Exploring The Great Outdoors With Your Dog! (Part Three)

In this last and final post about preparing your dog for the great outdoors, we’ll continue the conversation about hiking essentials and discuss potential trail hazards.   Do you want the best for your dog’s health but lead a busy life with jam-packed days? At VetSet, we’ve set out to help remedy this! We’re an animal clinic here to care for your pet and offer the utmost convenience with our mobile vet clinic that can meet you at your place! Help prepare your dog for the trails and schedule a wellness checkup before your next adventure!

More Essentials Your Dog Will Need For The Trail

  • Doggy lamp - Just like hikers have a headlamp to use after the sun goes down, it’s important for a dog to have light to alert other hikers and for your ability to keep tabs on them.
  • Dog coat - If you have a breed that is sensitive to temperature swings and low temperatures, it’s in good practice to carry a dog coat in case the temperatures drop.
  • Cool collar - If you’re hiking in extremely warm temperatures some dogs have a hard time regulating their temperatures, so a cooling collar will offer some relief. You can just soak the collar and wrap it around them or make a makeshift frozen one and weave the material into their already existing collar.  
  Learn About Trail Hazards   Not only can the heat be an issue, but the area may have animals and other creatures to be wary of, in addition to poisonous plant life. It’s important to educate yourself on these dangers and have a plan on what to do if you encounter a poisonous snake or skunk.   Your furry friend is just as vulnerable to dangers on the trail as any human, but what makes it even more dangerous for them, is they can’t recognize a threat nor communicate with you to tell you if anything is wrong. Be alert and aware of the following:  
  • Animals - If you run into wildlife such as porcupines or skunks, the best defense is creating a barrier with your leash or pack. Ticks are also a huge concern even when symptoms don’t manifest in dogs compared to humans, but it’s important to do a tick check after your excursion.
  • Overestimating your dog - There is a fine line between overestimating your dog's abilities and pushing them too far, and pushing them just enough. Monitor your dog’s heart rate and panting and watch to see if it normalizes during rest periods. If they have a hard time calming, you may want to consider shortening your hike or time more breaks. Limping and laying down are other signs that your dog is having a hard time coping with the hiking conditions.
  • Heat stroke and heat exhaustion - The most common signs of heat stroke in dogs is excessive panting, collapsing, convulsions, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect heat stroke, promptly move your dog to a shaded area and pour water on them to help them cool down, in addition to giving them water to drink. Let your dog rest, and when they’re able, head back out and call your vet clinic when you get back into town.  
  • Safety in the water - Before you hike, test your dog's water skills. Can they swim, and for how long? If your dog has any issues with swimming and you’re going to a spot with a large body of water, pack a doggy life vest and a towel to dry them off afterward. Even if your dog is an amazing swimmer, letting them roam near a rushing river in whitewater territory is an easy way for your dog to get swept away.
  • Plants - It’s always wise to educate yourself of the dangerous plants in your area, but a general rule is to stop the chewing before your dog has a chance to swallow it. Common plants such as poison oak, sumac, ivy, and nettles will all cause issues for both you and your dog. Burrs and thorns can be nuances on the trail, but foxtails are ones to watch for. They are barbed seed pods that can become embedded in fur, between toes, ears, eyes, the nasal cavity, and genitals. If you notice your dog has excessive head shaking, sneezing, or eye discharge there is a good chance your dog has foxtails. While it’s uncomfortable for your dog, it’s important to turn around because they can be fatal and work their way towards organs.
  • Pathogens in the water - Dogs are vulnerable to water pathogens just as humans, so it’s imperative to keep your dog from questionable water sources, or if in the backcountry, treat your water for you and your dog.
  While most dogs are ready and able to conquer peaks and take a dip in a cool and refreshing lake, sometimes as owners we assume they’ll be fine and subject them to dangerous situations unintentionally. With a little preparation in trail training, packing, and knowing the trail hazards you can protect your dog, all while having an amazing hiking experience.      Keeping you dog safe on the trail is done by packing trail essentials and learning about trail hazards, but at VetSet, it’s our job to ensure their safety before you head out and explore the great outdoors.

Make an appointment with us today for your dog’s wellness! Too busy? That’s perfect, we have a mobile vet clinic that can come to you!


