Dog Psychology: Can Dogs Experience Jealousy?

Is your dog green with envy? Mad at you? Are his feelings hurt? New study opens up a window into the mind and emotions of our best friends.

Anyone who thinks dogs can’t feel jealousy has never met my dog. My French Bulldog, Huggs, is very well-behaved. Trained as therapy dog, he is quiet and low-key, that is until you are not paying “enough” attention to him. He is well known in the family for wanting something anytime you are doing anything else. Whether that means climbing onto your newspaper or casually leaning backwards across your lap so you can’t possibly use your laptop, making dolphin-esque noises when you stop touching him, or squeezing himself between my husband and I, he is either extraordinarily jealous, or the biggest attention-whore known to dog-kind, or both. I’ll go with both.

As a kid we had Simon the Lhasa Apso who was happy as can be until we introduced our second dog, a Shih Tzunamed Wally. When Simon wasn’t hiding under the bed in protest, he took to stealing things from the bedrooms and would run by tossing it in the air so everyone would come after it and away from whatever adorable thing Wally was doing. Was he jealous? If he was a kid, we probably would have sat down with him and told him that we loved him and his new brother equally and they get the same amount of attention. But if you are a first born child, you probably felt what Simon felt: that it simply wasn’t true (did I mention I’m the baby of my family?)

Jealous Dog: What to Do When Equal Isn’t Enough>> 

I actually had this discussion about dogs and jealousy with my family just the other day. The common consensus was that jealousy is a complex emotion and therefore reserved for human feeling (and squabbling,) not something dogs would concern themselves with.  But a new study from PLOS ONE, might make you rethink how dogs think.

Adapting a test that has been used to determine jealous behavior in human infants, Psychologists from the University of California, San Diego researchers were able to determine that dogs do in fact feel jealous.

Researchers videotaped 36 small breed dogs reacting to their owners ignoring them and instead displaying affection to an animated, stuffed dog that barked, whined and wagged its tail. During these interactions with the plush pet, over three-quarters of the real dogs pushed or touched their owners. The dogs also made attempts to get in between the stuffed animal and the owners, or went as far as to growl at the imposter. 

The group of dogs were also tested with a children’s books and a plastic jack-o-lantern, which their parents pretended to care about more than them. Although they displayed some of the same jealous behaviors, it was much less than with the fake dog, suggesting, dogs jealousy is triggered by social interaction and not merely by their owners’ ignoring them for an inanimate object.

Introducing a Second Dog>> 

The findings mirror those of studies of 6-month-old babies who had jealous reaction to their moms interacting with a doll, but were less concerned about moms interacting with a book.

Psychologist Christine Harris, who led the study, says she’s been studying jealousy for many years — but in humans.

So what does she think of the dogs?

The fact that these dogs seemed like they were trying to draw their owners away from the stuffed animal indicates that they’re feeling something very similar to human jealousy, Harris says.

But in the end (as convincing as it seems) the study still doesn’t prove that dogs feel jealousy. “The problem is that [the researchers] didn’t look at how dogs would react just to those objects,” Laurie Santos , director of the Canine Cognition Center at Yale University  tells NPR. Jealousy is a complex emotion. If we find out that dogs feel the same way, “either jealousy is less complicated because animals show it, or animals are more complicated than we thought.”

While the study might not be conclusive, there is no doubt that whether your call it jealousy, fear or sadness, dogs feel something when someone or something gets in the way of the love and attention they deserve. This site is filled with information helping dogs to adjust to life changes and additions of new family members, be it human, dog or other. Just like with humans, some dogs are likely to feel the pull of emotions greater than others.


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

Flea Control in Dogs and Flea Bite Allergies in Dogs

Flea bite hypersensitivity and flea allergic dermatitis is the most common skin disease in pets. And although the allergies usually develop when dogs are young (less than one and up to five years of age), flea allergies can begin at any age. It is the saliva from the flea is actually believed to be the cause of the allergy or sensitivity.

The flea life cycle includes the adult flea, egg, larva and pupa. Adult fleas do bite, but cannot survive long if they are not on the dog. Once the adult flea lays its eggs on the host it will fall off, leaving the eggs to mutate through the rest of their life cycles. This generational process continues on the host pet until the flea population has been eradicated entirely.

