Why Does My Dog Bark at Everything That Passes By?

While it might not be the most endearing dog behavior, dogs bark to communicate with others. They might be attempting to communicate with their pet parent, dog trainer, a random passerby, or other animals. There are different schools of thought surrounding what dogs attempt to rely on by barking.

To the untrained ear, one dog’s bark could sound almost exactly similar to all the pups playing in the dog park. And yet, many dog parents swear that they know the sound of their dog vocalizing, the same way a parent will recognize their child yelling “Mom!” in the grocery store.

Dog parents and scientists agree: dogs have unique barks with unique meanings.

Recent research has concluded that dogs have plastic vocal cords. That does not mean that their vocal cords are literally plastic, but there is more room for variation than we once thought. This is also known as a “modifiable vocal tract.”

When studied more, researchers found that there actually is a difference in a range of barks. Anything from the frequency, pitch, and timing can be slightly different in different dogs (or even in the same dog at different times).

While these findings are certainly interesting, these variations are usually still not discernable to human ears. This brings us to another fascinating conclusion.

Why Do Dogs Bark at Other Dogs?

Whether you’re on a walk or sunbathing by the window, you might notice your dog bark at dogs that pass by.

They may do so in greeting, in warning, or something else entirely. Humans are only partially fluent. While we can usually tell the difference between a “play” bark and a “stay away from my mailbox” bark, we probably don’t know it all.

The incredibly subtle differences in their barks might mean more to other canines than their loving human family members.

Identify What Your Dog Usually Barks At

Really take the time to observe your pet’s behavior. Are they much more likely to bark at a squirrel on a branch than another dog? On the other hand, maybe they bark at people walking by but seem uninterested in cars? How about a TV show featuring cats?

By determining what exactly it is that sets your dog off into a barking frenzy, you are better equipped for the next step of the process. Now, you can figure out the potential causes behind your dog’s constant barking.

With the investigative work done, it’s time to redirect this natural dog instinct into something a little more socially acceptable in a human-centric neighborhood.

Your Dog Might Be Barking in Greeting

This is a polite type of barking, but it still could easily be disruptive to your day. If your dog is barking at the outside stimuli as a greeting, they are simply trying to say hello!

Dogs are likely capable of picking up intricacies in each other’s barks that we are not. It is entirely possible that this is your dog’s way of trying to convey a positive message.

Does your dog seem relaxed and happy? Is their posture at ease, perhaps with a wagging tail? These are all signs that your dog is just trying to be friendly, even if it is in the loudest way possible.

It Could Be Territorial or Alert Barking

A significantly less friendly form of barking than our previous entry, your dog could also be barking as a form of warning. If your pet sees a fellow dog, a person, or anything else inside of what they perceive as their territory, they could be on alert.

A key way to distinguish this kind of barking from the other types is to observe your dog’s body language. If there is some kind of perceived threat passing by your front door, it could easily prompt an emotional response that results in a barking dog.

Here are some of the ways that you can confirm if this reaction is telling them to scamper off:

  • Excessive barking
  • Unexplained spinning or circling
  • If your dog tries lunging at the “threat”
  • Making prolonged eye contact with whoever is outside

This Could Be an Attention-Seeking Behavior

Since dogs are slightly limited in the number of ways they can vocally communicate with humans, they often resort to one of a few options.

They might whine on occasions when they feel threatened. Or, they could growl or bark. Barking is an effective way to get anyone’s attention since it is a loud and often unpleasant sound.

When you hear your dog’s bark, your immediate instinct is likely to give them some kind of attention, but it’s often best to resist this urge in this situation. Not acknowledging them could feel counterproductive, as you want the barking to stop. However, using positive reinforcement is the best way to shape behaviors (more on that later).

Your Dog Hears Other Furry Friends Barking Outside

Although this explanation might seem the same as a greeting at first glance, that is not necessarily the case. For a proper greeting, your dog would not have to hear a dog barking nearby. Instead, they would just see a person or dog walking outside, and that is enough to get your dog to bark.

Even if there are no visual stimuli, your pooch might still hear a fellow dog barking nearby. Keep in mind that even if you can’t hear another pet, dogs have incredibly astute hearing (except when you’re telling them that it’s time to leave the park). As a result, it is entirely possible that they are aware of a sound occurring much farther away than you are.

When our canine companions hear a fellow doggy howling at the moon, they are often compelled to join in the fun. They do this as a means of communication, as well as something instinctive. If you are not entirely certain why your dog is barking, it might just be their “witching hour” — the time around dusk and dawn when dogs join together for some good, old-fashioned community chats.

Other Common Explanations for Barking

If you regularly find your dog barking with absolutely no apparent stimulation to speak of, it is worth considering several other options. First, when was the last time your dog went potty? It is possible that they simply need to go outside. Maybe their favorite ball rolled under the couch, and they need your opposable thumbs to grab it.

If you are in another room or your dog feels alone, they could feel stress due to separation anxiety.

What Should I Do To Make My Dog Stop Barking at Everything That Passes By?

Let’s move on to our tips and tricks on reducing your pet’s barking habit.

Give Your Dog Something To Fulfill Their Natural Instincts

Whether your dog wants attention, mental stimulation, or tends to stress and obsess over their surroundings, there is a way to help them.

This method is simultaneously effective while also being fun and adorable, and it is all about toys. By having a wide variety of toys available for your dog at all times, they are much less likely to make a fuss (or mess) in the first place.

Typically, a dog is barking as a result of their natural instincts telling them to react to something. Instincts are never going to go away; they’ve been carried through generations to help their descendants survive and thrive.

However, these instincts can be nurtured in a productive way that fulfills their innate desires while making them suitable roommates for life.

This is where KONG Club’s Monthly Subscription Boxes come in.

Each new box comes filled with toys, new high-value treats, including training tools, and recipes. Each box, carefully curated by professionals for your dog, revolves around a particular wellness building block that will help your dog be their best self.

Whether your dog is craving a new chew toy, an interactive puzzle, or something delicious to snack on, the subscription box has something for every dog.

Distract, Don’t React

If your dog is baking more than you would like, they might just be bored. In that case, look for interactive and puzzle toys that provide mental stimulation (and a whole lot of fun).

For example, you can fill your KONG® classic with peanut butter, dog cookies, or even frozen healthy fruits and veggies. Your dog will follow the treat-dispensing toy, sniffling for their favorite goodies; that’s mental and physical stimulation all rolled into one quiet, peaceful house.

Train Your Pet To React Calmly

Your dog will eventually stop barking, and that is when you give them the attention that they want so much. At this point, you can pet them, hand out some dog treats, praise them, and offer other forms of positive reinforcement.

This is one of the most effective training methods for stopping your dog from barking for attention. Remember to be patient, as this will require multiple training sessions to fully sink in for your pet.

Continue to reward your pet as people walk by, and they do not react. This desensitization will help even the most reactive dogs calm down.

Something Smart To Bark About

If you are perplexed by your dog’s barking, take some time to figure out its reason. If your troubleshooting doesn’t work, it might be time to reach out to a certified professional dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist.

Sources:

What Are Dogs Saying When They Bark? | Scientific American

A Comparison of Hearing and Auditory Functioning Between Dogs and Humans | Research Gate

Diagnostic Criteria for Separation Anxiety in the Dog | ScienceDirect

Is My Dog Bored? 6 Signs To Check For

From Chihuahuas to Pit Bulls, any kind of dog can experience boredom. Dogs have innate instincts — like chewing, sniffing, or herding — that they inherited from their wolf ancestors. When these natural traits are stifled, dogs may become bored, potentially resulting in undesirable behaviors.

If you suspect your dog might be bored, review the common signs below and help your dog become actively engaged once more.

1. Engaging in Destructive Behaviors

When you first bring your dog home, there are bound to be some growing pains. While your pet is learning the lay of the land, they will probably slip up from time to time. However, if your dog suddenly begins to chew on furniture, shoes or dangerous items like wires, something is wrong.

There are a few common destructive behaviors that bored dogs do. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Chewing everything that they can get their teeth on
  • Excessive digging
  • Compulsive chewing or licking their paws
  • Improper elimination, “forgetting” their potty training

At best, these behaviors are annoying for pet parents. At worst, these dog behaviors can even become dangerous. Chewing on wires or small objects that are a choking hazard could be a real threat.

2. Making Escape Attempts

At the point that your dog becomes well and truly bored, they might even try to run away. This could happen because your pet is no longer mentally stimulated by their surroundings. As a result, they are now in pursuit of greener and newer pastures to explore.

When you open the door, does your dog regularly try to make a run for it? This is likely off-putting at the moment and might lead to you being more careful about entering and exiting. Beyond just that adjustment, the underlying cause for this pattern should be addressed with increased stimulation or speaking with an animal behaviorist.

