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When to Start Heartworm Medicine in Puppies

By Dogs, Heartworms No Comments

Heartworm in dogs can be a very serious disease. In some cases, it can even be fatal. Dogs are natural hosts of the disease, which means that the heartworms that cause the disease can live inside a dog’s body, mature into adults, mate, and have offspring within the dog’s body. A dog could potentially be host to hundreds of heartworms, which can cause damage to the dog’s heart, arteries, and lungs, and can continue to negatively impact a dog’s health even after the worms are gone.

For this reason, heartworm prevention is the best way to treat your dog. The disease is treatable in many cases, but it’s best to prevent it before your dog can get heartworms so you can avoid any lasting health problems.

When Should a Puppy Start Heartworm Medicine?

Heartgard chewable heartworm prevention

According to the American Heartworm Society, puppies should be taking heartworm prevention medication monthly as young as 6-8 weeks old. They are just as prone to getting infected as older dogs, so the prevention must start as soon as possible.

Should All Dogs Get Heartworm Medication?

In Florida, all dogs need to be administered heartworm preventatives regularly. With heartworms being transferred to dogs by mosquitos, Florida is a common place for dogs to contract them. In more northern, cooler areas, it may not be as necessary, but it’s still recommended to protect your dog with preventative heartworm medication. The costs of curing it are significantly more than the cost of preventing it.

Ultimately, giving your dog regular heartworm prevention medication increases the chances of your dog living the long, happy, and healthy life that they deserve.

Does Heartworm Medication Have Side Effects?

Not all heartworm medications use the same ingredients, so different breeds can react to them differently. Speak to your vet about which medicine is best for your dog based on their breed, age, and health.

What Happens If Your Puppy Misses a Dose?

Heartworm prevention medication doesn’t actually prevent your dog from getting infected with heartworms. What it does is kill off heartworms that are in the later larva stages. If you miss a dose, then those larvae have a chance to grow into adult heartworms, at which point the preventative medication will no longer work. In order to avoid the risk of health problems from heartworms, it’s vital that you not miss a dose.

When Should Puppies Be Tested for Heartworms?

It’s not enough to just give your puppy preventative medication for heartworm. It’s also a good idea to get them tested regularly. Usually, your vet will test your puppy for heartworm for the first time between 6 and 10 months old. After that, heartworm tests are usually annual unless you’ve missed giving your puppy a dose of heartworm medication.

What Happens If Your Puppy Gets Heartworms?

Heartworms can start causing damage to your puppy’s body even before the heartworms are fully grown. This means that before they’re detectable, they can still harm your dog. The worms can inflame the vessels in the heart and arteries as well as damage the liver and lungs. Even if you catch heartworms in time to treat them early, they can still cause irreversible damage, lifelong health problems, and even a shortened lifespan.

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Why Do Dogs Lick and Bite Their Paws?

By Dogs No Comments

It’s vitally important for pet owners to know when a behavior is normal and when it’s something to worry about. Dogs self-groom by licking their paws. If your dog is occasionally licking for the purpose of cleaning, then that’s normal and nothing to be concerned about. If your dog is biting their paws or is excessively and intensely licking their paws, then that’s a cause for concern and you may want to consult your veterinarian.

Reasons Your Dog Is Licking and Biting Their Paws

Your Dog Has Food Allergies

If your dog is excessively licking or biting their paws, one possibility is that your dog has food allergies. Food allergies can make your dog’s paws itchy, which can lead them to bite or lick. Talk to your vet about your dog’s food for recommendations on specific food and potential ingredient allergies.

Your Dog Has a Parasite

If your dog has a parasite, such as mange or fleas, their paws may itch, causing them to lick. Check your dog for flea bites and mange spots, which are caused by mites. These parasites are tiny, so even if you don’t see physical evidence of them, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian, who can determine if there’s a parasite involved and recommend any necessary treatment.

Your Dog Has Dermatitis

Dermatitis can affect dogs as well as humans. It’s a skin condition that involves itching. It can be caused by a variety of things, from an allergy to bacteria. If you suspect dermatitis, you can consult with your vet to make sure it’s not caused by bacteria. If your dog frequently licks their paws after coming in from outside, keep a bowl of water near the door so you can wash their paws off when they come inside. Dermatitis in dogs can be caused by allergies to a number of things, including:

  • Food
  • Dust
  • Grass
  • Trees
  • Mold
  • Insects
  • Weeds
  • Lawn treatment chemicals

Just like in humans, dogs’ allergies can be year-round or seasonal, so be on the lookout for behavior changes as the seasons change. Luckily, allergies in dogs are very treatable once the cause is found. Some of the common treatments are:

  • Fish oil (naturally anti-inflammatory)
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Antihistamines
  • Oral antibiotics (for severe cases)

Your Dog Is Injured

Injuries such as bee stings, cuts, torn nails, a blister, a stone or thorn stuck between the pads, or other small injuries can irritate your dog’s paw. If you see that your dog is biting or excessively licking one paw in particular, check to make sure there’s not a small injury-causing irritation. You may be able to treat the injury with basic first aid, but if it doesn’t improve, or if the injury is more serious, you’ll want to take your dog to the vet.

Take special care of your dog’s paws to ensure that they don’t get injured and develop behaviors such as excessive licking and biting of their paws.

  • Clean your dog’s paws after coming in from outside
  • Check their paws for foreign objects
  • Consider dog booties for extremely hot or cold days

Your Dog Has a Health or Behavioral Problem

Licking can also be a sign of a health problem or a behavioral problem like boredom or anxiety. Speak to your veterinarian if you can’t figure out why your dog is excessively licking or biting their paws. Your vet should be able to help you pinpoint what’s going on and if there’s a health or behavioral issue they can advise you on how to manage it.

How to Assess Your Dog’s Condition

The first thing that you should do if you notice your dog licking or biting at their paws is check for visual clues of the cause. Sometimes you can see discoloration or a rash, so you know exactly what is causing the pain or discomfort and can inform your vet about it during your visit.

Check in between their toes and under their paws for any of the following:

  • Punctures
  • Burns
  • Foreign bodies such as ticks or fleas
  • Glass
  • Splinters
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Odor

Be on the lookout for any other behavior that may be a sign of pain, such as limping or lack of movement.

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How to Potty Train A Puppy: Your Comprehensive Guide

By Dogs No Comments

From the puppy pads in the house to the leashed walks around the block, puppy potty training is a task that requires a consistent schedule (and quite a bit of patience). This guide will break down everything you need to know to get your puppy trained.

As you read, keep in mind that there are various factors that will affect when your puppy needs to go. If your puppy has an accident out of the blue, consider any changes to the following factors:

Steps for Potty Training Your Puppy

Puppy playing outside
Begin puppy potty training when your pup is 12 to 16 weeks old. This is when your puppy has begun to have more control of their bladder and bowel movements. Teaching a puppy when and where they can go from a young age is important for avoiding behavior problems down the road.

Follow these steps to potty train your puppy:

Step 1: Build a Routine

Getting yourself and your puppy into a routine can make potty training a cinch. Eventually, your pup will pick up on the routine you design. They’ll learn what time you usually wake up and when you normally take breaks to let them out.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to go for more frequent potty breaks while your puppy is young since their bladder can’t handle waiting very long. As they age you’ll be able to go longer without needing to drop everything and take them for a walk.

Here’s a basic potty training schedule to guide your day and prompt you to prompt your puppy it’s time to go out:

When You Wake Up

As soon as you get up in the morning, take the puppy out of their crate and bring them outside to the designated spot. This will start both of your days off on the right paw.

Make sure you’re not hanging around, waiting for the coffee to brew, or getting completely ready for the day first. Throw on some shoes and head for the door as soon as you’re awake to help reduce the chances your puppy has an accident.

Remember, they’ve gone the whole night having to hold it. That’s a long time for a little puppy to wait.


Go to the same area every single time. Take the same path every single time. This familiarity and routine will help your puppy better understand it’s time to eliminate.

Dog eating from bowl

After Meals

Take your puppy out after every meal. They definitely have something in their system they’ll need to eliminate. Waiting too long after a meal can turn into an accident which will undo all the work you’ve already done.

These after meal potty breaks should be at about the same time each day as your puppy should be on a regular eating schedule.


Aim to make after meal breaks 5 to 30 minutes after your puppy finishes eating.

When Your Puppy Wakes Up From Naps

Just like when you take your puppy out in the morning, you should take your puppy out when they wake up from naps. You’ll want to take them out as soon as they wake up to reduce the risk they have a sudden accident.

After Playtime

Your puppy may ‘forget’ they need to go while they’re playing. Jumping and running around may also cause them to need to go. Whether your puppy actually ends up needing to eliminate after playtime or not, it’s better to give them the opportunity to go.

Before Leaving Home

When you have a tiny, furry canine to watch out for you’ll need to try and plan your outings around how long they can hold it. Always make sure you take your puppy out before leaving for an extended period of time.

If you’re not sure how long your pup can go without needing a potty break, adhere to the month-plus-one guidelines. This suggests your puppy can hold it for their age in months plus one hour. (Note: Some suggest an hour for every month of age rather than the month-plus-one rule.)

