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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.

Ticks

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.

Allergies

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.

Antifreeze

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.

Decorations

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.

Holidays

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.

Thanksgiving

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.


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