3 Types of Allergic Reactions in Dogs

Know the signs and types of allergic reactions in your furry friend!

In dogs, it’s hard to know when they’re not feeling their best because they tend to always look happy and ready to play, but an allergic reaction can be life-threatening if you don’t know what to look for. From rashes and swelling to anaphylactic reactions, learn more about these health issues in today’s post.  At The Vet Set in Carroll Gardens, we’ve seen the gamut of allergic reactions and want to help support each dog owner in preventing and keeping their pooch as healthy as possible. Get what you need to know about allergic reactions in dogs today!

3 Types Of Allergic Reactions In Dogs

Just like humans, dogs have a built set of physiologic responses unique to them that signal in a variety of ways what the dog is allergic to. You’ll often see reactions to something they were bitten by (bees or mosquitoes) or even vaccinations.

Why do dogs have allergic reactions?

Allergic reactions occur when the dog’s system reacts to typically a harmless substance called an allergen. Antibodies are released to react to the allergen causing symptoms that affect the nose, lungs, throat, etc. in your dog.  Let’s examine these allergic reactions a little more in-depth.

Skin Allergies In Dogs

One of the most common allergic reactions in dogs is called allergic dermatitis and the leading causes are fleas, food allergies, and environmental allergies.  Fleas - This a very normal allergic reaction in dogs from pests that love to attach themselves to your dog, but if fleas gross you out and are wreaking havoc on your pooch, do not worry, they’re very easy to treat!  Fleas will look like black pepper that’s been sprinkled throughout your dog’s coat, and like most reactions, the more you scratch it, the worse it becomes.  A preventative flea treatment is the best course of action, but talk to your vet about treating an active flea outbreak. Food allergies - Dogs can have food allergies and react to certain ingredients in the food such as chicken or corn. Why do dogs get food allergies? While in some dogs a food allergy is genetic, some develop one to an overexposure of the same ingredient. So, if you feed your dog a chicken and rice dog food for most of their life, exposure over time can cause an inflammation flare-up in their intestines and spawn what is known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is where an antigen is absorbed and able to permeate the gut lining — the reaction itself is through the skin and causes your dog to itch, so rotating and introducing new foods in a dog's diet is a great way to combat food allergies.  Environmental allergies - An environmental or atopic allergy is when a dog reacts to an allergen such as dust, pollen, mold, or fungus, and these are typically seasonal. You might notice your dog has these certain allergies around certain times (spring and summer) and affected dogs will scratch their ears and excessively lick their paws.   

Snout/Facial Swelling And Hives

Dogs will often get facial swelling in the throat, face, lips, ears, and eyelids that signal an allergic reaction. Vets tend to favor these symptoms because the reaction is classified as angioneurotic edema, and if you’re seeing this, the time for a fatal reaction to occur, has passed.  The swelling presents itself 30 minutes to an hour after exposure, and though the dog is generally not in any danger, if left untreated, the swelling can last up to a day or two before it goes down. Hives, on the other hand, are a little different than just swelling. Hives will begin to crop up six to 24 hours after exposure and cause extremely itchy skin and welts or small bumps on the skin.  You can easily see hives on dogs with short coats, but those dogs with longer coats you’ll likely be able to feel them first. 

Anaphylactic Allergies

Anaphylactic allergies in dogs are very rare but they do occur. This happens when your dog has a reaction to a food or another substance such as medication that their body tries to fight and floods it with antibodies to attack the seamlessly harmless substance. Blood pressure can drop and in an anaphylactic reaction, many parts of the body are involved, making it extremely dangerous.  The tough part about this allergic reaction, is you never know how something innocuous as shrimp or a bee sting could jeopardize your dog’s life. So, if you notice your dog having issues after eating something or taking something, contact your vet immediately.   Your response time is key to anaphylactic reactions and if your dog survives, they’ll likely be prescribed an EpiPen should this happen again. 

Does Your Dog Have Allergies?

As we’ve covered, dogs can have a myriad of allergic reactions — some are quite common while others are rare and life-threatening — but they all show up in different ways.

For more information about allergy prevention and treatment options in dogs, connect with our Carroll Gardens vet office today!


Halloween Safety For Your Dog

Keep your dog safe and healthy this Halloween!

  Halloween is one holiday where local vet clinics are packed as a result of dogs and cats who give their owners quite a freight on this spooky day! It’s important to practice safety with the food and costumes that come with this holiday to avoid a hazardous Halloween!    Halloween can be a delight and at The Vet Set, we love seeing the cute pics of all of our furry friends dressed up and participating in the festivities. Learn more about Halloween safety for your dog in today’s post!

Halloween Safety For Your Dog

  Between all the sweet treats and cute dog costumes, there is some room for your dog to get into a little trouble, so below we’ll address some of the common health hazards we see on all Hallows Eve and how to better prevent them.   