The condition described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how flea bite hypersensitivity and flea allergic dermatitis affect cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Flea bite hypersensitivity or flea allergic dermatitis usually causes severe itching of the skin. This condition is medically referred to as pruritis. As few as one or two flea bites a week can cause pruritis, so symptoms will often persist even after some form of flea control has been used. Symptoms are often episodic, but most dogs will have symptoms that worsen with age. Some dogs can also suffer behavioral problems as a result of flea bite hypersensitivity, with a condition called neurodermatoses.

Most owners first notice frequent and severe itching and scratching, hair loss, and scabs on the dog’s skin. Many times the hind end is affected more than the front of the body or the head, however, dogs that are being affected by an allergic reaction to the fleas can have lesions anywhere on the body. Moreover, fleas or flea dirt may or may not be visible.


By using a flea comb to inspect your dog’s hair, fleas or flea dirt can be seen more readily. Skin tests for mites or bacterial skin diseases may be recommended if fleas cannot be found. Sometimes the best diagnostic method is to just treat for fleas.


Flea control for dogs and prevention is essential for dogs with flea bite hypersensitivity. There are numerous options on the market that kill the adult fleas for a period of time, but all should be repeated (as indicated) for continuous flea control. Insecticides often are applied as spot-on treatments – typically topical treatments that are applied to a small area, usually at the top back of the neck where the dog is unable to lick it off. Oral products are also available, some of which may be more useful and practical for you and your dog. Flea shampoos can also be beneficial for young animals or for an acuteflea infestation, but continuous management with one of the long-term products is essential.

Flea control for outdoor pets is virtually impossible, but current flea control products that are available may be sufficient for short term treatment, as long as the house does not become infested. There are many pet products that can be used to treat for fleas during their immature stages of life (i.e., eggs). However, if the house or yard has an infestation, environmental treatment will be necessary. Fleas will actually bite humans in the house if flea medications cause them to leave their animal host to search for another host.

Dogs that are allergic to fleas may require steroids or antihistamines to combat their sensitivity to the bites. Likewise, if a secondary bacterial infection develops as the result of open sores, antibiotics may be prescribed. Follow-up exams are often necessary to determine how treatments are progressing.

Living and Management

The most important factor in managing a dog with fleas is the application of regular doses of flea treatment on a timely basis. Because it takes only one or two bites for a flea allergic animal to start itching, it is best that you be consistent with flea controlproducts. Other factors to consider, such as frequent bathing, and whether you are using spot-on treatments or other topical products, will determine how long to wait between product applications.

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


Mixed or Purebred Dogs: Which is Better?

There has been a longstanding argument amongst dog lovers and experts alike on the merits of a mixed-breed versus a purebred puppy. Some believe that there are many advantages to getting a mixed-breed for a pet, saying that a mixed-breed has a better disposition and can more easily adapt to its new home. And without a doubt, mixed-breeds are sold at lower prices compared to purebred dogs.

Of course, in some instances, the price of a mixed breed may be higher, depending on whether particular breeds were intentionally bred to produce a new breed (such as Puggles – Pug+Beagle), but in general, mixed breed dogs are sold for very reasonable costs. The best place to get a mixed-breed puppy is often an animal shelter, where the cost is mostly limited to the adoption, spay/neuter and vaccination fees, with the added benefit of knowing you have actually saved the life of a puppy.

A mixed-breed puppy often has the advantage of having a much lower chance of being born with inherited congenital diseases, since the mating process naturally leaves out the defective genes. This is a general truism.

However, there are many dog enthusiasts who disagree with mixed breeds being the best choice for a pet. Some believe that getting a mixed-breed puppy is a big risk because you cannot be entirely sure about the exact mix of breeds that have come before that puppy. For instance, it can be difficult to tell if the puppy will grow to be a small or large dog. The tiny puppy you adopted in the hopes that it would stay small or only grow to a medium build may grow into a huge dog that you are not capable of housing. There is a possibility that you will end up with a dog that is entirely unsuitable for you, but by the time you have found that out for yourself it is already too late.

