The Weight of the Matter

How to Tackle Your Dog's Weight Issue

Part of the reason you love your furry best friend is for their companionship — exploring the great outdoors with you, sitting out on the patio of your favorite brewery, or being your co-pilot on errands — our dogs are an extension of ourselves. Along with our very good and true habits, we also share with them, the not so good. Feeding them too many treats and sharing our food from the table with them. This sets up not only bad habits but can be bad for their health if they begin to pack on extra pounds. A healthy weight is extremely important for your dog because it will affect their quality of life and slow them down quite a bit. At The Vet Set, we want your dog to be healthy and vibrant so they can accompany you in every adventure! We offer wellness consultations and weight management assistance in our vet clinic and in our mobile vet office. If your dog is struggling with a healthy weight, tune in to today’s blog for some helpful tips to keep them trim! Why the Extra Weight Matters In a human, a few extra pounds doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but in a dog, it can have serious health complications. Additional weight can shorten their life expectancy, energy, mood, and mobility. If your dog is beginning to show signs of added weight, talk with your veterinarian for guidance about your dog’s diet and a possible weight-loss plan, and if you are looking to take action now, below are tips to help your dog get healthier.   
  • Do research about your dog’s breed.
One of the first things that will be beneficial to your dog is knowing what their actual ideal weight should be because all breeds and ages have different healthy weight spectrums. There are many great resources, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) is one great place to begin. It is also important to consider that your dog may be taller or shorter than the standard for their breed, so take this into consideration when you are getting your dogs weight. If your dog is outside the normal range, you can connect with your vet to schedule an appointment to take an accurate look at their weight and test for any issues that may be causing the weight gain.
  • Know your dog's habits.
There is a big difference between begging and actual hunger, and it is very unlikely that your dog is starving. As owners, we love our dogs and we want to reciprocate the love and affection they so openly give us, and sometimes we do that through food. We give them a piece of chicken here and there just because, or we reward their good and adorable behavior with it too! Begging is not always related to food either, sometimes it is an act to get more attention — this can become a bad habit because when the behavior is reinforced with food, of course, it is going to be reinforced in your dog to continue that behavior.  
  • Help your dog stay active.
Just as in humans, dogs need to stay active to keep a healthy weight. If your dog is gaining weight, exercise is a crucial piece in keeping them trim. Help stave the weight by giving them extra opportunities to shed the weight — go for extra long walks, throw the ball around a couple of more times each day, and take them to the dog park on the weekends. All dogs have different activity requirements that are pretty logical — larger dogs need more and smaller dogs need less. If you are curious about how much activity your dog needs, consult with your vet.
  • Think twice about table scraps and treats.
This bad habit is purely a result of the owner, and may be one of the toughest ones to break! Exercise pause when your dog gives you the extra big dotting eyes, and refrain from feeding them treats and food scraps. These things are similar to giving candy to children — you don’t do it for every little thing — so the same goes for your dog. If you are using treats for training, look for healthier food options, or consider a clicker for reinforcement. Work on keeping your dog healthy and fight the urge to treat them for everything.
  • Be proactive about their weight plan.
If you went to the vet and they put your dog on a food-restricted diet, ensure you are proactive and follow their recommendations. Measure their food and be consistent with this, as this is a healthy way to help control their weight.
  • Gradually transition to another dog food.
If your vet recommended a diet dog food, ease your dog into it instead of going cold turkey. A seven-day transition day is vet recommended and includes: Days 1 and 2: Feed your dog 75 percent of their old food and introduce 25 percent of their new food. Days 3 and 4: Add 50 percent of their new food and 50 percent of their old food. Days 5 and 6: Mix 75 percent of their new food with 25 percent of their old food. Day 7: Strive towards 100 percent of their new food!
  • Get creative with your dog’s food.
If you have sworn off dog treats for a while, you can still give them healthy and nutritious food that they will love! A couple times a week, cook for your dog. Prepare a meat, combine it with dog-friendly veggies, and mix it with a simple gravy or broth. This not only gives them a little treat, but it also is excellent for their gut health and any food sensitivities they may have. Cutting carbs can also be advantageous for your dog’s health, as most don’t need an influx of them. A large majority of commercial dog foods on the market are roughly 60 percent carbs, so talk with your vet about a higher protein, low-grain dog food option; this may also be helpful in weight loss and balance.
  • Be consistent.
Because you are the sole provider to your dog’s health, it is imperative that you are consistent in feeding them well, giving them proper exercise, and limiting their treats. Weight in dogs is very similar to humans, and research has found that dogs who lose weight are more likely to gain it back. If you can establish good habits and stay consistent you can set your dog up for success! If your dog is beginning to show the signs of gaining a little extra weight, be proactive and talk with your vet about how to guide your dog towards a healthy weight loss.

