Skin Tags on Dogs: Identification and What To Do About Them

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You may have a pesky skin tag on your body, like on your neck or underarms. For humans, skin tags are common occurrences that are usually not concerning. They are common, and the odds are that you either have one or will develop one as you age: It’s estimated that half of humans have or will have a skin tag in their lifetime.

Skin tags, also referred to as acrochordons, can occur where your skin tends to move on itself. This makes skin tags common in places like your underarms, neck, and even near the eyelids. Healthwise, they are not harmful unless they become irritated.

Like humans, our dogs can also experience skin tags. Skincare isn’t just for one group of the animal kingdom; it’s for all of us! Let’s chat about identifying skin tags and what to do about them.

What Do Skin Tags Look Like on Dogs?

As you pet your dog, you may notice a new bump on their skin. After much inspecting, you see that this lump is attached to the skin by a stalk-like structure. If this is the case, this bump might be a skin tag.

Skin tags are seen frequently in older dogs and larger breeds. Despite their typical structure, skin tags can vary in size and in appearance.

A Note About Skin Tags

Skin tags are generally harmless. However, skin tags aren’t always what they appear to be. Skin tags can look just like a number of other dermatological conditions, including warts, ticks, or skin tumors.

Malignant skin tumors can take on many different appearances, with a common one called Mast Cell Tumors prompting the nickname “The Great Imitator.” Any new growths on your dog warrant a trip to the vet within a few weeks of popping up. Your vet will know which tests to perform to diagnose this new growth as a skin tag or a more dangerous imposter.

What Causes Skin Tags on Dogs?

It is not understood exactly why skin tags form, but there are a few ideas that pet experts are trying on for size:

The first hypothesis is that cells in your dog’s skin may be overproducing collagen and connective tissue. Another reason some vets back is that perhaps your dog experiences constant friction on an area of their body (think a collar that is too snug). Areas of pressure points and creases, like your dog’s elbows, can be prime areas for skin tags to form.

How Do You Treat Skin Tags on Dogs?

This is the ultimate time to insert a “do not try this at home” disclaimer:

If you want your dog’s skin tag removed, consult your dog’s veterinarian for the best course of action. Since skin tags are usually benign, most pet parents leave them unless the skin tags are irritating the dog.

Skin tags can be disruptive, like if the skin tag prevents your dog’s eyes from shutting on their own, or one that they constantly get caught on when they scratch behind their ear. Some pet parents also elect to have skin tags removed for cosmetic reasons.

Never try to remove a skin tag on your own, as it can be painful for your dog. If you were to try to remove the skin tag, it could create a wound that might result in an infection.

How Vets Might Approach Skin Tag Treatment

If your veterinarian believes removing your dog’s skin tag is in the pup’s best interest, your vet will likely take a biopsy first. Your vet might want to rule out other concerns, like potential tumors. Your veterinarian may also be able to take a small number of cells from the area with a small needle.

Monitoring the skin tag for some time may be an option as some skin ailments can resolve independently. If your dog’s veterinarian decides that removing the skin tag is necessary, they will be able to determine how much skin needs to be removed. This planning ensures that all cells that make up the tag are successfully removed. Doing this will ensure that the chance the skin tag doesn’t come back or if it does, it comes back much smaller and less intrusive.

There are a few ways of removing skin tags and other skin growths. Each is taken into consideration by your dog’s veterinarian. The best option could depend on the size of the growth, the location of the growth, and the odds of it recurring.

Some treatment options include cryosurgery, which uses extreme cold. This is similar to having a wart frozen off. Another is cauterization, in which the growth is burned off. Potentially, general surgery might be needed. In this scenario, your vet might remove the growth with a scalpel.

Other Skin Growths

There are multitudes of skin disorders that can affect our dogs. While skin tags are the most common, let’s take a look at some other common ailments that can be seen on our dogs. Although most skin masses are benign, the best practice is to take your dog to their veterinarian for further inspection and testing.

Basal Cell Tumors

These types of tumors are common in our canine friends. These tumors can be mistaken for skin tags, as they also attach to the skin with a stalk-like structure. However, cysts can form from these tumors and become infected.

The good news is that most basal cell tumors are benign. Removing these in surgery helps reduce the chance of infection and potential discomfort.

Lipoma

Lipomas are made of fat and are commonly found in older dogs. Especially so if the dog is overweight. Most lipomas do not cause issues, but if they grow large, then surgery may need to be considered.

Papilloma

If your dog has a wart-like spot near their mouth, this could be a papilloma. If your dog goes to the dog park or doggy daycare, there is even more reason to confirm this as a papilloma as these spread quickly.

Generally, papillomas tend to resolve themselves, and additional treatment might not be necessary. They are seen in younger dogs, as their immune system is still developing.

Follicular Cyst

A follicular cyst can be compared to ingrown hairs in humans. These cysts occur when your dog’s hair follicle is blocked.

They are usually on the smaller side but can grow larger and form in multiples. This type of cyst can cause discomfort for your dog, especially if it does rupture. Once it ruptures, it can become infected.