For breeders of purebred puppies, they have the advantage of being able to tell prospective owners what they can expect in regards to size, behavior and health. Responsible breeders carefully match prospective breeding pairs based on temperament and physical conformity.

In some cases, a breeder will even go so far as to match their dogs according to their genetic test results, so that the pairing does not result in puppies getting potential disease causing genes from both parents. This increases the chances of your puppy growing into a healthy, intelligent and well-behaved dog. Some breeders will also include a guarantee of their puppies’ long term health and temperament, in case an unknown genetic variable expresses itself later. (Not all breeders guarantee their puppies. It is important to inquire first and to get it in writing if this is important to you.)

On the flip side, there are many dog lovers who are devoted to mixed breed dogs. They feel that mixed breeds are much less likely to exhibit the results of interbreeding, such as temperament, intelligence and health issues. This is generally true, but being a mixed breed is not a guarantee of superior health. There are occasionally cases where a mixed breed puppy is born with the negative genetic traits of the breeds it is descended from.

Matching Personalities

With today’s technology, you can easily do research on the behavior and physical traits of a specific breed you are interested in. By doing this, you will have a good idea of what to expect as your puppy grows up and better determine if it will be a good match for you. If your goal is to become a breeder, then selecting a purebred, and being very diligent in choosing the breeder you buy from will be the right choice for you. The same is true if you are looking for a dog that you can compete with or take part in certain activities, such as running or hiking. Whether you want a calm, laid back dog or a high energy dog, the decision can be made easier by looking for a particular breed with those qualities.

Finally, if you are simply looking for a companion, a pet that will be devoted to you, it will not matter whether you choose a purebred or a mixed breed dog. Breed alone does not determine the final outcome. In addition, if you want a dog for training and competition, these activities are not limited to purebred associations alone. There are various mixed breed organizations that specifically register dogs of mixed lineage for obedience and agility competitions.

Both mixed breeds and purebreds have their own advantages, but at the end of the day, how your puppy turns out will depend entirely on how you raise your puppy. The puppy will still need to be disciplined and trained in order to grow into an intelligent and well-trained dog. Immediate obedience training and proper health care are essential for a well balanced dog. With the firm and loving guidance of a committed owner, almost any kind of dog will grow into a reliable and loving companion.

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

Diseases from Ticks Can Kill Your Dog


After this Polar Vortexing “bear” of a winter, your dog – like you – may have a major case of Spring Fever.

But with April kicking off tick season (which last through September) in many parts of the country, it’s also prime time for these little buggers to give Fido other types of fever, major diseases or even cause death. Here’s how:

Lyme disease

In addition to humans, this bacterium technically known as borrelia burgdorferi also afflicts dogs. Sometimes taking months, symptoms can include arthritis or swollen joints, lameness, fatigue, fever and swelling of the lymph nodes. In extreme cases, kidney failure can result – leading to death. Although a national problem spread by deer ticks, Lyme disease in dogs is most common in northeastern states (especially the Mid-Atlantic), upper Midwest and in California.

Canine Anaplasmosis

Also spread by deer ticks, as well as the brown dog tick, this condition most commonly causes a high fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and swollen joint. Less noticeable, dogs may experience neck pain.  As this bacteria white blood cells, spreading throughout the body. In extreme cases, dogs may develop seizures and other brain disorders, nosebleeds and bruising or even death. Canine anaplasmosis is also most common in the same regions as Lyme disease.

Canine Ehrlichiosis

Also caused by the brown dog tick, ehrlichiosis causes weight loss, fever, runny nose, lethargy and bleeding from the eyes. Also look for lack of appetite, resulting from gum bruising. There are three stages: the first, occurring several weeks after infection and lasting for up to a month, can lead to fever and affecting blood counts; a second stage with outward signs; and a third and most serious stage in which dogs may develop eye, brain and kidney problems that could cause death. The Southwest and Gulf states are where this disease is most frequently diagnosed.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Caused by three species of ticks – the American dog tick, the lone star tick and the wood tick – initial infection is marked by listlessness, fever, loss of appetite, cough, conjunctivitis (“red eye” and discharge), and swelling of the legs and joints. Some dogs may develop seizures, skin lesions, an unstable gait or altered mental state. Weeks later, dogs may have nosebleeds and blood in the urine and stools, which can cause shock, organ failure or death. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever occurs across nationwide, with most cases in California, the South, and the states with the Rocky Mountains.

