(310) 573-7707

Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Senior Pet Care Awareness

Senior Pet Care AwarenessToday, pets are living longer thanks to improvements in medicine, pet care, nutrition, and increased awareness of pet health and safety. This makes it more important for pet caretakers to understand the life of a senior pet. Similar to humans, as animals age they need extra care and attention. By being proactive in your pet’s senior care, you can help them to live a long and healthy life.

When does my pet become a senior?

You might be surprised, but no age officially makes a pet a senior. The aging process varies from pet to pet and depends on factors such as breed, species, size, lifestyle, and environment. Generally speaking, most cats and small animals including small breed dogs and rabbits are considered senior by the age of seven while larger dog breeds may be considered senior by the age of five or six. The senior age for birds and reptiles can vary as well depending on the life expectancy of the species.

Common Senior Health Conditions

While you may be able to spot the physical signs of your pet’s age from his graying coat or slowed pace, it can be difficult to notice the changes happening in your pet’s health. Similar to humans, senior pets are more likely to develop certain conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, or cancer. The following are some of the common medical conditions we diagnose in middle-aged and senior pets:

  • Arthritis – Arthritis refers to a group of conditions caused by joint inflammation. Signs of arthritis may include stiffness, hesitancy to move, favoring a limb, or vocalization when touched in certain areas of inflammation.
  • Cancer – In pets, the likelihood of cancer increases with age. The most common types of cancer in cats include squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma, and soft-tissue sarcoma. Dogs present most often with hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and osteosarcoma. Signs of cancer may include difficulty breathing, changes in eating patterns, lumps, bumps, discolored skin, non-healing wounds, unexplained swelling, heating, or lameness, as well as visible masses or swollen areas.
  • Cognitive Dysfunction – Also known as senility, cognitive dysfunction refers to the age-related deterioration of mental abilities. Signs of cognitive dysfunction in pets may include disorientation, anxiety, changes in sleep patterns, increased wandering, and forgetfulness of tricks or skills already learned.
  • Diabetes – Age, excess weight, genetics, and several other factors can cause the pancreas to produce inadequate amounts of insulin, which gives your pet energy. Signs of diabetes in pets include irritability, increased need to urinate, fatigue, unintended weight loss, and distorted vision.
  • Heart Disease – Heart disease progresses slowly in most pets making it difficult to recognize on your own. Signs to look for include slow recovery from exercise, rapid breathing, coughing, and lethargy.
  • Hyperthyroidism – Hyperthyroidism is caused by the overproduction of thyroid hormones that increase the body’s rate of metabolism, resulting in weight loss and increased appetite. This disease also often leads to hypertension or high blood pressure. Other symptoms may include increased thirst and urination, a rough or unkept hair coat, increased vocalization, and poor body condition.
  • Kidney Disease – Kidney disease, similar to heart disease, can also be a slow progression that may not be obvious to the owner. Signs to look for include lethargy, decreased appetite, increased thirst, and changes in urination patterns.

How can I help my pet stay healthy as he ages?

Talk to your veterinarian about how to care for your pet as he or she ages and be prepared for possible age-related health conditions. Senior pets, just like humans, require extra attention and care as well as more frequent visits to the vet. Here are some considerations to be aware of as your pet ages:

Physical and behavioral changes

Changes in behavior are often the first indications of age. These changes may be a part of the normal aging process or due to an underlying health condition. Some behavior changes to look out for include hearing or vision loss, anxiety, house soiling, increased wandering, disorientated behavior, unusual signs of aggression, and changes in sleep patterns.

If your pet becomes less active or shows signs of having trouble with daily activities, this may be an indication of arthritis or another medical condition and should be addressed by your veterinarian.

Diet and Exercise

Weight can have a tremendous effect on your pet’s health. Regular exercise and healthy nutrition are important parts of helping maintain a healthy weight for your pet. Your pet’s diet may need to change as well with age. Senior pets often need food that is easily digestible and different in calorie levels and ingredients to help with the aging process and lower the risk of developing certain health ailments.

