup’s Paw Licking

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

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

Visit Your Vet

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

Talk with Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM at AskVet

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

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


Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

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

External Parasites | American Veterinary Medical Association

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment | American Kennel Club

Protect Dog Paws on Hot Pavement | American Kennel Club

How To Teach Dogs Not To Bark at Strangers (Nicely)

How To Teach Dogs Not To Bark at Strangers (Nicely)

Does your dog like to make sure everyone around them knows they are there with loud, incessant barking? How about when the doorbell rings on the TV or whenever someone comes to your actual door? As much as you love your dog, this behavior is not always wanted.

[To all dogs: we get it. A stranger is a stranger is a stranger. But not every stranger is an enemy!]

Training dogs about the appropriate times to bark will save your eardrums a whole lot of pain and will help you and your home seem more inviting. Whether your dog is in their golden years or in puppyhood with bundles of energy, you can guide their behavior in a variety of situations.

Keep reading to learn more about why dogs bark.

Why Do Dogs Bark? The Different Types of Barking

Barking is a natural behavior that all dogs do — as dog parents everywhere know. When, where, and directed at who is a different question. Regardless, your dog might be one to utilize their voice more than others. You know your dog best, so you will likely be able to pick up on what kind of barking your dog is doing.

There are many types of barking: alert/alarm barking, demand barking, frustration barking, boredom barking, stress barking, play barking, and greeting barking. Additionally, dogs can bark out of a lack of socialization.

Recognizing what kind of barking your dog is doing could help you to examine the situation and know how best to respond to it.

Alert/Alarm Barking

Does your dog bark from the window or porch whenever a stranger or new dog walks onto their property? Do they tense up, hair raised on their backs, with more stiffness in their body language than you are used to?

This aspect of your dog’s behavior could be due to your dog feeling like they need to protect their territory and make their presence known. They might also be trying to get another dog’s attention.

You don’t want your dog to perceive every person or dog that walks by or comes to your door as a threat — especially if you live in a very social and busy setting or have friends and family who frequently stop by. You don’t want the neighbors to start complaining because your dog is ready to yell at anyone who dares enter their domain.

Having a self-appointed guard dog can have its pros, but only if that is what you are seeking. If you’re reading this, you’re likely not interested in having a guard dog and want to learn how to curb the behavior while also teaching them how to trust.


When dogs see other dogs and family members, they might bark out of pure excitement. Many barking dogs are not trying to be threatening or dangerous but instead extremely excited.

Note that not all people or other dogs want to approach a dog who is barking at them, regardless of how friendly the barking is intended to be. Your dog might find they are having trouble making friends when on their morning walks, and barking might be to blame.

Many puppies display this behavior of extreme excitement that they can’t understand how to contain. Puppies learn to communicate through their barks and wines with their siblings and mother.

It’s also a way that they communicate with their new human parents when they first arrive. While it is adorable to hear their tiny baby barks, if you don’t correct the behavior early, you could find it more challenging to do as they form their own barking habits.

Stress Barking

Some dogs might bark out of fear, and there are likely underlying causes for this. Some rescued dogs from not-so-great backgrounds might be more anxious and nervous, becoming scared more quickly when they see strangers or hear loud noises.

Some of this extra fear could be due to separation anxiety or an increased attunement to potential threats. While this bark is unlikely to be aggressive, it could lead to that if a dog feels the need to protect themselves. This kind of bark is more likely to be used to make the dog seem bigger and hope to scare the threat away.

Fear-induced barking can also be a result of a lack of socialization. If you get your dog when they are a puppy, it’s so important to socialize them with a variety of different people and dogs so that they can learn to be unfased in new situations.

New situations can be unsettling for dogs and can therefore lead to barking. So it’s no surprise that a dog that hasn’t been in many social settings would find the existence of other people and dogs startling.

Obedience Training Techniques To Remember

Before we get into some of the methods to stop dog barking, we have a few tips to share:

If you have a puppy, know that starting as early as possible can only benefit you. Regardless of age or background, patience is essential. Our dogs will learn to trust that we won’t put them in dangerous scenarios and will begin to open up.

Redirection Will Be Key 

If you can figure out ways to keep your dog distracted and engrossed in a toy or game, barking out of boredom is unlikely to occur in the first place. They might end up barking at a toy or at you when you come to play, but if they are paying attention to the toy, they aren’t thinking about barking.

