Does Your Dog Have a Dry, Itchy Winter Coat? Try These Remedies! (Part One)

Winter can be brutal on our dogs’ coat — read about the best natural remedies to keep them healthy and itch-free.

  Just like humans, dogs can suffer from dry, parched coats in addition to flaky patches and cracked pads during the winter months. And while most of these issues can be handled at home, it never hurts to have a vet take a look at their skin irritations.       The Vet Set in Carroll Gardens is your local vet for all of your pets needs — from pet immunizations to preventative care — we’re here to keep your furry friends happy and healthy. Learn the best natural at-home remedies that are vet-approved in today’s post!

Dog Skin Irritations

  Skin irritations are very common in dogs and can result from a host of issues including environmental factors, food allergies, and bug bites, and if you’ve ruled all of these concerns out at the vet, it may just be what’s right in front of you — the cold, harsh winter weather.   Below are some easy ways to treat dry skin on dogs, and best of all, they’re natural and most of it you may already have in your home!  

Coat Sprays For Dry Skin

  Sprays are an ideal dry skin solution for immediate relief. So, if your dog is itching and scratching and just looks flat out miserable, try a couple of these coat sprays.   50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water - Apple cider vinegar is good for so many things, not only our salads! It has amazing anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that you can dilute and spray directly onto your dog’s itchy, red areas. Mix a bottle of one cup apple cider vinegar and one cup water to your dog’s coat or irritated paws. Keep in mind not to use this on any open wounds or raw skin as it can be extremely uncomfortable and may make the issue worse.   Essential oils - Mixing a spray bottle with soothing essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, or helichrysum, is a great way to combat dry, red, and itchy winter skin. Add fill a spray bottle up (at least one cup) with water and add five to six drops of essential oils.   Green tea and chamomile - Brew a strong batch of green and chamomile tea (steep for upwards of 15 minutes), let cool, and transfer to a spray bottle. Spray on your dog’s coat, paying attention to any extra irritated areas.   You can even treat your dog to a nice soothing bath when you add this mixture to the bath water. Let them soak for five minutes or so (as long as you can get them, really) for the best results.    

Oatmeal Treatments

  Just as oatmeal is soothing to us, the same is true for dogs. You can go out and buy colloidal oatmeal packets or you can make your own by grinding into a fine powder, plain oatmeal.   If your dog is a sucker for a nice warm bath, add the powder to the water and have them soak in it or rinse their coat, sprinkle the powder and massage it in, let it sit, and then rinse!   From coat sprays to oatmeal treatments, there is a remedy out there that will be helpful to combat your dog’s dry and itchy skin this winter!   Do any of these remedies sound enticing? Not only are they easy and accessible, but you can also enjoy them too! We have another list of at-home remedies to treat your dog’s winter coat, so stay tuned for part two!  

For more information about our mobile vet services or to schedule an appointment at our animal clinic in Carroll Gardens, connect with us today!    

 

Can Pets Get Dementia?

Cats and dogs are living long, healthy lives, but as they age they encounter age-related health concerns, one being cognitive decline.

  Aging is aging for both humans and pets alike, right? This seems to be the case when it comes to cognitive function in our domesticated pets as they’re living full and vibrant lives well into ripe old ages. But with this longevity comes a caveat — they’re experiencing age-related health concerns including dementia.   Do you know how to recognize pet dementia in your furry friend? Let The VetSet lend a hand! We offer both mobile veterinarian services in addition to our vet clinic located in Carroll Gardens. Explore more about dementia in pets and how to better recognize it in today’s post.

Dementia in the Wild Kingdom

  There is a very good chance that animals in the wild do not get a majority of the age-related health issues our domesticated pets do. Concerns such as cognitive decline, diabetes, and obesity don’t affect wild animals because, not only are their lifespans much shorter than domesticated, but they don’t receive regular veterinarian care that provides a cushion of longevity. Because life is harder in the wild when animals break teeth or experience hip issues, they become vulnerable and likely won’t survive.  