Halloween Treat Safety

  While dogs can eat most foods, there are some ingredients they should stay away from.    Chocolate - Chocolate is the number one thing dogs should absolutely not eat, though the temptation to get into it is high around Halloween! Ensure that your dog does not get into the Halloween candy by placing it high enough so they can’t get to it or in a closet or pantry. It smells so good and inviting, but dogs don’t know the difference and will gladly eat a whole bowl if left to it!     Candies and Gummies - The largest concern with candy other than chocolate, is candy with the artificial sweetener xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is toxic to pets and showing up in a variety of candy. What’s difficult is a product that contains xylitol doesn’t have to be labeled as sugar-free and more and more it’s showing up in treats. When you purchase your Halloween candy, peruse the ingredients and see if it contains xylitol — if it does, take the same precautions as you would with chocolate.   Raisins - Some folks like to hand out the little boxes of raisins as an alternative to all the sweets, but just be aware that grapes and raisins cause health problems for dogs and can even provoke renal failure in dogs.    Hard Candy - Hard candy doesn’t seem like it would be an issue if there is no chocolate or xylitol, right?! Well, we’re sorry to say that even hard candy is a risk for dogs. If they consume it in large quantities — which happens when left to their own devices — it can clump in the intestines or stomach and create an obstruction.    If you want to treat your dog this Halloween, the best course of action is to make your own Halloween treats or find some goodies at your local pet store. And, as always keep the Halloween candy and sweets out of reach of your dog!  

Halloween Costume Safety

  Dressing dogs in costumes has become quite the event over the past couple of years, and while most costumes are safe for dogs, there are some safety precautions to take.    Costume size - It’s important that you find a costume that fits your dog just right because a costume that is too small can cause breathing restrictions and one that is too big can cause them to trip and fall. Either way, an ill-fitting costume can be uncomfortable, not to mention, hazardous to your dog.     Costume accessories - It’s important to keep your dog’s costume relatively simple, meaning no extra accessories. Things like necklaces can be a choking hazard for your dog, and even masks can block their ability to see clearly. So, use accessories for fun pictures, but ditch them if your dog has to do any kind of walking or moving around.   

Make this Halloween safe for your dog!

  With a little extra precautions when it comes to treats and costumes on Halloween, you can enjoy a boo-tiful holiday with your pooch.     

If you have questions about Halloween treats or just want to send us a cute Halloween pet pic, connect with us today! 


Giving Medication To Dogs 101 (Part Two)

Learn the best ways to administer liquid medication to your dog!

  In part one, we covered all the details of giving your dog pills — from hiding it in food to having to give a pill directly to your dog. In today’s post, we’ll examine how to best give your dog liquid medication to help them recover more quickly and live a happy and healthy life!   At The Vet Set, we know many dog owners struggle in giving their pets medication. Not only is it frustrating to watch them spit it out, but it can also be costly. If you and your dog could use some help, this post is for you! Giving Your Dog Liquid Medication   Similarly to giving your dog pills hidden in their food, you can also do this with liquid medication. Liquid medication mixes easily into wet dog food or in a peanut butter sandwich.    If however, your dog has dietary restrictions and the liquid medication can’t be hidden in food, you’ll have to go the good old fashioned route and administer it directly yourself.    Let’s dive right into giving your dog liquid medication by hand!   It’s important to note that liquid medication can be a little trickier to understand because it’s not premeasured like you’ll find in a pill, so make sure you clarify with the vet or in the directions exactly when and how much medication your dog will need.    The liquid medication should come with a syringe and before drawing up the liquid, gently shake and mix the medication. To make the experience more pleasant for your dog, if the medication is cold from being refrigerated, you can try warming it up in your hands or place it in a warm water bath. Do not, however, microwave the medication.    Next, you’ll want to help make your dog comfortable — give them lots of love and pets and allow them to either sit or lay down, whatever is most comfortable for your dog.    Keeping their muzzle closed, pull down on their lower lips and place the syringe the very back, next to their canine teeth. There is a small gap there that you can place the syringe in and squeeze the liquid medication into their mouth.    Do this slow enough so your dog has time to breathe and swallow the medication. Your dog may likely spit out some of the medication, and it’s important to not readminister the medication unless you know for sure they did not get any of it. Typically the vet will account for this loss and calculate the dose accordingly.    That sums up giving your dog liquid medication! Keep in mind to give your dog a lot of praise throughout the situation and treats afterward to make a positive connection.    Giving your dog liquid medication doesn’t have to be a hassle. And whether you’re giving them the medication through food or through a syringe, it’s important to understand and measure the dosage correctly.    Keep your dog well with a wellness exam! Schedule an appointment at our Carroll Gardens animal clinic today!           

Giving Medication To Dogs 101 (Part One)

Don’t find a pill in the corner or behind the couch again!

