Toxins All Cat Owners Need to Know About Part 2

As a cat owner, it's important to know about the many things that are toxic to your cat.

Every cat owner wants their feline friend to live a happy, healthy, long life full of joy and love, but unfortunately, there are many things in the average home that are toxic to cats. And, if your cat accidentally gets into something they shouldn't, it can put their health and maybe even their life at risk. Protecting your cat from these toxins means removing them from your home — or at the very least, putting them somewhere your cat can't get to them — but you can't do that if you don't know what they are. That's why, in our latest blog, our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens went over a few of the most common toxins for cats. Here are a couple more:

#4. Household Chemicals

We use so many chemicals in our day-to-day lives for everything from cleaning up stains to keeping pests out of our homes. And, while most people (or rather adults) know not to ingest any of these chemicals, cats know no such thing. What's even worse is that some of these chemicals — antifreeze for example — taste and smell good to cats. It's essential to keep the following household chemicals well away from your cat:
  • Antifreeze
  • Herbicides
  • Flea and tick shampoos and sprays for dogs
  • De-icing salt
  • Bleach
  • Detergents
  • Insecticides
  • Toilet bowl cleaners
When you do need to clean something with bleach or use a detergent, just make sure to keep your cat away, and don't allow them to go near it until it is been completely dried or removed.

#5. Glow sticks and luminous jewelry.

Believe it or not, glow sticks and luminous jewelry are some of the more common reasons why people call poison control for their cats. Glow sticks and luminous jewelry both contain a toxic liquid, called dibutyl phthalate. Although it won't cause overly significant problems, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting and/or foaming at the mouth if it's ingested. If you attend an event that has glow sticks or luminous jewelry, don't take them home with you!

What should you do if you think your cat has been poisoned?

Now that you know what some of the most common toxins for cats are, what should you do if you think your cat ingested one? The first and best piece of advice we can give is to act quickly. Every minute is important if your cat has ingested something toxic. Then, follow these steps:
  • Contact your veterinarian and/or poison control - Keeping your veterinarian's number handy is important, and you'll be glad you did if your cat ingests something they shouldn't. If your normal veterinary clinic isn't open, call an emergency animal hospital or poison control. They should be able to inform you about further steps you should take.
  • Collect any applicable samples - When you take your cat to visit the veterinarian, bringing along some samples could be helpful. These samples could include the substance your cat ingested, as well as stool and vomit samples.
  • What out for symptoms - Keep a close eye on your cat for symptoms, which could include breathing difficulties, coughing, weakness, confusion, vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, upset stomach, excess saliva, depression, shivering, tremors, seizures and skin irritation. In most cases, symptoms will appear right away, but sometimes, they show up little by little.

Don't take a chance when it comes to your cat's health and safety. Learn the ins and outs of what is poisonous for your cat, so that you can keep it safely out of reach. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact us!

How to Protect Your Dog in the Winter Part 2

The cold weather can be hard on your furry friend.

There's a lot to love about the winter. The snow is beautiful, the holidays are a blast and it gives you a great excuse to sport the best of winterwear, including scarves, beanies and sweaters. But, the cold weather the winter brings can be rough, and not just on us; it can be hard for our canine companions as well. Not many people — even dog owners — realize it, but the winter brings a wide range of unique challenges for dogs. There is good news, however. There are lots of things you can do to protect your dog in the winter, and in our veterinarian's last blog, we went over a few of them. Here are a few more ways you can protect your dog this winter.

#4. Watch out for signs of pain.

Just like cold weather can make pain from arthritis and other joint issues in people more severe, it can do the same for dogs. If your dog has diabetes, arthritis or any other condition that affects their joints, watch out for signs of increased pain during the winter. For some dogs, it might help to cushion them against the cold by providing them with a pair of boots for added protection and comfort. It's also smart to talk to our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens about possible treatment options.

#5. Never leave your dog in a cold vehicle.

Most people are fully aware of how cruel and inhumane it is to leave a dog outside in a hot car, but not many people give a second thought to a dog left inside of a car on a cold day. However, a vehicle left outside in the cold can cool down a lot faster than you might think, so even if you leave your dog in the car while you're out running errands, they could get cold out there waiting for you. And, while leaving a dog in a cold car isn't quite as risky as leaving them in a hot car, your dog isn't immune to the cold, and they will likely be uncomfortable.

#6. Be aware of hazards inside your home.

In this blog series, we've talked a lot about cold-weather related dangers outside of the home, but there are hazards inside of the home that dog parents need to be aware of. For example, many people use space heaters to get warm, but be careful, as dogs can all too easily knock one over accidentally and start a fire. Dogs have also been known to burn themselves on spaces heaters and heating pads. If you keep antifreeze around, make sure to keep it in a safe place where your dog can't get anywhere near it. And, if you accidentally spill it, make sure to clean it up completely. Dogs like to lick it up because of its sweet taste, but it can be deadly when it's ingested

#7. Play with your dog inside or when the sun is shining.

All dogs need to be able to play and get exercise every day, regardless of what the weather is like outside. But, cold weather can severely limit playtime, at least outdoors. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to get your dog a little exercise and playtime inside:
  • Run with your dog up and down the stairs of your building.
  • Play keep away or fetch.
  • Set up obstacles courses with things you have at home, like hula hoops or seat cushions.
  • Play hide and go seek.
  • Walk your dog on a treadmill.
  • Play tug of war.
These indoor activities aren't exactly equivalent to running with your dog through the park for a half an hour or taking them on a long walk, but they'll help to expend some energy on those days when it's just too cold to play outside. It's also important to take advantage of playing outside on winter days when the sun is shining and the temperature is a little higher. We hope that these tips will help you enjoy a safe, healthy winter with your dog. And, if you have questions or concerns, or you would like to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens, give us a call today! We're happy to help!

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!

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.

What to Spoil Your Pet With This Holiday Season

Unsure about what to give your pet this holiday season?

The holidays are almost here, and in just a few short weeks, you'll be giving out those gifts that you've spent so much time and energy coming up with and shopping for. Although your dog or cat may not know that the holidays are here, that doesn't mean that they can't join in on the fun. In fact, it's the perfect time of the year to show your pet how much you care by spoiling them with their own holiday gift. But, your pet can't exactly make a wish list for you, so what should you give them this holiday season? Here is a list of some of the best holiday gift ideas for your pet:

#1. Boots

It can get downright cold here in Brooklyn, and while you often see people bundled up in coats and boots, most of our pets don't get that kind of protection from the cold. Although your pet's fur coat may keep them cozy and warm enough, it can still pay off to protect their feet. If your pet has especially furry feet, snow and ice could collect in between their toes. Not to mention, salt and other deicing products can be bad for your pet's paws. A good pair of pet boots can go a long way towards keeping your pet's feet safe and warm.

#2. A Coat

Believe it or not, dogs can get cold too, even with all of that fur. But, some pets could use coats more than others. For example, if your dog has a short or wiry coat, they get very little protection from the cold and the wind, and it could help to keep them warmer and more comfortable if you invest in a coat they can wear on long walks. Keep in mind that a coat isn't super necessary for a quick bathroom break or a stroll around the neighborhood, but if you're exercising your dog for more than a few minutes, or it's particularly cold or windy, a coat is a good idea.

#3. Toys

Toys are always a great gift idea for your pet. They'll help to keep your pet happy and entertained, and some toys can even help to train or exercise your pet, too. If you already know what kinds of toys your pet likes, it doesn't hurt to choose something you know they'll love, but there are so many options out there, so don't be afraid to experiment with something new.

#4. Treats

What pet doesn't want to eat something delicious? The holidays are a time to gather your friends and family and sit down to a mouth-watering meal with all of the fixings and sides you could ever imagine. Think about what your pet has to go through when they're smelling the food and watching you scarf it down! While it's not a good idea to share your feast with your pet, you can help to make their holiday special by giving them a treat. Don't just settle for the same old treats you give your pet all the time. You could go to a bakery that makes treats for pets, or you could even look up a recipe and make your pet treats from scratch. Either way, they'll love it, and you'll make their holiday a little brighter. We hope that this list will give you a few ideas to make your pet's holiday season special this year. And, if your pet is in need of veterinary care, please don't hesitate to turn to our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens. Our animal hospital is equipped with everything your pet needs, and we'll treat your pet as if they were our own. Schedule your appointment today!

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