Dog Skin Cancer or Wart? How to Tell the Difference

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

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

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

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

Coming Across Something Suspicious

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

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

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

Are All Dog Warts Cancerous?

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

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

Benign Warts on Dogs

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

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

Cancerous Warts on Dogs

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

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

Lumps that grow faster than others

Lumps that do not go away

Lumps that change color or texture

Lumps that are abnormally shaped

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

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

Should You Remove Your Dog’s Warts?

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

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

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

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

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How Much Will Dog Wart Removal Cost?

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

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

Ask and Answer: Help Is Here

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Benign Skin Masses of Dogs | MSPCA-Angell

Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? What it Means

Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? What it Means | AskVet

Bumping into a dog’s wet nose isn’t always the most pleasant of feelings, especially when it feels colder than your body temperature. On the other hand, some people love a pup’s wet nose and are constantly booping them as they walk by, and we don’t blame you for that!

There are different reasons for your dog’s nose to be wet, so it’s important to feel it every once in a while to make sure they are healthy and happy. If you’re wondering what it means when your dog’s nose is wet, keep reading:

Is a Wet Nose Normal?

All dogs are different, which means that the wetness of your dog’s nose may vary depending on a few factors. A wet nose is quite common and normal for dogs — especially for dogs that are up and about, moving around the house, exercising, and playing. When a dog is lying down calmly or sleeping, their noses might become more dry and warm.

Wet noses will help a dog pick up scents as particles will stick to their noses more easily. This is very useful to dogs because their sense of smell is one of their most important senses. A dog can determine a lot about their surroundings based on smell; it’s essential that they have access to this sense.

How Do Dogs’ Noses Get Wet?

A dog’s nose can become wet due to several reasons, all of which help them in the long run and are generally normal. If your dog is out and about all day, they might have gotten into wet grass, dipped their nose into their water bottle, or found some moist dirt to stick their face into.

All of these things can contribute to a wet nose; here are some more details:


You’ve likely seen your dog lick their noses from time to time, and this can cause them to retain some moisture and feel wet. This is a habit that your dog might have to get a sense of what has recently been on their nose (and to do a little cleanup).

The scent particles carried into the mouth through the mucus from your dog’s nose activate the function of the Jacobson organ, which is responsible for semiochemical signal detection.

If your dog is a smart cookie, they will actively keep their nose wet so that they don’t miss out on any new information that comes by.

Mucus Secretion

Another reason for a wet nose is because of the mucus that dogs secrete. This mucus captures scents and enhances them so dogs can improve their sense of smell. This keeps the nasal cavity moist and might be what you feel when you boop your dog’s nose.

(Possibly) Perspiration

Additionally, dogs perspire through their nose. Dogs do not sweat as human beings do, so they have to regulate their body temperature somehow.

Dogs cool down through a few techniques; panting is one of the most famous. Some people think that a damp nose helps dogs chill out, but the science is inconclusive so far.

When it comes to perspiration, canines can sweat through their paw pads.

What Does It Mean When a Dog Has a Dry Nose?

It’s not necessarily a problem if your dog’s nose isn’t wet all of the time. Some dogs simply have drier noses than others. As you learn about your dog’s behaviors and body, you’ll be able to better identify when something is outside the ordinary.

A dry nose may result from a really good nap, being close to a fireplace or heater, snuggled up underneath blankets that cause their temperature to rise, and many other reasons. If you notice that your dog has additional symptoms like mucus discharge, an upset stomach, or lethargy, take them to a veterinarian, as there might be something else that is wrong.

For the most part, a dry nose is pretty typical, and the wetness will vary throughout the day depending on what kind of activities that your dog is participating in. Dehydration and fevers can contribute to a drier nose, but so can being sleepy. It’s best to always monitor your dog for behavioral changes to keep them happy and healthy.

Keeping a Dog’s Nose Healthy

Dog’s keep themselves pretty clean and healthy on their own, but sometimes an extra hand can’t hurt. Keeping your dog’s nose clean when they can’t seem to and ensuring that your dog has access to fresh water can keep your dog’s nose in good health.

Take note of any excess sneezing or a runny nose, as your dog might be allergic to something in your home or that they are ingesting. Flakiness on the nose might signify that they could be suffering from a sunburn (some dogs might need sunscreen on their noses too).

Ask Questions with AskVet

Questions about your pet are bound to come up, especially if you are an extremely involved dog parent (like the majority of us). With AskVet, you have access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ who can give you answers when you need them. If your dog’s nose is a cause for concern, you can ask our coaches and get helpful responses in an efficient manner.

When you become a member of AskVet, you can begin creating a 360° plan to improve your dog’s overall wellbeing. You may need to adjust your dog’s diet or exercise levels depending on if they are having reactions that are causing a drier nose. These are all things that you can talk about with our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ and our veterinary experts when you use AskVet.

Our goal is to provide you with plans and care that will help you become the best pet parent that you can be. Being a dog parent, whether it’s your first time or your tenth time can bring forth some anxiety. We want to help you ease that anxiety and spend more time loving your pet!


MRI Features of the Vomeronasal Organ in Dogs (Canis Familiaris) | NCBI

When the Nose Doesn’t Know: Canine Olfactory Function Associated With Health, Management, and Potential Links to Microbiota | NCBI

Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry? | American Kennel Club

Do Dogs Sweat? | Live Science

Do Dogs Need Sunscreen? What to Know About UV Exposure in Pets | AKC

How To Tell if Your Dog Is Pregnant: 5 Clear Signs

How To Tell if Your Dog Is Pregnant: 5 Clear Signs

Whether you’re planning to responsibly breed your dog or suspect that your dog might be pregnant unintentionally, learning about the signs of pregnancy can make the situation less stressful. Caring for dogs can be hard work, and having multiple adorable puppies running around your house can be overwhelming. Knowing the early signs of pregnancy can prepare you for all that comes with dog pregnancy.

Every dog is different, and not all display the same symptoms. If you are breeding your dog, you might already be aware of some of the main behavioral and physical signs that puppies are soon to be on their way. Otherwise, if you aren’t anticipating puppies, some of the symptoms of pregnancy might alarm you.

Unfortunately, home pregnancy tests meant for people won’t be able to detect a possible litter of puppies growing inside your furry friend. That’s why you’ll want to keep reading for the signs of dog pregnancy and when to contact your veterinarian.

When Can Dogs Become Pregnant?

Dogs can become pregnant when they have reached sexual maturity. For larger dog breeds, this can happen anywhere from six months to two years, and for smaller dog breeds, it can start as early as four months.

That means if you don’t intend for your female dog to become pregnant, you might want to keep them away from unneutered males until they undergo spaying. While female dogs can get pregnant early on, this isn’t often healthy for their developing frame.

The window that a dog can become pregnant is when she “comes into season” every eight months or so. This period is often referred to as “being in heat” and can last for several weeks. If, during her heat cycle, your dog interacts with an unneutered male, the risk for pregnancy is high. Until your dog is spayed, this cycle will continue for the entirety of her life!

How Long Are Dogs Pregnant For?

Dogs have a gestation period of around two months, with some variety, depending on the size and breed of the dog. Development is rapid once the eggs are fertilized and embedded into the lining of the uterine horn. It takes around a month before a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and by the end of the second month, the babies are almost ready to be born.

When Do Pregnant Dogs Start To Show?

Because of how fast the puppies develop in the short time that your dog is pregnant, it might not be until halfway through the pregnancy that you notice her belly starting to swell. Keep in mind that if it’s your dog’s first time being pregnant, she will likely have a smaller litter size.

Many factors play into your dog “showing” during pregnancy, including the size and breed of the dog, the number of puppies she is having, and the dog’s health. A dog’s belly might not be the thing that makes it clear she’s pregnant, though if you are observant, it might be easier to point out.

