Pet Care Tips For Senior Dogs

For most of us, a dog is part of the family and can go to any extent to ensure their well-being. Just like puppies, senior dogs need special care. While age may cause difficulties in walking, sore joints, irritability, vulnerability to diseases, dementia, and other conditions, there are still steps any owner can take to comfort an aging pet.

Prepare A Nutritious Diet

Without a doubt, proper nutrition is essential for dogs of all stages. However, a senior dog will need a nutritious diet to keep him healthy and active. Age renders a dog less active, and the caloric needs drop. As such, you have to cut on the caloric portions and focus more on a well-balanced diet. Also, you can enrich your dog’s food with fatty acids, omega 3 and other supplements.

Dogs with certain conditions will also require special diets. For instance, a dog diagnosed with heart disease will need a diet with no or low sodium levels. If your dog has kidney disease, go for foods that help to keep calcium and phosphorus levels in check.

Our veterinarians have substantial education in nutrition. They are skilled to counsel you in diets from all life stages, from puppy/kitten to the Senior years and everything in between. Be sure to ask about our Nutritional Counseling.

Arrange For Frequent Walks

Age makes a dog less mobile posing the risk of arthritis, weight gain, and other conditions associated with inactivity. The solution to the problem is to walk your dog regularly to keep him active and prevent illnesses. Due to age, short walks around the block may be sufficient exercise.

Frequent Checkups By Your Veterinarian

Experts recommend that you have senior dogs checked by a vet at least once every six months. That way, any illness can be diagnosed early and treated if possible. Hearing problems are likely to arise with age and are not treatable. A veterinary can correct the hearing loss if they result from ear-canal inflammation or discharge. In the same vein, loss of vision may be a result of the age whereby the lens is unaffected or cataracts. Your vet should tell the difference.

Observe Oral Hygiene

Dental care for your dog is critical for preventing gum disease that leads to aching and falling of teeth. A veterinary will advise on the best way to clean your dog. You can consider buying a toothbrush designed for dogs, to make oral hygiene a routine. Also, get some chewing toys, water additives to reduce plaque.

Keep Infectious And Parasitic Diseases Afar

Parasites including fleas, heartworms, and ticks will the advantage of your dog’s inactivity and attack severely. As such, the routine for vaccinations may need to change. Approach your vet for advice on the best vaccinations and the administration intervals for the best results.

Schedule Regular Grooming

As hinted above, a senior dog will become less active and may tend to adopt a sedentary life. While sitting and sleeping all day, you’re likely to discover the matting of hair and long nails. Regular grooming allows for the growth of new hair and skin while simultaneously allowing for inspections.

At Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center we are dedicated to offering quality veterinary care to your pets. Our compassionate approach has set us apart from the competition; call us today at (310) 573-7707 or schedule an appointment here.


Fire Safety and Your Pets

In grade school, we’re all taught to take preventative measures to ensure an adequate amount of fire safety in our homes. We’re all well aware of the classic “stop, drop, and roll” routine but what about our pets?

Fire safety is essential for pets as well! After all, 40,000 pets are killed in house fires every year. While it may not be the very first thing we think about concerning fire safety, there are precautions that we should take specifically for our furry friends. Today, we’ll be going over a few of these fire safety measures so that you can keep your pets safe.

Never Leave Your Pet Alone with Fire Hazards

Even the most well-behaved pets in the world shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods. This is especially true in the case of open flames. While it may seem harmless to leave your pet alone for a quick trip to the store, even small candles can present dangers.

A rowdy pet, such as a puppy or kitten, could easily run into or knock over a candle. If you aren’t home to see this happen, that small candle can turn into a fiery blaze in no time. It’s best practice to avoid leaving your pets alone. If there are fire hazards around, such as a lit candle, they should be taken care of before leaving your home.

Pet-Proof Your Home

Electrical wiring is found throughout your home, and an especially curious pet may see these wires as harmless playthings. With a little chewing and rough-housing, your pet can create an extreme electrical hazard which can then cause an electrical fire.

Make sure that any electrical wiring/appliances are well out of the reach of your pets. Before bringing home a new pet, take the time to address any possible dangers that could cause a fire if your pet got their paws on it.

Have an Emergency Plan

Having an emergency plan in place is a great way to ensure the safety of your family and your pets. Start laying out your fire emergency plan by taking note of all exits in your home. In the worst-case scenario, it’s essential that you’ll be able to reach the closest exit with your pet as quickly as possible.