Although your pet may not be as fast or nimble as before, exercise is still essential to pet health. Regular walks and playtime should be kept up as much as possible while he ages, but pet parents should also be mindful of their pet’s activity level and fatigue rate during play.

Obesity in older pets can increase their risk of respiratory problems, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and cancer. Sudden weight loss may also be a cause for concern, especially in cats. If you notice any sudden changes in your pet’s weight, contact your vet.


A senior pet’s needs will change subtly over the years and alterations to the environment may be required to improve your senior cat’s quality of life. Some recommendations we have for you:

  • Set up pet ramps or steps to aid them in getting to their favorite spots
  • Make sure items such as feeders, pet beds, and litter boxes are adjusted in height and structure, so they are more accessible to elderly pets
  • Provide extra light at night for them to feel more secure moving around in the dark

Although senior pets may be prone to developing age-related conditions, good preventative care allows them to continue to live an active, healthy life into their senior years. We recommend visiting a veterinarian at least twice a year for routine wellness exams. This allows your vet to detect and treat any new health conditions as soon as possible.

Remember, our pets can’t tell us when they are in pain or need help. It is important as a pet parent to do your part in being mindful of your pet’s behavior and activity as he ages. Together, we will develop a great plan to ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life. For more information on senior pet care awareness or to schedule a consultation, contact Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today.

The Importance of Pet Nail Care

The Importance of Pet Nail CareNail trimming is an essential part of pet care, just like with humans! Clean, trimmed nails on your pet can be a clear sign of good hygiene and health. However, the thought of trimming your pet’s nails on your own may leave you uneasy and headed to the groomers every time those nails need a trim. During this time, we understand that many of our pet parents may be handling their pet’s grooming in the comfort of their home and as such we would like to offer our advice when it comes to pet nail care. Armed with the right knowledge and tools, we hope to help you feel more comfortable caring for your pet’s hygiene needs.

More Than Cosmetic

Nail care is more than cosmetic. Long nails can cause pain and in rare cases cause damage to the paw. If left untreated, long nails can deform feet, injure tendons and soft tissues, and cause complications in the leg as the nails place pressure on the foot and leg of your pet. A quick trim now and then can help to prevent foot problems while protecting your pet, you, your family, and your home.

What is the quick?

Before you begin cutting your pet’s nails, it is important to locate the quick. The quick is the center portion of the nail that contains nerves and blood vessels. Just like the pink part of our nails, this area can be very sensitive, and cutting into the quick will likely cause bleeding and pain. Typically, the quick begins near the natural curve of your pet’s nail so it is best not to cut beyond the curve.

With light or clear nails, the quick can be easy to locate due to its natural pink or red color. For darker nails, it can be more difficult to locate and you may need to cut in small increments to tell. After you’ve made the first cut, look at your pet’s nail head-on. If the inside appears whitish, you are still in the dead area of the nail and it is safe to continue cutting. We recommend making several small cuts rather than one large one. Continue cutting and look at the end of your pet’s nail after each cut. As you get closer to the quick the center of the nail will change color. It may eventually appear black with a grayish or pink center right before the quick. The trick is to trim a short portion of the nail at a time and then stop once the colored center appears.

Does my pet need his nails trimmed?

It is best to perform nail trimming only as needed. One way to determine if your pet’s nails need to be trimmed is to examine their toes and the length of their nails. If your pet’s nails scratch the floor when they walk, it’s time for a trim. In the case of outdoor cats and reptiles, their nails are often worn down naturally and may not need to be trimmed as often. For most indoor pets, we recommend nail trimming regularly at least once a month to prevent injury and scratching.

Our Tips

Nail trimming can be difficult especially for first-timers and anxious pets. If possible, we recommend handling your pet’s feet while they are young, so they can become accustomed to the process. It is important to remain calm and patient while trimming your pet’s nails and remember to create a positive experience with praise and treats. Just like humans, pet personalities can vary widely. While some may not mind having their claws handled, others may take a more defensive route.

If at any point you feel uncomfortable with the process or think you are causing your pet pain, stop and contact your local veterinarian or groomer for further instructions. We are happy to help you and even give you a quick tutorial lesson beforehand if you need it.