3. Constant Whining or Barking

When our dogs whine, there are two main reactions commonly seen in dog parents:

First, they might feel bad for their poor pup. Then, it is also possible that a dog’s unceasing whining for no apparent reason might become slightly unsettling.

No matter which reaction you are more likely to experience, you should identify the source of your dog’s whining. Maybe you have food that your dog desperately wants, or their favorite toy slipped to the no man’s land of “too far under the couch.”

It is also possible that they are experiencing a severe case of dog boredom and need your help to relieve it.

Some dogs are not whiners and opt to bark at you for prolonged periods. Although the noise is different, the cause and effect are the same. Your dog is trying to get your attention for one reason or another.

4. Sleeping Almost All Day and Night

We all have those days when we have trouble dragging ourselves out of bed. Perhaps we did not get enough sleep the previous night. On the other hand, the warmth of the blankets can be incredibly enticing. Regrettably, we have responsibilities that must be tended to, so we eventually have to get out of bed.

Our dogs can sleep the day away. We might even feel just a little jealous of our pets sometimes for having this ability at times. That being said, if your dog starts sleeping more than usual, they might be feeling overly bored.

Dogs get just over ten hours of sleep per day, on average. Your dog might get a slightly different amount of rest (especially for certain age groups or those fighting illness).

Canines can range from little under seven to 16 hours of sleep per day. When you consider that people are encouraged to hit seven to nine hours, you might feel just a tad jealous.

If your dog is sleeping a lot, even considering outside factors, an investigation is warranted.

5. Displaying Excessive Amounts of Energy

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we see dogs with boundless energy. Whether a bored dog is a sleeper or more hyperactive will simply depend on their personality.

Consider their typical demeanor. Are they generally more excitable, or do they love nothing more than a nice snuggle on the couch?

It should go without saying that some dogs are more energetic than others. Once enough time passes with your pet in your life, you will become accustomed to their usual energy levels. Since you know what is normal for your dog, it should be fairly easy to identify what is abnormal.

We all love when our dogs greet us at the door when we come home. Their enthusiasm puts a perfect punctuation onto the end of a workday, and it is finally time to relax. If your dog appears to be driven into a sustained frenzy, refusing to stop jumping or barking long after you return, something is amiss.

Maybe their energy isn’t quite so manic but is still notably disrupted. Perhaps, your dog isn’t holding to your established bedtime routine and is wandering the halls. If your dog refuses to relax in their crate or bed and exhibits signs of restlessness and anxiety, it might be a symptom of canine insomnia.

6. Never Leaving Your Side

In general, many of us will find it cute and sweet when our dogs keep us company throughout the day.

It is not at all abnormal when your dog exhibits interest in you and wants to be around you. This signifies a healthy bond and a significant amount of trust that you have built up together. Meanwhile, being glued to each other all day, every day, is indicative of a deeper problem.

If this is happening to you and your dog, it is possible that they are experiencing significant amounts of boredom or even separation anxiety. Beyond that, your dog sees you as the solution to their problems.

This makes sense, as the bond between humans and dogs is a long one made of domestication and mutual understanding. There is absolutely no doubt that the bond between people and their canine companions is as strong as ever.

Yet, there does come the point where it becomes a cause for alarm, and it’s time for human intervention.

How Can You Fix Your Dog’s Boredom?

Now that we know some common signs of boredom in a dog, here are some tried and true boredom busters.

Give Them Mentally Stimulating Toys

If your dog is bored, it is likely because they require mental stimulation or physical stimulation. Toys can be the perfect solution to both of these issues. The KONG Classic is so classic for a reason, and that is because dogs can’t seem to get enough.

The KONG Classic is an interactive toy that can be tossed or filled with treats, kibble, and spreads (peanut butter, anyone?). Either way, your dog is sure to spend time entertained by this delightful toy.

If your dog is a big chewer, then chew toys might be just what the veterinarian ordered. The stuffed KONG Classic works great for that too, but so does the Biscuit Ball since they are both puzzle toys.

Treat Your Pooch To a KONG Club Dog Subscription Box

Want to take it up a notch?

To keep your dog happy and healthy, consider the KONG Club Dog Subscription Box. That way, you and your dog will get a monthly box with new toys centered around the building blocks of pet wellness.

Every new month delivers a new dog wellness theme and a new crate of goodies. The KONG Club Subscription Box and KONG toys are created to satisfy dogs’ natural instincts while improving their health and strengthening your bond.

Get Them Enough Physical and Mental Exercise

Toys can help with this as well, but it might be time to expand your dog’s exercise regimen. Your dog needs physical and mental exercise.

Generally, dogs under 15 months tend to get two daily walks. Whether or not that is enough will depend on the dog, the length of the walk, and other considerations.

However, your dog might be craving more variety to burn off their excess energy. Maybe you could enhance playtime with a frisbee or interactive games. Boredom in dogs can also be attributed to a lack of socialization. Consider play dates with a fellow dog, try out some local dog parks, or enroll your pet in doggy daycare!

Teach Them Some Tricks or Commands

Training sessions are an excellent way to stave off boredom in dogs. Dog training enhances your bond together, teaching you and your dog some new tricks! KONG treats are a great tool for training and come in every KONg Club subscription box

Dog Wellness: Fun and Games (and Careful Care)

A tired dog is a happy dog, so be sure to provide them with all of the stimulation that they need throughout the day. We can’t all be dog trainers and pet behaviorists, but with the right resources and guidance on dog wellness, we can help our dogs live their best lives.

Sources:

Sleep in the Dog: Comparative, Behavioral and Translational Relevance | ScienceDirect

More Than Man’s Best Friend: A Look at Attachment Between Humans and Their Canine Companions | University of South Florida

Dog Walk Frequency and Duration: Analysis of a Cohort of Dogs Up to 15 Months of Age | ScienceDirect

Dog with insomnia gives her owners sleepless nights | The Washington Post

Signs of Cat Separation Anxiety and What To Do

Although cats are often considered more independent pets, any of them can still experience separation anxiety. Through selective breeding, certain cat breeds have more sociable traits. As a result, they might feel more dependent on humans. Beyond that, a cat’s past and upbringing are the most helpful in determining how likely they are to feel this anxiety.

First, consider when you adopted your cat. Have you had them since they were a small kitten, or did you adopt them as an adult? Your cat can still experience separation anxiety either way, but cats adopted as adults may have had prior life experiences their human is unaware of.

Adopting an adult cat is immensely rewarding and can sometimes be easier than introducing a kitten into your home. Before making it official, consider the personality traits of any kitten or adult cat. Ask the rescue or reputable breeder a lot of questions about your potential future best feline friend.

Other than being naturally nervous, kittens can also experience separation anxiety if they become used to constantly having you around. Over the past few years especially, this sentiment will ring true for many of us.

How Has the Pandemic Impacted Cat Separation Anxiety?

Since so many of us have spent long periods of time at home in recent years, our cats got used to that reality. This is the case for many of us who adopted a pet during the pandemic.

Curing COVID-19 Separation Anxiety is on the to-do list of all pet parents with dogs and cats who got too comfortable never being apart from their humans.

It can be a shock to everyone when we return to going about our regular routines, but at least we humans understand why. Meanwhile, our cats only understand that there has been a change in routine, seemingly with no explanation.

Losing this routine already puts cats on edge and makes them feel insecure. When you add that their beloved pet parent is no longer around as often, that is a recipe for separation anxiety.

If you suspect that your pet might be dealing with this stress, here are some of the most common signs of separation anxiety to look out for.

How Do Cats Show Separation Anxiety?

All cats will feel separation anxiety differently and, as a result, will have their ways of coping with it. For example, a common one is excessive vocalizations like meowing when a family member departs.

Your cat may display all of the behaviors listed below, some of them, or none at all. For further clarity, you can always reach out to a veterinarian or cat behaviorist to shed some light on the situation.

Disruptive and Destructive Behaviors

One of the most common signs of stress in cats is engaging in destructive behaviors. These behaviors can function as somewhat of a self-soothing mechanism for your cat or can be a way of trying to get your attention. Either way, these cat behavior problems have the ability to quickly go from bothersome to dangerous.

If your cat is regularly scratching at the door to be in the same room as you, the sound can be distracting. If your pet begins chewing at wires or entering drawers with dangerous chemicals, that is a different story completely.

The first step in curbing these behaviors is to get rid of anything potentially harmful, or at least hide them. Put any dangerous chemicals up high, locked away, and totally out of reach. Meanwhile, wires can be hidden or tucked away in a position where your cat can no longer get to them.