Ideally, you want to redirect them from practicing the act of attention-seeking barking or barking out of boredom so that it doesn’t become a habitual thing for them. However, some forms of barking — barking to be let out, for example — can be beneficial. Thus, it’s not recommended to train your dog out of barking in any and all circumstances. Instead, it’s ideal to redirect your dog’s attention away from something that shouldn’t warrant barking.

Remove the Motivation To Bark

Dogs that like to bark at people who walk by from the safety of a window might need to be cut off from window lurking. Closing curtains or making it more difficult for your dog to watch out of the windows eliminates the need for barking. Your dog can’t see the stimulus they are looking for and, therefore, won’t react to it.

After a while, your dog might not consider barking as something they need to do. They might huff and puff occasionally when a stranger approaches. But because they’ve never been allowed to bark non-stop at a person, they won’t think to do it when they make eye contact with a passerby in the future.

Ignore the Barking

This can be tough, especially on days you come home from work and want to relax, but try ignoring the barking. If your dog is staring at you barking, they clearly want your attention, but you shouldn’t reward them for the behavior by giving them what they want.

This goes for crate training too. You don’t need to coddle your dog every time they cry or bark from their crate. Instead, you can work to teach them that being quiet gets rewarded and barking doesn’t — the powers of positive reinforcement.

Give them a treat every time they are quiet in their crate. Ignore them while they bark, and if they quiet down for even a split second, come over and hand them a treat.

Desensitization to Triggers

If there is a specific person, dog, or object that your dog is barking at, you want to desensitize them to it.

Let your dog become accustomed to the trigger on their own terms. At first, the trigger should stay at a far-away distance. When dogs no longer feel threatened, up-close triggers can offer high-value treats. This teaches dogs the lesson that triggers lied to high-value items, and if not, at least they are generally harmless.

Reward them with treats when they don’t bark, and if they do bark, move further away until they stop and reward them again. This may take many days or weeks to accomplish, but baby (or puppy) steps are still steps.

Simple Ways To Teach Your Dog Not To Bark

There are a few different methods that teach your dog how to not bark. These are not something that your dog will master overnight (at least the majority of them won’t), so don’t be discouraged!

1. The Quiet Method

When your dog is barking at the mailman or another dog passing by, interrupt them with a click of your tongue or another similar noise. When they respond to the noise, tell them the command: “Quiet.” Don’t yell at them or even raise your voice a tiny bit. Instead, tell them quietly to be quiet.

Once you’ve done this, reinforce their behavior with a treat. If they remain quiet, you can reinforce with another treat. If they bark, repeat the same action.

Make sure to reward them each time that they are quiet so they begin to see the correlation between being quiet and getting a treat. In order for them to understand that “Quiet” is the command, begin waiting for longer periods of time to reward them once they are quiet. You might start rewarding them immediately after at first, but the verbal cue might not be fully understood yet.

Give them the command. Once they go quiet, wait for five seconds before rewarding, then ten seconds, then 20 seconds. See if they can stay quiet for as long as possible but only reward them when they remain quiet.

2. Distraction Method

If there is a noise or object that your dog is obsessed with or intrigued by, use that to distract your dog when they bark. It should be that the sound or object they see is more interesting to them than a stranger is. Once their attention is on you, you can tell them to sit or lie down and reward them with a treat.

If their eyes begin to wander, keep them preoccupied with the distraction and reward them if they look back at you. If they bark, repeat the same process. This should teach them that barking doesn’t produce a reward but paying attention to their human does.

3. The “Spot” Method 

When new people come into your home, your dog might not know the proper etiquette for greeting behaviors. They might bark because a stranger in their home, or they may bark and jump because they are happy to see someone coming in.

Either way, you don’t want your dog bombarding your guests as soon as they enter. By teaching your dog to go to a specific spot in your house, you can hopefully teach them that when someone comes in, rather than barking, they can be rewarded for calmly waiting.

Start by saying, “Go to your spot,” and tossing a treat wherever that may be. It might be the couch, their dog bed, or settling down next to the living room couch.

Repeat this several times until your dog starts moving to the spot instinctively to receive the treat. Practice doing this from all over your house so that they understand there is a specific place they should be going to each time, and they’ll only get rewarded if they do it right.