Signs To Look Out For

There is no pregnancy test that you can give to your dog to find out if she is pregnant, but there are several signs. First, though this might seem obvious, if your dog is spayed, she will not get pregnant. So if you notice any of the following signs, it is due to something else, and it might be time to seek veterinary care.

If your dog is not spayed and exhibiting the following signs, it could be that puppies are on their way:

1. “Morning Sickness”

At the beginning of your dog’s pregnancy, she might be more nauseous than usual. This would be like experiencing morning sickness for pregnant humans.

Your dog might throw up or lose her appetite in the early stages. This is because of the changes in hormones that are happening as the fetuses begin to develop.

2. Change in Food Intake

A change in appetite is generally one of the first symptoms that something new is afoot. This is one reason why maintaining a healthy diet and keeping tabs on a dog’s appetite is essential. When something changes, we can take note quickly and assess any reasons for the change.

In the first few weeks of your dog’s pregnancy, you might notice a decreased appetite. Certain foods that she loves might no longer be appealing. She also might eat less food than normal or even skip feedings altogether. This often happens before any of the puppies have begun developing in the womb.

However, during the second month, it’s more likely that your dog’s appetite will increase, likely because she is now eating for many rather than just herself. Don’t be alarmed over these changes, but instead, work with them — you might be buying more dog food than usual for a month.

3. Behavioral Changes

A pregnant dog undergoes many changes in her body and brain. Every dog is unique, so their behaviors can range from clingy to avoidant. You never know how your dog will act until you have a pregnant one in your care.

Some pregnant dogs will want to stick by their people and be provided with lots of love and comfort. Others might want to be alone and isolate themselves rather than experience nesting behaviors.

Your dog might become quieter than usual and might have less energy. She might not be as eager to go play fetch over and over in the backyard and might find the comfort of the couch more appealing. Maybe belly rubs were once her favorite, and now she’s more hesitant. These could be signs that something is going on.

Providing for your dog’s needs can make the pregnancy easier for her. Some to-do list items before her due date are to buy/build her a whelping box, make sure her vaccinations are in order (always, but definitely pre-pregnancy), and take her for regular checkups.

Additionally, it can also build your trust with her so that when the babies come, she sees you as a safe person. If your dog experiences discomfort due to the pregnancy, don’t be offended if she seems irritated by your attention. She’s just trying to get through it!

4. Swollen Belly and/or Nipples

While it’s likely that a pregnant dog’s stomach will swell as the puppies grow inside of them, it’s not always very noticeable. However, if you notice that your dog’s belly is more round and enlarged, pregnancy could be the reason why.

Also, a dog who is pregnant might have enlarged nipples. This might be an easier way to determine if your dog is pregnant or not because their teats will become swollen and longer than usual.

The dog’s nipples might release discharge as the pregnancy moves along. It might start off similar to the appearance of mucus, but it’s the milk that is preparing for the newborn puppies. However, it’s worth mentioning that milk production can also signify a false pregnancy — checking with a vet will give a clearer answer.

5. Weight Gain

In conjunction with a swollen belly, your dog’s weight might begin to fluctuate. Once the puppies start to develop inside the womb, they will rapidly grow, which will add weight to your dog. Your dog might eat more than usual which will add to the weight gain. If there are no other reasons for your dog to suddenly gain weight, it might be due to pregnancy.

How Can You Be Sure?

There is no way for you to test at home to determine if your dog is pregnant or not, so the only way to be positive is to visit your veterinarian.

Your vet can administer a few different tests to determine if your dog is pregnant or not and how far along they are. This is helpful so that you can prepare for the puppies and give yourself enough time to ensure everything is in order.

The different methods include:

  • Ultrasound: Between days 25 and 35, your vet could perform an ultrasound to help detect heartbeats and see how many puppies your dog is carrying.
  • X-ray: X-rays are the easiest way to determine if your dog is pregnant because it shows a clear picture of what’s going on in your dog’s belly. Though, they aren’t effective until about the third trimester, when the skeletal systems of the puppies are visible.
  • Hormone test: A hormone test can be done between 25 and 30 days to determine if the hormone Relaxin is being produced and to track your dog’s hormone levels. This hormone is only produced when a dog is pregnant, so if it’s evident in the blood test, it’s very likely your dog is pregnant.

AskVet: Here for Your Q&As

Trying to determine if your dog is pregnant on your own is not an exact science. Unlike a human pregnancy, it’s hard to tell at home; it’s time to dial up your vet.

With dog pregnancy comes many questions, and AskVet is here to answer them. You can consult with a Pet Coach or veterinarian to get guidance on all your pet health and lifestyle issues.

Whatever questions arise during your dog’s pregnancy can be answered at any given point in the day. If you wake up in the middle of the night worried about your pet, they are here to help! When you sign up today, you gain access to these coaches at all times of the day. The AskVet Team can help craft specified treatment and behavioral plans to find ways to improve your pet’s life.

You don’t have to be alone trying to keep your pet comfortable and healthy during her pregnancy; we are here to help. And, if it happens that your dog is pregnant, we congratulate you on becoming a grandparent!


A Review Of Maternal Behavior In Dogs And Potential Areas For Further Research | NCBI

Dog Pregnancy: Signs, Care, and Preparing for Puppies | American Kennel Club

Physiology and Clinical Parameters of Pregnancy in Dogs | VIN

6 Signs of a Pregnant Dog | The Village Vets

False Pregnancy (Canine) | Mar Vista Animal Medical Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Is My Cat Gaining Weight?

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

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

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

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

Signs of Pregnancy in Cats

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

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

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

1. Your Cat Is in Heat

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

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

2. Physical Changes Pop Up

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

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

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

3. Change in Eating Habits

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

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

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

4. Morning Sickness

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

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

5. Behavior Seems Abnormal

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

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

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

6. Exhibits Nesting Behaviors

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

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

Or Is Your Cat Simply Fat?

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

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

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

1. Body Condition Score (BCS)

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

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

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

2. Watch Their Eating Habits

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

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

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

Still Unsure? Phone a Friend.

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

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

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

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


Clinical Management Of Pregnancy In Cats | NCBI

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

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

Pregnancy in cats and dogs | Glendale Veterinary Clinic

How To Make a Dog Throw Up Safely at Home

How To Make a Dog Throw Up Safely at HomeHow To Make a Dog Throw Up Safely at Home

As much as you try to prevent it, your dog might still get into something that they shouldn’t have. There are many precautions to ensure nothing is dangerous out in the open, but a determined dog will find their way into trouble. The best thing that we can be for our dogs is prepared. As pet parents, we’re always prepared to help, cuddle, and love them.

Knowing the proper steps to take and what to look out for can help you when it comes to dealing with a sick dog. It’s not always recommended that you induce vomiting, so knowing in what instances it’s safe to do so is important. Throwing up is a quick way to solve some problems, especially if you catch the issue early.

Read on to learn more about when (and when not) to make your dog throw up.

Why Might You Need To Induce Vomiting?

Dogs who get into something that is bad for their bodies will sometimes throw up on their own to get the substance out. However, this isn’t always the case.

If you notice that your dog is acting funny and they throw up, you should be sure to monitor their symptoms after the fact. It might help you to determine if this was a one-time thing or if you should seek professional veterinary help.

Dogs can get into foods they aren’t supposed to eat, items they aren’t supposed to chew on, and materials that can get stuck in their stomachs. It happens to the best of us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. If you have seen your dog swallow something they aren’t supposed to, you might be able to induce vomiting right away to try to get it before it can do any damage.

The First Step Is To Call Your Vet

Before you induce vomiting in your dog, it’s important to talk to a veterinarian. However, pet parents are all too familiar with this situation: Your dog gets into the trash at 5:05 PM, but your local vet’s office closes at 5:00 PM.

Luckily, with AskVet, you can chat at any time of the day or night. AskVet members have 24/7 access to our virtual veterinary experts, who can help advise you on your next course of action.

Inducing vomit is not recommended to do on your own without supervision or assistance from a professional, but if you can’t get to a hospital, you might need to take things into your own hands.