Ticks

Although ticks are not a skin ailment, skin tags can be commonly mistaken for ticks. Ticks are around the same size and shape as a skin tag, but pulling a skin tag can be a little more painful for your pup than pulling a tick.

Ticks are often darker in color, and skin tags are usually the same color as your pet’s skin. This is good news if your pet has lighter-colored skin. If your dog has darker-colored skin, use a magnifying glass to see if you can spot legs, indicating that this skin tag is a tick.

Ticks are sometimes harmless but can transmit diseases, including Lyme disease. Ask your vet for advice.

Stay Happy and Healthy

Being a member of the KONG Club can help give you the tools to raise happy, healthy dogs (and cats).

With the KONG Club Box, your dog will receive a package designed around a specific building block of wellness. Each monthly box is packed with treats and toys centered on topics that can boost your pet’s quality of life. Each box is built to satisfy dogs’ innate instincts inherited from their long-estranged relatives, the wolves. These genetic traits manifest in the form of barking, digging, chasing, and more.

The KONG Club boxes offer unique ways to increase your dog’s emotional wellness, nutritional intake, and love of life. Since every month is on a different topic, you have a well-rounded approach to addressing all of your pet’s needs.

Stay Calm and Walk on

When finding a new bump or lump on your dog’s skin, your first reaction may be to hop on the internet immediately and try to diagnose the issue yourself. This usually causes nothing but dread and panic.

Even if it’s nothing, you’ll feel better after chatting with your veterinarian. Your vet can give you quality peace of mind. Knowing that you’ve spoken with a trained professional can keep your thoughts from racing around and leaving you pacing more than a cat on a fence.

Let KONG Club be your trusty sidekick when it comes to supporting the health and wellness of your pet. You’ll love having the support, and your dog will love their monthly round of new toys and treats. A win-win for everyone!

 

Sources:

Mayo Clinic Q and A: What are skin tags? | Mayo Clinic

Skin Tags (Acrochordons) | Cleveland Clinic

Tumors of the Skin in Dogs – Dog Owners | Merck Veterinary Manual

Benign Skin Masses of Dogs | MSCPA.org

Should You Be Concerned About Fatty Tumors on Your Dog? | The Animal Medical Center

Canine Mast Cell Tumor | Long Island Veterinary Specialists

5 Best Diabetic Dog Treats of 2022

We love treats, but sometimes treats don’t love us. They may be too high in fat or sugar, which is not great for our bodies. The same goes for our furry best pals; we know they love to enjoy treats as well. Too many treats can cause the calories to add up and cause weight gain, which brings its own set of health issues, especially if the weight gain causes a dog to become obese.

Obesity is a leading contributor to diabetes in dogs, but other health issues may cause diabetes as well. Luckily diabetes may be very treatable given the right management plan and continued monitoring. Many dogs diagnosed with diabetes continue to live a full and bark-filled fun life, and you’ll get to enjoy treating them (carefully!).

How Do I Take of a Diabetic Dog?

When your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, you and your dog’s veterinarian will likely begin a plan for therapy and continued management. Insulin therapy might be the starting point for managing your dog’s diabetes. This process can be trial and error as your veterinarian determines which insulin and dosage are best for your dog.

Continued checkups will continue as your veterinarian dials into the perfect dose for your dog. Your veterinarian may also instruct you on how to use urine strips to monitor your dog’s glucose levels. Other variables to consider regarding insulin dosage tend to be weight, activity level, and diet.

Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to administer insulin to your dog. No worries, you can do this! Most injections are right under the skin, and the needle is so small and sharp that your doggo will hardly feel a thing. Your veterinarian may suggest that you practice on a piece of fruit first, so you can learn to distinguish between the layers of the fruit’s peel and the flesh of the fruit.

If your dog is overweight, your veterinarian will likely suggest a long-term weight loss plan. This will help reduce any further health risks that may come along with being overweight. As your dog loses weight, your veterinarian will continue to monitor your dog’s glucose levels as their insulin dosage will likely need to be changed as your dog’s weight changes.

Regular exercise is important as well. Keep your dog active by going on walks or playing with toys every day. Make sure you consult with your veterinarian about how long your dog should exercise and how often, as we don’t want them to become too active and get sick from over-exercising.

What Should My Diabetic Dog Eat?

Diet should be carefully managed. Often, vets will recommend that your dog eats at a consistent time each day so that insulin injections can be given afterward (in some cases). Generally, we don’t want to give insulin to our dogs before they have eaten, as there may be a chance your dog won’t want to eat. Then, your dog could possibly start to become ill if they are given insulin on an empty stomach.

Ideally, feeding your dog every twelve hours will keep them on a good schedule and their glucose level at a constant level throughout the day, but each case varies. The added plus of a carefully managed diet can be weight loss for your dog if they are overweight. Fat can affect how insulin is absorbed in the body, so any weight loss can help reduce the amount of insulin your dog needs.

A high-fiber, low-fat diet is usually recommended for dogs with diabetes. The fiber should be an insoluble type, which slows digestion and helps your dog feel full. Along with the low fat, which has lesser calories, this feeling of fullness can be an added benefit in helping your dog lose weight if a part of their diabetes treatment plan.

