Combating Separation Anxiety With Your Dog

Tips and tricks to help prevent the stress of separation.

Separation anxiety in dogs is more than your dog donning a sad face as you leave out the door or letting out a few mournful whimpers; instead, it can be quite destructive and elicit behaviors such as excessive barking or howling, chewing furniture or scratching out window screens, having accidents in the house, excessive panting and drooling, pacing, and attempted escapes from the house. These behaviors are also very chronic and occur every time you leave the house, and may even be triggered before you actually leave. Grabbing your keys and getting your coat can spark separation anxiety. The wellness of your four-legged friend is crucial to us at The Vet Set. Beyond your dog’s physical health is their emotional wellness, and this is just as important for a happy and healthy dog. Learn more about what you can do to curb separation anxiety in your dog.

Preventing Separation Anxiety

Whether your dog has been adopted and has a tough background or you’ve been home with them for an extended period of time (maternity leave, quarantine during the pandemic, etc.), leaving them can be tough — for both of you. Sometimes, the best way to help a distraught dog before conditioning can take place is by helping them cope. Ensure your dog gets a healthy dose of exercise — maybe more than your average pup. A tired and content dog may help them settle before you leave. Training with a professional, medications, CBD, and other herbal remedies can also be helpful to help soothe and calm your dog and keep them from hurting themselves and destroying your home while you’re away. To keep separation anxiety behaviors at bay, here are some easy ways to help improve your dog’s response.

Keep a Normal Routine

Routines are vital to puppies and dogs alike, so make it a habit to set a good routine. When you establish when their breakfast is and when you’re leaving for work, there are no sudden surprises. This turns otherwise fearful activities of grabbing your coat and picking up your keys, normal and routine.

Crate Train

Consider crate training your dog. A crate is a good thing to implement as a puppy to help keep them out of trouble when you’re out, and as they grow and don’t need it as much, it becomes a safe place for them to return to when you’re gone or they need space. Crate training can happen with older dogs as well, especially those who have destructive separation anxiety behaviors. You can crate train your dog to keep them from destroying the house when you’re gone, and as they adjust their behavior they can use it as a safe place, too.

Leave the House

You may have your own fears about leaving your dog home alone, but it’s important to leave your house to build trust and show your dog that you’ll come back. Starting in smaller time increments can be helpful — try going for a walk or run some errands. Gradually increase the time you're away, building up to at least an eight-hour absence.

Spend Time Alone

Create time in your day where you’re home, but you're not with your dog. This can be reading in another room or relaxing somewhere where they’re not! Give your dog some space, while reaffirming they’re safe. With a few minor tweaks, more mindful decisions, and a little more effort, you’ll be able to help acclimate your dog and create a trust that can help soothe and mitigate their separation anxiety.

For more separation anxiety considerations or to schedule an appointment with The Vet Set, connect with our Carroll Gardens office today!

Behind Your Cat’s Attention-Seeking Behavior

Crying, pawing, vocalization, and more!

Cats with loud meowing and excessive vocalization are often seen and heard all over social media platforms — it’s the adorable things that cats do that can sometimes drive us crazy and get the most likes and comments! If you have a cat that is constantly meowing or pawing, they may just be trying to get your attention. Does your cat have a behavior problem, or is it completely normal? At The Vet Set, we’ll help you navigate this gray area and see what’s behind your cat’s attention-seeking behavior!

What Is Your Cat Trying to Tell You?

Cats are very independent creatures with unique personality traits — some can be described as anti-social, while others like to fetch and chase balls, just like dogs. If your cat seems to have excessive vocalization or other behaviors, they may not be looking for internet fame, but rather, trying to get your attention. Let’s dive into the most common attention-seeking behaviors below.

Midnight Howling

Does your cat like to wake you abruptly with their nighttime howling? Many times cats do this as they get older and begin to lose their hearing and seeing abilities, but excessive vocalization can also be related to rippling skin disorder, neurological diseases, hyperthyroidism, cancer, and even pain. Rippling skin disorder or Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) goes beyond howling and has trademark symptoms such as rippling skin on the back part of their body, dilated pupils, abrupt racing from one direction to another, and a sensitivity to touch. If your cat chronically howls, you may want to schedule a trip to your local vet clinic.

Pawing and Prowling

If you have a cat that loves to paw at you when you’re seated, or really doing anything, or they constantly move in figure eight around your feet, they may just be asking for a little more attention. If they’re the only cat in the house and you have a small family, they may need more interaction. Allow your kitty a little more snuggle time where they can crawl up in your lap or get pets while you’re relaxing on the couch. If more attention is required you could consider investing in more stimulating cat toys or even another cat — you can never just have one!

