8 Plants Poisonous to Cats and Plants Poisonous to Dogs


Many common plants, both in the house and the yard, can be toxic to our pets, including some that can still be found this time of year, either because they are being brought in from outside or because they are popular in holiday displays or decorations. Some toxic plants only cause mild stomach upset, while others can be poisonous. To make things even more confusing, some plants are safe for some species while deadly for others. As a pet owner, it is important that you be familiar with the most dangerous of the toxic plants.

Plants to Avoid

Sago Palms

Sago palms (Cycas and Macrozamia spp.) can be found as outdoor ornamental plants in warm climates or as houseplants in cooler climes. Ingestion of sago palm plants can cause liver failure and death in dogs and cats. All parts of the plant are toxic, with the seeds having the highest concentration of toxin. One seed can kill a dog. Vomiting usually begins within 24 hours, and animals become depressed and may start to seizure. This plant is one of the most toxic, with a mortality rate of around 30 percent.


Members of the true lily family (Lilium and Hemerocallis) have been shown to cause kidney failure in cats. Some examples of true lilies include Easter lilies (L. longiflorum), tiger lilies (L. tigrinum), rubrum or Japanese showy lilies (L. speciosum, L. lancifolium), and day lilies (H. species). Even a small amount of exposure (a few bites on a leaf, ingestion of pollen, etc.) may result in kidney failure. Cats often vomit within a few hours of exposure and stop producing urine within 72 hours. Cats who receive quick treatment (intravenous fluids for two days) have a good prognosis. Lilies are common in holiday flower bouquets and arrangements, as are popular lily-like holiday flowering bulbs, such as amaryllis, which can also be toxic to pets.

Cardiac Glycoside Plants

Plants containing cardiac glycoside include oleander (Nerium oleander), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis). These glycosides slow down the heartbeat and can even stop it. These plants are toxic in all species. These are typically outdoor/landscape plants, but the popular and beloved lily of the valley is a common bouquet flower for winter arrangements, weddings and other holiday gatherings.

Grayanotoxin Plants

Grayanotoxins (andromedotoxins) can cause vomiting, seizures and cardiac arrest. Sources include rhododendrons, azaleas (Rhododendron spp.), laurels (Kalmia spp.) and Japanese pieris (Pieris spp.). These are typically outdoor plants, but they are highly toxic in all species and deserve extra caution.

Japanese Yew

Yews are commonly used as landscaping plants as they stay green year-round. A pet looking for a bit of winter green may be tempted to take a nibble. Yews contain compounds that have a direct action on the heart. The toxins can cause an irregular heartbeat or even stop the heart. All parts, except for the ripe berry (the fleshy red structure surrounding the seed), are toxic. Sudden death can occur within hours of ingestion.

Castor Bean

Ricinus communis (commonly known as the castor bean) contains ricin, which can be highly toxic. Ricin causes multiple organ failure. Ricin is found throughout the plant, but the highest levels are found in the seeds. The seed coat must be damaged to release the toxins, so animals who swallow the seeds whole may not get sick. The mortality rate in dogs is about 9 percent. These beans are also commonly used in many rustic-type ornaments and jewelry.

Autumn Crocus

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) contains chemotherapy-like compounds that attack rapidly dividing cells in the body. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and possible death. Do not confuse this flower with the innocuous spring crocus (Crocus spp.), which is not toxic.


Hops are used in beer brewing, so home brewers need to be aware of this toxic plant. Ingestion of hops (Humulus lupulis) by dogs causes their body temperature to skyrocket. Signs can be seen within hours. Dogs become agitated and begin to pant. Their body temperature can get high enough to kill them — up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your pet has ingested any of these highly toxic plants!

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




Communicating With Your Dog Using Dogese

Dogs are smart… we all know that. It is one of the myriad reasons that the relationships between people and pups is special, deep and enduring.  But, while giving nods to our dogs intelligence we should keep in mind that dogs hear, see and communicate things a bit differently than we do.

We must talk dogese to communicate in a language our dogs understand.

Scientists have determined that the average dog understands about 150 words. I’ve met dogs that have a demonstrated understanding of more words than 150 so believe this number to be a conservative estimate at best.

What is critical is to keep in mind that words = only half of the communication process….physical gestures and how Fido understands them is more important than what we actually say.


