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

overheated dog

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

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

Recognizing the Signs of Overheating in Dogs:

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

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


Steps to Prevent Overheating:

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


Keeping Dogs Indoors on the Hottest Days:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Service Dog Commands You Should Know

Service Dog Commands You Should Know

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

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

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

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

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

Which Breeds Can Be Service Dogs?

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

What Are the Different Types of Service Dogs?

The main types of service dogs are:

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

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

What Do Service Dogs Do?

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

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

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

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

The Three Goals of Training Sessions

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

The three main goals of training a service animal are:

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

Basic Commands To Teach a Service Dog

Take Time To Learn

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

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

The Basics

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

Adjustment Commands

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

Direction Commands

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

Focus-Up Commands

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

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

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Get Answers with AskVet

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

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


Selecting Quality Service Dogs | NCBI

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

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

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

Interfering with dog guide or service animal | Washington State Legislature

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

Aromatherapy For Cats: Is It Safe? 

Aromatherapy For Cats: Is It Safe?

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

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

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

What Is Aromatherapy?

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

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

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

How To Use Essential Oils Safely Around Pets

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

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

How To Blend Essential Oils With a Carrier Oil

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

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

Essential Oils To Avoid

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

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

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

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

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

Review the symptoms of essential oil poisoning. Concerns include:

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

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

Safe Essential Oils to Use

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

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

  • Cedarwood
  • Rosemary
  • Copaiba
  • Helichrysum
  • Frankincense

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

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

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

Introduce Essential Oils Slowly

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

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

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Answers for Pet Parents From the Pet Experts

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

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

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


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

Clinical Aromatherapy | NCBI

Essential Oils For Cats | Iowa Veterinary Wellness Center

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

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

The Essentials of Essential Oils Around Pets | ASPCA

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home: 13 Tips

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home: 13 Tips

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

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

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

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

New Dogs Need Time

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

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

Perp Work: What To Do

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

1. Gather All Supplies Ahead of Time

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

2. Introduce Your Scent to the New Dog

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

3. Remain Calm

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

How To Introduce Your Current Dog to a New Dog

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

Here is some information to help get your plan started:

1. Introduce the New Dog’s Scent

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

2. Start in a Neutral Territory

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

3. Watch the Body Language

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

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

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

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

4. Go for a Short Walk

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

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

How To Introduce Your Cat to a New Dog

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

1. Introduce the Scent Before the First Day

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

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

2. Your Cat Sets the Pace

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

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

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

3. Teach Dog-Cat Playtime Manners

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

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

4. Focus on Comfort

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

5. Keep Routines Consistent

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

6. Monitor All Interactions

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

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

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Say Hello to AskVet

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Dog Enrichment: Keeping Your Dog Entertained

Dog Enrichment: Keeping Your Dog Entertained

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

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

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

The Importance of Enrichment Activities

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

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

Types of Enrichment and How To Do Them

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

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

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

Food Puzzles

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

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

How To Make Puzzle Toys for Dogs

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

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

Introduce Slow Feeders and Lick Mats

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

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

How To Make Dog-Friendly Popscicles

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

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

Social Enrichment

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

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

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

Physical Exercises and Challenges

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

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

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

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Dog Training Exercises 

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

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

Find a Well of Pet Well-Being Knowledge

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

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


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

Implementing Environmental Enrichment for Dogs | Purdue Extension

Training as Enrichment: Basic Skills | University of Illinois

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? | AKC

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

Understanding the Dog Who Digs | Arizona Humane Society

Cat Enrichment: A Guide for Bored Cats

Cat Enrichment: A Guide for Bored Cats

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

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

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

What Does Enrichment Do for Your Cat?

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

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

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

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

Enrichment Ideas for Cats

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

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

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

Food Enrichment

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

How To Make DIY Enrichment Toys for Cats 

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

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

Environmental Enrichment

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

Outdoor Walks

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

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


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

Window Perches

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

Basic Training 

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

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

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

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Cat Toys and Cat Furniture

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

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

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

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

Get More Ideas With AskVet

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

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


Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats | NCBI

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of Clicker Training for Shelter Cats | PMC

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

Online Vet Chat – Get Answers to Your Pet Questions

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As pet owners, we all know the importance of taking care of our furry friends’ health and wellbeing. However, finding the right veterinary care or pet trainers can be a daunting and stressful process. Fortunately, AskVet is here to help! Now you can access AskVet from the web with our free AI-powered Chat GPT-based VetBot VERA. AskVet’s online vet chat is making it easier than ever to get expert veterinary advice and behavior training answers when and where you need them.