Puppy Potty Training Chart

Age of Puppy Maximum Time Between Potty Breaks
2 Months 3 Hours
3 Months 4 Hours
4 Months 5 Hours
5 Months 6 Hours
6+ Months 6 – 8 Hours

Before Bed

Before you hit the hay, take you and the little pup out for another trip to the outdoor potty to prevent overnight accidents. This will help get your pet in the routine of having a final trip out each night.

Step 2: Set Up a Que

Setting up a queue can teach your dog to let you know if there is ever a time where they need to go ASAP. Most commonly, pets are taught to bark, ring a bell, or sit by the door when they need to go out. Having an obvious queue can help your puppy prevent accidents as you may miss other, less noticeable signs when they need to go out.

Step 3: Take Your Puppy to the Same, Distraction-free Spot Each Time

So you and your puppy made it outside without any accidents. Now what? Your puppy may not quite understand why you’ve rushed them out the door. To help your puppy understand it isn’t playtime, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind:

  • Always take your pup to a secluded area (fewer distractions, higher chance they’ll go potty)
  • Try to stick to the same spot every time you take them out
  • Be boring—don’t play with your puppy or pay attention to them to limit distractions
  • Don’t get frustrated or yell at them in an effort to get them to do what you want

Remember, your puppy may not go every time you take them outside. This isn’t the end of the world. If there’s no success then go back inside and try again later. Eventually, your pup will figure out what the desired routine is.

But, if your puppy does go while you’re outside you want to reward them for their good behavior. This is an even stronger reward with the juxtaposition to your previous, boring pre-potty self.

Step 4: Use of a Crate When You’re Not Home

Beagle in crate
Using a crate while potty training your puppy can be helpful for preventing accidents and can actually control where they go while learning. While everyone would love to stay at home with their pets all the time, for most people it isn’t possible.

Crate training gives your puppy an area that is just for them. This plays into a dog’s natural instinct to keep their space clean. They will avoid having accidents in a crate that is appropriate for their size.

Warning: This is not a magic solution. A puppy’s bladder and bowel control will not defy logic when in a crate, you still need to be home to let them out at appropriate intervals.

Step 5: Properly Reward Your Puppy

Always reward your puppy for eliminating in appropriate areas. This will require you to be prepared to anticipate when your puppy needs to go out.

When your puppy has eliminated, immediately reward them with a small treat (we recommend training treats to avoid giving your puppy too much ‘junk food’). You can also implement clicker training at this point by marking the action with a click followed by a treat.

Time is everything. You should make sure you aren’t giving the reward too soon as this can disrupt and distract from the positive action you’re trying to reinforce. Too late and your puppy just things you’re giving out random treats.

Potty Training Your Puppy When…

You Live in an Apartment

Unless you live on the first floor of an apartment with an easily accessible backyard green space, you’ll be facing extra obstacles when potty training your new puppy. Routines and backup plans are your best friend when you live on Floor 2 and beyond.

Puppy pee pads and doggy litter boxes are a good option when your puppy simply isn’t going to make it. Dog litter boxes are synthetic grass and can be placed on a balcony or in-home like you would a cat litter box. You can DIY this or go with one of the many store-bought variations.

It’s a good idea to carry your puppy in the elevator down instead of letting them wander on the ground. While there’s a chance they will pee on you, they’re much more likely to hold it a bit longer if you’re holding them than if they’re on the ground.
Puppy in playpen

You Don’t Have a Crate

Potty training is pretty much the same with or without a crate while you’re home, it’s when you leave the home that you’ll need to make some decisions. Potty training your pup without a crate is inevitably much easier if you work from home. But when you do leave the house you’ll need to set up the following for your pup while you’re away:

  • Decide on a room or penned off area to contain your puppy while you’re away. (You might need doggy gates for this.)
  • If you decide to use puppy pads, keep them in one spot not spread everywhere.
  • Train your pup to use the puppy pads while you’re gone and be sure to quickly replace any soiled ones.


Use an enzymatic cleaner that breaks down even the tiniest of potty stains to ensure they do not associate certain spots with pee and thus decide that spot is an okay spot to go.

You Have to Work

If you work long hours potty training can be a bigger hurdle than for those working short shifts or from home offices. Those working full-time often put off adopting a young puppy to avoid potty training struggles. With the following in mind, remember your puppy’s potty training progress will likely be slower when you aren’t able to build a routine and let them outside regularly.

You’ll want to determine if you can come home on lunch breaks to let your puppy out and keep up the potty training schedule. Otherwise, your best bet is to hire a qualified dog sitter. They can either stay with your puppy all day or drop in as a dog walker would for a midday walk.

While you’re at work, set your pup up in a safe puppy-proofed area of the home with puppy pads.

When to Begin Potty Training Your Puppy

A puppy will typically be ready to train when they are between 12 to 16 weeks old. At this point, they have enough bladder control to be trained on when to go out.

Warning: In an effort to avoid parvovirus, you’ll want to make sure your puppies have been given all the necessary shots before letting them wander outside.

How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Puppy?

On average, it takes roughly four to six months to completely potty train a puppy. As you move into the four and six-month marks, your puppy will be close to completely potty trained but accidents are still likely to occur. To cut down on the time it takes to have your puppy completely potty trained, avoid punishing your puppy for accidents, and use positive reinforcement when they eliminate in the designated area.

How to Potty Train Your Puppy Fast

If you’re trying to potty train fast you’ll need to be available to let your pup out every hour of the day. If you have the right schedule and a puppy who’s an especially quick learner, potty training can be accomplished in seven to fourteen days. We want to stress, however, that this is not the norm.

Don’t go into potty training expecting a quick solution. The best way to speed up potty training is with positive reinforcement. Incorporate frequent potty breaks and stay with your pup at all times to monitor for signals they need to go out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an eight-week-old puppy be potty trained?

Eight weeks is still a bit too young to realistically potty train your pup. At best they can hold their bladder for two to three hours. At eight weeks you can do your part to get them where they need to be to go—don’t expect them to notify you they need to go out. You can begin establishing routines for yourself and, as your puppy ages, they will begin to pick up on the potty schedule.

What is the hardest dog breed to potty train?

You can’t make generalizations set in stone when it comes to dog breeds. But, most dogs of a specific breed will have similar temperaments. Because of this, the hardest dog breeds to potty train are usually Jack Russell Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers.

It comes as no surprise that these ‘harder to train dogs’ are also smaller dog breeds. Small and toy dog breeds are known for being a bit trickier to potty train. This is often attributed to their smaller size and faster metabolism.

Signs Your Puppy Needs to Eliminate

Dog asking to go out
As your puppy begins to associate outside with the right place to eliminate they will find ways to signal to you if you haven’t already taught them to us a bell or bark at the door. Watch out for the following common signs your puppy needs to be let out:

  • Circling and whining
  • Sniffing and licking their groin or rear
  • Scratching or sniffing at the door
  • Returning to a spot in the house where they previously eliminated


It’s better not to wait until you notice obvious signs your pup needs to go out, especially when you’ve just started potty training. Take your pup out at regular intervals to avoid the possibility of accidents.

How to Deal With Accidents

Dealing with accidents starts and ends with not punishing your puppy for their mistake. No, rubbing their nose in urine isn’t going to magically potty train them even if you’re frustrated.

If you catch your puppy in the act of having an accident in the house, make a sudden noise to distract them (not yelling at them). This should momentarily get them focused away from having an accident and give you time to swoop in a get them outside. Once they eliminate outside reward with a treat.

Be sure to thoroughly clean the area after an accident to remove any urine scent. You’ll need a cleaner stronger than your traditional surface cleaner to completely remove the smell.

Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training Puppies

If you’re a first-time puppy owner and in charge of potty training, here are some do’s and don’ts you should follow:

  • DO reinforce positive behavior as this shows the puppy when they are doing the right thing.
  • DON’T punish them by rubbing their nose in accidents, this is cruel and they do not understand it.
  • DO recognize that accidents happen and there might be medical reasons for them.
  • DON’T neglect your puppy and think they have a bladder of steel—no one does.
  • DO give them the time they need to learn and always act with patience and kindness.

There is no set amount of time that it takes for a puppy to be potty trained. Give them the time and patience that they deserve and you’ll be in for a lifetime of happy licks and tail wags.

Essential Potty Training Tools

Raising a puppy is full of surprises (many of them monetary) and potty training is no exception. Before you bring a puppy home, consider the following tools you’ll need to buy and the price tag that comes with it:

Potty Training Supplies

Product Price
Leash & collar $8 – $20
Dog crate $25 – $100
Playpen $30 – $100
Baby gates $20 – $30/pack
Training treats $3 – $8/bag
Poop bags $6 – $10/pack
Pooper scooper $10 – $20
Cleaning products $8 – $16/ea.
TOTAL $130 – $354

While you can certainly find cheaper (or pricier!) alternatives, you can usually expect to pay between $130 and $354 for supplies when you get started with potty training your pup.

Potty Training Older Dogs

Senior beagle dog on a walk
Your new four-legged friend isn’t a puppy and also isn’t potty trained. Now what?