Once the immediate danger is dealt with, it is time to engage in some behavior modification. Addressing the source of the anxiety is key, but so is giving your cat more productive and safe items to play with. (We’ll talk about that more later in the article.)

Over-Grooming

Speaking of self-soothing mechanisms, over-grooming is a classic one in cats. This behavior might be difficult to notice at first, as cats generally spend between 30% and 50% of their day grooming. There comes the point when normal grooming turns into something potentially harmful.

Many pet parents will only begin to notice that something is amiss when hairless patches appear on their pet. This is abnormal and should be seen by a professional. You might also realize that there are scabs or sores on your cat’s skin. This can also be a symptom of over-grooming.

Excessive grooming is not only a sign of separation anxiety, but it can also indicate itchiness or physical discomfort in your pet. Rather than being a way of self-soothing, this could also be a way of coping with fleas or a skin disorder.

Improper Litter Box Habits

Unlike over self-grooming, improper litter box habits are something that pet parents are bound to notice immediately. If your cat has never had issues using the litter box before, but they are suddenly urinating or defecating elsewhere, it’s a possibility that your cat is stressed.

Peeing outside of the litter box is especially common for cats going through a period of change. For example, a recent move or change in routine could set them off. A feeling of insecurity often causes separation anxiety.

It is worth keeping in mind that going outside of the litter box could also be a sign of health issues. For instance, cats with a urinary tract infection often pee outside of their litter boxes.

Establish a Consistent Routine

Our pets crave routine, so we owe it to them to provide it however we can. Generally, this takes the form of having established mealtimes every day and playtime and possibly cuddle time.

If they know exactly what to expect and when your pet will feel much more secure in that cat’s environment. As such, they are less likely to feel anxiety.

Give Them Tools To Engage Their Natural Instincts

Another reason your cat might experience separation anxiety is that their other needs are not being fully met. Cats need to engage their natural instincts to feel fully content.

Determine your individual cat’s play style or play styles. All cats have natural-born instincts telling them to chase and pounce, but your feline friend might have more specific tastes. Perhaps they like puzzle feeders or chew toys.

Soft Toys They Can Snuggle With

For cuddly cats who miss a warm presence throughout the day, a soft toy can help immensely. This is especially true if your cat grew up with other animals nearby but they are now an only-cat.

Hand them a soft and cuddly item like the Cat Cuteseas™ Octopus to snuggle up to while you are away, and they are sure to rest much easier. You can even add a little catnip to the toy to help soothe your anxious cat.

A KONG Club Monthly Cat Subscription Box

Our cats are multifaceted creatures, so they have multiple playstyles that they are likely to engage with throughout the day. To tick off all of their boxes and keep them happy, the KONG Club Monthly Cat Subscription Box is just right.

Each box revolves around a different building block of cat wellness. While your cat is enjoying their new items, they are also nurturing their natural instincts. Each box provides an assortment of toys, treats, and recipes cultivated for your cat.

Scratching Posts and Toys

Cats feel much more comfortable when they are surrounded by their own scent, so they will try to spread it however possible. Since cats have scent glands in their paws, that only increases their urge to scratch. One of our cats’ most innate instincts is scratch and claw, so it is crucial to provide them with an abundance of options.

Scratching posts and scratching toys are a necessary part of having a cat. If you do not provide your pet with enough, they will search out other items to scratch.

Cat Trees

It is in a cat’s nature to try to get up high, explore their surroundings, and feel like the masters of their domain. One of the best ways that we can foster this instinct in our cats is by giving them cat trees to engage with.

A tree with multiple levels is best, as this will allow your pet to truly make the most of their space.

If Possible, Consider a Pet Sitter

This is not a possible situation for everyone, but if you will be away from your cat for a period of time, it might be worth looking into a trusted pet sitter.

Not only could a pet sitter top off your cat’s necessities (food and water), but they could also provide added enrichment by playing with them. For cats who are especially prone to separation anxiety or if you are planning some time away, a pet sitter can help your cat feel secure.

Does Your Cat Have Separation Anxiety?

We all get anxious sometimes, and cats can too.

When you are with your cat, be sure to provide them with an abundance of love and affection. With these tips, you and your cat should be feeling more at ease before you know it. You can reach out to our cat expert behaviorists in the KONG Club app for consults and personalized cat behavior tips, tricks and plans!

Sources:

The Ascent of Cat Breeds: Genetic Evaluations of Breeds and Worldwide Random Bred Populations | National Institutes of Health

Cats That Lick Too Much | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Stress, Security, and Scent: The Influence of Chemical Signals on the Social Lives of Domestic Cats and Implications for Applied Settings | ScienceDirect Assets

Adjusting Pets to Life After COVID-19 Quarantine | NC State Veterinary Medicine

Here’s What To Do if Your Dog Barks When Left Alone

This will come as absolutely no surprise to pet parents, but some dogs are barkers. Whether they are excited, bored, fearful, or seemingly feeling any emotion at all, it can be punctuated with a bark. Humans have exclamation marks; dogs have barks.

Since this particular canine behavior can be indicative of so many different things, it can be challenging to address.

The acoustics of a dog’s bark are similar to a baby’s cry — they are both made to get our attention quickly. In layman’s terms, that means that they are both loud and not particularly pleasant noises.

Subsequently, our neighbors might not appreciate hearing our beloved pet barking long after we leave. More importantly, our dogs aren’t quite so happy either. Take this barking as a type of signal… What is your precious pup trying to get across?

Throughout this article, we will explain why it could be that your dog has made a habit of lonely barking. Once established, we’ll delve into what you can do to make and keep the peace.

Why Might Your Dog Bark While They Are Alone?

If possible, you should first identify the reason behind your dog’s barking while they are alone. From there, it becomes a simpler process to address the issue and create a happier, quieter home.

Your Dog Is Feeling Bored

A bored dog can be potentially destructive. So, it’s in everyone’s best interest to help correct this behavior before your leather couch becomes your dog’s new favorite chew toy.

Common causes of canine boredom include a lack of enrichment, socialization, or a stagnated environment (or a combination of these factors). Looking to fill their time, they could start gnawing at furniture, scratching at doors, and doing other destructive actions.

Bound by their lack of thumbs and ability to read, dogs will create their own forms of entertainment. The key is to provide them with enough activity so that your expensive custom shoes won’t pay the price.

How To Help a Dog Feel Less Bored

You can banish boredom by providing man’s best friend with specifically curated toys, setting a routine, and generally making their surroundings more vibrant, interactive, and enjoyable.

We will be going more in-depth on how to enact these suggestions later in the article, so keep on reading!

Is Your Dog Experiencing Separation Anxiety?

Dogs are social animals, just like people, and as such, they require a significant amount of socialization to stay content.

If you bring home a puppy, providing proper socialization can inform their behavior for the rest of their lives. This incredible bond is what makes canines such wonderful companions to both humans and other animals alike.

Of course, different dogs will want varying amounts of socialization depending on their personality. That being said, it can be easy for even more independent dogs to feel lonely when they don’t have company.

This principle can be taken even further when it comes to a dog experiencing separation anxiety symptoms. Separation anxiety in dogs is an intense sense of stress that results from being left alone for a period of time. Being separated from others can result in your dog feeling fearful, frustrated, and above all, lonely.

Separation anxiety is somewhat common in dogs, but it is even more common in rescue pets who may not have always had a secure situation. Dogs who have experienced abandonment, neglect, or abuse might have difficulty being left alone. They could fear that their favorite person ever (AKA you) might never return from your grocery store trip.

There are several ways that separation anxiety in dogs can be dealt with so that everyone has a better quality of life. Before we get into those methods, let’s discuss some common indicators of canine separation anxiety.

What Are the Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Dogs experiencing feelings of separation anxiety might resort to certain destructive behaviors.

For instance, nervous chewing, biting, and scratching are all possible. If this feeling gets intense enough, they could even injure themselves. Another prevalent manifestation of separation anxiety in dogs is vocalizations like barking or whining.

Your dog is likely engaging in these behaviors for one or a mixture of several reasons:

First, your dog is probably attempting to get your attention. They do not understand that you are nowhere near your home, and only neighbors can hear the barking. Then, they might practice destructive behaviors as a misguided self-soothing mechanism.

If you have identified these behaviors in your dog after you leave them alone, here is what you can do to help:

How Do You Help a Dog With Separation Anxiety?

The best ways to help a dog with separation anxiety are quite similar to how you can help a dog who is bored. First, you should make sure that they have plenty of enrichment in their lives to keep them busy.

Ensure that there is never any lack of toys for your dog when you leave. Additionally, providing them with a bed or proper crate training that they can use as their safe space can create a feeling of protection.

While toys and zen spaces do a great deal, training techniques are critical as well. For example, you can work on closing the door behind you. Open it up after a second or two. Gradually increase this time until they are more comfortable waiting longer and longer stretches.

