Cat Behavior: Weird or Normal? (Part One)

Cats are surely a breed of their own — they’re independent as they are fussy, and sometimes their behavior can seem a bit odd.

  Cats are fun-loving pets that give you the right amount of cuddles at a time that is convenient to them! Which is to say, that they may be a bit odd and sometimes you may not fully understand their intentions.   When you partner with Vet Set and our premier veterinary services, you not only get a compassionate vet, you also get a team that is dedicated to providing the best care to your cat! Follow along in today’s post as we venture into cat behavior and explain what weird behaviors they elicit and how they may be more normal than you may think!

The Strange (and Often Misunderstood) Behavior of Cats

  Cats are often a mystery to most of us, but there are some behaviors that really just leave us clueless. Below are those behaviors — demystified!  

Cats showing us their butts.

  This is strange, but everyone who has been around a cat knows this strange behavior. When a cat presents their butt, this is a good sign. They are telling you that they feel at ease with you and are giving you an opportunity to get to know them a little better!   This is essentially like greeting a friend with a hug. When a cat does this, you can just give them a nice scratch in their favorite spot.  

Cat Head Butting

  Have you ever had a cat snuggle up to you, only to give you a head butt? It’s a little odd, but not out of their wheelhouse. Vets refer to this behavior as bunting or allorubbing and this is a sign of endearment — cats do this to mark their territory with a scent and claim you as their own!  

Cat Shade

  Perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of your cat staring straight at you, throwing shade. This sneering or flehmen has nothing to do with you, human! They may be staring straight into your eyes, but really what’s happening is they’re getting pheromones from other cats that have marked that area which often produces a lip curl and dead-stare.  

Eating Grass

  Cats, just like dogs, commonly eat grass, but most of us don’t understand this behavior. Unlike humans who get vital nutrients from their greens, cats can enjoy some trace health benefits, but grass offers them added fiber to their diets to aid in passing hairballs.  

Covering Up Poop

  Have you ever noticed that cats cover their poop in their litter boxes — what is the point in this? How cats use their litter box is generally passed down from their older counterparts (if you have them), and the litter box is cat language in and of itself.       Typically, cats cover their poop as a way to mark their territory, a litter box graffiti of sorts, but mostly it’s something that has been domesticated into them.   Are there more strange behaviors to cover? Of course there are! We love covering cats, so stay tuned for part two!  

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

More natural dog dry skin remedies to try at home!

  In part one, we explored a couple of dry skin remedies for dogs including coat sprays and oatmeal treatments. Read about it here. If you’re looking for more remedies to try or just want to arm yourself with the best winter skin arsenal for your dog, join us in today’s post.   Dry, irritated skin isn’t always a result of the winter weather, sometimes it can be a reflection of food allergies, environmental chemicals and toxins, or a reaction to pests. To get a complete diagnosis, partner with the Vet Set for our thorough pet examinations.      If it turns out it’s just the weather (Carroll Gardens can be brutal in the winter), read below for the best remedies!

Dry, Winter Skin? Find Itch Relief For Dogs Here!

 

Epsom Salt

  Similar to an oatmeal bath or a herbal tea soak, you can use Epsom salt to alleviate irritated skin. This soak speeds healing and is comforting to inflammation.    

Aloe Vera

  If you have access to the healing succulent, aloe vera straight from the source is ideal! Break a little piece off and use the gel on extra red and sore spots. Not only is it cooling and healing, but it also doesn’t contain alcohol so it isn’t drying. No aloe vera plant? No worries! Go to your natural health foods store and look for a bottle in the sun care section, but ensure there is no alcohol. You can also find an aloe vera gel in the supplement area in the stomach section — they are made for drinking, but the gel can still be applied to your dog’s coat!  

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  Omega-3 fatty acids are a great way to heal and prevent an itchy coat from the inside out. Not only do these fatty acids improve skin health, but they’re also great for combating inflammation and digestion concerns. Even better, dogs love the taste and will gobble it down — no hiding it in treats or peanut butter. Take a look in your local pet store for pet-specific supplements or ask your vet for the proper dosage and shop your health food store for a high-quality fish oil.     

