Does Your Pet Need Insurance?

Is it necessary to get pet insurance and is it worth it? Find your answers here!

  There is health insurance for yourself and homeowners insurance, but what about pet insurance? We love and care for our furry friends, but is pet insurance a wise investment or just another gimmick?   The number of owners investing in pet insurance is growing and is up over 20% with more than $1 billion being spent and roughly two million pets being covered according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association   At The Vet Set in Carroll Gardens, we care for your pet every step of the way — from their first pet immunizations to end of life preparation. In today’s post, well explore pet insurance to help you make a choice that makes sense for you. 

Why Owners Are Choosing Pet Insurance

  The demand for pet insurance is being driven by pet owners so they can obtain care for their furry friends for a lifetime — whether it’s in the small health checkups or emergency vet care — people sleep easier at night knowing their pet is cared for. It acts in a similar way as our health insurance, helping owners in instances that would normally require large out-of-pocket vet costs.   

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

  Pet insurance helps alleviate some of the costs that it takes to keep your pet healthy and thriving. People have a choice in the different levels of coverage, with each plan — whether it’s monthly or annual — being based on the amount of coverage you choose.    Plans can vary, with the most common being:
  • Emergency (accident/injury/genetic conditions)
  • Comprehensive (emergency, cancer, and alternative care)
Like traditional health insurance plans we use, many pet insurance plans will have a deductible with a certain amount you must pay before the coverage begins. This can be anywhere from $0 to $2,500, with the average amount in 2018 illness for dogs being $566 per year or roughly $47 per month.    Pet insurance differs from ours because pet insurance is based largely reimbursement instead of a co-pay system. Pet owners will have to pay the initial upfront fee and then submit the bill to insurance.   

The Cost Of Pet Insurance

We know that the average pet insurance cost in 2018 was $47 per month, but individual costs will always vary based on your pet’s health, breed, age, and the plan you opt for.     Why not just set up a savings account for veterinary expenses?   Some pet owners like the idea of setting up a savings account for their pet in hopes of saving money on the pet insurance premiums, and while this makes sense, it may gloss over the purpose of pet insurance. Most people invest in pet insurance for large unplanned and unexpected circumstances to where they wouldn’t be able to pay for the bill out of pocket.    Putting away money for a “what if” scenario is wise, but here is where it may not work. Say you just opened a pet savings account and have been contributing to it for a couple of months, when suddenly your pet becomes seriously injured or ill and treatment requires treatment that will cost thousands of dollars. At this point, you can only afford to pay out what’s in the account, and this is when pet health insurance is beneficial.    At the end of the day, as a pet owner, it’s vital to take a look at what you could reasonably afford — if it’s a couple thousand dollars is too much, you may want to consider a pet health insurance plan.    Pet insurance is a personal choice but can be greatly beneficial as a safety net for your pet should they ever need it. Yes, it is another monthly expense, but it can cover anything from emergency to comprehensive care. So in the event of a catastrophe, you wouldn’t be as likely to opt for ethical euthanasia because you couldn’t afford the bill. Instead, there is a little more financial room to provide the best care to your pet while not racking up mountains of pet-related debt. Pet insurance ensures they get the care they need and live a thriving life.  

For more information about our vet services or for any questions regarding pet insurance, connect with us today! 

     

The Ultimate Guide To Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Trimming your dog’s nails is always a battle for both human and furry friend alike, so learn the best tips and tricks here!

  Trimming your pup’s nails can be intimidating because most are afraid they’ll trim the quick and do real damage and hurt their dog, but it doesn’t have to be such a nail biter.    Avoid trimming the quick with expert tried and true tips from The Vet Set! In today’s post, we’ll discover the best ways to trim your dog’s nails without breaking into a sweat each time. 

