Supportive Herbs For Cats

Alternative therapies for pets are becoming more researched and adopted by veterinarians because of their efficacy and as another choice to surgery and pharmaceuticals. Cats, just like any creature, come with their own unique host of health issues, and herbs are a supportive way to keep your cat feeling their best!   In addition to our pet wellness services, The Vet Set specializes in alternative treatments, such as pet acupuncture. If you have been searching for alternative options to keep your cat healthy, learn more about how herbs can address frequent kitty troubles.

Herbs For Kitties

  There are a host of beneficial herbs that will support your cat’s health, and below are the more common herbs available.   Marshmallow   Marshmallow — not the kind you make a mean s’more with — is an a great herb to incorporate for overall wellness in your cat. It can both restore and soothe mucus membranes, also known in the herb world as a demulcent. Its mucilage contains a sticky polysaccharide that coats and creates a barrier so the tissue can heal while being protected. Our feline friends are subject to chronic bronchitis, GI issues, and cystitis — all which can be soothed with marshmallow.   Marshmallow also has a very plain neutral flavor that can be mixed into food or given straight to your cat.   Cranberry   Cranberry is another superstar herb when it comes to urinary support for your cat. A compound called D-mannose found in cranberry draws the bacteria to it and is flushed out when the cat urinates. This keeps the bacteria from reproducing and balanced in the body — steering away from a full-blown UTI. Vitamin C is also found in cranberry and it is known to make the urine more acidic, which makes the environment less favorable to bacteria to hang around in.   Saw Palmetto   Cat’s are notorious for having litter box issues stemming from their urinary tract. Male cats get obstructions, or urinary blockage. This condition is condition is considered a pet emergency by vets, so prevention is imperative. Prevention may be found in saw palmetto. This herb has antiseptic, diuretic, and antispasmodic mechanisms, so cats with urinary issues can be supported by this herb.   Ginkgo Biloba   This herb is used for memory and brain support in humans and is just as helpful for senior cats that need a little extra love and attention. The myth about cats having nine lives is becoming more and more true over time because cats are living longer than they ever have.   Ginkgo’s brain-boosting properties come from its ability to impact blood flow in the brain. It increases blood flow and circulation making it advantageous for stroke, asthma, and eye issues. Hawthorn   When cats are sick, it is very hard to determine if anything is wrong because they rarely display signs — heart damage is no different. When you can finally identify an issue, it may be too late — vet diagnostics often reveal serious heart damage. The herb hawthorn supports heart health to increase contraction and decrease irregular heart beats (arrhythmia). It can also relax the blood vessels to allow the blood to move more fluidly, making the heart work more efficiently.   Dandelion This is the same herb that grows in your yard that you consider a weed, but it is highly beneficial for your cat’s tummy health. If your cat is having constipation issues, dandelion acts as a laxative and supports healthy digestion in cats! It works with both the liver and gallbladder — organs your cat needs for good digestion.   Your kitty’s health is important and as a pet owner, you want to do everything you can to ensure that they are happy and healthy. Herbs are an addition for your cat’s health and are extremely supportive when used correctly!  

Herb Safety in Cats

  The herbs above have a long history in their uses and functions, and are considered safe when used properly. It is important to note that when you decide to give your cat anything new — herbal or not — it is always a good idea to consult with your vet beforehand. Herbs are natural, but they can interfere with other animal medications.  

To learn more about alternative treatments including herbs for cats, connect with The Vet Set today!  

 

Are Artificial Scents Making Your Pet Sick?

When you think of artificial scents you don’t often think of candles, air fresheners, or laundry products, but they are some of the biggest offenders. As you move throughout your day, you may light a candle or spray an air freshener to make your home smell “clean” and desirable, and you may wash your laundry in a citrus scent because it reminds you of your childhood. Scents are nostalgic and they are tied to memories, but they may be making your pet sick.   The Vet Set wants to arm you with the leading pet care information so you can keep your loved, furry best friends healthy and safe! Learn more about how common artificial scents subject your pet to an illness. Don’t let “natural” scents deceive you.  

The Scents That Don’t Make Sense

  A majority of your household cleaning products are not natural and can actually cause more harm than good. Take a look at your products right now, what do you see? There is probably a long list of chemicals and the word “fragrance” will likely appear. Little do you know, that the “fragrance” added is not regulated nor tested by any agency and can contain any synthetic scent.   The National Academy of Sciences also supports the risks of artificial fragrances in these facts: 95 percent of fragrances are from petroleum - This includes derivatives of benzene, aldehydes, and toluene — all which are linked to cancer, birth defects, allergic reactions, and central nervous system issues.   Our favorite and nostalgic scents are found in our health and beauty products and cleaning products.   Being infiltrated with these scents are harmful to humans, so it is understood that they are also harmful to our pets.  

