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

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

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

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

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

Why Is My Dog Licking Their Paws? Common Causes

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

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

Should I Be Concerned?

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

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

Normal Self-Grooming

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

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

Skin Irritation

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

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

Injury or Pain

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

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

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

Allergic Reaction to Dog Food or Human Food

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

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

Behavioral Issues

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

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

Parasites and Bacteria

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

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

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

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Learn How To Manage Your Pup’s Paw Licking

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

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

Visit Your Vet

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

Talk with Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM at AskVet

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

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


Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

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

External Parasites | American Veterinary Medical Association

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment | American Kennel Club

Protect Dog Paws on Hot Pavement | American Kennel Club

What Do Hamsters Eat? A Hamster’s Diet From A to Z

A Hamster’s Diet

There are many types of hamsters that you can find at your local rescue or pet shop — Syrian hamsters and dwarf hamsters are just a few common varieties. While all hamsters may be different, their diets tend to look pretty similar across the board.

If you are considering adopting a hamster, preparing to feed them the right food and treats is vital to keep them healthy and happy. Hamsters aren’t able to go out and forage the way they would out in the wild, so they rely on us for everything they need.

Keep reading to learn more about what your hamster should and should not eat.

A Hamster’s Diet

Hamster food is heavily related to the small animal’s native environment, which is very dry. They enjoy eating from a food bowl filled with seeds and even small bugs like crickets and mealworms for protein.

Many assume that hamster pellets and a few sunflower seeds are sufficient for a hamster’s diet, but they really prefer a wide range of different options, including some human food. Your furry friend’s diet should also include fresh fruits like watermelon and vegetables like sweet potatoes, but in moderation and under a watchful eye.

A hamster is unlikely to overeat, so having plenty of food will allow them to eat whenever needed. Opting for fresh can also improve the quality of a hamster’s diet. Changing their bowl out every day would keep their food as fresh as possible. This will also assist in keeping your hamster’s teeth healthy.

Hamster Feeding 101

A pelleted diet is often best for hamsters, but it can get dull. If the dry food in their dish never changes, your hamster might turn up their nose and refuse to eat.

Veggies like romaine lettuce and fruits like blueberries are great to include, as well as ensuring they get protein, fiber, and fatty acids in their daily diet.

Vegetables and Fruit

While vegetables and fruit are suitable for most hamsters, it’s advised not to give them too much of anything as it might oversaturate their diet. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber, which is essential to a hamster’s diet.

Apples, pears, and carrots are good fruits and veggies to include in a pet hamster’s diet. They will provide plenty of fiber and vitamins to your hamster daily. Your hamster would enjoy carefully-sourced and prepared dandelions, timothy hay, or clovers to munch on as an occasional treat. These small pets really enjoy dark leafy greens.

Hay provides fiber as well, so be sure to pick up a bag of it before taking your hamster home.


Some people assume hamsters are herbivores when, in fact, they are technically omnivores.

Hamsters need protein so that they can properly grow and repair their tissues and stay healthy for a longer amount of time. Hamsters are known to eat small insects that are relatively easy to catch when in an enclosure. You can also feed your hamster some dry dog food every now and then to give them a boost of protein.

Again, it’s not advised to do this too frequently, but every few days, the additional protein is much appreciated.

Fatty Acids

For your hamster to maintain healthy skin and fur, they need to be eating enough foods with fatty acids. An easy and enjoyable way for your hamster to get enough fatty acids in their diet is to snack on some seeds and nuts.

You can often get everything you need in a premixed bag from the pet store, but be careful — some of these are too high in sugar and lack essential nutrients.

Fresh Water

Hamsters need access to fresh water at all times. Using a drip bottle is the easiest way for your hamster to access water whenever they need it. They generally catch on quickly about how to use it. Make sure you are checking it daily to see if it needs to be refilled, but get into a habit of changing it every morning.

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What Can’t Hamsters Eat?

It’s unlikely that you’re going to be trying to share all of your snacks with your hamster, but there are some foods you should steer clear of. Some foods can be particularly toxic to hamsters and similar pets like guinea pigs and chinchillas.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your hamster can have a food item, it’s best to play it safe and not feed it to them at all.


Chocolate and sweets are dangerous. While this is pretty much the case with all pets, you have to consider how small your hamster is compared to a dog or even a cat.

One small piece of chocolate can have a more detrimental effect on your hamster. Hamster pet parents should keep all of their chocolate away from their pets for safety.

Processed Foods

In general, any processed foods you might snack on yourself will not be suitable for your hamster. A lot of these foods are very high in sugar and low in fiber — two things that aren’t ideal for your hamster’s health.

There are snacks and treats that you can purchase for your hamster that are specifically made for them to enjoy. These options will provide you with a safe alternative and will definitely boost your fluffy friend’s mood.

Too Much Fruit

Though fruit and veggies are recommended, too much fruit can overload your hamster with too much sugar. Fruits are packed with “healthy” sugars, but this is still too much for your hamster’s small body. Feeding them a moderate amount of fruit and veggies and keeping an eye on them while they snack will ensure you know how much they are actually consuming.

Quick List of Foods To Avoid

Here is a list of some foods (not all) that are not good for your hamster’s health:

  • Acorns
  • Buttercup
  • Bindweed
  • Citrus fruits
  • Elder
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Unripe or overripe fresh foods
  • Muesli-style mixes
  • Dairy products
  • Jam
  • Rhubarb
  • Grapes

Big Questions About Small Pets

Hamsters might be small, but you have a lot of big questions about them. You might wonder why they are biting or how to make their home as enriching as possible — or a thousand other questions.

We get it. That’s why when you join AskVet, you can sign up for a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach (CPLC) to ask all the behavioral questions you might have. They can help create a full 360° Lifestyle Plan to attend to every need your hamster might have.

Additionally, with an AskVet account, you can chat on the mobile app with a licensed veterinarian to help put together the optimal diet for your hamster (or any other pet). That’s right — This app is not just for cats and dogs. The AskVet team is knowledgeable about a variety of different animals and is willing to help anyone get to the bottom of an issue.


Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster | NCBI

Hamster Diet | Elmbrook Humane Society

Safe & Unsafe Foods | Ontario Hamster Club

Feeding your hamster | PDSA

Selecting a Hamster | Merck Veterinary Manual

10 Dog Tail Positions & What They Mean

10 Dog Tail Positions & What They Mean

For hundreds of years, humans have worked on domesticating different breeds of dogs so that their main role can be as beloved family pets. We have learned the ins and outs of being a dog parent, and with that comes analyzing their behaviors in order to understand what is going on in their adorable little heads.

Luckily, dogs have adapted to know how to communicate with humans to get their needs met. Yet we aren’t always 100% positive about what is going on in our dog’s mind. Body language helps us to determine what our pet is thinking in different situations.

One of the best indicators of body language and communication is how your dog’s tail is positioned. Your dog’s tail reacts to what your dog is thinking and experiencing, so it can explain how your dog might feel in different scenarios.

If you’re wondering, “Why do dogs wag their tails?” and want to make your pooch happy and comfortable, understanding their tail positioning is one of the first steps.

Body Language in Dogs

When your dog is uncomfortable or feeling some negative feelings, their facial expressions and tail movements sure look a lot different from when they are feeling positive feelings like excitement.

When doing some basic dog training, you can tell a lot about your dog’s emotional state based on their mouths, ears, shoulders, and, yes: the position of a dog’s tail and the direction of the wagging. As humans, we are not always predisposed to understand what our dog’s body language is trying to tell us and why dogs do what they do, but through years of domestication and studying our dogs, we have picked up on a few things to pay attention to.

However, luckily for us, dogs often tend to pick up on each other’s body language so that we don’t have to do so much guessing. While our dogs do rely on us to keep them safe and protected, they are able to sense things that we aren’t, making them much better judges of situations than us.

No matter what, it’s a good idea to learn about different tail positions to better understand your dog’s thoughts or intentions in any given scenario. This way, you can better communicate with and adjust to make your dog happier overall.

Tail Positions and What They Mean

Tail positions reveal much about our dog’s thoughts and intentions.

It’s best to keep in mind that some breeds have different tails and, therefore, different communication techniques. Pugs have short, curled tails that might not wag in the same way that a Golden Retriever would. On the other hand, breeds like Huskies, Basenjis, and Pomeranians have long tails, so their tails naturally have a higher line and tend to curve over the back.

1. High Positioning, Tail Wagging

A fast and loosely wagging tail means quickly moving from the left side to the right side of your dog’s body, showing that your dog is happy. You might be approaching a friend on the street or coming up to a location your dog loves. As soon as your dog notices, that tail will start thumping.

Additionally, this position is usually accompanied by other excited whole-body actions like jumping up and down, spinning around, tapping their paws, or pulling you to get to the target faster. (The speed of the wag is helpful to consider)

While this is a preferred reaction, all that wiggling and wagging can be a lot! You might want to try calming down your dog so that they don’t know someone over or overwhelm another pup.

2. High Positioning, Tilted Upwards

A high, stiff tail that is not fully straight up but instead standing at an angle can be a position that shows dominance. Your dog is likely feeling confident and coming up on potential new friends. Your dog wants to assert their dominance before saying hello, but this doesn’t mean that they’re aggressive. This can often happen at a dog park or when meeting new dog friends.

You should keep an eye on your dog if this is the case because if they get a wrong vibe from another dog, the tail position might change to reflect their new feelings towards the situation.

3. High Positioning, Curled

Some dogs might already have a curly tail, which might skew this positioning just a bit. If your dog’s tail is naturally straight, a curled tail that has a high position likely means that your dog is happy, confident, and comfortable.

4. High Position, Relaxed Wag 

If your dog is producing a slow wag, it’s showing that they are happy and relaxed but not overly excited. They might react this way when being awoken from a nice nap, when their human returns from a night out, or if you walk over to give them some pets when they aren’t expecting it.