Coconut Oil

  Coconut oil seems to be the cure-all these days for just about everything, but coconut oil for skin and coat health is a benefit you can rely on. Massage a high-quality coconut oil onto your dog’s coat (look for organic,non-GMO, and unrefined), paying close attention to any red and itchy patches. If this is too messy or you want to really go after their dry coat, add a scoop to their food.  

Vitamin E Oil

  Similar to coconut oil, massage vitamin E oil into your dog’s coat, particularly the dry, itchy patches. This is very healing to the skin and moisturizing to cracked and dry paws.  

CBD Oil

  CBD oil is amazing for a variety of health concerns in dogs — it better calms anxiety in addition to tackling inflammation. The Vet Set recommends Canna-Pet.   Now you have a comprehensive and vast list of itchy skin remedies! Try them out today and let us know what helps!  

For more information on our vet services, connect 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!

 

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!  

   

 

Have You Considered Veterinarian Acupuncture For Your Pet?

You may be familiar with Chinese medicine and how it benefits people, but are you aware that pet acupuncture exists? Integrative veterinary medicine is guided very much in the same ways that complementary medicine or alternative medicine functions for humans, and pet acupuncture is a healing therapy used with great success.   At VetSet, our veterinarian clinic in Carroll Gardens offers pet acupuncture as a part of our veterinarian services to keep your pets healthy, happy, and thriving! Join us in today’s post as we explore the benefits of acupuncture for your pets!

Is There a Difference Between Pet Acupuncture and Acupuncture For People?

  Distilled, acupuncture is the insertion of tiny, hair-thin needles to a specific point in the body to cultivate a healing response, and each acupuncture point has an associated healing function when stimulated.   Acupuncture has been clinically studied in both humans and animals, and the research is advantageous, with both groups benefiting from this medical modality. The medical aspect of acupuncture when considering both humans and animals is the same; it’s the anatomy that is what changes!  

Is acupuncture safe for my pet?

  Acupuncture is an extremely safe form of medical treatment when performed by a trained vet. The animals feel virtually no pain with the needle insertion, and they typically become calm and sleepy following the treatment.   How do I know the vet is properly trained to perform pet acupuncture?   There are two very important criteria to look for when selecting a vet for acupuncture, including:  
  • The vet acupuncturist should also be a licensed veterinarian.
  • The vet should have training in the practice of pet acupuncture.
  Why go the route of acupuncture for my pet?   Veterinary acupuncture is great for animals much, in the same way, it’s healing to humans; try pet acupuncture to improve your pet’s overall health and wellness, including:  
  • Pain management - Acupuncture can stimulate the body’s own pain-relieving properties and support healthy inflammation management in animals.
 
  • Muscle relaxation - If you have a senior pet, acupuncture can help relax tired and tight muscles at a specific site or other distal locations, creating both localized and general pain relief in animals.
  • Supports circulation - Get blood flowing and tissue oxygenation with pet acupuncture. As things open and begin to move, it also assists in removing toxins and metabolic waste.
 
  • There are no side effects - Just as in western medicine, with prescription medications causing adverse side effects in people, so too do medications for pets. To steer clear of adverse side effects and protect your pet’s vital organs, acupuncture is an amazing alternative.
 
  • Acupuncture is complementary - Because acupuncture doesn’t interact with any medications or supplements your pet may be taking, it can be implemented as another form of treatment to address other health concerns your pet may have.
  A pet gets so many benefits from acupuncture, but it’s commonly used as a modality that fills in the gaps between traditional vet medicine, and can be the difference between getting surgery and not having to go that route!   What does pet acupuncture treat?   Pet acupuncture can be great for many health issues, including:
  • Musculoskeletal concerns - Common issues it can treat include arthritis, nerve issues, and intervertebral disk disease.
  • Respiratory issues - This includes feline asthma.
  • Gastrointestinal concerns - This includes diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Skin issues - This includes anything allergy related, granulomas, and dermatitis.
Pet acupuncture helps bridge the gap between illness and health, and it is safe and effective and treats a myriad of health issues in animals. Before embarking on this healing journey with your pet, always ensure your vet is trained and certified in this specialty.  

For more information on pet acupuncture or to schedule a service, connect with us today!

              

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