It doesn’t take a full pet salon to trim your pet’s nails. You will only need a few tools. We recommend:

  • Nail Clippers: There are a variety of options you can choose from. Ask your vet which is right for you and your pet. Some even include a guard to ensure you don’t cut the nail too short all at once. Always use clippers that are designed for your pet. For larger reptiles, it may be easier and safer to use a Dremel nail file and a sanding bit as they do not make clippers large enough for big lizards.
  • Towel: A thick towel or blanket can be used to gently restrain and relax your pet during the process.
  • Styptic Powder: In the event you cut the quick, use styptic powder or another blood clotting powder such as flour or cornstarch to stop the bleeding
  • Treats: Treats and praise can help to create a positive environment and pleasant experience

In some cases, with larger animals or more anxious pets, it can be helpful to have an extra pair of hands as well.

How to Trim

Hold your pet in your lap or on a steady surface so he can remain still while you cut his nails. This is especially true for rabbits as they may kick out and injure themselves, so it is important to handle your pet correctly while providing firm support. Once your pet is comfortable and secure, you can begin the cutting.

For pups and kittens, pick up the paw and place your thumb on the pad of the toe and gently press down to expose the nail. Remember that cats have retractable claws so it may take some effort to extend the nail. Don’t squeeze the paw though!

For birds and reptiles, it is important to work quickly but carefully as often these pets don’t understand why they need to sit still for long periods of time. Talk to them gently to reassure them.
Cut or file the nail straight across in small increments. Your goal is to trim the bottom end of the claw only. Don’t go beyond the natural curve of the nail. Go slowly and take breaks between each paw or nail, especially if your pet is restless. We recommend giving treats and praise after each nail, so your pet associates the action with positive energy.

What do I do if I cut the quick?

If a nail is accidentally cut too short, don’t panic. Quickly pack some of the styptic powder on the end of the nail to stop the bleeding. Though cutting the quick does hurt, the styptic powder contains a numbing agent to provide relief to your pet. Unless the nail has been cut drastically short, there is no reason for alarm if you accidentally cut a quick.

After the nail-trimming session is over, make sure you reward your pet with treats and love. The more consistently you cut the nails, the less your pet will associate nail trimming with stress and discomfort. Remember we are only a phone call away if you ever need our help. We are always happy to assist you in all aspects of your pet care. For more information on nail care for your pet or to schedule an appointment, contact Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today.

Cleaning Your Pet’s Ears

Cleaning Your Pet’s EarsA regular grooming routine is a must for our animal companions. Besides keeping your pet looking and feeling the best way possible, grooming your pet regularly allows you to get familiar with his or her body so that should anything out of the ordinary be noticed, you can seek help immediately without wondering if your pet was always this way. It also provides you with a great human-animal bonding experience.

Brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and dental care are all a part of an essential grooming regimen. However, there is another part of essential grooming that often gets left out, and that is ear cleaning. It can seem like a daunting task to clean your pet’s ears, but it is often a necessity.

To help make ear cleaning easier, we’ve provided a few tips on how to clean your pet’s ears safely and effectively without stressing out your beloved pet.


Check your pet’s ears regularly. If you notice any of the following, it may be time to contact your vet.

  • Odor
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Discharge
  • Scabs
  • Excess wax
  • Scratching, head shaking, or head tilting.

Other Considerations

  • Not all dogs need their ears cleaned. For some, frequent cleaning may cause irritation and other problems. Speak with your veterinarian about what is best for you and your dog.
  • Depending on your cat’s groom habits and environments, often ear cleaning is unnecessary. Cats are generally excellent self-groomers. However, if you notice any wax, dirt, build-up, or debris, it may be time for a cleaning.
  • Trimming excessive ear hair can help prevent ear infections and wax build-up. Avoid sticking scissors into your pet’s ear. If you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, have a veterinarian or groomer take care of it for you
  • Schedule regular veterinary exams so your vet can assess your pet’s health and diagnose any issues early. Your vet will check your pet’s ears and can help give you further instructions for cleaning and care.

