Giving Medication To Dogs 101 (Part One)

Don’t find a pill in the corner or behind the couch again!

  Let’s face it — there will be some point in your dog’s life you’ll have to give them medication either in pill or liquid form. It’s not always fun, but it’s important that they actually take the medication and not spit it out!    At The Vet Set, we have a good deal of experience with giving dogs medication, to say the least, and we want to provide our pooch patients with the best care! Join us in today’s post as we explore the best ways to give your dog medication and help keep it down! 

Giving Your Dog Medication

  Taking medication can be tricky for dogs if they’ve never experienced it before as their first reaction is to spit it out. Let’s dive into how to optimally give your dog pill and liquid medications below.   

Giving Your Dog Pills

  The most tried and true way of getting your dog to take pills is hiding it in food. A special treat such as bread with peanut butter or canned dog food is a great way to sneak a pill in and get your dog to not only take it, but to swallow and ingest it! Other common ways people give their pets pills is through soft foods such as cheese or specially made treats where you can put the pill into a little pocket of the treat.     Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world — your dog may have dietary restrictions to hide pills in food or they may find ways to both eat the treat while simultaneously spitting out the pill! In these situations, you’ll have to directly give administer and monitor giving your dog their pills.    If you have to give your dog pills, follow the steps below to make things easier on both of you!   If the pill is large you can always cut it in half to make swallowing it easier — this may or may not make things easier for you. If your dog will take two pills, then great, but if they still spit them out, stick with just the one!   Make the pill easier to digest by lubricating the pill with butter or coconut oil so it doesn’t stick inside your dog’s mouth.     Begin by opening your dog’s mouth and placing your thumb behind their canine teeth on the top portion of their muzzle.    Once you have a firm but gentle grip, position your dog’s head upwards and place the pill.    Place the pill as far back as you can — placing the pill on the hump of their tongue is the best place to ensure they swallow it. If you place it too far back, you’ll stimulate their gag reflex, and as you can imagine, is not pleasant for either with of you.     Close your dog’s mouth and gently hold it closed to get them to swallow.    Once they’ve successfully swallowed the pill (it may take a couple of tries so don’t get discouraged) give them lots of praise and a tasty treat!    Giving your dog pills can be difficult, especially if they’re fearful or become anxious before you give them the medication. If your dog is frightened, you may want to look up or talk with your vet about counterconditioning methods or desensitization tactics.     We’ve provided you with the best way to give your dog pills, but there is still another form to cover — liquid medication! Stay tuned, we’ll cover this next time in part two!   

For more information about our vet services in Carroll Gardens, connect with us today! 


What To Expect At Your Dog’s Wellness Exam (Part Two)

Prevent disease and illness while improving your dog’s health with physical checkups!

  In part one, we looked into what a wellness exam is, how often a dog exam is needed, and what happens during the exam. In today’s post, we’ll continue the conversation and get more into the details of the wellness exam and how you should prepare as a pet parent.    At The Vet Set, your dog’s wellness is important to us, which is why we recommend a wellness exam at least once a year! Get more information surrounding this topic below! 