While doing this and other practices, praise your dog for calm behavior by giving them a treat or petting them when they settle. You can even train a command like “calm” or “settle for a more direct approach.”

Understand that this process will likely take time, as anxiety is not something that can be treated in a day. With patience, you and your dog will make improvements together. For added help, you can always speak with a veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist.

Keep Them Occupied With New Toys

We mentioned it earlier, but giving your dog more toys to play with while you are gone is an excellent way to keep them occupied. This will prevent their boredom and could also go a long way in distracting them from any separation anxiety they could be feeling.

Dogs need high quality and durable toys designed to solve boredom, that is why the KONG Club Monthly Subscription Box is so helpful.

After signing up, you and your pet will receive a monthly box filled with toys, treats, and recipes. Better yet, each box is centered around a pillar of pet wellness, and everything in the box works together to help your pet thrive. The items in a KONG Club subscription box help your dog engage their natural instincts, keeping them both mentally and physically stimulated.

Whether your dog would enjoy a mentally stimulating puzzle toy, something productive to chew on, or something snuggly, KONG Club has you covered.

Make Sure To Exercise Your Dog Sufficiently During the Day

Another reason that dogs are often prone to bouts of barking and other vocalizations is that they are overly energetic. This typically happens to dogs for the same reason it happens to animals of any other species — they need more physical activity.

Going for walks and playtime help burn energy and build your bond. For dynamic playtime, a toy like the Airdog® Fetch Stick with Rope serves double duty. This toy flies through the air for a speedy game of fetch and is gentle on the gums for a rousing game of tug of war.

When your dog gets enough exercise, they will probably just settle down for a mid-afternoon snooze after you leave rather than barking up a storm.

Provide Your Dog with Comfort Objects

Softs toys and gentle music calm children, and the same can be said for dogs!

Soft piano music or playlists geared for meditation can be a huge help. If your dog is a snuggler, try a comfort object like the Comfort Kiddos Bear. This fluffy toy has an easily-removed squeaker — perfect for a session of pure chill.

For an extra touch, keep the Comfort Kiddos Bear in your bed for a few nights. This way, it will smell like you, keeping your scent around when you leave. Who knows? You might even want to get a matching bear for yourself!

All Bark and No Bite

Your dog barking while alone can be a troublesome habit depending on your situation. Thankfully, there are ways to help your dog calm down and also quiet down in the process.

Having a dog is always exciting, but sometimes, we all need to chill.

Sources:

Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior | Research Gate

A Bark of Its Own Kind – The Acoustics of ‘Annoying’ Dog Barks Suggests a Specific Attention-Evoking Effect for Humans | Taylor & Francis Online

New Research Identifies Root Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs | American Veterinary Medical Association

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw on Me?

There’s no doubt that dog paws are amazing. Not only are they beyond adorable, but they are scientifically somewhat of a marvel.

Even though dog paws are covered in far less fur compared to their bodies, they still have impressive abilities to conserve heat. Researchers believe this is an evolutionary result of wolves (dogs’ ancestors) living and thriving in colder climates.

Dogs also sweat through their paws, allowing them to feel more comfortable in warmer climates. Their paws are like their own personal heating and cooling system.

We have the basics of what paws do, so let’s get to the crux of the matter: Why do our dogs like to put their paws on us?

Our dogs may not be able to tell us what the matter is, no matter how intently we stare into their puppy dog eyes. Luckily, with a few keen observations, we can figure out why our dogs do what they do.

Let’s discuss why your dog is putting their paw on you and what they might want you, their human, to do about it.

Is Your Dog Pawing Urgently?

The first step in understanding why your dog is touching you with his paw is to consider their method of doing so.

Is your dog pawing at you repeatedly and with a sense of urgency? Some noises could even accompany this action, such as a whine or a bark. On the other hand, your dog could also gingerly lay their paw on your body.

These two ways of touching you are likely to have separate meanings, so it’s essential to understand the difference. Appropriately, if your dog is pawing at you with urgency, it is likely because they need something tended to urgently.

This does not mean that your pet is in danger or discomfort. After all, what our dogs perceive as “urgent” might be somewhat different from what we consider especially pressing.

However, your pet could also be gently placing their paw on you. This is less likely to be an indication of some kind of need. Instead, this might just mean that your pet wants to be close to you.

We will cover what some of those “urgent” reasons could be later in this article, so keep reading.

Is Your Dog Trying To Get Your Attention?

Regrettably, science has not come far enough for us to be able to communicate verbally with our dogs fully (but maybe someday!). Our pets have to seek out other ways to talk to us.

Our dogs can, and often do, bark to tell us that they need something. Although all dogs are different and all barks can be different too.

Not only that, but certain family dogs are more inclined to bark than others. Some dogs are more or less likely to bark due to their breed, age, or temperament. In fact, there is even one dog breed that can’t bark; we’re talking about the infamous Basenji, who yodels instead of barking.

If your dog is not a barker, they might get your attention by whining, pawing at you, or simply following you everywhere you go.

There are multiple reasons that a dog could be trying to get your attention, so it can be helpful to run down the list of options.

Does Your Dog Paw at You Around Mealtime?

Many dogs are highly food motivated, meaning that food is perhaps their number one biggest incentive. If your dog loves nothing more than a high-value treat, which is your go-to reward for training, this might apply to your pet. Food-motivated dogs will be especially insistent around mealtime.

Dogs have a fantastically finely-tuned internal clock, largely due to their love of routine. Routines make our canine companions feel much more comfortable, safe, and secure.

It is best to give your dog breakfast and dinner at roughly the same times every day. Rest assured that if you accidentally forget, your food-motivated dog will be there to remind you not long after (or even before).

If your dog perceives that it has been upwards of five minutes past when they are usually fed, it is time to let you know. Your pet will likely engage in their preferred form of attention-seeking behavior. For some dogs, this will manifest as them approaching you and pawing at you.

This behavior certainly can be adorable, but it is less cute when your dog is waking you up for seemingly no reason. Consider your dog’s needs as well as their usual routine.

Are you forgetting about something that usually happens around this time? If so, this is your dog’s not-so-subtle way of trying to remind you.

Does Your Dog Need To Go to the Bathroom?

If your dog is pawing at you, whining, or any combination of the two, they might be telling you that it’s time for a bathroom break. Suddenly, the urgency of their pawing makes much more sense when you consider how they feel.

Think about the last time you took your dog outside to use the bathroom. If it’s been a few hours, they need to go again. If they are a puppy, they will need to use the restroom even more often. Puppies have different needs than adult dogs, including food types, potty schedules, and gentle toys that accommodate their baby teeth.

Similar to needing food, your dog could also wake you up with pawing because of this need. It’s an excellent practice to take your dog outside right after waking up and right before going to bed. This will keep your dog comfortable… and hopefully will require less unpleasant cleaning up on your end.

Is Your Dog Saying It’s Walk Time?

If you take your dog outside to use the bathroom, but they still seem antsy, it could be because they were hoping for a longer outdoor adventure.

Now is the time to grab their leash and collar so you can head out for a stimulating walk. The chances are that after you do so, your pet will be in a much calmer mood. Dogs need to go on walks for mental stimulation, mimicking their wolf ancestors’ long travels while hunting for food.

Your Dog Is Saying “I Love You!”

There are few feelings more impactful than that of your dog’s unconditional love. The moment you look into their sweet eyes, all of your hard work and care is returned tenfold.

This feeling of love only grows stronger when they approach you for a cuddle. It then reaches astronomical heights when your dog lightly places their paw on you.

When you and your dog are relaxing, then they suddenly put their paw on you; this is a means of seeking an even closer connection. Think about it: You love petting your dog. Why wouldn’t they want to pet you back?

It Is Playtime!

If your dog hasn’t gotten enough quality playtime today, they might be looking to engage in any number of play styles.

Your Dog Is in Need of Some Mentally Stimulation

Dogs thrive when given enough mental stimulation. Our pets need to engage in their natural instincts (like chewing, playing, running, and herding), and play is one of the best ways for them to do so.

Depending on your dog’s play style, an interactive toy might be just the ticket:

Toys like the Ballistic Hide n’ Treat let your dog actively find treats as delicious as it is rewarding. Engaging your dog mentally also has incredible abilities to make them feel better and more fulfilled.

Offer a Snuggly Toy To Cuddle With

Between work, social lives, sleep, and other obligations, we can’t always be around to snuggle our dogs. This is somewhat disappointing news, as many pet parents would love nothing more than to hang out with their dogs all day. However, your pet might still want a cuddly companion while you are not around.