5. Stiff Tail

A stiff tail, whether high-positioned, low, or horizontal, is usually a sign that a dog is behaving very cautiously. You might notice that when a potential threat is approaching, your dog will zero in on it. You might notice that a wagging tail will come to a standstill, and your dog will be on alert.

This might happen when your dog is meeting someone new and is not sure how to respond, or they see a particularly suspicious new object like Halloween decorations. This movement may either shift into a nice relaxed wag or shift into danger mode.


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6. Down and Out

This position is the most casual and neutral position that you will see with your dog. When a dog’s tail is down and relaxed, sticking out slightly, it could be because they are feeling very neutral. This position is common around the house and in other settings where your dog is feeling confident and comfortable.

It also can mean that they are almost ready for a nap, as it is a position that exerts no energy. It’s what you might describe as a baseline for your dog’s tail behavior.

7. Downward, Not Quite Tucked, Still

When your dog’s tail is not quite tucked, not quite raised, but very still, your dog is showing signs that they are uncomfortable. Usually, a dog that has a tail in this position is confused about what is going on and feels slightly anxious. They could be around new dogs or people, in a new environment, or at the veterinarian’s office.

8. Low Against the Hind Legs

In this position, your dog’s tail is not yet tucked, but it’s sitting low against their hind legs. This is a very submissive position and it usually happens when they want to show other dogs or humans that they aren’t a threat.

This might happen if your dog is naturally submissive and encounters a new friend. They don’t want to come off as overbearing and want to show right away that they aren’t going to be an issue. This is generally considered appeasement behavior.

9. Tucked Between the Legs

This is the most obvious indicator that your dog is scared. When your dog’s tail is tucked in between their legs, they might be experiencing fear and anxiety. You should immediately comfort your dog and not force them to do anything that they don’t want to do.

This can happen in crowded locations, around dogs that your dog sees as a threat, in new environments, or when there are loud and intrusive noises.

10. Raised and Alert

When a dog has a raised and alert tail, this is a sign that they are preparing to go on the attack. If they are feeling threatened, their tail will shoot up and become very stiff and alert. It also might be accompanied by growling, snarling, barking, baring teeth, or raised hackles.

You should definitely remove your dog from this situation immediately so that nothing progresses into a dangerous scenario.

Get Answers to the Clues

All dogs are different, but tail behavior is something that tends to be universal. Some dogs might never feel threatened or fearful and so seeing their tails tucked or alert is uncommon. We all love seeing a happy dog with a wagging tail, but that’s not the reality all the time.

Knowing your dog and what they need from you can keep your dog feeling safe and comfortable. When questions about your dog’s behavior pops up, you can find answers with AskVet.

At any point, you can reach out to a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ and ask them questions about your dog’s behavior. They can help to come up with a plan that will help improve your dog’s life by making them more confident and comfortable.

We all love our dogs so much and want to do what’s best for them — Schedule an appointment, and we are here to help you do exactly that!


Tail Docking of Canine Puppies: Reassessment of the Tail’s Role in Communication, the Acute Pain Caused by Docking and Interpretation of Behavioral Responses | NCBI

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

Prevalence, Comorbidity, And Behavioral Variation In Canine Anxiety | ScienceDirect

The New Puppy Checklist: A New Dog Owner’s Guide

The New Puppy Checklist: A New Dog Owner’s Guide

Becoming a new puppy parent is no easy feat. It requires time, patience, effort, and definitely some money to do it as proficiently as possible, but the payoff is immeasurable. Who doesn’t want a furry best friend who lives and breathes for everything you do?

Having your own puppy is many people’s dream come true. There is nothing better than having a companion who wants nothing more than to spend time with you and give you great snuggles. Still, being a first-time puppy parent can be a big change.

If your family had dogs when growing up, you might have an idea of how to understand canine behavior, but committing to being the sole provider for an animal can feel like a lot of pressure.

Luckily, it’s all worth it in the end. Having some help along the way can make the experience less stressful. We’ve come up with a checklist so that you can follow along and help yourself prepare for your upcoming puppy parenthood journey.

Everything You Need To Know About Welcoming a Furry Family Member

There is so much that you have to do when adopting a dog, even more so when it’s a puppy! Many people will likely find themselves splurging on chew toys, dog treats, and adorable little sweaters (we don’t judge!) but are then unsure of what the puppy essentials are.

Before you go out and make any purchases, it’s important to first have a good understanding of what kind of dog you are looking to adopt and how much time and space they will need. Our goal in loving a pet is not to own them but to shower them with love and give them the best life possible. This means thinking deeply and researching about what kind of dog would fit your lifestyle and how much you can truly offer.

1. Start With Research

If you are someone who has never lived with a dog, don’t let this stop you from doing so. Instead, put in the time and effort to research what a puppy needs: You’ll be a pro in no time!

You’ll want to consider the financial aspects of keeping a dog — will you need to bring your dog to daycare if you work a nine-to-five? How much will dog food, grooming, pet insurance, veterinary visits, and supplies be?   How about toys and bedding?

Knowing that you have the time and resources to adopt a dog should give you peace of mind. The next step is preparing for how a dog might alter your day-to-day life.

Morning and evening walks will become a must. Yes, you might find it easier to get your steps in, but for people with busy schedules scheduling an additional 30 minutes to an hour a day isn’t always a breeze.

2. Match Breed to Lifestyle

Once you have come to terms with all of the changes that might come along when you adopt a dog, it’s time to find a dog that matches your lifestyle.

If you are working with a breeder or a shelter, you can likely talk to someone about what you envision. Luckily, plenty of dogs out there are looking for a home, so you are bound to find one that is perfect for you.

You may be matched with a few different dogs and then are able to meet them before you make any commitments. That way, you will be 100% positive about bringing home your new pup.

Not all dogs are going to be a match, and you may have to reconsider certain breeds if they simply need more than you can offer or if they don’t match the lifestyle you intend to live.

3. Gather the Essential Puppy Supplies

The first two steps have no timelines to follow, and you should move at your own pace. Getting a dog will happen when the time is right.

When you do move forward with the adoption process, it’s always best to come prepared:


You can never go wrong with having a house full of puppy toys to help welcome your new puppy into your home. Choose a variety of high-quality, safe options for your pup to play with. Like with food, puppies have different needs than adult dogs.

Puppy teeth are sensitive and call for a softer plastic. Plush toys are a great choice but don’t leave anything with pieces that may be swallowed in a playpen or dog crate when they aren’t supervised.

Grooming Essentials

Like baby shampoo for humans, puppy shampoo and conditioner are gentler than the adult variety. Dog shampoo is a must for both puppies and adults — human shampoo is too harsh on their skin.

Don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for dogs. Starting the dental hygiene routine young (with plenty of positive reinforcement) will make this practice smoother. Add in nail clippers and a brush, and you’ve got a head start on all things canine beauty and wellness.

Potty Necessities

If your puppy is small enough that accidents might occur, consider potty pads (and maybe even little diapers) and animal-friendly wet wipes. Don’t forget poop bags to use at home and take on your walks!

Puppy Food

If you’re adopting your dog from a shelter, they might come with some puppy food to wean them off of whatever you choose to buy. The animal experts in your life might also recommend a certain food to give to your puppy, so don’t be afraid to ask for their recommendations.

In terms of dog bowls, some dogs will do better with stainless steel, while others might prefer glass or BPA-free plastic. Food bowls can be put away outside of meal times, but water bowls should constantly be refreshed and kept in multiple locations if possible.

Training Essentials

You will want to have training treats on hand to start rewarding them for good behavior immediately.

Some other items include:

  • A clicker
  • A treat pouch
  • A leash
  • Harness/adjustable collar

4. Puppy-Proof Your Home

On top of selecting dog toys and supplies like water bowls and puppy gates, you will want to ensure your home is puppy-proofed. Any valuable objects on the ground should be put on elevated surfaces for the first few weeks while your puppy is teething. If you have a backyard with a fence, double-check that it’s fully enclosed so there can be no escapes.

You might want to give your floors a good clean and vacuum and mentally prepare for accidents on the rugs. Stocking up on plenty of paper towels and cleaners available will make these messes feel less daunting. For rooms you’d prefer not to have a puppy in (like those with white carpet), a temporary baby gate is wise.

If you are planning on crate training, which is frequently recommended, buy a proper-sized kennel with a dog bed. You will want your puppy to have plenty of room to lie down, stand up, and turn around but not so much room they can easily use part of the crate to go potty. Set it up in a comfortable location that is somewhat tucked away. If you opt for an adult-sized kennel, add in a divider that can be moved as your puppy grows.

By this point, you will be looking around thinking a puppy lives in your house even when they haven’t yet arrived! That means it’s time for them to come home.


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5. Find a Veterinarian and Schedule a New Puppy Check-Up

When you bring a new puppy home, there is going to be so much time for you to play, take them to new spots, visit family and friends, dress them up, and snuggle with them, etc. Taking them to the vet for their first check-up might not be as exciting as all of those other things, but it is one of the first items on the itinerary.

Find a veterinarian that you trust. You can do this by asking friends with dogs as well as doing your own research and finding what fits best for you and your pet. The first check-up is essential because your puppy will likely need vaccinations and to undergo a full exam to ensure they are in good health.

Don’t wait too long because you want to clear your puppy as early as possible to get them on the path towards socialization and training. A healthy pup is more likely to do better as they grow more comfortable in your home.

6. Microchip and License Your Puppy

Additionally, your vet may want to microchip your dog. The microchip allows you to enter your personal information into a database that can be accessed by you when the microchip is scanned. In the case that your dog gets loose, anyone who finds them can bring your dog to a vet or shelter where they can be scanned for a microchip. This helps get your dog back to you as quickly and easily as possible.

You will also want to register and license your dog with your town so that they can have them on file. This can include the microchip number.