To schedule a visit from The Vet Set for a wellness consultation, connect with us today!

 

The Six Signs Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You Something (Part Two)

In part one of this series, we explored signs that your dog is trying to tell you something might be wrong, including behavior changes, digestive issues, pain, and changes in their skin and coat, and we’ll continue to expand the conversation in today’s post.   Pets are great at masking their symptoms and even better at pushing through the day even when there is something suspicious with their health. At VetSet, we want to help translate and communicate with you, through the various diagnostics we offer at our animal care clinic, the state of your pet’s health. Keep your best friend healthy, happy, and thriving by knowing the signs to look out for.

More Signs Your Dog is Trying to Communicate a Health Issue

The way we communicate with our dog is in body language — you know when your dog is happy and excited, as well as afraid and timid — but it can be difficult to spot when they are in pain or sick. Dogs are happy-go-lucky creatures and our best friends, so looking for subtle signs is the best way to determine if something may be wrong. Stay aware and know the signs! Drinking more water than usual. This may be hard to determine, especially since we’re just rolling out of the summer season where dogs typically drink more water, but you usually know what their “normal” is. If your dog is drinking an enormous amount of water, it could be an indication of a more serious health problem such as diabetes, kidney and liver issues, etc. It is important to notice this sign and take them to a skilled animal care clinic for an examination. Curbed appetite. There is no question about it, dogs love to eat. They love their kibble and they love the food that is dropped on the floor from time to time! If there is a sudden disruption in their eating habits and they stop eating, this can be an issue. Do not let the panic set in, and instead, try stimulating your dog’s appetite with a tasty treat you know they’ll love. If they still are not interested, schedule a visit with your vet. Sleeping more than usual. As your dog ages they will sleep more, so pay attention to exactly how much more they are sleeping. When dogs begin to sleep more than they are up and about, this could be a sign of osteoarthritis or hypothyroidism. It is important to take your dog to the vet and have them run tests to get an idea of what’s going on. At home, try and keep your dog up and active by going for walks or running around in your backyard. Dramatic weight loss. Whether your dog is at a normal weight or on the heavier side, if they suddenly lose weight, this could be as a result of a serious health issue. A rough guide is if your dog loses more than 10 percent, or in smaller dogs, more than one pound.   Bloodshot eyes. We can tell a lot from the eyes, and your dog’s eyes are no different. If you notice your dog has red, irritated eyes, this could be a sign of an eye trauma, glaucoma, allergies, or another underlying issue. You can try cleaning with a wet cloth around their eyes, but if they don’t clear up in a day or two, it’s wise to seek a vet’s opinion and expertise. Insatiable itching. Dogs will scratch an itch from time to time, but if they become obsessive and can’t seem to get rid of an itch despite incessant scratching, this is unusual. Compulsive itching could surface as allergies, parasites, anxiety, hormonal issues, or dry skin. Irritated skin is extremely uncomfortable, so help soothe your pooch by taking them to the vet right away. Excessive drooling or bad breath. When you talk about your dog, you usually talk about how cute they are or perhaps the tricks they can do — it is never about their great-smelling breath! If you notice your dog has worse breath than usual or are leaving drool puddles around the house, this could highlight a bigger issue. Your dog may have gum disease, or an oral tumor, diabetes, etc. Take out the guessing and get a clear and concise diagnosis from your vet. Shaking their head or scratching their ears...a lot. You will notice straight away if your dog is constantly shaking their head — it is unmistakable! Pair this with scratching their ears and your furry friend could have something going on in their ears. Get the final verdict at your animal care clinic! Eating a lot of grass. Your dog may eat just about everything, and eating grass seems harmless. Since dogs are carnivores, grass is something they do not typically consume. This doesn’t always indicate that something is wrong, but they will do this to instinctively to soothe their digestion, mitigate parasites, or get additional fiber. If their poop changes to a green color and they are eating a lot of grass, it might warrant a call to your local vet clinic. When we become aware of our dog’s habits, it is easier to notice if something is abnormal. Look for inconsistencies and changes in your dog’s behavior and habits. Schedule a visit from VetSet or make an appointment in our vet clinic in Carroll Gardens today!