Cognitive Decline in Domestic Pets

  Because our pets are intimately a part of our family and sometimes favored over children, they receive the ultimate care when it comes to addressing even the tiniest health concern. As a result, our family pets are living long lives and pushing the life expectancy further and further out. The environment that our pets live in also keeps them protected and well fed — far from anything in the wild. All of these factors provide our pets with longer lives, yet they become susceptible to age-related health issues as a result.   As the longevity in pets increases, veterinarians are observing more and more cases of dementia in domesticated animals. This type of cognitive decline is referred to as canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD).      

Dementia in Dogs

  CCD or dogzheimers can affect how your old pup experiences the life. Symptoms may surface as:  
  • Disorientation
  • Staring at walls
  • Less social
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lower activity levels
  • Confused vocalization (barking, whining, or howling)
  • Bathroom issues
  • Constant pacing and repetitive behaviors
  • Aggression
 

Dementia in Cats

  If you’ve noticed behavioral changes in your feline it’s important not to dismiss them as just “old age.” Investigate further as for why they might be acting out and connect with your local vet to find more insight and testing.   To better identify cognitive decline in cats look for the following signs including:  
  • Forgetting to use their litter box
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Decreased grooming
  • Anxious or increased agitation at night
  • Increased sleep
  • Cranky
  • Forgetting to eat
 

CCD

  While testing has yet to catch up to CCD it is often misdiagnosed in pets, and as it becomes more understood and researched vets can more easily identify it and treat the condition. CCD is emerging and more information is always needed, but as of late it doesn’t appear to be curable and isn’t considered to be reversible. But, the good news is specific forms of it may be preventable and it is a condition that can in which the symptoms can be managed.  

Treatment for Dementia in Pets

  Pets can live a healthy and functional life with cognitive decline and symptom management comes from a variety of interventions including environment and behavior management, medication, and a specific diet.      Behavior   A pet’s behavior can be better managed by increasing their mental stimulation and providing many opportunities for social interactions. When pets have plenty of physical activity outdoors and are exposed to sunlight, this can balance their sleep-wake cycle helping them adjust to the different parts of the day.   Environment   A predictable environment is best for pets with, so knowing your pet and their patterns is crucial. Work to better pet-proof your home to keep them safe and provide adequate toileting options or areas for older dogs who can’t hold it, or leave a litter box in a couple of different rooms for your cat.      Diet   This is probably the most involved part of dementia management for pet owners. The nutrition that is optimal for pets with cognitive decline is one abundant in antioxidants and medium-chain triglycerides. Finding a commercial pet food that has all the good stuff and less of the bad stuff is a very difficult feat, so many pet owners just stick to preparing the food at home.   The goal through both supplementation and diet is to improve oxidation in the brain. Supplements recommended for pets for a better brain function include:  
  • SAMe
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids    
  Pet dementia is commonly seen in pets that are living longer. As research continues to develop for CCD vets will learn better how to treat it and perhaps even find a cure.  

Notice any of the above signs in your dog or cat? Connect with us today!

 

When Your Cat Needs to Go to the Vet

Cat’s can’t always communicate when they need help — learn about the signs and symptoms to look for as you make the decision to take them to the vet.

  If you’re a cat owner, it’s important to know a couple basic health signs to better keep them happy and healthy. The more aware of your cat’s health, the sooner health problems can be addressed, and oftentimes it saves you from costly procedures the longer you wait. Get a favorable outcome when you take your cat to your local animal health clinic at the first sign of illness.      The Vet Set treats a variety of furry friends, including cats. We have a keen eye, trained skills, and innovative technology to offer your pet the best care. Examine signs and symptoms that may better clue you into your cat’s health.