If you think your dog would feel more at ease with a snuggly toy to bring to bed with them, know that you have an abundance of excellent options. The adorable Comfort HedgeHug will soothe your dog while also providing copious photo opportunities for pet parents.

The KONG Club Monthly Subscription Box

For a greater focus on helping your dog thrive, the KONG Club Monthly Subscription Box has the answers. Each box revolves around a different building block of dog wellness. They come complete with delicious treats, fun toys, and exciting recipes that are sure to excite both you and your dog alike.

Each box is centered around your dog’s unique personality and traits, creating the perfect box every time. Signing up for KONG Club will also give you access to a community of trained veterinary professionals who are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

If you still have questions about why your dog is pawing you or other behaviors like nipping when excited, you can call up an animal behaviorist 24/7 as a KONG Club member.

A Moment’s Paws

Determining the context of a situation is crucial to figuring out why your dog is pawing at you. Consider their needs, and make sure that they are fully taken care of. When is the last time that they used the bathroom, were fed, and have they had enough exercise today?

If all of their needs have been met, your dog could either be bored or trying to connect with you. In the case of boredom, you can offer them any number of excellent KONG toys to help them feel more mentally stimulated.

If your dog is simply reaching out to touch you, revel in the love that they’re showing. Dogs are man’s best friends, but they are also our family.

Sources:

Functional Anatomy of the Footpad Vasculature of Dogs: Scanning Electron Microscopy of Vascular Corrosion Casts | Research Gate

Barking in Family Dogs: An Ethological Approach | ScienceDirect

Mental Stimulation as a Tool To Enhance Canine Patient Mental Wellbeing | The Veterinary Nurse

5 Ways To Focus on Your Cat’s Instincts

cat instincts

When we hear the word cat, we may envision a fluffy, soft, quietly purring ball of sweetness napping on a window sill. While this may be how cats spend some of their time, we must remember that they are unique and wonderful companions with instinctual needs that must be met every day. Read on for five ways to focus your cat’s instincts.

cat prey toy

 1. Prey Drive

Most of us cat owners know that our cats are sometimes more intrigued with the box the toys come in than the toys themselves! Interactive toys, though,  are sure to get your cat’s attention and be a big hit with even the laziest cat!

Indoor life can have its mundane moments, especially for an active cat that is a natural-born hunter.  While our indoor cats have never needed to spend their days in the wild, stalking and catching prey, that instinct is still there.  Interactive toys specifically satisfy all the needs of mental, physical, and social enrichment and can help relieve stress for cats that are experiencing stress in their environment.

This is where the KONG Club cat subscription box comes into play. Cats can become bored with the same old toys day after day (just like us, their pet parents!).

2. Scratching

Cats have a need to scratch! As a cat owner, you have probably seen your cat trying to scratch the carpet, scratch the couches, scratch chairs, shoes, baskets, etc. right?! And as a cat owner that can be so frustrating.  However, like a cat, it’s normal and very much needed.   
 

In order to cohabitate with our cats, it’s important to understand why they may engage in what we consider to be a negative activity and then provide them with an alternative activity that is acceptable to them.  Cats are born with the instinct to scratch objects for a variety of reasons.   

  • Cats have scent glands in their paws.  Scratching deposits the cat’s scent onto an object and leaves a territorial message for other cats.  
  • Scratching helps to remove the outer layer from the cat’s nails.  
  • Scratching can release a “feel good” hormone for cats when stretching their claws, feet, and body.
  • Cats also scratch to “blow off steam” from excitement or stress.  

Finding good scratching toys or posts can help your cat’s natural instincts to scratch and save your furniture!

3. GROOMING

Cats have a need to scratch! As a cat owner, you have probably seen your cat trying to scratch the carpet, scratch the couches, scratch chairs, shoes, baskets, etc. right?! And as a cat owner that can be so frustrating.  However, like a cat, it’s normal and very much needed.   
 

In order to cohabitate with our cats, it’s important to understand why they may engage in what we consider to be a negative activity and then provide them with an alternative activity that is acceptable to them.  Cats are born with the instinct to scratch objects for a variety of reasons.   

  • Cats have scent glands in their paws.  Scratching deposits the cat’s scent onto an object and leaves a territorial message for other cats.  
  • Scratching helps to remove the outer layer from the cat’s nails.  
  • Scratching can release a “feel good” hormone for cats when stretching their claws, feet, and body.
  • Cats also scratch to “blow off steam” from excitement or stress.  

Finding good scratching toys or posts can help your cat’s natural instincts to scratch and save your furniture!

4. SCENT WORK

Ah, those cute little kitty noses. While their cuteness is definitely something to obsess over, they are also very sensitive. A cat’s nose has 200 million scent receptors.  When compared to humans, a cat’s nose is 14 times more sensitive! Because of the power of their nose, cats are able to greatly benefit from fun scent-based activities.

The best place to start with scent enrichment is to simply open the windows. How easy, right?!  Fresh air is not something that a lot of indoor cats get to experience but fresh air brings in so many new scents into their surroundings.  For this reason, we love catios!  Catios provide indoor cats with a fun safe way for them to get a smell for the outdoors.  

Another great option is to provide your cat with scent-based cat toys with added catnip.

scent toy for cat

5. CLIMBING

Cat’s love to climb! Cats are built to climb and jump and instinct plays a huge role in this cat habit.  Their claws allow them to climb skillfully and the rest of their body is built with strong muscles to enable them to jump up to distances several times their own length!

Many of us do not want our cats jumping in certain areas but since cats are more comfortable in high areas it can be challenging to keep them down.  

So this means we should be giving our cats areas where they can freely jump.  This can be something as easy as a cat tree!  Cat trees give our cats varied heights and the ability to see the room from high spaces. 

KONG toy

How a cat subscription box can enhance your kittys lifestyle

 

Your feline needs to exercise their instincts in order to remain healthy and happy.  This is where the KONG Club subscription box and app become you and your cat’s very best friend! 

Each KONG Club cat subscription box is curated by the KONG Club team of vets and pet experts to satisfy your kitty’s instincts and bring fun and bonding to you both.  Cat’s get bored with the same old toys and each month you will get a selection of quality KONG toys and treats to surprise and delight.  

Plus, with the KONG Club app, you get 1:1 vet-led guidance and pet coaching for every stage of your cat’s life – right in your pocket with our KONG Club Mobile app!

10 Reasons Your Pup Needs a Dog Subscription Box

Perhaps you are the proud parent of a herd of small dogs, or maybe you prefer to keep the company of a Great Dane or two. No matter what type of pet you have, a subscription box can do wonders to keep your dog healthy and happy (and bring some light to your life, too!).

What exactly are the benefits of a dog subscription box? Well, we are so glad that you asked.

1. New Toys Keep Dogs Entertained

A dog subscription box is a carefully-curated tool box delivered to your door that ensures your dog has everything they need to nurture their natural instincts, stay mentally and physically stimulated, and promotes bonding between dogs and dog lovers.

As a result, it is important that our dogs regularly have access to toys to play with, new and old. Consider your dog’s size, breed, age, and preferred playstyle when determining the right play regimen for them. All of these factors will also be considered when you and your pup receive your KONG Club Dog Subscription Box.

2. Enough Excitement and Exercise During the Day Will Help Them Relax

We might all want nothing more than some time to relax, but our dogs are often the opposite. This is why the phenomenon of zoomies is so common. Have you ever witnessed your pup sprint around the house at three o’clock in the morning for seemingly no reason? Perhaps this is because they were not entertained enough during the day.

Dogs need to get enough exercise during the day, or else they might have an abundance of energy at inopportune times. You may already take your dog on regular walks, but they still do not seem to be tired out. Whether you have a hyped-up puppy or an adult dog who enjoys running around, you might want to add some playtime into the mix.

In the case of puppies, it is generally better to offer them multiple play and exercise sessions throughout the day rather than one large one. Their bodies are still developing, and an overly long walk could put stress on their systems, joints, and growing bones. Shorter and more frequent bursts of exercise will give your puppy the opportunity to get rid of some energy in a way that is healthy for them.

Once your dog has entered the wonders of canine adulthood, some of their puppy energy will likely dissipate with time. This perfectly natural process might even be a blessing for some pet parents who are ready for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Now that your furry friend is older, they can handle longer play sessions with tougher toys.

3. Different Monthly Themes Can Help Your Dog Thrive

Each and every KONG dog subscription box comes complete with new products like treats and toys that address the natural instincts and various play styles of canines. This is likely enough to get your dog excited, but dog parents can also have fun with each month’s theme. These themed boxes are specifically centered around doggy wellness.

All of the delicious recipes (mmm… handmade stuffing for toys) and durable KONG toys are parts of cultivated collections made to address the key building blocks of dog wellness.

