Holiday Safety Tips for Cat Owners

The holidays are a magical time, but for cats, it can be a risky time as well.

There's nothing like the holiday season. It's a time for family, giving, feasting and fun, but if you are the proud parent of a cat, it's important to know that it's also a season that has many risks for your furry friend. Here at The Vet Set, we are dedicated to helping you enjoy a safe, happy holiday this year, and to keeping your cat out of the emergency animal hospital. That's why we've come up with this list of holiday safety tips for cat owners:

#1. Anchor your Christmas tree.

Cats love to climb, and they tend to find Christmas trees downright irresistible. Regardless of whether you got your tree out of a box or straight from the forest, there's a strong possibility that your cat will try to climb it at some point. Christmas tree stands aren't designed to hold cats, and if the tree falls, which it's likely to do, it could put your cat in danger. Make sure that you invest in a strong, stable stand for your tree, and then take further steps to anchor it to the floor.

#2. Carefully select your ornaments.

Cats often see ornaments as toys, and it's difficult for them to resist batting at them and playing with them. Keeping any ornaments secured to the tree is important, but you should also be careful about the ornaments you select. Those thin, glass ball ornaments are beautiful, but they can easily shatter if knocked down, injuring your cat. Consider using plastic or unbreakable ornaments, and make sure that none of the ornaments are small enough to be ingested by your cat.

#3. Don't allow your cat to chew.

Not only do cats like to climb Christmas trees, they also like to chew on the needles and branches. If your tree is a pine tree, then it's needles contain pine oil. When ingested, pine oil can cause all kinds of problems for your cat, from gastrointestinal upset to breathing difficulties. Prevent your cat from chewing on your tree by spraying a cat deterrent or setting up a barrier around it. Cats have also been known to chew electric wires, and with so many lights and decorations, there's a good chance that there are more than a few wires around for your cat to chew on. Keep those wires covered with tape or invest in wire covers to deter chewing.

#4. Watch out for tinsel and ribbon.

If you're like most cat owners, you've probably dangled a string in front of your cat a time or two, so it should come as no wonder that they love to play with and chase anything string-like. Tinsels and ribbons are just too tempting for many cats to pass up, but if they accidentally ingest them, it can lead to trouble. Tinsel and ribbon could get tangled up inside of your cat's intestines if they swallow it, which could cause blockages to form. Instead of using tinsel and thin, curly ribbon to wrap gifts with, use wide ribbon or even rope. It may not look as pretty, but it is less of a risk for your cat. We hope that these tips will help you enjoy a safe, happy holiday season with your cat. If you have any questions or concerns about holiday safety for your cat, or if your cat is in need of a wellness exam or other veterinary services, give us a call. Our veterinarian proudly serves Carroll Gardens and the surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods, and our veterinary hospital is equipped with everything we need to take great care of your cat. Schedule your appointment today.

What to Spoil Your Pet With This Holiday Season

Unsure about what to give your pet this holiday season?

The holidays are almost here, and in just a few short weeks, you'll be giving out those gifts that you've spent so much time and energy coming up with and shopping for. Although your dog or cat may not know that the holidays are here, that doesn't mean that they can't join in on the fun. In fact, it's the perfect time of the year to show your pet how much you care by spoiling them with their own holiday gift. But, your pet can't exactly make a wish list for you, so what should you give them this holiday season? Here is a list of some of the best holiday gift ideas for your pet:

#1. Boots

It can get downright cold here in Brooklyn, and while you often see people bundled up in coats and boots, most of our pets don't get that kind of protection from the cold. Although your pet's fur coat may keep them cozy and warm enough, it can still pay off to protect their feet. If your pet has especially furry feet, snow and ice could collect in between their toes. Not to mention, salt and other deicing products can be bad for your pet's paws. A good pair of pet boots can go a long way towards keeping your pet's feet safe and warm.

#2. A Coat

Believe it or not, dogs can get cold too, even with all of that fur. But, some pets could use coats more than others. For example, if your dog has a short or wiry coat, they get very little protection from the cold and the wind, and it could help to keep them warmer and more comfortable if you invest in a coat they can wear on long walks. Keep in mind that a coat isn't super necessary for a quick bathroom break or a stroll around the neighborhood, but if you're exercising your dog for more than a few minutes, or it's particularly cold or windy, a coat is a good idea.