Don’t fear, potty training older dogs is much easier than potty training a young pup. Whether your dog has never lived indoors, the previous owner never bothered to train them, or they have always used paper or concrete in a pen, we’ll run you through the ropes of bringing you senior dog up to speed on potty training.

Just like with puppies, your senior dog needs a firm routine. This includes going out at specific times and having meals at regular hours.

Avoid free-feeding as you won’t be able to monitor when your dog likely needs to go. When you do take your adult dog out you’ll want to stay with them or keep them on a leash. This lets you monitor if they’ve actually eliminated.

Some dogs may have never gone on grass or dirt if their lives were spent on concrete. If you’re having a particularly difficult time teaching a dog to eliminate in the grass, you can have a friend’s dog or a dog park help you out. Your dog is more likely to go in a spot where another dog has gone.

Remember not to get frustrated. Your dog only wants to please you and may have developed habits due to previous neglect or abuse.

Warning Signs to Watch Out For

Even after your dog is a pro at knowing when and where to go, you should keep an eye on their urine and stool. It may seem gross, but as a pet owner it can actually help you monitor your pet’s health.

Noticing continuous diarrhea, blood when urinating or defecating, and other warning signs can help you catch problems before they progress to more severe and obvious symptoms.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Increased amount of urine
  • Increased frequency in elimination
  • Blood in either urine or stool
  • Change in consistency of stool
  • Straining
  • Discoloration of urine or stool

The changes in your dog’s elimination could be caused by anything from separation anxiety to Cushing’s disease. Certain medications your pet is on can also affect their elimination (which will likely be addressed upon prescription).

If you notice unusual or alarming changes it’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will be able to conduct a urinalysis, CBC, fecal sample analysis, or any other necessary testing to determine the root cause.

If you’re concerned about behaviors to symptoms your puppy is exhibiting give us a call to schedule an appointment. It’s always better to check the symptoms early on rather than wait until problems worsen.

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COVID-19 and Your Pets: What You Need to Know

By Dogs No Comments

Updated 3/23/2020

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that has not previously been identified. This virus is not the same coronavirus that can cause the common cold in humans, nor is it the same as canine coronavirus (CCoV). Coronaviruses are a family of viruses characterized by crown-like spikes on their surface as seen under the microscope.

There are many viruses in this family that cause various types of diseases, such as diarrhea and upper respiratory infections.

Can my pet be affected by COVID-19?

At this time, there is no evidence that any animal or pet can infect humans with the new coronavirus. Additionally, no animals to date have been reported to be sick with COVID-19.

“At this time, there is no evidence that any animal or pet can infect humans with the new coronavirus.”

Can my dog be affected by COVID-19?

Technician holding dog's head
As of March 23, 2020 – There has been a report from Hong Kong authorities that a quarantined dog tested “weak positive” for the virus. The dog’s owner had tested positive for COVID-19 as well. At this time authorities think this is not a cause for alarm as the dog showed no signs of sickness. The dog eventually tested negative. The positive result may be due to environmental contamination from the infected owner. In other words, the virus may have been present in the dog’s nose the same way the virus was likely present on other surfaces in the household.

It is important to note that the test used is very sensitive and can detect very small fragments of the virus. It does not indicate that the virus was intact or contagious.

On March 19, 2020 the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong reported a second dog testing positive for the COVID-10 virus. This dog was also in the home of an infected owner. The other dog in the residence tested negative. Both dogs showed no signs of illness.

Can my cat be affected by COVID-19?

To date, there has been no testing in cats, though it is likely that cats have been exposed through infected owners.

Can other animals be affected by COVID-19?

COVID-19 has not been reported in farm animals, such as horses, donkeys, goats, and other kinds of livestock.

Because this is a new virus and information is still being collected, as a precaution, restrict contact with your pets if you are diagnosed with COVID-19. If this is not possible, practice good hygiene and wash your hands before and after touching your pet, avoid close contact, and wear a facemask.

How is it transmitted?

Current evidence suggests that person-to-person spread is the main source of infection. This occurs through respiratory droplets created when an infected person sneezes or coughs. There is also a possibility of spread via objects or surfaces that have been exposed to the virus; however, this is not suspected as a main source of infection.

Should I monitor my pet for any signs?

Nurse looking off into distance in concern

Because there have not been any documented cases of pets becoming sick with COVID-19, there are no specific recommendations. However, there is still much to learn about this new virus, and vigilance is key. If your pet exhibits signs of illness (coughing, sneezing, fever, abnormally low energy, etc.), particularly if your pet has been exposed to someone known to be infected with COVID-19, call your veterinarian for guidance.

Is there a vaccine?

Currently, a vaccine for this new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is not available. There is a vaccine for the canine coronavirus (CCoV), however, this vaccine does not work to protect you or your pet from COVID-19.

Other points to note about COVID-19

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there is no evidence of spread between animals and there is no indication pets can become sick with the COVID-19 virus.

If you have, or display symptoms of COVID-19, limit contact with animals until further information has been gathered. If nobody else in your household can handle the care of your pet, you should avoid sharing food, kissing, or hugging your pet. As always, practice proper hygiene during all interactions with your pet.

What should you do if your pet needs veterinary care?

If your pet needs veterinary care, call ahead to your pet’s veterinary or emergency clinic to learn how their procedures have changed. Many veterinary clinics now offer drive-up services and telemedicine options. At the very least, your veterinarian will likely require you to call upon arrival and a technician may escort your pet to their exam room from your vehicle.

Contact us to schedule an appointment if your pet needs veterinary care.

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How Best To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

By Dogs No Comments

Does your pet have bad breath? It might be a sign of hidden dental problems or the need for a dental cleaning performed by a veterinary professional. To keep your pet’s teeth in check between annual exams you can use dog-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste, dental treats and bones, chew toys, and water additives. But, even when using these extra measures, prepare to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned. You’ll likely need to have your dog’s teeth cleaned more often if they are a small dog breed due to crowding in the mouth or if they are a senior canine.

Techniques for Keeping Your Dog’s Mouth Clean

Fingertoothbrush for dogs
The main techniques for keeping your dog’s mouth clean are by brushing, using dental treats, and having your veterinarian perform dental cleanings as needed. There are also a handful of supplemental teeth cleaning options for maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene. These options include tooth wipes, chew toys, dental bones, and water additives.

Preventative dental care for dogs costs a fraction of the price tag on treating tooth-related diseases. This realization has shown a spike in dental care-related spending by pet owners. And with 8 in 10 dogs showing signs of oral disease by their third birthday, it makes sense to put in the upfront effort to maintain your dog’s oral health.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Getting ready to brush dog's teeth

While 76% of pet owners agree that oral hygiene is important for overall health in their canine companions, only 10% brush their dog’s teeth at least once weekly. But brushing your dog’s teeth is the most effective way for you to fend off plaque before it turns into tartar, a process that takes 24 to 48 hours.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

You’ll want to use a dog-specific toothbrush. If you can’t locate one made for dogs, try a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush or a finger toothbrush. You’ll pair this with dog-specific toothpaste. Never use toothpaste meant for people. Baking soda and salt should also never be used as dog toothpaste-supplements as they can be harmful to your dog. Plus, your dog will be more receptive to dog toothpaste which is usually flavored to taste like poultry or another dog-approved taste.

1. Position yourself non-threateningly

To begin the toothbrushing process, kneel or sit by your dog’s head. You don’t want to crowd or restrain your pet. This will only make them fearful and associate toothbrushing with being held down.

2. Start by getting your dog used to light pressure on their teeth and gums

If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth or handled their mouth, start by rubbing your finger along their teeth and gum line. This is to help your dog become familiar with have their teeth touched. Don’t be surprised if your pup isn’t a huge fan of this. If they are especially resistant, try slowly warming them up to have you touch their teeth over multiple brushing sessions before ever using the toothbrush.

3. Allow your dog to taste the dog toothpaste

Once your dog has accepted having their teeth touched by you, let them test out the taste of the dog toothpaste. If they aren’t a fan of the type you’ve picked out you can test out different flavors and brands until you find one they enjoy.

4. Begin brushing, being careful not to apply too much pressure

Brushing dogs teeth

Now it’s time to begin brushing. Gently place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle of the gumline. This will better clear away plaque than placing the toothbrush flat against the tooth. Use gentle circular motions across all top and bottom teeth. Throughout the process, be gentle, reassuring, and always end with a treat and praise.

Try to brush their teeth every few days or once a week.

Note: Some bleeding may occur during this process. Monitor the status of bleeding to ensure it is not severe. While minor bleeding is normal, severe bleeding could be a sign your dog is developing periodontitis. If major bleeding occurs contact your pet’s vet as soon as possible.

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Toothwipes as Alternatives to Toothbrushes

If your dog says no way to toothbrushes, you might be able to get away with using toothwipes. These premoistened wipes can be used daily to wipe the surface of the teeth. Toothwipes are textured specifically for use on dog’s teeth to clean but not damage gums. They are convenient and quick to use with no need for rinsing.