Meet VERA, AskVet’s free AI VetBot. VERA is powered by AI, ChatGPT and AskVet’s vast database of over 1.5 million digitized conversations between veterinarians and pet parents.

With VERA, pet owners can get instant answers to their pet-related questions and concerns. VERA provides personalized responses based on AskVet’s extensive database of veterinary knowledge. Simply go anywhere on the AskVet website and the free VERA chat icon is on the bottom right.

Online Vet Chat - Get Answers to Your Pet Questions

Pet owners no longer have to wait for appointments or travel to the veterinarian’s office to get the pet support they need. No more searching Google and reading multiple articles to get your pet questions answered.

VERA is always free and can answer any pet question. If you need more information or want to talk with a veterinary expert, trainer, nutritionist or pet coach, you can join AskVet and connect with our live experts 24/7.

AskVet’s deep lake of pet health conversations, makes it for VERA to provide accurate, instant, personalized answers to their specific pet health concerns.

AskVet is a valuable resource for modern pet parents who want to ensure the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. With the introduction of VERA, AskVet is making it easier than ever to get expert veterinary advice and behavior training support. Whether you have a simple question about your pet’s diet or a more complex health concern, or training needs, AskVet is here to help.

Why Do Cats Hate Water? What They’re Thinking

Why Do Cats Hate Water? What They're Thinking

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

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

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

Why Do Cats Hate Water?

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

Cats and Hydration

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

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

Presence of Water vs. Immersion in Water

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

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

Water Changes a Cat’s Weight

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

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

It’s an Evolutionary Trait

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

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

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

Past Negative Experiences

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

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

They Don’t Like the Smell of Bathwater 

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

They’re Not in Control

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

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

Are There Any Types of Cats That Like Water?

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

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

Maine Coon

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

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


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

Turkish Van

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Why Do Cats Hate Water? | Britannica

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

Hydration | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Cats in Ancient Egypt | Acoma Animal Clinic

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

Abyssinian | Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital, Inc

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

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

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

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

What Is Your Cat Trying To Tell You?

Our cats are great at communicating with us.

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

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

They Love You

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

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

They Missed You

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

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

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

They Are Hungry

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

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


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They Feel Angry

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

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

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

They Feel Scared

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

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

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

They’re Curious

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

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

Put More Eyes & Minds on Petcare With AskVet

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

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

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

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


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

How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other | Library Of Congress

The curious character of cats |

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

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

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Cats are notorious for finding the perfect boxes to sit in — aka, if I fits, I sits! You may be wondering why a cat is always looking for a way into any box. Interestingly, there are a couple of reasons for it.

Whether your furry friend is looking for warmth, is curious about the new box you have brought home, or has an absolute favorite box that only they are allowed to touch, consider having some lying around your house.

Boxes Make a Cat Feel Safe

When a domestic cat sits in an empty box, it might be helping them feel safe in its surroundings. Boxes are four walls that create enclosed spaces for cats.

For someone who is claustrophobic this might sound like a nightmare, but for a cat, they know this hiding box protects them from all angles. If a predator was to approach them, they would likely not be seen (especially if they are a healthy weight and fit in their favorite boxes). That means your feline friend could pounce and ambush predators or prey at any point.

A study on animal shelter cats showed when a cat was given a box to sit or sleep in, they showed fewer signs of stress during their stay. The boxes were great insulators and can give the effect of protecting the cat from the outside world. This can ultimately lower their stress levels and give them a sense of security in stressful situations.

Once your cat has made a home in a box, it will also smell like them. A lived-in box gives them a solid home base if they need to relax.

Boxes can offer hiding places for both domestic house cats and street cats. This kind of hiding spot can help if your cat is looking for a place to rest or if an outside cat needs shelter from the weather and cold.