When you work with a veterinarian, they can walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to induce vomiting safely. With a veterinary expert on the line, you can ask questions and explain the scene live to get the best care possible — start your chat with AskVet’s veterinary experts today!

Whether you are talking to your vet or an AskVet 24/7 vet, they will ask you your dog’s size and weight, what exactly you think it is they ate, at what time, and how much. This will help determine what your next steps should be. In many cases, they might urge you to get to an emergency vet clinic as soon as possible.

When Shouldn’t You Induce Vomiting?

It’s more likely than not that your vet will tell you to come into the office or visit an ER rather than induce vomiting in your pet on your own. It’s not always safe to make them throw up, even in a terrifying emergency.

Be aware of the following when considering whether or not to induce vomiting in your dog:


When exactly did your dog ingest the unwanted object? If it happened more than two hours before you’re reading this, then throwing up might not help them.

It’s likely that the substance has been absorbed into their bodies or begun the digestive journey. If it’s more recent than this, or you are unsure of the timing, you can try to induce vomiting.

Item Ingested Was Sharp or Solid

If your dog has ingested an item that is sharp or solid, trying to make them throw it up could create an esophageal injury. This goes for items with sharp edges, batteries, or anything solid.

Some items will pass through their digestion system fine and exit out normally, so it’s not always the end of the world if your dog swallows something they shouldn’t have. The problem arises when those items block the small and large intestines and create an obstruction later on.

Chemical Ingestion

Dogs who get into chemicals risk burning and damaging their esophagus and mouth when vomited back up. Though you might think it would be helpful to get the chemicals out of their bodies, you do risk extra damage to their throats.

Contact Animal Poison Control immediately if your dog has ingested any kind of chemicals.

Difficulty Breathing

We never want to make a dog who is struggling to breathe throw up. This could make a dog choke and breathe the vomit into their lungs.

The repercussions from this could be severe complications like fatal pneumonia. At this point, contact a vet immediately to figure out the next best steps.

Health Conditions

If your dog has underlying health conditions, inducing vomit isn’t always recommended. For instance, if your dog has recently had surgery (specifically close to their abdomen), it might not be safe.

Dogs prone to seizures might not do well with induced vomiting either. This is why it’s important for you to contact your vet or an emergency vet before trying anything out.

How To Make Your Dog Throw Up

If your vet gives you the go-ahead to induce vomiting, there is likely one method that they will tell you to do. They will talk you through it and let you know exactly what your dog should be able to handle.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Most vets will recommend 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting at home without the help of a trained professional. This is likely to be recommended if your dog has ingested something in the last two hours. Anything higher than 3% could be potentially harmful to your dog, so be sure to stick to this exact kind.

Vets have recommended one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per five pounds of dog, but you should never exceed over three tablespoons in a sitting. You might need to use a turkey baster to ensure that it’s going down your dog’s throat. Wait 15 minutes and see if anything comes up. If nothing does, you may administer another teaspoon if your vet approves it.

Monitor Your Pup

For the next few hours, watch your dog like a hawk. Take note of any side effects, like lethargy or diarrhea. If your dog is continuously vomiting for more than 45 minutes, you might want to reach back out to your veterinarian.

During this time, you will want to keep your pet comfortable. They might be distressed and in pain from vomiting. Stay by their side and give them a nice space to lie down in. Make a follow-up appointment with a veterinarian no matter how well the inducing goes to ensure that everything is alright with your furry friend.

24/7 Animal Advice: AskVet

When you are in a panic, and your vet doesn’t pick up the phone, it can send you spiraling. As dog parents, we want our companions to be safe and healthy at all times.

If you have any concerns, you can always reach out to a representative at AskVet. When you sign up, you get 24/7 access to live chats with a veterinarian. You can also meet with a certified pet coach or trainer to discuss behavioral issues, nutrition, overall wellness, and more.

The less time you have to spend worrying about what to do to help your pet, the more time you can spend building memories with your best friend. AskVet provides reliable and professional care to you whenever you need it so you can feel a bit more at ease in your everyday life!


Emesis in dogs: a review | NCBI

The 10 Most Common Toxicoses In Dogs | ASPCA

Effectiveness And Adverse Effects Of The Use Of Apomorphine And 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Solution To Induce Emesis In Dogs In | Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Esophageal Foreign Bodies in Dogs: Presentation and Removal | TVP

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

Black Spots on Dog’s Skin: When To Worry

Black Spots on Dog's Skin: When To Worry

As a dog lover, you probably notice even the slightest change in your dog’s behavior or appearance. You’re the one that is likely petting your dog all over and feeling their every nook and cranny. So, if you come across a change in the feeling or look of their skin, you will likely notice it.

If you see black spots on your dog’s skin, the first thing you might want to do is panic, but we urge you not to. Black spots on a dog’s skin are common appointments in veterinary offices, so your dog will be in good hands.

These spots can pop up anywhere but are most frequently near the underbelly and genitals. This condition is often referred to as “hyperpigmentation.” It can happen to any dog of any age and can allude to something else going on related to your dog’s health, but it’s not always life-threatening. That being said, your dog might be due for some vet care.

Keep reading to learn more about black spots and hyperpigmentation on your beloved pet.

Black Spots and Hyperpigmentation

If black spots have begun forming on your pup’s skin, it could be due to hyperpigmentation. This refers to when your dog starts producing higher amounts of melanin, which makes their skin’s natural pigmentation darker. This might become most noticeable on dogs with lighter coat colors than on darker-coated dogs.

These spots can come from aging, intense friction in one area, or even sun exposure. For the most part, hyperpigmentation could be harmless. As with anything, you’ll want to watch to see if new, unusual, or worrisome behaviors begin. For example, if your dog starts scratching, licking, or rubbing those areas, there might be something else going on.

Hyperpigmentation: What To Watch Out For

Hyperpigmentation is usually a sign that something else is going on. There might be other symptoms that accompany hyperpigmentation, but it’s not necessarily a diagnosis. It is not a specific disease you can treat but a symptom itself. Your dog might have skin that becomes hyperpigmented due to several different reasons.

Along with black spots showing up, you might notice that the skin becomes irritated. It might become rough or red, with the possibility of hair loss. It’s possible that your dog also experiences scaliness or itchiness around the black spot.

Some dogs experience hyperpigmentation that is moist, and others experience black spots that are very dry. It’s completely random and might be dependent on the kind of dog and the specific situation.

When your dog is experiencing other symptoms along with hyperpigmentation, consult with your veterinarian to find out about underlying conditions.

Is Hyperpigmentation a Primary or Secondary Condition?

Hyperpigmentation is a secondary condition, meaning that it is a secondary effect. It’s usually the result of something else. In many cases, these spots could form after skin trauma or due to the natural process of aging.

What might accompany black spots on a dog’s skin is an underlying skin-related issue. If you can figure out the underlying problem, you’ll have a much easier time learning how to treat hyperpigmentation and ensure your dog is comfortable.

What Causes Black Spots?

Black spots can show up on a dog at any point. If you notice black spots on your dog, you shouldn’t jump to the worst conclusion. First, consider if there have been any changes in their diets, behaviors, medications, or life that might be causing added stress or discomfort.

Some of the more common reasons why black spots might appear on your dog are:

  • Trauma: When a dog undergoes trauma to a certain body part, either from an injury or surgery, they might experience hyperpigmentation. The skin cells will go into repair mode and will release more melanin to protect the damaged skin.
  • Allergies: If your dog has an allergic reaction to something in their food or environment, it may cause black spots on the skin. You may not be able to cure them, but you can manage allergies to help soothe the skin.
  • Aging: As dogs age, they are more likely to experience hyperpigmentation. Monitoring your pup’s spots can help you protect your dog’s health.

Can These Spots Be Cancerous?