Health Signs to Look For in Your Cat

  Cat’s come with a baseline of what’s considered normal in their health, just as dogs and people do. Below are common signs and symptoms to look for when assessing your cat’s health.   Breathing   A breath or respiratory rate that is normal for cats falls between 16 to 40 breaths per minute. Cat’s who are ill, stressed, experiencing discomfort, or suffering from heatstroke will have an increased and rapid respiratory rate. If your cat has an increased breathing rate and they’ve only been resting, you may want to check in with your local vet.   Temperature   Cat’s temperatures run a little higher than humans, as a normal range is between 100.5 F and 102.5 F. Anything that peaks 103 F or drops below 100 F, may warrant a call to your vet. Despite the tips of taking your cat’s temperature via the moistness of their nose, this is not reliable. The only way to know their temperature is through a rectal thermometer.   Heart Rate   A cat’s normal heart rate is between 120 and 140 beats per minute, but if they’re stressed or ill it will be higher. Cats can suffer from heart issues such as heart disease and other conditions including hyperthyroidism that can skyrocket their heart rates to a rapid 200 beats per minute.     Adverse Symptoms   Along with cat’s vital signs listed above, there are symptoms that you can look for in a sick cat.   Diarrhea - If your cat suddenly begins to have diarrhea, take note and see if it becomes chronic. Sometimes they may just have an upset stomach, while chronic, untreated diarrhea can indicate other health issues such as a parasite. Ensure your cat is not dehydrated and schedule an appointment with your vet.   Lethargy - If your cat becomes inactive and seems disinterested, even in a subtle way, this could reveal a potential issue. If your cat is laying around, has low-energy, or is sleeping more than usual, you may want to connect with your animal health clinic.   Vomiting - Some people think vomiting is a normal symptom for cats, but truly, it’s not. Yes, cats do get the occasional hairballs, but it shouldn’t go beyond this. If your cat begins vomiting, get a consult with your veterinarian.   Changes in appetite - If your cat begins to lose interest in eating and food or begin to have an increased appetite, this could raise concern. Because a cat’s appetite will ebb and flow daily, it’s important to keep track of major changes. If your cat skips a meal here and there, that may not be an issue, but if they’ve stopped eating for the entire week, this should raise a red flag. If your cat begins to eat a lot more food, especially if they’re older, this could be signs of hypothyroidism and can lead to feline obesity.      Personality changes -You know better than anyone, your cat's distinct personality. If it begins to change and they suddenly are more aggressive or are acting afraid, explore these changes with your animal care clinic to better understand what may be going on.   There are many signs and symptoms your cat may be struggling with a health issue, so know your cat’s behavior, and when in doubt, schedule an appointment with your vet.  

Is it hard for you to make it to the vet? No worries! The Vet Set is mobile and can come to you! Schedule your appointment today!

 

4 Tips For Hiring the Best Pet Sitter

Leave your dog in trusted hands while you’re away!

  Hiring a pet sitter can be stressful and anxiety-inducing — your furry friend is a vital part of your family and leaving them behind is tough enough. Will the pet sitter care for them as much as you do? Will they turn on their favorite radio station and play their favorite games? You will often have so many questions and concerns that your upcoming trip may prove to be more stressful.   The Vet Set understands your nerves and wants to help get you through the initial steps of finding and hiring the best pet sitter. Navigate this topic with us today and be armed with the knowledge to choose the best pet sitter for your furry friend!

Pet Sitter Services

  When you’re in the hustle and bustle of planning your trip your mind is elsewhere and sometimes you forget to ask your usual people to watch your pet, but don’t panic, there are pet sitters available for this very situation! A pet sitter is an animal enthusiast who often has a background in veterinary medicine or animal care — some do it as a side hustle and some do it as a full-time career. Many pet sitters have their own business and their own pets — they’re empathetic to the stress time away from your pet can place and want to help ease your anxiety.  

Where do you begin to choose a pet sitter?

  Sure, it may not be difficult to find a pet sitter, but it may prove to be hard to find one that you really like and trust your pet with. The best thing to do is to give yourself some time and really get to know different dog sitters and dog sitting businesses.  

