Holiday Hazards For Your Pet!

Are your pets safe this season?

Every year as veterinarians we see pets suffer a toxicity from one of the things listed below.  Please take a look and read!  We promise you'll learn something from the list no matter how pet savvy you are! Please share with your friends and family.  Holiday-Hazards-Social-Media

Top 5 Holiday Gifts For Your Pets!

Don’t forget your pet on your holiday shopping list!  They give unlimited love to you year round, and they deserve a little something, too!  We’ve compiled a list for your dogs and cats to keep them healthy, styled, and happy over the holidays!    
  • Shine for Dogs LED Collars and Leashes Keep your dog festive and safe when frenchie-puppy-blue-smlthe sun sets early! A variety of very light bright color leashes and collars are easy to see when you’re out walking.  They’re rechargeable, comfortable, and no one misses my small, dark dog when he’s walking at night.  Plus, they donate $10 for every collar or leash sold to a homeless pet in need!  From $29.
  • Paco’s Collars For Cats Not to be outdone, cats need their ID carrying devices, catpacotoo! These handmade, highly customizable collars with breakaway safety features are purrfect for the ruler of your home.  Designed and created in Berkeley, CA Paco’s works with local rescue groups to dress up adoptable dogs and cats before they head to adoption fairs.  My dog’s collar is going on 4 years old, and it still looks amazing!                                                 From $55.
  • New York Dog Ugly Holiday Sweater We all know we shouldn’t eat yellow sweaterPeesnow, but what about wearing it?? In keeping with the tradition of the worst sweaters come out in December, and keeping your pooch toasty warm we love this sweater.  Dress him and enjoy the attention your buddy will get!  From $15.
  • Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree We all need to slow our food intake during this catitfeedertime of the year, and the Food Tree does just that! Redesigned to allow larger cats to play hard without knocking it over the Food Tree provides entertainment and exercise for your food motivated cat!  My cat now exalts the Food Tree instead of harassing me for food at mealtime.  Win, win!  $20
  • The Gift of Health Certificate From The Vet Set The best gift you can give The Vet Set_Logo_F_coloryour pet is the gift of health. The premier team from The Vet Set will come to your home or office giving you time to take care of our holiday online gift shopping while your pet has all of her veterinary needs attended to.  Why not gift acupuncture to your older friend with stiff hips?  Available in all denominations starting at $50.  Use code Holiday30 for $30 off and certificate.
The Vet Set wishes you and your family an amazing holiday season!  Be safe, be happy, be healthy! 

Let's talk about barking dogs...

Why does my dog bark?
  • To get your attention – she may want to eat, go outside, play or simply get attention from you.
  • Because she is frustrated – she may be bored or was left outside/inside for too long.
  • Because she is scared – some dogs will bark out of fear of people, other dogs, new experiences, loud noises, new objects in the house, etc.
  • To protect you and the home – she may bark if she feels there is a potential intruder outside (human or other dog/animal).
  • Because she is excited – many dogs will bark out of excitement when friends come to visit or they go for a ride in the car, to a new dog park, etc.
  • Because of health issues – some older dogs with deafness or Canine Cognitive Dysfuntion (dementia) will bark because they can’t hear themselves or are confused.
What to do about the barking?  Training a dog not to bark can be difficult and often takes a lot of time and consistency. Don’t give up!! If you feel that your methods are not working or your dog is particularly difficult, you may want to consult with a trainer or veterinary behaviorist. barking dog3 In general I have found that many unwanted behaviors occur in dogs because they are bored or frustrated. This is certainly true for barking. I am always telling my clients that a tired dog is a good dog! Be sure to give your dog plenty of physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis – this will vary for each dog depending on their age, energy level and overall health. Young active dogs should get a good amount of exercise before you leave them at home for an extended period of time. You can also leave them with toys that offer distraction or mental stimulation while they are home alone. Most of the time a dog will bark for attention and/or because they receive a reward when they bark. The best thing you can do in this case is ignore her while she is barking. Believe it or not, yelling at her to stop barking IS giving her attention and she will continue to bark for this perceived “reward”. I always tell people to ignore their dog completely until they stop barking – literally turn away from them, don’t talk to them, touch them or even look at them! Any attention positive or negative can be perceived as a reward for their unwanted behavior. Once the dog stops barking, then pay attention to her and praise her for being quite. Positive reinforcement and consistency with this method is best! Another similar method is to ask your dog to do another task while she is barking to distract her. Praise her for completing this task, but not for barking. Keep things positive! One example is to tell her to sit, lie down or shake and reward her with a treat for doing so (and being quiet!). The key is to find a task that your dog will stop barking to complete. If your dog barks in response to a stimulus (i.e. another dog passing by), you can desensitize her to this stimulus with more positive reinforcement. Start when the stimulus is far away before your dog has noticed it – tell her to sit and give her a treat. As the stimulus gets closer continue to give your dog treats and tell her she is a good girl as long as she is paying attention to you and not barking. Once the stimulus is gone, stop giving treats and praise. Eventually she will learn that the presence of the stimulus is positive and means that she gets rewarded. This process will need to be repeated many times until your dog will actually pay attention to you instead of barking at the stimulus. If your dog is barking because of suspected deafness or dementia, you can try a hand signal instead of telling her “quiet” or “no barking”. You should also speak to your veterinarian about medications that can help with dementia. I always recommend that people try to keep their dog’s environment and routine as consistent as possible. Any changes in routine for a dog already experiencing cognitive dysfunction can make things much more confusing. For more information please contact the doctors of The Vet Set at (917) 741-4737 or email at

Yes! Chocolate is bad for cats.

