Is Your Pet Due for Dental Care?

Believe it or not, proper dental care is just as important for our pets as it is for us!

Just as it’s important to brush your teeth to prevent dental decay and infection in your mouth, it’s also important to do the same for your furry friend. But, unfortunately, your pet can’t exactly tell you when they have a toothache. If your pet is in need of dental care, it’s important not to put it off, but how will you know? There are many tell-tale signs that pet owners should be aware of and watch out for, including:

Sign #1. Your pet has bad breath.

When the only tools you have to groom yourself are your own paws and your tongue, your breath probably won’t smell minty fresh. That being said, it’s not normal for your pet’s breath to be overly stinky. In fact, bad breath is often the first and most common sign of periodontal disease (gum disease) in pets. If you’re unsure of whether your pet’s breath is natural or the result of a dental problem, consult with your veterinarian! Left untreated, periodontal disease is only going to get worse, so it’s in neither your best interest nor your pet’s to take a chance.

Sign #2. Your pet’s teeth are stained.

You brush your teeth every night to get rid of a build-up on your teeth, called plaque. If plaque isn’t removed by brushing or flossing, it will start to harden and form tartar, which gets attached to the teeth, usually, right below the gumline. The same thing happens in our pets, and if you’re not diligent about brushing their teeth or giving them plenty of stuff to chew on, that tartar can lead to yellow or brown stains forming on their teeth. Unfortunately, this staining often goes hand in hand with bacterial infections, but your veterinarian can typically remove it through dental cleanings.

Sign #3. Your pet’s gums are swollen or bleeding.

Have you noticed that your pet leaves behind a little bit of blood when they chew on toys or bones? Or, do your pet’s gums look red or inflamed? These kinds of gum problems are often a sign that your dog has a bacterial infection in their gums, and they can cause your pet to experience significant discomfort. Luckily, though, the pain can be treated or reversed with dental care.

Sign #4. Your pet has difficulties eating.

Has your usually ravenous pet suddenly stopped caring about eating during mealtimes? Any changes in your pet’s behavior are important to watch out for, but changes in eating patterns are particularly concerning, especially in terms of their dental health. Besides not eating, a couple of other changes in their eating patterns you should be aware of include chewing on one particular side of their mouth or eating slower or more carefully than usual. Eating difficulties like these could be a sign that your pet has inflammation or even an infection, which was likely caused by periodontal disease. If you notice any changes in your pet’s eating patterns, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Sign #5. Your pet has been pawing at their gums or drooling excessively.

If your pet has a tooth abscess, it can cause a significant amount of pain. Although your pet can’t come right out and tell you they’re in pain, excessive drooling or a frequent pawing of the mouth are often indicators of oral pain. Abscesses are quite common, and they can be caused by periodontal disease or trauma to the tooth from fighting or chewing a bone or a toy that is too hard. As we mentioned, tooth abscesses are incredibly painful for your pet, and if you suspect that your pet has one, take them to your veterinarian as soon as you can.

Sign #6. Your pet has broken or loose teeth.

If your pet’s teeth are broken or feel loose, it’s a sign that their oral health problems have escalated. If bacteria is left to run rampant in your pet’s mouth, it will start to eat away at the bindings that hold their teeth into place, which can cause the teeth to become loose. Additionally, a tooth that has been broken due to some kind of trauma is highly prone to becoming infected due to the access the break gives bacteria to the tooth’s root. And, bacterial infections aren’t confined to the mouth; they can spread throughout the rest of your pet’s body, leading to more health problems for your pet.

Sign #7. Your pet has tumors or growths on their gums.

Pets, like people, can develop mouth cancer. If you’ve noticed that your pet has growths of tumors on their gums, don’t wait to get them checked out by your veterinarian. The tumors may be benign or malignant, but you won’t know until they get tested by a professional. If mouth cancer is present, the treatment might involve removing some of your pet’s teeth, as well as part of their jawbone. These growths can only be spotted if you are familiar with your pet’s mouth, which is just another reason to make it a point to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis.

A little bit of dental care at home goes a long way.

While pets are just as prone to dental problems as people, the good news is that dental problems in pets are also just as preventative as they are in people. Caring for your pet’s teeth properly at home should be a priority, not only so that you can keep their teeth clean and prevent dental problems, but also so that you can catch dental problems when they’re early and still easy to treat.