Your Dog’s Nails

  Just like humans, dog’s nails grow and they need to be trimmed to avoid long, painful nails and feet. Long dog nails would be similar to having an ingrown toenail on each toe and on both feet — it’s just not comfortable!    But wild animals don’t need to trim their nails, so why do we trim domesticated dogs?     Animals in nature naturally wear down their nails from all the running and activity they get, and the same is generally true for active dogs. If you’re hiking and running with your dog on a daily basis their nails will naturally stay trim, but if you have more of a laissez-faire, city dog, their nails will require more maintenance.    So, you’ll have to trim them!    The problem is not so much trimming the nail, it’s your fear and your dog’s fear that can make you anxious and stressed. If your dog won’t sit still this can complicate everything, so it’s important to really establish a calm and relaxing environment.    Before we talk trimming tips, let’s first get into the quick.   The quick of your dog’s nail bed is the visible pink part of the nail that is vascular. In light colored nails it’s easy to identify, however, if you have a dog with dark-colored nails, it can make it more challenging.     To find the quick on a dark-colored nail, the best thing to do is look at the whole nail and gauge how deep you should go. Begin by trimming small bits at a time.   

Tips For Trimming Your Dog’ Nails

  Begin by choosing a nail trimmer. There are different varieties including:  
  • Guillotine style
  • Scissors-style
  • Small/medium plier-style
  • Large pliers-style
 

Step 1: Position your dog.

  Make sure both you and your dog are in a comfortable position. Grasp your dog’s paw gently but firmly before the first cut is made.   

Step 2: Begin Trimming

  With the hand that is not doing the cutting, hold your dog’s footpad with the bottom of your thumb with your fingers on top. Now you’re ready to start trimming!   Once you’ve identified the quick and you’re positioned to make the first cut, now is the time to do it! Take a deep breath and begin trimming!    Pro trimming tip: never haphazardly put the entire nail in the trimmer and just cut. There is a right way and a couple of wrong ways to cut.    The wrong way - Trimming a large portion of the nail close bordering the quick and going in at a very sharp angle that is not only extremely close to the nail bed, but a cut that will likely knick the quick.    The right way: Go in slowly, point the trimmer towards your dog and clip at a slight angle.    

Step 3: Stop any bleeding.

  If there is any bleeding your dog will typically wince and yelp in pain because you’ve hit the quick. Take a mental note of what you did and try to avoid it on the other nails.    Hitting the quick is not an emergency and though you may feel terrible for hurting your dog, don’t panic and help them by stopping any bleeding. Grab styptic powder, or if you don’t have any, cornstarch or flour will do the trick.    Stop the bleeding by rapidly packing the nail with the powder.     Give your dog a break and let them recoup a little with treats and snuggles, and move on to the next nail...you can do it!    It’s important to keep your dog’s nails short and trim to prevent uncomfortably long nails and to help keep them more mobile. It’s important to identify the quick of the nail bed and make your cuts accordingly. When in doubt, go slowly and just take a little bit off at a time.  The best part? The more you do it, the easier and less stressful it becomes!  

To learn more about our dog vet services or to schedule an appointment, call our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!  

 

Stop Cat Scratching With These Helpful 4 Tips! (Part 2)

Destructive scratching from your cat is frustrating and can destroy many of your belongings. Learn how to better prevent it today!

  In part one, we discovered why cats scratch and began to look at ways to better combat destructive cat scratching.   At The Vet Set, we’re here to tell you that cat scratching is totally normal, and when you work with your space and create a scratching area that your cat loves, it can help prevent damage. Join us to learn more about what you can do. 

Stop the Damage From Destructive Cat Scratching!

  In our last post, we mentioned how cats love textures, so while they’re not trying to damage anything, the texture of your couch is so appealing. You can combat the damage by setting up a space just for them! Get more ideas below.      Attract your cat - It’s important to make their scratching post both fun and relaxing, and not a place they’re forced into. To make it more appealing, leave catnip toys and toys they can bat at, at in the area. This way, they’re more likely to play, take a cat nap, and scratch — it’s an all-in-one play place for your cat!     Keep your cat busy - Like any pet, when your cat gets bored, they’re more likely to be destructive through scratching. So, keep your cat happy and entertained where they can play and express their innate behaviors. Not only are scratching areas crucial, but providing them with stimulation whether that be from chasing a toy mouse for predatory play or letting them patrol the yard and engage in a hunt.    Trim their nails - The reason for scratching has a lot to do with keeping their nails trimmed, so when they don't have the opportunity to do it regularly, their nails may get long. You can help address the issue by trimming their nails or taking them to the groomers to clip them.    Now that we know the importance of the perfect cat scratching environment, there are ways to help keep them off the couch!   To get them off the couch and onto the scratch post, consider the following: Apply a citrus scent around the area - Cats have a natural aversion to citrus scents so keep them at bay by diffusing citrus near your couch or even placing cotton balls with essential oils in the corners of the cushions.    Place a barrier on your couch - Texture is huge for cats, especially when it comes to scratching. So, if they love your leather or fabric couch, tuck a sheet over the couch or place aluminum foil in the places they are known for scratching.      Block them with furniture - If your cat routinely scratches the side or back of your couch, try using furniture to detract them. Side tables are perfect to place at the side and a long chest or storage piece of furniture works great at the back. The best case scenario? Finding a place where you can move your couch to the wall so less of it is exposed and tempting to your cat.    