  Why Is Chocolate Bad for Cats? According to Dr. Taylor Truitt, a veterinarian and the co-founder of The Vet Set, the two compounds in chocolate that are toxic to cats are theobromine and caffeine -- both of which fall under a chemical group called methylxanthines. These are the same two compounds that are toxic to dogs. "Methylxanthines stimulate the cardiac and nervous systems causing excitation, hyperactivity, an elevated heart rate and even psychosis," says Dr. Truitt.  is chocolate bad for cats What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Chocolate Ingestion? According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the signs and symptoms a cat exhibits after ingesting chocolate depend upon the type, amount and its level of toxicity. These include nausea and vomiting, agitation, abdominal pain or discomfort, increased thirst, muscle tremors, fever and seizures. A cat can also suffer from cardiac arrhythmia after ingesting a toxic amount of chocolate and an arrhythmia isn't something cat owners would be able to detect on their own. If a highly toxic amount of chocolate was consumed it could be deadly, so it's important to keep a watchful eye on your cat and keep chocolate locked away or out of reach. What About Different Types of Chocolate?  is chocolate bad for cats The darker the chocolate, the greater the toxicity. For example, "If you compare one ounce of dark chocolate with one ounce of milk chocolate, the dark chocolate ounce for ounce has a much greater concentration of theobromine and caffeine versus the milk chocolate due to its higher cocoa concentration," says Dr. Truitt. Here's how type and size determine toxicity:
  1. Lower Toxicity White chocolate has a low level of methylxanthines, so it's minimally toxic. Milk chocolate has a higher level of methylxanthines than white chocolate but compared with darker chocolate it's considered less toxic to cats.
  2. Higher Toxicity Dark baker's chocolate has a very high level of methylxanthines. Dry, unsweetened cocoa powder contains the most concentrated levels of methylxanthines and is the most toxic of all types of chocolate to cats.
Dr. Truitt explains that chocolate consumption is a ratio between the amount the cat weighs, the amount the cat consumes and the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate. If a large heavy cat consumes milk chocolate he would have to consume more compared to a smaller cat that consumes milk chocolate to equal the toxicity level. When Should You Visit the Vet? Dr. Truitt says, "Cats showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately." If you ever have any concerns about the amount of chocolate your cat has consumed, contact your veterinarian right away to evaluate the potential toxic amount consumed. "Fortunately, cats consuming chocolate is a much more rare incidence versus dogs where it's quite common," says Dr. Truitt. If your cat is suspected of having consumed chocolate and is showing any of the above listed signs and symptoms, this could be an emergency, and veterinary care should be sought immediately.
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Spaying a Cat: The Benefits and Cost

Originally Published Whether you're a seasoned cat owner or just jumping into pet ownership, you may not know whether to spay your cat or what it even means. Read on to find out the basics of this common procedure. What Is Spaying? Spaying a cat means surgically removing the reproductive organs (uterus and ovaries) from a queen cat -- an intact, unspayed female cat -- via an incision in the abdomen. The medical term for this procedure is a complete ovariohysterectomy. You may see it abbreviated as OVH when looking at your cat's medical records. The term "spaying" is applied to female animals only, but occasionally the term "neutering" is used to describe the sterilization of either a male or female cat. "Traditionally, the age to spay a cat has always been at six months, before the first heat cycle," says Dr. Brian Voynick, the owner and director of the American Animal Hospital in Randolph, New Jersey. A heat cycle is when an unspayed female cat is sexually receptive to male cats and can become pregnant. What Are the Benefits of Spaying? There are many benefits to spaying your cat. "Namely, it's the only way to prevent pregnancy and potentially unwanted kittens," says Dr. Taylor Truitt, a veterinarian at The Vet Set in New York, New York. Dr. Truitt and Dr. Voynick list further benefits of spaying your cat:
  1. Decreases Tumor Risk There's less risk for malignant mammary tumors (breast cancer) later in life if a cat is spayed before her first heat.
  2. Keeps Infections at Bay It decreases the chance for infections of the uterus and cancers of the reproductive organs.
  3. Eliminates Unwanted Behavior The procedure eliminates undesirable aspects of being in heat including loud howling, increased and intense affection, intense rubbing on objects and marking territory with urine.
  4. Removes Some Risk There's less desire for indoor cats to escape from the house, which is what they want to do to breed with male cats. There's less roaming of territories, meaning a reduced risk of being hit by cars or attacked by other animals.
  5. Improves Life Expectancy Spayed cats tend to live longer than their unspayed counterparts as birth can be a taxing process on the animal and, as discussed, they're at less risk for infections and cancers.
What Is the Cost of Spaying? Dr. Truitt shares that the cost of spaying a cat can vary widely due to the owner's personal circumstances and where the cat is spayed. "As a public outreach program to help stop the unwanted pet population, the ASPCA [American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] will offer spays for as little as $5 if the owner is on public assistance. In the regular ASPCA hospital in New York, the cost is roughly $125," she says. In high-end "boutique" practices the cost can go up to $500 due to top-of-the-line equipment and testing. Cost can also depend on how much pre- and post-operative pain management is prescribed and what kind of monitoring of anesthetics, blood pressure, pulse oximetry (measurement of oxygen in blood) and heart-activity monitoring is done during surgery. Dr. Voynick says, "The cost varies greatly, and depends on if the cat has preoperative blood tests. This is a baseline level to see if the cat has normal electrolytes, liver and kidney function and tests negative for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)." Dr. Voynick stresses the importance of these tests. "These blood tests will serve them well the rest of their lives," he says. He strongly advises that pets are prescreened before spay surgery so there are no surprises when it comes to the recovery process. Have more questions about spaying your cat? Check out Say Yes! Spay Your Pet.

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