Exploring The Great Outdoors With Your Dog! (Part Two)

In the first part of this series, we looked at breeds that may not be ideal for a hike in the great outdoors couple of tips to follow before you embark on your trail training, and why it’s important to schedule a visit to your local animal care clinic to ensure the health and safety of your dog.   VetSet is a premiere veterinary clinic that provides convenience to all in our state-of-the-art mobile vet clinic! Our vet mobile comes to you so we can discuss and perform vet services to keep your pooch healthy and happy! Follow along in this second part post that covers doggy gear and the essentials you will need for your next adventure.

The Importance of Trail Etiquette

  Why trail etiquette and obedience matters on the trail - When you’re on the trail you are in control of your dog, and although they seem well behaved at home or at the dog park, it can be a different story when they're out in the great wide open. Make sure your dog listens to you and is able to follow your command when other dogs, horses, and people are on the trail. One of the biggest laws of the land is to leave no trace, and this includes your dog too! Always pack poop bags and pack filled ones out with you. It’s in poor taste to leave them out for someone else to pick up, and they also begin to smell the longer they bake in the sun.    

Don’t Forget The Vet!

  The trail awaits, but always check in with your vet to ensure your pooch is ready and healthy enough to crush the trails.   When you’re at the vet clinic ask the following questions:   Is my dog physically able and ready for the trek? Some vets recommend that you wait a certain amount of time before setting out on a long hike because their bones may not be fully developed. Usually dogs reach this at a year, but it all depends on other factors such as their size and breed.   Will my dog need any preventative medications or vaccinations? City life is good to a dog because they don’t have to worry about much, but once you get beyond civilization and they take a drink of contaminated water, they can easily contract giardia or leptospirosis. Be sure to ask you vet about any prevention tips!   Is my dog’s immune system hardy enough? Depending on your dog’s age, they may still be developing their immune system so it’s important to not only give them time to develop immunities but keep to their vaccination schedule before exposing them to the trails.   Get the gear Just as you likely wear a backpack or hydration pack, your dog needs supplies too! Find a pack that fits well, distributes the weight evenly, and isn’t too heavy for your dog. If your dog has never worn a pack, before your hike put it on and let them wear it around to help get them acquainted. One of the best features to look for on a pack is a top handle, if you have any close encounters with them falling off a ledge or into the water, you can quickly reach down and grab ahold.     Do you know how to fit a pack for you dog?   Fitting your dog’s pack is a pretty easy endeavor, simply measure the around the widest part of your dog’s rib cage and find a pack that fits the measurements. Then adjust all the straps so they fit snug around your dog, but with enough room so your dog can still breathe. Too loose of pack will fall or cause paining chafing.   Pack a doggy first-aid kit!   The outdoors can be dangerous and you can’t carry your vet in your dog’s pack, so prepare a doggy first-aid kit. Consult with your vet on the best things to pack, but it’s common to pack an old sock as a paw bandage. Some owners will also pack an electrolyte supplement in case their dog gets diarrhea on the trail. Again, talk with you vet about the best first aid options for your dog.   Plan the essentials wisely   Food and water are crucial to a successful trip. It’s important to pack enough water and food so your dog can rehydrate and refuel as needed. Common items include:  
  • Water bowl - There are many packable options of water containers that can be carried by you or in your dog’s pack, including collapsible bowls that quickly open and close for a quick water break. If you’re going to be on the trail all day you can use the rule of thumb that larger dogs drink about half an ounce to one ounce of water per pound per day, and smaller dogs drink about one and half ounces per pound per day. Always monitor their nose, if it’s dry, your dog may be under hydrated.
  • Dog booties - Get with your vet and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of dog booties. If you’re training with your dog properly their paws will toughen up over time so booties usually aren’t needed, but if you’re hiking extremely sharp, thorny, or snowy trails, booties maybe a good option.
  There are many doggy essentials to pack for beyond a water bowl and dog booties! Stay tuned for the third and final part about adventuring with you furry friend!   At VetSet, we want your hiking experience to been one full of awesome memories made with your pooch!

Make sure they’re healthy and ready to hike and schedule a mobile vet appointment with us today!


Exploring The Great Outdoors With Your Dog! (Part One)

When you enter into relationship with your furry best friend you likely want to take them everywhere — from touring local breweries to the office — where you lead, they follow! The great outdoors are no different, but there are a few more things you have to plan and prepare for before taking them on a long hike or backpacking excursion.      Having a trusted furry sidekick to navigate life with gives a different lens to the world — dogs naturally make you kinder and more friendly — so entrusting them as a hiking companion isn’t all that uncommon. At VetSet, it’s important to have all the information before you head out, and before you go, consider visiting your local vet clinic to make sure you pooch is healthy enough to go! Join us in today’s post as we explore how to get your dog equipped for the great outdoors!