How to Clean Your Pet’s Ears

If your pet can easily become restless or distressed, try to calm him or her with treats, affection, or another distraction. It is best to collect your supplies ahead of time so that you don’t have to scramble to find what you need during the cleaning. You will need cotton pads or balls, a veterinary-approved ear cleaner, and a towel. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based cleaners as they can dry out the ear canal and cause irritation. Do not use Q-Tips or anything with a pointed tip to clean your pet’s ears as you may damage the ear canal and cause other health problems for your pet.

It is generally easier for you to position your pet with his or her backside facing you. Gently pull on the ear flap and fill the canal with an approved-veterinarian ear cleaning solution. Do not stick the applicator into the ear canal or allow it to touch your pet’s ear as it may spread bacteria.

Massage the base of the ear for at least 30 seconds to help the solution work its way in. You will hear a squishing sound as the product dislodges debris and buildup. Allow your pet to shake his or her head and expel the solution. Use the cotton ball or towel to absorb any remaining solution on the outer part of the ear canal. Repeat until the cotton pad is clean.

Again, not all pets will need their ears cleaned frequently. Speak with your veterinarian to help you come up with an ear cleaning routine that works best for you and your pet. For more information on ear cleaning for your pet, please contact Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today.

A Happier, Healthier Year For You and Your Pet

A Happier, Healthier Year For You and Your PetDuring this time of year, many of us set new goals and perspectives for the year ahead. As you make your New Year’s resolutions, consider your pet as well! Here are some great ideas to promote a happier and healthier year for you and your animal companions.

Eat Right

Many pets can suffer from overeating and a lack of proper nutrition. This year think about your pet’s diet. Use a measuring cup to ensure your pet is receiving the right amount of food at every meal. Your veterinarian can help advise you on portion size and select food specific to your pet’s life stage and needs to keep him or her in optimal health.

Puzzle feeders can be a great way to provide daily enrichment to your pet. Simply switch up your pet’s meals with a puzzle feeder every so often to improve your pet’s day-to-day life.


If you’re resolving to get into better shape this year or just become more active, consider taking your pet with you. Adding more walks or adventures outside can help boost your pet’s spirits with the smells and sounds of the great outdoors. It is just as healthy for them as it is for you!

Make sure to take precautions for extreme temperatures, rocks, salt or other foreign objects that can disrupt your adventures with your pet. This will help get out extra energy and become a great bonding experience.

Regular Grooming

Providing regular grooming, whether it is bathing, brushing, or trips to the salon for haircuts depending on the breed, can be helpful to your pet’s quality of life. Don’t forget the importance of trimming nails and brushing teeth as well. Dental disease is just as common in animals as it is in humans. Dental exams can help you develop a regular cleaning plan to care for your pet’s teeth.

Learn New Things

Agility training or learning new tricks can help your pet develop new skills while providing much-needed enrichment and stimulation. Be patient with training and work together with your pet to develop new skills. At the end of their training, it will be fun to show off your pet’s newfound abilities to friends and family.

Visit the Vet

It is important to maintain regular check-ups at the veterinarian at least once a year to keep your pet healthy and catch any problems before they get out of hand. Preventative care includes regular exams, dental cleanings, parasite control, and more which can help save your pet in the long run. For older pets, consider visiting the vet every six months.

For more information on how you and your pet can start the new year together happy and healthy, contact Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today.

Keep Your Pet Happy And Warm This Winter Holiday

Cold and dry air, chilling rain, and possible snow and ice can have your layering up trying to stay warm throughout the month. December is also the height of the holiday season, but it can easily become a not-so-jolly holiday for pets. However, as pet owners we know that when you are preparing yourself for the holidays and winter weather, you are also making sure your pet is ready too! To help you out this season, we’ve put together a few cold weather and holiday tips to keep you and your pet holly-jolly this December.

Cold Weather Safety Advice

Schedule a wellness exam this winter as it can be a great time to get your pet checked out so they are ready for the cold. Older pets, young ones, and those with compromised immune systems may need extra care during the winter. Pets with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions are more susceptible to the cold and may develop problems or have difficulty keeping a healthy body temperature. During your wellness exam, ask your veterinarian about how best to care for your pet this season. Remember that even though the weather has gotten colder, it is important to continue taking preventive care for fleas, heartworm, and ticks.