 Dogs “Talk” to Us and to Each Other

12 Tips for TALKING WITH YOUR Dog….in dogese 🙂

1.No Hands Please: Dogs may see hand movements toward them as a threat. Stand still, arms at your side when first meeting a new dog.
2- Saying Hello- Dogs take a whiff of each other, including butt sniffing, as a way of meeting other dogs. People should take heed, stand still and let a new dog sniff you.
3- Quiet is The Way– Avoid verbal greetings and baby talk. Dogs see this as weak sounds emitted by prey animals and it could produce aggression

4- Posture– A dog’s posture tells a great deal about  her state of mind.  Minor changes in posture may signal a change in mood so be observant

5- NO Eye Contact: Dogs see eye contact at an introduction as potentially aggressive.
6- Scratch Behind the Ears SURE- Head pats are threatening, but a scratch behind the ears is friendly
7- Sniff and Greet- Dogs move in a semi circle when meeting new dogs,…same should apply to people..move slightly at an angle and let the new dog sniff you and meet you in her way.
If a dog backs away don’t persist in meeting him. He may be afraid and this could elevate to an aggressive action. Take your time and cues from the dog’s behavior for a happy and safe conclusion.
8.Get Down With the Dogs- Dogs like it if you get down to their height and are not towering over them which may invite a growl…Imagine being the size of a poodle looking up at the Jolly Green Giant 🙂


9.Yawns- Dogs perceive yawns as a cordial, non threatening greeting.

10-Listen- Communication is a 2 way street…a growl is a warning, barking elicits attention, sand whining or crying may indicate fear or pain. when hurting or afraid.

11-Playful dogs have a cheerful, no threat bark and may bring toys to you

12– Dogs use their bodies to “talk with us”  They use their ears, tails, and tongues, to show how they feel.

A wagging tails may mean a happy pup yet a curled between the legs tail may reflect fear.

Ears raised generally mean a calm, relaxed and interested dog…pointed backwards he may feel a sense of anxiety.

A tongue “kissing” is  a sign of trust and affection.. who doesn’t like that?


MR Bruno

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


Are Your Cats Indoor Outdoor Cats?


I’ve been giving advice to cat caretakers for more than 10 years, and one of the most common things I tell people regarding cat health and care is to keep their cats indoors. After all, it’s safer for the cats and for the wildlife those cats like to hunt.

When I lived in urban areas, keeping my cats indoors was a no-brainer: the traffic, the drunken idiots, the perils of traps, and people with bad intentions — there was no way I was going to let my babies outside to face those risks.

But when I moved to the family homestead in 2005 and set up housekeeping in a tiny apartment carved out of the corner of an unheated barn, I knew there was no way I’d be able to keep my ridiculously quick-footed and agile cats inside if they wanted to go out. I also knew the odds were good that three cats in a 12-by-30-foot apartment would probably get so stir-crazy that they’d start fighting, and the territorial stress might cause other behavior problems like spraying or litter-box avoidance.

This is the view from the door of my little apartment at the family homestead. The road is a few hundred feet away.

I figured the cats would be safe enough. After all, my little apartment was at least a couple hundred feet from the road — arguably the biggest danger of outdoor life — and I was almost sure that Sinéad, Siouxsie, and Thomas were smart enough to stay away from the traffic.

In the country, wildlife can be an issue. But the family homestead was situated far enough away from the woods that I figured that any critter interested in a snack of pampered cat wouldn’t want to get near. My brother had cleared a lot of trees and brush, too, so there wasn’t much in the way of camouflage for a hunting predator.

Aki, an Akita-Samoyed cross, and Conan, an Irish Wolfhound-Great Pyrenees cross, guarded the family homestead. And they loved each other, too.

The property was also home to two dogs, one of whom had been pals with Sinéad and Siouxsie since she was a puppy. There was also a small herd of goats, a flock of chickens, and a bunch of geese. If you’ve ever had a run-in with geese, you know they don’t take any crap from anyone or anything!

Letting the cats go outside had one immediate benefit. In the first month I lived in that barn apartment, Thomas single-pawedly annihilated the colony of rats that had taken up residence in the attic. I’d wake up every morning to find at least one very large dead Norwegian wood rat on my doorstep. Thomas quickly earned the title Most Puissant Rat Slayer.

Thomas and Sinéad share some “deniable snuggling.”

As the months turned into a year, all my cats became stronger, their muscles became firmer, and their fur and eyes sparkled with robust health. Their diet, regularly supplemented by rodents and the occasional rabbit, had turned them into true exemplars of cathood.