When developing your dog’s diet plan, be sure to avoid foods with added sugars or a large number of carbohydrates — both of these things can cause havoc on your dog’s glucose levels.

What Treats Can My Diabetic Dog Have?

Treats will need to be carefully calculated into your dog’s diet. In many cases, this could amount to roughly 10% of your dog’s daily total nutrients. While we love being able to give our dogs treats when they act so sweet (which is all the time), it’ll take a bit of planning to ensure you stay within the proper dietary parameters.

Just like their food, you’ll want to avoid added sugars and carbohydrates. Proteins are best as they will be low fat. No worries, here are some easy and healthy treats for your dog that will keep them feeling the love from you but also help keep them healthy.

Of course, you’ll want to double-check with your veterinarian if these suggestions will work for your dog and their treatment plan. Who knows, they may have even more diabetic-friendly treat ideas!

Freeze Dried Proteins

Treats that are freeze-dried have had their moisture removed. You can find freeze-dried chicken, beef, and liver treats that your dog will love. They will also enjoy the light, crunchy texture that comes from being freeze-dried.

A special way to give your dog treats while extending the fun is to put them in a treat-dispensing toy, like KONG’s Biscuit Ball, which can hold delicious morsels of food that your dog will go absolutely crazy over. They’ll love chasing the ball around and trying to get the treats loose.

It’s a great tool to combat canine boredom as well as a fantastic way to encourage movement.

Veggie Jerky

Vegetables are healthy snacks, but you aren’t going to see your dog happily crunching on a raw carrot stick. They are ideal for treats, as they are high in fiber and have no added sugars, although there may be a small amount of natural sugar. We just need to make it a little more appealing for your pup.

To make veggies more palatable for your dog, you can turn vegetables into jerky so that your dog has something with a little chew but no harmful ingredients.

Carrots are a great choice for veggie jerky, and the process is so simple. Just blanch some carrots, slice them, and then place them in an oven on low heat until they are dehydrated. They will resemble jerky as they become darker in color.

Scrambled Eggs

Not just for breakfast, your doggy will love a soft and warm scrambled egg as a treat. Hold off on all the spices and seasonings you would add to your eggs, though. These may upset your dog’s tummy, so they just need a plain egg.

Frozen Yogurt Treats

You scream; I’ll scream, our dogs will bark for… frozen yogurt? Yes! This yummy treat will give your dog the satisfaction of creamy ice cream but will fit much better into their diet plan. Low-fat plain yogurt spooned into small dots on a cookie sheet, then placed in the freezer, will give you the perfect yogurt “chips” you can give to your pup on warm days.

You can mix things up by putting fruits on the yogurt as it freezes, like berries or apples. Your pup will happily bark up a storm to get their paws on these “sweetish” slices of heaven.

Keep in mind that dogs can tend to be lactose intolerant, so check for non-dairy variations or even frozen yogurt made just for our pups.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is another good option for our diabetic buddies. You can give a spoonful or two on its own, with a tiny sprinkle of cinnamon on top; so yummy! Or you can do two treats in 1 and mix them into the previously mentioned frozen yogurt treats.

While you enjoy a pumpkin spice latte for your treat, your pup can enjoy some pumpkin for their treat. We just love twinning with our dogs!

KONG Club: Helping Keep Your Dog Active & Healthy

Diabetes can be a scary diagnosis for your dog. With the continued partnership with your veterinarian and a successful plan put in place, your dog can have an active life. Being a member of the KONG Club keeps being active easy.

Every month you and your dog will love receiving a specially curated box that has been centered around a building block of wellness. Instead of just your dog waiting at the window for the mail truck to come by, you’ll be waiting right along with them. Will it be a race to see who gets to the box first?

You’ll enjoy the tips, advice, and recipes that keep your pet parent toolbox full. Your dog will especially love the toys that come in the box, refreshing their toy box month after month. Our toys will keep your dogs active as their natural instincts as they sniff, chew, and chase.

Additionally, being a member of the KONG Club gives you access to our team of vets from AskVet for all of your diabetes-related questions. They’re a great resource to have in your back pocket whenever you need a quick word.

Join the club today so you can have one membership that gives you and your dog so much! Keep your dog active and yourself well informed with the KONG Club.

Sources:

Diabetes in Pets | American Veterinary Medical Association

Managing canine diabetes | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Diabetic Dog Diet | Veterinary Partner

Cats In Heat 101: Everything You Need To Know

Calling our friends “Queen” has become a popular term of endearment, but did you know that intact female cats of reproducing age are called Queens in the veterinary and medical world?

A cat in heat can be an interesting experience if you are trying to prevent any tiny meowing bundles from making an appearance.

Let’s chat about the signs of your cat going into heat and how you can help your cat through this time.

When Do Female Cats Go Into Heat?

Just like human children, our fur-children can grow within the blink of an eye.

The average age of a cat’s first heat cycle is six to seven months but can be as early as four months. Even though your cat may be biologically ready for kittens, it is not advised to allow mating behavior before full skeletal and emotional maturity, which is closer to 18-24 months of age.