Offering Dental Treats to Your Dog

Dental treats for dogs

Dental treats are lining pet store shelves and they can be great, convenient ways to slip in an extra oral health-conscious decision into your dog’s everyday life. Some dog dental treats on the market today can reduce your dog’s plaque by up to 70%. This is achieved by larger diameter treats with a coating called polyphosphate. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHL) gives its seal of approval on products able to reduce plaque by 10% to 20% depending on the specific uses. A full list of products that received their seal of approval can be found here.

But even with a better doggy smile in order, you’ll want to limit the number of dental treats your dog receives. You don’t want to trade out dental problems for weight problems.

Chew Toys, Bones, and Diets for Dental Cleaning

If you’re trying to watch your dog’s weight, there are other ‘fun’ ways to practice oral hygiene with your pup.

Chew toys and bones give your dog something to gnaw on that will work at the buildup on his teeth and in the crevices of his teeth. This helps to kick plaque to the curb before it hardens and becomes tartar. You can also opt for a dental-specific diet to replace his current kibble. But check with your vet before you make the switch. They’ll be able to guide you to the best brand for real results.

While dental treats, chew toys, bones, and dental health-specific diets can all help to improve your dog’s oral hygiene, it can’t replace brushing and professional cleaning. These products can clean the surface of your dog’s mouth, but they aren’t able to clean under the gumline. This is where plaque really gets established and starts wreaking havoc. So while these dental hygiene options are beneficial, they shouldn’t be the only measure you take to ensure your dog has a healthy mouth.

Cleanings by Your Veterinarian

Professional cleaning by vet professional

While you can practice every other method of canine dental hygiene, professional dental cleanings shouldn’t be skipped out on. Your veterinarian and their trained staff will remove tartar and make any necessary teeth extractions to get your dog’s mouth back to tip-top condition.

You should prepare for professional dental cleaning once a year. But speak with your vet to develop the best plan for your pup. Some dogs may be able to wait longer between cleaning while some may need them more frequently.

How Often Should Your Dog’s Teeth Be Cleaned?

Professional cleanings once per year is recommended by most veterinary professionals. However, your veterinarian will assess your dog and determine the best treatment plan for your pet.

Your pet may need more frequent cleanings if they are older, have advanced dental problems, or are a small dog breed. Small dog breeds are notorious for their bad teeth. This is caused by their mouths being smaller and becoming overcrowded. Their overcrowded teeth are then more susceptible to periodontal disease.

What Does a Healthy Dog Mouth Look Like?

If you take a peek into your dog’s mouth you can potentially spot developing problems before they worsen. Healthy dog gums are pink or mottled. Their gums shouldn’t be red, swollen, or oozing. Also keep an eye out for pale pink, white, blue and purple gums. Basically, if they’re not a healthy pink, it’s time to call your vet.

While your dog’s breath will never revert to its puppy breath stage, you can still spot a rising oral health problem. If your dog’s breath is particularly pungent they may have a dental disease.

Healthy dog mouths will not have any broken teeth or obvious, significant plaque buildup around the gumline.

Common Dental Problems to Watch For

Plaque buildup on dog tooth
Knowing what to look for and what can happen to a dog with unmaintained oral hygiene can help dog owners stay on top of keeping their dog’s mouth properly managed. Here are the most common canine dental problems to watch out for.


Sometimes lumps and bumps will form in your dog’s mouth. While these might be nothing to worry about, you’d rather be safe than sorry. Have your vet check to see if the newly-formed bump is a tumor or cyst.

If it’s a cyst, your vet may need to drain it. If it’s a tumor, your vet will likely suggest it be biopsied to determine whether it is cancerous or not.

What it looks like: Raised lumps on your dog’s gums. Will likely be one solitary lump.


Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath, is caused by bacterial buildup in the mouth. While you should start brushing your dog’s teeth more regularly, it doesn’t hurt to have your dog examined by their vet. Halitosis sometimes points to an underlying infection or kidney disease.

What it looks like: You’ll smell it rather than see it. It will be more intense than normal ‘doggy breath’.


Plaque on dog teeth with mouth infection

Plaque is the dark brown or yellowish buildup on your dog’s teeth. It will likely be concentrated around the gumline. Plaque will turn into tartar within 24 to 48 hours. At which point you won’t be able to simply brush it away.

If you notice an increase in plaque or tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth, it may be time for a professional cleaning. Contact your veterinarian for an exam to determine if and when your dog will need to be scheduled for a dental exam.

What it looks like: Dark brown or yellow buildup on dog’s teeth, concentrated around the gumline.

Proliferating Gum Disease

Proliferating gum disease occurs when the gums begin to grow over the teeth. Dogs with proliferating gum disease are more susceptible to developing infections.

What it looks like: Gums growing over teeth, more common in boxers and bull terriers.


Dog mouth with gingivitis

Dogs develop gingivitis just like people. Luckily, you can reverse this dental condition with a change in your pet’s oral hygiene habits. Begin brushing your dog’s teeth more often and making other small changes in favor of healthy teeth. Your veterinarian can help guide you in making the best decisions for your dog as you manage this dental condition.

What it looks like: Irritated gums and an excess of plaque.

Periodontal Disease

Dogs can begin to show signs of periodontitis as early as three years old. Given it’s the most common dental condition in dogs, you’ll want to take special precautionary measures to prevent your dog from developing it.

Dogs with periodontal disease will experience pain, loosening teeth, irritated and swollen gums, and in severe cases, nasal discharge.

Book an appointment with your veterinarian at the first sign of your dog developing periodontal disease. Your veterinarian will be able to develop a treatment plan to help manage your dog’s condition.

What it looks like: Yellowing or brown teeth, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and irritated gums are all signs of periodontal disease.

Signs You Need to Take Your Dog to the Vet

If your pet is up-to-date on his exams but is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact your vet to have his teeth checked:

  • Bad or worsening breath
  • Buildup of plaque along the gumline
  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing or scratching at their mouths consistently
  • Unexplained lumps or growths on the gums
  • Broken and discolored teeth

You want to tackle dental problems before they progress. By contacting your veterinarian as soon as you become aware of your dog’s symptoms you are more likely to resolve the problem before it becomes a major problem for your dog’s comfort and your wallet.

If you haven’t had your pup’s teeth checked in the past year or longer, schedule an appointment to get them on the path to lifelong oral health.

Schedule Your Pet’s Dental Cleaning

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How to Get a Sick Dog to Eat

By Dogs One Comment

Methods for Feeding a Sick Dog | Foods to Feed a Sick Dog | FAQs | What to Do After 48 Hours

Just like humans, a dog can lose their appetite when they’re ill. For this reason, a sick dog may refuse food. One missed meal generally isn’t much to worry about. But if your dog continues to refuse food, you may want to determine the cause.

Why Does a Dog Lose Their Appetite?

The most common reasons a dog will lose their appetite are:

  • Illness
  • Infection
  • Disease
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Mourning a death
  • Aging
  • Stress

When Should You Contact Your Vet?

If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms in conjunction with a lose of appetite you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination and potential testing:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Gagging
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

Methods for Feeding a Sick Dog

Sick lab on white couch

There are several different methods available for trying to get your dog to eat. Which method works best will depend on your dog. If the first method doesn’t work, keep trying new ones until you find a method that works for both you and your dog.


If your dog won’t eat, the first step is to allow them some time. Dogs can go for a few days without eating anything. Just be sure they are drinking water. It is normal for a dog to turn down one meal every once in a while. Dogs, just like people, aren’t always hungry. You may want to leave your dog’s food out for them to graze on throughout the day as they become hungry.

Give Your Dog a Treat

If your dog hasn’t been feeling well, you could try treating your dog with food they don’t normally get. Human food like chicken or even baby food may be so irresistible that your dog will actually eat something. Try just a small amount of human food at first to see if they will eat. If not, try adding a bit more.

You should mix this in with their existing dry food to encourage them to eat their normal diet along with the treat. Just be sure not to overindulge your dog in these treats as it can negatively affect their health.

Change Dry Food Brands

If you have a hard time getting your dog to eat dry food, another brand may be a better fit. Try a sample pack from the pet store to see if your dog likes a different brand better than the one you’ve been buying. Alternatively, you could try to mix in some wet food, which may stimulate your dog’s appetite more than the dry food.

Heat up Your Dog’s Food

Heating up your dog’s food increases its smell and palatability. Sick dogs will have a hindered sense of smell and taste. Food that has been warmed up may smell more fragrant and can help entice your dog to eat it. This will also help with taste which will encourage your dog to continue eating after that first bite.

Add Broth to Your Dog’s Food

Adding warm broth to your dog’s food not only helps with smell and palatability (as will simply heating up their existing food). Adding broth adds additional flavor. If your dog isn’t used to getting broth and has become unenchanted with how their current food tastes, broth may be the just the thing to get them eating again.

Hand-Feed Your Dog

Owner handfeeding their dog

Try hand-feeding individual pieces of your dog’s food to your pet. This may help to comfort a dog who isn’t feeling well and encourage them to eat. This process may take a while to accomplish completely, but hopefully, your dog will begin to eat out of their bowl after you’ve hand-fed them a couple of pieces.

Read the Instructions on Any Medication

Some medications can reduce a dog’s appetite. If your dog is on antibiotics or on any other medication, this may be the culprit. Make sure you carefully read all instructions and then wait at least fifteen minutes before offering your dog food. By waiting, you’ll ensure that the medicine has hit your dog’s stomach and coated it fully before any food arrives.

