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

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

Top 4 Best Chew-Proof Dog Beds of 2022

If there is one thing that dogs do particularly well (other than look adorable), it’s sleep. In fact, adult dogs sleep for 10 to 12 hours a day on average; that’s about half their day!

Suddenly it makes sense why your pooch is so ready for a mid-afternoon cuddle. If you have puppies or large dogs, you will probably notice them sleeping even more. The dog zoomies are pretty cute, but not so much when you’re trying to sleep before driving to work the next day.

If your dog loves their bed, it can be quite confusing when you notice them regularly chewing on it. After all, if they treasure this bed, why would they try to destroy it? It is important to remember that your dog doesn’t see this as destruction at all. Dogs regularly chew on toys that they love, and their pet bed is no different.

If you have pets who are moderate chewers to heavy chewers, we have some helpful tips on the best chew-proof dog beds out there. From what to look for in a chew-resistant dog bed to specific heavy-duty, comfy pet products, we have you covered.

Can You Train a Dog Not To Chew?

After realizing that their dog is a frequent chewer, the first question on many pet parents’ minds is simple: Is there a way to stop your dog from chewing? The short answer is that there really isn’t. Luckily, the longer answer is likely to give a bit more hope to pet parents.

Much of the time, chewing is instinctual for dogs. Since this trait has been passed down through generations of wolves, eventually reaching domesticated dogs.

Even the smallest Maltese is not going to simply forget this urge. Instead, we, as pet parents, are tasked with something different but no less effective through the fine art of redirection.

How Can You Redirect a Dog’s Chewing?

By redirecting your dog’s chewing, they will be more likely to leave your furniture and personal items alone. Odds are, these positive habits will translate into less chewing of their bed. Make sure to provide your dog with a chew toy that they just can’t get enough of. Preferably, your dog should have multiple chew toy options.

The KONG Club Monthly Subscription Box has the answer. Every month, you’ll receive a box specifically made to take care of dogs’ (or cats’) health. Each box has its a specific theme and comes stocked with toys, treats, and recipes for your pet to try out. This subscription box is a convenient way to stock up on toys that will have your dog’s tail wagging for joy.

What Should You Look for in a Durable Dog Bed?

When you have a strong chewer in the family, you know that not just any bed will cut it. Instead, you will need a powerfully durable bed that can stand up to your dog’s frequent gnawing.

You might have fears of coming home to see your pet’s dog bed torn up, but know that you have plenty of durable (but also super cute) options.

The process of finding the right bed for your pooch should involve careful consideration of your pet and their needs. For instance, large dogs will need more space to lounge than their smaller counterparts. Make sure that whatever size bed you end up with will accommodate small, medium, or big dogs depending on what you need.

If you want this dog bed to be truly indestructible, here are a few other traits to watch out for:

  • Beds that are water-resistant or have a water-proof liner
  • If the bed is not water-resistant, look for machine washable alternatives
  • A removable cover can be very helpful
  • Find a tough dog bed that transitions between indoor and outdoor use
  • Opt for high-quality materials that are less likely to tear
  • When in doubt, a bed that provides a warranty (preferably a year warranty or longer) can ease your mind

1. The KONG Pet Crate Mat Pad

While the KONG Pet Crate Mat Pad might immediately seem like it should just be used to make a crate cozier, it can serve more purposes than just that.

This bed works so well within a dog crate because it is wonderfully comfy. That being said, this surface can easily be brought outside for a delightful little sunbathing session.

This mat pad provides a fantastic option for dogs that simply cannot get enough of chewing. They can chew away all day long, but all that they will face is reinforced water-repellent fabric. Even the most furiously teething dog will have immense difficulty getting through that.

However, just because your dog does not manage to tear their bed apart, it still might look a little worse for wear after being put through the wringer. In that case, take a deep breath because this mat is machine washable.

Easily return this durable dog bed to its former glory by tossing it in the wash. Then, you can return it to your pooch so that the cycle can start all over again.

2. The KONG 4-Sided Cuddler Dog Bed

For those pets that understand being comfortable is one of the finer things in life, the KONG 4-Sided Cuddler Dog Bed is just the thing. This bed was designed first and foremost for tremendous luxury and comfort. At the same time, KONG knows that it takes more than just comfort to make the perfect dog bed.

The 4-Sided Cuddler Dog Bed was carefully and thoughtfully engineered for strength (along with being irresistibly cozy). The reinforced ripstop and seams are mighty opponents — chewers of all shapes and sizes will be stopped in their tracks.