The Six Signs Your Dog is Trying to Tell You Something (Part One)

Pet parents take on caring for their animals just as much as people care for their human children, but unlike kids, animals can’t verbally communicate to tell alert someone if something is wrong. Until a pet translator is invented, pet parent’s will have to rely on body language their pet provides to understand what’s going on.   Though every vet may not be like Dr. Doolittle, most have the skills and techniques to help us determine what’s going on in our pet’s health. At VetSet, our animal care clinic in Carroll Gardens provides a myriad of diagnostics, vaccinations, acupuncture, and dental services for your pet to ensure optimal health and wellness. Join us in today’s post about the signs that your dog may give when trying to tell you something. Listen and Look For Signs From Your Pet   Body language is the form of communication that we’re able to somewhat use to understand our pets and no one knows your dog better than you, so pay attention to the little things they may be telling you.   Below are some signs you may recognize that your pet is trying to tell you something.   Changes in Behavior If your pet is normally spunky in the morning and loves walks or waking up to fetch the newspaper with you and then suddenly is lethargic and unwilling to get up, this behavioral change could indicate something is wrong. Other indicators may be irritability or aggressiveness towards other pets and family members.   Digestive Issues   If your pet begins to have symptoms of diarrhea, loss of appetite, constipation, or vomiting, these are clear signs that something is up. Also, keep an eye on what their poop is saying such as bloody stool or abnormal colors — this could indicate issues in their abdomen. Dog bloat which is potentially life-threatening and can come with signs such as excessive drooling, dry heaves, restlessness, and a bloated belly.   Respiratory Concerns   If your dog is coughing, sneezing, or has abnormal discharge from their nose, this could indicate a respiratory issue or infection. If their breathing is labored or they’re wheezing, this sign should be taken very seriously. Also pay close attention if you have dogs with short snouts like pugs or bulldogs, as they’re more susceptible.   Pain   All dogs experience pain and discomfort at some point, but chronic pain and symptoms associated with it can indicate more serious problems. Signs to look for are stiffness when walking, a reluctance to jump or even walk, swelling in the bones and joints, becoming aggressive when a specific area is touched.   Changes in Elimination Habits   Trained dogs should have no problem going outside to go to the bathroom, but it’s when they begin urinating and defecating indoors where it could be a sign that there is an illness. When they’re constantly having to go outside this could be related to their kidneys, and if they have trouble passing stool this is could also be cause for concern.   Coat and Skin Appearance   If your dog’s coat is normally full and vibrant and it has recently retreated to being dull and patchy, this is one of the first signs something could be going on. And, if your dog also has red, irritated skin, or lumps check in with the vet so they can examine your dog and monitor them for any changes.   There are many signs that express something may be wrong whether they’re telling you through their behavior or in bodily changes. We have yet to explore the signs beyond digestive issues and pain, so stay tuned for part two!  

If you think your dog is trying to tell you something or you see physical changes in them, schedule an examination with us today!

 

Have You Considered Veterinarian Acupuncture For Your Pet?

You may be familiar with Chinese medicine and how it benefits people, but are you aware that pet acupuncture exists? Integrative veterinary medicine is guided very much in the same ways that complementary medicine or alternative medicine functions for humans, and pet acupuncture is a healing therapy used with great success.   At VetSet, our veterinarian clinic in Carroll Gardens offers pet acupuncture as a part of our veterinarian services to keep your pets healthy, happy, and thriving! Join us in today’s post as we explore the benefits of acupuncture for your pets!

Is There a Difference Between Pet Acupuncture and Acupuncture For People?

  Distilled, acupuncture is the insertion of tiny, hair-thin needles to a specific point in the body to cultivate a healing response, and each acupuncture point has an associated healing function when stimulated.   Acupuncture has been clinically studied in both humans and animals, and the research is advantageous, with both groups benefiting from this medical modality. The medical aspect of acupuncture when considering both humans and animals is the same; it’s the anatomy that is what changes!  

Is acupuncture safe for my pet?

  Acupuncture is an extremely safe form of medical treatment when performed by a trained vet. The animals feel virtually no pain with the needle insertion, and they typically become calm and sleepy following the treatment.   How do I know the vet is properly trained to perform pet acupuncture?   There are two very important criteria to look for when selecting a vet for acupuncture, including:  
  • The vet acupuncturist should also be a licensed veterinarian.
  • The vet should have training in the practice of pet acupuncture.
  Why go the route of acupuncture for my pet?   Veterinary acupuncture is great for animals much, in the same way, it’s healing to humans; try pet acupuncture to improve your pet’s overall health and wellness, including:  
  • Pain management - Acupuncture can stimulate the body’s own pain-relieving properties and support healthy inflammation management in animals.
 
  • Muscle relaxation - If you have a senior pet, acupuncture can help relax tired and tight muscles at a specific site or other distal locations, creating both localized and general pain relief in animals.
  • Supports circulation - Get blood flowing and tissue oxygenation with pet acupuncture. As things open and begin to move, it also assists in removing toxins and metabolic waste.
 