Just like people, an animal’s cold tolerance varies from pet to pet based on his or her body fat, activity level, health, skin type, and even personality. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance and adjust accordingly.

  • Jackets– As you go out with your pet and grab your coat, grab a sweater, jacket, or vest for your pet too! If you think you will be cold, your pet will most likely be too, even if they have a long or thick coat. Outerwear should cover from the base of the tail to the belly and up to the neck to be effective at keeping your pet warm. Be sure that the clothing does not impede your pet’s ability to see, move, breathe, or eat/drink.
  • Booties– You should also consider booties or protective covering for your pet’s paws when going outdoors. Not only will these booties help reduce your pet’s likelihood of developing cold-weather injuries, but they also serve as protection from harmful chemical agents used during this time of year. Many cities use ice-melting agents to clear roads and sidewalks that are harmful to pets if they lick them off their paws. Protective paw gear will help keep ice, snow, gravel, salt, and other agents from getting between your pet’s toes. Always check your pet’s paws once your return inside (even if they have booties) for signs of cold weather damage such as cracked or bleeding paws.
  • Walks outdoors– Plan for outdoor walks. Ensure your dog is protected from the elements just as you are. Wear reflective gear or carry a flashlight if you will be out while it is dark. Avoid frozen water in all forms as you do not know if the ice will support the weight of your pet or how deep the water may be beneath the ice.
  • Shelter– Though we do not recommend allowing your pet to stay outside for long periods of time, if you are unable to keep them indoors be sure to provide your pet with a solid shelter. The floor should be off the ground and you should provide thick and dry bedding to give them a warm environment. Do not use heat lamps, heated blankets, or space heaters as you run the risk of burns and fires with your pet. Always ensure that your pet has access to fresh, non-frozen water.
  • Wipe down and dry off– It is good practice to wipe down your pet’s belly, legs, and feet after every outing as he or she may have come in contact with chemicals or agents that could be toxic. Your pet may lick his or her feet or fur and ingest the toxic causing complications. Be sure to towel your pet off as well to prevent catching a chill after returning from the outdoors.
  • Heater safety– Your pet will most likely be spending more time indoors during the season and space heaters are a common way to keep a household warm. Exercise caution with heaters as pets can easily bump into a heater and get burned or knock it over and start a fire.
  • Keep pet bedding warm– Move your pet’s bedding away from any doors, windows, or areas where they may come in contact with outside drafts. Provide your pet with extra blankets or pieces of cloth for added warmth.
  • Make some noise– During this time of year, a warm vehicle can be an appealing shelter to feral animals. Cats often crawl under the hoods of cars to escape from the cold. Please check underneath the car, bang on the hood, make noise, or honk your horn before starting the engine to startle away any hitchhikers.

Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is here, and many pet parents want to include their animal companions in the festivities. As you prepare your home for the holidays, it is important to keep your pets in mind as well.

Christmas Trees

Regardless of whether your tree is live or artificial, be sure to securely anchor your tree so it does not tip or fall. Prevent your pet from drinking tree water by covering the water dish as it may contain chemicals or fertilizers for preserving your tree which may be toxic to your pet. Curious pets might bite at one or two tree limbs and become irritated by the tree oils, leading to vomiting, drooling, and swelling of the mouth. They may also swallow needles which can bunch together causing an intestinal obstruction which can lead to severe consequences.


Mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly, poinsettias, and lilies are all holiday plants that can cause gastrointestinal problems to your pets. Some plants may even cause organ failure or heart problems when ingested. Choosing artificial plants made of silk or plastic may be a safer choice, but keep them away from pets as they might look like an interesting chew toy.


The sparkly lights, brightly colored garlands, flashy tinsel, gorgeous dangling ornaments, and tempting candy canes are all apart of getting into the holiday season. However, they can be intriguingly dangerous decorations to your pet. Keep breakable decorations out of reach and be mindful that tinsel and garlands may be eye-catching toys for pets. If swallowed, these decorations can lead to obstructions in the digestive tract, tears in the stomach, vomiting, and dehydration.