#3. Toys

Toys are always a great gift idea for your pet. They'll help to keep your pet happy and entertained, and some toys can even help to train or exercise your pet, too. If you already know what kinds of toys your pet likes, it doesn't hurt to choose something you know they'll love, but there are so many options out there, so don't be afraid to experiment with something new.

#4. Treats

What pet doesn't want to eat something delicious? The holidays are a time to gather your friends and family and sit down to a mouth-watering meal with all of the fixings and sides you could ever imagine. Think about what your pet has to go through when they're smelling the food and watching you scarf it down! While it's not a good idea to share your feast with your pet, you can help to make their holiday special by giving them a treat. Don't just settle for the same old treats you give your pet all the time. You could go to a bakery that makes treats for pets, or you could even look up a recipe and make your pet treats from scratch. Either way, they'll love it, and you'll make their holiday a little brighter. We hope that this list will give you a few ideas to make your pet's holiday season special this year. And, if your pet is in need of veterinary care, please don't hesitate to turn to our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens. Our animal hospital is equipped with everything your pet needs, and we'll treat your pet as if they were our own. Schedule your appointment today!

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving Part 2

Thanksgiving can be a dangerous holiday for pets, but there are lots of things you can do to keep your pet safe.

With all of your friends and family and plenty of tasty foods to enjoy, what’s not to love about Thanksgiving? But, there are lots of things that can put your pet at risk. Nobody wants to have to rush their dog or cat to the emergency animal hospital on Thanksgiving, but that’s exactly what you might end up doing if you don’t take steps to make sure your pet is safe. In our last blog, we went over a few tips to help you keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. Here are a few more tips to ensure a safe, happy Thanksgiving for you and your furry friend.

#6. Make sure you inform your guests.

If you’re planning on having guests over, make it a point to talk to them about your pet before they come. This is important since many people have allergies to dogs and cats, but it’s also important for your pet’s safety. If your guests don't realize there’s a pet in the house, they may hold the door open longer than they should, or leave it open, giving your pet an open invitation to book it. This is also a good time to tell your guests not to feed your pet anything from the table, no matter how much they beg or how pathetic and adorable they look, which leads us to Tip #7.

#7. Don’t feed your pet any table scraps.

There are a lot of toxins in your average Thanksgiving feast for both dogs and cats, many of which, aren’t so obvious, such as onions, mushrooms and a whole host of different herbs. Additionally, you should never give your dog a cooked bone, as it could splinter inside them. The best way to avoid accidentally giving your pet something that’s toxic for them or that could put them in danger is not to give them any people food to begin with, so prepare yourself to just say no!

#8. Don’t leave food on tables and counters unattended.

When you’re cooking all of that amazing food for your Thanksgiving Day feast, your pet has to smell all of those mouth-watering aromas all day. And, what’s even worse is that they aren’t even going to be able to eat any of it! That’s enough to drive any pet to great lengths to enjoy just one bite of your delicious food, so don’t tempt them by leaving food unattended on the counter or table.

#9. Keep an eye on your pet.

As we’ve mentioned many times in this blog series, animals pick up on tension in the air, and they are likely to feel anxious or stressed during all of the craziness of the holiday. This can make a normally sweet animal act out aggressively. So, no matter how well-behaved and sweet your pet normally is, keep an eye on them. If they look like they are stressed or anxious, it might be best to get them away from all of the commotion.

#10. Make sure the trash it out of reach.

After all of the time, energy and hard work that goes into preparing for Thanksgiving, we don’t blame you for wanting to put your feet up and watch television. However, there’s one last task to complete before you do: take out the trash! Chances are, your trash can is full to the brim with stuff that would make your pet sick if ingested, so make sure it is well out of their reach. We hope that these tips will help you keep your pet safe! But, if you have any questions or concerns, contact our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an incredible holiday, but it’s not always so safe for our pets.

With the sweet potatoes, stuffing, pie and, of course, turkey, there are a lot of things to love about Thanksgiving. When most of us think of Thanksgiving, we imagine good food, friends and family, but the reality is that it can be a dangerous time of the year for our pets. And, if you aren’t careful, you may just end up having to spend your Thanksgiving in the emergency animal hospital. But, there is good news. There are many steps you can take to make sure the entire family — including your furry friend — will enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

#1. Update your pet’s tags.