The One Pet ID

Microchips are a must, but for a simpler, more streamlined process, consider the One Pet ID. The One Pet ID is a smartphone-capable tracking tool that allows pet parents to create a profile for their pets.

Unlike a microchip that needs to be read with a special scanner, anyone can scan the ID tag and connect with a lost pet’s family. Plus, the One Pet ID isn’t implanted under the skin as a microchip is. Lastly, you won’t run into the issue of needing the right scanner or registry per chip type.

7. Begin House Training

When your dog is beginning to settle into your home, you might notice they have a few accidents here and there. Your puppy might be going when they need to go and not realize that the outdoors is even an option, so you will have to teach them.

There are many potty training methods, including tools such as doorbells. Pet parents can hang bells over a door handle and teach their dogs to ring the bells when they have to go outside.

Little puppies have small bladders, so if you hear your pup slurping away, a bathroom break is a mere five to ten minutes away. Other times they may need to go would include after a fun play session, after a meal, or when they first wake up. Once you get to know your dog’s routine and they get to know yours, you will begin to build a schedule where your dog knows what time is appropriate for using the bathroom.

Don’t be discouraged if this takes you a while to master; all dogs are different and learn at their own pace.

8. Look Into Puppy Training Classes and Help Them Socialize

Enrolling your pup in puppy classes can help them build their confidence, teach them about socializing with other dogs, and show them how to mimic other dogs’ behaviors.

In these classes, you will go through the basics: sit, down, come, stay, and touch. These are core commands that you can focus your training on. They will be useful for your puppy as they age into a well-behaved dog.

Many shelters recommend attending puppy classes to help build your relationship while teaching your pup good behavior. There are likely to be other dogs in these classes, which can teach your dog patience and how to play with their canine peers.

9. Build a Bond and Share Some Love

Most importantly, you are going to want to shower your new pup with love. You want to bond with them so that they can understand that you are their provider and new best friend. The majority of people bring home a dog because they are looking to share their life with a furry companion and create beautiful memories.

Building this bond early on can help build up your dog’s confidence which will help as they learn new behaviors and encounter new situations. If they trust you, they are going to be just fine!

10. Schedule an Appointment With AskVet

Being a new pet parent comes with a lot of questions. When you sign-up with AskVet, you can contact a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC™) at any time of the day. AskVet’s virtual experts can answer questions 24/7 and help build a 360° Pet Care plan unique to your animal (including fish, dogs, cats, reptiles, and more).

You shouldn’t feel alone in this new journey, and we have plenty of resources to help you out.

When you schedule an appointment, you don’t have to worry about waiting for your vet’s office to open to ask your questions. You can get guidance on what actions to take if your pet is in need and get answers to even the strangest questions (FYI – no question is too strange).

We wish you so much luck with puppyhood, and you should enjoy it as much as possible before they begin growing up right before your eyes!


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

Expectations Versus Reality: Long-Term Research on the Dog–Owner Relationship | NCBI

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

High tech: Identifying lost pets with microchips | The Humane Society of the United States

How To Cat-Proof Your House: Getting Ready for a Furry Friend

How To Cat-Proof Your House: Getting Ready for a Furry Friend

If you’ve been thinking about adopting a cat, you might be wondering what steps you can take to ensure they feel safe and comfortable in their new home. There are several things to consider when preparing for their arrival.

Join us as we discuss how to properly cat-proof your house.

What Supplies Do I Need?

One key aspect of cat-proofing your house is making sure you have appropriate supplies to meet their everyday needs. This includes scratching posts and toys to provide them with stimulation and basics such as a litter box and food and water bowls.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for supplies:

Age-Appropriate Diet

A cat’s diet and nutritional needs vary based on their age. Finding the right food for your new feline companion is crucial, as a kitten’s diet would not be suitable for an adult cat, and vice versa. Diet and appropriate activity levels help cats maintain a healthy weight.


There are a variety of toys available to help keep your new friend active. Take time to find what your cat likes. In terms of structures, your cat might enjoy tunnels or climbing furniture. Hand-held cat toys include toy mice (sometimes filled with catnip), fishing poles/teasers, and balls that make noises. Cats are born with a very strong prey drive and feel fulfilled when they are able to use it, even indoors!

Litter Box Care

If you are adopting a kitten, they might need help when first learning to use the litter box. Animals often navigate their environment through scent, and for this reason, it may be beneficial to use a litter additive or cat attractant litter. Both these options can provide a specific scent that guides them to use the litter box, making it easier for them to understand where to do their business.

(For our older adoptions, most cats are already litter box trained! )

There are a multitude of reasons why cats of all ages could stop using the litter box, even if they are trained to do so. Perhaps your cat finds the litter to be too deep or too dirty. Maybe they want a different type of litter or would prefer for the litter box to be in another location.

If you have an adult or senior cat who stops using their litter box, you may want to consult with experts to find the root cause.

How To Protect Your Belongings From Your Cat

A major part of cat-proofing your house is minimizing access to anything that might be hazardous to your cat.

Let’s discuss some ways you can keep both your home and your cat safe:


Just like puppies, cats often like to put things in their mouths that they shouldn’t. For any electrical devices that use cords, keep them unplugged when not in use. You might also consider using a cord protector.

Secure Any Harmful Items

Items such as certain human foods or medications meant for humans can be extremely dangerous to cats. Securing these items so that your cat isn’t able to access them can help keep them safe and healthy. Cat/childproof locks on cabinet doors can be a big help here.

Keep Clothes and Towels Out of Reach

Your cat may urinate on soft items as a way of claiming their territory. You might want to keep your favorite clothes and towels off the floor and out of reach to lessen the chances that they will become damaged.

Be Aware of Small Spaces

Many cats are comfortable sleeping in small spaces. Be aware of any spaces where your cat could easily hide, and make sure you know where your cat is before closing off those spaces.

Secure Your Windows

Most cats enjoy sitting on your window sill to look out the window. Keep the windows and window screens secure so your cat won’t be able to escape.

Place Scratching Posts Around the House

Cats will instinctively want to scratch different surfaces around your house. To keep them from scratching your furniture, you can place scratching posts in multiple rooms to help redirect their attention.

Be Careful With Candles

Cats may approach lit candles because they are attracted to light and smoke. You can use candle toppers to minimize the risk of injury, but leaving your cat unattended around an open flame is not ideal.

How Do I Cat-Proof Different Rooms?

Now that we’ve covered the basics for keeping your cat safe and providing them with necessary supplies, you might be wondering how to go about cat-proofing the various rooms of your home more thoroughly.

Let’s get started!

Living Room and Bedrooms

Several things in your living room or bedrooms could be dangerous to your cat. Small items such as pieces from games and toys, sewing supplies, and hair accessories could be harmful if your cat swallows them. Make sure to pick up and put away these things so your cat can’t get to them.

It is best to keep laundry, shoes, and products such as medications and cosmetic supplies out of reach. Your cat can easily jump onto tables and other low surfaces. They may be tempted to play with these items and chew on them if they are accessible.

Driveway and Garage

Clean any chemicals that may have spilled on the driveway or floor of the garage. Products such as antifreeze can prove fatal if ingested.

Put any containers of chemical products out of reach or secure them in some way to prevent your cat from knocking them over.

Bathrooms and Kitchen

Childproof locks can help prevent your cat from getting into cabinets where items such as food and cleaning supplies are stored.

Keeping toilet lids closed and garbage cans either closed or safely stored helps ensure that your cat doesn’t drink or ingest harmful chemicals or food products.

Other Possible Hazards

In addition to those previously mentioned, other common household items could pose a risk to your cat’s safety.

Let’s review some of them:

Blind Strings and Ribbon

Cats may interpret anything left dangling as a toy, which can result in injury. It is best to keep blind strings out of reach so that your cat isn’t tempted to play with them.

Despite what we see in cartoons, cats shouldn’t play with string or yarn since these are choking hazards and may get stuck in the intestinal tract. Keep these items off the floor (and any other low surfaces your cat could jump onto).

House Plants

House plants should be out of reach, as many common house plants can be poisonous to animals, including aloe vera, holly, snake plants, and more.

Keep in mind that cats are agile and may be able to access hanging plants simply by climbing onto surrounding surfaces.

Food Wrappers

There are a number of foods that can be toxic to cats, but wrappers can also be dangerous. Properly dispose of any food-related trash to prevent your cat from finding them.

Things To Keep in Mind

Remember that even if you take precautions and cat-proof your house thoroughly, there could still be times your cat gets into things they shouldn’t have. Luckily, some younger cats may outgrow some behaviors with training.

However, cats of all ages are born to be curious about their surroundings and find a way to access things that aren’t meant for them. The best thing you can do is try to curb unwanted behaviors before they become a habit. Provide ample stimulation so, over time, they gravitate towards toys instead of items in your house.

It may take some time for your furry family member’s personality to start showing, but once they become comfortable in your home, it is likely they will open up more.

Introducing new toys is a great way to build a relationship with your new feline friend. As you begin to notice what they like to play with, you can learn more about their personality.

For more advice on caring for your feline friend, you can join AskVet for only $9.99 a month and receive 24/7 access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ who can help you form an individualized pet care plan perfect for your pet’s needs.

Join AskVet today and get the support you need immediately.



Pet-Proofing Your Home | American Humane

Top 5 Ways to Prep Your Home for a Puppy or Kitten | ASPCA

Tried & True: The Necessary Guide to Cat-Proof Your House | Goldorado Animal Hospital

Cat-Safe House Plants | DeWitt Veterinary Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

Why Is My Cat Gaining Weight?

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

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

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

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

Signs of Pregnancy in Cats

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

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

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

1. Your Cat Is in Heat

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

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

2. Physical Changes Pop Up

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

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

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

3. Change in Eating Habits

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

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

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

4. Morning Sickness

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

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

5. Behavior Seems Abnormal

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

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

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

6. Exhibits Nesting Behaviors

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

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

Or Is Your Cat Simply Fat?