Cats can be prolific reproducers. Female cats go into heat, also called the oestrus or estrus cycle, twice a year, usually during the spring and the fall.

With kitten gestation being around two months, a queen can have up to three litters a year. An unspayed cat can have up to 100 kittens over the course of her life. That is a lot of catnip!

Signs Of Your Cat Being In Heat

If you are a new cat parent, you may sense that your cat is acting a bit differently. Some new cat parents may even think that their cat is in pain or not feeling well due to strange behavioral changes, like loud yowling.

If you see your unspayed female cat exhibiting some of these symptoms, she may have entered her heat cycle:

Increased Signs of Affection

Your cat may be starting to enter her heat cycle if you see that your cat is acting more lovey-dovey than usual to you or even inanimate objects.

Increased Vocalizations

Noises such as loud yowling and meowing could be a sign of heat. This symptom may cause pet parents to perk up and think that their kitty is not feeling well or injured. It could be your female cat making herself known to potential mates that she is in her breeding season.

However, if you have concerns, it’s always best to ask your veterinarian.

Spraying Urine

When in heat, your female cat will leave a calling card that she is ready to mate. Spraying marks territory and helps male cats know that she is in heat. During this time, her urine will contain increased levels of estrogen and pheromones related to a cat’s heat cycle.

Different Posture

Your cat may start sitting with her hindquarters in the air, with her tail to the side. She may also make a marching motion with her feet. Basically, your queen is getting ready to make kittens by getting in a mating position.

Loss of Appetite

Your normally hungry kitty may not have the same interest in her cat food because her mind is elsewhere looking for a cat mate. You can try to tempt your queen with her favorite tidbits, but her normal appetite should come back after her ovulation is done and she leaves her estrous cycle. Then, you can pull out those KONG Club Scription Box cat treats and celebrate that the angst is in the past (for now).

Sneaking Out After Curfew and Hanging Around Tomcats

If your kitty is trying to slip past you when opening the door or eyeing an open window, they are trying to make their escape to get out and mingle with other cats.

While this isn’t an explicit symptom your cat may experience, you may see tomcats hanging around your home. They’ll sense that your female cat is in heat and will try to hang around to catch a glimpse of her.

What Are the Signs a Cat Is Pregnant?

The classic symptoms of heat will continue for around a week. If your cat doesn’t mate, she’ll come back into heat around two to three weeks later. If she did mate, look for symptoms of a cat pregnancy.

Symptoms might include a swollen belly, protruding nipples, increased appetite, and resting. If you know your cat has bred with multiple other cats during this time, there is a possibility that the kittens in the litter can have different fathers (yes, this is possible).

What Are the Signs of a Feline False Pregnancy?

Visit your veterinarian for confirmation of pregnancy, as some cats can exhibit all the signs but have a false pregnancy. False pregnancies are uncommon and resolve on their own. Ask your veterinarian to confirm a pregnancy, so you know exactly what to be doing to help your potential mama-to-be.

Your veterinarian will also be able to give you pertinent information on the signs of labor and what to watch for when your cat gives birth.

Why Is Spaying Important?

Female cats who do not conceive during their heat cycle will enter another heat cycle in two to three weeks. Going through multiple heat cycles increases your cat’s chances of getting pregnant, especially if she were to escape from your home. All it takes is one encounter with a male cat, and you will likely have a litter of kittens.

With the added stress of ensuring that your home is secure and enduring loud yowls and the risk of urine spraying, it’s easy to say that it can be a paw-full having an unspayed female cat in the home. If you are not planning on breeding your female cat, the best course of action is to spay your female cat.

When you spay your female cat, you eliminate the risk of unwanted pregnancies and rehoming multiple kittens. With animal shelters already being overpopulated, it’s important to do what we can to prevent adding to the overall cat population.

You are also ensuring that your female cat is protected from health risks. Intact female cats are at risk of a condition called pyometra, which can be a fatal infection of the reproductive organs.

Additionally, if you spay your cat while she is still young and before her first heat, between three to six months of age, her mammary glands have not developed. Spaying during this interval may lower the risk of mammary cancer.

Having your cat spayed is a quick, routine procedure that your cat will bounce back from with a little rest and relaxation. You’ll feel the relief of not having to go through all the precautionary measures of keeping your cat inside and away from other cats while she is in heat. You’ll also appreciate the peace of mind of lowering the risk of potential health issues later in your cat’s life.

Treat Your Queen Like Royalty

If your female cat does go into heat, you will likely be extra vigilant in keeping her away from doors and windows. Helping your indoor cat focus her attention on other things than the call of nature can help make this period smoother for everyone in the household.

Keeping your queen distracted and happy is an easy solution when you are a member of the KONG Club. Each month you will receive a box full of toys and treats centered on a particular building block of wellness.

Each box is curated with your kitty’s natural instincts in mind, like pouncing, hunting, and scratching. You’ll also receive information on the month’s particular theme, and you’ll likely add new information to your pet parent toolkit — not to mention recipes and training advice.

The KONG Club Monthly Subscription Box puts this monthly treat in your hands (and your cat’s paws!). Our purrfect cats are smart and inquisitive and need toys to keep them engaged. They’ll love the monthly update to their toy box, and you’ll feel informed and prepared.

