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!

 

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!

   

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Anything and Everything

Too often, dogs eat things that are toxic or inedible.

If you’ve had a chance to read our first blog in this series, then you already know about the many reasons why dogs eat things they shouldn’t, and in our last blog, we talked about what you should do if you think your dog ingested something toxic or inedible. In most cases, dogs who have ingested something they shouldn’t can be treated, but it’s much better for everyone involved if you can prevent your dog from doing this in in the first place. But, if your dog is a compulsive eater, what can you do to prevent it from happening? Here are a few steps you can take to prevent your dog from eating anything and everything:

#1. Keep toxins and other dangerous objects out of reach.

First and foremost, if you know your dog will ingest just about anything, you should make it a point to keep any and all toxins and dangerous objects far away from your dog. If your dog can’t get to it, they can’t ingest it!

#2. Walk your dog or keep them otherwise entertained every day.

Boredom is a big reason why some dogs chew on shoes, socks and other objects that can be dangerous for them to consume, so make sure you do your part to keep them mentally and physically entertained. Walking your dog every day, playing with your dog and training your dog to do new tricks are all great ways to keep them from being bored.

#3. Give your dog plenty of attention and love.

Dogs are social animals, and sometimes, dogs who don’t get enough attention will act out, like by eating something they know they shouldn’t, simply to get a reaction out of their owner. Don’t make your dog resort to acting out in order to get you to pay attention to them. Take time out of your schedule to spend one-on-one with your dog every single day to show how much you care about them.

#4. Watch your dog closely when they’re chewing on toys.

Many chew toys for dogs, like bully sticks, can blur the lines between toys and food making it confusing for some dogs. Any time your dog is chewing on a toy with parts that could be torn away and ingested, like stuffed animals with beaded eyes, or any toys meant to be chewed on but not ingested, like rawhides, keep a close eye on your dog. However, if your dog has had a history of ingesting those types of toys in the past it’s best to avoid them altogether.

#5. Use a dog repellent spray.

If there are objects in your house that your dog constantly chews on that you can’t get rid of, like furniture, you may be able to keep your pet away by using a dog repellent spray. These sprays are non-toxic, so even if your dog powers through and chews on the object anyway, the spray won’t hurt them.

#6. Consider dare care.

If you are gone for long periods of time for work, school or anything else, and you know that your dog likes to get into things, it might be best to consider day care for your dog while you’re away. Day care provides both mental and physical stimulation leaving your dog tired and happy when you pick her up.

#7. Don’t reward bad behavior.

As we mentioned in our third point, some dogs will eat things because they know they will get a reaction out of their owner and they are looking for attention. If you think that your dog may be eating things to get attention, it’s important that you don’t react if you catch them eating something they shouldn’t. Even a bad reaction is a reaction, but if you simply ignore your dog, it will teach them that eating inedible objects is not the way to get your attention.

#8. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in Carroll Gardens.

In most cases, pica — a condition that compels dogs to eat things that are inedible — is a behavioral issue that can be trained out of a dog, but that’s not always the case. There are many health conditions that can cause your dog to eat anything and everything. In order to rule out health concerns, you’ll need to visit your veterinarian. Additionally, some dogs compulsively eat because of stress or anxiety, and your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication or offer up other interventions to help to calm your dog. Ingesting toxins and inanimate objects is a surefire way for your dog to end up in the emergency veterinary clinic, and we hope that this blog will help you learn how to prevent your dog from eating these things and help to keep them safe. If you think that anxiety or a medical condition is contributing to your dog’s pica, schedule your appointment with The Vet Set today!

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Calm This 4th of July Part 2

The 4th of July is almost here, and it can be an anxiety-ridden holiday for any dog.

It’s perfectly natural for a dog to get anxious on the 4th of July, even if that same dog is calm the other 364 days out of the year. Dogs have no idea what fireworks are; all they know is that they made incredibly loud noises, and that can really freak them out. Thanks to all of that fear and anxiety, dogs can run away, or hurt themselves or other animals or people. But, there are many things you can do to make the 4th of July more pleasant for both you and your dog, and in our last blog, we touched on a few of them. Keep reading to learn more:

#7. Distract your dog with loud noise or music.

The noise of the fireworks is really the biggest thing that freaks dogs out, and one of the best way to reduce anxiety because of the noise is to distract your dog from it with other noises. Play music, run a fan or turn on the TV to distract your dog from the outside noises. However, keep in mind that your dog has a strong sense of hearing and is sensitive to all noises — not just fireworks — so don’t attempt to drown out the noise; just use it as a means of distraction.

#8. Keep your own behavior in check.

Dogs pick up on the feelings of their owners, and they learn from your actions, even when you’re not actively trying to train them. The normal reaction to a cowering, terrified dog is to shower them with cuddles and love, but it’s important not to take the comforting too far. If you reward your dog’s fear with love and kisses, it will reinforce their anxious, fearful behavior in the future. Instead, act normally around your dog, using a normal tone of voice. If your dog sees that you aren’t acting any differently, it will help to keep them calm.

