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.


Dental Disease in Small Dogs

Though all cats and dogs can develop dental disease, some dog breeds are more prone to dental issues. Toy breeds are known to have a higher frequency of gum disease. Bearded dogs like Schnauzers can get food trapped in their facial hair, which can lead to smelly bacteria. Short-faced dogs, like the Brussels griffon, English and French bulldog, Shih tzu, Lhasa apso, pug and their mixes, are more prone to dental disease because of how their mouths are arranged. And some breeds are well-known to have a higher prevalence of dental disease, the most common being the Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Poodle and their mixes. If your dog is one of these breeds, make sure you pay special attention to their dental hygiene by keeping up on their cleanings, brushing their teeth regularly and giving them treats that promote dental health.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s dental health, please call Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center at 424-231-6450 to schedule an appointment.


February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Healthy teeth make for a happy pet. Not only do regular dental cleanings make your pet feel fresher and cleaner, they are also the most effective way to combat dental disease. Periodontal disease is the most common disorder among pets nationwide, as it affects over 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats by the time they’re three years old. In its later stages, dental disease can cause heart, kidney and liver complications. Thankfully, since it progresses slowly, dental disease can be caught in its early stages, and you can prevent it with a proper dental hygiene routine.

In addition to their regular cleanings, you should periodically inspect your pet’s mouth yourself, noting any gum inflammation, discoloration or halitosis (bad breath). If you notice any of these, or if your pet is eating strangely or having trouble chewing, make sure to schedule an appointment with your Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center veterinarian as soon as you can.