Why Declawing is Not An Option

  For some, declawing your cat seems like the perfect solution, but for whom? Yes, it keeps them from destroying your belongings, but at what cost? Cats claws don’t grow from skin — they’re actually an extension of their bones in their paws.    Declawing is a major surgery that is an amputation of this bone where nerves, tendons, and ligaments are severed. Not only does this put your cat at risk for post-surgery complications, but it puts a huge damper on their physical and emotional health.    They no longer can defend themselves nor climb, in addition to relieving stress and anxiety. Declawing your cat disrupts every part of their life and how they interact in the world.    Claws and scratching are an integral part in which cats are able to interact with their world, and though it can be frustrating for us, it’s what comes naturally to them.    If you have a cat who repeatedly scratches your furniture, the best course of action is to create an area or multiple areas that allow them to stretch and scratch in freedom.    

Keep your cat happy and healthy and learn more about the vet services we offer! Call today. 

            

Stop Cat Scratching With These Helpful 4 Tips! (Part One)

Ruined furniture and household belongings? It’s time to stop destructive cat scratching in its tracks!

  We love our feline friends, but what we don’t love is the destruction they do with their claws! How many times have you come into the living room and found a long, running claw mark down the side of your couch slashing the fabric, or small puncture holes in the cushions on your leather couch? This is real damage and it’s never cheap to replace.    At The Vet Set, we understand how destructive cat scratching can put a damper on your relationship with your cat and your wallet! Get the best tips to prevent cat scratching to keep your belongings safe and protected!

First things first, why do cats scratch things in the first place?

  Although cats can be fussy and have an attitude towards you at times, they don’t scratch to spite you! Scratching is an innate behavior that you’ll see in both wild and domestic cats and they do it for both mental and physical reasons.       Stretching - We all need a good stretch from time to time, right?! So do cats! It just happens that when they get a long, cathartic stretch in, they have razor-like claws at the end that can rip and shred whatever they’re on.    Maintaining their predatory instincts - Cats are notorious for two things when they’re outdoors — hunting prey and climbing, and, both rely on cat’s claws. They need to scratch to capture and kill prey and they need sharp claws that can climb trees to catch the prey!    Protection - If your cat roams the streets, they need to have the protection to defend themselves from any pesky dogs that try and attack or other felines trying to pick a fight.    Marking their territory - When cat’s scratch, their paws secrete a scent that marks their territory. This is a valuable piece of information in the cat world because it communicates to other cat’s and helps maintain a social hierarchy.    Nail care - It’s important that cats keep their nails trim and healthy so they can hunt, climb, and do other behaviors with ease, and this involves scratching to for nail care and maintenance.     Emotional relief - Cats need to release stress too! Not only does scratching help cats release any stress and frustration, but they also do it when they’re excited. Cats need to scratch to help maintain a healthy emotional balance!   Movement - Scratching is a natural movement, almost like yoga, where they can root their claws and stretch their muscles and also extend and retract their nails, giving their paws good exercise!    Now that we have a better understanding of why cat’s scatch, let’s explore how we can prevent them from ruining our belongings!   It’s not about preventing the itch to scratch, it’s more about finding better outlets that are less destructive to your belongings!  