Of course, there were the problems inherent in indoor-outdoor life: tapeworms, regular applications of flea and tick preventive, occasional wounds from fights with the feral cat who had taken up residence in the barn. But I knew I’d signed up for that when I decided to let my cats go outdoors, and I provided them with all the vet care they needed.

Sinéad always did have her eyes on the horizon. Here, she’s gazing out the window of my apartment on the family homestead.

All the cats enjoyed their outdoor time, but Sinéad was the bravest explorer. Even as a kitten, she searched the horizon from a sun-drenched windowsill and keenly observed the activities in the streets below the city apartments where we’d lived.

Sinéad was so curious and adventurous that even when we lived in the city, she tried “jailbreaks” on a regular basis. One time she even sprinted off the back porch, down the fire escape, and into the alley before I could catch her. She was missing for more than 24 hours, until after much desperate and frantic searching, I found her in the basement of my building, where she’d gotten herself stranded when she hopped through a half-open window and couldn’t get out again.

Sinéad strolls across the front yard, loving life.

I guess it shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that Sinéad would fully exercise her desire for adventure when she had acres and acres of fields and woods to explore. She always came home in time for supper and a nice cuddle and snooze with me, so it didn’t worry me much — until one morning when she didn’t come home for breakfast. When she didn’t return for supper, either, I got really concerned.

I called all the vet clinics and animal shelters in the area, and no cats matching her description had shown up. I put up a lost cat poster at the local grocery store and began searching. I looked in the ditches by the roadside for a quarter of a mile each way and bushwhacked all over the property and the surrounding woods. I was heartbroken to think that maybe she was gravely injured and couldn’t get back home.

 Sinéad basks in a sun puddle by my window, 2006.
My heart sank when I found cat-sized pawprints by a stream and a bunch of much bigger pawprints nearby.
I remembered that I’d heard a pack of coyotes crying and howling very, very close to the property the night Sinéad went missing. And I remembered that Aki had insisted on going outside in the middle of the night, and the ferocious growling and barking I’d heard … followed quickly by silence.
Aki was fine, but I never did find Sinéad or her remains.

Sinéad is so proud of her outdoor exploits that she licks her nose with pleasure.

Although I’m grateful that my cats enjoyed a great quality of life as country kitties, I do regret that Sinéad died because I chose to let my cats outdoors. If my cats get to go outside again, it’ll be on a harness or in a safe “catio” or fenced-in yard.

What about you? Do you let your cats outdoors? Have they ever suffered serious consequences from that choice? Would you ever let your cats out? Tell us about it in the comments

The garden at the family homestead.                

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


Pain Medications for Dogs

Pain Medications for Dogs

Analgesics are drugs used to relieve pain. There are many classes of painkillers. Demerol, morphine, codeine, and other narcotics are subject to federal regulation and cannot be purchased without a prescription.

Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is an over-the-counter analgesic that is reasonably safe for a short time for home veterinary care in the recommended dosage for dogs. (Aspirin has a very low margin of safety for cats and should not be used.) Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin is much safer than regular aspirin because it is less likely to cause stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Urine Marking in Dogs

  Some dogs scent mark by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces, usually while raising a leg. Both female and male dogs can urine mark. Dogs who urine mark might do so in a number of situations, including while on walks, when in their own homes and yards, and during visits to other locations. A dog must be at least three months of age to urine mark.

Aspirin remains effective as a short-term analgesic to control the pain associated with musculoskeletal injuries. It is no longer recommended for long-term control of osteoarthritis, because of its destructive effects on joint cartilage. There are better analgesics available that do not have this disadvantage. Aspirin should not be given to dogs with any bleeding or clotting disorders. Aspirin should be stopped at least one week before any surgery and should not be used during pregnancy, due to its effects on clotting mechanisms.

Note that individual dogs metabolize aspirin at very different rates. This inconsistency can lead to an unexpected accumulation of dangerous breakdown products in the animal’s body. As few as two regular-strength aspirin tablets can produce severe organ damage in some medium-size (30 pounds, 13.6kg) dogs. Follow the exact dosage given in the table on page 571 to avoid this complication.

Aspirin belongs to the general class of drugs collectively known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). To treat arthritis and other inflammations, newer NSAIDs have been tested extensively in dogs. (See the chart Osteoarthritis Medications, page 404, for more about NSAIDs.) These are generally less upsetting to the stomach than buffered aspirin and appear to be more effective for long-term treatment.