Scratching

Scratching is a very primal and very normal part of a cat’s behavior, but it can be frustrating when they’re tearing up the house with inappropriate scratching. Scratching can occur on just about any surface in your home, from the side of your sofa to the backdoor screen. If your cat is constantly scratching things in your home it might be a means of communication or time for some new scratching posts. Create a cat’s scratching dream by placing a variety of scratch posts around your home that are different materials and textures. Add treats, toys, and catnip in these areas to help keep them, and their scratching, contained!

Constant Meowing

Meowing can be extremely cute and it may seem like your cat is trying to converse with you — sometimes they are! Cats can get vocal when you talk with them and seem to enjoy the interaction, but in some cases, they may be trying to tell you something. If your cat becomes more chatty all of a sudden, it could be related to a couple of things such as an endocrine disorder, discomfort, cognitive dysfunction, or changes in hearing. If you’re worried, give your vet a call or schedule an appointment just to rule anything out.

Eating Non-Food Items

Cats can get a taste for things that are not food, and while they may not be trying to get your attention, they very well may do so as you watch them munch on plastic or start wool-sucking from yarn, blankets, clothing items, etc.. Cats tend to eat non-food items if they were prematurely weaned or as a result of increased stress. It’s important to tackle this issue by honing in on what’s causing stress to your cat in the first place. Did you recently move or have a baby? Events like this can throw your cat’s schedule off and cause them to experience more stress than normal. If you don’t think it’s stress-related, it could be related to their diets. If your cat has a mineral deficiency, they may try to eat random things to try and adjust and rebalance. Ensure that your cat is eating a well-balanced diet, and when in doubt, talk with your vet.

Is it Attention Your Cat Needs?

Are your cat’s eccentrics normal or do they have an underlying medical condition? From excessive vocalization, pawing, and patrolling to cats eating weird things, it’s important to always keep a close eye on them, and if it’s a behavior you’re concerned about, talk with your vet and schedule a wellness exam as a precaution.

To schedule your next vet exam, connect with our vet clinic in Carroll Gardens today!

 

Teaching Your Dog To Ride in the Car

Hit the road with your dog while avoiding motion sickness and stress!

Riding in the car with your dog, with some, can be easy and effortless, while other dogs may have fear and anxiety surrounding it, but when you love your dog, you want to take them everywhere with you, even in the car. Dogs may even jump right into the car and get excited to go for a ride, only to experience motion sickness and vomiting a couple of miles down the road. If you don’t have a first-rate passenger, The Vet Set can help! Get some tried and true tricks that can better acclimate your dog to riding in the car.

Creating a Love For the Car

If you’ve adopted a dog, they may have past traumas from riding in the car. The car only meant they were going to the vet or perhaps they were even involved in an accident. Puppies, on the other hand, may not be triggered in the same way as dogs, but some may have an aversion to them. The best way to help dogs and puppies love riding in the car is to replace any bad experiences, with new and positive ones — teach them that good things happen in the car. Gradually introduce your dog to the car, this may look like popping up the back door and hanging out in it for a bit. Give your dog lots of attention (safely) when they’re in the car. It’s important to figure out what’s most comfortable for them, and this will likely come through trial and error. If they’re calm, many dogs like to be close to you and will sit in the front seat, but for their safety, it's important to be buckled in a seat belt or crated in the back. Once your dog finds a good place to settle, you can then transition by driving down the road to a gas station or to a nearby park to play. The gas station is neutral, while the park creates a positive reward. You can also create a series of small stops, and between each stop, you can give them treats, rubs, and their favorite toy. Keep an eye out that your dog is relaxed at each stop, if they begin to look nervous or stressed, you may want to wait until it passes. Go for a quick stroll or do some roadside trick training to help get their mind elsewhere. While you’re beginning to build good experiences in the car, it’s important to keep more stressful rides such as those to the vet or to the groomers few and far between. If you do have to go, always make sure you have toys and treats around.

Motion Sickness in Dogs

Motion sickness can be another reason your dog may not love the car. To prevent motion sickness, ease your dog’s tummy with the following things:
  • Ensure they’re in a cool environment
  • Open the windows for fresh air
  • Reduce their water and food hours before the car ride
  • Decrease their stress beforehand with exercise
  • Talk to your vet about motion sickness medications
Your dog can learn to love the car, it may just take a few rounds of creating new positive experiences!

For more information on remedies for motion sickness or ways to calm anxiety in your dog, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!

 

Planting a Dog-Friendly Garden

Springtime in Carroll Gardens brings a lot of good things — stoop sitting, sunny city walks, and gardening! Whether you’re gardening on a little plot of earth in the back or lining your brownstone with container plants, growing food and gardening is a fun pastime for many. It’s even more enjoyable to share the fresh produce with your furry best friend! Create a dog-friendly garden! Learn all about the fresh food you can grow and share with your dog and how to cultivate a dog-friendly garden that’s safe for your dog and other dogs that might want a nibble!