Additionally, sitting in a box might remind your cat of what it was like to be in their mother’s womb, snuggled up next to all of their kitten siblings. If you have a new cat coming into your home, they might look for a box to sit in to adjust to a new environment.

Why Do Cats Love Boxes? It’s Pure Curiosity

Cats are famously curious, constantly seeking enrichment. When you get a new box, whether you ordered something offline or are about to ship something off, your cat will likely be involved with whatever is going on.

Your cat might be looking for the box’s purpose, wanting to check out how it smells or wondering where you will be putting the box, especially if they are avid box sitters.

For some cats, the box is something to make into a play toy, and this is completely valid! Your cat might like to sit in them, scratch them, bite them, or even bat them around. It’s a low-cost toy that might keep your cat entertained for hours. Of course, you will want to pay attention to how many boxes you end up keeping so that you don’t end up under a mountain of cardboard.

If your cat does like boxes, consider looking into cat trees and hideouts that you can create for feline enrichment and entertainment.

Warmth and Security in a Small Space

Cats, whether living in a home, in the outdoors, or in a shelter, deserve to feel warm and secure in their own safe zone. A cardboard box is an insulated object that is easy for cats to nest into that can help regulate their body temperature.

According to the American Veterinary Society of Applied Behavior, cats prefer environments around 86 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter how much we care about cat care, this temperature might prove tricky to maintain. A box can help our cats stay max comfy.

There are also plenty of broken down or beat-up boxes out on the streets that unhoused cats can make into their safe space. You may have even heard of people asking for donations of boxes and blankets to put out for cats that might get cold at night.

If a cat doesn’t have a home or is moving into a new place for the first time, they might become overwhelmed, especially if they are unsure where they’ll sleep. Most cats like to be warm and cozy, and boxes can provide them with this. It makes sense, as their own body heat is trapped and redistributed back to them.

How To Make Cardboard Boxes Safer for Cats

Before you let your cat sit or play with a new cardboard box, make sure there are no staples, nails, or tape that could be left over in the box. The last thing we want is for cats to get hurt when trying to get comfortable! If there are any rough edges or pieces that could cause a cut, you might want to get rid of the box altogether or remove any dangerous parts.

Ensure your cat can’t fall out of the box and hurt themselves. Placing it on the ground is the safest option because if you have it on a table, counter, or even the couch, they could accidentally knock the box over and fall. You can put blankets, towels, and toys into the box to make it more inviting and comfortable — your cat will surely be grateful!


Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Out of the Box Solutions With AskVet

When it comes to having cats, they can get into a lot of trouble (and fun, of course). Questions are bound to arise, and having AskVet at the tip of your fingers can ease you into animal parenthood. It’s harder to communicate with our animals than we want it to be, but AskVet bridges that gap and helps to come up with answers to any question you may have.

Join AskVet today and meet with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) who can help come up with diet plans, introduce behavioral support, and answer general questions you may have about your pet’s health or cat behaviors. It shouldn’t be difficult to get your pet help, and with 24/7 access to our CPLCs™ and veterinarians, you don’t have to wait long at all!

Reach out if you have any questions about how AskVet can help you.


Assessment Of Clicker Training For Shelter Cats | NCBI

The ‘feline Five’: An Exploration Of Personality In Pet Cats (Felis Catus) | PLOS ONE

Innovative Cardboard Based Panels with Recycled Materials from the Packaging Industry: Thermal and Acoustic Performance Analysis | ScienceDirect

The “If I fits, I sits” instinct: Cats will sit in a box even it’s an illusion (cat pics inside) | BBC Science Focus

Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats? | ScienceDirect

Can We Keep Our Cats Warm Enough? | AVSAB

8 Playful Cat Breeds & How To Play With Them

8 Playful Cat Breeds & How To Play With Them

When looking into adopting a furry companion, you want to ensure that both your personality and theirs mixes well. What you are looking for out of your new best friend might influence what breed of cat you take home with you.

You might want a cat that will chill out and snuggle up next to you all day, or you might want a cat that jumps off the walls, chases all the toys, and makes you laugh non-stop.

If an energetic and adorable cat is what you’re looking for, look no further. We have compiled a list of some playful cat breeds with tips on how to play with them to get the most out of their energy.