Let Your Dog Eat Grass

Two brown dachshunds eating grass

If your dog won’t eat its normal food but keeps trying to eat grass, you should let them. Eating grass can make your dog vomit, which may actually be a good thing. If whatever is making your dog feel ill will be eased by vomiting, your dog’s instincts may be leading it to eat grass. Just make sure to keep your dog well-hydrated. However, if your dog vomits more than twice, or eats grass every time they’re outside, that’s a sign that you should take your dog to the vet.

Take Your Dog to the Vet

Visiting the vet is always a good idea if your dog is sick and won’t eat. Your vet can help you figure out what ails your dog and what to do to get them feeling better. Your vet can also make sure your dog is prescribed any medications it may need, whether to address the illness or to encourage appetite.

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Stimulate Your Dog’s Appetite

If your dog has refused food for a long period of time, or if they have a health condition that suppresses appetite, your vet can prescribe or recommend a medicinal appetite stimulant. There are stimulants that reduce nausea and others that mimic the hormone that makes your dog hungry. This method will require you and your vet to first know why your dog isn’t eating so you can get the correct stimulant.

Use a Syringe

Force-feeding via a syringe is a more drastic measure, so you should do this only if other methods haven’t worked. If your dog hasn’t eaten in two days, you can try using a syringe to feed your dog liquids like broth or watered down wet food. If your vet has recommended medication for your dog, you could try feeding medicine to your dog using a syringe as well as food.

We recommend speaking to a vet before attempting this as syringe feeding needs to be done correctly to avoid negative health effects on your pet.

What Foods Should I Feed My Sick Dog?

Some foods are more appetizing to dogs when they’re sick than others. If your dog isn’t feeling well, there are some foods you can try feeding them that are more appetizing and easier on the stomach.

wet food icon

Wet Food

If your dog normally eats dry food, try introducing wet food. For many dogs, wet food is an exciting treat. And as a bonus, wet food can help keep your dog hydrated given its higher water content.

baby food icon

Baby Food

Baby food is easy to eat and can be tasty for dogs. Plus, it can be nutritious. Look for meat-based baby foods that don’t have onion or garlic in them. Chicken, lamb, or turkey are good options.

bone broth icon

Bone Broth

Bone broth is very mild but also nutritious and sits well in an upset stomach. If your dog hasn’t been eating and has a suppressed appetite, bone broth can be a good way to get your dog some of the nutrients they need.

chicken broth icon

Chicken Broth

The chicken broth will not only taste good to your dog but will also sit easily in the dog’s stomach. If the cause of the loss of appetite is an upset stomach, this can be a good food to try.

shredded chicken icon

Shredded Chicken

Shredded chicken is easy for dogs with upset stomachs to eat and can be a big incentive for your dog to eat something. Dogs love chicken and so long as it’s unseasoned (seasonings can upset a dog’s stomach more) and cut into small enough pieces, it can be a good option.

chicken and rice icon

Chicken and Rice

Chicken and rice are actually used as ingredients in most dog foods. It’s bland enough to be easy on an upset stomach, so long as you don’t season it and use white rice. Make sure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked (by boiling it) and that it’s cut up into small enough pieces that it’s easy for your dog to eat.

pumpkin icon


Pumpkin is good for your dog’s digestion. It’s high in fiber and contains quite a few different vitamins, including iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and more. Feed your dog four tablespoons of unseasoned canned pumpkin. Avoid feeding your dog pumpkin pie filling because the sugars and seasonings in it could further upset your dog’s stomach.

What Are the Healthiest Foods for My Dog?

Dog foods are designed to get your dog the nutrients it needs, but there are some ‘human’ foods that can be very healthy for dogs as well. Here are a few of these healthy options::

  • Cooked eggs are a good source of calcium, antioxidants, protein, and several vitamins.
  • Omega-3s are also good for dog joint health.
  • Mushrooms are filled with vitamins and nutrients that are good for your dog as well.

You should consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods into their diet.

The Importance of Water

You may be so focused on food intake you forget about water entirely. But, water intake is arguably more important than food intake. If your dog refuses to eat, in the meantime, you’ll want to encourage water consumption to help keep them hydrated.

Dogs are naturally able to go longer without food but their tolerance for not drinking water is much less. At most a dog can go three days without water intake but can survive for five to seven days or more without food. Realistically, you don’t want to test your dog’s limits but do not force your dog to drink as this can cause aspiration pneumonia.

It’s important to get your dog medical attention as soon as possible if they are not eating or drinking for 48 hours or more.

How to Encourage Water Intake

If your dog is not showing any interest in water, try the following tricks to try and get them drinking again:

  • Give your dog an ice cube to lick
  • Offer water on your fingers
  • Offer Pedialyte if recommended and okayed by your vet
  • Add ice to your dog’s water bowl

Signs of Dehydration

Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of dehydration. These are the most common symptoms of dehydration to familiarize yourself with:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry and sticky gums
  • Dry nose
  • Dry-looking eyes

Seek immediate veterinary attention for your pet if they are showing signs of dehydration. Your veterinarian will be able to provide subcutaneous fluids to help get them hydrated while also treating the original cause of their sickness.

What Not to Feed a Dog

If your dog is sick, you shouldn’t feed them anything too rich. Sometimes, dogs can get sick from eating too many rich foods – if you tend to treat your dog and feed it human food very often, you should cut back on the number of treats you give them.

Your dog may also be feeling under the weather due to something they’ve previously consumed. If your dog is already sick, check that they haven’t had access to any of the following:

Don’t Feed Your Dog: Because…
Xylitol It can cause a drop in blood sugar and liver failure
Avocado Avocado seeds can cause an obstruction and the avocado itself can cause illness
Grapes or Raisins It can cause kidney failure
Caffeine It can be fatal
Onions or Garlic It can cause anemia or poisoning
Alcohol It can cause vomiting, breathing problems, and potentially death
Milk or Other Dairy It can cause diarrhea and digestive problems
Human Medication It can cause illness and potentially death
Chocolate It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially death
Sugar Sugary foods can cause weight gain and diabetes
Macadamia Nuts It can cause muscle shakes, vomiting, and other symptoms
Raw Eggs There’s a risk of salmonella or E.coli
Raw Fish or Meat There’s a risk of parasites
Uncooked Yeast Dough It can rise in your dog’s stomach or cause alcohol poisoning
Fat Trimmings They can cause pancreatitis in dogs
Spices, Baking Powder, or Baking Soda They can be toxic to dogs
Bones They can cause choking or can splinter and cut your dog’s digestive system
Fruits with Seeds or Pits Seeds and pits can cause digestive problems for dogs or may be poisonous
Salt Too much salt can dehydrate a dog

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When Shouldn’t I Feed My Sick Dog?

If your dog has been vomiting or has diarrhea, then you should wait at least twelve hours after the last episode to try to feed it again. If you feed your dog too soon and it’s been vomiting, the food could upset the stomach again and just give it more to throw up. If vomiting or diarrhea persists for two days or more, take your dog to the vet.

How Much Should I Feed My Sick Dog?

Golden retriever laying on bed

How much you should feed your dog when it’s sick depends on the dog and the type of sickness. Consult with your vet to make sure you’re feeding your dog enough, but also let your dog guide you. If your dog will eat some, but then refuses food again, try waiting a while before offering food again.

Do Sick Dogs Lose Their Sense of Smell?

Smell is the most powerful of a dog’s senses and a variety of factors can influence it. Allergies and infections can affect the sense of smell, as can old age. If the dog’s nose is dry, that can also decrease the sense of smell. Illness on its own doesn’t necessarily affect it, however.

What Else Can I Do to Help My Dog?

Make sure your dog is comfortable. Make sure they’ve got a comfortable bed to rest on. Take your dog for walks, if they’re feeling up to it. And make sure that you don’t let your dog see that you’re nervous – they can pick up on human feelings and they’ll be stressed, too, if you are.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?

Dogs can usually go three to five days without food, however, this is not ideal. If your dog has gone two days without food, it is highly recommended you call a veterinarian if you haven’t already.

More important than your dog eating is their water intake. If you can’t encourage your dog to eat, try to convince them to drink water (without forcing them to drink).

Should I Feed My Dog After They Throw Up?

It is best to withhold food from your dog for a few hours after they throw up. This allows you time to observe your dog’s behavior and see if they exhibit any other concerning symptoms or continue vomiting.

Be sure you have fresh water available to your dog even after they vomit.

Should You Force-Feed a Sick Dog?

Tech force-feeding dog

You can use a syringe to force-feed your dog if it has been more than 48 hours since your dog ate. This should only be done after your veterinarian has examined your pet and determined force-feeding was okay. Be sure you know how to force-feed your pet safely. Your veterinarian will be able to demonstrate how this is done during an examination.

What to Do After 48 Hours

If your dog is still refusing food after 48 hours, you’ll want to seek out immediate veterinary care. An expert team of veterinary professionals can diagnose and treat your furry friend before their condition worsens.