4. Divert Attention in Public

Dogs can get really excited, but it’s not always manageable. As your dog grows larger and stronger, the more excitable they get out in public, the more tricky it is to control them.

When your dog notices a stranger or other dog, they may instantly become alert. You will want to turn them away from the person or dog and have them focus on you. As long as your dog doesn’t bark or engage, make sure to give them plenty of well-deserved treats.

Not only will they see that barking is not rewarded, but it also teaches them that when they bark, they don’t get to go say hi to the person they saw. If your dog wants to interact with a human or another dog, they need to do it in a respectful way!

Something Smart To Bark About

Training dogs can sometimes be challenging — which is why experts are here to help.

Sign up for a virtual session with AskVet and gain access to chat with our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches (CPLCs), who can help craft a personalized behavioral plan for your pet. Questions may arise at any given time during your training process, and having access to our CPLCs makes getting answers easier. Plus, with your AskVet account, you can chat with a vet 24/7 on the mobile app!


How To Get Your Dog To Stop Barking | Humane Society

Decoding Your Dog’s Excessive Barking | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

Improving Dog Training Methods: Efficacy And Efficiency Of Reward And Mixed Training Methods | NCBI

Helping dog anxiety | The Humane Society of the United States

How to Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell to Go Outside | AKC


Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

One of the creepiest things in the world has to be when you wake up to find your cat is staring at you with their large, unblinking eyes. You may feel a bit awkward being your feline’s primary focus, and perhaps for a good reason! Are they staring as a way to show that they love you, or is their stare one of judgment as you sleep soundly through their breakfast time?

Wondering why our cats do things like this can send you down a rabbit hole, but we’ve got you!

Read on for six reasons why your cat likes to stare at you.

What Is Your Cat Trying To Tell You?

Our cats are great at communicating with us.

They meow, purr, hiss, and use their tails to tell us how they are feeling. We even see our cats rub their faces on our legs, which is also a way for your cat to communicate to other cats that they are your human.

Cat stare-downs can also be used in conjunction with other movements to indicate how they are feeling. You can use these combinations of body language to know your cat’s mood. With this info, you can make the necessary changes if their body language indicates that they are anything but content.

They Love You

Just like humans, making eye contact and holding a gaze can be a signal of affection. Your kitty sees you as a part of their family and them staring at you is a way to show their affection.

Slow blinks also indicate your cat feels connected to you, they trust you, and they want to spend time with you. When your cat is sitting next to you or resting in your lap, make eye contact with them and slowly blink to show them that you enjoy their company. Your cat will likely reciprocate, and you’ll both feel even more bonded to each other. (PS: Cats show affection in other ways, including with licking).

They Missed You

If you have just gotten home from work or returned from vacation, you might find that your cat is staring more intently at you. If you think that your cat is making up for missed time by glaring at you, you may be right.

In a study, cats were found to initiate social contact with their pet parents after a period of separation. This contact was found to be increased the longer the cat’s human was gone.

This is very sweet and shows that our cats care about us and that we are an important part of their life.

They Are Hungry

In true cat fashion, your cat may stare as a hint that it is past their mealtime. We are all aware of the eerie feeling you get when you feel someone staring at you. It is common to experience this with your cat, and your cat may be hinting they want their food bowl refilled.

It’s a safe bet that your cat is hungry if they are eyeballing you while also sitting in close proximity to their food dish. They may also try this move when they want a second breakfast or extra snack during the day, don’t let those kitten eyes budge your resolve.


Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

They Feel Angry

We all experience bad moods from time to time, and your cat is included in these fluctuations in mood. If your cat exhibits a stiff body and their ears are turned to the side, this may indicate they are angry about something.

One such scenario is taking your kitty for a vet check-up. You’ve gotten them into their carrier just fine, but now it is time to take them out for the vet to take a look. Your cat may have pushed themselves to the back of their carrier, and they are giving you the ultimate stare-down.

Paired with these other tension-filled body gestures, your cat is giving you a warning they are far from feeling pleased. When this occurs, it is probably a good idea to give your cat some space so they can start to relax. You can help break your cat’s icy glare with their favorite treat or toy.

They Feel Scared

Did you accidentally drop a glass? Maybe you started the vacuum cleaner? Do you have extra loud guests over? Any unexpected loud noises can startle your kitty and send them to take cover under the sofa or chair.