Safe and Edible Dog-Friendly Plants 

As a dog parent, you’re likely very well aware of the foods that are poisonous to dogs — read our post, Human Food That Is Harmful to Your Dog to brush up on this important topic. There are many foods that dogs can enjoy, and, even better, they’re great and easy to grow in Carroll Gardens!

Fresh Herbs

Herbs are easy to grow and are a fun way to add flavor to your dog’s food or homemade treats. Rosemary - Rosemary is great for sprinkling into your dog’s food, or as a little treat as they’re helping you garden! Rosemary is iron-rich and abundant in antioxidants. Parsley - The biggest thing to note with parsley is the variety you choose — curly leaf parsley is great, while spring parsley is toxic to dogs. Parsley is a common herb found in many dog breath freshener treats, but because it’s a diuretic, it’s important to only give your dog small quantities.  Mint - Mint is a safe food for your dog in small quantities, but only a few leaves a day is recommended. Larger quantities can cause GI distress or possible liver and kidney issues. Mint is easy to grow, especially on a sunny stoop, and can be added to frozen dog treats or even their water, to help freshen their breath. Mint is also a great natural flea repellent, so you could grow mint and create your own DIY flea repellent as well!  Basil - Basil is great tasting and is known for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. Make a fresh pesto or use it to top pizza and know that it’s great to share with your dog. Thyme - Thyme is rich in antioxidants and is known to be antibacterial and antifungal. Mix in thyme with their food or combine it with other herbs to make a power-packed flavoring your dog will love!

Fruits and Veggies

There are so many fruits and veggies that dogs can eat, for an edible garden you can both enjoy.  Green beans - Chopped, raw, or steamed — green beans can be enjoyed by dogs in any form. They have a crisp crunch that dogs (and people) love.  Squash - All varieties of squash are safe for dogs to eat and can be a great food to incorporate as a snack or in homemade dog food. Greens - Leafy greens are great for dogs and are a good source of fiber. While you may not be able to get your dog to eat a salad, they may love to munch on it as you work in the garden or mixed into their food. Carrots - Dogs love carrots — raw carrots have a great crunch that helps to clean their teeth, while cooked carrots are delectably sweet. Berries - Raspberries and strawberries are two fruits that dogs love and are both safe in small quantities — so, while you’re making homemade jam, throw a couple of berries to your dog!  Between fresh herbs and fruits and veggies, there are so many dog-friendly foods you can plant in your garden. 

The Vet Set is always here to help you and your pooch whether it’s a nutrition question or training insight — we’ve got your back! For more information about the services our Carroll Gardens vet clinic provides, reach out to us today!

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Selling Your Home When You Have Dogs

Keep your house in order for prospective homebuyers!

  Most people are dog people, or at least don’t mind pets, but having a dog while you’re trying to sell your home can be tricky — it’s either a welcomed distraction or it leaves prospective homebuyers running for the door!    How do you sell your home when you’re a dog-friendly household? If you’re in our neck of the woods — Carroll Gardens — we’ll give you the best tips and tricks in today’s post!

Selling Your Home When You Have Dogs

  Carroll Gardens is abundant in beautiful brownstones, yet because of they’re design, you have to get creative as to how to stage your home when you have pups running around. After all, you don’t want to get a reputation of being that crazy home with dogs! Below, we’ll navigate how to prepare your home for prospective homebuyers — the joy of selling your home when you have a dog!   Yard Care   Typically, Carroll Gardens’ brownstones don’t have expansive yards. If you’re lucky enough to have space in front or behind, ensure that you tidy it up. It will likely be a highlight of your home and you don’t want prospective homebuyers to step in poop or roll an ankle where your dog digs.    Not only do you want to perform a poop patrol before each showing, but you may want to consider some light landscaping to fill in holes and make the exterior look more aesthetically pleasing.      Understand Your Insurance   While your dog may love people, they may not love random strangers coming in for a showing at odd hours during the day. And although your dog would never mean to bite or hurt anyone, it is their territory and they may see this guest as more of an intruder.    Ensure that your insurance has you protected in case anything does happen.   Eliminate Dog Odors   We all know the stale smell of dogs, and while we may not be able to smell it anymore, buyers will! It’s imperative to have your rugs and carpet professionally cleaned beforehand, and do a deep clean of your home before any showings begin.    Tuck Away Evidence   As a dog owner, you likely have a million and one toys, treats, and odds and ends that belong to your dog. And while keeping out the necessities such as their food and water bowls is acceptable, you’ll want to find a good place to store and organize extra leashes, collars, clothing, and toys.    It may be hard to find a little extra space, but if you can, do so!  Keep Your Pets Away   If you have the ability to crate your dog during showings, this is highly recommended — just let the realtor know which room your dog is in so there are no surprises!    If you’re home for a showing, take your dog out back or take them out for a stroll.   You can sell your home even with a dog roaming about, it just may take a little more effort on your part!    Keep in mind, this is a transition for your dog as much as it is for you! For more advice on how to help your dog (and sell your home) connect with our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!   

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