Breeds That May Have a Hard Time in The Outdoors

  There are some breeds that may have a hard time keeping up on the trail so always take them out for a longer walk first, and talk with your vet about the risks.  
  • Age - Age plays a role in whether your dog has the stamina for a long hike. Both dogs that are young and old may have difficulty.
  • Brachycephalic breeds - We all know and love these short-snouted dogs such as pugs, Boston terriers, and boxers. Because they have shortened muzzles and narrowed nasal passages, it can make hiking quite dangerous as they’re prone to heat exhaustion and overdoing it.
  • Highly sensitive breeds - If your dog is highly sensitive to scents such as blood hounds or have a high prey drive, trails can be overwhelming for them. While you can train your dog with sound to obey whistles or verbal commands, it’s easy for them to get caught up in scents and sounds and run off.
  • Breeds with health issues - If your dog has a special need or is on a medication, they may not be suited for the wilderness. For additional advice on whether your dog can hike, inquire with your local animal clinic.
  Before You Hit The Trail   If you’ve ever been on the trail and noticed a dog struggling or lagging far behind deeply panting, they’re probably not having a great time and not ready for that long or hard of trek. It’s important to be a good owner and prepare your dog before the initial trail hike.   You can start a trail training schedule by easing into hiking trails. Begin by going out for 30 minutes to an hour, and monitor how your dog does. Are they wiped for the rest of the day or are they spunky and ready for more? If afterwards, they’re still lively with energy to spare, go out for a longer hike the next time. Treat this training like you would training for a marathon — accomplish one goal at a time and keep expanding from there. It’s always good to go slower too because it will help strengthen and toughen their paws to adapt to the terrain.       

Check With Your Vet

  Before the hike consult with your vet on whether the hike is appropriate or if they have any concerns. It’s also important to work through basic obedience and trail etiquette beforehand and begin with easy walks and hikes before tackling a more strenuous one.   The company of your furry best friend by your side as you bag peaks and meander through fields of wildflowers makes your hiking experience that much better. Beyond checking that your dog can handle the adventure you’re both about to embark on, there is a much more information to ensure that the adventure is safe and fun. Stay tuned for part two as we dive into what to talk with your vet about before the trek, and explore the essentials that your dog will need.   At Vet Set in Carroll Gardens, we provide empathetic and high-quality veterinary care for all the animals in the area. Our vet clinic is staffed with the best of the best — those who have graduated from the top veterinary schools in the country and who value continuing education in our field.  

Take advantage of our mobile vet services and schedule with us today!


Debunking the Top 10 Myths About Heartworm Part 2

There are so many dangerous myths out there about heartworm disease.

Heartworm is an incredibly serious disease, and it’s important for pet owners to take it seriously and take steps to prevent their pet from contracting it. However, there are many myths out there that can mislead pet owners and put their pets at risk. In our last blog, our animal hospital in Carroll Gardens set out to debunk the most common myths about heartworm. Keep reading to learn the truth about a few more myths.

Myth #6. You can use natural remedies to prevent heartworm.

There are lots of great ways to reduce your pet’s risk of heartworm naturally by reducing their risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes. Things, like eliminating standing water and using pet-safe insecticides and repellents, can help to keep your pet safe. However, none of these things can prevent your pet from getting infected with heartworm disease if they do get bit. According to the experts, avoidance and repellents are excellent additions to preventatives, but they should not replace them.

Myth #7. Heartworm disease is contagious.

Heartworm disease cannot be spread from pet to pet or from pet to person. So if you’re worried that your pet will get heartworm by hanging around another pet that has been diagnosed, don’t be. Heartworm disease also cannot be transmitted to humans from our pets. The only way that pets get heartworm disease is when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. If the pet who has been bitten is not on a heartworm preventative, the heartworm larvae will multiply and mature, eventually damaging the lungs and heart.

Myth #8. Heartworm prevention is too expensive and inconvenient.

