What Is Kennel Cough?

Protect your dog from kennel cough as they go out and socialize with other dogs!

Being with other dogs is important for the development and socialization of your dog, and there are some health issues to be aware of when they congregate in shared spaces — doggy daycare, dog parks, etc — including kennel cough.  Are you familiar with kennel cough? The Vet Set sure is, and much as we love to see dogs be dogs and play with each other, it’s important to know about kennel cough so you can better keep them healthy. Learn all about kennel cough in today’s post. 

What You Need To Know About Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis and is a highly infectious respiratory condition in dogs. This is no solo health condition that dogs contract, as it thrives in areas where large groups of dogs are — dog boarding, doggy daycare, dog training, dog shows, etc. — and is easily spread. 

How does kennel cough spread?

Kennel cough can spread through direct dog-to-dog contact (touching noses), through the air, and contaminated areas such as water and food bowls and even sharing toys. While it is treatable, it can be an issue for puppies and older dogs, and those dogs with compromised immune systems.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough?

Kennel cough has observable symptoms that present in the following ways:
  • A cough with a “honking” sound associated with it.
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
If your dog has any combination of the above symptoms, it’s important to connect with your local vet.  As we’ve mentioned, kennel cough is a very treatable condition, but it’s important to talk about the cough with your vet because the cough could be something more serious such as canine influenza or canine distemper virus, both which start out identical to kennel cough. Other health issues to keep an eye out for are bronchitis, asthma, collapsing trachea, and sometimes even heart disease. 

How do you treat kennel cough?

Mild cases of kennel cough can be treated with rest over a week or two. In some cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection or cough medication to help manage and ease the symptoms. It’s also important to keep your dog quarantined from others to prevent it from spreading.

How long does kennel cough last?

Kennel cough generally lasts for roughly three to four weeks, but if you have a puppy, older dog, or a dog with a compromised immune system, it may take them six weeks or longer to completely recover.  How long kennel cough lasts will always depend on the dog, but a general timeframe is anywhere between three to six weeks. 

Can kennel cough be prevented?

There is a vaccine known as bordetella bacterium that can be given to dogs to help prevent kennel cough for dogs who are exposed to large groups of dogs regularly. This canine vaccine can be given orally, intranasally, or injected typically two to four weeks apart, in addition to a booster every six months to a year.   One important thing to note is that the most common strain of kennel cough is bordetella, however, there are others such as bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas that may not prevent your dog from catching the disease.  It’s also important to disinfect your dog’s area, especially if you have more than one dog in your home. This includes washing and disinfecting dog bowls, kennels, dog toys, tables, and areas where your dog hangs out. Even washing blankets throughout the house that they sleep on is not going too far!  If you have a home air purifier this is a great time to use it! Place it by your dog’s area or in a common place where they tend to be. The bacteria from kennel cough can last quite a long time on particulates, so if you can alleviate that, it can help prevent the spread of kennel cough. 

Pro Tips For Kennel Cough

  • Walk your dog using a harness instead of a collar to better prevent irritation and make the cough worse.
  • Use a humidifier in your dog’s area to help calm their cough.   
  • Keep your dog away from smoke and inside on low-quality air days.
  • Create a calming environment where your dog can relax and recover. 
Kennel cough is common among dogs who congregate in large groups and is most commonly observed in dog boarding facilities, doggy daycare, and dog parks. While it’s treatable, both younger and older dogs may have a harder time recovering and may need additional downtime to completely get over it.  If your dog spends a lot of time with other dogs there is a kennel cough vaccine that is preventative. To further prevent the spread of kennel cough, it’s imperative that the facility your dog goes to is clean and takes steps to wash and disinfect regularly. 

For more information on how our Carroll Gardens vet clinic can help you combat kennel cough, call us today!


3 Types of Allergic Reactions in Dogs

Know the signs and types of allergic reactions in your furry friend!

In dogs, it’s hard to know when they’re not feeling their best because they tend to always look happy and ready to play, but an allergic reaction can be life-threatening if you don’t know what to look for. From rashes and swelling to anaphylactic reactions, learn more about these health issues in today’s post.  At The Vet Set in Carroll Gardens, we’ve seen the gamut of allergic reactions and want to help support each dog owner in preventing and keeping their pooch as healthy as possible. Get what you need to know about allergic reactions in dogs today!

3 Types Of Allergic Reactions In Dogs

Just like humans, dogs have a built set of physiologic responses unique to them that signal in a variety of ways what the dog is allergic to. You’ll often see reactions to something they were bitten by (bees or mosquitoes) or even vaccinations.

Why do dogs have allergic reactions?

Allergic reactions occur when the dog’s system reacts to typically a harmless substance called an allergen. Antibodies are released to react to the allergen causing symptoms that affect the nose, lungs, throat, etc. in your dog.  Let’s examine these allergic reactions a little more in-depth.