Keep wires and battery packs out of your pet’s reach. Wires can deliver a potentially lethal shock to your pet causing burns to the mouth or esophagus.


Skip the sweets as chocolate is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Though the damage varies based on the type of chocolate, the weight of your pet, and the amount consumed, it is best to avoid all chances by removing chocolate from your pet’s reach. The same can be said for baked goods, candies, and other sweets that may contain xylitol, a harmful sweetener to pets. Instead, give your pet made-for-pet treats to make them feel included in the holiday fun.

Leftovers of human food should not be given to pets as human foods tend to be too rich, fatty, and high in calories for pets and can lead to life-threatening conditions such as pancreatitis.


Visitors can upset even the most social of pets and the noise and excitement of the holidays can cause your pet a lot of stress. Follow these tips to reduce emotional stress on your pet.

  • Provide your pet with a comfortable and quiet place away from all the hustle and bustle.
  • Inform your guests ahead of time that you have pets as guests with allergies or compromised immune systems need to be aware of pets in your home so they can make any needed precautions to protect themselves.
  • Watch for exits as your pet may try to escape from an open door. That being said, the holidays are always a good time to update identification tags and microchip data. These will help you quickly reunite with your pet if they do decide to sneak away from the party.
  • Dispose of trash properly and out of reach of pets.
  • New year noise may cause stress and terrify your pet. Remember that many animals are afraid of fireworks so be sure to secure them in a safe escape-proof area as midnight approaches during the new year.


If you are traveling internationally or through interstates, many require that you carry a health certificate for your pet even if you are driving. Learn the requirements of any states or countries you will pass through or visit and speak with your vet ahead of time about obtaining the proper documentation for travel. Pack for your pet as well as yourself. Include food, medication, and health records in case your pet may need care during the holidays.

Pets in cars should safely be restrained with harnesses or carriers clear of airbags and never left unattended in a car.

If you are boarding your pet, ask your veterinarian how best to protect your pet from canine flu, kennel cough, and other boarding illnesses.

Winter can be a wonderful time to enjoy with your pet. The holiday season can be a stressful time for humans and non-humans alike, so we hope our tips and advice will help keep both you and your pet happy and safe this winter. Remember, if you believe your pet may have been poisoned or eaten something they shouldn’t have, contact your veterinarian right away or call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435.

For more information on how to keep your pet happy and safe this holiday, contact Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center today.

Fall Safety and Your Pet

We love fall for the football, crisp cool air, colorful foliage and even a little bit of snow (depending on where you live). The refreshing temperatures and vibrant colors of autumn create the perfect environment for long strolls with your pet or cuddling up together inside where you are nice and cozy watching the leaves fall from the trees. As beautiful as fall is, there are still some dangers and safety tips to keep in mind when it comes to your pet’s health during the season.


Just because summer is gone doesn’t mean that tick season is over. Despite the change of season, fleas and ticks are still out and about looking for your pet. Several tick species such as deer ticks can survive well into the winter. Ticks are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease which can be just as dangerous to you as it is for your pet. Be sure to continue with your preventive heartworm, flea, and tick medication all year round.

Nothing says fall like freshly raked leaves, but as tempting as those leaf piles might be, they are also breeding grounds for harmful molds and bacteria, not to mention a favorite hideout for ticks. Keep your pet out of the leaves and always check for ticks before returning indoors.


Fall allergens such as ragweed and mold can cause your pet to itch, sneeze, and cough just like humans do throughout the season. If you know or suspect your pet may have allergies, take him to the vet to get tested so they can determine the best treatment plan for your pet.

Wild flora and fauna

There’s a fungus among us! Mushrooms and other wild fungi tend to pop up during the fall and while often they are harmless, some can be highly toxic to your pet. It is best to survey your yard before releasing your pet outdoors unattended or keep him close during walks and other outings.

Not many flowers bloom in colder weather, but one to take note of is the autumn crocus. While it is a beautiful flower, if it is consumed by your pet it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes death.

It is also the beginning of the hibernation season which means a lot of wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, bears, and snakes are out preparing for their long winter nap. Keep a close eye out of wildlife and be sure to keep your distance if you do come across any wild animals.