Canine Babesiosis

Unlike other tick-borne disease, this results from a protozoa – microscopic, one-celled organisms that can be free-living or parasitic in nature – rather than a bacterium. Still, it’s bad news, destroying red blood cells to cause anemia. Other signs include fever, lack and energy and appetite, pale gums, dark urine and/or discolored stools, weight loss and an enlarged abdomen. This disease can cause death from unusually low blood pressure and shock, and most often strikes dogs in southern states along with Oklahoma, Arizona and Arkansas.

Quick Action Counts

Scary stuff, certainly. The good news is that with early detection and treatment, you and your vet can usually prevent tick bites from becoming fatal. Some ticks are easy to find – certainly easier than fleas and they don’t move around as much – so do a regular visual examination, especially after your dog romps through wooded areas.

When petting your pet, be mindful of what may feel like a bump or skin tag – likely a tick. If you find a tick, many vets recommend you soak a cotton swab in mineral oil and hold it against the tick for 30 seconds, causing it to ease its grip on your dog’s skin. Then use a pair of tweezers – not your fingers — to squeeze the skin around the tick, grabbing the tick’s head. Pull the tick away from the skin, and then clean the area with rubbing alcohol. There may be some redness for a day or two, but it should subside.

Another similar method is to soak a cotton ball with some liquid soap and swab the exposed part of the tick a few times with it. Then hold the soaked cotton ball on the tick so they are touching. Within 15 seconds, the tick should dislodge itself and come away from the skin, attached to the cotton ball.

Also let your Best Friend give you some clues. Look for signs such as:

* Scratching

* Shaking of the head (ticks often live inside or behind ears)

* Chewing on feet, as ticks also shelter between toes

* Biting at hindquarters

* Sudden hair loss, usually behind ears, down the back or on back legs, tail and/or rump

* Red, flaky and scaling skin

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



You know you’re not supposed to feed your dog chocolate, onions, grapes/raisins, macadamia nuts and avocados.

And you monitor for sensitivity to common food allergens such as meat, corn, wheat and soy.

But you’re only human, and sometimes it’s hard to resist your dog’s sweet stare as he begs you with his eyes to share some of your delicious homo sapien cuisine. When you want to give him a treat from your table, do you know which “human” foods are safe to feed your pup?

To find the answer, we called upon Liz Palika, author of “The Ultimate Pet Food Guide,” and

animal nutritionist, Susan Lauten, PhD, of Pet Nutrition Consulting, to explain which fresh, frozen and canned foods people typically eat that are safe for dogs to consume too.

1. Melons: Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are all healthy options for your pooch. “My dogs will take me down over cantaloupe,” says Lauten. “I am required to share the whole thing with them.” Consult animal poison control before feeding your dogs any of the more exotic melons.

 Berries (fresh and frozen): Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, huckleberries or raspberries — all are good for your furry friend for the same reason they’re good for humans: free-radical-fightingantioxidants. “A lot of dogs like them frozen”.

 Apple slices: Lauten recommends serving your pup seedless, organic apple slices, because apple seeds naturally contain cyanide. Citrus fruits such as oranges are good too, but leave off the rinds; they contain many oils and could be too strong for a dog’s digestive system.

Baby carrots: Fresh, crunchy vegetables are good for your dog’s teeth, says Lauten. Plus, it’s a bit easier not to overfeed with veggies. “If you’re giving your dog vegetables, you can give a lot more in volume,” because these are low-calorie foods.

 Cheese: This is a safe snack for dogs, but just like humans, they can experience lactose intolerance, so monitor your dog’s reaction. “Many families use a dollop of cottage cheese with every meal,” says Lauten. To avoid overfeeding, consider giving your dog low- or reduced-fat dairy products.