However, all NSAIDs irritate the stomach and are capable of causing stomach and duodenal ulcers. Your veterinarian may prescribe a gastric mucosal protectant, such as misoprostol (Cytotec) or sucralfate (Carafate), to prevent this complication. Remember, never use more than one NSAID (including aspirin) at the same time. Also, do not combine NSAIDs with any corticoteroids, such as prednisone.

Any dog who is going on one of the NSAIDs should have bloodwork done before the drug is administered. The bloodwork should be repeated every three to six months if the dog will be on one of these medications long term. Liver problems have been seen in some dogs, and Labrador Retrievers may have an idiosyncratic reaction to carprofen. If liver or kidney problems develop, even if they are not due to the drug itself, the dosage may need to be adjusted or the dog may be switched to another pain medication.

Many NSAIDs that can be purchased over the counter have unpredictable absorption rates and low margins of safety. None of these should be used without specific instructions from your veterinarian.

Naproxen and ibuprofen (Motrin) are powerful analgesics, but both have a high incidence of gastrointestinal side effects. This makes them unsuitable for long-term administration. Ibuprofen, in particular, is not recommended for dogs.

Phenylbutazone (Butazolidin) is an analgesic that is widely used in horses. In dogs it appears to have harmful effects on joint cartilage. Its other main drawback is that it can cause bone marrow suppression, especially when given in high doses for long periods. It is no longer recommended now that safer analgesics are available.

Flunixin meglumine (Banamine) is a potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory that is also useful in fighting the toxins produced by bacteria. This makes it useful in treating septic shock. Gastrointestinal toxicity limits its use in dogs for routine care. There are also other options available, and new pain medications are being developed all the time.

When pain relievers are used for treating sprains and acute injuries of muscles, tendons, and joints, the dog should be confined or restricted from exercising. Pain relief may cause the dog to overuse the limb, which can delay recovery.

Grapes causing death in Dogs. Dogs and Grapes are a Bad Combination.

What is known:

Dogs affected will vomit with a few hours of eating either raisins or grapes. Then within 24 hours they may become anorexic and have diarrhea. These clinical signs can last for days to weeks.

Some dogs will develop kidney damage in the first day after exposure. As this damage progresses the dogs will produce less and less urine until they stop producing urine all together. Once that happens death will follow.

Dogs that are treated early and aggressively have a reasonable chance of recovery. If treatment is delayed the prognosis becomes very poor.

What is not known:

It is yet to be discovered what the actual toxin is. There has been speculation that it may be the grape itself, or possibly pesticides, heavy metals (zinc or lead), or perhaps fungal contaminants.

There does not seem to be a critical dose that the dogs need to be exposed to before seeing signs of toxicity. Some dogs eating a few grapes regularly can be affected, as can dogs that consume a large amount one time. There seems to be equal cases in dogs eating grapes as there are dogs eating raisins.

There does not seem to be a breed, age, or sex of dog that is more affected.


DON’T feed grapes or raisins.

If your dog eats grapes or raisins and vomits shortly after:

PURGE THE POISON. In most cases of poisoning, getting your pet to vomit is the most important thing that you can do. To induce vomiting, give hydrogen peroxide at 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight. If your pet doesn’t vomit in 10 minutes, repeat again. NEVER do more than 2 treatments of peroxide. You can also try salt: dilute 1 teaspoon of salt in a tablespoon of water per every 10lbs of body weight.

DELAY ABSORPTION. Activated charcoal is readily available at most pharmacies. It delays absorption of any toxin by binding to the toxic compound in the stomach. The easiest way is to give the capsule form. For those garbage-eating dogs (such as my own dog) it is a good idea to have hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal always on hand.

Your veterinarian can do blood tests to check on kidney function, and provide immediate supportive care if needed.

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



Do Risks of Raw Diet For Dogs Outweigh Benefits?

As a student of canine nutrition I have been inundated for years with the varying opinions as to the safety and value of a raw vs. commercial or cooked diet for dogs.

While I would not try to make a decision for your dog, I have opted on the side of not feeding raw or BARF ( bones and raw food ) diets to our pack primarily due to my concern for freshness, bacteria and other potential contamination issues that may be present in diets that  originate in the market or butcher shop and not in the field..

In our home, for our pack, we opt for a holistic kibble, supplemented with some cooked meat such as chicken or beef.

Now researchers chime in a bit further on the side of safety. I present their findings for your information. Read it over and if your view is different, that’s fine.