If you live in an area with venomous snakes, familiarize yourself with the species and area to which they tend to be attracted. Snakes can be awful grumpy this time of year and won’t hesitate to bite or strike at a curious pet. If you think your pet has been bitten, call your vet and the ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) and seek immediate medical care.

Rodents such as mice and rats are also in search of warmer temperatures, which means an increase of rat/mouse poisons during the fall. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets and should be stowed well out of reach.

Colder weather

Fall brings cooler weather and depending on where you live, autumn can be as wet as spring. A wet fall combined with sometimes bone-chilling weather can be uncomfortable for some pets to say the least.

It can be a good idea to invest in a sweater or jacket for pets with short-haired coats as it’ll help keep them warm. While most breeds can tolerate colder weather, some may need a little extra help. Remember that pets don’t have to be outside for a long time for them to get too cold. Place blankets in their doghouses if you know they will spend a lot of time outdoors. If you plan to be out with your pet in cooler weather, consider buying booties to keep those precious paws nice and dry.

Be mindful of older pets or those with compromised immune systems when it comes to being outside in colder temperatures as it can cause conditions such as arthritis to flare up. Talk to your vet if you notice your pet showing signs of discomfort or reluctance to move, limping, and unusual vocalizations while moving.

Fall will also bring about shorter days, so it is a good idea to plan for walks in the dark. Use caution and wear reflective gear so others can see you at night. A flashlight can be handy for lighting your way as well as helping you spot out any potential dangers in the distance.


As the temperature drops, some people will begin to use antifreeze with their motor vehicles to help keep them running smoothly. Antifreeze should be stored away from your pet’s reach as it contains a highly toxic chemical called ethylene glycol.

Pets are attracted by its’ sweet scent and taste, but if a dog or cat ingests even the smallest amount, the reaction can be most serious and sometimes fatal.


When setting up your centerpieces and other holiday decorations be sure to store them far from your pet’s path as some can be potentially poisonous- especially holiday plants.

Poinsettias often reserved for winter holidays can cause oral irritation and dangerous gastrointestinal problems to pets if eaten as well as chrysanthemums, holly, and mistletoe. Lilies are highly toxic to cats and indigestion can result in kidney failure and death.

Keep all fall plants and decorations out of your pet’s reach and call your vet immediately if you suspect your pet ate something he shouldn’t have.


If you know you might be traveling this holiday season, be sure to make your plans with a walker, sitter, or daycare now. As the holidays approach, most of us will get busier and many people will be traveling. By preparing ahead, you can make the holidays easier on your pets.

Fall celebrations often mean people coming over to visit your home. Strange guests and loud noises can sometimes be overwhelming to even the most social of pets. Be mindful of your animal companion and be sure to provide them with a safe place they can relax if they need to escape the chaos.


The holiday season allows us to ramp up our intake of hearty heavy foods and sweets. Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts with moist turkey and gravy, sauces, casseroles, pies, and other delectable delights. We know it may be tempting to share some of your good with your pets, but it is important to note that some of those favorite foods are toxic to your pet.

  • Fatty foods– Foods with high caloric intake such as mashed potatoes, gravies, casseroles, and even nuts can put your pet at high risk of developing pancreatitis, a painful and potentially fatal inflammation of your pet’s pancreas.
  • Alcohol– Alcoholic beverages and food products can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, tremors, coma, and abnormal blood acidity. Under no circumstances should your pet be given alcohol, if consumed contact poison control right away.
  • Bones– Though bones and dogs seem synonymous, avoid giving him any food bones. Raw bones might be natural if your pet was a wild dog, but domestic pets can often suffer grave injuries from eating raw bones. Instead, opt for “made for pet” dog bones that are sold at pet stores.
  • Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine– All of these products contain a substance called methylxanthines which are found in cacao seeds used for coffee, chocolate, and other products such as soda. Ingestion of these products can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and death. Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk, and baking chocolate can contain just as many methylxanthines.
  • Onions, chives, nutmeg, and garlic– Though these seasonings and vegetables can help spice up a dish, they are toxic to pets and can cause red blood cell damage. Cats are more susceptible to these toxins than others.
  • Raw meat and eggs– No one should consume raw eggs or meat as bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli can be harmful to your body, and your pet is no different.
  • Salty snacks– Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination and can result in sodium ion poisoning in pets.
  • Yeast– Raw yeast dough may cause your pet’s digestive system to bloat and potentially twist becoming a life-threatening emergency.
  • Xylitol– A common sweetener used in many products such as candy, gum, baked goods, sodas, and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species which leads to liver failure and hypoglycemia.