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14 Dog-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants in Orlando

By Dogs No Comments

Orlando is undoubtedly a dog-friendly hot spot for pet owners of all kinds. If you’re looking for a spot to brunch and grab coffee with your pup by your side, give these places a try.

Cafe Murano

Cafe Murano wiht rainbow in background
Address: 309 Cranes Roost Blvd, Altamonte Springs, FL, US, 32701
Hours: Monday to Friday 11am – 11pm
Seating Options: Outdoor seating is available for dog owners and their pets
Food Style: Italian cuisine with menu items ranging from brick oven pizzas to veal piccata. They have brunch, lunch, dinner, and happy hour specific menus.
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Upscale

The Crepevine

The Crepevine in Altamonte
Address: 249 FL-436, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
Hours: Monday to Friday 11AM – 9PM | Saturday and Sunday 8AM – 9PM
Seating Options: Outdoor seating is available for dog owners
Food Style: Savory and sweet crepes
Price: $
Atmosphere: Fast casual

Boston Coffeehouse

Boston coffeehouse exterior
Address: 851 S State Rd 434 suite 1190, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
Hours: Monday to Friday 6:30AM – 7:00PM | Saturday and Sunday 7:30AM – 3:00PM
Seating Options: Outdoor seating is available to guests with pets
Food Style: Coffee and traditional breakfast and lunch items
Price: $
Atmosphere: Fast casual

Deeply Coffee

deeply coffee interior
Address: 111 N Magnolia Ave #50, Orlando, FL 32801
Hours: Monday to Thursday 7AM – 8PM | Friday and Saturday 8AM – 10PM | Sunday 8AM – 8PM
Seating Options: Outdoor seating off of main building for pet owners
Food Style: Coffeehouse foods
Price: $
Atmosphere: Casual

White Wolf Cafe

White wolf cafe
Address: 1829 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
Hours: Sunday to Tuesday 9AM – 3PM | Wednesday to Thursday 8AM – 9PM | Friday to Saturday 8AM – 10PM
Seating Options: Six outdoor tables are available to accommodate pet owners
Food Style: Traditional breakfast and brunch dishes, mimosas and coffee also available
Price: $
Atmosphere: Casual

Dixie Belles Cafe

Dixie belles cafe
Address: 7125 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32809
Hours: Monday and Friday 6AM – 2PM | Tuesday to Thursday 6AM – 2PM, 4PM – 8PM | Saturday and Sunday 6:30AM – 2PM
Seating Options: Outdoor seating available
Food Style: Classic breakfast menu
Price: $
Atmosphere: Casual

Santiago’s Bodega

Santiagos bodega
Address: 802 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Hours: Monday to Friday 11AM – 2AM | Saturday and Sunday 10AM – 2AM
Seating Options: Sectioned off outdoor seating is available, many tables have umbrellas to protect from rain and summer heat
Food Style: Tapas-style dishes and wine bar
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Upscale

Dandelion Communitea Cafe

Dandelion communitea cafe
Address: 618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11AM – 10PM | Sunday 11AM – 5PM
Seating Options: 10+ dog-friendly outdoor seating
Food Style: Loose leaf tea and vegetarian dishes
Price: $
Atmosphere: Fast casual

310 Lakeside

310 Lakeside orlando
Address: 301 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11AM – 2AM | Sunday 10AM – 2AM
Seating Options: Outdoor seating available
Food Style: American
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Casual

Cafe Tu Tu Tango

Cafe tu tu tango exterior
Address: 8625 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11AM – 12AM | Friday and Saturday 11AM – 1AM | Sunday 10AM – 11PM
Seating Options: Covered outdoor patio seating with standing heaters for cold nights
Food Style: Pizza, tacos, sliders, and flatbreads
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Casual

Eastside Bistro

Eastside bistro exterior
Address: 12001 Avalon Lake Dr, Orlando, FL 32828
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11AM – 11PM | Friday and Saturday 11AM – 1AM | Sunday 9:30AM – 10PM
Seating Options: Roughly 12 dog-friendly tables in their outdoor seating area, some have reported metal dog bowls are provided at this location
Food Style: Variety of dishes to please all preferences
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Casual

Buster’s Bistro Belgian Bar

Buster's bistro belgain bar interior
<strong>Address:</strong> <a href=300 S Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL 32771
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 10AM – 10PM | Friday and Saturday 11AM – 12AM | Sunday 11AM – 5PM
Seating Options: Pet-friendly outdoor seating options
Food Style: Beer, cocktails, and Belgian entres
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Upscale

Imperium Food & Wine

Imperium food and wine
Address: 606 Market St #140, Celebration, FL, US, 34747
Hours: Monday to Friday 11AM to 10PM | Sunday 10AM to 10PM
Seating Options: Designated outdoor tables for guests dining with dogs
Food Style: Wine bar with small plates from around the globe
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Upscale

Vanbarry’s Public House

vanbarry's public house
Address: 4120 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32806
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11AM to 2AM | Sunday 10AM to 2AM
Seating Options: A large outdoor patio is available for dog owners with live music provided nightly
Food Style: American
Price: $$
Atmosphere: Casual

Dog-Friendly Restaurant Chains

Dog at cafe near tables
Many restaurant and cafe chains have announced their dog-friendly stance. Check out these dog-friendly chains with locations in the Orlando area:

  • Panera Bread
  • Starbucks
  • Applebee’s (with patios)
  • Another Broken Egg Cafe
  • Foxtail Coffee

There’s a good chance if you visit these chains they’ll welcome your pup along too. But it’s better to be respectful and call ahead to ensure any spot you’re visiting with your pet for the first time is actually dog-friendly.

What Different Restaurants Mean by ‘Dog-Friendly

Dog-friendly isn’t an official term and each restaurant will give it its own definition. You’ll rarely find a restaurant dog-friendly enough to let your put sit by your side inside the restaurant. If they did it would be difficult to pass health inspections.

Instead, you’ll typically see pet-friendly establishments offering pet-friendly outdoor seating and pet-friendly menu items.

Some restaurants and cafes will even keep your dog’s bowl filled. But you should be prepared with your own water source in case the restaurant doesn’t take their pet-friendliness that far.

Etiquette for Dining with Your Pets

Woman and dog at cafe
The majority of people like dogs, but that doesn’t mean they want yours jumping into their lap while they’re trying to eat. When it comes to taking your pet out to eat ensure your pet is well-mannered and friendly.

Keep the following pointers in mind to make sure your pet and surrounding patrons enjoy their meal:

  • Keep your pet on a leash, preferably a leash shorter than six feet
  • Bring a water bowl and extra water to keep your pup hydrated
  • Try to find a spot that is secluded from busier portions of the cafe
  • Keep your pet calm and quiet (If your pet tends to be talkative then going out to eat may not be a good option for them.)
  • Bring along chew toys to entertain your dog while you eat
  • Bring along a blanket, especially for older dogs

Remember, while you’re out and about with your dog you never know what you’ll encounter. Be sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations. Plus, having heartworm and flea prevention will help keep your dog safe while taste-testing new spots around Orlando.

Don’t see your favorite spot to grab a pastry and cup of Joe with Fido? Drop your favorite dog-friendly cafe, bistro, or restaurant in the comments and we’ll add it to our list.

Should You Microchip Your Pet?

By Dogs No Comments

Picture this: Your pet manages to get out of your home, they slip out of their collar with your phone number and name, and completely disappear. It’s a scary situation to find yourself in as a pet owner. But with one small change, you can increase the odds of bringing your pet home safely. In fact, over 52% of dogs are returned to their owners thanks to a microchip.

Are Microchips Safe for Pets?

Microchips are completely safe for pets and have become standard practice. Many pet owners request microchipping when they bring their pet in for a spay or neuter. This procedure is performed in the clinic using a sterile, pre-loaded syringe.

The standard microchip placement for dogs and cats is behind the neck and between the shoulder blades. It’s safe, sterile, and quick. Plus, one microchip lasts a lifetime so there’s no need to worry about boosters.

What Animals Can Be Microchipped?

Dogs and cats should be microchipped regardless of whether they reside mostly outside or inside your home. Rabbits, horses, ferrets, and even parrots can be microchipped, among plenty of other domestic pets.

While dogs and cats are the most common species to be microchipped, you can ask your vet about microchipping any species of pet you might own. You’d be surprised by the types of animals who are being microchipped.

How is the Microchip Inserted?

The microchip is inserted using a sterile, pre-loaded syringe. The injection site for dogs and cats is most commonly between the shoulder blades.
Holding up a microchip syringe
If your fur baby was adopted from a shelter or rescue, there’s a strong chance he or she has already been microchipped. Standard practice for shelters is to microchip upon intake and examination of all rescued animals.

Benefits of Microchipping Dogs and Cats

But why should you microchip your pet? Pet microchips come with a number of benefits. While these benefits are only capitalized on in emergency situations if your pet becomes separated from you, it’s important to prepare for a situation where that’s the case. Better safe than separated permanently.

Let’s check out the benefits of microchipping your dog or cat:

  • Permanent identification if your pet wanders off and is found by an individual or shelter
  • Ability to reconnect with your pet after a natural disaster
  • Lifetime identification as microchips are permanent
  • Quicker reconnection with pets who may suffer from diseases requiring medication

How Do I Find My Pet Using Their Microchip?