Find the pet dental care your pet needs in Carroll Gardens with The Vet Set.

At The Vet Set, we’re proud to say that our new animal hospital is equipped with everything we need to provide next-level care for your pet, including pet dental care. If you think your pet is in need of dental care, please contact us to schedule your appointment today!

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet Part 3

Living in an apartment with a pet can be challenging

With neighbors all around you looking for some peace and quiet, a landlord to contend with and the inconvenience of not having a yard to let your pet out into, owning a pet when you live in an apartment can seem like more hassle than it’s worth. But, if you ask almost any pet owner, they’ll you that they wouldn’t trade their fur baby for anything. The truth is that that the love of a pet is worth any struggle or inconvenience raising them may cause, and there are lots of things that you can do as a pet owner to make living in an apartment with a pet easier on you both. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series to learn about the steps we’ve already covered for apartment living with a pet, and keep reading to learn about the last few steps.

Step 6. Devise a plan for smells and waste.

A kitty litter box in a small space can quickly make your entire apartment stink to high heaven, so it’s important to have a plan in place for keeping those odors at bay. One of the most important things you can do to reduce odors is to make it a point to scoop out your cat’s litter box on a daily basis and replace the litter every week. The box itself should replaced on an annual basis — or sooner if it starts to smell. You could also consider investing in an air purifier or plants that help to purify the air (just make sure they aren’t toxic to cats in case your cat tries to chew them). If you are raising a puppy who can’t quite hold it until you get home, section off a small area of your home so that they don’t have accidents all over. Consider investing in absorbent puppy pads to prevent your new puppy from ruining the flooring in your apartment, and change them after every accident. And, when accidents do occur, make sure that you clean them up completely.

Step 7. Develop a routine.

Regardless of where you live, developing a routine for your pet is important, but it’s especially important for people living in apartments. Make sure that you feed your pet, take them outside for bathroom breaks and exercise them at the same time every day. But what makes developing a routine for your pet so important? For starters, both cats and dogs are creatures of habit, and it will be easier and less stressful for your pet to get through the day when they know what to expect. To put it simply, when your pet has a set routine, they will more secure in the world around them, which is important with all of the noises in a typical apartment.

Step 8. Socialize your pet.

Socializing your pet is important no matter where you live, but when you live in an apartment with other people close by, the need to socialize your pet becomes even greater. Chances are, many of your neighbors have pets too, or there are other pets being walked and played with in your neighborhood. Having an anti-social or aggressive pet will make every single trip outside difficult and nerve-wracking for both you and your pet, so socializing your pet is of the utmost importance. Scheduling play dates with friends who have pets, enrolling your pet into daycare with other pets and taking your dog to the dog park are all great ways to encourage your pet to be more social. We hope that this guide will help to quell some of your concerns about living in an apartment with a pet, and make it easier on both you and your pet. If you have any questions or concerns, contact our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today! We’re always happy to help!

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet Part 2

Are you considering bringing in a pet to live with you in your apartment in Carroll Gardens?

When it comes to owning a pet, people who live in homes with fenced-in yards definitely have it the easiest. When you have a backyard, exercising your pet can be as simple as throwing the ball around, and you don’t have to stand outside in the cold to let them relieve themselves. However, just because you live in an apartment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the happiness that pet ownership brings to your life. In fact, there are lots of things you can do to make the entire experience easier on both you and your pet. In Part 1 of this step-by-step guide to living in an apartment with a pet, we went over the importance of talking with your landlord, finding the right breed and pet-proofing your apartment. Keep reading to learn about the next couple steps:

Step 4. Make sure that there is plenty of room in your schedule.

When you have a backyard with a doggy door that allows your pet to come and go as they please, it’s less important that you are able to make it home every few hours to let them out, but it’s still essential that you give them plenty of love and attention. However, when you live in an apartment, it’s much more important that there is room in your schedule to come home and take care of your pet at regular intervals during the day, especially if you have a dog. And, while older, properly trained dogs may be able to hold it for long periods of time, that doesn’t mean that they should have to. Just like in people, dogs can develop health issues, including urinary stones and urinary tract infections, when they are made to hold it too long too often. Although cats are known for being independent, solidarity animals, they are more social than you might realize. Your cat’s litter box may eliminate any physical need for you to make special trips home in the middle of the day, but on an emotional level, cats still need plenty of cuddles and affection.