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

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

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

1. Body Condition Score (BCS)

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

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

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

2. Watch Their Eating Habits

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

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

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

Still Unsure? Phone a Friend.

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

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

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

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


Clinical Management Of Pregnancy In Cats | NCBI

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

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

Pregnancy in cats and dogs | Glendale Veterinary Clinic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are Anal Glands?

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

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

How Do They Become Impacted?

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

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

Do Dogs Express Anal Glands on Their Own?

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

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

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

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

Anal Gland Expression at the Vet’s Office

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

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

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

How To Express Them at Home

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

What You’ll Need

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

Some supplies you’ll want to consider are:

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

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

Expressing Anal Glads Step-by-Step

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

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

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

Have More Questions?

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

When Is a Dog Considered an Adult: Life Stages 101

When Is a Dog Considered an Adult: Life Stages 101

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

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

Let’s get started!

Puppyhood Milestones

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

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

Behavior: From Birth to Adoption

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

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

Eight/14 Weeks: Time To Go Home!

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

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

Eight Weeks to Adolescence: What To Expect

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

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

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

Sixteen Weeks: Training and Emotional Development

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

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

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

Four Months to Adolescence

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

When Does Adolescence Begin?

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

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

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

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

What Does My Adolescent Dog Need?

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

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

Your Dog’s Physical Development

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

Let’s learn more:

When Will My Dog Reach Full Size?

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

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

Does One Size Breed Grow Faster Than the Others?

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

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

How Do I Feed and Exercise My Dog?

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

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

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

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

Let’s explore your dog’s needs further:

Nutrition in Puppyhood

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

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

How Diet Can Impact Your Puppy’s Health

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

Nutrition and Exercise in Adulthood

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

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

Knowledge Is Power: What To Know and Why

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

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

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

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

As Your Pup Grows Up

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

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



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

Developmental Stages of Puppy Behavior | PAWS

Managing Your Adolescent Puppy | RSPCA

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

The 4 Best Pet Snakes & What They Need To Thrive

The 4 Best Pet Snakes & What They Need To Thrive

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

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

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

How To Pick a Snake

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

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

How Advanced Is Your Snake Care Knowledge?

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

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

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

Understanding the Breed

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

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

Where Should You Get a Pet Snake?

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

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

Things You Should Consider With Pet Snakes

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

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

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


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

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

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

Overall Costs

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Every Snake Is Different

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

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

Snakes for Beginners

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

1. Hognose snake

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

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

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

2. Corn snake

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

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

3. Garter snake

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

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

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

4. Ball python

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

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

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

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

Other Reptiles and Amphibians To Consider

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

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

Have More Questions?

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

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

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



Hognose Snake | Behavior, Size, & Facts | Britannica

Garter Snake | Habitat, Diet, & Facts | Britannica

Python Regius | University of Michigan 

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

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

How To Help Your Grieving Dog in Mourning

How To Help Your Grieving Dog in Mourning

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

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

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

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

Do Dogs Mourn the Loss of an Animal or Person?

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

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

What Are Signs of a Grieving Dog?

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

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

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

Why Might a Grieving Pet Be Mourning?

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

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

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

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

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

How Can You Help a Mourning Dog?

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

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

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

Spend Some Quality Time With Them

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

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

Offer Lots of Extra Attention

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

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

Consider Veterinary Assistance

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

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

Introduce Your Dog to New Friends

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

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

What To Do When Introducing a New Dog to Your Family

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

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

Support From People for Your Pets

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

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

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



Study Suggests Pets Grieve | American Veterinary Medical Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Bit of Background on the Betta

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

What Is the Temperament of Betta Fish?

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

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

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

What a Betta Needs from a Tank

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

Best Tank Size for Betta Fish

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

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

Optimal Water Temperature and pH Levels for Betta Fish

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

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

What Fish Can Live With Betta Fish?

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

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

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

Nerite Snails

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

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

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

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

Malaysian Trumpet Snails

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

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

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

Ember Tetras

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

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

Kuhli Loach

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

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

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

Platy Fish

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

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

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

Corydoras Catfish (20 Gallon)

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

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

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

A Pool of Experts

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Types of Dog Vomit & How To Treat Them

Types of Dog Vomit & How To Treat Them

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

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

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

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

Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

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

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

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

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

Concerning Reasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things that you can look out for are:

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

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

Is Vomiting Considered Normal?

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

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

Vomiting vs. Regurgitation

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

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

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

Types of Vomiting

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

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

Acute Vomiting

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

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

Some causes of acute vomiting are:

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

Chronic Vomiting

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

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

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

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

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

Vomiting in Puppies

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

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

How To Diagnose Vomiting

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

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

How To Treat Vomiting in Dogs

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

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

When To Call a Vet

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

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

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

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

Feel Better Soon!

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

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

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

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



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

Emesis in dogs: a review | NCBI

Canine Parvovirus: Current Perspective | NCBI

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? | American Kennel Club

Natural Pain Relief for Cats: Real Remedies vs. Myths

Natural Pain Relief for Cats: Real Remedies vs. Myths

There is nothing worse than knowing your beloved cat is in pain. Maybe the only thing worse than that is not knowing how you can help them. You question how you can heal your buddy, what they need from you, and how to get them to a pain-free zone.

We all would do anything to help our pets feel better. They’re our little fluffy babies, after all! Whether your cat suffers from chronic pain or pain caused by an injury, there are both natural and medicinal ways to help them feel better.

If you are treating your cat for an injury or after surgery, your veterinarian might prescribe them antibiotics or pain medication. If you notice that your cat is suffering, there are other remedies to help alleviate pain or symptoms to include in your vet’s treatment plan.

But, not everything that you read on the internet is true! Some home remedies are more of a myth than a fact, but we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about natural pain relief remedies for cats.

What Causes Pain in Cats?

There are many ways your cat could be feeling discomfort, but first, we must identify their source of pain as fast as possible to treat them properly.


If your cat has recently undergone surgery, they might feel sore and uncomfortable after they are discharged from the hospital. If your cat has been prescribed painkillers, this discomfort might be more apparent once the bottle is empty.

On the other hand, if your cat has had surgery in the past, maybe for a broken bone or to remove a tumor, they might experience pain months or even years later. This especially is common when surgery is done on a bone or a sensitive area. This type of pain might not require more pain medication, which is where natural remedies could really shine.


One of the more immediate causes of pain could be trauma. This would be if your cat jammed a body part or got their paws stuck in a door hinge. It also could be related to recent surgery but likely would be an event that would cause bruising, a sprain, or a gash.

You might recognize that a trauma has just happened to your cat because they will react immediately to the pain. Their reaction might seem scary or abrupt, similar to how the trauma occurred. However, if you aren’t home at the time or aren’t in the room with your cat, you may not realize this event occurred until later.


A cat that is dealing with arthritis might experience extreme pain that looks like swelling, soreness, stiffness, lameness, or a lack of flexibility. Depending on where the arthritis is flaring up, your cat might struggle to walk or move fluidly. The pain can range from constant to occasional, with flare-ups that are sometimes random.

Digestive Issues

A cat experiencing digestive issues might have severe inflammation in their stomach that would disrupt a normal digestive flow. Your cat might struggle to keep food down comfortably, have trouble moving around, and sometimes, the stomach can even shift around inside your cat’s body.


Cancer is another potential cause of pain in your cat’s body. Cancerous tumors might press on the tissues and bones of your cat’s body, causing intense discomfort. Cancer can also cause inflammation, making it challenging to move around and feel comfortable. Your cat’s appetite and functionality might decrease due to this ailment as well.

How Do You Know Your Cat Is in Pain?

You know your cat, and you know when something is wrong. Not only might you experience a gut feeling, but your cat will probably let you know how they are feeling. However, if you have a strong, silent type, your cat might not want to alarm you — you’ll need to keep a close eye on them.

There are a few signs to look out for; however, this is not an exhaustive list. If you recognize any of the following changes in their behavior, you should contact your cat’s veterinarian to figure out the next best steps.


There’s a difference between a lazy cat nap and pain-induced lethargy. If your cat is beginning to act lethargic, it might be a sign of pain. The pain might make them nauseous, woozy, dizzy, or tired, resulting in an overall increase in weakness.

If you notice that your cat is not moving as much as usual, having difficulty standing up or staying up, doesn’t want to eat, or won’t play his favorite games, this could be a sign that something worrisome is afoot.


At the opposite end of feeling weak, your cat might instead feel very restless. Your cat might not be able to sit in one spot for too long or at all. They might be unable to put pressure on a certain area of their body for too long, causing them to move around more frequently.

If they are pacing, making noise, and acting a bit confused or distressed, this might be a sign. While restlessness may look similar to boredom, restlessness generally accompanies a decreased appetite and reduced desire to play.


Your cat might let you know they are in pain by simply telling you through loud and consistent noises. Perhaps your cat might express a loud, high-pitched howl or a low and long moaning sound. If your cat is not normally vocal, this could be a clear indicator of the pain they are experiencing.

Now, if your cat is a talker, it might be normal to hear them speaking to you (or to themselves). If you notice an uptick of vocality, accompanied by other symptoms, like the ones mentioned here, this might be a sign that they are in pain.


Another sign of pain in cats is an overall change in their behavior that might lead them to act out more aggressively. This might look like them swatting or hissing at you when you come close to a sore spot. They might lash out at you if they are trying to protect their body, even though they don’t mean to hurt you!

A cat that is experiencing pain is going to want to protect themselves, and who could blame them?

Lack of Appetite

If your cat is experiencing pain, one of the greatest indicators of their discomfort is their lack of appetite.

This could be a result of their weakness, inflammation in their stomach, or a symptom like cancer. If you notice your cat is not eating, chat with a veterinarian to discuss your options. Take note of any other symptoms that might accompany your cat’s lack of appetite.