Your kitty may stare at you as a way to gauge what is going on and probably a silent plea for the loud noise to stop. Paired with a tucked-in tail, flattened ears, and positioning their bodies low to the ground, your cat may be feeling a little spooked.

If possible, stop the loud noise and distract your kitty with their favorite treat or toy. If you know that you’ll have guests over for a get-together, try moving your kitty to a quiet place if they tend to get rattled easily by loud noises.

They’re Curious

If you are starting a new exercise routine or come home with a new haircut, you may find your cat giving you a good stare-down. While it may feel like they are doing some hardcore judging, your cat’s stares can be just due to being curious.

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and they like to explore new things. If you come home looking different, they will certainly stare to try to figure out what you changed about your appearance. If you start a new exercise routine, your cat may stare as they try to figure out your new moves.

Put More Eyes & Minds on Petcare With AskVet

While we know that our cats can sometimes act a little zany, we may need some help from time to time to decipher their more perplexing behaviors.

This is where our team of veterinarians and Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ can help put some fresh eyes and minds to any pet questions that you may have questions about. Set up a virtual session to get answers to all of your behavior questions and get personalized advice and guidance 24/7 from our experts.

You also have plenty of resources right at your fingertips, like our blog and access to the AskVet Clubhouse, where you can chat and get advice from other pet parents.

Next time when your cat stares you down, slowly blink and smile at your BFFF — best feline friend forever.


Cats and owners interact more with each other after a longer duration of separation | PLOS ONE

How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other | Library Of Congress

The curious character of cats | Phys.org

The role of cat eye narrowing movements in cat–human communication | Scientific Reports

Why Does My Cat Stare at the Wall: 4 Reasons Why

Cat Stare at the Wall

Do you ever catch yourself staring off into the distance when deeply reflecting on something? Your brain is just too busy organizing all the thoughts you have swirling around in your head, and it doesn’t care about looking at something interesting. Your eyes settle on something boring like a chair or the top of a shelf.

It makes you wonder if your cat is experiencing the same thing when you catch them staring off. You can’t count how many times you’ve walked into a room to see your cat staring at a wall. Is your cat lost in their thoughts of catnip, their favorite toy, or wondering when they will get their next treat?

While we may never know the real reason why our cats decide to have a staring contest with the walls, we can think of some logical reasons why this occurs.

Reason #1 Picking Up Sounds

Our cat’s sense of hearing is pretty amazing when compared to humans. Cats can hear much higher sounds than humans and even dogs! Cat’s ears are also specially designed to pick up sounds. Just like when you turn your head to get a better sense of where a sound is coming from, our cats can turn their ears in the direction of a sound.

If you ever see your cat staring off at the wall, pay attention to their ears. You can get a good idea of if they are listening out for something by seeing if their ears are turning. Additionally, if your cat has their eyes halfway (or all the way closed), this may indicate they are focusing on listening rather than seeing.

If this is the case, your cat may simply be facing towards a wall, but they are really trying to listen to a sound that caught their attention, especially if the sound is a high one we cannot hear ourselves. Your cat may also be using the wall as a reflector to help them hear a sound better.

Reason #2 Sniff Test

Just like hearing, cats’ noses are marvels at picking up scents. To help you imagine how strong a cat’s sense of smell is, they can have up to 200 million odor sensors in that cute button nose. Whereas humans only have a measly five million.

Just like hearing, your cat may have caught a whiff of something tantalizing to their nose – or maybe something a little stinky. They may be in the perfect position for full sniff access, and that happens to be by a wall.

You may notice your cat staring off more if you have brought new furniture, rugs, or even a new animal into the home. All of these things can change the odor in a room, and your cat will certainly try to figure out what that new smell could be.

Reason #3 Boredom

If your cat doesn’t seem to be utilizing their hearing or sense of smell while staring off at the wall, they may be a little bored. Cats need plenty of mental stimulation, and you can help keep them focused on things other than the wall.

Cats are curious by nature, and keeping their attention focused on toys or puzzles can help keep them out of trouble. Of course, every cat is different, and you may find your cat enjoys playing with a wand toy rather than a food puzzle.

While we don’t want our cats to be bored, we also don’t want to overstimulate them by having too many options. You can place some boxes around the house with small treats or catnip so your kitty can find fun surprises as they explore box to box.