Knowing Your Cat

Any cat that you take home you are going to fall in love with and appreciate for all their little quirks, but your lifestyle might influence what breed would do best in your home.

Some kittens require a bit more of an active life from their parents. They may need you to be more involved with their day-to-day life, so knowing which cats have this playful personality can help make the decision on what breed to adopt.

Aside from activity levels, where you live and who else lives with you might impact the breed that comes home with you. Some cat breeds do better with dogs and children than others, and other cats prefer having a companion cat with them in the home. You’ll want to consider all of these things before committing to a new feline friend, so you can ensure you’re giving them the best life possible.

If you live a more slowed-down lifestyle, you might not be able to fulfill a playful kitten’s needs. And that’s okay! Knowing what you are looking for can ensure that you find the absolute best fit for you.

Playful Cat Breeds 

Some people really want a playful cat that will provide non-stop, lovable entertainment while being the best friend you could possibly ask for. An active cat breed will bring this for you, but they might also require a bit more of your attention. Playful cats are sure to find time to entertain themselves, but they will love it when you involve yourself with their playtime.

The following breeds are considered some of the most playful cats out there:


If you’ve ever wanted to have a conversation with a cat, a Siamese is always ready to talk. They are known as very loyal and talkative companions, which means they love you so much that they just want to tell you all the time. However, they are known as some of the most vocal cats out there, so be prepared to hear them all day long.

Siamese cats are smart and outgoing. They love to play and will do so with anyone that is willing to. They will chase a mouse on a string for hours or run up and down the stairs until they start to doze off. Not only do these cats love to play, but they love their humans, so they want to snuggle up and get some love at the end of the day.


These adorable little (literally) cats are also known to be very playful and energetic. Their tiny legs don’t stop them from bouncing off the walls and getting into every crevice in your home. They are generally mischievous and curious, loving to explore and look for trouble.

Don’t be surprised if a few shiny objects of yours go missing — the munchkin cat is known to hide valuables as a game. They love to involve you in their antics, whether you are aware or not. These cats are extremely sociable and friendly and can do well with other pets and children to play with.

Puzzles, string toys, and crumpled-up paper will keep this little cutie entertained, and once they get bored, they are quick to find a new game to play. When bringing home any cat, but especially such a mischievous one, take time to cat-proof your home so your new sofa and fancy curtains can stick around for a bit longer.


Abyssinian cats are beloved for their outgoing and extroverted personality. They really like to be involved in the happenings around the home and will make themselves the centers of attention. They love to climb and perch and watch what’s going on but will involve themselves when they deem it fit to.

Cat trees and wall perches are a great way to keep this playful kitten happy, especially because they are so agile and love to be active.

These cats are famous for their looks: They closely resemble the mountain lion and Ancient Egyptian cats. In fact, it makes them even more appealing! They’re friendly wild cats that you can actually pet and cuddle up with.


While not known for bouncing off the walls like some other cats, the Birman is a cuddly and furry cat that could chase a laser and bat a crumpled paper while lying on their back for hours. If you want a playful and friendly cat that keeps it a bit more lowkey, this might be the breed for you.

You better like cuddling! Birmans are more likely to snuggle next to you and ask for plenty of pets than want to run around the house wreaking havoc. Their long and soft fur is the perfect snuggling material, and you’ll find yourself at peace just running your fingers through it.

Japanese Bobtail

Japanese Bobtails are regarded as one of the most playful cat breeds out there. They will come when called, play fetch for hours with their toys, and find a way to entertain themselves. These cats will bring you the toy they want to play with and drop it at your feet, meowing, telling you when it’s time to take a break from work.

They are very active and sociable, which makes them an ideal pet for someone who is looking to be actively involved in their lifestyle. Not only are they active, but they are sweet and affectionate and will give you all the love that they can.

Siberian Forest Cat

The Siberian Forest cat, or Siberian, is known primarily for their large and strong stature. They are a cat that stands out because of their size and their confidence. They are known as an ancient breed and are playful, outgoing, and energetic. While easygoing, they are very brave, which means they will chase any toy, climb any surface, and even venture outside to chase after butterflies and frolic through the grass.

To keep these cats entertained, you should be actively seeking new games and puzzles to involve them in. They are intelligent cats who want to learn new ways to play, so be ready to be creative in your games!