Step 5. Keep your pet properly entertained.

Typically, dogs sleep anywhere from 12 to 14 hours per day; cats sleep anywhere from 12 to 16 hours per day, and for puppies and kittens, it’s more like 20 hours. However, all of that time spent sleeping does not mean that your pet is immune to boredom. And, a bored pet is often a mischievous pet, and it could lead to the development of bad habits, like chewing up your shoes, destroying your furniture, constant barking, whining, getting into the trash can and a whole host of other, not-so-nice behaviors. Preventing your pet from getting lonely and bored is one of the reasons why it’s so important that you make sure there is enough room in your schedule to actually take care of a pet before you get one. In addition, you can also make it a point to provide your pet with plenty of toys to keep them entertained while you are gone. And, a stringent exercise routine every day will help to drain a lot of that excess energy. We just have a couple more steps to go over to help you master apartment living with your new furry friend, and as always, if you have questions or concerns about the information provided, or about how to care for your new pet, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As your neighborhood veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens, your pet’s health is our number one priority!

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet

Living in an apartment with a pet can be tricky, but there are many things that you can do to make it easier.

For people with the luxury of fenced-in backyards, taking care of a pet is easier than it is for people who live in the close quarters of an apartment, with neighbors close by and landlords to contend with. However, just because you live in an apartment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the many joys of adopting a cat or dog into your family. In fact, there are many different things you can do to make apartment living with a pet easy and painless, and your go-to veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens — The Vet Set — has come up with this step-by-step guide to help:

Step 1: Talk to your landlord.

You should never just assume that your landlord is okay with you adopting a pet. The last thing that you want is to violate your lease agreement somehow and end up getting evicted for the sole reason that you did not discuss adopting a pet with your landlord. You should also avoid sneaking a pet into an apartment that isn’t pet friendly. Eventually, your secret will be found out no matter how sneaky you are, and then you’ll be faced with an eviction or the reality that you’ll have to give up your pet. But, there are additional things to consider, even if your landlord allows pets. Some landlords will have certain requirements about the size or breed of the pet in question, and others might require an additional deposit or monthly pet rent.

Step 2. Do your research on the type of pet to get.

While most animals can do well in an apartment if you are willing to put in the time and energy necessary, there are some breeds that just aren’t the best fit for apartment living — and that can be true of both dogs and cats. Here are some things to consider when determining if a certain breed will do well in an apartment:
  • How much do they bark or yowl?
  • How much exercise do they require?
  • Will they tear up your home if they miss a walk?
  • Are they friendly/social enough to be around the other people and animals in your building?
Check out our previous blog series to learn about the best dog breeds for apartment living.

Step 3. Pet-proof your home.

Pet-proofing your home is important no matter where you live, but when getting your deposit back at the end of your lease is riding on how well you take care of the home, it’s especially important. Here are some helpful tips for pet-proofing your apartment:
  • Be choosy about furniture fabric - When you’re looking at furniture, it’s important to note that some furniture fabrics are better equipped to stand up to shedding and sharp nails and teeth than others. A few fabrics that hold up well to the abuses of pets include leather or pleather, denim, microfiber and canvas.
  • Keep cords and wires out of reach - Curious kittens and puppies test out the world around them in a few different ways, but most often, they do so by putting things in their mouths. It’s all too common for puppies and especially kittens to get electrocuted by chewing on power cords, so keep them well away.
  • Install safety locks on cabinets - As we’ve mentioned, pets are curious about their surrounding, and, naturally, they’ll do some exploring. There are many things that cats and dogs shouldn’t be exposed to, including many types of cleaning products, medications and foods. To ensure that your pet can’t get access to these things in your cabinets, consider installing safety locks.
  • Invest in pet gates - There are some areas of your home where you just don’t want your pets to go, like the bathroom, your closet (with your shoe collection!) or maybe the kitchen. One great way to keep your pet out of these area is to use a pet gate.
  • Buy a trash can that can’t be knocked over - Both cats and dogs have been known to knock over trash cans when they smell something interesting inside. So, invest in a trash can that they can’t knock over, or place the trash can under the sink or in the pantry if possible.
  • Be careful with household plants - There are some plants that are best avoided in homes with pets because they are toxic to them. For example, aloe vera, jade and rosemary are all toxic to dogs, and carnations, lilies, roses and daisies are toxic to cats.
These are just three of the many steps you’ll need to take for giving your pet a happy, healthy life in your apartment, and in our next blog, we’ll be going over a few more, so make sure you stay tuned. If you have questions or concerns about living in an apartment with a pet, or your pet is in need of veterinary care, please contact us! We are always happy to help!