Unfortunately, these spots can be an indicator of melanoma cancer, but this is not always the case. These spots might be malignant (cancerous) or benign, but it will take further testing to provide you with exact answers. Cancerous melanomas are more likely to be found in hairless dogs, and these spots might grow quickly. If there is any rapid change in a black spot, you should reach out to your veterinarian immediately.

Skin cancer is the most common type of canine cancer. A range of culprits could be to blame, including UV radiation, chemicals, and more.

Benign melanoma should still be monitored for any change, but they usually just appear underneath the hair and are a few shades darker than the normal skin color. They might grow and change but at a much slower pace. They are viewed as not much more than a freckle!

The only way to know if a spot is benign or malignant is to book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

What About Black Spots That Look Like Dirt?

If there are flecks of dirt on your dog’s skin (usually on their underbelly) that you can never wipe off, your dog might be dealing with a yeast infection. This kind of infection is nothing to worry about and is easily treatable. This is caused by a fungus that grows in the darker and danker spots of the dog’s body, like ear canals and the groin area.

Your vet might recommend bathing your dog with special shampoo. If the yeast infection requires more care, your vet might be able to prescribe an ointment to assist with the treatment.

Treatment for Black Spots

If your dog has black spots, you’ll need them to receive a full evaluation by a veterinarian. The best way to figure out why your dog has black spots is to determine the underlying cause. If your dog has hyperpigmentation, there will generally be a reason for it — it’s just a matter of figuring it out.

If they’ve received a trauma to that area recently, it’s important they recover using the proper materials. If your dog has a skin infection, they should be prescribed the proper antibiotics and ointments needed to help resolve the issue. Managing their allergies can also help with hyperpigmentation as soon as you figure out what they’re allergic to.

With aging dogs, keep them as comfortable as possible and don’t let them irritate those areas any further. Keeping your little guy happy and comfortable is the goal!

Get Help With AskVet

Before you jump to conclusions, reach out to the professionals at AskVet, via our app and subscription for only $9.99/month. The Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ at AskVet are available to answer all your pet-related medical and behavioral questions. So if something seems to be going wrong, or even if you just have a question about your pet, we are here 24/7.

For a 360° pet wellness plan, schedule an appointment with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) and have all your questions answered.



Hyperpigmentation (Acanthosis Nigricans) in Dogs – Dog Owners | Merck Veterinary Manual

Cutaneous hyperpigmentation in dogs | NCBI

Comparative Aspects of Canine Melanoma | NCBI

Understanding principal and secondary conditions | The Loop

Dog Skin Cancer: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment | American Kennel Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are Anal Glands?

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

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

How Do They Become Impacted?

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

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

Do Dogs Express Anal Glands on Their Own?

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

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

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

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

Anal Gland Expression at the Vet’s Office

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

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

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

How To Express Them at Home

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

What You’ll Need

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

Some supplies you’ll want to consider are:

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

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

Expressing Anal Glads Step-by-Step

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

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

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

Have More Questions?

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Prednisone for Dogs 101: Uses & Side Effects

Prednisone for Dogs 101: Uses & Side Effects

Your veterinarian has prescribed prednisone for your dog, and you want some additional clarification on what exactly it is and what it does. No worries, we are here to clarify some of your questions and get you more familiar with this new prescription. If your dog has an inflammatory condition, itchy and irritated, or has Addison’s disease, they might be prescribed prednisone.

Keep reading to learn more about prednisone and how it can impact your dog:

What Is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid similar to cortisol but much more potent, having a quicker and more immediate effect. Corticosteroids help to manage inflammation and have anti-inflammatory properties. Basically, it’s a steroid that works to help your dog feel better in the now and down the line.

Prednisone can be administered orally, topically, or by injection. When administered, the liver takes it and processes it into prednisolone. If your dog has liver disease, your vet might opt for synthetic prednisolone to reduce hepatic stress on the dog.

What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Prednisone?

Prednisone is a commonly prescribed medication for a reason: it’s safe and effective. But that doesn’t always mean that your dog will avoid any potential side effects of short-term use. In general, these side effects aren’t usually too debilitating; they might just require a bit more love and attention to help your dog adapt.

Some common side effects of prednisone are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Behavioral changes
  • Increased urination
  • Panting
  • Increased hunger

Most of the time, your dog will return to feeling normal within a few days of coming off the medication. If you have any concerns about your pet’s behavior, it’s essential to reach out to a professional with your questions. This just ensures your pet’s safety and your peace of mind.

Uses of Prednisone in Dogs

Prednisone is prescribed to dogs for a variety of reasons. It’s usually prescribed as an immunosuppressant or anti-inflammatory medication. Prednisone is known to be used as replacement therapy for endocrine disorders like Addison’s disease. Replacement therapy means that you’re supplying the body with what it’s lacking, maybe hormones or nutrients.

It can also treat abnormal cells, anaphylactic shock, or spinal cord trauma. Some of the other reasons might include:

  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Allergic reactions
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases like lupus and autoimmune hemolytic anemia

Dosage for Dogs

The dosage for prednisone is based on your dog’s weight and condition. You shouldn’t be giving any more than what is prescribed and give it to your pup on a strict schedule.

If you were to give a higher dose by accident, you could lead to an overdose, which causes serious side effects:

  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy and muscle weakness
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure

If any of these occur after administering your dog prednisone, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Long-Term Effects of Prednisone in Dogs

Most pets will be put on prednisone for a short period of time, but that’s not always the case. The longer that your dog has to be on prednisone, the more likely for side effects to start popping up. Some dogs need to be on it for up to four months or longer, but your veterinarian will likely monitor the situation extra carefully if this is the case.

If your dog has a serious health condition, like IBS or arthritis, you might want to ask your veterinarian about other options. Long-term use of prednisone can lead to a variety of side effects. When there is a surplus of prednisolone in the body, it can lead to liver dysfunction and even Cushing’s disease.

If you have had your dog on prednisone for some time, it’s advised that you don’t just let them quit it cold-turkey. Instead, your vet will advise you on how your pup should taper off. This method can help prevent any adverse side effects or withdrawal symptoms.

For example, your dog could possibly have a suppressed immune system after relying on prednisone for so long, so stopping it quickly can disrupt any healing that’s being done.

Is It Safe?

There is always a risk with any medication. The best way to ensure that your dog is safe and comfortable is to monitor their behavior and ask questions when they arise. You’ll know better than anyone else if your dog is in need of a check-up or if they are just extra tired that day.

Vets typically recommend avoiding prednisone if your dog has viral infections, systemic fungal infections, ulcers, and a few others. Make sure to consult your vet before using prednisone if your dog has any of these medical conditions.

In addition, prednisone has several drug interactions, including:

  • CBD supplements
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and carprofen
  • Phenobarbital
  • Cyclosporine

Feel Better Soon

When your questions and concerns do arise, you’ll want a friendly face available at any time of the day or night. Say goodbye to 2 AM frantic Google searches and hello to AskVet for the immediate and professional response you need.

The purpose of AskVet is to provide pet parents with 24/7 assistance so that they can put their worries to ease. We get that not every question or action requires a trip to the vet, but sometimes you still want answers in a timely fashion. AskVet pairs you with Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™, who can help answer questions about any pet members of your family (fish, lizards, dogs, cats, and more!).

Of course, if there is anything completely out of the ordinary that’s causing you to panic, you should call the emergency vet and get your dog help. AskVet is here to help your pet to a healthier lifestyle with a 360° Lifestyle Plan, individualized to each fluffy, feathery, or scaly member of your household.

Schedule an appointment with a CPLC™ today for just $9.99/month and access our wide range of experts, resources, community, and more.



Pharmacokinetics of Oral Prednisone at Various Doses in Dogs: Preliminary Findings Using a Naïve Pooled-Data Approach | Frontiers In Veterinary Science

Management Of Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease) In Dogs | NCBI

Prednisone-Induced Morphologic And Chemical Changes In The Liver Of Dogs | SAGE Journals

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Bit of Background on the Betta

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

What Is the Temperament of Betta Fish?