Limping is another sign that your cat is experiencing pain. They might have an issue with the paw or leg they are limping on, including a fracture, sprain, or even a splinter. Additionally, your cat might be limping due to stiffness or numbness that causes them to struggle walking.

Myths Related to Pain Relief for Cats

You may come across myths related to your cat’s diet and how to relieve them of any pain; there is a lot of information out there, and it can be difficult to figure out what is true and what is false.

When it comes to your pet’s health, you should always consult with your veterinarian or ask AskVet about whether or not a piece of information is correct or not.

Some myths that you might come across are:

Myth: Pain Medication Is Unsafe

Cats shouldn’t take any medication that is prescribed or over-the-counter medications meant for humans.

But if your cat isn’t feeling well and natural home remedies aren’t working, consider consulting with your vet about pain medications. Your DVM can help you to administer the right dose in order to hone in on a specific pain or issue.

Myth: Cats Can Get Over It On Their Own

Yes, we all hear about how cats have nine lives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain or can get over it easier. Yes, research suggests that a cat’s purr hits the sweet spot of 25 and 150 Hertz, which is associated with healing capabilities. However, cats still need us to take care of them (even if some of our feline friends don’t quite act like it). If treatment is delayed, the pain could worsen.

It’s true that cats are fierce, strong, and resilient animals, but they still need proper health care, just like the rest of us!

Myth: A Quiet Cat Is a Happy, Healthy Cat

It could be that your cat has gotten so used to the pain that they no longer can keep up with vocalizing it. If your cat has become accustomed to the feeling, they will tough things out and might stay quiet. How cats communicate their struggles will be unique to your specific cat. We must be mindful of the changes in their behaviors.

Natural Remedies for Pain Relief

If your vet doesn’t recommend feline pain medication for long-term use, there are natural and home remedies that might help relieve your pet’s pain. It’s important to consider all options, including deciphering what remedies are real and which might just be a myth.


Supplements are an easy way to stay on top of your cat’s health, even before you run into any health issues. Supplements contain vitamins that keep your cat’s body functioning properly. They also help to reduce possible inflammation, which can be helpful if your cat is struggling with arthritis or digestive issues.

You don’t want to give your cat too many supplements as an influx of certain vitamins, like D3, could be toxic to your cat. Consult with a veterinarian about what your cat should be taking for supplements to reduce the risk of harm.

Once you have the go-ahead from your vet, you now have to tempt your cat to take the supplement. You can find supplements in the form of a tablet or a liquid that gets mixed in with their food. It may take some trial and error to find one your cat tolerates.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is also a supplement; it’s a specifically beneficial one that you might see marketed frequently in pet stores or at veterinarian offices. It can be a preventative health measure but can also come in clutch when a problem arises.

Fish oil is high in Omega-3s, which helps to naturally reduce inflammation. It also boosts immune function and may help fight against dementia and promote cognitive functioning. You can get these in tablets or a liquid that can be added to your cat’s food.


Before giving your kitty some CBD, consult your veterinarian — CBD affects all cats differently. Just like people, CBD supports cats’ endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBD has soothing properties that can help make your cat feel calmer. CBD also reduces physical pain and brings anxiety down.

You’ll want to determine the proper dosage for your cat and find a highly-regarded and reputable CBD brand. CBD usage can vary depending on weight, method of ingestion, and how frequently it’s being used.

You might come across CBD treats, CBD oils, or CBD tablets. Treats and tablets are likely to be easier to determine the exact dosage you are giving out because they are measured before being made. With oil, you can give more or less each time, so it’s not exact (unless you measure it out the same each time).


Curcumin is an active ingredient from turmeric with a natural anti-inflammatory property that can be especially good for joint pain and arthritis.

Some pet parents have found success with mixtures of turmeric powder, coconut oil, and a crack of black pepper, but too much coconut oil can cause loose stools and weight gain. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount to add to your cat’s food.


If you want to find a way to relieve your cat’s pain without adding anything to their diet, pet acupuncture might be your solution. Acupuncture calms irritated nerves, which can be good for cats with chronic pain. Schedule your cat with a veterinary acupuncturist; this practice differs between cats and people.

Acupuncture may relieve nerve problems by directly diving into the problem areas. It’s a safe method, but it really comes down to how much your cat can tolerate it. It’s not every cat’s favorite to sit still while dozens of needles are placed into their body!

Chiropractic work

Another non-ingestive natural pain relief remedy is chiropractic work. This is especially helpful for swelling or trauma irritating a specific spot. Cats with pain in their neck, back, legs, and arms can benefit from a readjustment. Adjustments could prevent future inflammation and swelling and can even help your cat stay flexible and active as they age.

Your cat might also get a nice massage from an animal chiropractor (to the point where you might become jealous of their amazing treatment). While you should not try any chiropractic work on your cat yourself, your feline chiropractor might be able to offer you some great advice for at-home additions to your pet’s care.

AskVet Is Here To Help

If you ever feel like you aren’t sure if something is true or helpful, working with AskVet can bring you the answers you are looking for. AskVet is an app that you can download and gain access to 24/7 care, including veterinarians and behaviorists. Now, for just $9.99, if you have any questions in relation to a natural home remedy for your cat, you can hop on the app and ask our professionals!

Need some assistance in a specific situation or looking for a lifestyle plan specifically made for your pet? Schedule an appointment with an AskVet Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ for unique, 24/7 care for every kind of pet in your household.



Introduction To Digestive Disorders Of Cats – Cat Owners | MSD Veterinary Manual

Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents For Pain Relief | NCBI

Cannabinoids In The Management Of Difficult To Treat Pain | NCBI

Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials | NCBI

Chiropractic Adjustment for Animals | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

Why Do Cats Purr? | Purring | Live Science

Safe Pain Relief for Dogs

Pain Relief for Dogs

Watching your dog suffer in pain can be really difficult. You want to figure out what is wrong and how you can help them as soon as you can. There are some ways to help alleviate your pet’s pain and work with them towards recovery in the comfort of their own home. (However, sometimes medication and treatment are needed.)

Keep reading to learn more about pain relief for dogs and how to make your pet as comfortable as possible.

What Are Common Causes of Pain in Dogs?

Dogs might exhibit signs of pain for a variety of reasons. Some dogs have even been known to fake being hurt to get extra love and attention (not to say that your pet would ever do that, but it’s a possibility).

Dogs are always running around and bumping into things; your pet could likely give themself a minor injury during their everyday goofy lifestyle. Anything can happen at any point in a dog’s life. Only you know what kind of trouble your pup can get into, so you have to be prepared for little hiccups along the way.

Some causes of pain that your dog might experience are:


Your dog could get a splinter from your hardwood floors, bump their head on the corner of a table and get a cut and bruise, scrape their bellies on concrete or rock as they try to jump over an obstruction in their way… the list could go on and on. And each dog is unique, so their injuries could be all over the place.


Your dog could have an infection somewhere on or in their body that could be causing them pain, whether it’s an ear infection or a bladder infection. The best way to determine if your dog has an infection of some sort is to get testing done by your veterinarian.

Digestive Issues

If your dog has a blockage in their stomach and they are having difficulty using the bathroom, it can also be very painful. It might be due to issues like ulcers.

Otherwise, different foods or things they consume might be causing stomach pain that’s not related to blockage, but rather the ingredients.


Another reason your dog might be experiencing chronic pain is if they are becoming an older dog and beginning to feel the effects of aging due to conditions like osteoarthritis. Their bodies might become tired and sore quickly, and they might not have the same energy or stamina.

Possible Signs That Your Dog Is in Pain

You know your dog best. If there is any significant change in their behavior, you will pick up on it. Some signs that your dog is experiencing pain are:

  • Increased vocalizations
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Increased licking of the spot
  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • Reluctance to walk or play
  • Increase panting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Restlessness

Safe Methods To Help Your Dog in Pain

While waiting for your pup to be evaluated in person, keeping your dog confined to a small room or crate is usually the most effective form of pain control.

It’s hard to tell your pet to settle down, so if they try to be active, they need to be kept confined. It’s the easiest way for them to avoid overdoing it and injuring themselves further.

1. Restrict Movement

Dogs should only be taken outside on a leash to prevent them from excitedly chasing animals and people and walk only long enough to use the bathroom before coming right back inside.

As much as we know you want to see your pet play, it’s best to follow the doctor’s orders and keep them calm. As soon as your vet gives you the go-ahead to take them on short walks, you can! But still, prepare for them to be extra excited.

2. Wear the Cone If Recommend

Once evaluated, your pet might be sent home with the “cone of shame.” While they might be displeased, it will help you tremendously if they keep it on as per the doc’s orders. This will keep your pet from irritating their injury, playing too hard, and getting into things they shouldn’t.

3. Cold Compress

Sometimes, an injured area becomes swollen, and it is obvious what part of the body is painful. In these cases, a cold compress may be your pet’s best friend. Place some ice cubes in a baggie, wrap it in a light towel, and hold it gently to the painful area for ten minutes at a time. This can help numb any pain and decrease inflammation.

4. Warm Compress

In some cases, a warm compress may provide more relief than a cold compress. For a warm compress, simply microwave a damp washcloth until it is comfortably warm. (You can test it on the inside of your wrist, just like a baby bottle.)

Place it in a baggie to keep your pet dry, and wrap it in a light towel before gently placing it on the sore area.

5. Physical Therapy

Just like people have physical therapists, dogs do too. These restorative sessions are led by a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist who has been specifically trained in improving pet health.

Common techniques involve the underwater treadmill, a tool often recommended for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, and neurological injuries. Sometimes, this modality is combined with acupuncture.

What Are the Best Pain Medications for Dogs?

If your dog is in pain and you bring them to the vet, they might prescribe pain medication to help ease their discomfort.

Here are some bottles you might come home with:

Doggy NSAIDs

NSAIDs are Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs that interfere with the body’s production of inflammatory molecules that trigger mild to moderate pain levels. These drugs should always be prescribed because there is potential for problems related to the stomach, liver, kidney, and intestines.