If you’re planning on having a group of people over to celebrate with you at your house, it will be all too easy for your cat or dog to slip out a door that has been accidentally left open. If your pet gets out, it’s essential for their tags to be up to date, so that, if someone catches them, they can call you or bring them back to you. If your phone number is outdated or you no longer live at that same address, they may not be able to.

#2. Get your pet microchipped.

According to the American Humane Association, there are over 10 million pets that are either stolen or lost every year. And, as we established in #1, with all of the commotion of Thanksgiving, it’s all too easy for your pet to slip out of your home unnoticed. If your pet isn’t wearing their collar or something happens to their tags, microchipping is your only hope for getting them back. Microchips are tiny — about the size of a grain of rice — and they’re affordable, so why wouldn’t you want to get your pet microchipped?

#3. Find a dog sitter.

Are you going to be heading out of town for the holidays? If so, you’ll need to make some arrangements for your pet to be fed and cared for over the next few days. Don’t simply have someone stop by to feed and let your pet relieve themselves; both cats and dogs are social animals, and they aren’t meant to be left by themselves for long periods of time. When they are left alone too long, they might get bored and tear up your home or do something that puts them in danger, like chewing on an electrical cord. Board your pet or find a dog sitter to stay with them until you come home.

#4. Keep up with your dog’s exercise routine.

Whether you’re planning to be home cooking dinner for a group of people or you’ll be traveling for the holiday, it’s tempting to push your pet’s exercise routine aside. After all, you’re incredibly busy! But this is a mistake that will only leave your pet feeling more wound up and anxious than they have to be. Make sure you keep exercising your pet throughout your Thanksgiving preparations; you may even want to exercise them more the day of so that they are at ease.

#5. Distract your pet with toys and rewards.

Pets pick up on tension around them, making them feel tense and anxious. Even the sweetest, most kind-natured animals can lash out when they’re feeling anxious, so it’s important to help your pet relax. One of the most effective ways to do this is to distract them with lots of toys, treats and other rewards. Check back later for our next blog, where we’ll be going over a few more tips for keeping your pet safe for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, or your pet is in need of veterinary care in Carroll Gardens, give us a call

Why Is My Cat Drinking So Much Water?

Drinking water is a natural part of living.  The most common reason why cats drink water is because they’re thirsty.  Cats are very efficient in their internal water conservation which is one of the reasons why their urine has a pungent smell to it.  A normal, healthy cat will drink between 10-30 ml/kg daily.  Cats that eat dry food may drink a little more, but we do recommend feeding cats moist food to help maintain their water consumption.  Your cat should always have access to clean, fresh water. Polydipsia is the medical term utilized to describe increased water consumption.  If you notice your cat drinking more water it’s important to not dismiss it as it’s often the first sign that something has changed with your cat’s internal function. Increased water consumption is a result of 3 things:
  • Compensatory – drinking more due to exercise or increased temperature; vomiting or diarrhea leading to water loss and compensatory drinking; food with increased salt leading to increased consumption.
  • Pathological – drinking more water due to excessive water loss from a medical problem. Generally more of a chronic, ongoing problem.
  • Behavioral – drinking more water due to a behavioral problem. Behavioral polydipsia is a diagnosis by exclusion meaning we have ruled out all other reasons for increased water consumption.
The three most common reasons why cats drink more water are:
  • Kidney disease – Kidney disease is the most common diagnoses ailment in older cats. The initial signs of renal disease include increased water consumption and increased urination (polydipsia, polyuria or PU/PD for short), decreased appetite, and weight loss.  While we cannot cure chronic kidney disease, there is a lot we can do to help manage it, and early diagnosis is critical.
  • Diabetes Mellitus – Cats develop diabetes similar to Type 2 diabetes in people. The initial signs of diabetes in cats are increased water consumption, increased appetite, and weight loss.  Early diagnosis is critical to prevent a medical crisis.  Diabetes is more common in overweight cats.
  • Hyperthyroidism – A common endocrine disorder in older cats hyperthyroidism leads to increased energy, increased water consumption, and a big appetite coupled with weight loss.
Any time you and your veterinarian are suspect of increased water consumption your veterinarian will want to run bloodwork and urine work to try to diagnose the reason why.  The sooner you and your veterinarian know why your cat is drinking more and urinating more the sooner a treatment plan can be created to increase the chance of a positive outcome.  If you have questions about why your cat is drinking a lot of water please contact The Vet Set team.

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