. Bananas: “My dogs love bananas and I share mine with them regularly,” says Lauten. “All fruits have phytonutrients and required nutrients. They are good for all of us. If the foods are healthy for me, they are more apt to be healthy for the dog,” says Palika

Peanut butter: Peanuts don’t appear to cause allergies in dogs like they do in people, says Lauten. “I have some highly food-sensitive dogs for whom peanut butter is a large part of their diet.

 Green beans: Because this veggie fills dogs up, weight-management programs often include green beans, usually canned with no salt added, says Lauten. “An entire can of green beans contains 70 calories. What a bargain, and filling too!”

Of course every dog is different and you and your vet know best if he or she has any food sensitivities, weight issues or other health concerns that should guide your dog’s diet. It is always a good idea to check with your pet’s doctor if you are planning on changing what your dog eats. Also keep in mind that it is best to introduce new foods to your dog slowly. You don’t want your pooch to get gas, bloating, soft stools or other digestive problems.

 Cooked chicken: Ran out of your dog’s regular food? Whether boiled, baked, served rotisserie-style or grilled, this food is a healthy substitute. “Dogs will eat a freshly cooked chicken any way they can get it,” says Lauten.

Healthy dogs can handle cooking oils and seasonings. Just be sure to avoid adding onion or too much garlic. If you’re concerned, non-salt seasonings can be used, but that matters more for the human eater than the dog, explains Lauten. Scrambled eggs, hamburger, rice, pasta and/or oatmeal can serve as meal replacements in a pinch, adds Lauten.

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


Raw Diets and Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

Hyperthyroidism is extremely rare in dogs. It is typically associated with aggressive thyroid tumors that produce large amounts of thyroid hormone. The only other known cause is the ingestion of thyroid hormone from other sources. In each of the last three years, a research study has documented hyperthyroidism in dogs fed raw diets or treats.

What is Hyperthyroidism?

All animals have thyroid glands. The glands are located next to the trachea (wind pipe) just below the larynx (voice box). These glands secrete thyroid hormone. The amount of thyroid hormone in the blood regulates body metabolism. Decreased levels slow metabolism and increased levels speed up metabolism. Heart rate, body temperature, chemical reactions, food utilization, or storage are all dependent on the level of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.

Animals with hyperthyroidism secrete excess hormone, causing a constant state of metabolic hyperactivity. They often lose weight, have fast heart rates, and ravenous appetites. Side effects also include increased water consumption, increased urination, and vomiting. Long term, this hyper metabolic state can result in heart and kidney failure.

Cat owners are all too familiar with this condition. Over-active, microscopic benign tumors in the thyroid glands are extremely common in older cats. The condition is so common that a veterinary expert in feline hyperthyroidism once quipped, “It seems that every cat is destined to develop hyperthyroidism at some point in its life.”

What is the Cause of Hyperthyroidism in Dogs Fed Raw Food?

Active thyroid hormone secreting tissue is not restricted to the thyroid gland. Research has shown that small, usually microscopic, amounts of active thyroid tissue can be found along the entire trachea, even into the chest. Dogs fed raw animals necks absorb thyroid hormone from attached or residual thyroid gland or thyroid active tissue in the neck. The amount is sufficient to cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

In the 2012 and 2013 studies, the diets of the sick dogs were confirmed to have included raw neck tissue or thyroid gland contamination of raw products from a slaughtering plant. The new 2014 study (unpublished) confirmed beef necks and thyroid tissue in raw dog treats. All of the dogs in the studies had elevated thyroid hormone levels without evidence of thyroid tumors. Dietary change resulted in a return to normal blood thyroid levels and relief from the symptoms, suggesting that the raw thyroid tissue was the underlying cause.

Why Hyperthyroidism in Dogs May Become More Common

The popularity of real food raw diets for dogs is becoming extremely popular. Major ingredients in many of these diets are “meaty bones.” Meaty bones are basically the frame (neck, back, and pelvis) of the chicken or small livestock (rabbits), and necks of large livestock after the majority of the choice muscle has been removed. Chicken necks are a very commonly used meaty bone. The combination of residual meat, ligament, tendon. and bone make them attractive for those choosing to feed a diet that more closely mimics the diet of the wild ancestor of the dog. The high bone content is thought to add adequate calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and the necks contribute fat and a small amount of protein to the rest of the diet.