A Dog’s Wellness Exam   

  Get into the nitty-gritty of a dog exam below!   What is assessed during the physical examination?   In the physical examination, your vet will check your dog’s body by looking at the physical appearance, listening to their organs with a stethoscope, and palpating certain areas of the body.    The vet may also check the following:  
  • How your dog stands or walks
  • Your dog’s demeanor - alert, sluggish, etc 
  • Coat condition - dry, oily, excessive shedding, hair loss, etc
  • Eyes - Excessive tearing, redness, discharge, cloudiness, bumps, etc
  • Ears - Hair loss, discharge, thickening, etc
  • Face and nose - How they breathe, discharges, etc 
  • Teeth - Looking for periodontal disease, plaque buildup, broken teeth, trauma, staining of the lips, excessive salivation, ulcers, etc
  When your vet listens to your dog with a stethoscope they listen to the heart for skipped or extra beats or heart murmurs and to the lungs for abnormal breathing sounds.    When your dog is palpated the vet will check their pulse, lymph nodes for swelling, the legs, and major organ systems including the kidneys, liver, bladder, intestines, spleen, and stomach.    What else may happen during the exam?   Many vets will take a stool sample and evaluated for parasites, and in puppies, this is typically done a monthly basis because they are more prone to intestinal parasites. Heartworm testing may also occur and the frequency will depend on your geographical location.     Apart from the physical exam, your vet may also want to run wellness screening tests. These tests check four major categories including:  
  • Thyroid hormone
  • Blood
  • Biochemistry profile
  • Urinalysis
  The panels will all vary depending on the age and current health status of your dog. Beyond the screenings, in older dogs, your vet may want to check their chest or abdominal via x-ray to get a better picture of their internal organs. The x-ray can also help identify any skeletal issues or changes in your dog’s bones and joints.   

Why is a wellness dog examination needed?

  Because pets cannot verbally communicate with us they can't tell us how they’re feeling, so a health issue or disease may be present before you even know. And because of their survival instincts, most dogs will hide signs of disease that are only causing minimal symptoms, which means when you detect something, it could be in a highly advanced stage.    This is why dog exams are crucial — your vet can detect issues in the physical exam or investigate with further testing for any other underlying issues. If an issue can be detected before your dog shows signs of illness, steps can be taken to treat and manage the condition before irreparable damage is done.    This not only improves a successful outcome for your dog, but it’s typically less expensive when caught in an early stage.   

Is there any one factor that elicits a dog exam?

  While a wellness exam is recommended for every dog at least once a year, dog exams are especially important for geriatric dogs since they’re rapidly aging and have a greater chance for disease and health issues.   

How To Prepare For Your Wellness Exam Appointment

  Before your dog’s exam, ask your vet how to prepare. This may mean fasting your dog or bringing in fresh urine and fecal samples.    It’s also important to know what kind of food your dog eats and any supplements you’ve been giving them.    From the physical examination of palpations and listening to your dog’s organs, checking the coat, eyes, ears, face, and mouth to running a series of panels, a dog exam is crucial to the optimal health of your pooch!    It not only prevents disease and illness but improves a successful health outcome should your dog be diagnosed.   

For more information on our dog exams, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today! 

Training Your Dog For A Muzzle

Does your dog have some poor behaviors you’re working to improve? A muzzle may be the perfect management tool in the interim!

  Muzzles look scary and they often make the dogs who wear them out to be big scary monsters, but really, dog muzzles are commonly used to help improve a dog’s behavior. But, before you start using a dog muzzle for barking, biting, or scavenging, it’s important to take the right steps when introducing them.   At The Vet Set, we want you to get the takeaway of proper muzzle introduction and etiquette because it makes a difference. Follow along in today’s blog as we give you practical ways to train your dog to use and be comfortable wearing a muzzle. 

How To Introduce Your Dog To A Muzzle

  Whether your dog is braking or excessively lunging at other dogs on walks, it’s important to first introduce them and let them get comfortable before going out with the muzzle on. Below are some steps to take with your dog so they can feel confident in a muzzle.  

Step 1: Introduce The Muzzle

  The very first step is to simply show your dog the muzzle to show it that it’s not harmful or dangerous. Just casually bring it out and allow them to explore it — let them sniff and lick it and see that there’s nothing to be afraid of.    

Step 2: Give Them Rewards

  Once your dog is a little bit more familiar with the muzzle begin to touch the muzzle to their nose and with each successful touch, reward them with a treat. This not only brings a positive association with the muzzle, but now they have a vested interest when it comes out.   

Step 3: Begin Placing The Muzzle

  Now that you’ve touched the muzzle to their nose with great success, begin to place the muzzle by place a treat in the muzzle so they can get used to placing their muzzle within it. Keep repeating this step until it’s natural and easy for them to do.   

