Native New Yorker Dr. Cindy Bressler has treated pets from Manhattan’s UWS to Montauk for more than a decade. Spotting the need for round-the-clock vet support, she opened up Hamptons Canine Concierge, offering 24/7 on-call services for furry friends. Here’s the scoop on how Bressler’s passion for pets goes way back, and the innovative ways she continues to evolve the veterinary space. Think: private jets for pets. (Yes, really.)
When did you first become interested in animals?
I have always loved animals. I grew up with many different pets and knew that I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 3 years old.
What led you to decide that you wanted to be a veterinarian?
I had an exotic pet when I was young, and she got sick. I took her to a veterinarian who told me that he didn’t treat exotic pets. She died later that afternoon while we were looking for another vet who would treat her. I knew right away that I would become an animal doctor who would treat all animals.
How long have you been in Manhattan?
I moved to Manhattan after graduating from Atlantic Veterinary College, in Canada, in 1994, and did an internship in small-animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center on the Upper East Side.
When did you first go out to the Hamptons?
During my college years, and after, I would come out with friends. After I became a veterinarian, I still summered out East but noticed that the local veterinary clinics closed early, and were also closed on weekends and holidays. A patient of mine was in Montauk and unfortunately got hit by a car. They had to travel all the way to Riverhead to treat him, but he died in transit. I decided to start seeing after-hours emergencies in the Hamptons during the summer months while I was there. I have everything in my car to treat a potential emergency or to stabilize a patient, and then transfer them safely.
How do you split time between the city and Bridgehampton?
I have an emergency summer house-call practice from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and I stay in Bridgehampton because it’s central. It’s easily accessible to all towns, including Southampton, Montauk, and Sag Harbor. While I’m here, I have other doctors cover for me in Manhattan. We see both routine and emergency calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How did the idea for Hamptons Canine Concierge come about?
I started it with Edward Alava from The Dog Store and Lisa Hartman, a celebrity dog trainer, after seeing the need for more personalized canine services in the Hamptons. We offer everything from grooming, pet-sitting, training, medical care, in-home hospitalization, massage, acupuncture, nutritional consults, beauty and wellness consults, transportation, event planning, private chefs, and other services.
What are some of your favorite spots in the Hamptons?
For my dogs, it’s Atlantic Beach, my backyard and pool, The Dog Store, Max-Bone Hamptons, Settlers Landing, and Navy Road. For myself, it’s sitting in the lifeguard chair at night watching the moon over the ocean or watching the sunsets in Montauk, biking in Amagansett and Sagaponack, bonfires on the beach, Kelly B. boutique, Sen, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, Stoney Clover Lane, Blue One boutique, Joni’s Kitchen, and Harvest on Fort Pond.
What is JetSet Vets, and how did you come up with the concept?
After 10 years of being commissioned to fly on private jets with my clients, I created JetSet Vets, the world’s only private jet veterinary service where we provide in-flight medical care for sick pets who are flying and need to be transported. We can provide medical care anywhere in the world. We also have home hospitalization for dogs and cats called Cozy Care with my vet tech Karina Munoz; we’re the only ones offering it right now.
Speaking of, how do you know if your dog is having an emergency and needs medical care?
It is important to learn what is normal for your dog, so that you will be able to identify the abnormal. Vital signs for dogs include heart rate, respiratory rate and breathing pattern, color of the gums and mucus membranes, body temperature, capillary refill time, pulse, and hydration status.
What is a normal heart rate?
A dog’s normal heart rate depends on the size of the dog. Normal can range from 60 to 120 beats per minute. Smaller dogs have a higher normal rate. You can take your dog’s heart rate by placing your hand on the chest wall or by taking the pulse. It’s easy to locate the pulse on the inside of the inner thigh where the leg meets the body by placing your fingers there.
What is a normal respiratory rate?
It should be 10 to 30 breaths per minute. If a dog is having difficulty breathing, you may see a slow or fast respiratory rate, loud gasping sounds, breathing with the mouth open, breathing with the abdominal cavity expanding, cheeks flapping, or nostrils flaring. Excessive prolonged panting is not normal.
What about temperature?
You can take a dog’s rectal temperature by using a digital or glass thermometer with a lubricant. Normal temperature for a dog is 100–102.5 F [38–39.1 C].
What do the color of the gums tell us?
You can tell a lot about blood circulation and oxygenation of the tissues. A healthy bright pink color indicates good circulation. Blue or purple means lack of oxygen. Pale pink or white indicate anemia (low red-blood-cell level), shock, or dehydration. Brown, brick red, orange, or yellow colors are also abnormal. You can check it by lifting the upper or lower lip and looking at the color of the gums and of the inside of lips. If you have a dog with pigmented lips, tongue, and gums [black gums], you can check the color of the other mucus membranes, for example, the inside of the vulva or the penis.
How can you tell if they’re dehydrated?
The first way is to gently grab the skin with two fingers between the shoulder blades or on another area of the body. When you let go, it should bounce back to normal in a couple of seconds. If it takes longer or stays up, your dog is dehydrated and you should seek veterinary help. Another way to check is to see if your dog’s gums feel moist and slippery. If they’re dry, your pet may be dehydrated. As dogs get older, their skin may lose elasticity, making it a little more difficult to tell if they’re dehydrated. If you’re unsure, contact your vet.
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