You should also be sure to have the necessary supplies available to get your pet out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. Have your dog’s leash in a place of easy access and if you have a cat, make sure their carrier is always nearby and ready.

Microchip Your Pet

In unexpected emergencies, it’s easy to get separated from your pet- especially if you have kids to worry about. This is very common, and by having your pet microchipped, you can make it easier to find your pet if you become separated during an emergency.

Talk to your vet about getting your pet microchipped. This means that no matter where they end up, you’ll be able to locate them and reunite them with you and your family.

Make Sure Your Smoke Detectors Work

Smoke detectors are one of the first indicators of a fire, and it’s essential to make sure that yours are in proper working order. While you may be tempted to rely on you (or your pet’s) sense of smell in the event of a fire, a smoke detector can make sure that you and your entire family are alerted when trouble is brewing. Make sure to perform regular maintenance checks on every smoke detector in your home to make sure you’re always ready!

Keep Dangers Out of Reach

Unfortunately, we can’t explain the dangers of fire hazards to our animals, and any means of fire safety education are out of the question. This means the responsibility lies solely upon you to keep fire hazards out of the reach of your animal.

Your kitchen is likely the most dangerous place for your pet to be in respect to fire hazards. Make sure that your pet is unable to reach anything cooking on the stovetop and be mindful of what they’re doing when they’re in the kitchen. One misstep could spell tragedy.

For more tips on how to keep your pets safe and happy, make an appointment with our team at Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today!


Can My Dog Have Allergies?

Oh, Spring. The sun is out, the flowers are in bloom, and children are enjoying the outdoors. Everyone is happy—except for those of us suffering from seasonal allergies. We’re too busy blowing our noses to stop and smell the roses, and our eyes are too itchy and watery for us to see all the greenery and fun. But, hey, at least it’s finally warm enough to take our dogs out for long walks! When you do, do your pup a favor and help them with their allergies, too.

You might be thinking, “Wait, Fido doesn’t have allergies. Just look at him sniffing all those flowers without a care in the world!”

You would be forgiven for thinking that dogs don’t suffer from springtime allergies. After all, they aren’t exactly sneezing every time they sniff at a plant, constantly looking for a tissue, or rubbing their eyes. This is because allergy symptoms for dogs manifest a little differently than in humans. Unlike people, the biggest symptom for dog allergies is typically skin irritation. Runny noses and itchy eyes may also occur but usually aren’t as big of an issue.

Us humans get all sorts of medicines to choose from that help us enjoy the season, but what can we do for our pups? In honor of May being allergy awareness month, we put together some helpful tips to minimize your pet’s symptoms so they can enjoy the warm weather, too.

1. Wipe them down. When your dog is outside, they gather all sorts of dirt and pollen on their paws, legs, and body. If left alone, it could irritate their skin and leave them miserably scratching. To prevent this, wipe them down with a moist cloth or pet-safe cleaning wipe. This will also help keep your house pollen free so everyone can literally breathe easy.

2. Pay attention to the pollen count and avoid walking on extremely high pollen days if you can. Also, try to avoid going out for walks in the early morning or late afternoon—this is typically when the pollen count is highest during the day.

3. Keep the bed and toys clean. It’s a good idea in the springtime to wash your dog’s bed and toys more frequently. Sleeping on a bed of flowers may sound peaceful in a fairytale, but not even Snow White wants to deal with allergies all night long (after all, why do you think sneezy was so…sneezy?). Washing your pup’s bedding (and your own too, while you’re at it) will be a great help in reducing pollen and dust exposure.

4. Give your dog baths with anti-itch dog shampoo. It may help to give your dog a bath a little more often in the springtime. When you do, an anti-itch pet safe shampoo will help alleviate any irritation so Fido can get some relief without scratching too much.

It seems kind of odd to think that our dogs might have allergies. After all, they spend so much time sniffing out plants and rolling around in the grass. You’d think that, if they had issues with the pollen, they would think twice before voluntarily shoving their faces in it. As smart as our dogs can be, they sometimes need a little help from their wise masters. So, use these tips to make sure your furry friends are happy and enjoying spring to the fullest. For more information on how to best care for your pet, book an appointment at Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today!


Protecting Your Pets From Dangerous Plants

Hunger and curiosity can make for a bad combination. I don’t know about your pet, but most seem to have both traits in spades. The second pets get outside, they often sniff and munch on anything they see from grass to strange plants.