Our position is that we report…you decide 🙂

Is a Raw Diet the BEST Choice for Your Dog?

Here’s what they have to say in excerpt:

“Risks Outweigh Benefits of Raw Diets

The risks for food-borne illness with raw meat are real but other studies suggest additional concerns with these diets. In a recently published article in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine, a group of researchers compared the perceptions of raw meat-based diets (RMBD) against existing evidence…….

Nutritional imbalances

A popular notion is that raw diets provide all the nutrients a dog…needs in the correct balance. But at least two publications have shown that raw diets  have a high risk for nutritional deficiencies and excesses. This is especially true for home-prepared raw diets  as with any home-prepared diet, but is also a risk for commercial raw diets

…. three studies ( suggest)  a modest increase in digestibility compared to some commercial foods.. It is unclear, however, whether this… translates into any health benefits…

Another idea is that feeding… dogs raw meat…mimics what their undomesticated ancestors ate in the wild. However, recent research shows that some of the changes in digestion between wolves and dogs were a crucial step in the early domestication of dogs. Wolves in the wild, which typically only live for a few years, eat foods that are not optimal for pets …

Raw Diets and food safety concerns

Raw meat…. can be contaminated with a variety of pathogens including SalmonellaE coli, and Clostridium, among others…. commercial pet foods are also susceptible…at a much lower rate than for the commercial and home-prepared raw meat diets.

…Raw proponents claim… animals will not get sick from contaminated diets, there are several scientific papers documenting illness or even death of animals from these pathogens. If bones are included in the recipe (whether raw or cooked), it can cause other health risks such as fractured teeth and obstructions or perforations of the gastrointestinal tract.” END Read the full article

Ultimately the choice is yours.

If you do opt for a raw or bones and raw food diet than do everything possible to make sure that the foods are purchased fresh and stored at appropriate temperatures and conditions.

If you cook for your dog make sure that the food is nutritionally balanced. Adding some probiotics or enzymes may be advisable. Ask your vet or holistic practitioner.

In this way you will reduce chances of contamination that may cause your dog to become ill or worse.

MR Bruno

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



Cat Scratch Disease — What It Means to You and Your Cat


You’ve probably heard of the disease. It’s known ascat scratch disease, or sometimes cat scratch fever. The disease gets a fair amount of media attention and cats are often blamed as the culprit for the infection. However, there’s much more to the story.

What Is Cat Scratch Disease?

Cat scratch disease is more likely to pose a threat to you than it is to your cat. In people, cat scratch disease usually starts with a swelling (known as a papule) at the site of infection/contamination. The local lymph node may swell and become somewhat painful. Flu-like symptoms may develop. In most cases though, the infection will resolve without incident.

Immunosuppressed people can suffer much more serious effects from cat scratch disease, however. In these people, the infection may invade the body leading to a number of potential syndromes, including encephalitis, heart valve infection, and other conditions.

The disease is caused by a bacteria known as Bartonella henselae, which is carried by fleas.

How Do People Get Cat Scratch Disease?

People become infected with the organism when a cat scratch is inoculated with infected flea dirt. If your cat’s claws become contaminated with flea dirt, you may be exposed to the disease if your cat subsequently scratches you. Bite wounds can also be contaminated and cause cat scratch disease. However, the common denominator is the flea. Without fleas, there is no contamination of any wound with flea dirt and no infection.

What If My Cat Is Infected with Bartonella henselae? Will He Get Sick?

The vast majority of infected cats remain asymptomatic. You may never even know that your cat has become infected. There has been a link made between a condition of the mouth known as stomatitis and infection with Bartonella henselae. However, the significance of this link is not known and it may not be significant.

Most infected cats never require any treatment for disease. Treatment of infected cats does not reduce the potential for disease spread to people.

How Can I Protect Myself and My Family from Cat Scratch Disease?

The best form of prevention is flea control. Because fleas are required for the disease to spread, keeping your cat free of fleas is essential to protecting yourself and your family.

Avoiding scratches and bites by learning to play safely with your cat can help as well. Learn to recognize the changes in your cat’s body language that indicate that your cat is becoming aggravated and likely to attempt to scratch or bite. Never play with your cat with your bare hand. Use a toy or suitable substitute to avoid accidental scratches.

In addition, cats younger than one year are more likely to be infected. If someone in your family is immunocompromised, you may want to consider adopting a more mature cat to reduce the potential for disease. Healthy adults with strong immune systems are rarely at risk though.

