How to Protect Your Dog in the Winter

Winter can bring unique challenges for dogs and their owners.

When most of us think of the effects of the cold weather, we think about turning up the thermostats in our homes, taking steps to prevent the pipes from freezing and bundling up in our warmest winter wear when we leave the house. But, what most of us don’t think about is how the cold weather affects our dogs. After all, dogs have warm fur coats, so they don’t need any special care or attention during the winter, right? Wrong! The cold affects our four-legged friends in so many different ways. And, when you’re out walking your dog on a cold, blustery, New York City day, there are certain precautions you’ll need to take to protect your pooch. Here is a list of tips from our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens to help you protect your dog this winter:

#1. Make sure your dog is warm and dry as much as possible.

Even though your dog is covered in fur, it doesn’t make them immune to the cold. Of course, some breeds handle the cold weather better than others, but in general, if the temperature outside is too cold for you, there’s a good chance that it’s also too cold for your dog. If you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, and your dog is a shorter-haired breed, like a Greyhound or a Chihuahua, consider investing in a jacket or sweater to keep them cozy and warm. And, when you come inside after playing in the snow, help your dog warm up quicker by toweling them off.

#2. Don’t force your dog to stay outside for too long.

When the weather is really nasty out, don’t force your dog to spend too much time outside. Even dogs that have been bred to pull sleds in the coldest parts of the world, such as Malamutes, Huskies, Chinooks and Samoyeds, aren’t meant to stay outside in the cold indefinitely. So, limit your dog’s time outside to when you need to exercise them or let them relieve themselves. And, even then, if it’s really cold outside, you might need to consider going on a shorter walk.

#3. Wipe down your dog’s paws after they go outside.

Every time you walk or play with your dog outside, make it a point to wipe down their paws when you bring them inside. Snow or ice can bet stuck in the hairs in between your dog’s pads, which can make their paws uncomfortable and make it hard for them to walk. Additionally, rock salt is commonly used to prevent ice from building up on streets and sidewalks, but it can chap your dog’s paws. Antifreeze is also commonly used to in the winter, and can be picked up on your dog’s paws. It has a sweet taste that is attractive to dogs, but, it’s also very poisonous and can be lethal if it’s ingested. Keep your dog safe and protect their sensitive paws by wiping them off every time you come inside, or better yet train them to wear dog boots.

Winter can be hard on your dog, but The Vet Set is here to help!

We hope these tips will help you enjoy a fun, safe winter with your furry friend, and to learn more winter safety tips for your dog, stay tuned for our next blog. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re located conveniently in Carroll Gardens, and our new, state-of-the-art animal hospital offers everything from vaccinations and annual examinations to pet surgery and dentistry. We’re truly your go-to source for veterinary care, and we look forward to caring for your dog!

New York Laws Dog Owners Need to be Aware of

There are many laws in the great state of New York that dog owners need to be aware of.

As a responsible dog owner living in New York, it's up to you to follow all of the laws surrounding dog ownership. But, unfortunately, many dog owners don't realize there are even dog ownership laws to follow in the first place! Luckily, your neighborhood animal hospital in Carroll Gardens is here to help. The professionals at The Vet Set have come up with this list of need-to-know laws in New York for dog owners:

#1. Your dog must be licensed.

Any time you are out in public with your dog, there must be a license displayed on their tag with an expiration sticker. Why is licensing important? Licensing can help to reunite lost dogs and their owners, and it helps with the containment of rabies and other diseases. A license for a dog that has been neutered or spayed is $8.50, and a license for a dog that has not been neutered or spayed is $34.

#2. Your dog must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet.

While most places have leash laws, in New York, leash laws are a bit more specific than most. Not only does your dog have to have a leash on at all times, but the leash can't be longer than six feet long. Both the Parks Department and the Department of Health and Sanitation can and do enforce the leash law, and you'll be subject to a hefty fine if you decide to ignore it. If your dog needs space to run free, there are designated areas where dogs with current rabies vaccines and licenses are permitted to be off of their leash. There are also a few different parks in the city that have off-leash hours.