Ask for Recommendations

  One of the best ways to find a great pet sitter without much legwork is to ask around. Ask your neighbor, people at the dog park, or the vet at your animal health clinic — chances are, the people around you have recommendations or staff members at the vet may even do it on the side.  

Hire Professionals

  If you’d rather go with a well-recognized pet sitting company instead of by word-of-mouth, you can search online with various pet sitting databases. Though these companies do a great job of vetting their sitters, always take it a little further and look more into depth and look over their resumes and qualifications. It may also prove to be useful by inquiring about the company’s bonded and insured policy, so you know exactly what happens if something were to happen to your home or pet while you're away.    

Create a Pet Community

  This option may take more time, but begin to grow your pet community by connecting with other pet lovers in your area. Frequent dog parks and attend doggy play dates, or if you have a cat, join a cat community online. The more pet lovers you meet, the more people you have in your potential pet sitting network.  

Things to Consider Before You Hire a Pet Sitter

  If your pet lives a pretty normal life and is healthy, you can typically hire a standard pet sitter. If you have a pet with health needs you may need to look into someone with specific qualifications.   What needs of your pet are required? Do they need insulin injections or do they need to be let out more frequently? Consider any extra care and talk with the pet sitting company or person to ensure they can meet your pet’s requirements.  

How Much Do Pet Sitters Cost?

  Every company and pet sitter will have a different set of fees and policies, so it’s important to be on the same page together. Be clear about your expectations and then ask for an estimate. Pet sitting fees can include the following:  
  • Base fee for coming to your home  
  • Specific fee per pet
  • Additional costs for special duties, more frequent visits, and medication administration
  To find the most reasonable fee, compare prices with different people and companies in your area. While fees can vary, pet sitting base fees begin around anywhere from $15 to $75 per day.   Do you tip a pet sitter?   Tipping is never a requirement, but all pet sitters appreciate the gesture. If you’re working with a national company, keep in mind, the pet sitter only receives a portion of the overall cost so a tip is very beneficial, while a freelance pet sitter pockets the entire bill. Other options aside from a cash tip would be a small souvenir or gift from your travels.   Stay in Communication With Your Pet Sitters   Upon choosing a pet sitter, have the person come over before your departure for a good introduction to your pet. Let them play and hang out and get a good feel for each other. Also communicate where everything is located — pet food, toys, leashes, and medicine.   Most pet sitters understand your anxieties of leaving your pet, and while you don’t have to check in all the time — that could get annoying — it is important to arm your pet sitter with the ability to get a hold of you should something were to happen. Provide the following information including:  
  • Your cell phone number
  • The number where you’re staying
  • Your vet’s information
  • Emergency vet information
  • Numbers to relatives and neighbors who can be contacted
If you absolutely need to check in, call a couple times a week or invest in a pet cam where you can watch what your pet is up to while you’re gone (it’ll most likely be sleeping).   Finding and hiring a pet sitter who fits your needs and is the best companion for your pet is tough but when you ask for recommendations, look into a professional company, and begin to build a pet community — pet sitter options abound!   Give your pet the best when you hire the best!  

For the leading animal health clinic that can come to you, reach out and schedule a visit today!  

   

 

The Best Dog Breeds For Active People

If you love to run and are active outdoors, there are breeds who make the perfect companions!

  We’re heading into the new year, which means only one thing — New Year’s resolutions! Perhaps you’re planning on upping your weekly running mileage or have the grand aspiration to hike a fourteener — whatever your goals, there are plenty of dog breeds that would love to be at your side conquering the outdoors with you!     The outdoors are a large part of a dog’s life — exercise and fresh only enhances their quality of life. There are some breeds who thrive with a little more activity and have a little extra energy to spare which make them the perfect partners for people who lead active lifestyles. The Vet Set offers animal health services in both our physical location in Carroll Gardens and mobile services that can come to you. Learn about the best dog breeds for on-the-go people, in today’s post.

