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.

Tips for Welcoming Home a Shelter Dog

Adopting a dog from a shelter is the best way to bring a new family member into your home.

From buying a dog at a pet store to buying a dog from a breeder, there are lots of ways to bring a new member into your family. However, adopting a dog from a shelter is one of the most noble things you can do, because it means saving that dog’s life. However, the transition from shetler life into your home may not be as smooth as it would be if you were to buy a dog from a breeder, especially if the dog comes from an abusive background. Here are a few tips to help you welcome a shelter dog into your home:

#1. Make sure you’re ready to meet the dog’s special needs.

Most shelters are extremely good about informing adoptive puppy parents of any special needs, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. It’s important to ensure that you are ready and able to meet the dog’s needs, whatever they may be. For instance, if the dog was recently in a home where they were abandoned for days at a time, you may want to reconsider adopting them if you work 12-hour days.

#2. Take some time off of work.

Don’t adopt a shelter dog and then immediately head to work for the full day. Your new dog will need some time to get to know you, but in order for them to do that, you need to be there! Plan to take a few days of work off after you bring your new dog home.

#3. Ease your dog into their new life.

Your dog may not warm up to their new family or lifestyle right away, and you shouldn’t force them to jump into anything. Be patient and give your dog plenty of time to ease into their new life. And, don’t lose hope if, after warming up to you and starting to feel more comfortable, your dog reverts back into their old ways when they’re scared or unsure. It takes lots of time and love to help a dog recover from a troubled background.

#4. Get your new dog into a routine.

Dogs are creatures of habit, and one of the best ways to ease your dog into their new life is to get them on a routine. Exercise, play with and feed your dog at the same time every day. Make sure that you take your dog outside on a regular basis, and that they go to bed and get up at around the same times every day. When your dog knows what to expect each day, it will help to ease some of their anxiety, and help them to feel more comfortable.

#5. Enroll your new dog in dog classes.

Dogs need to be trained, and that’s true no matter how old they are or what sort of background they come from. Dog training classes can address everything from basics, like potty training, to behavior issues, like aggression. There are age-specific training classes, as well as one-on-one training. The best part about dog training is that it also helps to teach you how to be consistent and train your new dog effectively.

Find the right veterinarian in Carroll Gardens for your new dog with The Vet Set.

In addition to helping your new dog grow accustomed to their new lifestyle and family, it’s also important to find the right veterinarian to care for your new dog. Not only is important to bring him or her for a visit as soon as possible after adopting, you’ll also need to bring him or her in for regular examinations. And, if an emergency arises, you need to know where to take your new dog. Luckily, with The Vet Set on your side, the decision is easy. Visit us online today to learn more.

Are You Ready for Cat Adoption? Part 2

Are you thinking about adopting a cat?

Before you take the leap and adopt a cat, there are many things you’ll need to consider. In our last blog, we talked about the importance of thinking about your motivation for adopting a cat in the first place, and looked at common reasons why people adopt cats, both good and bad. Today, we’ll be going over the many things you want to consider before adopting a cat.

#1. Do you have time to care for a cat?

In our last blog, we talked about the common misconception that cats don’t need a lot of attention or time, and every potential cat owner should know that that is patently not true. When determining if adopting a cat is right for you, you’ll need to think about how much time you have to dedicate to your cat and its care. What’s your lifestyle like? Do you spend a lot of time at home, or do you prefer to be out and about as much as possible? Do you travel frequently, or are you more into staycationing? Do you tend to work long hours, or could you make it home at some point during the day to hang out with your cat? Your schedule won’t magically clear up just because you’ve adopted a cat, so you need to make sure that a cat can realistically fit into your lifestyle.

#2. Are you allowed to have a cat?

Not every building in New York City allows cats to live there, and before you go check out the cats at the shelter or start contacting breeders, it’s important to make sure that it is acceptable for you to have a cat in your home. And before you tell yourself that you’ll be able to get away with sneaking a cat into your place without anyone knowing, think again. In order to provide a stable home for your new cat, you need to be 100-percent sure that you are able to provide that home legally.

#3. Are you financially prepared for caring for a cat?

One common misconception that we touched on in our last blog is that cats don’t require veterinary care, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cats, just like any other pet, need preventative care to protect them against illness and parasites, and cats can develop illnesses and injuries that require treatment. All of this costs money, and you’ll need to make sure that you’re financially prepared to take on the responsibility. Furthermore, even simply feeding your cat and keeping them entertained with toys adds up, and the costs should be accounted for in your budget before adopting a cat.

#4. Do you know what taking care of a cat entails?

Doing your research is a critical step to take before making any big decision, and the decision to adopt a cat is no exception. As we learned in our last blog, people commonly think all kinds of things about caring for cats that just aren’t true, and before you take the leap, it’s important that you take the time to learn the truth about cat care. There’s a lot of good information in books and on the internet, but we also advise talking to someone you know who is already a cat parent to learn the realities of cat care. If possible, you could even volunteer to cat sit for a friend as a kind of test run for having your own cat at home.

#5. Are you ready for a long-term commitment?

Adopting a cat is not like adopting a hamster or a goldfish. You’re not adopting an animal that will pass on in a couple of weeks, months or even years; you’re adopting an animal who will rely on you for the next 10 to 18 years, or even longer. This means that you not only need to make sure that your lifestyle fits being a cat parent now, you also need to ensure that your future has plenty of room for your purring pal as well. If you’re not sure where you will be living and what the future will relatively hold in a few years from now, you might want to wait until there is a little more stability in your life to adopt. These are just a few things you’ll need to consider before making the big decision of adopting a cat. Would you like to learn more? If so, make sure you stay tuned for our next blog, when we’ll be touching on what else to consider before adopting a cat. In the meantime, if you’ve decided to adopt a new cat, ensure that they get only the best care by turning to The Vet Set. We’re proud to say that our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens provides next-level care for every pet, and we’re dedicated to ensuring that your new cat is safe and healthy. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

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