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

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

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

What a Betta Needs from a Tank

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

Best Tank Size for Betta Fish

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

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

Optimal Water Temperature and pH Levels for Betta Fish

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

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

What Fish Can Live With Betta Fish?

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

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

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

Nerite Snails

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

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

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

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

Malaysian Trumpet Snails

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

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

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

Ember Tetras

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

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

Kuhli Loach

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

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

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

Platy Fish

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

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

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

Corydoras Catfish (20 Gallon)

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

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

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

A Pool of Experts

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Types of Dog Vomit & How To Treat Them

Types of Dog Vomit & How To Treat Them

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

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

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

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

Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

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

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

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

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

Concerning Reasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things that you can look out for are:

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

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

Is Vomiting Considered Normal?

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

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

Vomiting vs. Regurgitation

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

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

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

Types of Vomiting

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

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

Acute Vomiting

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

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

Some causes of acute vomiting are:

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

Chronic Vomiting

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

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

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

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

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

Vomiting in Puppies

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

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

How To Diagnose Vomiting

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

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

How To Treat Vomiting in Dogs

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

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

When To Call a Vet

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

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

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

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

Feel Better Soon!

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

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

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

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



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

Emesis in dogs: a review | NCBI

Canine Parvovirus: Current Perspective | NCBI

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? | American Kennel Club

Primordial Pouch 101: Why Cat Bellies Hang

Primordial Pouch 101: Why Cat Bellies Hang

The first time you notice that your cat’s belly is hanging a bit lower than you remember, you might assume they have gained some weight. While this may be true for some cats, it could also be likely that you are noticing your cat’s primordial pouch. This is just fancy language for an “extra flap of skin underneath a cat’s belly.”

Some cat’s primordial pouches are more visible than in other breeds. This has to do with genetics and their appearance, so if you can’t notice your feline friend’s primordial pouch, don’t be surprised.

To learn more about the primordial pouch, keep reading:

What Is a Primordial Pouch?

A primordial pouch is the extra flap of skin that hangs underneath your cat’s belly. Regardless of male, female, neutered, spayed, or not, your cat will have one. The pouch is formed in one of the earliest stages of a cat’s development.

This flap is made up of loose skin and fatty tissue and it serves several biological purposes. Certain breeds’ primordial pouch might be more visible than others because of a lack of fur or more slender appearance.

Why Do Cats Have a Primordial Pouch?

It’s pretty simple: Cats have a primordial pouch for a variety of reasons, including organ protection, storing food, and flexibility.

Organ Protection

One of the main purposes of the primordial pouch is to protect your cat’s organs. This pouch allows for an extra layer between your vital organs, like the liver, and injury. Sometimes cats like to play rough, and claws can come out! If the pouch gets clawed or kicked, their organs are more likely to be safe.

Some cats will enforce a move referred to as “bunny kicking” where they will grab their opponent with their front legs and kick with their hind legs. This directly aims for the underbelly, where the organs are, so the pouch creates a barrier between this kind of attack. Pouches keep cats safe!

Food Storage

The softness of your cat’s primordial pouch allows for their belly to expand when they eat food. Not only domesticated cats have primordial pouches, even wild cats have these pouches. For them specifically, having this pouch helps them store food when food is low in availability.

Domesticated cats don’t usually have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Instead, they can use this extra space when they snack a little too much and feel extra full. It’s like wearing a nice pair of sweatpants after a big meal.


Primordial pouches also enhance felines’ movement and flexibility. The loose skin that comes from the pouch allows for easier movement. Cats can chase prey quicker and escape any predators they might come across by twisting and turning about.

The primordial pouch helps cats make stronger, more powerful strides — the primordial pouch elongates their body. Not only does this make them more nimble, but it conserves energy which they can divert to other tasks (like knocking your newly potted succulent off the table).

Other Reasons for a Cat’s Belly To Hang

Yes, cats have primordial pouches and that’s definitely a reason why you’re noticing some extra skin underneath, but there are other causes for a hanging belly. Sometimes, it’s not a bad idea to check out your cat’s stomach and see if there is anything else going on. If you think that your cat’s belly is hanging lower than usual, you can reach out to their veterinarian and schedule time for an evaluation.


It might be that your cat is gaining weight. This isn’t always an issue, especially if your cat is still happy and healthy. But if you notice that your cat is struggling with moving around or using the bathroom, their weight is something you should take care of.

In order to figure out if it’s extra weight or just the primordial pouch, you can feel your cat’s sides and stomach, looking for their ribs or an extra layer of fat. If you can feel their ribs, likely, you are looking at their pouch. If you can’t feel them and notice an extra layer of fat, you might need to begin implementing a diet and more exercise.

Taking your cat to the vet when you suspect they are overweight is probably best to create a plan to help them lose weight. They can provide you with food or exercise regimens that can help your cat maintain a better weight.


As your cat ages, it’s likely that their skin will begin to lose elasticity. This is normal and might make your cat’s stomach hang a bit more than usual. This is typically nothing to worry about as it happens as they get older and enter their golden years. Additionally, your cat’s metabolism will begin to slow as they get older and they will likely gain more weight than they might be used to.


Another reason for your cat’s belly to be hanging a bit more than normal could be due to pregnancy. If your cat is not spayed, there is always a possibility that they could become pregnant. If you think this might be the case, avoid touching the belly as it could bring harm to the kittens inside. Instead, contact your veterinarian and go in for a full physical evaluation.

If a cat is pregnant, they will begin showing around five weeks. Cats stay pregnant for eight to nine weeks (60 to 65 days), so it’s important to get a vet appointment as soon as possible to ensure your cat has a safe pregnancy.

Get Answers with AskVet

As a pet parent, you likely have two things: 1) a thousand pictures of your pet on your phone and 2) a list of questions to ask your vet at the next animal wellness exam.

You might have minor questions or serious concerns about your pet that you want answered, but don’t know where to ask. Look no further than AskVet. For any question or concern that you have, someone at AskVet has an answer.

So, if you’re wondering, “Has my cat’s belly always looked like that” at 2 AM, you can simply use the AskVet app to get that question answered. Become a member of AskVet and get 24/7 assistance through our online vet chat. No wait time and no “after hours.” Just the help you need when you need it, plus all the preventative care your pet family members need.


Overweight In Adult Cats: A Cross-Sectional Study | NCBI

2021 AAFP Feline Senior Care Guidelines | SAGE Journals 

Why do cats have belly ‘pouches’? | Live Science

Cat’s Primordial Belly Pouches– What is it For? | Science Times

Hamster Teeth 101: Keeping a Hamster’s Teeth Healthy & Clean

Hamster Teeth 101: Keeping A Hamster’s Teeth Healthy & Clean

When you think of hamsters, you might picture a tiny furry pet nibbling on a seed with adorably puffy cheeks. Hamsters are a part of the rodent family, which means they have strong incisors that love to gnaw. Pets that love to snack and chew might require their human parents to monitor their furry friend’s dental health.

Luckily, if your hamster has a well-balanced and nutritious diet, they should stay safe from any dental issues arising. There are a few things that you can do as a hamster pet parent to ensure that your hamster’s teeth stay healthy and clean (in addition to proper nutrition).

If you are thinking about adopting a hamster or already have one and want to learn about taking care of their teeth, keep reading!

Hamster Teeth

Hamster’s upper and lower front incisors have open roots, meaning they continuously grow throughout their lifetime. Because of this, it’s essential that your hamster is able to gnaw so they can keep their teeth at a comfortable length. Their teeth are not white but rather an orange-yellow color.

A hamster’s lower teeth are actually longer than their upper teeth, which might be a bit odd to see at first, but it’s nothing to worry about! With access to proper care and nutrition, your hamster will likely have relatively healthy teeth.

Common Dental Problems for Hamsters

Of course, there are always things that you should look out for when it comes to your hamster’s teeth. Fractures, cavities, overgrowth, and crooked teeth might lead to further complications without veterinarian assistance.