Dogs Who Should Skip Extra Activity

  While all dogs love to play and enjoy the outdoors, not all dogs are fit for longer outdoor excursions.   Brachycephalic dogs - These types of dogs with short snouts have a more difficult time breathing, and with increased exertion can become fatigued and overheat.   Large dogs - Breeds, such as Great Danes, love to run around and play but can succumb to joint and orthopedic issues when exposed to longer distances.  

Engaging Your Dog in Activity

  Before engaging in any strenuous activity, ease your dog into the task. Just like humans, they need to build their endurance, and potentially their paws, so begin by walking before all-out run. If your dog begins to show signs of fatigue and doesn’t want to run, listen to them. Head home and try again tomorrow! The most important thing is to keep a close eye on your dog and observe their behavior — any signs of stress or limping is cause to slow down and re-evaluate where they’re at.   Consult Your Vet   Before you start logging miles with your furry friend, it never hurts to take them in for a wellness exam. While you’re in the animal health clinic you can ask your vet specific questions and advice about the best ways to ease into activity with your dog.  

The Best Dogs For The Great Outdoors

  The dogs with the most athleticism come from the terrier, sporting, and herding breeds, as they’ve evolved over time and have been bred for specific skills perfect for outdoor pursuits. Below are some of the best breeds to take out with you! It’s important to note that mutts are lovely dogs that fare very well in the outdoors, but always ask your vet about their aptitude.   Rhodesian Ridgeback   These beauties were originally bred to hunt lions in Africa, so they are keen to endurance and an ideal trail or road buddy. This bred can handle warmer temperatures, so summer days are no problem for them!   Weimaraner   This breed comes from the sporting group, so they are absolutely designed for athletics! They are extremely fast and agile and bid well in both short and long distances. Weimaraners were bred to be so active, that if they don’t get out and stretch their legs enough, they are likely to develop anxiety and behavior issues. So, if you have this breed, they will require a lot of exercise.   Border Collie   Border Collies are extremely intelligent, and as part of the herding group, they love to be on the move. These dogs can run hard, fast, and cover great distances without tiring. Border Collies can handle the heat, but do better in more temperate conditions. This is breed is also up for a challenge — to engage them fully take them into dense, thick woods, and hike or run trails where they can use their senses.       Vizsla   This hunting dog flourishes on exercise and has the speed and endurance for any fitness enthusiast. They do well with heat and have even earned the nickname “the velcro Vizsla” because they love to be close to their owners. There is no doubt about it, a Vizsla will be a wonderful running or hiking companion.   Australian Shepherd   This is another breed that is extremely intelligent and loves to be active, both physically and mentally. Because Australia Shepherd’s have longer coats, they fare better in cooler, milder temperatures. These furry companions love an outing and will prove to be an amazing outdoor partner.   Jack Russell Terrier   Perhaps you don’t want a large dog but you do still want one to run with — Jack Russell Terriers are the perfect compromise. These terriers are energetic and ready to go on both short or long outings.   Siberian Husky   We can’t make a list of active dogs without mentioning huskies. These dogs were bred for long-haul sled voyages in cold temperatures. They enjoy the task of running and seem to have limitless energy. Because they have thick fur coats, hot summer weather should be avoided, but if you love to explore in brutal, winter temperatures, they are fit for the job.   Pointers   Whether you have a German Wirehaired Pointer or a German Shorthaired Pointer, both breeds make excellent outdoor companions. These dogs love to exercise and have the endurance, strength, and speed to keep up with the most seasoned athlete. Pointers can endure both cool and warm temperatures and love longer distances.   Dalmatians   Dalmatians don’t often come to mind as outdoor dogs, but they have a rich history in athletics. Though these dogs aren’t running around hunting birds, they were known for being carriage or coach dogs and would run alongside horse-drawn carriages. Most are familiar with them in fire stations, as they would assist firefighters with their tasks.     Exploring the great outdoors is always better with a furry friend! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and are looking to challenge yourself in the new year, take one of the mentioned breeds above, along for the trek!  

We are invested in your pet’s health and wellbeing — partner with us for the best vet services in Carroll Gardens.   

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