Let KONG take care of keeping your pets engaged and occupied, so you can take care of treating your cat like the queen she is!

Sources:

Is your cat in heat? | FACE Low-Cost Care Clinic

Spaying and Neutering | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Pyometra: What is it and Why Does it Happen? | MSPCA-Angell

Reproductive Disorders of Female Cats – Cat Owners | Merck Veterinary Manual

Female Reproduction | NCBI

Reading a Stressed Dog’s Body Language & How You Can Help

Being a pet parent means lots of snuggles, walks, and treats. You are an expert on what toys your dog loves and how to give the perfect belly rub.

You are also a body language specialist. Since our furry buddies sadly cannot talk, we have to rely on their body posture and actions to help us determine how they are feeling.

Let’s discuss canine body language, potential signs of stress, and how to help encourage a healthy, happy dog.

Why Do Dogs Feel Stressed?

Although we like to think that our best buddies are happy-go-lucky, sometimes our dogs can feel stressed.

It’s important to learn the signs of a stressed dog so you can help your buddy feel less stressed and even try to prevent those triggers in the future.

Change In Routine

Your dog probably has a set routine in place. They typically wake up around the same time each day and wait patiently for you to wake up. More than likely, though, they are your personal wake-up call. Then your dog will wait by their bowl for a yummy breakfast and then go outside to tend to their business.

Sometimes dog behavior is difficult to predict (who knew that your dog would jump on the countertop to eat a sourdough starter?). Yet, when that routine is flipped over, your dog may be thrown off and may feel nervous at the unexpected.

This is especially true if you are going out of town and your dog will be staying with a friend or family member, or if they will be going to doggy boarding. For some dogs, a new situation is a stressful situation.

Separation Anxiety

Your dog may also feel stressed when you leave home if they are super attached to you. This separation anxiety can also be exacerbated by the fact that many of us have been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. With nowhere to go, we could pay attention to them all day long.

Many of our dogs are now used to us being home all the time. If your work is now back in-person, your dog may experience anxiety being left alone for hours a day.

Sickness

It is inevitable that our dogs will not feel well from time to time. They may have gotten into the trash or into something outside that doesn’t quite agree with their tummy. They may have been bitten by a bug or another animal that caused an injury.

There are also communicable illnesses that can be transferred via dog parks, doggy daycares, or just on the ground outside.

New Places

If your furry pal is a homebody, going to new places can be exciting but also stressful. Your fearful dog may feel overwhelmed by all the new people, new smells, and even other dogs in the area. It can be a lot to take in all at once.

Loud Noises

New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July are holidays that many look forward to for the gatherings and fireworks displays. Pet parents may have a different outlook on these holidays since loud noises can scare our pups. Many a pet parent has experienced having to go home from events early to be there to comfort their pup during prime firework time.

Thunderstorms, lawnmowers, and vacuum cleaners are other loud outside noises that can also stress out our dogs too.

What Are Dogs’ Stress Signals?

Like people, dogs have particular facial expressions that can signal anxiety, like avoiding eye contact. Besides their puppy dog eyes, their body language offers other fantastic clues.

Reading our dog’s body language is immensely helpful in knowing their mood. Knowing if our dog is in a playful or stressed mood can help us determine our interactions with our dog and what they need from us.

If you see these signs (usually in combination), your pet is likely feeling stressed:

  • Tucking tail between legs
  • Shaking
  • Lip licking
  • Pacing back and forth
  • Looking for a small space/cowering
  • Urination or defecation (especially in response to a loud sound)
  • Whites of the eyes are showing. Often called “whale eye”
  • Panting or whimpering

How To Help a Stressed Dog

When our dogs are stressed, we want to help them to the best of our ability. Let’s look at some ways we can help our furry pals feel a little better when stressed out.

Rule Out Illness

The first thing to rule out is if your dog is stressed due to illness. If you suspect that your dog isn’t feeling well, make an appointment with their veterinarian or use the KONG Club app to chat with a licensed vet 24/7 to ensure that they receive the care that they need to get back to feeling like themselves.

Exercise

If you are headed back to work in person, your dog may feel stressed by being left alone during the day when they are used to having you there for company. This stress can help be mitigated by ensuring that your dog receives plenty of exercise.

When looking to help regulate a dog, it’s best to work with their natural instincts. Dogs chew, run, dig, and play in the wild. By fulfilling these canine instincts they inherited from wolves, you can help meet your dog’s mental and physical needs.

With the KONG Club Dog Membership, you receive a unique box every month, individually curated based on key wellness themes, like mental stimulation, stress, and anxiety. Each month you’ll get new toys and treats to help your dog stay active and entertained.

Calming Apparel

Apparel made just for dogs can help with relief from stress and anxiety. This apparel is a little snugger on your dog, comparable to a weighted blanket or a swaddled baby.

This light pressure can be calming for your dog while you are away, or if they are feeling stressed due to another reason, like thunderstorms or being in a new place.

Proactive Planning

Eventually, most dogs get a little stressed now and then; people sure do! In both cases, asking for help is key.