And if your pet can’t eat it, you can bet he’ll roll around in it.

Which begs the question, “Why are pets so interested in all the greenery, and how do we keep them from getting into trouble?”

Well, we’ve got the answers for you today!

Why Do Pets Eat Greens?

Whether you have dogs or cats, you can bet that both will occasionally try to eat plants of some sort, either inside the house and out. It’s pretty natural for them. Dogs, for instance, are omnivores so they’ll often try to squeeze some plants into their diet when they can. Grass also helps dogs with indigestion. Cats, on the other hand, are tried and true meat eaters—they don’t even have the enzymes to digest grass! However, they’ll often eat a little bit every now and then to clean out their digestive tracts and induce vomiting to clear their stomach of indigestible material (think bird feathers and small bones).

This is why you may see Fido and Fluffy vomiting right after eating grass, and yet they carry on with life as usual afterward like it’s no big deal.

But, it can become a big deal if your furry friend eats something poisonous, or more likely, grasses and plants that have been treated with poisonous insecticides or fertilizers.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe

Your pet might try to eat grasses and plants every now and then, but here are a few things you can do to keep them safe.

1. Quality food and probiotic supplements. Since pets often eat greens to relieve digestive issues, your pet will feel less need to eat them if their stomach is already happy! Make sure to give them quality food that promotes a healthy gut biome. Pet foods with soluble prebiotic fiber are great. You can usually find them in the treat aisle. Just remember to consult with your veterinarian (you know…us) to determine the right type and amount for your pet. Remember, it’s a supplement, so too much can be a bad thing.

2. Use pet safe products on your own plants. This should be a no-brainer. If you have plants in the house, try to keep them away from your pets. Also, make sure to never use chemicals on your plants (or anywhere in the house) that are harmful to your pet—just in case your cat moonlights as an acrobat and likes to climb around to reach that flowerpot you thought was out of reach.

3. Learn to identify poisonous plants. When you are out and about with your pet, try to keep them from eating grass that isn’t yours and keep an eye out for poisonous flora. If you need a guide, check out this ASPCA site or contact your veterinarian (again, that’s us!) for more info on what’s local to your area.

Hopefully, with these tips in mind, your pet stays safe outdoors. But if your pet does get mixed up in something bad or eats something weird, contact us right away at Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center and we’ll get you and your animal friend taken care of.


Dog Safety Tips for the Backyard

In Jack London’s famous novel, Call of the Wild, a mild-mannered and cuddly Saint Bernard named Buck finds himself fighting for survival and leading a team of sled dogs through the dangerous and frigid Yukon. Throughout the book, cute little Buck develops his inner primal instincts to fight off wild animals, brave the arctic cold, and command packs of half-wolves.

Meanwhile, some dogs shelter in fear upon hearing a vacuum cleaner start up. It’s obvious that not every canine is born with wild outdoor instincts. We can only blame ourselves and generations of pet domestication for this. But, that’s perfectly fine. We all love our adorable pups and maybe it’s for the better that they don’t act like wild wolves.

Since we’ve domesticated our pets to behave like civil creatures (for the most part), it’s also our responsibility to keep them safe—including in the backyard. We can’t expect Fido to suddenly develop survival instincts every time there’s danger lurking behind the garden hose.

Check out these yard safety tips to keep your pets safe in the yard and away from the emergency vet!

Plants and Grasses

The first danger to your pets comes from plants and grasses. Just like humans, some plants and fertilizers are poisonous to dogs. Fido can suffer from plant allergies, too. And we all know how much dogs love to sniff.

When your dog is playing outside, keep an eye out for excessive sneezing or itching as these may be signs that they are allergic to something nearby. If they start showing more serious signs like vomiting, they may have eaten something poisonous.

While pollen, dust, and mold spores are the most common allergy culprits, check with your nearest vet to see what local plants you should keep an eye out for and check the label on your fertilizers to ensure they are pet safe.

Additionally, keeping your lawn well trimmed and clean will help reduce the allergy potential for your pet. Short grass will also help prevent the next bad thing we’ll discuss.

Insects

Let’s face it, ticks are the worst. They are small, hard to find, and can cause some serious health issues both for you and your dog.

Make sure to stay up to date on your pet’s flea and tick medication. When they play in the grass, give them a thorough search for any ticks that may have latched on. If your pet has long hair, run a comb through while you check to make it easier.