#9. Think about boarding your dog.

If you can’t be home with your dog during the fireworks on the 4th of July, boarding your dog might be a better option than leaving them at home alone. These centers are usually well-insulated, and the noise from other barking dogs may even drown out the noise from the fireworks so much that your dog doesn’t even realize they are happening. However, if you’ve never boarded your dog before, the 4th of July is not a good day to do so for the first time, as it will likely only make your dog’s anxiety worse.

#10. Keep the blinds and/or curtains closed.

While the noise from the fireworks is certainly the biggest problem in terms of dog anxiety and fear, the sight of fireworks exploding in the sky doesn’t make the situation any easier. Remove the added visual stimulation of the fireworks by covering your dog’s crate if they are kenneled up, or closing any windows or blinds.

#11. Try putting a wrap on your dog.

There are a couple of wraps out there that are designed to calm an anxious dog — the Thundershirt and the Anxiety Wrap. These wraps fit snugly around your dog, applying gentle pressure that helps them to calm down; it’s like a continual, therapeutic hug. This is the same concept as weighted blankets for people who suffer from anxiety, insomnia and other conditions. Though these wraps don’t work for every dog in every situation, they might work for yours!

#12. Talk to your veterinarian.

If your dog has an extreme fear of fireworks that can’t be reduced through the other methods we’ve discussed, it might be a good idea to consult your veterinarian. Dogs in panic mode can hurt themselves or others, and your veterinarian might be able to prescribe a medication to help your dog get through the 4th of July safely.

Let us help you enjoy a calm, safe 4th of July with your dog.

Your 4th of July doesn’t have to be fraught with terrified dogs, and we hope that these tips will help you enjoy a safe, calm holiday this year. If you have questions or concerns, or you think your dog might benefit from anxiety medication, schedule your appointment with our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Calm This 4th of July

The 4th of July can be a nerve-wracking holiday for any dog.

Dogs don’t understand fireworks, so when there’s a sudden explosion in the sky accompanied by an extremely loud noise — which is made even worse by a dog’s acute sense of hearing — it’s no wonder why many dogs get scared and freak out a little. A fear of fireworks in dogs is perfectly normal, but that doesn’t make Independence Day any easier for dog owners. The good news is that there are a lot of steps you can take to make the 4th of July easier on both you and your dog, including:

#1. Keep your dog inside.

If you know your dog gets anxious around fireworks — or you’re unsure of how they’ll react — it’s a much better option to keep them inside at home until the fireworks have subsided than it is to bring your dog to the center of the action. If your dog gets frightened while you are out and about, or even in the yard, they may escape and run away. Additionally, when dogs are scared, it can cause them to act unpredictably toward other animals or people.

#2. Stay home with your dog.

We know that everyone wants to be able to go out and enjoy the fireworks, but as a dog owner, sometimes, sacrifices are required. Locking your dog in your house by themselves while fireworks are going off can freak them out quite a bit, and it can help a lot if someone stays home to comfort them. Plus, if you’re home, you can ensure that your dog doesn’t try to escape. After all, just because your dog is in your home, it doesn’t mean they can’t escape. Some dogs have even been known to jump through windows in their attempt to escape from a loud, unknown noise.

#3. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

During the daytime on the 4th of July, you’ll need to make sure that your dog gets lots and lots of exercise. If your dog is physically tired, it will help to reduce their anxiety while the fireworks are going off. Taking them on a long walk or playing a strenuous game of tug of war or fetch will help to keep your dog calm during the fireworks show.

#4. Section off a quiet, comfortable space for your dog at home.

Simply leaving your dog at home is often not good enough, especially if you can’t be there with them during the loudest part of the night. If you can create a quiet, comfortable space in your home for your dog during the fireworks (and far away from any windows), it will help to block out some of the noise that causes the anxiety and panic. Make sure your dog has plenty of toys and treats to keep them busy during the fireworks, and make sure there are no areas where they could escape if they do start to panic.

#5. Allow your dog to relieve themselves before the fireworks start.

Dogs shouldn’t be forced to hold it for longer than necessary, and you’ll want to ensure that your dog has a chance to do their business before the first firework goes off. If you take your dog outside in your yard or even on a leash during the fireworks to relieve themselves, they are at risk for escaping and fleeing the loud noise, which could lead to them getting lost or injured.

#6. Make sure the ID information is correct.

While it’s smart to take precautions to prevent your dog from running away to try to escape the loud noises from the fireworks, it’s also smart to have a plan B, just in case. If your dog does somehow get out during the fireworks show, they’ll have a much better chance of getting back home again if the information on their ID tag is up to date, so double check that the ID information is correct before the 4th gets here. In our next blog, we’ll be going over a few more things you can do to keep your dog safe and calm on the 4th of July. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about anxiety in dogs, or your dog is due for a veterinary visit, contact us at The Vet Set to schedule your appointment with our veterinarian.

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