These studies suggest that thyroid tissue contamination of raw animal necks or treats containing neck and thyroid tissue can cause hyperthyroidism in dogs. With larger numbers of dogs being fed raw necks we may see more dogs with this condition.

Fortunately, the condition is reversible once thyroid tissue is removed from the diet. Those choosing to feed a raw diet containing meaty bones may want to avoid using necks as part of the diet. Evaluation of blood thyroid hormone levels in dogs on these diets would also be advisable.                    Dr. Ken Tudor

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


Bee Careful: Everything You Need to Know About Bee Sting in Dogs

It is bee season out in the warm summer months. Make sure your dog is safe from those nasty bee stings.

Many of us have been stung by bees. No one likes it. When a bee comes by, people often flail and scream and run like Godzilla is attacking the city. Luckily a bee sting is generally not too bad. It might be a little painful and then it turns itchy, but that’s about it, unless of course you are allergic (in which case, please do run and scream).

While dog’s don’t have the same fear reaction that humans have, they  physical reaction to a bee sting is not that different.  Often dogs will have a similar reaction: some mild irritation and itching. But just like with humans, dogs can suffer from allergic reactions to bee and wasp stings and if your dog has never been stung by a bee, you won’t know if he’s allergic until it happens.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reactions:

  • Swelling
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • General Weakness

To be safe, the ASPCA recommends taking a dog that has been stung be a bee to your vet for treatment right away, as significant allergic reactions can become life-threatening. This becomes even more important if your dog is stung by multiple bees or stung anywhere inside the mouth. Dogs, if stung multiple times at once, can suffer damage to their kidneys and even die from the complications.

Here are some tips on keeping your dog safe from bee stings:

1. Be smart when outdoors. Bees and wasps alike spend most of their time out and about during the hottest times of the day. Plan to take your dog on walks and have playtime at either dawn or dusk, as it reduces the risk of your pup being stung.

2. Stay away from flowers. Although, this might seem self explanatory for you, dogs might not understand. It is imperative to keep your dog away from flower gardens and the like because of the amount of bees that are usually found in those areas.

3. Light on the fragrances. Bees are attracted to sweet smells. So, if you are out and about with your dog, lay off the perfume and deodorant, as it might bring some unwelcome guests during playtime or your walk.

What if your dog is stung by a bee?

One important thing to always remember is to stay calm. Your best friend cannot be helped if you are not in the right state of mind.

Once you realize that your four-legged friend has been stung, take these steps to minimize the damage:

1. Look at the area where your dog was stung and try to remove the stinger if it is still present. Note: DO NOT try to pinch and pull it out like a splinter, as that can lead to more venom in the dog’s system. Instead, try to flick it out with your finger or a sharp edge, like a credit card.

2.  After removing the stinger, apply a mixture or baking soda and water to the sting area. If it is a single bee sting, monitor your dog for breathing troubles, allergic reactions, or other complications. If your dog swells up a considerable amount or has any of the previous symptoms, do not hesitate and go to your nearest veterinarian.

3. If your dog is only having mild symptoms and seems in good health, Dr. Jon Geller, reccomends using over-the-counter diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

“You can give your dog up to 1 milligram per pound of body weight. If your dog is very small, look for pediatric diphenhydramine formulations,” says Geller, who also notes that it’s important to use plain oral tablets, capsules or liquid that contain no other ingredients. “It typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes for the antihistamine to take effect. In some dogs, only an injection of steroids and antihistamine by your veterinarian will be effective.”

If the swelling is anything more than mild, give diphenhydramine at home, then immediately take your dog to the vet for repeat injectable drugs.

3. If your dog has been stung multiple times, go to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.

And now that we covered all that serious information that has made you all the better parent to your pet, please enjoy these photos of the only kinds of bees we do like: dog bees.      |

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 a Retractable Leash Safe for Dogs?