With the KONG Club app, you can work with Certified Pet Lifestyle Experts to create successful plans to manage stress, behavior, and more. So if you’re wondering why your dog is drooling so much or are looking for socialization tips, the KONG Club can help clue you into how your dog feels.

Calming Signals: The KONG Club

Keeping our dogs occupied can help divert their focus from being stressed to being interested in getting a treat. To keep your dog busy while you are away, or to help them redirect their attention when stressed, consider becoming a member of the KONG Club.

Not only does your pup receive a new box of toys, recipes, and treats each month with our subscription box, but you also have access to 1:1 pet coaching and access to the Clubhouse, where you can join fellow pet families for trading advice and tips.

Your dog loves to be by your side, and KONG Club is by yours to help you take the best care of your pet.

Sources:

7 Proven Ways to Calm Your Anxious Dog | Central California SPCA

Effect of Wearing a Telemetry Jacket on Behavioral and Physiologic Parameters of Dogs in the Open‑Field Test | PMC

Good (and Bad) Ways to Help a Dog Afraid of Fireworks | Scientific American Blog Network

Nine Durable Chew Toys for Puppies

Puppies are one of the greatest joys that life has to offer. They are absolutely adorable, full of energy, curious as anything, and love to play. When all of those traits combine, it is survival of the fittest for their chew toys.

Inevitably, some toys not built to hold up to this scrutiny will buckle under the pressure. And we mean literal pressure — puppies are near-constant chewers.

This article comes complete with a variety of safe chew toys that your puppy will enjoy, but what exactly makes a toy of this variety safe for puppies? Before we get into the chew toys themselves, we need to review some critical (and adorable) facts and figures.

What Should You Look for in Puppy Chew Toys?

It is a common misconception that one kind of chew toy fits all. Without doing any further research, it is understandable that someone might think that all chew toys are created equal.

In reality, there are key differences when it comes to which toy is best for your dog. Different dogs tend to favor specific toys, but these general guidelines can alter when considering puppies.

The first and most important attribute that you should look for in your puppy’s chew toys is durability. After all, there is a reason we made it the central focus of this article. The material should be able to stand up to your pooch’s needle-like baby teeth, but it should never be too hard.

Yet, if this toy is too hard, it could end up doing much more harm than good. As a result, you should ensure that any toy you get for your puppy is always softer than their teeth.

How Big Should a Puppy’s Chew Toy Be?

The exact size of the chew toy will depend on how big they are and their age. Of course, smaller dogs will need smaller chew toys. With that in mind, you should always be very careful and cognizant not to get your dog a toy that is too small. If the toy isn’t big enough, it can pose a serious choking hazard to your pup.

Of course, a large breed puppy is going to need a bigger chew toy earlier on than small dogs like a Chihuahua or a Pomeranian. If you give your dog a toy that features a squeaker, be sure to supervise them as they use it. Sometimes, the squeaky sound can cause dogs to try and destroy the toys and possibly swallow the source of the noise.

Why Do Puppies Need Chew Toys?

Some people look at toys as a bonus or a luxury for pets, but the truth is that they are an absolute necessity. Dogs need toys to be mentally stimulated, engage their sense of play, and not get too bored. In the case of puppies, they require chew toys, likely even more than their adult counterparts.

There are a few reasons that puppies require chew toys. Dogs of any age, but puppies especially, have natural instincts telling them to chew. These are natural and are impossible to train out of your dog.

Instead, you should redirect that chewy energy onto objects built to withstand it. Otherwise, your dog might end up chewing shoes, wires, or any number of other items you don’t want them to get in.

The second reason that chew toys are necessary is specific to puppies. Just like with human children, puppies will grow and lose their baby teeth as they age. Eventually, these will be replaced with a full set of adult teeth. In the meantime, though, they will have to go through a process known as teething.

What Is Teething?

You may be aware of teething because it also happens with human kids, and it often instills the same urge to chew and bite. Teething is when the baby teeth fall out and are replaced with adult teeth.

The process of teething is generally a painful and uncomfortable one, so it is essential to provide your puppy with a variety of chew toys to soothe their gums during this time.

Teething typically lasts until a puppy is about six months old since, at that point, their adult teeth will be fully grown. Keep in mind that you will still have to give your puppy toys appropriate for their size, even if they are no longer teething.

So they might not be ready for full, adult-sized toys just yet. If you suspect that this process is not progressing as it should for your pup, it is likely time to visit your vet.

Exactly what durable toys should you give to your puppy? Well, we are so glad you asked.

1. KONG Classic Puppy

The Puppy KONG dog toy is a Kong classic for a reason. It comes complete with a gentle, natural rubber specifically formulated to handle any and all puppy teething. It also comes in various sizes so it can meet your puppy at their current age. Not only that, but this Kong toy is also interactive.

To keep your puppy occupied while crate training or simply to give them something to keep them mentally stimulated, this toy can be stuffed with a wide variety of fillings. With these teething toys, playtime with even the most aggressive chewers will be long-lasting and rewarding.