Turkish Angora

Turkish Angoras are very popular with people who have kids in their households because they are generally very friendly and affectionate. They are soft and cuddly and have a calm temperament, making them easily adaptable. Turkish Angoras do tend to bond with only a few people and might not be a stranger’s best friend, but they sure will be yours.

These cats are skilled climbers and love a good cat tree. They will find a wall or crevice to perch on, so providing them with structural sound spaces can heighten their exploration. Turkish Angoras are also adept hunters, so they might stalk you from time to time (all in good fun!) and might swat at your ankles when they’re feeling spunky.

Maine Coon

The state cat of Maine in the United States, Maine Coon cats, are large and regal cats that are often compared to dogs in how they behave. Though big and bold, they are extremely affectionate and playful.

They love to learn tricks, sometimes go on leashed walks out in nature (if you can train them to enjoy it), will follow you all around the house, and play games all day long.

They enjoy chasing toys, hiding toys from their humans, and playing fetch. Some Maine Coons can be a bit lazier than others, but they still will find ways to get their energy out throughout the day.

All Fun and Games — and Information

When adopting a cat, you might not always know what to expect from their behavior. Questions will arise, and not everyone that you know may be a cat expert. That’s why AskVet is here to help.

AskVet provides pet parents access to answers that they might have working 1:1 with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™. AskVet coaches will help you decipher your pet’s behavior and come up with both behavioral and health plans to benefit your cat.

When you join AskVet, you no longer have to wait for your veterinarian’s office to be open to ask your questions. Now you can connect with world-class veterinary professionals 24/7, no matter where you are.



Abyssinian | Breed Of Cat | Britannica

Siamese Cat Breed Profile | Cat World

Breed of the Month: Siberian Forest Cat | West Hill Animal Clinic

Maine Coon Cat | Maine Secretary of State Kids’ Page |

How to Teach a Cat to Do Tricks | Animal Behavior College

Reading your cat’s “body language” Score Body Postures Head Postures | Winnipeg Humane Society

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

When Is a Dog Considered a Senior & How Care Changes

When Is a Dog Considered a Senior & How Care Changes

A dog’s stages of life can seem to fly by when you are caring for them. One day they are running around like crazy, and the next, they need an extra hand to get up onto the couch. As your pet goes through each stage of life, they are always relying on you, their human parent, to take care of them and to give them the love and care they need.

Watching your dog get older can be difficult, and depending on the breed and size of your dog, their senior years can be different. Physical and behavioral changes begin to take place, and health issues may arise more frequently. All breeds have different life expectancies, so taking that into account can help in planning your pup’s golden years.

There are some signs to look out for that your dog is beginning to start their senior stage of life. Recognizing them can help you to determine what the best care for your older pup is going to be. This way, the rest of your dog’s life will be happy, healthy, and loving.

The “1 Dog Year = 7 Human Years” Calculation

Most of us have heard that each year in a dog’s life is like seven human years – except this isn’t a proper calculation. Every dog breed you come across will have a unique calculation that usually depends on their size. The scale we’ve always been given is very general but doesn’t reflect the life stages of a dog properly.

For example, for the first two years of a dog’s life, it’s typical that the ratio is actually one dog year being equivalent to 10.5 human years. So by the age of two, a dog is at the same level of maturity as a 21-year-old human. Then for every year there on, you can add four human years. So a seven-year-old dog would be considered to be 41 in dog years.

Larger dogs tend to have shorter life spans than small dog breeds, so this math may not always make sense. And that’s okay! While the calculation is interesting, it’s not really indicative of how long your dog might live or when they might enter their senior years. Instead, taking note of certain signs can signal when your dog is entering the later stage of their life.

When Does My Dog Become a Senior?

Dog breeds have different life spans, so when they become a senior might depend on that. If a dog’s lifespan is ten years, years seven to ten might be considered the senior years, whereas a dog with a lifespan of 15 years could be deemed a senior from 11 to 14 years of age. Lifespan is heavily influenced by the dog’s size as well as other factors like health, exercise, and eating habits.

Small Dogs

Small dogs under 20 or so pounds tend to age to maturity quicker than larger breeds of dogs, but after they mature, they age more slowly. Many small dog breeds have lifespans that reach upwards of 16 years, making their senior years from ages eight to 12 and on.

