Exploring the Wonderful World of Cat Whiskers

Many people are aware that their furry companion has a collection of whiskers on its face. But some people may not know what the purpose is of the protruding hairs. Whiskers do a lot more than give dogs and cats their iconic looks – they are useful tools allowing them to navigate their environment.  So let’s read about cat whiskers.

Dog or cat whiskers are specialized tactile hairs, sometimes called sinus hairs or vibrissae,” Dr. Marty Becker, a veterinarian, wrote in VetStreet. “In both pets, they’re located on the muzzle, above the eyes and beneath the chin. In cats, they’re also on the underside of the lower foreleg (carpal hairs).”

Whisker facts
Whiskers grow from follicles similar to hair, but the roots can extend three times deeper into the skin. There are many nerve bundles at the base of each follicle that make whiskers extremely sensitive to surroundings. Additionally, these nerves can pick up pain in the animal if the whiskers are ever trimmed or pulled out.

Sensors – Every wonder how cats get around in the dark? Whiskers play a big part in nighttime navigation. These strands can pick up changes in the air and even help the animal sense if it can fit through a hole. According to Animal Planet, whiskers can also reveal the cat’s mood. When a feline is happy the whiskers are pushed forward, however, when a cat gets upset those tactile hairs will be pulled back.
Read more at http://love.theanimalrescuesite.com/exploring-the-wonderful-world-of-animal-whiskers/#vIlcWhsAAxxg4EQ1.99

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372


Preventing and Handling Emergencies in Diabetic Dog and Diabetic Cat


Caring for a pet with diabetes can be daunting. Fortunately, the key to successful diabetesmanagement is simple: a consistent, established daily routine.

healthy diet is essential, and feeding your pet the same amount of food at the same time every day will help make blood sugar easiest to control. Your pet will usually also need twice-daily insulin injections, which should be given at the same time every day. (The easiest way to do this is to coordinate shots with mealtimes.) Routine daily exercise and regular at-home monitoring of urine and/or blood sugar round out a plan for good diabetic regulation.

Even if you are following a consistent routine, a diabetic pet may occasionally experience an emergency. A number of different things can cause an emergency, but the most common is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. In this case, it is important that you be prepared in order to avoid a life-threatening situation.

Hypoglycemia: Why It Happens


Hypoglycemia most often results from accidental overdosage of insulin, but it can also occur if a pet is not eating well, misses a meal or vomits after eating, or if the type and amount of food he is being fed changes. Hypoglycemia may become a problem with very vigorous exercise; for this reason, regular daily controlled exercise is best.

Hypoglycemia can also result if the body’s need for insulin changes. This scenario is particularly common in cats who often return to a non-diabetic state once an appropriate diet and insulin therapy start.

Vet Tips

  • Avoid “double-dosing” insulin. Only one person in a household should have the responsibility of giving insulin. A daily log should be kept of the time/amount of food and insulin that is given to avoid errors.
  • Proper daily monitoring of blood and/or urine glucose can help identify changing insulin needs in order to avoid a hypoglycemic crisis.

Signs of Hypoglycemia

The signs of hypoglycemia may occur suddenly and include:

  • Lethargy or dullness
  • Restlessness, anxiety or other behavioral changes
  • Weakness, difficulty standing or a staggering gait
  • Muscle twitching
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Hypoglycemia: First Steps at Home

If your pet is showing signs of hypoglycemia and is able to eat, feed him a meal. If he is not alert, hand-feed him corn syrup or honey until he is alert enough to eat his normal food. At that time, feed a meal of his normal food.

If your pet is unconscious, rub a tablespoon of corn syrup or honey on his gums. If he regains consciousness, feed him and get him to your veterinarian for continued observation. If he remains unconscious, this is a medical emergency and you should seek veterinary help immediately!

Vet Tips

  • Always have corn syrup or honey in your home and in your first-aid kit/car in order to be prepared for hypoglycemic emergencies.
  • You should not give another dosage of insulin after any hypoglycemic episode until you have spoken to your veterinarian.

Hypoglycemia: At the Hospital

Hypoglycemia is a life-threatening emergency. When you get to the vet’s office, your pet’s blood glucose will immediately be checked to determine if intravenous sugar solutions are necessary or if he is stable enough to be managed by withholding insulin and giving food.

If an insulin overdose or missed meal is not to blame for your pet’s hypoglycemia, your veterinarian will need a complete history from you and will perform a full examination to determine how to adjust his insulin in order to prevent a future hypoglycemic crisis.

Most often, dogs and cats will recover from hypoglycemic episodes; however, these episodes can be life-threatening and should be treated as emergencies.

Cats and Hypoglycemia


Cats are unique in that many revert to a non-diabetic state (called diabetic remission) within the first four months of beginning appropriate diet and insulin treatment for diabetes. When remission occurs, a cat becomes non-diabetic and no longer requires insulin therapy. If an owner is not monitoring blood or urine glucose levels routinely, diabetic remission can go unnoticed, and if insulin injections are continued, hypoglycemia may occur.