How Artificial Scents Affect Your Pet

  A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group tested 43 household chemicals, and discovered that pets have higher levels of the chemicals in their bodies than humans! So how does this happen — pets don’t shower or use cleaning products on a daily basis?   There are two pathways in which pets absorb fragrance.   Pets come into contact with these harmful chemicals through inhalation and rubbing against people’s clothing or skin.   When your pet inhales these scents, it is absorbed into their bloodstream and once it is there, it touches every organ in their body.   The physical exchange of pets rubbing against you or your clothing, bed sheets, towels, etc, allow the particles to attach to their coat after a nice belly rub and scratches behind their ears — in addition to absorbing the scent through smell when they are nearby.   Just think of the items you are using — you wouldn’t just smell a dryer sheet or spray air freshener right in front of your face because it is pungent and strong — used to coat your laundry or your house in a specific smell.   When your pet is repeatedly exposed to these smells and chemicals, there are more likely to get irritated skin or allergies. Keep in mind, you wouldn’t readily allow your pet to ingest these products, but it is essentially the same thing when they inhale it.   What are the symptoms of a fragrance reaction?   When pets come into contact with synthetic fragrances and chemicals, their bodies will begin to react with increased sneezing and eye and nasal discharge. Long-term exposure can also affect their immune and digestive system, in addition to musculoskeletal concerns. It is not uncommon for pets to develop cancer or organ failure as a result of an overexposure to toxic fragrances in their environment.  

How To Address Artificial Fragrances and Your Pet

  To avoid synthetic fragrances that cause harm your pet, you may want to ditch all of your conventional products to items that are indeed all-natural. You can always go for the fragrance-free variety, or the best way to spot natural ingredients is to look for products scented with essential oils and avoid those with the verbiage “fragrance.” Making your own cleaning products is also beneficial because you know exactly what is being put into them and you can use superstar natural cleaning agents such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar.   Keep your house a toxic-free zone and improve the health of your pet by switching to natural or home-made cleaning products.  

To learn more about our services at The Vet Set reach out and schedule an appointment today!

      

How to Spot Vision Loss in Pets

Just as their human companions, our forever-ageless pets do indeed age. And, although they still bound and jump for joy chasing a squirrel or harassing the birds, our pets do experience failing eyesight as they get older.   Watching your pet age and slow down can be a somber time, and that is why The VetSet is here by your side in every part of the journey — from youngster to the senior years. Whether you need a wellness exam or a vision test, we can help you with the myriad of pet services we offer. Gather your pet and join us in today’s post on vision loss in pets.

How To Spot Vision Loss

There are many reasons and conditions that can cause vision loss in your pet, and it is important to identify them so they don’t hurt themselves, and so you can modify your home to provide them a better quality of life.

What are the vision conditions that affect pets?

Pets experience vision loss due to the following conditions:
  • Glaucoma - Pressure on the eyes and optic nerve that may result in blindness.
  • Cataracts - You can spot cataracts in pets by a cloudy appearance in their eyes, directly behind the iris.
  • Retinal Degeneration (SARDS and PRA) - SARDS affects the light-sensing cells in the eyes and can cause blindness quite rapidly, while PRA is similar, but is less progressive.
  • Eye Trauma - This can result from an accident that causes trauma to their eye, such as running into a branch or getting hit by a car.
You may notice your pet’s sight start to go with very visible signs, and below are some at-home tests you can use to help determine if they are suffering from vision loss. It is always important to keep notes on their changes in behavior or any physical signs, so when you do schedule an appointment with a vet, you can help them better understand what has been happening. Pets will often rub their eyes, squint, or have irritated, red eyes if there is an issue present. Note how your dog maneuvers your home. If your dog begins to run into things seemingly out of the blue or is having an increase of accidents inside your home, they may be losing their vision. They may not know where they are, so they can tend to bump into the kitchen table or are not be able to find their pet door to go outside for the bathroom.   Watch for clumsiness. It may be cute if your pet stumbles around the backyard like the town drunk, but there comes a time when their clumsiness is much more than endearing. They may be having a hard time knowing where the stairs are or the uneven ground they keep tripping on in the garage. If this behavior increases to a daily basis, it is time for a wellness and vision checkup for your vet. Watch for increased startling or apprehension. If your pet begins to startle easily from loud noises, or things falling close by that they should have seen or become afraid of strangers inside your home, they may not be able to see events or people and need to get their vision addressed in the animal clinic.

Vet Checkups for Vision Loss in Pets

If you suspect vision loss in your pet, taking them in to the animal clinic is the next step. The vet will oversee a thorough exam to determine that it is, in fact, a vision loss in your pet. They will run a series of blood work, CT scans, neurological exams, a cerebral spinal fluid test, and an eye exam. The course of treatment will depend on your pet’s diagnosis, and while vision loss is often permanent, your pet will still be able to adjust and live a happy, fulfilling life.