Every dog breed is unique, and some breeds are an exception to this generalization, but for the most part, small dogs have a longer life with fewer health-related issues (until they are much older than their larger counterparts).

Medium Dogs

Medium breeds between 20 and 50 pounds usually aren’t considered senior dogs until they are seven years or older. They might begin to show signs as early as seven of their aging process, but the more difficult changes might not be apparent until a few years later as their energy will not fizzle out first!

Large Dogs

Large dogs typically have the shortest lifespans of other breeds. Some extra-larger breeds, like the Great Dane, have a lifespan of eight to ten years, so their senior years can start as early as age five or six. Other large-size breeds like Golden Retriever have a longer lifespan of ten to 12 years and don’t show signs of aging until they are a bit older — closer to eight or nine years.

Larger breeds can be prone to more health-related issues that can shorten their lifespan or contribute to more signs of aging than smaller dogs. Regardless, these dogs will have so much life in them until the very end and won’t let their old age slow them down too much.

What To Expect When Loving a Senior Dog

When your dog begins to age, there will be a few signs to let you know the process is starting.

Some signs to look out for are:

Physical/Medical Changes

  • Thinning and graying hair: Sometimes, one of the first signs a dog is aging is gray hair forming underneath their chins and around their eyes. Their hair may also feel less thick and begin to fall out.
  • Cognitive decline: Older dogs can develop canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), which can cause irritation, agitation, confusion, and restlessness. They might have changes in their behavior, including becoming more stubborn and sleeping more often.
  • Dental issues: Older dogs can have many dental problems, such as gum decay and teeth falling out. Their teeth will become weaker, so eating food can become challenging, and hard chew toys may be painful.
  • Loss of mobility: As your dog ages, their joints might begin to hurt more due to arthritis. Going up and down stairs might become difficult, and getting onto the couch or bed might require additional support.
  • Hearing and vision loss: Your dog might begin to lose their vision and hearing abilities. They might not answer your calls as frequently and could begin knocking into walls and objects in their path.
  • Temperature regulation: Dogs get older and may struggle to regulate their body temperature. They might not be able to cool down as fast or stay warm enough, so you should keep an eye out during changes in the weather.
  • Other medical issues: As dogs age, they are more likely to suffer from various medical issues. Issues like cataracts, kidney disease, and arthritis. Additionally, some cancers are more prevalent in older dogs, making regular vet check-ups a must.

Behavioral Changes

  • Reduced activity: Your dog might begin to slow down and find themselves napping more frequently. They might run around for a bit but rest for longer.
  • Eating habit changes: Sometimes, as a result of dental issues (and sometimes as a result of other health issues), senior pups may change their eating habits. As dogs stop exercising as much, they might gain weight. Conversely, they may lose too much weight if they have trouble eating.

How Care Changes for Senior Dogs

Care changes as a result of the changes above. As your dog gets older, they will need more support from us people. They need more check-ups with the vet, and they need us to keep an eye on any abnormalities. We may have to change our patterns to keep up with care for our senior dogs.

Some ways that you could change how you care for your senior dog include:

  • Instead of long walks daily, focusing on light physical therapy and training mental capacity can encourage your dog to feel young for longer.
  • Switch from dry food to wet food as your dog’s dental issues increase, and it’s hard for them to chew.
  • Provide sweaters or cooling jackets depending on the temperature to regulate your dog’s body temperature.
  • Wake up in the middle of the night to bring them out to the bathroom as their bladder becomes weaker.
  • Note any bumps or lumps that form on their body. Not every lump requires treatment and many that form are benign. But keeping track can help ease your own worries.
  • Looking into joint supplements if your dog is struggling with their mobility. Sometimes providing stepping stools to get onto higher surfaces can help as well.

Get Answers with AskVet

As your pet ages, you will likely have many questions arise. With AskVet, you get access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches (CPLC)™, who can provide professional advice about your dog’s aging process (or any other pet-related concern you may have).

Our teams of veterinarians and coaches can bring peace to your mind by coming up with exercise and diet plans that can improve your dog’s last stages of life. With AskVet, there is no such thing as a stupid question. If something is bothering or concerning you, you can ask us and get an insightful response every time.