Flexi leads or freedom leashes, might seem like more fun for Fido, but at what cost?

Once touted as the best thing since sliced bread because a retractable leash allow your dog extra freedom while still being on-leash, these flexible leashes are now being banned by many doggy daycare, pet retail, and grooming facilities.

Find Out Why:


As a dog trainer, I cringe when I see a client come in on a flexi-lead. Usually the first thing out of their mouth is then, “my dog pulls constantly!” I usually have to hold my tongue at this point because I really want to say something like this:

Instead, I say something along the lines of “well, you are using an extendable leash that rewards your dog with freedom when he pulls.”

These leashes are a great way to teach your dog to pull. They are the worst way to try and teach your dog loose leash walking or heel. Not only do they reward your dog when they pull, but when they come back to you, or try to give  you “loose leash” they are “corrected” by losing their freedom (leash retracts). So why on Earth would your dog ever come back to you?

Teach Your Dog to Stop Pulling on the Leash>> 


Probably the most dangerous thing about these leads is the lack of control. In order for an owner to get their dog back, the dog has to come toward the dog. So, if your dog is 20 feet away from you and something happens:

  • An aggressive dog appears
  • A car comes whizzing out of nowhere
  • Your extended leash is over a sidewalk where a biker, skateboarder, etc. is fast approaching
  • Your dog is aggressively reacting to someone or something
  • Your dog is chasing a bike, car, cat, etc.
  • Your leash gets wrapped around another person, dog, etc.

What can you do?

Well, you can lock the leash, so your dog cannot get any more lead, but you can’t bring him back. You are left trying to grab a thin piece of line, and drag your dog back to you, or you have to run the 20 feet to him. And, if you do grab that cord and your dog pulls, you can be severely burned.

This is all assuming you can even see that your dog is in or is causing trouble. If there is a hill or a corner, you may not even be aware.

By the time you have pulled your dog to you or ran to the scene, something tragic could have already happened. It’s just not safe.

It’s for this reason that Keith Miller, owner of Pampered Pooch Playground and Bubbly Paws Dog Wash in Minneapolis, Minn., does not sell them.

“We refuse to sell flex leashes in our stores because of the dangers associated with them,” Miller explains. “I have a huge scab on my leg right now from an irresponsible customer that let her dog run in our door and pull. The leash burned the front of my leg.”

Safer Alternatives

So you want your dog to have a bit of freedom without causing an accident or ruining your training.

Miller suggests the following two leashes, both of which he sells in his stores:

  • Stunt Puppy – Stunt Runner Leashes. They are a hands-free leash that gives your dog 3’ of freedom without teaching them that pulling is a good thing.
  • Ruff Wear – they have several options available, including leashes with the “traffic handle” which are great for when you need to get quick control of your dog.
  • 3rd Hand Leash – this is a unique design that has some great features including a quick grab handles and place for your phone or

A solid leather leash is also always a safe and sturdy choice.


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

Dangerous Food for Dogs That Could Kill Your Dog

Dangerous Foods

By Jessica Remitz

While we may consider dogs to be members of our family, treating them as such at mealtimes can cause more injury to them than just spoiling their dinners. Here’s a look at the five most dangerous foods for your dog, how they affect their bodies, and what to do in case of an emergency.

1. Chocolate

Unlike their feline friends, most dogs don’t have an “off” button when it comes to finding food, says Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA AnimalPoison Control Center. While the amount of chocolate your dog consumes will also determine the toxicity, symptoms of chocolate poisoning to look out for can include vomitingdiarrhea andseizures. According to Dr. Wismer, the darker the chocolate is, the more serious the poisoning can be — making baker’s chocolate and cocoa powder more dangerous than milk chocolate.   Check out petMD’s Dog Chocolate Poisoning food foodeter.

2. Xylitol

An artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum, candy, and baked goods, Xylitol may be approved for people but can cause liver damage and a life-threatening drop in blood sugar in dogs. According to the Pet Poison Helpline (PPH), a 10-pound dog would only need to eat a single piece of sugar-free gum to reach a potentially toxic dose. Low blood sugar can develop within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, in addition to vomiting and loss of coordination, says PPH.