This bed features a machine washable cover, so this sleep spot will be spot-free. No matter how much you plan, we all know that accidents will still inevitably happen. If a water bowl gets knocked over near the bed, no problem!

This pad’s exterior walls are also water-resistant, so they will be dry in no time. And if your dog has a tendency to carry their bed along with them, the skid-resistant bottom will come in especially handy.

3. The KONG Durable Lounger Dog Bed

The KONG Durable Lounger Dog Bed comes in different color options for added customization for you and your pup. The unique shape provides the opportunity for all kinds of lounging and sleeping.

If your dog prefers to put a head on their paw while they rest, this bed has what they need. If they want to stretch themselves out as much as possible, small dogs will find themselves with an abundance of room at their disposal for maximum belly rub opportunities.

The wonderful coziness of this bed can’t be overstated, but that’s far from the only benefit. Like KONG’s other dog beds, this model has also been optimized for strength. The pad easily earns the name “durable” for its brute durability.

This bed is close to accident-proof since it has water-resistant exterior walls. Your pup can also try to chew all they want, but the reinforced ripstop and seams are tough to break. For added ease and convenience, the bed’s cover can be popped into the washing machine anytime.

4. The KONG Orthopedic Mat Dog Bed

Last but not least, we have the KONG Orthopedic Mat Dog Bed on our list of chew-proof dog beds. It is right there in the name, but this orthopedic mat provides an unparalleled comfort level for your pooch to snooze. While pets of any age can benefit from this special mat, orthopedic beds are especially great for senior dogs.

As our dogs enter their golden years, it is natural for them to experience some aches and pains and habit changes. Orthopedic memory foam isn’t just for people; our dogs deserve the best!

Memory foam is soothing for older dogs when they lie down and get up. A slightly firm foam gives them the support they need to stand up without much hassle.

With that in mind, orthopedic dog beds are also cozy and worthwhile options for pets of any age. Coming in a variety of colors, the KONG Orthopedic Mat Dog Bed will get any dog excited to rest or just relax. This welcoming bed also has water-resistant exterior walls and a convenient machine washable cover.

Plus, this orthopedic mat has a skid-resistant bottom, so it will always stay right where you put it. This bed’s reinforced ripstop and seams will be enough to give any chewer pause (or paws).

Put Your Dog’s Chewing to Bed

Dogs enjoy sleeping on all sorts of surfaces. Whether your pup prefers a snooze on the couch, the carpet, or simply anywhere that they lie down is up to them. Yet, there is one type of soft surface beloved by all kinds of canine companions: a dog bed.

There are many nearly indestructible dog beds available; you just have to do your research and know what your pet needs. Instead of your pup trying to jump on your mattress, you might just be asking them to scootch over and make some room on their dog bed.

Sources:

How Much Do Dogs Sleep? | Sleep.org

Destructive Chewing | ASPCA

Memory foam vs. gel memory foam: Side by side comparison | Medical News Today

Crate Training Your Dog The Right Way

crate training

What’s the deal with dog crates? Why does everyone recommend them?

Dog crates are an easy and effective way to keep your dog confined while you are training them. For their own safety – and your sanity – dogs in training need to be confined or supervised at all times.

Crate Training When Not Home:

Chewing your furniture or belongings is frustrating for you, but it may also land your dog in the emergency room or worse. An ingested sock can easily cause an intestinal obstruction. So keeping your dog confined when you can’t be watching him, is the kindest thing you can do for him.

Crate Training While Potty Training:

When potty training your dog, it is crucial to keep them confined to prevent them from peeing inside your house. The biggest mistake new puppy and rescue dog parents make, is to give them too much freedom too soon. Much like a human child, they should only be given more privileges when they earn them and prove they are ready.

What not to do while crate training:

But it is easy to misuse a crate. Crates should not be used as a punishment, but rather as your dog’s “special place”. A dog’s crate should only be associated with positive experiences. Look at your dog’s crate not as a “cage” but as their den. Or better yet, think of it as their “man cave” or “she shed”. Their crate should be a fun, safe-haven for them.

Dogs are naturally den animals. They thrive on the comfort and security that a small enclosure provides. However, dens do not have doors. So only 1 out of 10 or 15 times that he goes in his crate do you actually shut the door on him, while training.

Crate training your dog – the right way. 