2. Kong Teething Stick

For a toy that specifically addresses the puppy teething process, the Kong Teething Stick has you and your canine companion covered. This toy was thoughtfully designed to include ridges composed of durable rubber to clean your dog’s teeth. This dog chew toy is a must for any pet parent that wants to help assuage their puppy’s sore gums.

3. Puppy Ball

No matter how young or old, your dog can have a sustaining love for a good old-fashioned game of fetch at any stage of life.

For dogs under nine months who enjoy running, chasing, and retrieving, the Puppy Ball is a wonderful place to start. This ball can teach puppies all about the wonders of fetch while it bounces all over the place.

4. Puppy Activity Ball

Then, we have those little puppy geniuses who need a significant amount of mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy (and out of trouble — looking at you, Border Collies).

For those dogs, the Puppy Activity Ball offers just the right mix of thoughtful play, all while promoting healthy teeth and gums. You can add peanut butter, dog treats, or kibble to this toy to make it even more engaging. With this ball’s treat dispensing ability, the fun never ends!

5. The KONG Binkie

If you have ever had the urge to see your puppy with a pacifier in their mouth, this is the best dog toy for you. Even if you have not had that desire just yet, it is never too late to start!

The KONG Binkie can also be filled with different puppy-approved stuffings to make the incentive to chew even stronger… and the puppy pictures even more precious.

6. Puppy Tires

What is even cuter than a full-sized tire? A dog tire! And what is even cuter than that? A puppy tire! Kong’s Puppy Tires are rubber toys that are formed from a natural formula made just for puppies to aid them through the teething process.

7. Puppy Goodie Bone

There are perhaps no dog toys out there more iconic than a nice bone to chew on, and that variety of toys can work well for puppies too!

Again, it is just crucial to make sure that the toy is the right size and will not hurt your dog’s teeth. Luckily, the Puppy Goodie Bone comes in a small size for puppies and is made of unique puppy-safe rubber.

8. Puppy Goodie Bone With Rope

The Puppy Goodie Bone With Rope has all the benefits of the Puppy Goodie Bone, but with 100% more rope! Seriously, what’s not to like about that? For games of tug-of-war with your puppy, this is a fantastic toy that is effective and comfortable for your young dog.

9. Rope Ball

Rope toys are not just for adults, and they can have applications beyond just a rousing game of tug-of-war. The KONG Rope Puppy Ball is a great tool for indoor games of fetch because it still can bounce, but it is soft enough not to cause any damage.

At the same time, this puppy-specific rope will help your dog ignite their playful side while also soothing their gums.

Puppy See, Puppy Chew

We all want the best for our dogs, whether they are a new puppy or a long-established member of the family. That principle undoubtedly applies to the toys we give to our dogs, as well.

However, shopping can become a bit more complicated when trying to find the best chew toys for puppies. As long as you stick to a few basic rules, you can find toys that are just right for this stage of your puppy’s life.

Order a KONG Club monthly dog subscription box for your pup and get new toys & treats every month, as well as the KONG Club mobile app with 24/7 access to veterinarians and pet coaches!

Sources:

Dog Toys: How To Pick the Best and Safest | The Humane Society of the United States

A Timeline of Puppy Teething | American Kennel Club

Teeth Teething And Chewing In Puppies | VCA Animal Hospitals.

Signs Your Dog Needs Mental Stimulation | Penn State

Eight Cool Gift Ideas for Dog Owners in 2022

There are two primary categories of gifts for dog parents, and it is first important to decide which one you want to opt for. A gift for a pet parent could either be more targeted toward the person or their pooch.

Both types of presents are immensely rewarding to give and receive. With careful consideration, gifts can impact the recipient in just the right way.

If you want to get the dog parent in your life a present for their pet, you will have a whole host of options ahead of you. Do you want something that will engage their pup’s sense of play? Then toys or a walking supply kit would be your best bet.

For a more docile pet, maybe you want to get them something cute that they can snuggle and cuddle up to? Then perhaps a memory foam dog bed or pet carrier would be ideal for the dog parents. Either way, it is best to consider both the dog’s play style as well as the person’s preferences.

On the other hand, you might choose to get a gift that is more for the human than the dog. In this case, something sweet and sentimental is often a choice that will lead to a treasured gift for many years to come.

Hopefully, this gift guide is enough to get some creative juices flowing and help you start to think of some of the best gifts for dog lovers. If you are looking for an option that will consistently reward both the dog and the pet parents, do not fret!

We have just the thing for you:

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

At this point, many of us have tried out a subscription service or two. Chances are, you have experienced the excitement of receiving a new shipment of goodies regularly firsthand.

You know the anticipation that goes into it, and the joy that follows when you get to try out what arrived in your latest box. This anticipation is perhaps best compared to the excitement a dog feels when they get to play with a new toy for the first time. Research has proven that dogs love a new toy (just like their humans!).

Here’s how to gift the joy of toys:

1. The KONG Club Monthly Dog Subscription Box

The KONG Club Monthly Subscription Box for dogs is the perfect gift for pet parents and their furry best friends. When they and their dog open up their subscription box, they will each be greeted by a plethora of toys, treats, tips, and recipes that are sure to get tails wagging.