3. Grapes

Both grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, with vomiting, increased urination andincreased thirst potential symptoms of poisoning. Help your dog stay out of trouble by keeping grapes and raisins out of reach at all times. Dr. Wismer also recommends talking to your vet about a list of things you and your children should or shouldn’t feed your pets.

“Pets have different dietary requirements and metabolize things differently [than people],” says Dr. Wismer. “Dogs have amazing noses and when it comes to food, they can get themselves in trouble.”

4. Onions/Garlic

If eaten in large amounts, onions and garlic can cause the destruction of red blood cells and lead to anemia in dogs, Dr. Wismer says. Although the size of the dose determines the level of poisoning, lethargy and a reduced appetite can be symptoms of a toxic reaction. The sooner you diagnose potential poisoning the better, so if they’re acting strangely don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.

5. Alcohol

Beer, wine and cocktails aside, alcohol can also be found in desserts and can be created in your dog’s stomach if they ingest homemade or store bought yeast dough used in making bread, rolls and pizza. Even small amount of alcohol, both ingested through alcoholic beverages and produced in the stomach, can be life threatening, making it important to call your vet before you notice any serious poisoning symptoms like seizures. Dr. Wismer suggests teaching your dogs how to “leave” or “drop” things to prevent them from consuming dangerous foods both at home and outdoors and training young children not to leave things where dogs can get into them.

If you believe you pet has ingested a toxic substance, call the ASPCA animal poison control center at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-213-6680. Both phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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 Obesity in Dogs: Start With Your Puppy

I have a problem with roly-poly puppies. Of course, puppies shouldn’t be “lean, mean, fighting machines,” but when a puppy crosses the line from normal “baby fat” to just plain fat, I find it concerning.
More and more research is beginning to show that once fat is laid down in the human body, it alters an individual’s metabolism for the long run and makes it extremely difficult to achieve lasting weight-loss. Below is a quote from Losing Weight: A Battle Against Fat And Biology, by Patti Neighmond, that I heard on NPR a few weeks back:

When you begin to lose pounds, levels of the hormone leptin, which is produced by fat cells, begin to drop. That sends a message to the brain that the body’s “fat storage” is shrinking. The brain perceives starvation is on the way and, in response, sends out messages to conserve energy and preserve calories. So, metabolism drops.

And then other brain signals tell the body it’s “hungry,” and it sends out hormones to stimulate the appetite. The combination of lowered metabolism and stimulated appetite equals a “double whammy,” says Ryan (Dr. Donna Ryan, associate director for clinical research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La). And that means the person who’s lost weight can’t consume as much food as the person who hasn’t lost weight.

For example, if you weigh 230 pounds and lose 30 pounds, you cannot eat as much as an individual who has always weighed 200 pounds. You basically have a “caloric handicap,” says Ryan. And depending on how much weight people lose, they may face a 300-, 400- or even 500-calorie a day handicap, meaning you have to consume that many fewer calories a day in order to maintain your weight loss.

Although this and some of the other research I’ve seen is about humans, I’d be willing to bet that the same rules apply to our canine and feline friends. There are two key learnings from this report that can be applied to our pets:
    1. Do not let your pets get fat in the first place. Starting in puppyhood, and continuing throughout their lives, limit treats, table scraps and any other “extras” to only 10 percent of your dogs’ total caloric intake. The rest of their diet should consist of a well-balanced food made from healthy ingredients that takes care of all of their nutritional needs. Feed only the amount of food necessary to maintain a lean body condition and make sure your dogs are getting plenty of exercise.
  1. If your pet is overweight, think of it as a chronic medical condition and not something that can be fixed with a short-term diet. Once you get him/her back to a healthy weight, you cannot go back to your old ways of feeding. Continue to limit the “extras” and focus on the quality as well as the quantity of the food that you are offering your dog. Since your dog will need to “watch the calories” for the rest of his/her life, make sure that the calories he/she does take in are not empty. Foods made from high-quality sources of protein, carbohydrates, fats/oils, vitamins and minerals are essential to healthy weight-maintenance and will ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients needed.

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