If you find a tick, don’t squish it! That could cause an infection. Instead, try to pull it out with tweezers or soak your pet in a bath to drown and dislodge it.

Other Animals

Depending on where you live, there could be snakes, skunks or predatory birds. Remember, your pet isn’t Buck from Call of the Wild. If you think there may be other animals near your house, use caution whenever you let your dog out and keep an eye on them.

Fences

Lastly, an adequate height fence will not only keep other animals out, it will keep Fido in. This is probably the most effective way of keeping your pet safe in the backyard and preventing them from wandering off or getting hurt.

If you live in an area where a fence isn’t possible (like an apartment complex), make sure to always supervise them and keep them on a leash. And don’t forget to pick up after them. Dog waste can carry bacteria and disease that’s harmful for other people and their pets. Plus, it’s smelly.

We all love playing outside with our furry best friends, but remember, they aren’t the fierce, alpha predators of their ancestors. That’s why they rely on us to keep them safe and happy.

For more tips or how to keep your dog healthy, book an appointment with the veterinarian at Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today!


Breed Profiles: Xolo and Sphynx

Breed Profiles: Xolo and Sphynx

The Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo), also known as the Mexican hairless dog, and the Sphynx cat are some of the most unique-looking pets around. Don’t let their looks fool you; though they may look a little strange or scary to some people, they’re actually very sweet and loving pets!

Personality: Xolos are calm and super intelligent, and they are known to get along well with humans. They still have some hunting instincts, so make sure you keep them in places where they can’t escape easily. Sphynx cats are extremely affectionate and friendly, and they will do anything for attention from their humans or other animals. Because they’re so social, they thrive in homes with lots of people and other pets, and they love to snuggle and keep you warm.

Exercise: As puppies, Xolos will need more frequent walks and opportunities to use up all their energy, but as they grow, daily walks should be sufficient. Sphynx cats are very energetic, so they need enriching environments and plenty of toys to play with.

Nutrition: It’s best to feed Xolos twice a day instead of giving them all their food in one serving. Sphynx cats are big eaters, so it’s also best to feed them small portions at regular intervals so they don’t overeat.

Lifespan: Xolos live long lives! They tend to live between 14 and 20 years. Sphynx cats live between 8 and 14 years on average.

Health concerns: Xolos have very few health concerns. It’s most important to protect their skin from sun and chemicals. Sphynx cats also need skin care, like lotion to keep the skin from getting too dry and weekly baths to keep it from getting too greasy.


Watch for Signs of Excess Water Consumption

Thirsty dog

Excess water consumption is much more likely to occur in the summer months when our water-loving pups are warm and want to splash around. But taking in too much water can create dire health situations for your pets. Accidentally ingesting too much water can cause brain swelling, which can lead to death very quickly. When you’re out with your dog at the beach, or even just playing around in the kiddie pool or sprinkler in your backyard, keep an eye out for these symptoms:

  • vomiting
  • lethargy and/or confusion
  • weakness
  • swelling
  • seizures
  • excessive salivation

To avoid water intoxication, make your dog take plenty of breaks during water play.


Endangered Species and How You Can Help

Giant Panda

We know your love for animals doesn’t end at your own pets. There are so many endangered animals worldwide, and there are lots of organizations you can support that are working hard to save these species.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2012 Red List of Threatened Species, roughly 20,000 different species are considered threatened, with their threat levels ranging from vulnerable to endangered to critically endangered. Here are a few great organizations striving to conserve these threatened animals: Continue Reading


Breed Profile: Giant Breeds

Giant Breeds

Giant breed dogs are beautiful, immense and impressive: some breeds can weigh up to 200 pounds! Common giant breeds are Great Danes, mastiffs, Great Pyrenees, giant schnauzers, Newfoundlands, Bernese mountain dogs and Saint Bernards. These massive dogs require different care than their smaller counterparts, so before you adopt them, make sure you can give them the care and attention they need. Continue Reading


Dental Problems in Cats

FORLs, or feline oral resorptive lesions, are common dental problems for cats. Lesions typically begin at the gum line, but eventually they will cause teeth to dissolve. These lesions are extremely painful, and because of the way they progress, affected teeth must be pulled. Extracting these teeth can be complicated, so it’s better to catch the lesions early. Help keep your kitty’s teeth pain-free by checking her mouth between vet appointments.