Skin Allergies In Dogs

One of the most common allergic reactions in dogs is called allergic dermatitis and the leading causes are fleas, food allergies, and environmental allergies.  Fleas - This a very normal allergic reaction in dogs from pests that love to attach themselves to your dog, but if fleas gross you out and are wreaking havoc on your pooch, do not worry, they’re very easy to treat!  Fleas will look like black pepper that’s been sprinkled throughout your dog’s coat, and like most reactions, the more you scratch it, the worse it becomes.  A preventative flea treatment is the best course of action, but talk to your vet about treating an active flea outbreak. Food allergies - Dogs can have food allergies and react to certain ingredients in the food such as chicken or corn. Why do dogs get food allergies? While in some dogs a food allergy is genetic, some develop one to an overexposure of the same ingredient. So, if you feed your dog a chicken and rice dog food for most of their life, exposure over time can cause an inflammation flare-up in their intestines and spawn what is known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is where an antigen is absorbed and able to permeate the gut lining — the reaction itself is through the skin and causes your dog to itch, so rotating and introducing new foods in a dog's diet is a great way to combat food allergies.  Environmental allergies - An environmental or atopic allergy is when a dog reacts to an allergen such as dust, pollen, mold, or fungus, and these are typically seasonal. You might notice your dog has these certain allergies around certain times (spring and summer) and affected dogs will scratch their ears and excessively lick their paws.   

Snout/Facial Swelling And Hives

Dogs will often get facial swelling in the throat, face, lips, ears, and eyelids that signal an allergic reaction. Vets tend to favor these symptoms because the reaction is classified as angioneurotic edema, and if you’re seeing this, the time for a fatal reaction to occur, has passed.  The swelling presents itself 30 minutes to an hour after exposure, and though the dog is generally not in any danger, if left untreated, the swelling can last up to a day or two before it goes down. Hives, on the other hand, are a little different than just swelling. Hives will begin to crop up six to 24 hours after exposure and cause extremely itchy skin and welts or small bumps on the skin.  You can easily see hives on dogs with short coats, but those dogs with longer coats you’ll likely be able to feel them first. 

Anaphylactic Allergies

Anaphylactic allergies in dogs are very rare but they do occur. This happens when your dog has a reaction to a food or another substance such as medication that their body tries to fight and floods it with antibodies to attack the seamlessly harmless substance. Blood pressure can drop and in an anaphylactic reaction, many parts of the body are involved, making it extremely dangerous.  The tough part about this allergic reaction, is you never know how something innocuous as shrimp or a bee sting could jeopardize your dog’s life. So, if you notice your dog having issues after eating something or taking something, contact your vet immediately.   Your response time is key to anaphylactic reactions and if your dog survives, they’ll likely be prescribed an EpiPen should this happen again. 

Does Your Dog Have Allergies?

As we’ve covered, dogs can have a myriad of allergic reactions — some are quite common while others are rare and life-threatening — but they all show up in different ways.

For more information about allergy prevention and treatment options in dogs, connect with our Carroll Gardens vet office today!


Why Is my dog drinking an excessive Amount of Water?

All things related to your dog’s water consumption!   Just like humans, dogs need water to survive and with all the running around and activity they have, it’s important that they have access to both indoors and outdoors.    But, is there such a thing as your dog drinking too much water?    At The Vet Set in Carroll Gardens, we’re your local vet clinic in this part of Brooklyn stop by for your dog’s basic vaccinations in addition to other health issues that they face. Take a moment with us as we explore what water has to do with your dog’s health!

Why Water Is Important For Dogs

  Water is vital to your dog’s health — dog’s lose water through various processes such as panting and drooling, and need to be able to replenish the hydration that they lost. Being properly hydrated is a balance — too little and they become dehydrated, while too much may be a sign or symptom of other health issues.    It’s important not to restrict water from your dog, and instead, be taking note of how much they’re drinking and then relaying this to your vet.   

How much water do dogs need?

  How much water your dog needs to drink will vary from dog to dog based on a couple of different factors including their diet and activity level.    If your dog consumes a diet of mostly wet food, they will probably drink less water than those dog’s who are feed mostly kibble. Activity level also plays a role in how much water they need — if your dog is extremely active they may need additional water, especially in the hot summer months.    The standard guideline for water consumption that vets agree on is approximately one ounce of water per one pound of body weight.   

When Your Dog’s Water Consumption Becomes An Issue

  Why is my dog drinking so much? is one of the most frequently asked questions at the vet!    When a dog drinks too much water, this is known as polydipsia and it can be related to a myriad of health issues.   

So, what does it mean when your dog is drinking too much water? 

Because your dog is drinking so much, it could mean that they’re urinating in larger volumes, and this can be a helpful indication and diagnostic tool for vets.    Vets will typically check for the following health issues if your dog is drinking too much water:  
  • Infection
  • Liver disease
  • Adrenal issues
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease

When should I act if I think my dog is drinking too much water?

  If you think your dog is drinking too much water, keep an eye on it at least for a day or two because it could be related to other things such as a reaction to other medications, drinking (or playing with the water) out of boredom, or maybe they’re just extra thirsty from running around the yard!    If your dog’s excessive water consumption goes beyond a day or two, contact the vet for further action. It’s important to take action earlier rather than later because if they do have a disease it could mean catching it early enough for a better treatment outcome.    Water is something dogs need and while it may be frustrating or irritating to you that they’re drinking a lot of water, it could also indicate an underlying health issue such as an infection, liver disease, adrenal and kidney concerns, or diabetes all of which should not go unaddressed.    So, let your dog drink water and if it becomes excessive, contact your vet.   

For more answers to all of your pet questions and to learn more about our vet services in Carroll Gardens, reach out and connect with our office today! 


How To Create A Thriving Indoor Environment For Your Cat

Cats can live abundant and rich lives in smaller spaces!

  If you’re living in a neighborhood such as Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, our guess is space is limited! Many people wonder if small spaces such as apartments and brownstones are a place where cats can thrive. The answer is yes — and, there are many things you can do as a cat owner to make your environment all the more stimulating for your feline friend!   Our city cats straight from the neighborhood of Brooklyn’s own Carroll Gardens, love The Vet Set because we provide comprehensive vet services for all the kitties that roam! Learn all about how to make a small space the perfect place for your cat!

Creating A Thriving Indoor Environment For Cats 

  If your cat is strictly an indoor cat, being cooped up all day can lead to one thing — boredom! And, when your cat becomes bored they are more likely to act out and develop behavior issues.    While playtime with your cat is advantageous, creating a space where they are constantly stimulated is even better. The great news is, you don’t have to live in a large space to make it conducive to your cat, small spaces too, can cultivate all the stimulation they need!   So, where do you begin to transform your apartment or brownstone into a kitty haven? Let’s explore some tangible things below.   

Take your cat to new heights!

  Cats love to be in high places, after all, it’s one of their most innate survival instincts. To help your kitty feel safe, secure, and stimulated implement different things at contrasting heights.    If you’re handy at building cat stands, try that! Covering them in carpet also doubles as a scratching post. Or, if you’d rather have someone do the work for you, you can find cat stands at most pet stores.    If you’re on a budget and are looking for a quick fix, hanging shelves around your home is an easy hack to help your kitty reach new heights.   

Create a kitty entertainment space.

  Cats love nothing more than to be perched ontop a windowsill — it’s their version of TV! Cats can spend hours entertaining themselves by watching birds, squirrels, and other animals and humans alike. So, make their favorite windowsill more cat-friendly.    Put a coffee table or chair up against the windowsill so they have easy access to their outside entertainment! Or, if you have a cat stand, this creates a great space where they not only watch what’s going on outside, but gives them a place to scratch and play.    You can even make it a cozy nap place by putting a cat bed or cozy blanket on top of the windowsill.  

Make sure their toys are stocked.

  Cats love play toys — from strings and feather to small toys brimming with catnip. These toys keep them active, occupied, and in good spirits which always combats boredom.    There are also cat toys that they can chase and roll about that dispenses treats.   

Give your cat their own nook.

  The thing with cats is, they love their own private area, and in an apartment that can be difficult. If you’re living in a studio or one-bedroom apartment you don’t necessarily have the space to devote one room to your cat, but, you can create a little kitty oasis. Implement things like large plants (sometimes fake one are the best because many plants are toxic to cats) to create a jungle-inspired area or create a more private space with an enclosed cat bed or even a kid’s tipi.   There are many ways to prevent boredom in your cat and space has nothing to do with it, so starting creating a space your indoor kitty can thrive in today!  

For more information about how to care for your indoor cat, reach out to us today!  


8 Things To Know About Cats Before You Adopt

Becoming a cat confidant?! Dive into the facts about cats before you make the final adoption step.

  If you’re on a journey to meet your new feline friend through a cat adoption, a local shelter or even a local vet act as a great resource. Cat adoption is so rewarding as there are many kittens and adult cats who need a forever home, but it’s important, before becoming a pet parent, to think through your decision and ensure you can care for your cat through its whole life.    Cats of Carroll Gardens have it made with a vet clinic such as The Vet Set! Learn more about cats and what it takes to care for them in today’s post!

But first, are you ready to adopt a cat?