#3. Your dog must get vaccinated for rabies.

Before your dog reaches four months old, they must have the rabies vaccination in order to stay in compliance with state law. It's also important to ensure that your dog gets all of the necessary boosters after they had had their initial rabies shot. In most cases, you'll need proof that your dog is up to date on their rabies vaccination for them to be professionally groomed and/or welcome in playgroups or at dog runs.

#4. Your dog cannot be tethered for more than three hours.

In New York City, it's illegal to leave your dog tethered up all day, even if they have access to food and water. The law, which was passed by the New York City Council in 2011, states that a dog cannot be tethered for more than three hours in a 12-hour period. The same law also indicates that dogs cannot be tethered using choke or pinch collars, or heavy chains. Why? According to the City Council, when a dog is tethered up inhumanely, it makes them more prone to be aggressive towards others. The tether law was designed to protect both humans and dogs.

#5. Pick up after your dog.

While canine waste laws are now commonplace throughout the United States, New York was one of the first major cities to enact one. According to the law, when you're out walking your dog, you must pick up their waste or be subject to a $250 fine.

Are there breed restrictions in New York?

In New York, the state law is about identifying, tracking and regulating dogs that have been deemed dangerous on an individual level, rather than solely on the breed of the dog. In fact, New York is one of a handful of states that prohibits breed-specific legislation. However, the New York City Housing Authority prohibits its residents from owning the following breeds:
  • Akita Inu
  • Alangu Mastiff
  • Alano Espanol
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Argentine Dogo
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Bull and Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Bully Kutta
  • Cane Corso
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Dogo Sardesco
  • English Mastiff
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Gull Dong
  • Gull Terr
  • Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Korean Jindo Dog
  • Lottatore Brindisino
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Perro de Presa Mallorquin
  • Shar Pei
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tosa Inu

Let us help you stay in compliance with New York dog laws.

Is your dog due to a rabies vaccine? Schedule your appointment with The Vet Set today! And, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living Part 2

When it comes to apartment living, some dog breeds do better than others.

Unlike people living in most of the country, the vast majority of people living in Carroll Gardens and the surrounding neighborhoods don't have yards or a lot of space for a dog to run around in. However, apartment living does not have to mean dog-free living. Believe it or not, there are many different dog breeds that actually thrive in apartments, and in our last blog, our veterinary clinic went over some of the most apartment-friendly dog breeds. Check it out if you haven't already, and keep reading to learn more:

#6. Greyhound

With their aerodynamic bodies and shock-absorbing paw pads, Greyhounds were bred for racing and other high-speed pursuits. But, don't let their reputation for racing intimidate you. As long as you give them a little time to sprint on a regular basis, the rest of the time, your Greyhound will be content to relax at home. Greyhounds are also intelligent and easy to train, but they have an independent nature, so they tend do best without a lot of other pets around.

#7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you're looking for a sweet, smart dog who will get along with anyone and everyone, look no further than a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These dogs are cherished for their good behavior and affectionate nature; they live for a good belly rub or a chance to cuddle. And, as long as you make it a point to keep up on brushing them every week, they won't shed too much.  But, you'll need to be prepared to regularly exercise your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and you'll want to make sure that you have plenty of patience throughout the house training process.

#8. French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs were originally bred to be miniature versions of English Bulldogs, and they share much of the same qualities that make English Bulldogs a great dog breed for apartment living. French Bulldogs have low activity needs, but they also love human contact. They are tiny, which means they'll be able to fit comfortably in even the smallest spaces.  Best of all, French Bulldogs rarely bark unless there is a good reason for it. So, while your French Bulldog may not be able to intimidate anyone with its tiny stature, they can make a good guard dog because they will alert you when necessary.

#9. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are an incredible breed for apartment living in almost every way. They have mild, affectionate temperaments, and they are generally quite calm. Shih Tzus can be shy, but they are very agreeable and can get along well with other people, pets and even kids. They also don't require a lot of activity. The one downside of Shih Tzus is that they require a strenuous grooming schedule, but their sweet nature will make all of that extra work well worth it.