Your dog counts on you to provide them with a happy home, and no matter what stage of life they are in, they are simply happy to be with the people they love. If your goal is to give them the best life, finding support from outside professionals can only help you! Sign-up today and have your old dog feeling like a brand-new pup again.


Prevalence, Duration And Risk Factors For Appendicular Osteoarthritis In A UK Dog Population Under Primary Veterinary Care | NCBI

Periodontal Disease In Dogs: Etiopathogenesis, Prevalence, And Significance | ScienceDirect

Physical Signs Of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction | NCBI

Your Big Dog May Be More Likely to Develop These Health Problems | Crossroads Animal Hospital

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

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

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

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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

Puppy Development by Week: What You Need To Know

Puppy Development by Week

Watching a puppy grow into themselves and their personality is one of the greatest things in life to experience. If you’re a dog lover, you know this to be true. From the moment they open their eyes to when they are bounding around your home as young pups and being a loyal companion in their adulthood, a dog’s life is a journey.

While not everyone experiences their pup from day one, it’s still important to understand how a puppy develops. This can help you better understand your dog’s behaviors, temperament, and quirks, all of which will impact how you will interact with them in the future.

If you’re someone who has adopted a puppy and is getting them at eight to 14 weeks, the weeks after will be much different than the weeks the puppy has already lived. Keep reading to learn more about your new furry friend and the stages of their development.

Stage One: Birth – 2 Weeks

When a puppy is first born, they don’t have too much awareness of the world around them. They don’t open their eyes immediately, need assistance feeding, can’t move around comfortably yet, and aren’t responsive to human stimuli. Instead, you’ll notice that a newborn puppy will sleep almost the entire time.

Don’t stress about this, though, because sleep is vital. If you are someone who is assisting an adult dog through the birthing process, you will want to ensure that you are handling her puppies, even for a few minutes a day. Tactile stimulation helps to reduce their stress from outside stimuli and can assist in their overall development.

There is very little training that you can do in this period. Punishing will only cause harm, so learning how to steer a puppy away from unwanted behaviors is the better alternative. You’ll also want to introduce these little puppies to stimuli they need to be accustomed to. This could be other animals or different noise levels and sounds.

Stage Two: 2 – 4 Weeks

During this period, a puppy will begin to walk around (clumsily) and will officially wake up from their sleep phase. This is the time when the mother can begin correcting the puppies’ behaviors and helping them socialize with their siblings. At this point, a puppy’s senses are strengthening, so they react to their environment in ways we humans can easily perceive.

Your puppy will soon begin their vaccinations, but until then, they shouldn’t be exposed to a wide variety of dogs. You don’t want your puppy to risk getting sick, but bringing them to clean environments, like puppy classes, is usually safe. Dog parks are not meant for unvaccinated pups.

Stage Three: 5 – 8 Weeks

At this stage, your puppy will likely be more involved with their environment and begin building their personalities. Your dog might be the one to greet every person that walks in the door, or maybe they are the one sunbathing away from all the commotion, enjoying their solitude.

This is the stage where your puppy will begin to learn how to play and gain social skills from their siblings, like biting to play, not to hurt. A puppy might also learn how to bark and growl during these stages.

During these stages, your puppy should interact with a variety of different people to become accustomed to them. Young children, older people, male and female, should come to meet your puppy so that they don’t become fearful of any type of person. Luckily, inviting people over to play with puppies is pretty much a guaranteed yes RSVP.

At the same time, you’ll want to vacuum around your pup, knock and ring doors, go for car rides, get used to a crate, drop things on the floor, or even ride a bicycle near them to normalize new experiences for them. You should also feel comfortable touching all parts of your puppy so that they see it as normal. Additionally, try to stop resource-guarding before it even begins by touching their food while they eat.

Starting early with house training makes your life a whole lot easier. There will be a lot less mess to clean up if your puppy is not having any accidents in the house. You can introduce them to a collar and lead and go for “walks” in your backyard and begin the basic training. Always use positive reinforcement.

Vaccination information

During this stage, your puppy will need to get a few different vaccinations in order for them to go out and socialize with other dogs. They will need parvo, distemper, and hepatitis vaccinations, along with anything else your vet recommends.