NSAIDs can be used in the short term to control the symptoms of arthritis, joint pain, or after surgery.

If you think that your dog might be having adverse effects from the NSAID they were prescribed, look out for the signs of BEST:

  • Behavior changes
  • Eating less
  • Skin redness, scabs
  • Tarry stool/diarrhea/vomiting

Pet Health Supplements

Supplements aren’t something that will solve your pain within an hour. However, some supplements like those with Omega 3 fatty acids, turmeric, or glucosamine can boost your dog’s immunity.

Some supplements have anti-inflammatory properties (like joint supplements), which can provide natural pain relief as they build up and protect you in the long run. Starting your dogs on supplements geared towards helping their specific pain can bring relief to them over time. Make sure to check in with your vet about the supplements you research.

What Other Medications Can I Give My Dog for Pain?

If your dog is prescribed an NSAID, they likely won’t need any other painkillers, but their DVM might prescribe a few other kinds of medication. Two common drugs to be prescribed are gabapentin and tramadol. Other popular options include: deracoxib (Deramaxx), firocoxib (Previcox), and Metacam.

Gabapentin treats pain from damaged nerves and might make your dog feel a little drowsy. This is usually prescribed along with other medications.

Tramadol is a painkiller that partly works like an opioid medication. This is usually given to pets with high anxiety or constant pain. Especially as a pet ages, this is more likely to be prescribed to help with the discomfort.

Can I Give My Dog Human Pain Medication?

Dogs should never receive human pain medication. Unfortunately, there are no safe over-the-counter medications that you can give your dog. In fact, most human pain medications are toxic to pets—and, in some cases, can even cause kidney failure and liver toxicity.

These human pain reliever medications include (but are not limited to) aspirin, Advil, Aleve/naproxen, ibuprofen, and Tylenol/acetaminophen. Dogs process drugs differently than people (and different from each other!), which can cause unwanted side effects, so stick with the pain medication that your veterinarian prescribes.

Can Dogs Take Benadryl or Antihistamines?

You may be tempted to reach for some Benadryl to help relieve your itching, and you might have heard that it works on pets. Although Benadryl is generally safe in dogs (at a very different dose than used for people), it is only effective for itching in less than half of all dogs.

Other over-the-counter antihistamines are safe for dogs and may be more effective. Even though they still don’t work as well as prescription medications, sometimes they can help just enough to give your pet comfort until their vet visit.

If your dog has repeated episodes of itchy skin, ask your family veterinarian for a dosage of an over-the-counter antihistamine that is safe for your pet to have for future flare-ups. Write down the drug name, tablet size, and dosage, as well as the date your vet made the recommendation, and place it in your medicine cabinet for future reference.

Knowing how much Benadryl is safe to give your pet in case of a severe allergic reaction is always good information to have—so make sure to ask your vet about Benadryl, too.

If your vet gives you the go-ahead for one type of medication, always stick to that. Opting for a “non-drowsy” or another seemingly-similar version can be dangerous to your pup.

The Support You Need, Whenever You Want

You won’t always have the answers about your dog’s health and wellness when you need them, but with AskVet, it’s a whole lot easier to get them. You can have access to 24/7 care from AskVet’s highly trained Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, who can work with your dog’s specific needs.

When you sign up for an AskVet membership you can reach a veterinary professionals ask any question about your pet that you might have, as well as set up a plan to best take care of them. Schedule an appointment on the website with a coach who can answer any questions and guide you through a personalized plan for your pet. With t24/7 veterinary support, coaching sessions, and complimentary One Pet ID tag, pet parenthood has never been easier!



Pain and Problem Behavior in Cats and Dogs | NCBI

Treating Pain in Your Dog | FDA

2015 AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats* | American Animal Hospital Association

Physical Rehabilitation | Calabasas Animal Clinic

Best Dog Massage Techniques: Dog Massage Benefits

Dog Massages: How They Can Help

If you’ve ever had sore muscles, you know that getting a massage can provide some much-needed relief and relaxation. If you’re a pet parent, you’ve probably wondered what massages could do for your furry friend’s wellness and well-being.

Read along as we review the possible health benefits of massages for dogs and how to properly massage your dog.

The Benefits of Dog Massage

There are many reasons why dog massages can be paw-some. The health benefits for pups are similar to the kinds that people enjoy. Plus, massage can also be an opportunity for bonding.

Let’s learn more:

Pet Massage: Potential Health Benefits

Relaxing your dog’s muscles through massage can help relieve physical pain, discomfort, and stress. Touch can comfort them as well, furthering the relaxing effects of the massage.

In addition to providing a general sense of relaxation, you can use this time to check for health concerns such as tumors or suspicious bumps. These can present as lumps under the skin, making them easily detectable during a massage.

Dog massages may also help soothe arthritis pain, post-surgical swelling, and muscle spasms. Athletic dogs might appreciate a nice massage before and after a workout to help speed up recovery time and decrease the potential chance of an injury.

Let’s review the pros of canine massages, starting with bonding:


Canine massage can help you bond with your dog as it shows that you can give them relaxation in a safe environment.

Over time, they might begin to associate physical relief and relief from stress with massage, which could lead to them being more open to receiving it. However, if your dog appears uncomfortable, afraid, or expresses disinterest, it’s time to take a break.

Some dogs might enjoy massages with time, and others not. After all, our dogs are as unique as we are!

What Do I Need To Know About Canine Massage?

Here are some things you might want to consider before starting your doggy spa day:

Start in a Comfortable Environment

If your dog isn’t interested in this “me-time” activity, it’s time to stop and pick another activity for the day.

It is best to give the massage in a quiet environment where they can feel calm and safe. You might also want to choose a clean, flat surface where they won’t be inclined to move around too much. This could be on the floor of your home or on your couch.

Be Mindful of Touch Sensitivity

During the massage, being mindful of your dog’s comfort level can help you give them the best experience. You’ll want to take note if they flinch when certain areas are touched. If your dog has any touch sensitivity, you are already likely aware of their no-go zones.

For example, some dogs don’t enjoy having their paws touched (no thank you to that pedicure) or people petting them on top of their heads.

Introduce Them to Your Touch

It is a good idea tointroduce your dog to the sensation of your touch before you begin to apply pressure. This can lessen the chances of them becoming startled once pressure is applied.

Dogs that accept (or love) human touch will also have an easier time at the vet during routine checkups, which is a huge plus.

Canine Massage: The Basics

Canine massages are different from human massage, so you might be curious about the steps of the process itself.

Let’s dive in!

What Are the Different Types of Dog Massages?

Some common massage techniques used on dogs include petrissage, effleurage, and therapeutic massages.

1. Petrissage Massages for Dogs

This massage focuses on the muscles and tissues. To do this technique, gently knead the muscles and skin. It might be best to have a professional practice this or teach you to do it yourself.

You can massage the dog’s neck and head area first, then gradually start kneading with greater pressure as you move to other areas like the dog’s back legs and front legs, as well as the soft tissues at the base of the tail.

If your dog enjoys this one, look into skin rolling, which offers a similar sensation.

2. Effleurage Massages for Dogs

This massage is aimed at warming up muscles.

When performing an effleurage massage session, use long strokes and minimal gentle pressure. As you keep one hand on your pup, apply long strokes towards your dog’s heart.

Follow the direction of your dog’s hair growth. It is best to do this while your dog is lying down and in a calm environment. This may take more time than passive touch, as it requires more concentration to perform correctly.

3. Therapeutic Massages for Dogs

Passive touch does not involve pressure or continuous movement of your hands. Starting with the head, you can put your hand on different parts of your dog’s body, holding it on each area for a few seconds. This technique can be performed anywhere, as it does not take as much time as an effleurage massage.

What Do Professional Animal Massage Therapists Do?

If you think your dog might benefit from a professional full-body massage, you can schedule an appointment with a professional animal massage therapist. They may be able to provide more thorough treatment for your furry friend. Let’s talk about what that treatment could look like:

Animal massage therapists might sometimes only work with certain species, but other therapists are able to work with a variety of animals. A canine massage therapist may evaluate your dog to gather information about their health prior to working with them. They can communicate with you, as well as professionals involved in your dog’s care (such as your vet), to form a treatment plan.

Their comprehensive knowledge of animal physiology and various deep tissue massage techniques allows them to effectively treat your dog in a way that caters to their specific needs.

For instance, if your dog has a condition such as arthritis, they may ask you questions to determine what massage therapy techniques could best alleviate your pup’s discomfort.

Other Things To Keep in Mind

Canine massage is a great way to bond with your dog while simultaneously relieving stress and tension in their body. However, there are some things to remember, especially if you want to incorporate massage into your dog’s routine.

Here are a few things to be aware of during each session:

Avoid Uncomfortable Areas

Even though massage can help catch medical concerns such as tumors in the early stages, it is best for dog owners to avoid touching painful areas.

Don’t massage areas of the skin that look tender or might be infected. You can focus on applying light pressure to your dog’s muscles rather than massaging bones or joints.

Focus on a Calm Energy

It’s ideal that the massage takes place in a relaxing space. This allows your dog to feel calm throughout the session without any distractions to excite them. While they are in a relaxed state, it is more likely that their muscles might become relaxed, which can make the session easier.

Invite Them to the Lesson

If your dog doesn’t seem interested in receiving a massage, you can try to invite them into the session. Forcing them to relax when they are anxious or energetic might cause them to behave aggressively.

As people, we know when we’re anxious that if someone says, “Just relax,” it doesn’t help in the slightest. If anything, it makes us feel more anxious. 

Instead, slowly invite your pooch into the peaceful space you have created. Gradually, they may begin to sense that the space is meant to calm them and may be inclined to join the session. On a similar note, if your dog flops over for a belly rub, you can always use that as a great opportunity to get a mini-massage in.

The Calm Coach in Your Corner

For more support and advice on care for your furry friend, you can become a member of AskVet for 24/7 access to the Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, who can advise you on every topic for every pet. No late-night frantic Googling to see if your dog/cat/bird/fish just ate something they shouldn’t have.

For only $9.99 a month, our team can help you develop a personalized pet care plan that suits your pet’s individual needs. Schedule an appointment with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ and get started today.


How Massage Can Help Your Dog | American Kennel Club

Dog Behaviour Guide Touch Sensitivity | Edmonton Humane Society 

Why Does My Dog Duck When I Pat Him on the Head? | AKC

Canine Therapeutic Massage | Animal Rehab Center of Michigan

Finding a Healthy Weight for Your Cat: Weight Chart

Finding a Healthy Weight for Your Cat: Weight Chart

When you look at your cat, do you always wonder if they’re a healthy weight? If they need more or less food, and maybe some more exercise? Knowing how to balance their diet, exercise, play, and sleep needs are going to change depending on what cat you have. All cats are different and have different needs.

Some might be more physically active, meaning they need to intake more food on a daily basis to combat their high activity levels. Others tend to prefer sleeping in the sunshine or on your lap and might need to be watched to make sure they don’t snack more than is healthy.

Your cat is unique and adorable (and we are sure you already know this), so you might be surprised to find where your cat fits on the weight chart. Keep reading to learn more about finding a healthy weight for your cat.

What Is an “Average” Cat Weight?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an average cat weight. This is because there is no such this as an average cat. All cats are different in size and needs.

Therefore, it’s hard to determine what would be considered average. Certain cat breeds will have certain averages in weight and size, so it’s important that you understand the average for your cat’s specific breed and gender.

You might not even realize if your cat is overweight or underweight, but learning how to balance their nutrition and physical activity can help maintain their weight and keep them healthy. Cats can range from six pounds to 25 pounds, so make sure you are looking specifically into their breed’s average.

How Can You Determine a Healthy Cat Weight?

When you bring your cat to a vet, they might weigh them, but they will also determine if they are healthy with the Body Condition Scoring (BCS) System. This system allows for visible guidelines that can help determine whether your cat is at a healthy weight or not.

If you can significantly see your cat’s ribs and there is a jagged dip in their hips, they might be underweight. If your cat’s belly is round and protruding on the sides, with a large pouch underneath, they might be overweight.

Truthfully, it does come down to your specific cat breed’s average weight, so knowing what that is can be helpful. On average, a domestic cat might be healthiest around the ten pounds mark, but that range is by no means the law, nor is it set in stone.

What Is Considered Overweight for a Cat?

If you cannot see the outline of your cat’s body, and they seem to be round, with a skin pouch hanging from their underneaths, it might be time to work them onto a diet. They should have somewhat of an hourglass figure to them, so if this is not the case, you might run into health concerns later on. Keep in mind that some cats, like Bengals, naturally have a slight pooch under their bellies (thanks to their wild cat ancestors).

An overweight cat will be apparent, but they are also well-loved, so many people don’t consider it to be that much of an issue. A cat can easily gain weight if they are overeating and not getting enough exercise. Some cats are more chill than others, so you have to be on top of their diets more so than an active kitty.

What Is Considered Underweight for a Cat?

If a cat is happy and healthy, they are likely to want to eat and play, and their weight will reflect this. If you have recently taken in a stray cat or adopted a cat, you might be able to see their ribs more prominently. Getting your cat to a healthy weight will take some time and dedication, but if they are comfortable and trusting of you, they will be more apt to eat their food.

In order to help your cat reach a healthy weight, your feline friend might be recommended to eat more cat food or opt for a higher-calorie diet. You will still want to ensure your cat is getting plenty of exercise to keep their appetite up and learn how to maintain their weight.

Average Cat Weights by Breed

Here is a list of cat breed weight averages:

  • Domestic Shorthair cats: A healthy weight is between 6 and 12 pounds.
  • Persian cats: A healthy weight is between 7 and 14 pounds.
  • Devon Rex cats: A healthy weight is between 6 and 9 pounds.
  • Sphynx cats: A healthy weight is between 6 and 12 pounds.
  • American Shorthair cats: A healthy weight is between 7 and 12 pounds.
  • Munchkin cats: A healthy weight is between 4 and 9 pounds.
  • British Shorthair cats: A healthy weight is between 9 and 18 pounds.
  • Maine Coon cats: A healthy weight is between 8 and 20 pounds.

How Your Cat Can Maintain a Healthy Weight

If your cat is struggling with their weight, either they can’t keep it off, or they can’t gain any weight, there are things you can do to help them maintain it.

First of all, what you are feeding your cat will have a direct impact on their weight. You should discuss with your veterinarian if the food you are feeding your cat is nutritious enough. A well-balanced diet will ensure your cat is as healthy and happy as possible.

On top of a nutritious diet, exercise and play are really important to maintain a healthy weight. If your cat is known as a sedate breed, this might mean you actively play with them throughout the day to ensure they exercise. Soon, you’ll be an expert in wands and teasers, puzzle toys, and balls with delicate bells inside them.

If your cat is known to be active and energetic, this might not be as big of a problem. Though, an active kitty might get hungry easier. It’s critical that you don’t overfeed them, even if they are burning calories!

Checking with your vet for any underlying health-related issues might also explain some of your cat’s weight issues (if they have any). Understanding these underlying causes might make giving your cat a proper diet and exercise regime easier.

Your cat controls a lot in their own life, but you are likely the food supplier, so being mindful of what you’re giving your cat can ensure a happy life in the long run. Your cat may try to peer pressure into pulling out the snacks by yelling at 3 AM every morning, but stay strong. You can do this.

AskVet Can Help

To better understand your cat’s weight and health, consider signing up with AskVet, now for only $9.99/month. You will have access to vets who can answer all your cat-related questions (and all animal-related questions at that). Discussing your cat’s eating and exercise habits can give them a better understanding of what your cat might be going through and if you need to make changes for them.

With AskVet, you don’t have to worry about waiting for a vet appointment to get medical advice for your animal. Our services help you to protect your pet and keep them as healthy and happy as possible. Sign up today and see just what it is we are all about!



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

Ideal Dog and Cat Weight Ranges | Pet Obesity Prevention

Feeding Your Cat | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Possible Reasons Your Cat Has Dandruff & Some Solutions

Possible Reasons Your Cat Has Dandruff & Some Solutions

If you’re the pet parent of a furry feline, you know that cats are mostly self-sufficient when it comes to grooming. Although cats bathe and groom themselves, sometimes their diligent grooming isn’t enough, and they may develop some health issues.

One of these potential problems is cat dandruff. Not to worry — there are things you can do to recognize this problem and ensure that their health is maintained.

Continue reading to learn about what causes cat dandruff and a few possible treatments and solutions.

What Is Cat Dandruff?

Cat dandruff is similar to human dandruff. It is a condition that causes your cat’s skin to flake and become dry, which can be uncomfortable for them. This is normal when it occurs in small amounts, but large amounts of dandruff may require treatment as it could be a sign of underlying health issues.

Let’s talk about the potential causes of dandruff and some health issues it could indicate.

Why Does My Cat Have Dandruff?

Many factors can cause dandruff, ranging from the quality of your cat’s diet to skin infections. The treatment of your cat’s dandruff will vary based on the cause and severity.

Here are a few things that might be causing your cat’s dandruff:


Obesity can inhibit your cat’s ability to groom themselves, leading to a build-up of dandruff in certain areas of their body.


If your cat has arthritis, they may be uncomfortable, and avoid grooming. The decline in their usual grooming habits could increase the likelihood of dandruff. In this case, as with any other underlying condition, the dandruff should improve once the arthritis is treated.


Additionally, skin and fungal infections can play a role in developing dandruff as they cause trauma to your cat’s skin. The treatment of these infections will differ based on the type of infection, but treating the infection should resolve the dandruff.

External Parasites and the Cheyletiella Mite

External parasites can cause dandruff by feeding off of skin cells. Most parasites can be managed with flea treatments, but there is one particular parasite you should be wary of.

The Cheyletiella mite is contagious and can result in skin irritation as well as hair loss and sores if your cat reacts by scratching or over-grooming to soothe themselves. It is also referred to as Cheyletiellosis or walking dandruff because the mites move along the skin.


If the air in your home is dry, it could be taking the moisture out of your cat’s skin. This can cause dandruff and worsen dandruff that may already be present.


Your cat’s diet can affect skin and coat health drastically. Certain deficiencies in their diet can lead to dandruff, but there are changes to their food that you can make to prevent it.

Possible Solutions for Cat Dandruff

If your cat has dandruff, it is best to discuss options with your vet before attempting to treat it. They can help you determine the condition’s source and guide your cat back to their normal, happy self.

Here are a few things your vet might suggest:

Use a Humidifier

Using a humidifier in your home can add moisture to the air, reducing the chances of dandruff.

Keep Them Hydrated

Increasing your cat’s water consumption could also help. One way to do this is by adjusting their diet to include wet food. You could also purchase a drinking fountain as some cats prefer running water over a water bowl.

Try Topical Products

Topical products such as sprays and shampoos can assist in moisturizing your cat’s skin. It is essential to only use products meant for animals, as products meant for humans could contain chemicals and other ingredients that may be harmful to your cat.

Help With Grooming

If they are struggling to groom themselves, brushing your cat on a regular basis can remove dandruff while spreading the skin’s natural oils. This can be relaxing for them as it massages the skin and supports blood flow.

Flea Treatment

If external parasites such as fleas are the cause, your vet might recommend a form of flea and tick treatment to get rid of the pests. Talk to your vet to find the best option for your cat.

Weight Loss

If obesity is the main factor in their dandruff, your vet may suggest steps to help your cat lose weight. This could include changes to their diet or incorporating exercise into their routine. Consult your DVM before making these adjustments, as your cat’s age and breed are important factors in their ideal body weight.