Whether you are crate training a new puppy, rescue, or adult dog, these are the steps that work. But they depend on your consistency. So don’t overthink it. Have fun and make a game of it.

Everything good comes in the crate. 

Feed your dog’s meals in the crate – preferably stuffed in a KONG toy. By ditching a feeding bowl for a KONG Classic or two, you are keeping your dog engaged longer and teaching him to love to play with his KONG. So even when it doesn’t have any food in it, he will still play with it.

The crate game. 

Randomly run your dog to his crate and reward him with lots of praise and a treat, handful of kibble or a special toy when they run into it. Leave the door open and let him enjoy the reward in his crate. If you do shut the door, make sure to give him a KONG stuffed with yummy food. So you are redirecting and rewarding him for going into and hanging out in his crate.

Put it on cue. 

Teach your dog to go to his crate on command. Put a word to it. Say “go to crate” or “go to your bed” or “crate time” and then toss a treat into the crate. As your dog runs to it, cheer him on with lots of praise and encouragement. Again, more often than not, your dog is able to grab the treat and then leave the crate. If you always shut him in, he will learn very quickly not to go in at all.

Build up to confinement.

After you’ve laid the groundwork teaching your dog that the crate is a positive thing, then you can start to confine him in it. When you do have to leave your dog in the crate, always leave him with something special that he only gets when confined. A KONG Classic stuffed with his dinner and some extra special treats work well. Bonus – freeze the KONG to keep him busier even longer.

This will reward him for being confined and keep him redirected and not thinking about the confinement. Instead of you giving out lots of treats – make the KONG do it. Always work smart, not hard.

Crate Training Conclusion:

Dog crates are such a great way keep your dog safe while you train them. A crated dog is not stealing socks, peeing in your closet or digging in the trash. It prevents the bad habits so you can replace them with good habits.

You don’t always have to use the crate. It’s like training wheels for your dog. Once your dog is trained and trustworthy, and you don’t need to confine him anymore, you can take the door off the crate altogether. The crate remains your dog’s special place, but now he can truly come and go as he wants.

___________________________________________________________

By Cindy Scott, Master Certified Trainer DOGS ETC. thedogsetc.com

For a new selection of monthly toys and treats that make crating a breeze – subscribe to a KONG Club subscription box today!

How to Help Your Rescue Dog Feel More at Home

KONG Wild Knots Bear

While the pandemic has had devastating effects on the world, one bright spot is that more pups have been adopted than ever before. Dogs of all ages and from all kinds of backgrounds have joined new homes and begun their happily ever after’s. Some of these dogs have been through a lot in their lives — they’ve been abandoned by families (sometimes multiple times), been abused, or been let down in other ways. They’re looking for, and are deserving, of permanent homes and pure love.

It can take some time for your new pup to settle into their new situation. They may be scared by certain noises or situations, be hesitant to form instant attachments, or just feel overwhelmed by this big change. The good news is that with patience, love, and understanding, you can make your rescue dog feel safe in their new space and with their new family.

Bring Them Straight Home

Now that they’re officially yours, don’t make them wait any longer! Avoid running errands on the way home. If they’re a puppy, you can hold them in your lap while someone else drives. If they’re bigger, sit in the back next to them and make them as comfortable as possible. Puppies and some dogs may not have exposure to cars, so you want to keep their anxiety levels low. This will help your home introduction start out on the right foot.

Start with Slow Introductions

Instead of crowding your dog, greet them one person at a time. Let the dog approach them on their own terms so they don’t become overwhelmed. Additionally, watch their body language to see what they’re trying to tell you. If their tail is wagging, that’s great news! It means they’re happy and content. If their tail is tucked, they may be scared. You can encourage them with treats and praise, but if they back away from you, let them have their space.

Encourage Exploration

While you definitely want to keep an eye on your new furry friend to avoid accidents, let them roam around. Start first on the outside of the house, then go inside once they’re ready. Don’t be surprised if they sniff everything in sight and even lick a few things. Dogs get a lot of information from smell and taste, so allowing them to wander can make them comfortable.

Give Them A Warm Welcome

Prep your place beforehand with all the things you’ll need for their arrival. Get the essentials like a bed, bowls, food, a collar with tags, and more. But also don’t forget the “fun” items, like tasty treats and fun toys. A KONG Box is a great way to make them feel special. You can let them unbox it, pull out toys, and even offer up some treats. These exciting surprises will give them good feelings and confidence about their new situation.