If your pup isn’t vaccinated yet, it’s best to keep them away from other dogs to minimize any risk. Once your dog is vaccinated, they can go out in more populated dog settings to learn how to make some friends.

Stage Four: 8 – 14 Weeks

If you haven’t watched your pup grow from birth, this might be the time that you are getting your dog. Between eight and 14 weeks, a puppy is usually ready to go out and meet their new family.

Some people might suggest waiting longer to give your puppy more time to understand their surroundings. They have done the basics of their development, learning a bit about how to just be a dog.

When a puppy no longer has their littermate or mom to correct unwanted behavior, you need to take on that role in a way that wouldn’t traumatize them. Your pup might express some anxiety and fear, especially if they have just left their siblings.

It’s not personal: During this stage, their fear response becomes more pronounced. As a pet parent, you’ll figure out ways to increase your pup’s comfortability. Positive reinforcement with treats can make the training a lot easier, as many puppies are food motivated.

While it can be tricky at first to communicate with your pup, the best way to help them succeed is to learn about what their triggers are and what kind of interactions they enjoy the most. You can reward them for getting through hard times with something they really enjoy.

Here’s a hypothetical situation: Say your puppy is afraid of meeting children. If you give the child your pup’s favorite treat, have the child sit very still, and without making eye contact with your pup, have them reach the treat towards them.

This exchange allows for your puppy to make contact on their own terms and with more confidence. They will smell that treat from a mile away and reinforce a scary stimulus with something positive.

Stage Five: 12/14 – 24 Weeks

Around this time, you’ll want to keep your shoes off the floor and anything important to you out of reach. Welcome to the teething stage. Your pup’s teeth are growing in, which can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, and chewing makes it feel better.

Supervise your puppy whenever they are chewing on something so that they don’t destroy something they aren’t supposed to. Having plenty of safe toys, maybe some with food inside can help to curb your puppy’s boredom and redirect their energy. Your puppy will need a lot of stimulation to avoid unwanted behaviors, like gnawing on chair legs and rugs.

This is an excellent time to start training with your dog, which will burn their energy and keep them occupied — a huge plus. With positive reinforcement, your puppy will catch on to tricks much easier and understand the concept of house training better.

Stage Six: 25 – 48 Weeks

By this point, your puppy might not feel like a puppy anymore since they’ve grown so much in a few short weeks. But trust us, your dog will forever be a puppy, especially during this stage when they are still one! Your dog might be more confident and active now, meaning regular walks and perfect potty training.

It’s likely that by now, your dog is more comfortable with you and you with them. You can communicate better and work together to meet your goals — whether in socialization or training sessions.

Your walks might become longer because they want to stop and sniff every spot they pass (this actually never goes away), they might be picking up on tricks faster, and you might be introducing them to new dogs and people that they can begin to form bonds with.

Around 24 to 26 weeks is when most dogs will be spayed or neutered, but consulting with your vet can help to figure out the best timing for your pup specifically. After this stage, your pup will enter their last year of puppyhood. Most dogs reach adulthood in two years, but they are still easily influenced by the environment. It also depends on breed and breed size.

Staying on top of training and socialization is the best way for your dog to see success in their future and live a happy and healthy life!

Get Support from AskVet

With raising a puppy comes lots of responsibility but also a lot of questions. Unless you know an expert personally, getting the best answers can be difficult, and the internet can tell you a variety of different things. AskVet is here to help. We want to see your dog thrive, but we know that it can be lonely sometimes trying to figure it out all on your own.

Reach out to a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) at AskVet and schedule a session today. Our CPLCs can answer any questions you have and put together a 360° personalized health and lifestyle plan for your pet. Dogs, cats, fish, lizards, and more — all are welcome here!

Sign-up today and download the app for just $9.99/month and gain access to all the information you could possibly need!



Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS): Implications For Canine Welfare And Management | Purdue Veterinary Medicine

A Puppy Growth Timeline: Transitions in Puppyhood | American Kennel Club

Current Vaccination Strategies in Puppies and Kittens | NCBI

How Old Should a Puppy Be to Adopt? | Care Animal Hospital

A Timeline of Puppy Teething | American Kennel Club