These pillars of wellness include:

  • Nutrition
  • Emotional wellness
  • Environmental challenges
  • Behavior
  • Preventative care
  • Exercise and play

4. A Monthly Subscription Box Allows Dogs To Explore Their Natural Instincts

While it might be difficult to see while your dog is rolling over asking for belly rubs, they are descendants of mighty hunters. They have a wide variety of instincts passed down from their wolf ancestors that should be engaged regularly — chewing, hunting, fetching, and more.

The best dog subscription boxes allow your pup to truly be themselves. Luckily, KONG Club has a month-by-month plan that lets your dog do just that.

5. Your Dog Will Learn Proper Behaviors From Their First Box Onward

If your dog is a chewer, they will find something to chew whether you like it or not. The best way to teach your dog proper behaviors is to provide them with all of the chews they need.

The iconic toy for chewers is the Kong® Classic. Fill it with dog-safe peanut butter or natural treats for a chewy, fun time. This toy encourages self-play but also makes for wild games of fetch with an unpredictable bounce.

The presence of your dog’s natural instincts is an indicator of their long, storied family history. Luckily, we can teach them how to use these instincts healthily. Be sure to offer them dog treats when they use toys correctly to incentivize them even more!

6. Mental Stimulation Will Prevent Your Pet From Becoming Bored

Not only is an abundance of exercise crucial for helping your dog sleep at night, but it is also integral for keeping them content during the day. Without enough toys to play with and items to interact with, your pup could easily become bored. Boredom is one of the biggest enemies of any dog, dog mom, dog dad, or pet parent.

If you hand off a mentally stimulating toy like the Treat Spiral Stick, they can exercise their brain and their bodies. This toy helps satisfy foraging instincts all while looking like chic modern art displayed on the floor of your home.

7. A Bored Dog Is a Potentially Destructive Dog

Your understimulated dog could potentially start whining, scratching at your door, or making other kinds of noise to get your attention. It likely will not take long for them to begin looking for other sources of entertainment. A dog without the proper toys will not stop playing; they will simply search for alternative kinds of toys.

These “alternative toys” could be any number of your personal belongings. From shoes to treasured family heirlooms to all sorts of gadgets, your dog might start to see them as playthings.

Your dog doesn’t just need toys; they need a fresh selection to avoid boredom. Otherwise, you never know what your furry friend might just find their way into.

Boredom is one of the main factors that drive destructive behavior, including eating your favorite shoes.

8. A Subscription Box Helps You and Your Pup Branch Out

It is true that dogs are creatures of habit, and so are many humans. With that in mind, there is always a benefit to be gained from trying something new. Sometimes, we can get so bogged down in our routines that we forget there is a world of new opportunities and experiences out there. This concept can also be true for our dogs.

While major life changes should be introduced gently to your dog, variety is still the spice of life. Small changes like a slightly different walking route or offering new toys and treats (more on that soon) help to energize pets.

Of course, there might be major unavoidable changes for you and your pup. When this happens, be sure to reach out to your dog’s veterinarians for their advice on the upcoming transition. This also applies when making changes that only affect your pet, such as changing their dog food.

By branching out from the norm, you might just see new parts of your dog’s personality come to light. Perhaps they are especially fond of a type of toy you never considered giving them before.

At the same time, maybe they will find a new favorite treat that gets them especially motivated. Maybe you will discover a love of making customizable dog treats for your furry friend!

9. Finding a New High-Reward Treat Can Make Training a Breeze

Each one of KONG Club’s dog subscription boxes comes with treats to help your pet thrive. Sometimes, these will come in the form of individual treats to be offered when your pet performs the desired behavior. Other times, you and your pet may receive treat fillings that work perfectly in fillable toys.

If you have a very food-motivated dog, then you know firsthand just how effective training with treats can be. You might think that you have already found your dog’s favorite treat in the world, but the truth is that you never know.

By trying new things together, you could easily find a treat that gets your dog ready to sit, lay down, or roll over with the best of them.

10. It Is Often Hard To Find High-Quality, Durable Toys

We all know that finding high-quality, tough toys for dogs can be challenging. One of the best things about the KONG Club subscription box is that KONG toys are designed for extra durability and the highest levels of quality. For example, all stuffed toys have five rows of top-stitching, offering quality dog toys that are just right for your dog.

If you have a tough chewer or even several heavy chewers, know that there are options that address all of your needs, like our line of toys just for Extreme Chewers.

A Doggone Good Time

As dog lovers, we all want the very best for our pets. Thankfully, dog subscription boxes provide a convenient and adorable option.

With the KONG Club Dog Subscription Box (or the Cat Subscription Box), you (and your pet) will receive new treats, toys, and more every month centering on helping your dog access their inner wolf to be the perfect puppy and housemate.

Plus, with the KONG Club App, you can access 24/7 help with pet coaches, trainers, and vets for immediate advice whenever you need it.

Sources:

Changes in Behaviour and Voluntary Physical Activity Exhibited by Sled Dogs throughout

Incremental Exercise Conditioning and Intermittent Rest Days | NCBI

Incentive Motivation in Pet Dogs – Preference for Constant vs Varied Food Rewards | Scientific Reports

Understanding Dog Behaviors | Blue Sky Vet Clinic

Keeping Your Cat Happy With a Monthly Subscription Box

Cats are curious; it is in their very nature. When you look at your cat, they are probably in the middle of snoozing the day away. Every now and then, your cat will be awake and be ready to play. When that happens, they are likely to quickly and thoroughly investigate any new item that enters their domain.

Yet, just as quickly as a cat becomes riveted with a new item, they can easily find themselves bored soon after. This is why it is so important to keep finding new ways to engage with your cat. An under-stimulated kitty is a bored kitty, and a bored kitty is one who could become loud, distracting, or even unintentionally destructive.

It’s integral to provide your pet with a variety of new cat toys to keep their days exciting. Otherwise, the only limits to what could happen are your cat’s imagination.

This responsibility can be somewhat taxing on cat lovers or pet parents of all kinds. After all, cats can’t exactly scroll the internet with us and point to what they want.

So, let’s discuss how a subscription box can make a big (adorable) difference.

What Does a Cat Need To Be Happy?

It should go without saying that individual cats will have their own individual needs. That being said, there are some constants that will greatly increase any cat’s quality of life.

First, cats are likely to want different amounts of attention from their pet parents, depending on their mood. Sometimes your kitty might want nothing more than to snuggle up with you on the couch. Other times, your cat might just want you to watch them eat. Why cats enjoy us watching them eat is truly one of the great mysteries of being cat parents.

Then, there are those occasions when your cat is ready for a thorough play session. Playing with your cat is essential for their weight and muscle tone and satisfies their natural instincts (more on that later). The many benefits of playing with your cat can go much deeper than just that.

When you play with your cat, you facilitate an even stronger bond between the two of you. At the same time, you are also helping your cat feel mentally stimulated, preventing them from getting bored. One of the best ways is to introduce new toys into your cat’s rotation regularly.

Is Variety Important to Cats?

When it comes to items like toys, cats can become used to objects fairly quickly. At that time, give them new options to play with. In this way, a cat subscription box can make cat parenthood a much more streamlined process.

In the case of items like toys, catnip, and cat treats, your pet will be excited by some variety. At the same time, you should always be sure to keep their favorite toys and delicious, natural treats within reach. When it comes to their cat food (whether it is dry or a wet can of food), be sure to talk with their veterinarians before making a major change.

Seeing your cat play with an unexpected extra toy or their curiosity piqued by that first box can make a huge change for the better. Your cat will be ready to meow for joy as the fun gadgets arrive at the doorstep with their monthly plan.

Balancing Your Cat’s Desire for Routine With Their Need for Mental Stimulation

You have probably noticed that your cat is a creature of habit. Many cats will voice their displeasure if it is a minute past when they usually get their dinner. On a larger scale, life changes like moving houses can be a stressful time for cats.

Since different cats can have opposing desires based on breeds, no two breeds are alike. Apps like the KONG Club can help you understand your cat’s play style and which instincts drive them most strongly.

Plus, with the app, you can work with veterinary professionals, animal behavior experts, and animal nutrition experts to ensure that everything in your cat’s life is up to scratch.

What Is in a Subscription Box?

KONG Club cat subscription boxes come complete with a variety of toys and treats that help address a monthly feline wellness topic. Each monthly theme is carefully curated to improve your cat’s overall wellbeing.

Just like when writing the perfect birthday card, personalization is key. That’s why all our items have been hand-selected to benefit your cat’s quality of life.

Which Cat Boxes Are Best?

The absolute best kinds of cat boxes, whether they are via subscription service or otherwise, are the ones that truly consider your cat’s wellbeing.