How can I help my pet adjust to their new disability?

It is important to tackle this issue head-on and avoid pitting or babying your pet because this just prolongs the adjustment period. You can do small things such as picking your pet up to say hello and being sure to put them exactly where they were, same direction and all. You can also help guide them with your voice at entrances and exits. Pets also do well with schedules, so ensure you are feeding your dog at the same time every day. With there food bowls in the same place; even putting textures in certain areas such as stickers or mats can help them reorient themselves with their environment. Dogs with vision loss still need plenty of exercise, so begin by walking them the same route everyday to keep their stress levels minimal and the area familiar with the same smells and sounds.   It is easy to feel sorry for your pet and their vision loss, but it is imperative you keep a cheery and positive demeanor and remain encouraging. Many pets go on to live long and healthy lives with a vision impairment.

For more information on our wellness checkups, connect with us today!

Sleep and Your Dog

How Much Sleep Should Your Dog Get, Anyway?

Sleep is a universal aspect that we humans have in common with our dogs, but unlike our best friends, we can’t spend the day tucked away beneath the our beds dreaming of the squirrels we almost caught or the long walk we get to take later in the day! We know exactly how sleep we need to be functioning and productive humans, but how much sleep do dogs really need? You may find yourself searching the term “veterinarian near me,” but at The Vet Set, we’re ready and willing to come to you for all of your pet care needs — from DA2PP vaccinations to alternative pet care treatments. Learn more about your dog’s sleep requirements in today’s post!

How Much Sleep Does Your Dog Need

Your dog may spend the majority of their day snoozing away, but do they really need all that rest? It is not uncommon for a dog to spend half of the day napping, with another 30 percent reserved for being awake but just casually lounging, to 20 percent being awake and active. The amount of sleep your dog requires depends on a couple of factors such as:
  • Health status - Sleeping is crucial to your dog’s health and is a normal routine of any canine. If you are a new dog owner and you catch your dog dozing off a lot, don't be alarmed, this is completely normal. Sleep only becomes an issue when their sleep patterns change rapidly — if they are sleeping even more than usually and it is coupled with odd behavior, you may want to consider a checkup at the vet clinic.
  • Age - In a 24-hour sleeping cycle, your dog will spend 12 to 14 hours — give or take — sleeping. Senior dogs will sleep more, simply because they require more. As they age, getting up and down the stairs becomes increasingly more difficult, so they need to recoup and sleep more to regain their normal sprite!
  • Size - While all dogs sleep, larger breeds often require more sleep because they are bigger — they simply use more energy.
  • Activity level and breed - Depending on what your dog was bred to do, this will affect how much sleep they need. Working and hunting dogs will sleep less, because essentially, they are “on the job.” Imagine if a service dog just decided to take a nap while leading a person who is blind down a busy street, or a hunting dog who enjoys naps in the cool, long grass instead of fetching prey? These dogs have tasks to keep them awake and active, so naturally they’ll sleep less. Dogs who don’t have a specific purpose will sleep more.
  • Life events - Dogs are sensitive creatures, and if they experience a loss or traumatic event, they too, will react. Any changes in their normal environment will cause them to sleep more.

How Do Dog’s Sleep

A dog’s sleep is much like ours — in the first part their heart rate and breathing slows and their blood pressure lowers. Within 10 minutes they enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep — this is the stage of sleep owners gush over as we see their paws moving or hear a quiet bark in attempts to finally catch that squirrel! Dogs spend about 10 percent of their total sleep time in REM (humans about 25 percent), and it differs pretty dramatically because of their erratic sleep schedules. Because dogs are adaptable creatures, can fall asleep just about anywhere, and can also be woken up and alert in seconds, they do require more sleep than us as a result of missing out on the REM stage of sleep. Dogs sleep in short bursts, whereas we — hopefully — get one straight eight hour span.

Can dogs get sleeping disorders?

Sleep disorders, while uncommon, do affect dogs. Dogs can suffer from sleep disturbances as:
  • Narcolepsy - If your dog is sleeping an enormous amount that can’t be explained from the other factors listed above, your dog could have narcolepsy. This sleep issue happens when your dog falls into a deep sleep (REM) and has partial or complete muscle paralysis.
  • Insomnia - It is hard to a imagine a dog having insomnia, right? Dogs can get insomnia as a result of other health issues including allergies, arthritis, and kidney and thyroid concerns.
  • Sleep apnea - Dogs too can have sleep apnea! Like in humans, if your dog has loud snoring that wakes them up, this could indicate the sleep issue. Because your dog’s breathing becomes compromised when they are sleeping, the body wakes itself up as a form of self-preservation. If you notice behavior changes in your dog and they are overly tired or fatigued, talk to your vet about this condition.
Sleep is just as important for dogs as it is for humans, but it looks a little different based on the breed, age, health, and other factors of your pooch.