Treat mazes are great to leave out when you are away from home. Your cat will be occupied with figuring out how to obtain a tasty morsel you have tucked away. Interactive and self-moving toys will also keep your cat busy when you are away from the office.

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Reason #4 Health Issues

While we never want to think about our cat being sick, prolonged staring at a wall or other inanimate object could be a symptom of an issue.

Pay attention to what your cat does before and after the wall-staring episodes. If you see they engage in behavior like yowling loudly, aggressively grooming near the base of the tail, or attacking their own tail, these could be symptoms of feline hyperesthesia. If your cat suddenly stops these behaviors and then stares at a wall like they are in a trance, this could be further evidence of the issue.

Feline hyperesthesia is characterized by muscle contractions that your cat is unable to control. While it is rare, it is still important to bring awareness to this issue. If you suspect this to be the reason for your cat’s behavior, try to document your cat by recording them so your veterinarian can see it.

Look To AskVet for Pet Advice

It’s fair if you have concerns if your cat has been looking at the wall too much. If this is the case, look to AskVet for advice. We are a membership program focused on your pet’s lifestyle and wellness, so they can live a longer and happier life and give you peace of mind.

Anytime you have a question or are looking for suggestions to help keep your kitty busy, schedule a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyles Coach™ who can help you with decoding your pet’s behaviors.

Contacting AskVet is a great way to troubleshoot so you can know if your concern warrants a visit to your veterinarian or if you can simply change up your cat’s routine.

Joining AskVet is easy, and you gain access to 1:1 pet coaching and 24/7 vet support. Not to mention access to the AskVet Clubhouse, which puts you in touch with other pet parents who are likely experiencing the same cat conundrums you are. You can trade stories, advice, and of course, share all the adorable kitty photos.

Don’t keep staring at the link – give it a click and see how AskVet is there for you and your pet.


Do Cats Hear Better Than Dogs? | Virbac

Cat Senses | PAWS Chicago

Mental Stimulation for Cats | Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton

Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome | CAD Direct

6 Reasons Dogs Whine & How Seriously To Take It

6 Reasons Dogs Whine & How Seriously To Take It

Your dog could be really big on communication and likes you to know what they think throughout the day! If this is the case, you are quite familiar with your dog’s whine and might even be able to distinguish your dog’s specific whines from each other.

This aspect of your dog’s behavior is a common form of communication. It’s true that a dog’s whine can mean a multitude of things, but they may have different inflections or behaviors associated with specific whines that they use to help get their point across.

Not all whining is negative or something to be concerned about. Your dog might excitedly whine whenever they see their best friend on their daily walk, or they might whine because they are feeling discomfort. Monitoring their other behaviors can help you to determine what your dog’s whine might be about.

If you’re thinking, “Why is my dog whining?” and want to know when to take it seriously, keep reading:

Why Do Dogs Whine?

Puppies and adult dogs whine for a variety of common reasons. Because they can’t communicate with their humans in a normal way, our dogs rely on their body language and their voice to communicate their needs.

While moderate or excessive whining isn’t really a learned behavior, it can be a learned reaction. For many dogs, they learn that when they whine, they are given attention — this is a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “appeasement whining.”

If our pups are bored and in need of some mental stimulation, they might use vocalization. Vocalizing can be a tactic to get their human to pay attention to them and provide them with what they need, whether that be a favorite toy, a potty break, or some extra playtime with you, their pet parent.

Of course, dogs don’t always whine because they want something. If a dog is excited enough, whining might be the way that an excited or anxious dog expresses the anticipation of what’s about to come next!

1. Seeking Attention

According to animal behaviorists, one of the main reasons your dog is whining is because they want your attention. If you have a particularly needy dog, you know what we are talking about! Maybe you are typing away at your computer at home for too long, and your dog is staring at you, whining or whimpering because they want pets and cuddles.

You can tell when a dog is seeking your attention because of other behaviors like swatting with their paws and nuzzling into you. If you aren’t giving them the attention that they want, these behaviors will only progress until they give up and sulk in their beds (probably still whining).

2. Appeasement Behavior 

When a dog is meeting a new dog or person, they might whine as a submissive response. This will usually be accompanied by other submissive behaviors, like ears back, tail tucked, and head down.