  • Overgrowth

When your hamster isn’t able to gnaw on toys, wood chips, or food properly, they risk overgrowth in their teeth. Hamsters need to be able to shorten their teeth constantly, so these teeth don’t poke into the gums and cause bleeding. If both the upper and lower incisors are too long, they could break off, which would be extremely painful.

  • Fractures

When your hamster’s upper and lower incisors are overgrown, they are at a higher risk of fracturing. If the incisors break off, they might not grow back in correctly, or ever at all. Not only is this painful for your hamster, but it could impact their ability to eat food comfortably.

  • Cavities

Just like humans, hamsters can get cavities. Prevention of cavities goes along with proper nutrition. Hamsters should get a healthy variety of different ingredients to get the proper vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain healthy teeth.

A well-rounded menu will work to keep your pet healthy and cavity-free. If you suspect your fluffy friend has a cavity, take them to their veterinarian for an evaluation.

Cheek Pouch Disease

Hamsters have cheek pouches that they use to carry a variety of things. They might use them for storing food, carrying their babies, or bringing straw to build a nest. To get these items out, a hamster will massage their cheeks with their front paws. Cheek pouch disease occurs when items get stuck to the lining of your hamster’s cheek pouch, and they cannot massage it out.

You might notice that your hamster is experiencing cheek pouch disease if they:

  • Have large swollen cheeks
  • Rub their pouches incessantly, but nothing is coming out
  • Bleed after they rub their pouches
  • Have a lack of appetite

How To Care for Hamsters’ Teeth

There are ways to prevent dental issues from arising in your hamster, and they are quite simple.

While having access to dental care is essential, pet parents can help with these steps:

Offer Fresh and Dry Food

Your hamster will need a variety of ingredients and food types in their diet. This helps to prevent cavities and keep their teeth strong. You should give your hamster both dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, oats, spelt, and a variety of seeds, like sunflower, millet, and soy.

You can also purchase dry food like pellets at a pet store. Incorporating dry food into your hamster’s diet can cover any nutritional gaps in the fresh food you provide. Dry food is also one avenue to keeping your hamster’s teeth short.

Keep Their Water Clean

Water will help to keep your teeth clean and rinse out anything that might get stuck between them. This can help limit food buildup that could cause a cavity in the future. By keeping an eye out on their water

Clean water will be the easiest way for you to help their cheek pouches stay clean. Water will keep them hydrated and help rinse the cheek pouches in case something is stuck to the lining.

Provide Chew Toys

Chew toys are an essential part of keeping your hamster’s teeth healthy. Wooden chew toys are some of the best for hamster dental health care, but you should invest in good wooden toys that won’t splinter.

Wooden toys should be free of paint or varnish, which could be potentially toxic. A plain, wooden toy will do the trick. Your vet or local pet store can provide animal-safe enrichment and health-promoting toy options.

Chew toys keep their teeth from growing too long and cutting into other parts of their mouth. You should have plenty to keep your hamster entertained. The more you have, the less likely your hamster will try to gnaw on objects that could cause them damage. There are other toys out there than just plain wood, so you can find fun options for your hamster to enjoy.

Get Answers with AskVet

Questions will arise no matter what kind of pet you have, and as a pet parent, you want answers as soon as possible. Not only does this ease your anxiety, but it also can get you started on a treatment plan for your pet. And we want to help!

When it comes to your hamster’s teeth, you might not be able to get a great view of them on your own. It’s important to stay tuned into your hamster’s habits and take note of any health or behavioral changes.

If something does come up, you can always reach out directly to a veterinarian or behaviorist through AskVet. With 24/7 availability, you can ask whatever question you have, whenever. For just $9.99/month, our team of Certified Petlifestyle Coaches™ is here to answer your questions and come up with a unique pet care lifestyle plan for any furry (or scaly or feather-y) pet you have.

So, whether you have a question about your hamster’s teeth or your fish’s tail, or more, become a member of AskVet today.


Cheek Pouch – An Overview | ScienceDirect

Dentistry in Pet Rodents | VetFolio

Hamster Care | Animal Health Topics / School of Veterinary Medicine

What To Feed a Pet Hamster | RSPCA

Pain Relief For Cats: Safe Pain Medications

Pain Relief For Cats: Safe Pain Medications

When your cat is in pain, there is nothing more that you want to do than resolve it for them. You just want them to go back to kneading biscuits and knocking vases off the countertops. Whether they have a scrape, irritated skin, or abdominal pain, you want to make the ouchie go away ASAP.

There are many different ways that you can help reduce your cat’s pain, both naturally and with the help of medicine. One method is not better than the other, so it’s essential that cat parents are sure they’re doing what’s best for their cat specifically.

If you’re wondering whether or not the medications that you keep in your medicine cabinet are safe for your pets, consult with your veterinarian before administering anything. Very few human medications are safe to use on cats. Those that can be given to them must first be approved by your veterinarian.

We want your cat to feel better as quickly as possible, but keeping them safe and using safe methods is essential for their recovery. Keep reading to learn about the various safe pain medications you can give to your cat in need!

How To Tell If Your Cat Is in Pain

Your cat might be in pain for a variety of different reasons. Some of them might not necessarily require pain medication to get better, but it can help in many cases. The first step to treatment is to identify what the problem is.

There are many signs that your cat might be in pain, such as:

  • Changing behaviors and activity levels
  • Showing a lack of appetite
  • Limping or moving stiffly
  • Vomiting
  • Refusing to use the litter box or having difficulty eliminating
  • Growling when you get too close
  • Decrease in grooming

If you notice any of these changes, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to identify the underlying issue and create a treatment plan.

Causes of Feline Pain

There are a variety of reasons why your pet might be in pain, including:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Post-surgery discomfort
  • Infections
  • Dental issues
  • Conditions like arthritis

All of these will require specific pain medications or relief methods, and not all medications work the same for each ailment.

Safe Pain Medications for Cats

The key to resolving your cat’s pain is to use safe pain relief methods. This means not using human pain medication in order to treat their pain unless a veterinarian has prescribed it to them. Always consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet anything. The last thing we want to do is worsen the problem at hand.

That being said, there are many different safe pain medications that can be prescribed by the vet to help your cat’s pain. It’s vital to follow the proper timeline of administering these medications, as well as in the correct dosages for the right length of time.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually prescribed first when a cat is in pain. Note that many human NSAIDs like ibuprofen can make cats very sick. It’s important to only use medications prescribed by your cat’s veterinarian.

NSAIDs are used for short-term pain relief in cats and they aren’t cleared for long-term use. Generally, the maximum number of days for you to give your cat NSAIDs is three days, but your vet can tell you more.

There are several different NSAIDs that your vet might prescribe, like robenacoxib or meloxicam. Both work to alleviate pain, especially after surgery or while actively hospitalized.


If your cat is experiencing severe discomfort, your vet might prescribe them an opioid. This pain medication is often given after surgery, for arthritis, or during advanced stages of cancer.

Different opioids that your cat might take are:

  • Tramadol: This is usually given in a liquid form and can help with short-term pain relief, especially after an injury or surgery.
  • Fentanyl: This is only prescribed if a cat is in need of severe pain relief for a few days after a traumatic injury or surgery. Usually, this is done under vet supervision. Some pet parents might be advised to place a fentanyl patch onto their cat’s shaved skin and wait until it wears off. This can take up to five days.
  • Buprenorphine: This can be administered to treat both short-term pain from injury or surgery and long-term pain from chronic illnesses like cancer and osteoarthritis.


Gabapentin is another medication that is prescription only and should not be given to your cat if they are not prescribed it. This medication was originally intended to help with the side effects of seizures and is now used to also treat both chronic pain and post-operative pain.

Gabapentin has minimal side effects, making it a common feature in the feline healthcare community.

What Can I Do Without Giving Medication?

Depending on the type of injury your cat has, medication may not help them. However, other things might be effective in relieving their pain.