Step 4: Place The Muzzle Yourself

  By this point, your dog will probably love the muzzle because of the positive rewards they get! Now it’s your turn to put the muzzle on your dog. After you’re able to place the muzzle, be sure to continue giving your dog treats. Repeat this step until they don’t mind it and feel comfortable wearing it. 

Step 5: Fasten And Remove The Muzzle

  Taking it one step further, place the muzzle on your dog, secure it, and then take it off. Build trust with your dog and once the muzzle is removed, give them a treat. Keep repeating this but increase the time the muzzle is left on each time so they can wear it comfortably for longer and begin to feel confident in it. And the best part, they know that eventually it will be removed!    A muzzle is a great tool to keep your dog and others safe and should you choose to use a muzzle with your dog, it is crucial that you take the proper steps and muzzle etiquette to acclimate your dog.   

For more information on dog muzzles or about our Carroll Gardens vet services, connect with us today!

Different Types Of Dog Muzzles

There are many varieties of dog muzzles — which muzzle is best for your dog?

  While many people can be alarmed at the first sign of a dog wearing a muzzle, dog muzzles are great behavior management tools that come in a variety of styles to prevent your dog from biting, scavenging, and barking.   Dog muzzles are sometimes necessary and sometimes implemented because of breed restrictions and they’ve come a long way and do a great job of protecting dogs and people. At The Vet Set, we know how important muzzles can be, so we’ve compiled a list of common dog muzzles and the benefits of each one.  

All About Dog Muzzles 

  When it comes to dog muzzles, do your dog a favor and don’t choose aesthetics over practicality. A great muzzle will allow your dog to pant, drink, and take treats freely. If you ever have any questions about how a muzzle should fit, connect with your local vet.  

Basket Muzzle

  The basket muzzle is what everyone recognizes and is the most classic muzzle. It is typically composed of a hard plastic that cages the muzzle of a dog. It’s one of the best muzzles options, however, dog owners tend to steer clear of it because it is very noticeable.   

Mesh Muzzle

  A mesh muzzle has a lower profile than the traditional basket muzzle, and it’s usually made from a softer material such as mesh or neoprene. For a mesh dog muzzle to be effective it needs to fit tightly, so dogs may be at risk for overheating because they may not be able to pant and breathe properly.    This muzzle is great for short bouts such as a trip to the groomer or vet, but for walks and outdoor activities, a basket muzzle may be better.   

Breed-Designed Muzzle

  While traditional muzzles will work for most dogs there are specific breeds that need a different kind of muzzle, these breeds include brachycephalic dogs such as pugs and French bulldogs and other breeds with long, thin muzzles such as Greyhounds and Whippets.    For brachycephalic dogs, muzzles often fit like a mask that covers their muzzle and areas around their eyes, whereas sighthound muzzles for long muzzles, accommodate the length and slenderness that mesh and basket muzzles can’t.  We know that muzzles are a great behavior management tool to prohibit scavenging, biting, and barking, but are there any instances where muzzles shouldn’t be used?    There a couple of scenarios when using a dog muzzle isn’t always the best practice, and they include:   Punishment - When it comes to using a muzzle with your dog, there are many steps you have to take to get your dog comfortable, so if you were to just put a muzzle on your dog as a form of punishment, this can be extremely traumatizing for them. The dog also won’t necessarily associate the bad behavior with the muzzle, so the behavior will continue.   Destructiveness - It’s not a great idea to leave a muzzle on for prolonged periods, so if you leave it on all day while you’re at work to keep them from chewing, you’re really not addressing the real issue at hand.    Muzzles are a common tool used to assist in preventing specific behaviors and they come in a variety of styles to accommodate the different needs.   

To learn more about the right muzzle for your dog, connect with us today!


Your Guide To Dog Muzzles

Dog muzzles may look peculiar but they’re great for curbing undesirable behavior in dogs. 