You can’t track your pet’s location using a microchip but the person who finds your pet can use it to find you. When a pet is taken to a veterinary clinic, rescue, or shelter they will be scanned for a microchip.

If a registered microchip is located it will give an identification number used to pull up your pet’s profile. This profile will include your name and contact information.

Does My Pet Need a Collar and Tag If They’re Microchipped?

More identifying markers are not a bad thing. In order to scan a microchip, you need a microchip scanner. The average household does keep a microchip scanner in their junk drawer so it’s wise to have a more easily accessible identifying mark on your pet.

Double up with a collar and tag and a microchip to give your pet the best chances of reuniting with you.

Pet Microchipping Myths

Microchipping syringe and microchip for pets
There are always those who support and those who hate pet microchipping. Let’s debunk some common microchipping myths to stop the spread of false information.

Myth #1 – Indoor Cats Don’t Need Microchips

Indoor cats can get out of a house. With that in mind, it’s always wise to prepare for the worst. Cats have a low return-to-owner rate, but inserting a microchip ups their chances of making it home.

Your pet many never get lost. But, by preparing with a microchip, you can rest assured the odds of your pet making it home are greatly improved if they ever do get lost.

Myth #2 – Microchips Are Painful to Implant

Microchips are about as painful as having blood drawn. Many owners have their pet microchipped during their spay and neuter procedures while they are under anesthesia.

Myth #3 – Microchips Allow You to GPS Track Your Pet

Unfortunately, microchipping your pet doesn’t give you an automatic GPS tracker. If your pet is lost the shelter or individual you find them will have to scan their neck for a microchip. However, microchipping scanning is a standard practice now which means it’s unlikely your pet won’t have their microchip scanned once found.

If you’re dead set on finding a GPS tracker for your pet, there are a number of options on the market. These have a higher initial and maintenance cost than other pet identification methods.

Is Microchipping Your Pet Expensive?

owner hugging their pet
Microchipping costs generally fall below $75 for initial implantation. This is a one-time fee for the application of the microchip by the veterinarian.

Most veterinarians will scan for an existing microchip before inserting a new one. This is great if you’re unsure if your pet has been microchipped by previous owners or from the entity they were adopted from. It will also cut the cost of an unnecessary microchip and eliminate potential confusion of ID numbers if your pet is scanned for a microchip in the future.

Can My Pet’s Microchip Number Expire?

Your pet’s microchip number won’t expire. However, you’ll want to keep the pet’s listing up-to-date. Keep track of the registering agency where your pet’s profile is held and keep it updated after you move to a new home or get a new phone number.

It’s also wise to keep an eye on the terms of your chosen registry agency. Some are free, some require a one-time fee, and some require annual payments to keep updated.

How to Keep Your Pet’s Information Updated

Cat being scanned for microchip
If you move or update your phone number you’ll need to update your pet’s profile on the correct registry.

If you’re unsure where your pet is registered, enter the microchip number in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup. This will direct you to the correct registry or manufacturer of the chip. Use the results of this lookup tool to track down the registry or manufacturer you can update your pet’s profile with.

Some common pet microchip registries include:

If you have questions or concerns about microchipping, or would like to schedule an appointment to have your pet microchipped, contact us.

8 Best Dog Parks In Orlando (And Why Your Dog Will Love Them)

By Dogs One Comment

Orlando is the second-most pet-friendly city in America, making it a great place to be a dog (and a dog owner). Besides the dog-friendly cafes and pet care facilities, Orlando is home to a number of dog parks to meet every owner’s preference.

Before checking off these parks from your pet’s to-do list, make sure you’ve read up on proper dog park safety and preparation. Know behavioral cues to watch out for when playtime goes from rowdy to rough. And ensure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations and treatments.

Lake Baldwin Park

Location – 2000 S Lakemont Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 (Click for directions)

Hours – Open 7am – 8pm (Monday – Sunday)

Why Did it Make the List?:

This canine paradise is situated on over 23 acres of land, complete with a lake and trails. This park features a beach, surrounding trails for on-leash adventures, and a dog wash station. It’s nearly perfect rating on Google is a testament to how beloved this space is by dog owners in the community.

Lake Baldwin Park doesn’t just think about the dogs. There are picnic tables, pavilions, bathrooms, and plenty of shade courtesy of the many oak trees on the property.

Note: The park stays closed until 12pm for maintenance on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.


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Water Access

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Shaded Seating

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Wash Station

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Optional

What You Miss Out On:

This park doesn’t feature any agility equipment or play structures.

Barber Dog Park

Location – 3701 Gaitlin Ave, Orlando, FL 32812 (Click for directions)

Hours – Open 8am – 8pm (Spring / Summer), 8am – 6pm (Fall / Winter)

Why Did it Make the List?:

Barber Dog Park might not have a lake to doggy-paddle in, but it does have agility equipment and plenty of open green for running. The park provides water fountains for dogs and owners. During the summer there are sometimes pools available for dogs to play in.

Dogs are separated based on their size as a safety precaution. If you have a dachshund you can send them over to the 30 pounds and underside, whereas you can take your labrador to the 30 pounds and up. This allows for an environment that is not only safer but more fun for the dogs.


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Water Fountains

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Shaded Seating

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Wash Station

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Agility Equipment

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Yes

What You Miss Out On:

This park doesn’t have a lake, and pools are only available seasonally.

Park of the Americas

Location – 201 Andes Ave, Orlando, FL 32807 (Click for directions)

Hours – Open 7am to 9pm (Monday to Sunday)

Park of the Americas Screenshot

Why Did it Make the List?:

Park of the Americas is a newer off-leash park. It offers off-leash run space and a track and trail for dog walking. The park provides water bowls and a hybrid fountain to keep your dog hydrated during the hottest parts of summer.

This park divides dogs at the 35-pound mark, offering a play space for larger dogs and smaller dogs to meet dogs of similar sizes. Both sections feature painted concrete tunnels that dogs can play in, climb on, or lounge inside to cool down. In the large dog park, dogs can play on a sandy hill.

This park stays well-lit, even when you stay until close, thanks to lampposts along the perimeter of the small dog park.


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Water Access

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Agility Equipment

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Yes

What You Miss Out On:

This park has less shade and no dog wash station.

Hound Ground

Location – 900 E State Rd 434, Winter Springs, FL 32708 (Click for directions)

Hours – Open 7am to 8pm (Thursday-Tuesday), Closed on Wednesdays

Hound ground dog park

Why Did it Make the List?:

Hound Ground is a well-manicured dog park with plenty of grass and updated facilities. It features agility equipment, a dog wash station, and seating for dog owners.

This park offers a separate park for dogs under 30 pounds. Sidewalks surrounding the greenspace keep owners from walking through the grass on rainy days. The park also provides toys for your dog to play with while there.


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Shaded Seating

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Wash Station

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Agility Equipment

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Yes

What You Miss Out On:

The park is rumored to have recently removed water fountains. Be sure to bring water for your dog just in case.

Arbor Dog Park

Location – 1405 N Grant St, Longwood, FL 32750 (Click for directions)

Hours – Open 7am to 8pm (Monday-Sunday)

Why Did it Make the List?:

Arbor Dog Park offers a more natural, wooded space for your dogs to meet new friends and play. This spot is shaded and offers ample seating for pet parents, with a separate section for smaller dogs to play.

Cement tunnels and agility equipment are present in both small and large dog parks. Once the playing comes to an end, owners can wash their dogs at the wash station, which features a drinking fountain with two bowl heights to accommodate your dog’s size.


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Water Fountains

Bench next to tree icon

Shaded Seating

Soap and bubbles icon

Wash Station

Dog agility equipment icon

Agility Equipment

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Yes

What You Miss Out On:

This spot has fewer grassy patches making it likely for your dog to get dirtier while playing. However, the dog wash station provides a quick and easy solution.

Downey Dog Park

Location – 10107 Flowers Ave, Orlando, FL 32825 (Click for directions)

Hours – Open 8am to 6pm (Monday-Sunday)

Why Did it Make the List?:

Downey Dog Park offers shade and seating for pet parents and large spaces to run for small and large dogs alike. The park’s play spaces are separated based on size, but each offers ample room for play.

Dog water stations are available to keep your dogs cool and hydrated. If you don’t bring your own potty bags, the park provides stations so you can pick up after your dog.

Downey Dog Park offers a time-out pen, unlike other parks. This is a great feature to help disperse an overstimulated dog’s energy or separate two dogs who are acting up.


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Water Fountains

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Shaded Seating

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Yes (Optional)

What You Miss Out On:

This park has fewer grassy patches than other parks mentioned, meaning your dog is likely to get very dirty while playing here.

Paw Park of Historic Sanford

Location – 427 S French Ave, Sanford, FL 32771 (Click for directions)

Hours – Opens 7:30am to 8:00pm (Monday-Sunday)

Why Did it Make the List?

This dog park, located in historic Sanford, is a well-kept space to bring your dog. It offers plenty of space for your dog to roam and seating for owners to relax in the shade. The park covers all the basic amenities, such as play equipment, dog wash stations, and drinking fountains. And even if you’re out late, this park is lighted to keep you from being stuck in the dark.