  Let’s face it — there will be some point in your dog’s life you’ll have to give them medication either in pill or liquid form. It’s not always fun, but it’s important that they actually take the medication and not spit it out!    At The Vet Set, we have a good deal of experience with giving dogs medication, to say the least, and we want to provide our pooch patients with the best care! Join us in today’s post as we explore the best ways to give your dog medication and help keep it down! 

Giving Your Dog Medication

  Taking medication can be tricky for dogs if they’ve never experienced it before as their first reaction is to spit it out. Let’s dive into how to optimally give your dog pill and liquid medications below.   

Giving Your Dog Pills

  The most tried and true way of getting your dog to take pills is hiding it in food. A special treat such as bread with peanut butter or canned dog food is a great way to sneak a pill in and get your dog to not only take it, but to swallow and ingest it! Other common ways people give their pets pills is through soft foods such as cheese or specially made treats where you can put the pill into a little pocket of the treat.     Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world — your dog may have dietary restrictions to hide pills in food or they may find ways to both eat the treat while simultaneously spitting out the pill! In these situations, you’ll have to directly give administer and monitor giving your dog their pills.    If you have to give your dog pills, follow the steps below to make things easier on both of you!   If the pill is large you can always cut it in half to make swallowing it easier — this may or may not make things easier for you. If your dog will take two pills, then great, but if they still spit them out, stick with just the one!   Make the pill easier to digest by lubricating the pill with butter or coconut oil so it doesn’t stick inside your dog’s mouth.     Begin by opening your dog’s mouth and placing your thumb behind their canine teeth on the top portion of their muzzle.    Once you have a firm but gentle grip, position your dog’s head upwards and place the pill.    Place the pill as far back as you can — placing the pill on the hump of their tongue is the best place to ensure they swallow it. If you place it too far back, you’ll stimulate their gag reflex, and as you can imagine, is not pleasant for either with of you.     Close your dog’s mouth and gently hold it closed to get them to swallow.    Once they’ve successfully swallowed the pill (it may take a couple of tries so don’t get discouraged) give them lots of praise and a tasty treat!    Giving your dog pills can be difficult, especially if they’re fearful or become anxious before you give them the medication. If your dog is frightened, you may want to look up or talk with your vet about counterconditioning methods or desensitization tactics.     We’ve provided you with the best way to give your dog pills, but there is still another form to cover — liquid medication! Stay tuned, we’ll cover this next time in part two!   

For more information about our vet services in Carroll Gardens, connect with us today! 


Training Your Dog For A Muzzle

Does your dog have some poor behaviors you’re working to improve? A muzzle may be the perfect management tool in the interim!

  Muzzles look scary and they often make the dogs who wear them out to be big scary monsters, but really, dog muzzles are commonly used to help improve a dog’s behavior. But, before you start using a dog muzzle for barking, biting, or scavenging, it’s important to take the right steps when introducing them.   At The Vet Set, we want you to get the takeaway of proper muzzle introduction and etiquette because it makes a difference. Follow along in today’s blog as we give you practical ways to train your dog to use and be comfortable wearing a muzzle. 

How To Introduce Your Dog To A Muzzle

  Whether your dog is braking or excessively lunging at other dogs on walks, it’s important to first introduce them and let them get comfortable before going out with the muzzle on. Below are some steps to take with your dog so they can feel confident in a muzzle.  

Step 1: Introduce The Muzzle

  The very first step is to simply show your dog the muzzle to show it that it’s not harmful or dangerous. Just casually bring it out and allow them to explore it — let them sniff and lick it and see that there’s nothing to be afraid of.    

Step 2: Give Them Rewards

  Once your dog is a little bit more familiar with the muzzle begin to touch the muzzle to their nose and with each successful touch, reward them with a treat. This not only brings a positive association with the muzzle, but now they have a vested interest when it comes out.   

Step 3: Begin Placing The Muzzle

  Now that you’ve touched the muzzle to their nose with great success, begin to place the muzzle by place a treat in the muzzle so they can get used to placing their muzzle within it. Keep repeating this step until it’s natural and easy for them to do.   

Step 4: Place The Muzzle Yourself

  By this point, your dog will probably love the muzzle because of the positive rewards they get! Now it’s your turn to put the muzzle on your dog. After you’re able to place the muzzle, be sure to continue giving your dog treats. Repeat this step until they don’t mind it and feel comfortable wearing it. 

Step 5: Fasten And Remove The Muzzle

  Taking it one step further, place the muzzle on your dog, secure it, and then take it off. Build trust with your dog and once the muzzle is removed, give them a treat. Keep repeating this but increase the time the muzzle is left on each time so they can wear it comfortably for longer and begin to feel confident in it. And the best part, they know that eventually it will be removed!    A muzzle is a great tool to keep your dog and others safe and should you choose to use a muzzle with your dog, it is crucial that you take the proper steps and muzzle etiquette to acclimate your dog.   

For more information on dog muzzles or about our Carroll Gardens vet services, connect with us today!

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