  When you first see a dog in a muzzle it can be alarming and many questions may flood your head. Is this dog dangerous or will the dog hurt me?, are often questions that pop up. Contrary to what the muzzle may implicate, they are used for a variety of reasons to support the dog and improve behavior.    Having a dog who is well-behaved is important to not only you but the people and things they’re exposed to every day. At The Vet Set, we’re here to support you in your dog’s health and wellness journey, including their behavior! Take a moment today and learn all about dog muzzles. 

Why Do Dogs Need Muzzles?

  There are many reasons a dog might need a muzzle, and it goes beyond aggressive behavior. Let’s explore more of the reasons dogs need muzzles below.  

Aggressive Behavior

  Let’s just get this one out of the way! A muzzle is a great management tool for dogs who are aggressive with other dogs or people. It’s always important to get to the root cause of the aggression and work with an animal behaviorist to eliminate this behavior, but a muzzle is ideal for specific situations where they might be aggressive.  

High Prey Drive

  There are many dog breeds that have a high prey drive, ones such as the Rhodesian Rideback or English Springer Spaniel. Because these dogs innately chase after small animals both on and off-leash, a muzzle could not only prevent an injury to the dog but also fatalities to the prey they’re chasing.   

Alarming Situations

  Most dogs are not aggressive for the sake of just being aggressive, but rather become aggressive when they’re put in a situation where they feel unsafe and think there is no other choice than to bite.    When dogs are uncomfortable in a situation they provide warning signs before they actually snap, so it’s important to recognize these before it’s too late. If you’re entering a situation where your dog may be alarmed or caught off guard and prone to bite, a muzzle is a good tool to use.    When would you use it? People use dog muzzles for the vet or dog groomers or if they’re injured and need to be transported.      

Dogs that love to scavenge. 

  If you have a dog that loves to eat and get into just about anything on walks, you probably have had many frustrating days and sleepless nights dealing with the unsavory after effects. Instead, if you muzzle your dog during a walk, they have no choice but to leave things alone. While it may not prevent everything, it creates a barrier to what your dog can ingest.    Just as it’s important to work with dogs who are aggressive, it’s also important to work with those who scavenge. A dog can't stay muzzled 24/7, so working towards improving their behavior is always highly recommended.   

Breed Restrictions

  Perhaps your dog doesn’t indicate they need a muzzle at all, but some states have breed restrictions that require specific breeds such as pit bulls, boxers, and German shepherds to wear a muzzle. These restrictions are often quite discriminatory to dogs and doesn’t take into account the role of irresponsible dog owners, but to keep your dog safe and avoid it being seized, you must follow the breed-specific legislation.   


  In many countries, dogs are allowed to board public transport so as long as they wear a muzzle. So, if you’re traveling with your pet outside of the United States, be sure to pack a muzzle to comply with any regulations you may encounter.   

Obsessive Barking

  If you have a dog with obsessive barking, this can greatly disrupt your life and make your neighbors and any passerbyers angry. With that said, if you rent, some leases even grant the right to remove a dog from your home if it barks too much.    If your dog is home alone most of the day and you’re not there to stop the barking, a muzzle might be a good option to keep the peace.    There are many situations in which your dog might need a muzzle beyond aggressive behavior. And remember, a dog muzzle is a good option as a behavior management tool, but shouldn’t replace good ol’ fashioned dog training.    There is often a reason your dog is responding by biting, barking, or scavenging, and it’s your job as a responsible dog owner to support your dog and figure out why they’re behaving a certain way. So instead of relying on a muzzle every time you go out (with the exception of breed restrictions) get curious as to why your dog is behaving a certain way, and perhaps at some point they can live muzzle-free.    It’s amazing what a little training or working with an animal behaviorist can improve!  

We’re here to support your dog! Schedule an appointment at our Carroll Gardens vet center today! 


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