Create A Safe Space

Whether you decide to crate train — which we recommend, and here’s why — or not, it’s important to dedicate a spot in your house for your dog. Make it as inviting as possible. Buy a cozy bed or fill the crate with soft blankets. Stuff a KONG Classic with treats and let them quietly enjoy it in this dedicated area. Ideally, it should be somewhere that allows your pup some peace and quiet, but if they just want to be near you the first few days, that’s also okay. Every dog is different.

Take Time to Bond

Bonding may look different depending on your dog’s comfort levels. You could start out with something as simple as taking walks together. Or sitting in the backyard as they run around and approach you when they choose. If your pup seems interested in playing, use toys that are interactive to build the bond between you. Play fetch with a ball. Toss a frisbee. Play tug of war. Whatever way you choose to play, these moments can build powerful connections between the two of you. And don’t forget to give them lots of love and snuggles if they feel comfortable with being held.

Need More Help?

Many rescue dogs show their affection instantly. It’s their way of telling you “thank you” for caring about them and giving them a better life. There are also plenty of stories about dogs who appeared aggressive or difficult when they were first adopted, but with time, showed that they were sweethearts who just needed someone to believe in them. If your dog is currently struggling, know that this can be their way of protecting themselves. It also may be that they lacked the proper training before you got them and have developed certain behaviors.

By rescuing your dog, you’re promising to help them through this phase — through all of it. Don’t give up on them. If you need more assistance, get in touch with a trainer who can help you and your dog work together to overcome their trauma and feel safe not just in their space, but with you as well. The KONG Club vet team is available 24/7 to help you with a Personalized Pet Plan for your rescue pup.  Click here to get started.

Pododermatitis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Happy dog doing high five

If you have ever seen your pup biting at their paws? Have their poor paws been inflamed, swollen, or otherwise angry-looking? If your dog has ever had trouble with their paws, pododermatitis may be to blame. 

What Is Pododermatitis?

Pododermatitis isn’t just an ailment by itself. It is a catch-all for inflammation of your dog’s paws and the skin around their paws, nails, and pads. It can be caused by a number of reasons, like allergies, infections, or diseases. It might be difficult to treat as there are a multitude of reasons why your dog’s paws are looking so painful, and a diagnosis may not be crystal clear.

You can compare this to having an upset stomach. You recognize that your stomach hurts, but you may not know the exact reason why. Are you coming down with a stomach bug or food poisoning? Maybe it’s appendicitis? Or could it just be gas?

As you can see, there could be a number of causes with varying severities for your stomach to hurt — the same idea with pododermatitis. 

Let’s discuss this condition, how to recognize it, and when to ask for help. 

Symptoms of Pododermatitis

Multiple symptoms might suggest Pododermatitis. Your dog’s symptoms will likely all depend on what is causing the pododermatitis and how severe it has gotten. One of the most tell-tale signs is if your dog is licking or biting at their paws. 

The skin between their toes may be infected, as well as the skin between paw pads and where their nails grow. Your dog may have open sores on their paws, and it can be a varying combination of how many sores are on each paw. 

You may also see hair loss on their paws, as well as redness and swelling of the pads. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may even see bleeding and discharge. 

These symptoms can show on just one paw, all of their paws, or a combination. Your dog may not be able to walk on one or more of their paws as they may be tender and painful to put weight on, and your dog may be rendered lame. 

Causes of Pododermatitis

As mentioned, there are multiple causes of pododermatitis. Some may be more mild, like allergies, while other causes may be a little more serious and require specialized treatment. Let’s look at a few of the different reasons why your dog could be experiencing pododermatitis. 

Allergies

If you’ve recently moved to a new area and your dog likes to play or roam outside, they could be allergic to the grass or other outside matter. The season can also have an impact on what plants are growing outside, and your dog could be allergic to one certain plant or pollen.

This may cause your dog’s paws to become inflamed only during the fall or spring. Your dog’s diet may also be the culprit, especially if you noticed any symptoms after you changed their food. Common food allergens for dogs include fillers and even frequently-used meats, including chicken.

Parasites

Demodex is a parasitic mite that can be found on the fur of your dog’s paws. When it comes to pododermatitis being caused by a parasite, Demodex is usually the cause.

If present in large numbers can cause bleeding and swelling of your dog’s paws. Demodex can be difficult to get rid of, but there are multiple treatments that your vet can recommend, like antibiotics or medicated dips. 