  • There are no side effects - Just as in western medicine, with prescription medications causing adverse side effects in people, so too do medications for pets. To steer clear of adverse side effects and protect your pet’s vital organs, acupuncture is an amazing alternative.
 
  • Acupuncture is complementary - Because acupuncture doesn’t interact with any medications or supplements your pet may be taking, it can be implemented as another form of treatment to address other health concerns your pet may have.
  A pet gets so many benefits from acupuncture, but it’s commonly used as a modality that fills in the gaps between traditional vet medicine, and can be the difference between getting surgery and not having to go that route!   What does pet acupuncture treat?   Pet acupuncture can be great for many health issues, including:
  • Musculoskeletal concerns - Common issues it can treat include arthritis, nerve issues, and intervertebral disk disease.
  • Respiratory issues - This includes feline asthma.
  • Gastrointestinal concerns - This includes diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Skin issues - This includes anything allergy related, granulomas, and dermatitis.
Pet acupuncture helps bridge the gap between illness and health, and it is safe and effective and treats a myriad of health issues in animals. Before embarking on this healing journey with your pet, always ensure your vet is trained and certified in this specialty.  

For more information on pet acupuncture or to schedule a service, connect with us today!

              

When Pets Need Medical Imaging

Just like humans, pets need medical imaging, too. Pet radiology is a diagnostic tool used to assess health issues in animals when the vet needs more information from symptoms such as vomiting, coughing, or limping, and is available in x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans. Medical imaging for pets is generally non-invasive and painless for pets.   It’s hard to see your pet in pain from an injury or symptom that just won’t pass. At VetSet, we offer comprehensive care at our animal clinic including medical imaging for pets. This type of diagnostic tool can be stressful for both you and your pet, so learn more about pet radiology in today’s post.

About Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging

  Medical imagery for pets is beneficial to their health and wellness because it can identify a concern not immediately apparent and provide clear, concise insight to the “whats and whys” of your pet’s symptoms. Pet medical imaging also gives timely diagnoses so your pet can receive better care, faster.  

Is veterinary medical imaging necessary for my pet?

  Your vet will always begin with an examination before they even decide on medical imaging, and may determine radiology is needed to collect additional information for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Vets will generally implement x-rays first, however other imaging such as an ultrasound may be needed for a better look in a specific area of the body.     The goal of medical imaging is to get the final diagnosis, if possible. The vet wants to reach a conclusion and start treating your pet just as much as you. However, depending on your pet’s case, they may need multiple tests before the final diagnosis. For example, if an MRI reveals a mass, your pet may need a follow up for a biopsy to conclude if it’s malignant or benign.   Is there ever sedation or anesthesia involved? Sedation or anesthesia all depends on the medical imaging being used and their overall comfort level. In most cases with pet radiology, nothing is needed because in the procedure in itself is painless, but if your pet is in pain from a possible broken leg there are options to make your pet more comfortable.   If your pet requires an MRI or CT scan, anesthesia is almost always used because your pet needs to remain absolutely still to get the images — any movement can mess up the image and render unclear and hard to read results.      What The Medical Diagnostics Are Used For Pet medical imaging is used for health issues to help a vet get a better picture of what’s going on and thus, a better, quicker timeline for treatment.   X-rays - These are the most common form of radiology used by vets and are used to help diagnose the following:  
  • Fractures
  • Pneumonia
  • Arthritis
  X-rays aren’t always the right option for certain diseases and conditions, so your vet may prefer other medical imaging based on your pet's symptoms. The radiation your pet is exposed to is minor, but talk with your vet if you have concerns.   Ultrasound - An ultrasound is also one of the most common types of medical imaging used on pets. An ultrasound is a high-frequency sound beam that is projected to a specific area on your pet’s body. These diagnostics are better for detecting abdominal issues and can be used complementary to x-rays for a more acute look in a distinct area.   CT Scans and MRIs - A CT scan is a type of x-ray that provides different slices of your pet’s body, and are great for determining issues in the joints, head, and chest. MRIs, unlike x-rays, implement radio waves and a magnetic field to creates images and are effective in finding changes in tissues and are better for detecting strokes, brain conditions, herniated discs, and spinal cord concerns.   There are times when a vet examination is inconclusive and vets need to gather more information to give you and your pet the correct diagnosis and treatment. Medical imaging and pet radiology does just this — it gives insight to the internal structures that can’t be seen, or sometimes felt, with just an examination.   If you think your pet needs a closer look, work with us at VetSet in Carroll Gardens.

We provide thorough pet services, including radiology. Schedule with us today!

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