Now you know the truth about cat scratch disease. Though cats are often involved in its spread to infected people, the cat is not solely responsible. Fleas play at least an equally important role in the spread.                 Dr. Lorie Huston

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


Dogs Have ‘Inner Compass’ When Dog Pooping, Study Suggests

Interesting speculation about dog pooping.

BERLIN – German and Czech researchers studying squatting dogs doing their business have found the pooches have an “inner compass” that may help explain how they find their way home over great distances.

When the four-legged friends stop during a walk to defecate or urinate, they tend to do so along a north-south axis, provided the earth’s magnetic field is stable at the time, the scientists said Friday.

There was no notable difference in magneto-sensitivity among breeds, which ranged from a tiny Yorkshire terrier to a large St Bernard, said team member Dr Sabine Begall of Germany’s Duisburg-Essen University.

“We found that the dogs are wonderfully aligned north-to-south — somewhat more so when they defecate than when they urinate — but only when the magnetic field is stable,” Begall told AFP.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, the 10-member Czech and German research team asked 37 dog owners equipped with compasses over two years to record which way their total of 70 furry friends faced when they relieve themselves.

Initially, the scientists crunched the data from over 7,000 such events but found no clear trend. However, when they looked only at times of low magnetoelectric fluctuation, “there was a wonderful correlation”, said Begall.

The findings are another clue that animals can sense electromagnetic waves not noticed by humans, and that dogs, aside from their sharp senses of hearing and smell, also have a “magnetic sense”.

In 2008 the team studied Google Earth images and found that cattle tend to graze and lie down along a north-south axis, pointing to a sensitivity also suspected in migratory birds and other species.

“There are anecdotal reports that dogs find their way home over hundreds of kilometers (miles), and an explanation may be that they use the Earth’s magnetic field for their orientation,” Begall said.

What exactly is going on inside a dog’s head when it poops is however “pure speculation” for now, said Begall.

It may be that dogs take stock of where they are, the same way a hiker will orient a map northward, and that they can’t do this when high electromagnetic activity makes their “compass needle vibrate”.

On the other hand, she said, it is possible that, when dogs feeling the urge to relieve themselves and sense a stable and comforting north-south polarity, “they are especially relaxed”.

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




Your Cat Purring Is More Than What You Think


We all have made the assumption that when we hear the purring of our feline friends, it’s an expression of pleasure or communication. However, have you ever thought about the fact that purring could also be the way our cats are communicating about the stresses in their lives?

Just as humans take in deep breaths when stressed, cats use purring as a stress reliever as well as a mechanism that rejuvenates their bodies.

Scientists have found that cats purr through “intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles,” reports the Scientific American.

This means by inhaling and exhaling in a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 hertz, it has been discovered to improve their bone density and promotes self-healing.

Cats also use long periods of sleep to conserve energy while stimulating their muscles and bones through purring.

Researchers have also found that compared to their canine counterparts, purring felines show less muscle and bone abnormalities. They assume purring “has helped alleviate the dysplasia or osteoporotic conditions” that are common in Fido.

Take a cue from your pretty kitty next time you’re under stress. A few deep breaths does a world of good towards promoting self-rejuvenation and healthy living.


Life Cycle of a Dog; Life Cycle of a Cat


Understanding How Cats And Dogs Age



Do you know how your pet ages?

Most people have a general idea of how their pets age. It’s widely known that our furry companions grow older much more quickly than humans. But it’s important to understand what the exact age equivalent is so owners can care for their animals appropriately through the years.

Life Cycle of a Dog
According to veterinarian Dr. Anna O’Brien, a 1-year-old puppy is full of vibrancy and energy, similar to a child of the same age. When a dog turns 5, it is in its prime, just like a 35-year-old person. A 10-year-old canine can be compared to a 70-year-old and walks with a slower pace and is more docile.

Life Cycle of a Cat
There is a misconception that, similarly to dogs, cats age seven times faster than humans. But their life cycle is much more nuanced. According to Catster, during a feline’s first year, it progresses to age 15 in human years. Once cats turn 2, they are actually closer to the age of 24. Subsequently, the actual age of cats as compared to humans can be calculated as four years for every full calendar cycle. For example, a 5-year-old feline would be 36 in cat years.

As your pet grows older, you will no doubt see the physical and personality changes. It’s important to help keep it as active as possible and fuel its energy through an appropriate diet.

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