Preventing The Destructive Scratching

  Scratching is innate and it’s something that you can’t prevent or stop in a cat, you can, however, offer them a better solution than your couch!   Scratching is personal for your cat! - Every cat has their own personal preferences on the type of texture and material they like to scratch, so it’s vital that you figure this out. Start by investing or making a couple of different scratching areas that vary in size, material, and style. Common scratching posts are made from rope, carpet, cardboard, and wood and are available in both horizontal and verticle surfaces.    Create the perfect scratching space - Cats like to be social and in the same room as us, so create a scratching area where you are. Even better, put a couple of scratching posts around the house to keep the area and variety fresh for your cat! It’s also important when you’re making a scratching area to ensure that the posts are strong and sturdy. Your cat will be scratching and stretching with all the bodyweight and a wobbly surface can be dangerous and it can easily deter your cat.    What we’ve learned so far is that cat scratching is natural and it’s not something that can be stopped. You can, however, remove the temptation by creating a scratching space just for them!   There are a lot more things to cover on destructive cat scratching, so look for part two soon!  

To schedule an appointment for your cat, reach out to our Carroll Gardens cat clinic today! 

   

How To Keep Your Dog Cool in The Summer Heat (Part Two) 

The city is known for its hot and muggy summers that can leave your dog subject to overheating when outdoors, but there are plenty of summer heat safety tips to try!

  Summer in the city for dogs is heaven — they get to roam the streets more, splash in sprinklers, and romp around at doggy daycare with their puppy pals. But, the thing is, they’ll go and go in the summer heat until they can’t go anymore, and this is downright dangerous. Heat exhaustion happens, so it’s important as a pooch parent to help keep them cool and comfortable in the summer heat.    The Vet Set understands the heat! Our vet clinic is located right in the heart of Brooklyn in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood, so sticky, muggy summers are what we know! Join us in today’s post as we look at practical tips you can take to keep your dog comfortable in the outdoor weather this summer.

Summer Necessities For Your Dog

  While most of us who live in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood don’t have a lot of green space to let our dogs roam, it’s important we know what they do need when they are outside to keep them from heat exhaustion.  

It’s all in the hydration.

  Keeping your dog hydrated is essential when they’re out in the summer sun, so ensure they have fresh, cool water to access when they’re out romping around with the pack!    Place a full bowl of water in a shaded area — under a tree or a covered patio. If your dog is out for over an hour, keep refreshing the dog bowl as needed.    Pro tip: If you’re not home and can’t change out and refill the dog bowl, place two bowls outside — one that is fresh and one that is frozen. As the day heats up the frozen bowl will thaw into cool and refreshing water for your dog later in the day.    If you leave your house and venture to a park or on a hike, make sure you take enough water for both you and your dog.

Keep your pup sheltered.

  It may be difficult to create a permanent shaded area outside for your dog, but there are many ways you can temporarily create it.    Consider getting an outdoor sun shade sail — they’re protective material that is able to be hung from posts, attaching with S hooks, and coming in a variety of shapes and colors. They’re fairly inexpensive and can be easily put up and taken down with the season.    You could also put up a small tent or canopy, or even a well-vented dog house — the more a dog can seek refuge in the shade, the better protected and safe they are from overheating.     The next best thing to outdoor shade is installing a doggy door so your dog can come and go to the outdoors as they please.    

Whip up frozen treats!

  How much do you love a nice frozen margarita or popsicle on a hot summer day? So does your dog! Keep fun frozen snacks on hand for them to enjoy in between harassing the city squirrels and howling to the sirens.    Fill their favorite Kong toy with layers of peanut butter and cottage cheese, pop a couple into the freezer, and bring it out on especially hot days. This way they can cool down and enjoy a delicious frozen treat.   

Make a puppy pool.

  Get a small kiddie pool and transform it into a puppy paradise outdoors — fill it with water and your dog can splash or simply just lay in it when they need to cool off.     In addition to a puppy pool, you could make things really fun and install a water play area for them to run through! You know the ones that are available for kids and attach to a hose? Use those ones! Dogs love to run through the water and splash about, just like kids!   The summer heat can be a real threat to your dog if they’re out too long and playing too hard, so keep an eye on them and help keep them cool with proper hydration, shelter from the sun, frozen doggy treats, and a nice pool for them to take a dip in!   

To schedule an appointment at our Carroll Gardens vet clinic or to learn more about our pet services, connect with us today!

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