Weight Loss Basics

There are several changes you can make to your cat’s lifestyle to help them lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Some possible solutions include:

  • Use an automatic feeder: Automatic feeders measure and release a preset amount of food every day, which can help prevent overeating.
  • Increase playtime: Adding play to their daily routine can help burn calories naturally. Try a variety of different toys to keep things interesting.
  • Use treat toys: Treat toys are another way to stimulate physical activity. This forces your cat to exercise in order to get treats, keeping them distracted as they gradually lose weight.
  • Go for walks: If your cat enjoys being outside, you might want to take them on walks. It is safest to use a harness and leash instead of a collar. Using treats as an incentive while they get used to the leash can make leash training easier and more enjoyable.
  • Adjust their feeding schedule: Feeding them once a day may increase overeating, as they could become more hungry throughout the day afterward. Rather than having one specific feeding time, try separating their normal amount of food into smaller meals and feeding them multiple times per day.
  • Move their litter box and bowls: For cats who aren’t inclined to spend time outdoors, changing the location of their bowls and litter box frequently encourages movement as they have to search for them daily.

Other Solutions

While you should always talk to your vet before making changes to your cat’s lifestyle, there are several products and treatments you can use at home once your vet determines the source of your cat’s dandruff.

Let’s talk about a few of them:

Flea Treatments

You can choose which flea treatment to use based on what your cat might be most comfortable with. Some treatments are topical products that are applied directly to the skin, while other treatments come in the form of oral tablets or flea prevention collars.

Here are a few options:

  • Flea prevention collar: Collars such as this one can be an easy way to treat and prevent fleas.
  • Chewable tablets: Oral flea preventatives are a great option if your cat is comfortable with taking medications by mouth.
  • Topical flea treatments: Topical flea treatments can be effective as long as they are applied to an area of the body where the cat won’t remove the medicine from their fur during grooming. Applying the treatment under the skin on the top of their head works best.

Grooming Brushes

You can use several different types of grooming brushes. Before starting your at-home feline spa, consider your cat’s temperament, age, and fur type when looking for the right brush.

Here are some options:

  • Soft-bristled brushes: These work well for cats with sensitive or dry skin. It is used primarily on the top coat and won’t cause further skin irritation. It can also distribute skin oils which naturally help moisturize the skin.
  • Rubber brush: These may be more comfortable for your cat if other brushes, such as metal brushes, are too harsh.

Ask for Professional Advice

Cat dandruff isn’t fun for anyone. It’s not fun for us, and it’s certainly not fun for our feline friends. If you are looking for some guidance and tips on pet care (from your cat to your lizard to fish — basically, the whole menagerie), you can rely on AskVet.

Access 360° Pet Care with AskVet for $9.99 a month.



Don’t Brush Off Feline Dandruff | CVMBS News

Pet Dandruff: Causes & How to Prevent Its Buildup | VetDERM Clinic

Dandruff – Cat Owners | Pets and Parasites

The Dos and Don’ts of Walking Your Cat | Texas Humane Heroes

Spaying Your Cat 101: 9 Frequently Asked Questions

spaying your cat

If you’re looking into the process of spaying your cat, there are sure to be plenty of questions swirling around in your head. Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered.

For many, the who, what, where, when, and why can overtake you. Some might wonder what spaying is or how it’s different from neutering. Others might be curious about where the procedure should be done. Or, when is the most appropriate timing? Why is spaying important?

To help put your mind at ease through this whole process, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked cat spaying questions.

Here are the nine most frequently asked questions about our little buddies with nine lives:

What Does “Spay/Neuter” Mean?

The spaying process refers to sterilization (removing the reproductive organs), specifically for female cats. This procedure disrupts cats’ ability to go into heat and reproduce. A male cat, in contrast, would be neutered, which means the cat’s testicles are removed under anesthetic.

Depending on where you are in the world, your cat could undergo either an ovariectomy or ovariohysterectomy. An ovariectomy is when a vet removes just the cat’s ovaries; it is most common in European veterinarian practices. On the other hand, an ovariohysterectomy is when you remove the cat’s ovaries and uterus. This procedure is most common in the United States and Canada.

When Should Your Cat Be spayed?

When you should spay your cat is completely dependent on her individual circumstances.

For instance, if you are adopting a kitten, it’s recommended that you schedule spaying between six and seven months of age. While it’s possible for cats around four months old to reproduce, it’s not very common. Before this age, your cat will likely be too young to reproduce. While adult cats can (and very often should) be spayed, kittens can have an easier time recuperating.

If you have adopted an older unspayed cat, you can talk with the Certified Pet Lifestyle Experts™ (CPLE) at AskVet for advice on the best surgery time. Every cat is unique in their own special way, and this decision will reflect that.

Older cats might have underlying medical conditions that might make the anesthesia process a bit more serious. Your vet might want to do testing to ensure your cat is healthy for this procedure.

What Are the Benefits of Spaying Your Cat?

It’s no secret that there is a homeless cat population worldwide. Cats can reproduce many litters, but that doesn’t mean they need to! When you decide to get your cat spayed, there are many benefits, and population control is one of the main ones.

When you spay your cat, you are helping reduce cat overpopulation that contributes to unwanted litters and cats living in shelters or on the streets.

Regarding health benefits, spaying your cat can greatly reduce their risk of mammary tumors and uterine cancers (as well as testicular cancer in males). Spaying can prevent uterine infections and even the rupturing of the uterine.

When “queen” cats go through their heat cycle, sometimes as frequently as once a month, they might engage in some unwanted behaviors you’d prefer they didn’t. Some hormone-driven behavioral problems might include aggression, yowling in the middle of the night, and possibly small amounts of urine marking.

What Are the Risks?

With every good thing said about spaying your cat, it’s impossible to ignore discussing the risks it carries. The risks are extremely low and rare when it comes to the spaying of a cat. The main risks involve general anesthesia and internal bleeding due to complications (either during or after the spay surgery).

These aren’t the things that should be at the forefront of your mind. With a trusted veterinarian, you can discuss these fears. They should have a plan to help your cat. When interviewing a new vet, you should always feel positive that they have your cat’s best interests in mind.

What Should Cats Expect from This Surgery?

This shouldn’t be a very long surgical procedure. Like with any medical procedure, understanding the logistics of what will likely happen can help you feel better. Your cat won’t understand, so this is mainly to ease your mind.

Leading up to the surgery, your veterinarian might recommend your cat avoid snacking after midnight the night before the procedure. Then when you bring your cat, she will be put under anesthesia so that she doesn’t feel any of the procedure.

Generally, the vet will make an incision in her abdomen and remove the ovaries and uterus (or just ovaries). Then they will stitch up the incision site and give your cat an “Elizabethan collar” to keep her from biting at the sutures. These stitches should be kept clean and out of reach of your cat’s curious tongue.

After seven to ten days, the vet might choose to remove the stitches during a post-surgery check-up.

How Long Is a Spay Surgery?

Typically, a cat can go home the day of the surgery — perhaps with pain medication and an adorable cone, but home nonetheless! Some cats have a very speedy recovery and soon want to go back to throwing books and vases off countertops.

You should make sure that your cat keeps their play to a minimum and that they avoid messing with their sutures. Cats don’t realize it, but that could cause them a lot of trouble.

What Is the Recovery Process Like?

The recovery timeline can be different for every cat, but the recovery process is often a breeze. Your cat might become playful shortly after or overly curious about her new scar. For this reason, keeping a close eye on her is key. Additionally, a controlled and contained environment and a cone can help protect them from their own mischief.

While your cat is in surgery, you can set up and prepare for the recovery process. Make her bedding nice and comfortable, a freshly cleaned litter box, and food and water (if allowed) that is easily accessible.

When your cat comes home from the surgery, you will want to keep her as calm as possible to not disturb her stitches. You’ll want to keep her bedding and litter box spotless to avoid any possible infection. Your cat might be a bit needier during this time. Good thing we would never turn down some cat cuddles!

How Can You Tell if a Cat Is Already Spayed?

If you adopt a kitten, the cat is likely unspayed since she hasn’t reached the proper age for the procedure. If you have adopted an older cat through a rescue, they probably have done a full check-up with the cat and could let you know what your cat’s medical records say.

Now, if a homeless cat has chosen you by coming to your door and refusing to leave, you might not know their complete history. You can ask to have a veterinarian check out their underbelly to look for a scar. Your cat could also undergo a blood test that can detect if your cat has been spayed or not, called the “Anti-Müllerian Hormone Assay.

How Much Does a Cat Spay Cost?

The cost of getting your cat spayed depends on several variants. Where you get it done, where you live, your cat’s age, and other factors might impact the pricing. You might also take your cat to a low-cost spay facility and sign-up for their services. This is one way to still do your part but for a more affordable price.

In general, a cat spaying can range anywhere from $200-500, but the price can vary.

Spaying in Summary

Spaying pets is a great way to ensure that all cats can go to a kind and loving home. Without the help of humans, kittens are being born daily. Spaying is a safe and common procedure that can protect your cat from unwanted pregnancy and health-related complications.

If you still have more questions, you can download the AskVet 360° Pet Care App. Right now, for only $9.99/month, you can gain access to 24/7 virtual veterinarian care. When you download the app, you also gain access to 1:1 personalized pet care to help your pet live a long and healthy life.

You can ask any question you might have at any point in the day and get a quick and speedy response and receive help with a wide range of animal wellness themes along the way. All pets are welcome, including dogs, lizards, and even fish. Whether your cat is a queen or she just acts like royalty, AskVet is here to help.


Ovariectomy or Ovariohysterectomy? | Cornell University Veterinary Specialists

Current Perspectives On The Optimal Age To Spay/Castrate Dogs And Cats | NCBI

Spaying And Neutering | American Veterinary Medical Association

Queen (Cat) – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Feline Reproductive Function Tests | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Living with an Intact Female Cat | BC SPCA