Infection

If your dog has gotten a deep cut on their paw, numerous types of bacteria can enter the cut and cause pododermatitis. Symptoms attributed to infection are swollen, bleeding areas in between the toes. 

Hormonal

Hormone issues, like hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) or Cushing’s disease, can prevent your dog’s immune system from fighting off infections. Your dog would then likely be more susceptible to bacteria-causing pododermatitis. 

Weight Changes

If your dog is overweight, their paws may struggle to their weight equally. The paws may be supporting an unequal load and the paws that are under more stress may start to become inflamed.

The shorter hair follicles cause this inflammation in the paw to be ingrown. This becomes a vicious cycle of inflammation and infection. 

Diagnosis

Anytime you see symptoms or your dog’s paws are in not so great condition, you will definitely want to consult your vet. 

Trying to diagnose the reason behind the pododermatitis can be the hardest part. There are so many culprits that could be causing your dog’s paws to be in the shape they are in. Your veterinarian will likely pluck hair from around the paw area and will also take some skin scrapings to see if they can detect the presence of bacteria or parasites. 

If an infection is believed to be the cause, swabs of the areas will be taken to see if any bacteria can be detected. Allergy testing may also be conducted if there is a clear pattern to the symptoms (only during particular months or visiting certain areas).

Blood tests may be necessary if your veterinarian believes the cause to be hormonal or caused by an immune disorder. You’ll also likely answer questions about your dog’s health history, including their diet and any previous health issues. 

How To Treat Pododermatitis

The type of treatment your dog receives is based on what diagnosis is made as to what the root cause of the pododermatitis is. 

If the pododermatitis is caused by allergies that your dog may have to the surrounding environment, this will be an ongoing treatment as your dog will still need to go outside to use the bathroom, go on walks, and play.

This will likely become a proactive plan, with wiping or washing off your dog’s paws when you come inside and applying any medication when their paws look to be a little inflamed. If your dog allows it, it may be helpful for them to wear booties over their paws for protection from the allergen.

Pododermatitis caused by parasites (more than likely by Demodex) can be hard to eradicate from your dog’s paws. Your veterinarian will come up with a care plan and will want to schedule frequent rechecks to ensure all of the mites are gone. There may be multiple treatments planned just in case the first few do not work. 

Treatment With Medication: Oral and Topical

If there is any infection present in your dog’s paws, they will be prescribed antibiotics and possibly antifungals until the infection clears up. The medication type, dosage, and use will depend on the type of bacteria detected from any swabs taken.

You may also be given topical treatments, like medicated creams or foams to apply to your dog’s paws to help soothe any inflammation and bleeding. 

Suspected hormonal problems may need to be controlled with medications and rechecks to make sure that blood work is showing an improvement with prescribed medications. Other medications may be prescribed to help with any inflammation or itching. 

Treatment With Lifestyle Changes

If your dog’s pododermatitis is caused by weight, a diet plan is likely to be recommended. Your dog will unlikely be able to exercise while their paws are in bad shape. Once they lose some weight and take some load off of their paws, the veterinarian may then give the all-clear for doggie shenanigans to commence once more. 

While your dog’s paws are healing, they may need to wear a cone so they cannot bite at their feet. This would be a great time to give your dog toys to help them take their mind off of their paws and more on their toys.

If your dog is unable to interact with the toy while their cone is on, carefully keep an eye on them while they play with the toy with the cone off. Puzzle toys with tasty treats inside will be sure to keep your dog focused on the toy and not their paws. Never leave your dog unattended if you remove their cone.

Luckily, there are many types of cones; some dogs prefer blow-up donut-shaped cones to the hard plastic. Some tolerate see-through cones better, and others like the blue, soft fabric ones.

Taking a Pause To Heal Their Paws

It can be so hard to see when your furry friend is in bad shape, especially when it comes to their paws. Happy tippy taps, after-bath zoomies, and fun afternoon walks are all affected when your dog is dealing with pododermatitis. Not even to mention the worry you may have when the underlying cause has not been diagnosed yet. 

Downloading the KONG Club app to reach out to an AskVet veterinarian is a great place to start. Your AskVet veterinarian can help with initial questions and may create a plan for your dog. They are always available to chat, so you can voice any concerns you may have at any time of day or night. 

 

Sources:

Canine pododermatitis | NCBI

Demodicosis most common underlying cause of persistent pododermatitis | DVM360

Managing chronic pododermatitis | Veterinary Ireland Journal

Demodex | LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital