Flea Prevention and Control in Cats

Getting rid of fleas can be tough, but with a little work, you can prevent and control them!

  Seeing fleas on your cat can be alarming — watching the tiny creatures scamper about their coat looking for a tasty snack and in the meantime causing itching and discomfort in your favorite feline friend.   Once you see fleas, you can’t unsee them! Rest assured even though it feels like they’re everywhere, there are many things you can do to be proactive in preventing and treating fleas in your cat.   The Vet Set is your ally in cat flea control and flea remedies! As the weather warms up fleas become more of an issue, especially in the humid New York neighborhood of Carroll Gardens! If you have fleas on your mind, this is a post for you — learn all about getting rid of fleas on cats in today’s post.

Fleas, Fleas, Fleas: Are You Itching Yet?

  As a cat owner, you are well aware of the effects of fleas and how cats can be susceptible to them, so let’s dive into the flea life cycle to get a better grasp on flea prevention.  

The Flea Lifecycle

  The lifecycle of these pests is often compared to that of a butterfly, except without all the beautiful colors to boot!   The entire lifecycle of a flea begins when they take up residence and lay eggs on your cat, and what’s worse yet, the eggs not only are within your cat but they also fall in the surrounding environment such as your cat’s bedding, your carpet, and even in your own bed.   Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feast on the feces of the adult fleas and continue to mature.   Once the larva is a bit older, just like a butterfly, it will cocoon itself as it continues to develop into a full-fledged adult flea.   After the cocooning period is over, the adult flea emerges and feast on your cat's blood, mates, and begins the lifecycle once again.   And this is why cat flea control and prevention is so vital — the cycle can continue on and on if it’s not treated and disrupted.  

So, how do you know your cat has fleas?

  The most common sign of fleas is constant scratching. If you’re not sure if it’s fleas, you can also grab a flea comb or pull their coat \back — if you notice tiny black dots or “flea dirt” your cat may indeed have fleas. The tiny, black dots are flea feces and if you wipe them with a damp paper towel and it turns red, this indicates they’ve been snacking on your cat’s blood.  

Why are fleas an issue for cats?

  Aside from being itchy and uncomfortable, fleas can cause a host of health issues that make you cat sick including:   Tapeworms - Fleas are harmful to kittens and often manifest into worms so if your kitten has fleas, ensure they’re treated by their local vet for tapeworm.   Anemia - If fleas go unaddressed in your cat, it can result in anemia because of the blood loss. Signs of anemia are pale gums, so be sure to check their gums if they’ve recently had a flea infestation.  

How to Prevent a Flea Infestation From Affecting Your Home

  Once fleas get in, or on your cat, all bets are off — their eggs can spread to other animals and in all the nooks and crannies of your home.   Once the fleas are removed from your home, their lifecycle can be greatly impacted.     A good, thorough cleaning should do just the trick, but as a guide, consider dong the following:   Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! - It is crucial to do this on a daily basis after or during an infestation. After a couple of vacuumings, dispose of the bags or clean out the container   Have the carpets cleaned - A good steam cleaning will kill any remaining eggs and ensure a halt in the lifecycle of the fleas.   Wash just about everything! - If you can wash it, take this measure. This means throwing in bedding, pillows, blankets, etc. If it can’t be thrown into the washer, spot clean it with a detergent and wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant.   Hire a professional - If you want to rest completely and trust that the fleas are gone, hire a pest control company. They often have pet-friendly solutions that mitigate fleas and keep everyone in the household happy and healthy.  

Treating a Flea Infestation

  If your cat has fleas, they need to be treated promptly by your local vet to stop the infestation from spreading.   The first line of defense is to comb and bathe your cat — as you comb and collect fleas dispose of them properly. Throwing them away isn’t advised because they’re hardy and they may be able to hop right out of the trash and find another victim! Instead, drop them into a jar of bleach water. The fleas will die and then you can discard the remains down your disposal.   Although cats are typically horrified from a bath, you can attempt to drown the fleas by bathing your cat. Use a mild shampoo and your cat should be well on its way to shaking those fleas.  

Flea Topicals For Cats

  It’s important to highlight that you use a flea topical specifically made for cats. Many people pick up a flea treatment for dogs thinking it’ll do the trick, but dogs and cats have different physiologies, so you’ll need a flea treatment specifically for cats.   Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in a popular topical and is great for treating fleas.   Fipronil is another popular ingredient in topicals, but some cats may be sensitive to it.   Selamectin - This is a well-rounded ingredient that tackles not only fleas but ticks, ear mites, and heartworms.   Before using any topical on your cat, connect with your vet clinic.   If you suspect your cat has fleas, call your vet immediately. Fleas may not seem serious, but a flea infestation in your home is not something you want to deal with. Instead, take preventative measures and keep your furry feline healthy!  

To learn more about flea control and prevention, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!


Natural Home Flea Control For Your Cats

There are many flea remedies for cats, so why not try things you have in your home?   Fleas can wreak havoc on our pets and our homes calling for flea prevention and flea control, and while there are many methods for mitigating these tiny and disruptive creatures, why not try a safe and natural approach first?   It can be easy to not trust these methods, but they’re effective and oftentimes less toxic than the other flea remedies.   At the Vet Set, flea control and prevention is crucial to the health of your cat and if there are natural methods available, we encourage you to explore them! Learn more about natural flea control in today’s post.

Preventing Fleas

  Before we get into the at-home remedies to try, it is important to highlight that one of the best flea prevention methods is keeping your home tidy. Fleas depend on their lifecycle and when it’s disrupted a potential infestation can be halted, which is where cleaning comes into play.   Regularly vacuuming and cleaning your carpet, especially in the warmer seasons, can help prevent and control fleas. In addition, wash your cat’s bedding and the blankets they lay on weekly in hot, soapy water.   Grooming is also a vital part in flea prevention — not only is combing your cat and looking for fleas important, bathing them will help cut down a flea outbreak. Water drowns fleas, so submerging your cat (if you can) is the optimal way to kill any fleas.   Thank the ants! While we don’t want ants in our homes, they are great for flea prevention outdoors! Ants eat flea larvae and eggs — they are the best disruptors of the flea life cycle so keep them around!   Keeping a clean yard also ties into the flea prevention picture. Fleas gravitate to your cat outdoors, so keeping a trim lawn and watering it can better control fleas.   Fleas are drawn to sandy, bare patches in your yard, notably in the hot summer months. If you do have these areas in your yard, consider clearing the area of debris and laying sod or covering it in some other manner.  

Successful and Natural Flea Treatments

  Keep fleas away with natural products you can find in your pantry!   Apple Cider Vinegar   This has made its way into the mainstream as remedy for many things, including flea control. Apple cider vinegar won’t kill fleas per se, but it does cause fleas to jump ship.   It is recommended to dilute it into a 2:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water and spray it on your cat and comb through their coat.   Cedar   Fleas avoid cedar, so incorporating this into your home may help detract them. You can implement cedar into your landscaping (cedar chips or mulch) or add a cedar essential to spray bottle and spray it around your home — along walls, door entrances, and your cat’s area — to deter these creepy, crawly pests!   Rosemary   Rosemary is another scent that deters fleas. You can grow rosemary outdoors if you have a garden and use it in your home. Dry the herb and mix it in your cat’s litter box, or keep a sachet of rosemary hanging in their area.   You can also add a few drops of rosemary to your cat’s collar to really deter them from jumping aboard your cat!   Rosemary is also great to use when you bathe your cat — it not only discourages fleas, but it’s soothing and has anti-inflammatory properties.   Lemon   Citric acid is used as a natural flea killer, and lemons are chock full of it. You can make a mixture with a fresh lemon, but it’s extremely important to dilute it because it can irritate your cat’s skin if it’s too strong.   To make the perfect anti-flea concoction, boil a sliced lemon and let it soak in  water overnight. Transfer the lemon water to a spray bottle and apply to your cat’s coat. Avoid their eye area and avoid this if they have any cuts or scratches.   Lavender   Lavender is not only soothing and calming, but it repels fleas! Because lavender is a pleasant scent for humans, you can easily place it around your house. Use it in an essential oil diffuser in your home and place it near your cat’s litter box, or let it grow in your yard!   You can use it similarly to rosemary and lemon, by mixing a lavender essential oil in a spray bottle and spraying it on your cat’s favorite sleeping spots or directly into their coat.   Salt   Salt dehydrates fleas, so it is the perfect thing to sprinkle in your carpets if you suspect fleas. Shake finely ground salt into high-traffic areas (especially the one your cat uses) and let it sit for a day or so and vacuum it up.   Garlic and Brewer’s Yeast   If you want to help prevent fleas with supplementation, both garlic and brewer’s yeast have been known to help ward off fleas. You can add a little garlic powder and brewer’s yeast to their food, or even sprinkle it into their coat.   Fleas are intrusive and can quickly cause an infestation if they’re not addressed promptly. There are many natural, at-home remedies that are effective and work just as well as other flea products in flea control and prevention. Give them a try today and let us know how they work!  

To combat your cat’s flea issue and to learn more tips for flea mitigation, schedule an appointment in our Carroll Gardens vet office today.


Turn Your Pup Into a World-Class Air-Traveler

Flying may not be the dog park or a delicious bone, but there are ways to make your dog get better at it!

  Flying can cause anxiety for the most seasoned traveler — the long lines, security, and boarding the plane — add a dog into the mix, and it’s a full on panic attack if your pet is upset and ill-prepared.   Whether your pet is accompanying you in the cabin or flying on its own below, there are many ways to help prepare them and make them more comfortable for air travel.   Your pet’s health is our priority at the Vet Set, both on the ground and in the air! Join us in today’s post as we explore air travel for your pooch.

Pet Flying Tips

  Everyone loves the idea of taking their beloved pup on a plane to discover a new destination, and with the right steps, you can turn this dream into a reality! We’ll explore travel tips for flying with your dog and when they fly underneath the plane — read all about it below!  

In-Cabin Travel

  First things first when it comes to in-cabin travel with your pooch…   Invest in a comfortable and airline approved carrier.   Folks, this is crucial. There are many pet carriers on the market that are cute and stylish, but if they don’t meet the airlines requirements, you will not be able to fly. So, let’s look more closely into pet carrier requirements.   Size and weight - The first thing to check into is, does your dog even meet the requirements to fly in-cabin? Generally pets can be no larger than 18 inches long from their nose to the base of the tail and can't exceed 12 pounds. The exact size and weight requirements do vary with each airline, so always double check before you book your ticket.   Pet Carrier Requirements - Your pet travel carrier must be able to fit under the seat in front of you and they need to include the following:  
  • A soft- or hard-bodied pet carrier
  • Must contain your whole pet (their head cannot stick out)
  • Waterproof bottom
  • Ventilation
  • Zippers for security (no snaps)
  Required carrier dimensions are as follows:  
  • Hard-bodied - 17.5 inches long X 12 inches wide X 7.5 inches high
  • Soft-bodied - 18 inches long X 11 inches wide X 11 inches high
  And now for the inside scoop on traveling with your pet!   Book a direct flight - The less transitions you have, the less travel hiccups such as flight delays you’ll encounter.   Check their comfort level before the flight - If your dog has never been on a plane or gone for a longer car ride, you may want to test this out. Take your dog out for a long car ride — hello, weekend getaway — and see how they stand up. Do they get motion sickness, or do they seem overly stressed? If there are any issues, you can address them and help get them more prepared to fly in the interim.   Cultivate crate love - If your dog is not crate-trained this can be a big adjustment, but if done properly, dogs can come to find their crate as a safe space and being in it can help reduce any travel anxiety. Make their crate a space that they love — give them treats in their crate and keep their favorite toys in there so they naturally gravitate towards it at home, thus enjoy it more when traveling. Putting a t-shirt or blanket with your scent in their crate can also help them calm and quell any anxiety.   Provide in-flight entertainment - Pack their absolute favorite toys for the flight, even the high-value ones. This will keep them entertained, happy, and less likely to be vocal with any barks or whimpering.   Take an airport trip beforehand - Taking your dog to the airport before your actual scheduled flight is a great way to desensitize them to all the travel hustle and bustle — they’ll become better adapted to the sounds and smells.   Check in early - If you go with the rule of giving yourself two hours for domestic travel and three hours for international. If you’re traveling with a dog, add an hour. It’s important to give yourself time to get situated and take your dog out one last time before a flight.   Use puppy pads - If you’re on a longer flight, line there crate with puppy pads and always pack extra in case of an emergency. If the flight attendants have to handle any waste, be sure to thank them with a generous tip or gift card.  

Pet Cargo Travel

  Pets traveling as cargo are beneath the plane cabin and have additional requirements and considerations for happy and healthy travel.  

Pet Crate Requirements

It is required that your dog is able to stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably in their crate. The floor of the crate should be solid and leakproof. The top of the crate should also be solid, and ventilation should run along the sides.   The ventilation must be along two sides for domestic flights and four sides for international flights.     The crate must also have spring-loaded locking pins to secure the dog. Many airlines also ask that dog owners further secure the doors with cables or bungee cords on all four corners.   A collapsible crate is not allowed.   “Live Animal” stickers must be placed on the top and sides of the crate.   Easy identification is required on the outside of the crate with your dog’s name and your contact information.   The crate must have food and water bowls attached to the front door and must be refillable from outside the crate. Food can be attached to the top of the crate for easy access.   The crate must be composed of metal, rigid plastics, solid wood/plywood, fiberglass, or metal mesh.     

Pro Tips for Cargo Travel

  Place a leash and collar to the top of the crate. Tape all of your pet’s health information to the top of the crate (secured in a plastic bag). Prep the crate to accommodate any temperature swings. If your dog is sensitive to temperature swings, pack their crate accordingly. In cold weather, include extra blankets and stuffed animals they can snuggle up with. In hot temperatures, pack enough for their comfort, but not so much that they become overheated.   When you’re prepared, traveling with your pet can be a positive experience, and having them by your side for your adventures makes it worth it. While we’ve given important guidelines, always check with your airline before your flight to ensure that you’ve met all of their pet travel requirements.  

To learn more about traveling with your dog or for more information on requirements, connect with us today!


How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Travel

Both car and air travel can induce anxiety for pets and it’s important to help get them through it.

  Traveling with your furry friend may be exciting for you but it can riddle them with anxiety, so if they struggle with travel, there are natural remedies to help calm their systems.   The Vet Set supports your dog in every facet of their health — physical and emotional — which makes it crucial to help them work through and cope with triggering events such as travel. Follow along today and pick up some of the best natural remedies to ease the stress of doggy travel.

Travel Anxiety in Dogs

  Dogs have travel anxiety just like humans, but we know how to identify and treat the signs and symptoms, so how do you know your dog is suffering?   Possible signs include:  
  • Pacing
  • Shaking
  • Panting
  • Overwhelmed
  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Urination
  • Defecation
  • Excessively vocal
  • Aggression
  • Not eating
If you spot these signs there are plenty of natural remedies to calm their systems and help them relax during travel.  

Herbal Remedies

  There are a handful of herbs that help your dog chill out in stressful situations, so always check with your vet before giving yours something new.   Valerian   This herb works well for people and for dogs! It provides a sedative effect to help quell anxiety in dogs. Valerian comes in a variety of forms such as tinctures and capsules. Talk to your vet about how to dose this herb.   Passionflower   This is a supportive herb that is wonderful for highly stressed out dogs, and it is recommended to give your dog right before you board the plane. This herb keeps all the happy neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine) intact which promotes a calm, happy, and improved mood.   Chamomile   This a gentle, yet effective herb. Not only does it soothe upset dog tummies but it helps them remain calm.   CBD   CBD is for dogs too! Many dog owners are giving their pets CBD to improve the effects of anxiety. The Vet Set recommends Canna-Pet. Find more information here.     Rescue Remedy   This is a homeopathic formulation that helps calm dogs in stressful environments. It has a combination of plants and botanics to aid your pet.     Essential Oils   Rubbing essentials on your pet before a flight offers superb anxiety support and keeps them calm.   The best practice, assuming your dog won’t try and lick them off, is to use a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, etc and mix in a couple drops of the following essential oils:   Lavender - This herb goes straight to work on your dog’s nervous system to help relieve anxiety.  
  • Frankincense - This is derived from resin from the Boswellia tree and improves anxiety.
  • Neroli - Not that your dog cares, but neroli smells divine and help pups chill and relax.
  • Lemon balm - This herb is uplifting and soothing, leaving your dog in a tranquil state.
  • Vetiver - This herb has an earth scent and is a grass native to India. There have even been studies on rats showing that vetiver oil functions similarly to anti-anxiety medications.
  Other Methods Beyond herbs and essential oils there a few more things to try to help your dog stay calm.   Compression shirts - These types of shirts function in the same way baby swaddles do — they hug the dog closely, providing a sense of comfort and security. They have an anxiety-reducing effect that applies constant, yet gentle pressure around the torso area.   Acupressure and/or Massage   Acupressure applies pressure to points along the body that correspond with different systems and using specific points can be effective in helping your pooch deal with stress and anxiety.   Massage is also another great way to help your dog relax before a flight — even a good belly rub will help do the trick!   If you’re looking for a more natural solution to help prevent or aid your dog’s anxiety before travel, there are many amazing herbs, essential oils, products, and alternative modalities to help combat their nerves.   Before embarking on any new supplements or methods, connect with your vet to ensure they’re safe for your furry best friend!  

To learn more about our alternative vet services or to schedule an appointment, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!


Enjoy The Quiet: Breeds That Don’t Bark

Enjoy The Quiet: Breeds That Don’t Bark

If loud noises, barking included, cause you anxiety, we’ve got you covered! Barking can be a real problem, not only as a dog owner, but it can be disruptive to neighbors and when you’re out and about. While there are methods you can use to train your dog to bark less, if you’re looking for breeds who are quiet and content, there are a handful that fit the bill.   At Vet Set, we understand how a dog’s demeanor means everything — you need a dog that fits your lifestyle and barking can really put a damper on things. Join us in today’s post as we navigate dog breeds that bark less to help maintain peace and quiet.

Quiet(er) Breeds

  There is no a guarantee that your dog will never bark at the occasional squirrel or when someone comes to visit, but below are the breeds that tend to bark less, so let’s explore these peaceful pups.  

Shiba Inu

  You may pick up an introverted vibe when you first meet a Shiba Inu — they’re reserved yet inquisitive, and they always look like they want to tell you something. The Shiba will very rarely bark and stays calm and adaptable to most environments.   Shiba Inu’s make a great pet because they’re low-maintenance with minimal grooming needs and exercise requirements.  


  Whippets look like mini-Greyhounds and do not bark much. When Whippets are comfortable and feel a part of the family they are quite loving and playful, but if you’re a stranger they may take some time to warm up to you.   If you’re planning on getting a Whippet based on their quiet personality, keep in mind they need a lot of exercise — when they don’t get enough they can become destructive and stubborn, which isn’t good for anyone.  


  This is a large dog breed who is stoic by nature and only barks when it's needed. They make a great guard dog for protection, so when they bark, it’s probably to bring attention to something. An Akita is an intense breed who loves fiercely and loyally but is quite independent — they'll guard and protect you, but shy away from a more playful nature.  

Bernese Mountain Dog

  If you’re ready to accommodate a  large breed, you will not find a more playful and loyal dog! While they remain quiet and tend not to bark, they’re happy to alert you when there is something worth barking about.   This breed requires a good amount of exercise and a bond will be cemented in this fun, play time.  

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  If a smaller breed is more your style, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the best little, albeit quiet, companion. They are quite easy going and love to snuggle, but tend to be a bit more high maintenance in the grooming department. Their long coat requires daily brushing, but other than this they are pretty easy to care for.  


  A bulldog is a perfect companion who is extremely low-maintenance, and better yet, doesn’t bark. Their short coat makes grooming a breeze, andtheir short, muscular stature doesn’t require a whole lot of exercise.   Because they’re not overly vocal, you’ll know exactly if something is up or if they want your attention.  

Chow Chow

  A Chow Chow is a very independent dog who is more aloof than anything. While Chow’s have a reputation for being aggressive, it’s typically as a result of wanting to protect their people.   If no danger is present, Chow’s are typically quiet, but they won’t hesitate to signal to you if danger is near.   All dogs bark, whether out of boredom or to alert someone that there is danger, there is not a completely barkless dog — which is a good thing. So, keep the peace and your neighbors happy with a breed that barks less!   There is a dog breed for everyone and even for those who prefer their dogs not to bark at every person that strolls by! Keep peace and quiet with dog breeds that are more naturally quiet! Breeds such as whippets, Akitas, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, bulldogs, and Chow Chows all tend to be less vocal than other breeds.  

For more information about how to care for the dogs listed above or the vet services we office, connect with us today!


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