It might be mixed with excitement or anxiety, depending on the situation that you are in. If your dog is meeting up with their best friend (human or animal), it might be as a result of their excitement. If your dog is in a new setting, it might be influenced more by anxiety.

3. Anxiety

Dogs can become anxious for a variety of reasons. No two dogs are exactly the same in this regard (or in any category — it’s one of the reasons we love them so much!)

If you are wondering if your dog is whining because of stress, you might want to take note of other anxious behaviors like lip licking, averting their gaze, and yawning.

If your dog is anxious or suffers from separation anxiety, the whining might be involuntary and not something they can stop easily. If your dog is extremely stressed out, they might not be able to control their whining unless the trigger is eliminated.

4. Greeting Behavior

If your dog is a people and dog lover, they might whine when greeting both new and old friends. This is a sign that your dog is extremely excited and truly can’t contain themselves. They will likely be wagging their tail, mouth open, and “smiling.” Some will even jump around or bow as a way to show their friendliness and invite the other dog or human to play!

This behavior is also connected to seeking attention, so while it’s adorable and good to see a happy pup, this might not be the behavior you are looking for.

5. Asking for Something

Whining might also be the way that your dog communicates they are in need or want something. The clock strikes six o’clock, and your dog starts whining for you to feed them. They might need to use the potty and combine whining and running to the back door to let you know.

There could be a toy that has gotten stuck underneath the couch, and your pet needs you to get it for them so to let you know they whine while staring between the sofa and you. Of course, your pet won’t always be able to tell you their exact needs, but as you learn more about your pet’s personality and unique behaviors, it becomes easier to guess what they want!

6. Expressing Pain or Discomfort

The worst-case scenario to explain why your pet is whining is because they are in some sort of pain. If your dog is whining, but it’s not accompanied by any of the above situations, it might be related to pain or an injury.

If you are able to eliminate the reasons above, you might want to consider taking your dog to their veterinarian to do further testing to find the cause.

When To Worry About Dogs Whining

If you think that there could be something wrong with your dog, whether it be anxiety or pain, you should take your pet to their veterinarian. Your pet could be under a lot of stress or discomfort that only you can help to fix. Your dog cannot communicate what their issue is exactly, but their whines are the best way for them to indicate a problem.

Additionally, if the whining is beginning to become disruptive to your daily life, you may want to correct the whining behavior. There are plenty of ways to do this, and it can help your dog’s overall relationship with you and others.

How To Stop Dogs From Whining

Whining can sometimes be annoying, especially when it’s persistent and uncontrollable. Many dogs whine as a reaction when they can’t contain their excitement or needs. While it can be cute, it is not always a desirable behavior.

Depending on what your dog is whining about, there are different ways for you to correct the behavior and teach your dog what the right reaction should be.

  • If your dog whines when you don’t give them attention, make it a point to only give attention, pets, or treats when the dog is not whining, jumping, or pawing at you. In other words, don’t give your pet attention if they are making a fuss. You can dramatically turn away from them, fold your arms, or turn your head whenever you make eye contact.
  • In turn, make sure you are giving your dog plenty of attention, enrichment, exercise, and treats when they are not whining. This can help reinforce good behavior and teach them that whining for attention doesn’t work.
  • With anxiety, it’s a bit harder to train the whining out of your dog. To relieve them of their stress, you need to eliminate the stressor. These stressors can include separation, new people and pets, changes in the home, and differences in routine, etc. If the behavior is severe, your dog may need the help of medication prescribed by their veterinarian.

Dog Whining? It’s Time To Call.

You might be wondering what a specific behavior means when paired with whining, and for every dog, the reasoning for the whine might be different. When you sign up with AskVet, you gain access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™, who can help work on these behaviors with you.

The best way to help your dog correct their whining behavior is to train them out of it and work on it from a young age. It’s easier to train a dog the right way to act the first time around than to correct bad behavior later on (though it is possible!).

Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog, your dog uses whining as a form of communication. Knowing what your dog needs can lessen your dog’s anxiety and have them feel confident and happy with you as their person. Schedule a call with an animal expert today and learn more about your pet and how you can better their life every day!


Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Pain and Problem Behavior in Cats and Dogs | NCBI

Is your dog trying to tell you something? Whining and how to make it stop | Bayview Seven Animal Hospital

Why Is My Dog Whining? | AKC