Other Diabetic Emergencies

Although less critical than hypoglycemia, other symptoms that could indicate an impending emergency include:

  • Complete loss of appetite or an appetite that is decreased for several days
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Straining to urinate or blood in the urine, which could indicate urinary tract infection
  • Ketones detected on routine at-home urine testing

It is always best to contact your veterinarian if you are concerned about any changes in your diabetic pet. Make sure to see your veterinarian every three to four months even if your pet’s diabetes is stable, and make sure you have a plan for how to handle any after-hours emergencies.                    BY DR. DONNA SPECTOR

The 3 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds Revealed! – Pit Bulls? Rottweilers?

Hey, it’s the small breeds, not the big bully breeds that are trouble makers.  Who knew?  -Diana Ruth Davidson, Westside Dog Nanny

With Breed Specific Legislation acts being brought forward in more and more areas across the country, dogs like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers and other “scary” looking breeds are in danger of losing their homes and even their lives. These breeds are often touted as being extremely aggressive – however a new study released this week in the journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science provides some statistical facts on what breeds actually ARE the most aggressive – and the answers may surprise you!

The study involved researchers from the University of Pennsylvania as well as 6,000 dog owners. The number one aggressive breed out of the 33 dogs surveyed? The Dachshund. Yes – the wiener dog. The study found that “one in five dachshunds have bitten or tried to bite strangers, and a similar number have attacked other dogs; one in 12 have snapped at their owners.”

Number two on the list is an even more diminutive breed – the Chihuahua, while Jack Russells came in third.

The researchers say that the bite statistics that have been released in recent years are skewed because most dog bites are not reported. Big dog bites are more likely to require medical attention, but this does not mean that those breeds are doing the majority of the biting.

One of the teams researchers, Dr. James Serpell, believes that smaller breeds may be more genetically predisposed to aggressive behavior than their larger counterparts. Serpell says, “Reported levels of aggression in some cases are concerning, with rates of bites or bite attempts rising as high as 20 per cent toward strangers and 30 per cent toward unfamiliar dogs.”

Pit Bulls and Rottweilers scored average or below average in the aggression study. Breeds that scored on the low end are Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Siberian Huskies and Greyhounds.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372


Is Chemotherapy for Dogs Right for Your Pet?

In the past, a diagnosis of cancer in a pet typically resulted in two treatment options: euthanasia now or euthanasia later (hopefully with the pet receiving comfort care in the meantime). Nowadays, owners have many more options.

  • Surgery is the first line of treatment for cancerous masses that have not obviously metastasized. Complete surgical removal can sometimes be curative, but even when that is not possible, removing the bulk of the cancer will often greatly improve patient comfort and the length of his or her remission.

  • Radiation therapy can be used to shrink a cancerous tumor before surgery, to treat “dirty margins” (areas around the surgical site where cancerous cells remain), to improve patient comfort, or as the primary form of treatment for some types of cancers.

  • Chemotherapy is a part of most cancer treatment protocols, particularly when the cancer is known or suspected to have metastasized or is of a type that affects multiple parts of the body at the same time (e.g., lymphoma or leukemia).

Some owners elect not to pursue surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy for their pet’s cancer. Oftentimes, they have very good reasons for not doing so. Concurrent disease, the stress of treatment, extremely advanced age, and (unfortunately) finances all have to be taken into consideration when deciding what treatment options are appropriate for pets and their owners. What should never play a role, however, is a misunderstanding regarding the likelihood of side effects from treatment. Chemotherapy has a particularly bad reputation in this regard.

Even though veterinarians and medical doctors use many of the same drugs when designing chemotherapy protocols for their patients, the incidence of side effects in dogs and cats is MUCH lower. This doesn’t have anything to do with the inherent toughness of dogs and cats; it simply results from the fact that veterinarians take a different approach in comparison to medical doctors.

People understand the concepts of delayed gratification and sacrifices in the short term bringing about gains in the long term. I have great regard for the mental capacities of (some) dogs and cats, but frankly, I think these concepts are beyond them. For this reason, veterinarians are not willing to significantly compromise a pet’s current well-being for a “cure” that may or may not happen. We tailor our chemotherapies in such a way that the nausea, anemia, hair loss, and exhaustion that are part and parcel of human chemotherapy protocols are the exception rather than the rule for dogs and cats. The majority of my patients who have been treated with chemotherapy for cancer don’t react poorly to the medications at all or only experience minor side effects.

But chemotherapy is still not for everyone. The flip side of taking a less aggressive approach is that cure rates and remission lengths are generally lower than they are on the human side of things, and owners do have to accept the possibility that adverse reactions are still possible, even if they don’t occur as frequently as is generally expected.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372