Each month’s box is based on a theme centering around pet wellness. Together, these monthly boxes can help to understand a dog’s physical and emotional health.

The advantages do not stop there. KONG Club also has a convenient app complete with both 24/7 vets and pet coaches who are available to provide support and create personalized guidance and pet plans.

If you are in the market for a gift that combines both fun for dogs and peace of mind for pet parents, this might just be the present you have been looking for.

Gifts for Dogs

Now that we have established an example of a gift that would cater to both the pet parent and the dog, let’s delve a bit deeper into presents that are more for pets than people.

Let’s be real: Caring for pets can be expensive. So, when you give a present to a dog, you’re actually giving their human a little break. Now they can enjoy that avocado toast worry-free!

2. Dog Toys That Cater to the Pet’s Interests

No matter what the dog loves to do, there are an abundance of fantastic toy options to choose from. The key is to think about how the dog behaves. If they make a habit of nipping, a chew toy is a great way to curb that instinct.

Or perhaps they like to fetch and run like a wild one all day long, then look for a ball launcher to really get the party going. For little doggy Einsteins, maybe some interactive toys would be best.

3. Some New Favorite Dog Treats

If there is one thing we know about dogs, it is their incredible passion for food. Frankly, it’s enviable how so many of them can continue to wolf (no pun intended) down kibble out of their dog bowl like they weren’t just fed a few hours ago.

Many, but not all, dogs are very food motivated. This means that one of the best possible ways to train them is with a wide array of their favorite high-reward treats available at the pet parent’s disposal. The presence of these treats helps to create positive associations in the pet’s mind that makes going to the bathroom outside seem like a super fun and great idea.

Training is a great way to keep a dog’s mind active to reduce destructive behavior and boost happiness. We have to help provide mental stimulation for our dogs since they can’t exactly pull out that Sudoku puzzle when they’re bored.

If the particular furry friend in question is not as food motivated, pet parents still have plenty of enticing options. Dogs are different; they have their own interests and passions. Just like all Dalmatians have different spots, every dog has a unique (and adorable) personality.

Gifts for Pet Parents

Next, we have gifts that cater a bit more to the pet parent than the pet themselves.

4. A Beautiful Pet Portrait

When it comes right down to it, a lot of pet parents would love to have a portrait of their treasured pet hung up on the wall for everyone to see. If you suspect that the recipient of your gift belongs firmly in that category, then it might be worth looking into getting a professional portrait done of their pooch.

Not only is this great gift profoundly thoughtful, but it also gives you the opportunity to support artists and collaborate on the piece. Look around; there are probably some excellent artists in your community who would jump at the opportunity to create a portrait of an adorable Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Mutt, or whoever your Fido happens to be.

Actually, that brings us to our next gift suggestion.

5. A Dog DNA Test

Depending on the circumstance under which this person got their doggy, they may or may not know their specific breed breakdown.

Imagine their delight and shock when they find out their rescue dog, who was called a Great Dane, has a little Chihuahua running through their blood. Other than this information being fun, it could help to explain some of your dog’s quirkier habits.

The result of the dog’s DNA test and their breed information data can be immensely helpful to pet parents and vets. For example, some dog breeds might be more predisposed to face certain health challenges. Simply being armed with this information in advance could help ensure that the dog stays happy and healthy for a long time to come.

6. Custom Clothing (for Pet Parents, Dogs, or Both!)

Since we just covered a gift that is both interesting and informative, now it is time for one that is just silly. Whether the gift recipient would want to wear t-shirts or a hoodie with their dog’s face printed directly on the front of it. Otherwise, maybe they would go wild for a pair of matching shirts for them and their canine companion.

Then, it is also entirely possible that the gift recipient would rather their dog be the star of the show. In this case, look into a bandana that complements their fur color.

For a gift that is both adorable and practical, check out our next suggestion.

7. A Fancy Dog Collar and Dog Leash

Getting the pet parent in your life a new, spiffy dog collar and dog leash will go a long way in showing how much you care. This gift is simultaneously sweet and customizable while also being incredibly helpful in day-to-day life with a dog.

You could even personalize a collar with the dog’s name or include tags with their necessary information to go the extra mile. Dogs and their people who love a nice stroll would also appreciate biodegradable poop bags or a reusable water bottle (with the dog’s name on it, of course).

8. Consider a Customized Door Mat

Door mats are often a must when it comes to living with (and loving) a dog. They’re one of the best ways to make sure the dirt and grime accumulated from both shoes and muddy dog paws stay outside where it belongs.

A mat with a cute message, an impression of the dog’s paw print, or an image of the dog on the front are instantly iconic. Plus, it’s a great way to let visitors know that they are about to be covered in dog hair.

The Greatest Gift of All

Whether you’re trying to win the affection of your friend’s new dog, or if it’s just time for a spectacular holiday gift, you have a lot of worthy choices available. As long as you consider what the dog and pet parents want, you will find something perfect.

Sources:

Maintaining Pet Health: Mental Stimulation Matters to Your Family Pet | Fox Valley Animal Hospital

Habituation and dishabituation during object play in kennel-housed dogs | SpringerLink

12 Common Dog Breeds and Their Health Issues | Healthline