This is why KONG Club monthly subscription boxes always have a topic thoroughly selected by animal care professionals. Rather than just being cute (although they’re definitely that too), KONG Club boxes are made to improve your cat’s daily life by satisfying their natural instincts — like hunting, pouncing, and scratching.

What Are the Benefits of a Cat Subscription Box?

Though we have touched on this a little throughout the article, the idea certainly bears repeating. The best cat subscription boxes benefit both cats and humans alike.

This kind of high-quality monthly box can alleviate some stress from any pet parent’s mind. When your cat always has something purrfect and exciting to play with, you know they won’t end up using your home decor pieces as scratchers.

These benefits become even more apparent when you consider the central pillars of each themed box.

Different Themes Can Cater to Your Cat’s Needs

Each new KONG Club subscription box that you and your cat receive is centered around a different theme. These themes vary from month to month and are crafted to benefit your pet’s physical and mental health.

Your fun box contains items like toys, catnip, and recipes that enhance the theme of the month. These themes take on a variety of health-related topics that will benefit both you and your pet in the long run.

Just some of these wellness building blocks include:

  • Nutrition
  • Emotional wellness
  • Environmental challenges
  • Behavior
  • Preventative care
  • Exercise and play

Properly balanced needs are crucial to having a healthy and happy cat. Your cat’s needs may also change as they grow and adapt over time. It is possible that they could become more or less comfortable with their surroundings. Having a subscription box to look forward to just for your cat can create some excitement for your tiny feline predator.

The right subscription box can also help your cat let out their natural instincts in a healthy way.

How Can the KONG Club Subscription Box Engage Your Cat’s Natural Instincts?

Each KONG Club subscription box is specifically and carefully made to address cats’ many different needs and wants. The plentiful mental benefits of playing with your cat can often be overlooked for humans and cats.

Us humans get to enjoy lower stress levels and more feelings of contentment when we interact with our pets through play. This article isn’t about us, though. It’s about our furry feline friends! So how do they mentally benefit from playtime?

When cats play, they are using their instincts in a nondestructive, enriching, and just plain adorable way. If you need any proof of your cat’s natural-born instincts, look no further than the behaviors of big cats all over the world. While hunting, chasing, pouncing, and attentive watching are all crucial parts of the process.

Your sweet kitty who spends the vast majority of the day sleeping in their cat bungalow might not seem like an apex predator, but those instincts are still there. By playing with the right fun toys, your cat can feel both invigorated and comforted.

How Does the KONG Club Subscription Box Help Your Cat Learn Productive Behaviors?

Engaging in play is also profoundly important to cats’ mental wellbeing. Every KONG Club box caters to another one of your cat’s needs. Some will have more to do with play and exercise, and others will focus on nutrition.

By giving your cat luxury items that were made explicitly for them to play with, your bond with one another gets stronger.

Plus, why would a cat bother with your favorite t-shirt when there is an even more cuddly bumblebee stuffed with catnip right there?

What’s in the Box?

Cats are inherently curious, meaning that they are always looking to explore and discover new items. Perhaps your cat is sniffing around looking for an exciting mouse toy, a delicious new treat, or simply another way to engage with their favorite person– you.

No matter what your cat is searching for, a subscription box is a wonderful way to lovingly provide your pet with a variety of mentally stimulating goodies. With quality cat toys from a subscription plan, a single cat or multi-cat household is bound to reap real rewards.

There are so many reasons for us to love cats, and now there are so many more ways to show that love than ever before.

Sources:

Feline Behavior Problems: Destructive Behavior | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

The ‘Feline Five’: An exploration of personality in pet cats (Felis catus) | NIH

Your Cat’s Instinctive Behavior | Catonsville Cat Clinic

Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

Cats can sometimes have a bit of a reputation for being unpredictable, but in reality, many of their behaviors make perfect sense when they are put in context. Cats dutifully using their litter boxes is pretty convenient when it comes to clean-up time.

Yet, all of that can all go out the window when they start having accidents. At first, noticing pee outside the litter box can seem completely puzzling. But, oftentimes, with a little consideration, it starts to make a lot more sense.

While it is a possibility that the issue will correct itself, and your cat will begin to use the litter box again on their own without any further assistance from you, this is not always the case. In many situations, your cat will require a bit of help from you, their loving pet parent, to get everything back to normal. 

Even if your cat does begin using the litter box again without your assistance, it is still helpful to assess exactly why they stopped using it in the first place. There are a variety of possible explanations for this sudden change in behavior. Some of these explanations center around your cat’s mental state as well as their physical health, while others are simply a matter of the litter box itself.

By pondering any other ways your cat’s behavior has changed as of late, the reason behind this newest bathroom behavior can become much more apparent. If nothing immediately comes to mind, it’s time to go down our list of potential explanations for these accidents and see if anything fits.

Issues Having To Do With the Litter Box Itself

One of the three main categories (each with their own reasons) a cat may go outside of the litter box is that something about the box is not up to their standards. There are multiple possibilities within this subcategory.

So, even if you think the litter box itself may be to blame, it is still crucial to identify exactly what is causing the issue. Only once you have figured out your cat’s reason for changing their behavior can you take steps to fix it.

The Litter Box Needs To Be Cleaned

This explanation is a simple one, but sometimes the simplest answers are the truest ones. Think about the last time you cleaned your cat’s litter box. Is it at all possible that this chore slipped your mind? Even if you may occasionally forget about the state of the litter box, that does not mean your cat does.

If the litter box is too dirty, your cat may avoid it, leading to accidents on the floor and on furniture. This is never fun for anybody (your cat included), so simply resolve to clean the litter box more often and see if that changes the behavior.

The Litter Box Is Too Small

Clearly, cats can be finicky creatures. If their litter box is too small, that could also be reason enough for them to skip it entirely. This can be fixed by finding a larger litter box that can accommodate their size easily. Consider how big your cat is, and make sure that they will have enough space in the litter box to stand up comfortably.

Cats have been found to greatly prefer litter boxes that measure 86 centimeters (nearly three feet) as opposed to ones that measure 56 cm (nearly two feet). This should give you a good idea of what size cats typically prefer and that your cat may just need a little more space to stretch out. However, all cats are unique; your cat may enjoy another size best — trial and error time.

You Have Recently Switched Over to a New Kind of Litter

Cats are creatures of habit, so it is possible that, even though the box is not an issue, the litter itself is to blame. If you have recently switched your cat over to a new kind of litter and suddenly noticed a change in their bathroom habits, it is fairly safe to assume that they are not a fan. Try switching back to the old litter if possible, and see if that rectifies the issue.

If you are determined to switch to this new kind of litter, first try to combine the old and new kinds to get your cat more acquainted and comfortable with it. Then, gradually add more and more of the new type until your cat is okay with the change.

Emotional Issues That Could Cause Peeing Outside of the Litter Box

Emotional issues are slightly less simple than those having to do with the litter box itself, but there are still ways to fix these problems and get your cat feeling more confident in no time.

Your Cat Is Feeling Stressed Out or Anxious

Again, cats are creatures of habit. For more sensitive cats, something as small as a change in mealtime or litter type could prompt stress resulting in accidents.

For other cats, something like moving houses or bringing in a new pet could prompt this change. Help your cat regain their confidence and calm down by being patient with them and providing them with treats, love, and affection.

In Multi-Cat Households, Cats Can Be Bullied or Intimidated

Households should have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. For single-cat households, this means that your pet will have options. They should never be too far from a box when they need one. 

In homes with more than one cat, providing multiple litter boxes prevents the possibility that one cat will be intimidated by the others. This intimidation may make one cat feel unsafe using the litter box.

You Cat Wants To Scent Marking Their Territory

The last emotional reason that we are going to cover for your cat possibly foregoing their litter box is that they are feeling territorial. This could be the case if there is more than one cat in the home or if you have recently moved.

They may be peeing on furniture or on the floor to put their scent down, as they feel insecure. Having an adequate number of litter boxes can help this.

Medical Reasons Your Cat Could Be Peeing Outside of the Litter Box

Finally, we have several medical reasons that could account for your cat’s bathroom accidents. This list is not exhaustive, but it will get you well on your way to discovering the root cause and can help you greatly when speaking with a vet.

Diabetes

One of the main symptoms of feline diabetes that pet parents first notice is a marked increase in thirst and urination. This can lead to your cat needing to pee quite frequently, so they may not always be able to make it to the litter box if it is too far away.

Similarly, since they are peeing so much more often, they may not want to use the box anymore because it needs to be cleaned.

Arthritis

If your cat is experiencing arthritis and the accompanying pain that comes along with it, they might not be using the litter box because entering and exiting it is uncomfortable.

Look at the litter box you are currently providing for your cat. If it requires your cat to jump or maneuver themselves in some way, it might not suit their needs. As cats get older, arthritis becomes more common. Consider a more shallow litter box to help your cat. 

A Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection or UTI is a painful experience for both cats and humans alike. This pain and frequent need to pee can cause many of the litter box behaviors your cat has developed to take the back seat.

Instead, they may just go whenever, wherever. If your cat meows in or around the litter box, this can also indicate to pet parents that there is something wrong.

Thinking Inside the Box

Having accidents outside of the litter box is the primary reason that many cats are surrendered to shelters or returned shortly after being adopted. In fact, 30% of surrendered cats were given up for this reason. This statistic is staggering, but it becomes even more troubling when you consider that lots of the fixes for litter box issues are quite simple.

The situation might seem like a stressful one, and it is certainly unpleasant, but there are plenty of ways to help both you and your cat out when it comes to correct litter box usage. 

Know your cat’s behaviors and be ready to make changes to accommodate them if necessary. If you are truly stumped or just have any other questions, reaching out to your cat’s veterinarian or animal behaviorist is always a good idea.

A Vetted Solution

If you have any further questions, concerns, or if you have questions about the state of your cat’s health, do not hesitate to reach out to a qualified veterinarian, like the ones at AskVet.

Litter box accidents happen at any time of the day or night, so with the help of the KONG Club app, AskVet’s licensed vets are available 24/7. You can also be connected with a community of pet parents who may have dealt with similar issues before and can offer words of encouragement.

Sources:

Litterbox Size Preference in Domestic Cats (Felis catus) | ResearchGate

Effects of Stressors on the Behavior and Physiology of Domestic Cats | National Library of Medicine

The Behavioural Effects of Innovative Litter Developed To Attract Cats | National Library of Medicine

Diagnosing Behavior Problems in Cats – Cat Owners | Merck Veterinary Manual

Feline Diabetes | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

How To Stop Dogs From Nipping & Biting When Excited

Dog subscription box to help stop dogs from nipping and biting

The excitement and joy we regularly see in our dogs are enviable, to say the least, especially on days where even a fleeting bit of energy seems impossible to come by. However, there are times that their excitement can manifest in ways that go beyond just cute and actually become somewhat destructive.

Not only do these behaviors have the capacity to harm furniture and your dog’s surrounding environment, but they also have the ability to hurt pet parents as well.

One of the most notable and common of these excited but destructive behaviors is when dogs start nipping and biting. They may do this to a toy, they may do it to the couch, or they may do it to your hand. It is always essential to redirect this energy in a way that is equal parts productive and non-destructive.

Learn how to correct and redirect this behavior below:

Why Do Dogs Nip and Bite?

It is exceedingly common for dogs to mouth on different surfaces and items. This is especially true in the case of puppies. Puppies are almost always nibbling on something.

This is one of their primary ways of exploring the world around them. Puppies are even more inquisitive than their adult counterparts, so everything becomes a potential object of their biting affection.

In all likelihood, a puppy who is nipping at something does not mean to cause any harm or damage. They are just simply trying to explore, and this is their preferred way of going about it. After all, they cannot use their hands like humans can. Instead, they are left with the option to sniff and bite.

Adult dogs could similarly be using nipping as a method of exploration, or they could see it as a form of play. It is also possible that biting could be a show of aggression from your dog.

If this is the case, it will probably be accompanied by other signs such as growling and barking. Small to midsize dogs have been found more likely to bite, contrary to some common beliefs about large dogs.

Identify the Motivation Behind Your Dog’s Nipping

Once you know exactly why your dog is nipping and biting improperly, the path to eventually eliminating this behavior will become much more clear.

It’s time to talk training. Puppies are undoubtedly rambunctious and mischievous, but they are also eager to please and ready to learn. 

By teaching them bite inhibition (more on that later), they will become much more mild-mannered adults. In addition, you will avoid some unpleasant teeth marks in the meantime.

We must socialize and teach our dogs about acceptable behaviors when they are young because these lessons easily follow them into adulthood. Then again, nipping may also be a common behavior in adult dogs. If you have just recently adopted or rescued your adult dog, you might not know their entire training history or full details on their past lives.

As such, it is possible that they were never taught not to bite when they were younger. Luckily, this process can still be performed when they are adults, as there is absolutely no credence to the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

In fact, in some ways, adult dogs are actually easier to teach than puppies. Their energy has leveled out much more. As dogs mature into adulthood, they are able to focus for longer periods of time

Teach Them Bite Inhibition and To Be Gentle When Playing

Bite inhibition is all about getting your dog to understand that biting should never occur with too much force behind it. This is a crucial lesson to avoid any accidental harm during otherwise innocent play or excitement.

Bite inhibition also comes into play when your dog is afraid or possibly displaying more defensive behaviors. If they have been properly trained, they will still hold back on the force of their bite.

In order to teach a dog bite inhibition, there are a few different routes that can be taken. First, if your dog bites you, try to let out a louder yelp-like noise or an “ow” or “hey” to indicate pain and displeasure.

This works well because many dogs learn bite inhibition from their mothers or littermates. Nipping is common when playing with other dogs, but if they bite too hard, one of their siblings will probably make a loud noise. This negative social reinforcement deters them from biting that hard in the future. Making a yelping sound mimics that lesson they learn from their fellow dogs.

This could cause some dogs to become more excited, which is the opposite of the goal. If this appears to be the case for your dog, rather than making a noise, simply turn away quietly. Biting should always lead to a form of timeout. If in the middle of playing and a bite occurs, all play should cease. 

Give Them Toys and Items That Are Safe To Bite

Bite inhibition is an important practice for those occasions when a bite or nip does occur. But, generally speaking, you should be able to anticipate your dog’s needs and have a deterrent ready. This will teach them to direct their biting onto toys and appropriate items, creating an association that your hands are not for biting.

For puppies that are teething or dogs who simply can’t quite kick nipping completely, it is important to give them alternatives that are safe to bite. Expecting absolutely no biting at any time is getting rid of a large way that your dog explores their world. Rather than eliminating this practice in every aspect of your dog’s life and behaviors, focus on making sure that any remaining biting is productive.

Be sure to keep toys that are appropriate for biting nearby so that you can always have them available and at the ready whenever your dog starts getting nippy.

Find Productive Ways To Get Rid of Your Dog’s Excess Energy

The exact amount of energy that your dog is working with per day will depend on a variety of factors, such as their gender, breed, age, and stage of maturity. Just like with humans, some days will simply be higher energy than others. Alternatively, your dog may also have days where they only seem to get up to eat, use the bathroom, and switch to another cozy surface. 

Days where your dog can’t seem to get out of bed and days where your dog is endlessly excited have their advantages and disadvantages. On those days when your dog just cannot seem to get enough playtime, it is a worthwhile practice to take them outside for some high-quality exercise.

Perhaps your dog can’t get enough of a long walk or a fun-filled hike. If you do not have the time for those or your dog has already had their walk, take them out for some fetch and other games.

Not only will these go a long way in tiring out your dog and making them much less likely to nip, but playing together also strengthens the bond between pet and pet parent significantly.

Do Not Use Your Fingers To Get Them Ready for Play

Even if your training is excellent, just about any dog might be prone to misunderstanding the rules on nipping if your fingers are only sometimes playthings.

In these moments, your dog is amped up. Even if they might not mean to bite your hand, everything may blend together as one big toy for them to play with.

If they do bite your hand or fingers, this is when having taught bite inhibition is so crucial. No matter what, your dog will know not to bite down too hard, avoiding any harm to you beyond some slight discomfort and possible weird marks. If your dog does bite you while playing, do not quickly or unpredictably jerk your hand away.

Even though this might be a perfectly reasonable instinct to escape their grasp, this will likely only tell your dog that the game is continuing. Depending on how you move away, this action could mimic the motion of a toy.

Appropriate Excitement Behaviors Are Possible

Even when your dog’s excitement feels overwhelming, it is always possible to teach them proper methods of showing their feelings. Through careful training and an abundance of patience, your dog can learn to only bite appropriate objects and leave both your hand and unsuspecting furniture alone.

If you are at all concerned that your dog’s nipping and biting may go beyond ways of showing simple excitement, or if you just have any questions regarding these or other behaviors, know that there are qualified professionals always available to help.

A subscription to KONG Club will provide your dog with a monthly box of toys and treats that are great for both training and distraction. Additionally, with the KONG Club app, you can work directly with our trainers and coaches to build plans that help manage your pet’s behavior and daily wellness.

 

Sources:

Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed | American Veterinary Medical Association

Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior | National Center for Biotechnology Information

Energy Requirements of Adult Dogs: A Meta-Analysis | National Center for Biotechnology Information

Lifespan development of attentiveness in domestic dogs: drawing parallels with humans | NCBI