When it comes to heartworm disease, you’ll find that prevention is a much more cost-effective method than treatment. Depending on the brand of preventative you use, you’ll probably only have to pay between five and 15 dollars per month, and you’ll be doing your part to protect your pet’s quality of life. Heartworm treatment, on the other hand, can cost up to 10 times the cost of heartworm preventative for an entire year. And, as far as convenience goes, giving your pet a heartworm preventative doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You can give your pet a monthly chewable, and there are even bi-annual injections available as well.

Myth #9. Only pets who live in the south need heartworm preventative.

When people think of mosquitoes, they often think of humid southern states, like Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas, but the reality is that mosquitoes exist throughout the whole of the United States. What’s even more surprising is that mosquitoes are actually quite common in big cities. In fact, New York City is listed as one of the top 20 worst cities in the United States for mosquitoes. Here in Carroll Gardens, it’s essential that your pet is on a heartworm preventative, and that’s true no matter where you live.

Myth #10. It’s okay to skip doses of preventative every once in a while.

Most people think that heartworm disease prevents a pet from being infected with heartworm disease, but in all actuality, it works by killing and eliminating the larvae after a pet is infected, preventing it from developing into adult heartworms. It only takes about 51 days for heartworm larvae to reach maturity, and by that point, they cannot be effectively eliminated with preventative medications. It’s incredibly important to always ensure that you give your pet their heartworm medication on time every month because late or missed dose could give the larvae enough time to fully mature. Stop believing the myths about heartworm disease and start taking the appropriate steps to keep your pet healthy. Schedule your appointment with The Vet Set today!

Debunking the Top 10 Myths About Heartworm

When it comes to heartworm, there are many myths that need to be debunked.

Heartworm is a disease that is transferred to pets when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes, and it can be incredibly serious. Unfortunately, there are many myths out there about heartworm that lead people to believe that preventative measures are unnecessary, and this puts pets at risk. That’s why your premier Carroll Gardens’ animal hospital has set out to help you discover the truth about the most common heartworm myths.

Myth #1. Cats don’t get heartworm.

While it’s true that, compared to cats, dogs are certainly at a higher risk for getting heartworm, this doesn’t mean that cats are immune. When cats are exposed to heartworm larvae, around 75 percent become infected, which is certainly better odds than the 100 percent of dogs that will become infected, but the odds still aren’t great. Additionally, there are fewer heartworm treatment options for cats than there are for dogs, which means that prevention is the best and easiest way to keep both dogs and cats healthy.

Myth #2. Heartworm disease is only a concern during the summer.

Because heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, and mosquitoes are most prevalent during the summer, many pet owners don’t believe that they have to worry about heartworm disease throughout the fall and winter, but that’s simply not the case. The fact of the matter is that it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict when mosquitoes will appear, and that’s becoming even more difficult with warming climates that extend the active season for mosquitoes. When it comes to your pet’s health, never take a chance.

Myth #3. Only outdoor pets are at risk for getting heartworm.

Pets who spend most of their time outside, particularly those who spend their time by the water, are certainly at a higher risk than pets who spend all of their time inside. But, this doesn’t mean that keeping your pets inside is a surefire way to eliminate the risk altogether. Whether it be through an open door or window, or through air leaks in the home, infected mosquitoes can find their way inside and make your indoor pet sick. In fact, around a quarter of all cats that have been diagnosed with heartworm disease are indoor cats.

Myth #4. If your pet is on a preventative, there’s no need to get them tested for heartworm.

Heartworm preventatives are very effective, but that doesn’t means that they are 100-percent foolproof 100 percent of the time. Furthermore, even the best and most attentive pet owners can sometimes forget to give their pet a dose of their heartworm preventative. Getting your pest tested for heartworm every year ensures that the preventative is working as it should be.

Myth #5. Heartworm disease is not all that serious.

Contrary to popular belief, heartworm is a devastating disease that can be potentially fatal if it’s left untreated. It impacts the lungs and heart, and it can cause permanent damage to the pulmonary blood vessels. If heartworm is not treated, it can lead to heart failure in dogs and lung disease in cats. Not only can heartworm be fatal, but for pets that do survive, it can have a major impact on their quality of life.

Is your pet due for a heartworm test?

Regardless of whether or not your pet is on a heartworm preventative, it’s important to get them tested every year. This is also the perfect time for our veterinarian to examine your pet to make sure they are as healthy as possible. Schedule your appointment with us at The Vet Set today. In our next blog, we’ll be debunking a few more myths about heartworm disease, so make sure that you stay tuned!

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