Here are a few temporary solutions your vet might recommend:

Vitamins and Supplements

To bolster a cat’s overall health over time, your vet may recommend certain supplements or vitamins.

These additives can help ensure that your cat has ample vitamins and minerals to help keep them healthy. Many supplements work toward reducing inflammation or promoting gut health.

However, nothing can totally replace the need for a balanced diet, regular exercise, and plenty of water.


Though some might consider it medicinal, CBD is a natural way to help your cat experience pain relief. CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate certain pains. These anti-inflammatory properties can be very beneficial for cats with arthritis and gastrointestinal issues.

Before giving your cat CBD, you should talk with your veterinarian about the proper dosage and potential side effects.

Chiropractor Work

This may not be something that you do with your cat on your own, but definitely with an animal chiropractor. Chiropractor work can help to alleviate pain and swelling due to trauma in a specific area.

This kind of pain relief is great for cats with back, neck, and hip pain. Cats that struggle with arthritis might find relief through chiropractic work, which can help with future flare-ups. Never attempt chiropractic work on pets — always go to a certified and vetted professional.

AskVet Can Help

If your cat has been prescribed pain medication, you might find yourself coming up with questions after leaving the vet’s office. With AskVet, you don’t have to worry about your vet’s out-of-office hours because we have the advice you need 24/7 for only $9.99 a month.

We understand that questions pop up all the time about your pets, and we can all use a little helping paw (or fin or hoof) now and then.

If you’re as obsessed with your pets as the rest of us, any slight change in behavior can set off alarm bells in your head. By using the AskVet app, you can put your mind to rest, knowing all the answers to your questions are at the tip of your fingers. Not every issue that arises is a cause for rushing to the emergency vet, but we don’t blame you for wondering!

When you become a member of AskVet, you can get all the personalized answers you need and a 360° Lifestyle Plan unique for every non-human member of your household.



Get the Facts about Pain Relievers for Pets | FDA

Practical Use Of Opioids In Cats: A State-Of-The-Art, Evidence-Based Review | SAGE Journals

Cannabinoids In The Management Of Difficult To Treat Pain | NCB

Chiropractic Adjustment for Animals | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

7 Ways to Tell If Your Cat is in Pain – Some May Surprise You! | Metropolitan Veterinary Center

Bladder Stones in Dogs: Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Bladder Stones in Dogs: Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Does it seem like your pup is whining at the door to use the bathroom far more than usual? Is your normally very polite pooch having accidents indoors?

This all might be a sign that their bathroom routine is disrupted and there is something wrong with their urinary system.

Figuring out if your dog has bladder stones while at home isn’t black and white. You can’t necessarily tell if your dog is passing a bladder stone or not at any given moment, but if their behavior is changing and they are in some sort of discomfort, it’s best to ask your veterinarian.

Bladder stones are one of those things that, until we are seeing the x-rays of your dog’s bladder, we won’t understand the exact severity of it.

If you are worried that your dog might be dealing with bladder stones, contact your vet immediately to figure out the next best steps. If you’re on the fence, keep reading to learn more about bladder stones, their symptoms, and their treatment.

What Are Bladder Stones?

Bladder stones, also known as uroliths or cystic calculi, are formations of minerals that form in the urinary bladder and resemble little rock-like substances. There are four main types of bladder stones: struvite stones, urate stones, cystine stones, and calcium oxalate stones.

These stones aren’t necessarily one size and can instead be a range of different sizes. A dog might have one large stone that won’t pass or multiple stones of all sizes that are passing at different times.

Regardless of what kind of bladder stone affects your pup’s health, the pain is often high and can be very uncomfortable. Seeking help as soon as possible can put their pain at ease and help them get through this very unwanted ordeal and back to playing at the park.

Symptoms of Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder stones might start small and seemingly insignificant, but they can compile and grow in both size and number. Some signs of bladder stone formation include abnormalities like:

  • Blood in your dog’s urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Struggling to urinate due to blockage
  • Frequent urination and dribbling urine
  • Urinating in the house
  • Licking at the urinary opening
  • Overall discomfort

If your dog is unable to urinate and hasn’t gone to the bathroom in a noticeably long time, you should contact your veterinarian immediately, as this is likely an emergency.

Kidney Stones and Gallstones: What You Need To Know

Bladder stones are not to be mistaken for kidney stones or gallstones. While all are uncomfortable and affect the same structure, they are different in their own ways. Gallstones form in the gallbladder, and kidney stones form in the kidney. To see what exactly is going on in your pet, your dog will need to undergo an x-ray.

How Do Bladder Stones Form?

Bladder stones usually form in one of two ways:

  • The first is when certain minerals in a pet’s body aren’t processed correctly in the urinary system, and they begin to build up in rock-like forms.
  • The second is when specific mineral levels in your pet’s body become too high; the minerals crystallize and harden into bladder stones.

This could be caused by a multitude of things: an issue with your dog’s metabolism, dietary factors, or a previous disease like a bladder infection. It can happen at any time and at any age, so it’s not like one group is more likely to get it than another.

For the most part, the main kinds of minerals found to create bladder stones are struvite crystals, calcium oxalate, urate, and cystine crystals. Some types are more common in male dogs than female dogs.

Different underlying conditions and issues can also influence the stone formation in a dog. If your dog has any of the following, it might increase the risk of them developing bladder stones:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Kidney disease
  • Urine acidity and alkalinity (urine ph)
  • Nutritional imbalance
  • Decrease in water intake
  • Genetic or breed predisposition

How Long Does It Take for a Kidney Stone To Form?

The crystallization of minerals in your dog’s bladder doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for a bladder stone to fully form. Depending on the quantity of crystalline material available, your dog’s bladder stones hardly have a known timeline.

It may take months for a very large bladder stone to form and then affect your dog. You might not even realize that something so sinister is building in your dog’s body until they struggle to use the bathroom and look in pain.

Diagnosing Bladder Stones

The only way to truly diagnose bladder stones is for a DVM to perform an x-ray or radiographs on your dog. Before you get to this point, your veterinarian will do a physical examination and ask about your dog’s diet and history. At the same time that they will recommend an x-ray, they will also probably want to run a urinalysis, urine culture, and bloodwork to ensure there isn’t anything else wrong.

A dog’s bladder stones can also be identified through the abdominal wall with your fingers by being palpated. Some, though, will be too small to feel or too large to actually palpate. The earlier that you get this diagnosis, the better off your dog will be. They might be able to avoid any urinary obstructions later on and instead find treatment immediately.

Treatment Options for Bladder Stones

Due to the variety of bladder stones, including their size and location, treating them is very personal. It’s likely that your veterinarian will discuss treatment for your pet specifically so that they can get the exact treatment that they need.

There are three main treatments for bladder stones:

  1. Surgical removal
  2. Urohydropropulsion
  3. Dietary dissolution through a special diet

Surgical Removal

Surgical removal is the quickest way to treat bladder stones, although it’s not an option for every pup since some dogs don’t tolerate anesthesia well.

In this surgery, the stones are removed via a cystotomy (when the surgeons go in and open the bladder to remove the stones). This procedure can remove the stones if they happen to be blocking your pet’s urethra, yet it’s not always necessary, and other options are available.


Urohydropropulsion is useful when the bladder stones are small and somewhat passable. You put a catheter into the bladder to help flush out the stones. This is usually done under anesthesia as well. Additionally, your vet might use a cystoscope, a small instrument that can sometimes remove small stones without surgery.

Dietary Dissolution

Dietary dissolution is the third way to treat bladder stones. This involves feeding your dog a diet that is formulated to dissolve bladder stones. These diets are always tailored to a specific kind of mineral found in your dog’s body.