The location of this park is perfect for a day out with your dog. After spending time at the park you can walk across to the self-service dog wash and then on to the pet bakery for a bite to eat.


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Water Fountains

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Agility Equipment

Bench next to tree icon

Shaded Seating

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Wash Station

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Yes

What You Miss Out On:

Paw Park doesn’t have a lake or pool for dogs to swim in during the hottest Florida months.

Dr. P Phillips Community Park

Location: 8249 Buenavista Woods Blvd, Orlando, FL 32836 (Click for Directions)

Hours: Open 8am – 8pm (Monday – Sunday)

Why Did it Make the List?

This dog parks splits dogs into play areas by size. Each sections is grassy and spacious with a dog pool setup on most warm days. Dog owners also have access to a hose which can be used as a water fountain or a dog washing station.

If you have small children, you’re in luck. This dog park is only a portion of the much larger Dr. Phillips Community Park. This makes it great fun for the whole family.


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Water Fountains

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Water Access

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Wash Station

Off-Leash: Yes

Separated by Size: Yes (at 30 lbs)

What You Miss Out On:

Shade and seating can be difficult to find on hot summer days. Pack extra water and an umbrella to fight off the Florida heat.

Does your dog have a different favorite dog park in Orlando? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to Train a Kitten to Use a Litter Box

By Cats No Comments

One of the advantages of owning a cat over other pets is that they can use a litter box. There’s no taking a cat outside in the heat of summer or early in the morning when you’d rather be sleeping. A litter box will have to be emptied and cleaned out regularly, but it can be done at your convenience.

Fortunately, cats instinctively like to bury their waste, so there’s actually very little training involved getting a kitten to use a litter box. Many kittens may already know how to use one when you adopt them, but if they’re younger than 8 weeks old, they may still need some assistance.

Supplies You Need

You won’t need many supplies to get started training your kitten to use the litter box. Start with a litter box and some kitty litter. It’s also a good idea to have some treats handy to reward your kitten for using the litter box successfully.

Litter Box

There are a lot of different kinds of litter boxes out there and it’s important to choose the right kind for your kitten or it may not want to use it. In addition, if you have more than one cat, make sure to have at least one litter box per cat, since cats can be territorial about their litter box. It’s recommended to have at least one more litter box than you have cats.

What Size Litter Box Should I Get for a Kitten?

For a kitten, you may want to start with a small litter box. Make sure that the kitten can climb over the side of it without jumping. Your kitten can graduate to a larger litter box when it’s a bit bigger.

What Type of Litter Box Should I Buy for a Kitten?

The litter box should be made of a material that’s nonabsorbent. Only use a cardboard box if it’s temporary (a day or less) while you’re going out to get a real litter box.

Some litter boxes have tops, which many cat owners prefer because the litter and waste aren’t visible. Covered litter boxes also block odors better than uncovered ones. However, some cats won’t use covered litter boxes.

For your kitten, it may be best to start with an uncovered litter box. Once the kitten is used to using a litter box, you can try adding a cover to it.

Kitty Litter

It’s important to have litter to put in the litter box. Cats like to bury their waste, so they need enough litter to bury it. There are a variety of types of kitty litter. You can test out different types to figure out which kind your kitten prefers.

What Type of Litter is Best for Kittens?


Kittens often explore things with their mouths, so it’s important to make sure that whatever type of litter you choose to get is safe for a kitten if it eats some. It’s best to avoid clumping litter until your kitten reached four months old as it can cause stomach upset or blockages if ingested. Try to use non-clumping litters or pelleted litters until your furbaby is older.

As your kitten gets older you’ll be able to experiment more with the kind of litter you equipped in your box. You’ll most commonly come across three different types of litter for cats:

  • Clumping
  • Non-clumping
  • Crystals

The most common types of litter that you’ll find in pet stores are the clumping clay and non-clumping clay. Clay-based litter can get heavy, but there are some lighter-weight options if you look for them.

Clumping litter will form into solid clumps upon contact with a liquid, making it easier to scoop. This type of litter doesn’t need to be changed quite as often as the non-clumping kind. But you do pay the price for these added benefit via a higher cost.

Crystal litter is good at odor control. It can be more expensive than other types of litter, however, and cats often don’t like the feel of the crystals on their paws. Due to the odor-control and dust-free qualities, many owners think it’s worth the extra cost.

If you prefer an all-natural option for your kitten’s litter, there are options made out of paper, pine, grass, walnut shells, corn, or wheat.

How to Train Your Kitten

Once you have the litter box and the litter set up, the next step is to start training the kitten to use the box.

When Should I Start the Training?

Kittens won’t be ready to use a litter box until they are three weeks old. If your kitten is younger than that, they’ll need to be stimulated to go to the bathroom. At three weeks old or older, then you can start introducing the kitten to the litter box.

Introduce the Litter Box

After the kitten has eaten or has just woken up, place it in the litter box and wait to see what happens. Kittens will usually naturally start to dig in the litter, so if your kitten starts doing this on its own, let it be. If it doesn’t start digging, you can take its front paws and start digging in the litter with them. This can encourage your kitten and it may keep digging on its own before eliminating.

Be Mindful of Where You Place the Litter Box

The location of the litter box is very important to whether or not your kitten is willing to use it. The best places to put it are those that offer some privacy but are in easy-to-reach areas. If your cat spends a lot of time in certain parts of the house, it’s a good idea to place the litter box there.


As a kitten owner, it can be tempting to hide the litter box out of the way so that it can’t be seen (or smelled). But if it’s nowhere near where the kitten usually spends its time, then the kitten may avoid using it.

Keep the litter box away from the kitten’s food and water. The area should also be lit so that the kitten isn’t trying to use the litter box in the dark. Think about what you would want in your own bathroom – if it wouldn’t be comfortable for you, chances are good your kitten won’t find it comfortable either.

Wherever you do put the litter box, once you’ve shown it to your kitten, avoid moving it so you don’t confuse the kitten.

Be Patient with Your Kitten

Learning to use the litter box is an adjustment. Although kittens do start to dig in litter naturally, there may still be accidents. Don’t punish or yell at the kitten for these – accidents are only natural. Yelling could frighten your kitten, making litter training take even longer.

Keep in mind: Cats don’t associate punishment with the incident that they’re being punished for, so it won’t help them learn and will in fact only make them more nervous and stressed.

Give Your Kitten Positive Reinforcement

Unlike punishment, kittens will react to positive reinforcement by emulating the actions they associate with the reward. If your kitten has successfully used the litter box, make sure to reward it. You can praise your kitten and give it a toy or a treat for a job well done.

Clean the Litter Box to Encourage Use


Make sure to regularly clean the litter box. You’ll need to scoop the litter every day. The litter will then need to be changed completely about once a week. You can tell when it needs to be changed because the litter box will smell.

When you change litter, make sure you srub the litter box thoroughly with water and soap or vinegar. Avoid bleach or chemicals, since these can harm your kitten.

A clean litter box will make your home smell nicer. Avoiding the litter box smell is a good incentive to make sure it stays clean!

Why Won’t My Kitten Use the Litter Box?

There are a variety of reasons why your kitten won’t use the litter box. Use trial and error to uncover the source of the problem. Change one thing first to see if it solves the issue. If it doesn’t, move on to the next.

Let’s jump into some possible reasons why your kitten is turning their nose up at your little box situation:

Litter Box Placement Isn’t Ideal

Check the placement of the litter box and ask yourself:

  • Is it too far out of the way?
  • Is it located somewhere your cat doesn’t like to go?
  • Is it too dark there?
  • Does it not offer enough privacy?

Remember, if you would be unhappy with the situation if you were stuck using it then don’t enforce those conditions on your cat. The alternative is continued accidents throughout your home.

Your Cat Doesn’t Like the Type of Litter Box Used

If you have a covered litter box try removing the cover. Even though covered litter boxes are convenient for us to contain smells and mess, some cats downright despise them and will refuse to use them.

Alternatively, if you have an uncovered litter box, your cat may prefer the privacy of having a cover.

Your Cat Disliked the Type of Litter

Your cat may dislike the type of litter. Revisit our section on types of litter and give each type a try.

Kittens can be particular about the way the litter feels on the feet. This can lead to them missing slightly as they try not to stand on the litter. Or, your kitten may outright avoid the offending litter box altogether.

Don’t Expect Your Kitten to Use a Dirty Litter Box

Check the litter box to see if it’s dirty. Kittens don’t like to use dirty litter boxes, so you should make sure it’s scooped daily. Replace the litter and cleaned the litter box itself at least once a week.

I Can’t Figure Out Why My Cat Isn’t Using the Litter Box

If nothing you do is convincing your kitten to use the litter box, it may be time to seek advice from outside sources. Monitor your kitten’s behavior and watch for the following warning signs:

  • Frequently getting into the litter box but no sign of use
  • Bloody urine or stool
  • Persistent, obsessive licking of genitals
  • Crying or mewing around or while in the litter box

If you encounter any of the above symptoms, it’s time to seek medical advice from a trusted veterinarian. They will be able to examine your kitten and test for any underlying problems keeping it from properly using the litter box.

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