If you believe your pet has come into contact with any toxic or unknown substance. Please contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

As fall rolls in and we begin this year’s holidays, we want you and your pets to truly enjoy the season to the fullest extent, so keep these helpful tips in mind. For more information contact Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center.

Five Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe This October

Fall has officially arrived, and the holiday season is just around the corner. As we enter October, many people will begin to decorate for Halloween and plan out festivities for that night. Though Halloween can be a lot of fun, it can be very stressful for our non-human friends. Keep your pets safe and avoid a stressful October 31st by following these simple Halloween pet-friendly tips:

  • Be mindful of decorations and props
      • Keep wires and battery packs out of reach
        • They can be tempting chew toys for curious pets and result in possible life-threatening burns or other complications if consumed
        • Candles should be placed out of reach at the risk of being burnt and causing a fire
      • Pumpkins can be safe in small doses if freshly cooked
        • However, uncooked and potentially moldy pieces of pumpkin can result in gastrointestinal problems and even neurological issues in cats and dogs
      • Although the liquid in glow sticks if often non-toxic; it can lead to excessive salivation, erratic behavior, and vomiting
        • If consumed, carefully wash your pet’s mouth with fresh water and clear the material away as best you can
  • Be careful with costumes
      • Though costumes are cute, your pet’s comfort and safety should be a top priority
      • Choose the costume wisely
        • Avoid costumes with rubber bands and toxic materials
        • Be sure your pet is comfortable and does not become constricted or annoyed with pieces of his costume
        • Costumes should not restrict movement, hearing, sight, or ability to breathe
      • Take your time
        • Allow your pet to wear the costume prior to the big night and become adjusted
        • If your pet seems distressed, consider letting him go without one
      • Pets wearing costumes should be supervised at all times so if something goes wrong, it can be quickly remedied
  • Put away the candy
      • Do not feed your pet Halloween candy
        • Chocolate
          • Properties within cacao seeds that are used in chocolate are often toxic to non-humans
            • When ingested a pet may experience diarrhea, heavy panting, extreme thirst, rapid heart rate, seizures, and even death
          • Dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate or white chocolate, but all forms of chocolate pose dangers to your pet
        • Xylitol
          • Xylitol is a sweetner often used in gum and candy, as well as baked goods and toothpaste
            • It can also be found in sugar-free products
          • Xylitol, when ingested, may cause rapid insulin release leading to liver failure and rapid drops in blood sugar levels
  • Place your pet in a safe location
      • The constant opening and closing of doors, ringing doorbells, and general noise associated with groups of approaching people can be stressful and confusing to some animals
        • Even the most social pets can become fearful and agitated during a stressful night
      • Reduce the potential stress by placing your pet in a safe and secure area where he will be comfortable
      • Keep your pet indoors if possible
        • Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, harass, steal, injure, and even kill animals on Halloween
        • Protect your pet by placing him safely indoors
        • Black cats are especially at risk on Halloween, oftentimes shelters do not adopt black cats out during the month as a safety precaution for the animal due to the stigma of black cats
  • Make sure your pets have proper IDs
    • If your pet should escape into the night, it is important to have proper identification to increase the chance that he will be returned to you
    • Collars and tags with your contact information are helpful if your pet is picked up
    • Microchips with up-to-date information also offer your pet a permanent form of identification should his collar or tag be removed.


    These simple precautions will help humans and their non-human counterparts have a safe and happy holiday evening. If your pet comes in contact with any unknown or toxic substances, contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435. For more tips on how to make Halloween a less stressful night for your pet, contact Pacific Palisades Veterinary Center.

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.

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.

Font Resize