This is a great option for those trying to avoid surgery, but this method has some disadvantages:

  • This method doesn’t work for all stone types, and your dog will have to undergo stone analysis to find out if they are dissolvable.
  • It can take several weeks to dissolve the stone, and your dog might have recurring infections during the process. They often are placed on antibiotics to help prevent other bacterial infections.
  • Lastly, not all dogs will eat the prescription diet, so you might be out of luck. These diets only work if it’s what is being fed to your dog exclusively. No treats or supplements can be given to your dog during this time, which is sometimes harder for the owner than the dog.

Preventing Bladder Stones

In some cases, prevention is possible! This will depend on the mineral composition of the stones, but you can get a better idea of this once the stones are removed. If they are removed or small enough to pass through the bladder, they should be tested for their chemical composition. You might be able to alter their diets to help balance out the mineral composition in their body.

Encouraging your dog to increase their water consumption can help to prevent bladder stones as it can lower the acidity in your dog’s body. Some vets will recommend that you switch to the canned dog food version of your pet’s food to increase their fluid intake.

By staying on top of your dog’s health, you can also help to prevent bladder stones. This looks like taking care of other underlying conditions and getting them checked out at the vet regularly. If your pet is suffering from a kidney infection or UTI, this might aid in the formation of bladder stones, so treating all other issues with your dog can better protect them from forming other health-related issues.

Get Answers From the Experts

When it comes to your pet, even the littlest thing can pique your interest. If your dog’s behavior changes in the slightest, you will be the first person to recognize it. This can be a good thing, especially when your dog is in pain.

When you aren’t sure what to do, reach out to AskVet Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ 24/7. You can reach out and talk with the highly-trained CPLCs about your dog’s change in behavior, and they can recommend the best next steps.

If you think your dog might be struggling to urinate or experiencing pain, AskVet can help determine the issues and provide support as needed. Sign up today and get started in a whole new world of pet care for only $9.99 a month.



Urinary Stones | American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Stones In Cats And Dogs: What Can Be Learnt From Them? | NCBI

Canine Struvite Urolith Medical Dissolution | Minnesota Urolith Center

Cat Constipation Massages: Palpation At Home

cat constipation massage

No one likes feeling constipated, including our cats. You might notice that your cats are having some difficulty when trying to use the litter box. Maybe they are struggling to get any stool to exit their body, and when they do, the pieces are abnormal and quite small, like little pebbles. It might not be a glamorous duty looking after your cat’s feces, but it’s a job that needs to be done!

Most cases of cat constipation aren’t all too serious and may be resolved at home with some massaging and a change of diet. Others might need a more official evaluation to determine the cause and best treatment mode.

You might already do this for yourself and not even realize you’re doing it when your stomach aches, but massaging around the bowels can help stimulate movement. This goes for cats too!

Keep reading to learn more about cat constipation and how palpations can help.

What Is Constipation in Cats Like?

If your cat is constipated, they might be having irregular bowel movements where little to nothing actually comes out. On average, a cat will defecate one to three times a day, so if you notice after two days that you aren’t picking up anything in the litter box, your cat might have constipation.

Constipation happens when feces get stuck in the large intestine and absorb too much water, becoming very dry and hard. It no longer moves easily through their intestine to be emptied.

One common reason for constipation is a lack of fiber in a cat’s diet. Let’s elaborate on the causes below:

Causes of Cat Constipation

Cat constipation is idiopathic, meaning there is no identifiable cause, but many factors can influence constipation. There are four common things that can lead to constipation that can be avoided with a watchful eye. Of course, it can happen to any cat, and you shouldn’t blame yourself.

Some frequent causes of constipation include:

  • Improper diet: Like said above, if your cat is not getting a proper diet with enough fiber, constipation could occur. If your cat is dehydrated and not drinking enough water, constipation is more likely. Feeding your cat a diet high in fiber and protein can help regulate your cat’s bowel movements.
  • Ingesting a foreign object: Your cat could consume something they aren’t supposed to, making it more difficult to pass through their intestines. Sometimes string from toys can get caught up in your feces, making it harder to pass. Hairballs can also assist in this obstruction. Pelvic
  • injuries: If your cat’s pelvis is injured, the pelvic canal might become too narrow for objects to pass through easily, creating a build-up.
  • Obesity: Studies have found that older, overweight cats with kidney disease were more likely to become constipated.

Symptoms of Cat Constipation

If your cat struggles with constipation, there are a few signs and symptoms you can look out for. Your cat relies on you to make medical decisions for them, so being mindful of your cat’s bowel movements means an easier time making a diagnosis. Trust us; no vet is going to think you’re weird for keeping track of your cat’s feces. Some symptoms of cat constipation are:

  • Vocalizing and crying in their litter box
  • Several days of an empty litter box
  • Straining to defecate
  • Hard and dry fecal matter
  • Blood in the stool
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Small amounts of diarrhea
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, you can reach out to AskVet to see what they think. If it seems to be an emergency and it has been going on for several days, reach out to your local veterinarian immediately.

How Do You Diagnose Constipation in Cats?

To better understand what’s happening with your cat, you should take them to your veterinarian’s office. There, your cat’s doc can provide x-rays, a physical exam, a rectal exam, blood work, ultrasounds, and might even massage your cat’s stomach to feel for any obvious blockage.

If these behaviors are new to you, going to the vet is your best option so you can learn about ways to help your cat. If you have a cat that is more prone to constipation, there are ways for you to help at home when it happens again. This is where a cat constipation massage comes in, also known as palpation.

What Is a Cat Constipation Massage?

During your cat’s physical exam, the veterinarian will likely palpate your cat’s stomach to feel for fecal matter built up in the colon or even for a full bladder of urine. To pass built-up fecal matter through the intestines, it needs to be soft. This can be helped with an abdomen massage, referred to lovingly as a cat constipation massage. But how does it work?

Before you try this at home, ask your vet about the specific methods they might suggest for your specific cat. By massaging your cat’s belly, you can help to stimulate movement and work to soften the obstruction. If at any point your cat seems to be distressed, you should look into other options to help soften their stool, as you may be causing more stress for them.

Treatment for Cat Constipation

While cat constipation massages can get things going, there are other treatment methods that you can use at the same time to help your little pal feel better. Your vet might recommend prescription wet food or potentially pumpkin puree. Pumpkin puree is loaded with fiber and moves nicely through your cat’s digestive system.

Ensuring that your cat is drinking enough water. Sometimes, a fountain-type bowl will look more enticing to our picky feline friends. Encouraging regular exercise can also help to regulate bowel movements — sounds like a good excuse to play with our cats!

Get Help at Home: AskVet

At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for our furry friends. If your cat is in pain, it’s no fun for anyone involved. Palpating on your cat’s stomach to determine if there is an issue might help you figure out underlying issues that your cat might be having.

If you are wondering about your cat’s health, you can hop on the AskVet app and please reach out to one of our Pet Coaches for help. Join AskVet to find the answers and support you need.

Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!




Constipation | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Practice Tips | NCBI

Retrospective Evaluation Of Risk Factors And Treatment Outcome Predictors In Cats Presenting To The Emergency Room For Constipation | SAGE Journals

How do we define the term idiopathic? | NCBI

Natural Pain Relief for Cats: Real Remedies vs. Myths

Natural Pain Relief for Cats: Real Remedies vs. Myths

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

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

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

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

What Causes Pain in Cats?

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


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

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


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

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


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

Digestive Issues

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


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

How Do You Know Your Cat Is in Pain?

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

Lack of Appetite

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

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


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

Myths Related to Pain Relief for Cats

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

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

Some myths that you might come across are:

Myth: Pain Medication Is Unsafe

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

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

Myth: Cats Can Get Over It On Their Own

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

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

Myth: A Quiet Cat Is a Happy, Healthy Cat

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

Natural Remedies for Pain Relief

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


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

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

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

Fish Oil

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Chiropractic work

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

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

AskVet Is Here To Help

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

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



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

Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents For Pain Relief | NCBI

Cannabinoids In The Management Of Difficult To Treat Pain | NCBI

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

Chiropractic Adjustment for Animals | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

Why Do Cats Purr? | Purring | Live Science

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