#10. Great Dane

Are you operating under the impression that you can only adopt a small dog when you live in an apartment? Think again! Great Danes are huge, and they look intimidating, but they truly are gentle giants. They have a calm, caring demeanor that makes them an ideal companion for people living in even the smallest spaces. Great Danes also don't require a whole lot of strenuous activity, like most bigger breeds do; a daily walk is all that a Great Dane needs to be happy and healthy. Plus, Great Danes look intimidating, which would make anyone think twice before trying to attack you when you're with one. Just keep in mind that a single swipe of a Great Dane's tail could topple anything and everything within reach, so you might want to keep the coffee table clear.

Find the right veterinary clinic for your new furry friend.

Once you find the right breed for your lifestyle, you then need to find the right veterinary clinic to help you care for your new companion. Luckily, here in Carroll Gardens, you have The Vet Set on your side, and we'll take care of your dog as if they were our own. Feel free to peruse our website today to learn more about our services, or stop by our neighborhood veterinary clinic!

Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Not every dog is suited for apartment living.

Throughout most of the United States, dogs run freely in backyards, merrily barking along the fence at everyone passing by. But, all of the perks of living in New York City can often mean giving up the idea of a house with a yard for your furry friend. The good news for dog lovers, however, is that living in an apartment doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to give up the idea of having a dog as well. While not every dog is suited for apartment living, there are some breeds that do just fine in apartments, thank you very much. Here are some of the best dog breeds for apartment living:

#1. English Bulldog

English Bulldogs are famous for their adorable, squishy faces, and they also happen to be almost tailor-made for apartment living. English Bulldogs don't need a lot of exercise, so they're not going to miss having a yard. And, while most English Bulldogs are calm and are pretty much content just to lie around, they also have a fierce, stocky look that would make anyone think twice before trying anything.

#2. Italian Greyhound

If you're currently trying to decide whether to get a cat or a dog, it's time to consider adopting a Italian Greyhound. IG’s for short have quite comical personalities,and just want love and a fluffy bed. Because IG’s are sensitive to cold ,they almost always prefer to be inside, but they’re always game for a nice walk about.

#3. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are — like Italian Greyhounds — very similar to cats. Like cats, Shiba Inus have a very curious nature, but be careful, as they are also very smart and known for escaping. Shiba Inus also like to groom themselves quite frequently. Another great reason why Shiba Inus are great for apartments is their compact size. At just 25 pounds and only 18 inches tall, Shiba Inus don't need a lot of room. But, Shiba Inus require vigorous exercise, or they can grow bored and mischievous, so make sure to walk your Shiba Inu on a regular basis.

#4. Poodle

If you suffer from allergies caused by dog hair, but you can't imagine living without a cuddly companion, a Poodle may be the perfect dog to share a small space with. Poodles have non-shedding coats, which dramatically reduces the amount of pet dander they produce. Poodles are also incredibly intelligent, which makes them easy to train. But, you'll want to make sure to adopt a Toy or Miniature Poodle, as Standard Poodles require daily, vigorous exercise, while Toy and Miniature Poodles only require walks.

#5. Pomeranian

Cute, fluffy and fiercely independent, Pomeranians are great dogs for people who lead busy lives. Pomeranians are tiny, weighing in at just under eight pounds, and their compact size is ideal for compact living because they can get comfortable just about anywhere. However, Pomeranians are also energetic, and they tend to bark a lot, so you'll need to be committed to consistent walking and training from the beginning. These are just a few of the many dog breeds that are perfect for apartment living in Carroll Gardens and the surrounding neighborhoods. To learn about more dog breeds that are ideal for apartment living, make sure to stay tuned for our next blog! And, don't forget to turn to The Vet Set. We're your go-to veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens, and we offer everything from pet dental care to diagnostics and surgery. Let us help you keep your new companion healthy from day one. Schedule your appointment today!

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.

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