Common Myths About Spaying and Neutering Part 2

When it comes to spaying and neutering, it’s important not to let the common myths and misconceptions get in the way of making the right decision for your pet.

Spaying or neutering is the most effective means available today for preventing unwanted cats and dogs from being born, which is important, especially when you consider the fact that 2.7 million pets are euthanized the United States every year for the sole reason that they are homeless. However the benefits of spaying and neutering your pet go beyond the benefits for the community. It’s also important for reducing or even eliminating your pet’s risk of developing a number of health conditions. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of this series to learn the truth about the myths we’ve already uncovered. Keep reading to learn more.

Myth #6. Neutering or spaying your pet will make them fat and lazy.

A cat or a dog that has been spayed or neutered is less likely to roam and seek a mate, which means that they’ll likely get less exercise than they used to. However, spaying or neutering in itself won’t make your pet become lazy or gain weight, and there are many things you can do as a pet owner to keep your pet healthy. For instance, instead of letting your pet eat out of a full bowl all day long whenever they feel like it, limit their portions to a healthy amount, and only feed them at certain times of the day. Exercise is also important for both dogs and cats, and that is true all year round, not just when it’s nice outside in the spring and summer.

Myth #7. Your pet’s offspring will be miniature versions of them.

We all love our pets, and it’s no wonder why so many people want their pets to have babies, believing that they will be exact replicas of their mom or dad. However, even breeders who understand the way that bloodlines work, and know how to breed responsibly, have trouble breeding animals for certain personality traits. It’s like with children. Yes, your child may share a few personality traits with you, but they are still their own person with their own unique personality. If you want another dog or cat like the one you already have, you’d be better off going to the shelter and adopting a pet with a similar personality than you would be trying to breed miniature versions of your pet.

Myth #8. Your pet should be bred because they are purebred.

Many people who have purebred dogs and cats feel that it is their duty to breed their pet, especially because purebred pets are in demand. According to DoSomething.org, approximately one out of every 10 dog who is born in the United States will end up in a permanent home. And, while, yes, purebred dogs and cats are generally more adoptable and are less likely to end up in shelters than mixed breeds, the risk is just too high that they will end up without a home. Breeding your dog simply because they are purebred is simply not a good enough reason.

Myth #9. Your pet is too young to be spayed or neutered.

In general, most veterinarians will recommend that you get your pet spayed or neutered before they reach sexual maturity, which for female cats and dogs, is around four months old, and for males cats and dogs, is around six months old. Typically, it’s recommended that you get your pet spayed or neutered when they are between six and nine months old. However, many shelters will spay or neuter animals when they are far younger. This is because shelters don’t have the resources to thoroughly vet every single person who adopts a dog or a cat to ensure they will be responsible pet owners who do not allow their pets to breed or roam. Getting your dog or cat fixed at a younger age will help to give you peace of mind in knowing that your pet won’t be able to reproduce. Plus, though adult dogs can be neutered or spayed, there is a slightly higher risk that they will experience post-op complications.

Myth #10. You’ll be able to find good homes for your pet’s kittens or puppies.

Many people aren’t worried about spaying or neutering their pets because they believe that there will always be a good home for any kittens of puppies they may have. However, as we’ve learned time and time again in this blog series, you’d be lucky if you were able to find good homes for every puppy or kitten your pet has. More often than not, they will end up in shelters and eventually euthanized when no one adopts them. Additionally, preventing your pet from having unwanted puppies or kittens may be the biggest reason to spay or neuter your pet, but it isn’t the only reason. It’s also preventing your pet from developing a number of health conditions — primarily different types of cancer.

When it comes to spaying and neutering pets, the myths and misconceptions are endless.

You shouldn’t let misinformation keep you from doing what’s right for both your pet and your community. If you have questions or concerns about spaying or neutering your pet, please contact our animal clinic in Carroll Gardens. We are happy to sit down with you and provide you with the information you need to make a decision you can feel good about. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

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