  We know — cats are so cute and cuddly, all while being independent and having a personality like no other! And while it’s easy to be in a pet store or around your friend’s cat and want to decide right then and there that you’re getting a cat, it’s important to take pause because really this is a life-changing decision.    We’ve explored in other posts what it really takes to become a pet parent but let’s consider a few things before you take the leap!  

What are your cat adoption intentions?

  If you’re wanting to get a cat just so you can plaster their picture all over Instagram and cross your fingers that they’ll make you insta-famous, maybe you should rethink pet ownership.   

Where are you at in life?

  While we never want to say that a pet isn’t a good idea, caring for one and liking the idea of one are two totally different things — especially in the stage of life you’re in.   Rescue kitties and all adopted pets need stability, so if you’re in a band or live a lifestyle where you aren’t home a lot, it may not be an ideal time. Cats are more independent and like doing things on their own schedule, but they still crave connections with their human!    

Where are you living?

  It’s important to consider where you’re living and what kind of living situation you’re in because this can greatly affect the quality of life for your cat.    Are you living alone in a city like Brooklyn? Great! Cats are the perfect brownstone pet! It is important that you’re diligent about keeping them as indoor cats because the city isn’t a great place for cats to get loose!  

Do you have roommates? 

  This is one factor that a lot of people look past when it comes to adopting a cat. While sharing space with working professionals or another person you know and trust is one thing, but if you’re in a college house with six other people, this puts your cat at risk — not everyone will love and care for your cat like you. Plus, there are the horror stories of people feeding cats beer or drugs or playing party music late into the night. This is just not safe for cats.     If you’re in a partnership, you also have to consider if you would be able to manage a cat should you break up — it’s maybe something you think would never happen but it happens and you need to have a plan for all your pets.    At the end of the day, it’s not talking anyone out of cat adoption, it’s creating an awareness and a reality that rescue cats, and all cats in general, need a safe, nurturing place to live and its a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Now that we’ve gotten the wheels turning a bit, let’s look more closely at some things to know about cats before adopting!  

Rescues and animal shelters are overflowing with cats.

  We all are impartial to our favorite breeds of cat’s — hello Maine Coons — but it’s important to know that shelters are overflowing with cats who need loving, forever homes. So, finding a cat that you vibe with won’t be hard. Go down to your local pet shelter today and play with some kitties!  

Cats are known for their nine lives!

  The average life expectancy of a cat is 13 to 17 but cats have been known to live well into their 20s, so it’s important to understand this before adopting a cat. Will you be able to care for your cat and everything that comes with it — vet visits, potential illness, food, etc — throughout their whole life?    If this seems like forever, perhaps rescue a senior kitty or wait until you’re more ready.  

Cat overpopulation is a reality. 

  Because there are feral cats and cats who don’t have a home and are living on the streets for a variety of reasons, the cat population gets out of hand because a majority of them aren’t spayed or neutered. And, since cats can breed up to three times a year, it is vital to get them fixed. So, do the responsible thing and get your feline spayed or neutered.   

All indoor cats need a litter box. 

  Yes, this seems like common sense and it’s not only important to provide your cat with a litter box, but that you keep it in an accessible area in a place where your cat can always find it.   With that in mind, remember: Cats will not use a dirty litter box so as a part of being a cat parent you’ll need to tend to the litter box daily to keep it tidy and disinfect it weekly.   

Cats like to keep a consistent schedule.

  If you’ve ever had cats before, you know that if you sleep one minute past their morning feeding time, they’ll be pacing, pawing, and crying out for you until you decide to get up and feed them — cats know!    Try and keep things as consistent as possible to provide structure to their day and stability to their lives.     

Be wary of the plants you keep. 

  Many times, plant people are also cat people so it’s important to know that there are a lot of plants that are harmful and toxic to your cat. Some common plants include:  
  • Aloe  
  • Holly
  • Asparagus fern
  • Calla lily
  • Corn plant
  • Jade
  • Devil’s ivy
  • Areca palm
  • Money plant
  • Spider plant
  Before adopting a cat, check your plants and remove any that are toxic.   

Cats love to evoke their prey instincts!

  Cats love, more than anything, to stalk and pounce — whether it’s with another cat or even an inatimate object! It’s important that this kind of play is encouraged and fostered with toys and cat stands that let them play! Cats cost money.   Again, this is so elementary but all the little things add up! The ASPCA estimates that the average yearly costs for caring for a cat are $600 — this doesn’t include any emergency vet services. So, the best course of action — invest in pet insurance or save money in case your cat requires emergency vet care.  Adopting a cat is great for the cat and for you, however, it’s important to be ready to care for a cat for the rest of its life. Sometimes we can get a little ahead of ourselves and not see the full scope of adopting a pet.    Once you’ve taken a little time and have learned more about cats, our Carroll Gardens vet clinic is here for you every step of the way!  

To learn more about our cat vet services, connect with us today!


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