For more information about how we can assist you in your pet’s wellness, schedule an appointment with us today!

Human Food That Is Harmful to Your Dog

In our last post, we covered extensively common fruits and veggies that are both beneficial and harmful to your dog. In today's post, we will take a look at other foods that seem harmless but can cause health issues for your dog. Being a good dog owner takes a lot of responsibility, it is just like taking care of a kid! With The Vet Set, we can make things less complicated by coming to you! Schedule anything from DAA2P vaccinations to a weight management consultation. Join us in today’s post as we look at additional foods to keep your dog away from.

Foods You Should Never Give Your Dog

There are varying opinions of the human foods you should and shouldn’t give your dog, but all vets agree that there are some you should completely avoid. Chocolate - Dogs should never eat chocolate, no matter who tells you it is safe. Chocolate contains a compound called methylxanthines and it speeds up their metabolic processes. A small amount will stimulate their bowels, while large amounts will cause irregular heartbeats, seizures, and possible death. If your dog accidentally consumes chocolate, ensure you call your emergency vet immediately. Cinnamon - This naturally sweet spice should be avoided. Cinnamon has properties that can make your dog very uncomfortable by irritating the inside of their mouths. It is also known to lower blood sugar, and in a dog, this leads to heart rate issues, vomiting, diarrhea, and potential liver disease. Garlic - If it is a part of the allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, and chives) it should be avoided. That being said, garlic is five times more toxic than all of the other allium family members. Garlic can cause anemia, an increased heart rate, collapsing, and weakness. If your dog gets a bit of garlic, be sure to visit the vet. Even if your dog seems fine, garlic has a delayed effect and won’t manifest right after consumption. Ice cream - This dairy delight is not good for dogs. Most dogs have a sensitivity to dairy, and combined with its high sugar content, this spells a night of cleaning up after them! If you want to give your dog a frozen treat, try instead, freezing chunks of fruit. Macadamia nuts - These nuts are one of the most poisonous foods for dogs to eat! They are a part of the Proteaceae family that causes vomiting, an inability to walk,  an increased temperature, and extreme fatigue. Beer - Every once in a while, someone gives a beer to a dog, so is it harmful? Yes, beer is harmful to dogs. Hops, which is a primary ingredient in beer, are highly toxic to dogs.

Foods You Can Treat Your Dog With

Eggs - As long as the eggs are fully cooked, they are great for dogs to eat. They are a good source of protein and contain beneficial vitamins and minerals to help them maintain a healthy coat. Fish - Dogs love fish and they are safe for them to eat! Fish contains healthy fats and calcium to keep your dog healthy. Remember to always cook the fish and remove any larger bones that can pose a choking hazard. Keep fish a treat and limit it to once or twice per week. Peanuts and peanut butter - This is a timeless treat for dogs that provides protein and healthy fats. The best kind of peanut butter for your dog is one where there is no sugar or salt added — just peanuts. Popcorn - This is a fun snack, great for throwing up in the air and having your dog catch! Make sure the popcorn is fully cooled and there are no unpopped kernels that can cause a choking hazard. Pork - Pork is a great protein option for dogs, but does contain more calories than other meats. It is also known to be a good choice for dogs who have food sensitivities because it is less likely to cause a histamine response. Turkey - Turkey is another good protein option for dogs, but always it is plain and has any excess fat and skin removed before giving it to your dog. If the turkey comes straight from the carcass, be sure to remove the bones. Bones can splinter in digestion and result in tears or blockages.   Wheat/grains - This food group gets a bad reputation because it is what composes a majority of dog foods on the market — dogs can eat grains, but they don’t need too many. Too many grains can lead to weight gain in dogs, which is why they should be limited. Wheat and grains, in small quantities, are great for dogs if they don’t have any sensitivity to them. Bread with peanut butter is a great treat or snack, or corn mixed with a little bit of chicken. Cottage cheese - Some dogs have more trouble digesting lactose in dairy products, so ensure your dog doesn’t have a sensitivity before feeding it to them. Cottage cheese is a very versatile treat, and owners will often put it in a kong dog toy mixed with peanut butter, and then freeze it for a something that is both a puzzle and a treat for your dog! Food can be helpful or harmful to your dog, and, it is critical as a responsible dog owner to know which foods those are. Chocolate and macadamia nuts? Not so much. Turkey and popcorn? Perfectly safe! Have fun with your pooch and reward them with delicious treats that don’t harm their health.

To schedule an appointment with us or to ask us about more food options, connect with us today!

 

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