What’s New in Cancer Treatment for Dogs


Today’s topic is not so nice–cancer.  It is surprisingly common in pets.  This article by Dr. Debra from PetPlace hopefully gives you a little more information about pet cancer.  She has written 3 articles and I will post each one in a separate blog.   This is the second article, Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy) Procedure for Dogs.

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is a treatment procedure that uses ionizing radiation to kill cells – often as a part of cancer treatment for dogs. Radiotherapy involves delivering beams of photons, electrons or waves to damage the cells DNA.

There are several types of radiation therapy. Some is delivered by injection of radioactive particles. This is commonly used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats. Another type is called “Brachytherapy” in which radiation is delivered through a radioactive implant. The last time of radiation therapy involves beaming x-rays on a particular area.

Radiation therapy can refer to the used alone as a treatment procedure, before or after surgery, or with or without chemotherapy. The recommendation for radiation therapy depends on the type of tumor and location of the tumor. Radiation therapy is not a treatment option for all types of cancer.

Many times the tumor cannot be destroyed but its size can be minimizing allowing for surgery or reducing the dog’s symptoms of pain or bleeding.

Each type of cancer is studied to determine the most effective treatment combination (surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy). Based on this research, radiation therapy recommendations for your dog‘s particular situation will be given by your veterinarian.

The goal of radiation therapy is to kill tumor cells while minimizing damage to adjacent tissue. Another goal is to give a radiation therapy dose that will minimize side effects therefore allowing your dog to maintain a good quality of life while maximizing the radiations effect on the cancer cells.

How Is Radiation Therapy Done?

Radiation beam therapy is done by focusing an x-ray beam on or toward the affected area. Markers or tattoos are sometimes used to ensure that the appropriate area is consistently being treated.

It is often administered weekly for 2 to 5 weeks or more. Again, this depends on the particular type of tumor, tumor location and your dog’s particular situation.

Is Radiation Therapy Painful to Dogs?

Radiation therapy is painless and in low doses causes very few side effects. The most common side effects involve the tissue area being treated. Swelling, skin damage, and/or hair loss can occur. In addition, some pets may seem tired or be less active during radiation therapy.

Because pets don’t stay still, most radiation therapy procedures are done while a pet is sedated. Any pain involved is associated with the placement of the IV catheter or needle stick to give the sedation. As with people, the pain experienced from a needle will vary from individual to individual.

Is Sedation or Anesthesia Needed?

Yes, sedation or anesthesia is needed in most patients to keep them still during the treatment procedure. The initial treatment time and anesthetic time is longer while the machine is set up to focus on the tumor. Subsequent treatments require a short anesthetic or sedation time – often only 10 to 20 minutes.

Dr. Debra, PetPlace

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.

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What’s New in Dog Chemotherapy and Radiation I


Today’s topic is not so nice–cancer.  It is surprisingly common in pets.  This article by Dr. Debra from PetPlace hopefully gives you a little more information about pet cancer.  She has written 3 articles and I will post each one in a separate blog.   This is the first article, Chemotherapy Treatment Procedure for Dogs.

Chemotherapy, often referred to as “Chemo”, is a treatment procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to kill cells. The cells are either microorganisms (such as bacterial) or cancer cells. By definition, chemotherapy can refer to either antibiotics or anti-cancer drugs.

The most common use of the word “chemotherapy” is as a drug or drugs used to treat cancer. Chemotherapy can refer to the use of one drug or a combination of drugs. The specific drugs or drugs used depends on the type of cancer and what drugs are most effective to battle that type of cancer.

Each type of cancer is studied to determine the most effective treatment combination. Based on this research and the specific type of cancer, chemotherapy recommendations for your dog’s particular situation will be given by your veterinarian.

Chemotherapy can be used alone, before or after surgery, or with or without radiation therapy.

The goal of chemotherapy is to kill tumor cells that stop or kill tumor growth and therefore either minimizing or eliminating the cancer and therefore giving your dog an extended life.

Another goal is to give a chemotherapy dose that will minimize side effects therefore allowing your dog to maintain a good quality of life while maximizing the drugs effect on the cancer cells.

How Is a Chemotherapy Done in Dogs?

Some chemotherapeutic agents are injectable drugs and others are oral medications that can be given at home. Some chemotherapy recommendations involve multiple drugs – some of which are injections given weekly at the hospital followed by oral medications given at home.

Common side effects from chemotherapeutic drugs include suppression of the bone marrow that can affect white blood cell counts.

For drugs that affect white blood cells, it is common procedure for a completeblood count to be checked prior to chemotherapy injections to determine if the count is adequate and that day’s therapy can be given.

The amount, types, and dosage will be determined by the patient’s size, type of cancer and any secondary conditions.

Is Chemotherapy Painful to Dogs?

For injectable chemotherapy, any pain involved is associated with the placement of the IV catheter since a needle is used to pierce the skin and enter a blood vessel. As with people, the pain experienced from a needle will vary from individual to individual.

The chemotherapy medications themselves do have side effects. Talk to your veterinarian about the specific drugs being used and suspected side effects for that drug. In general, the most common side effects are lack of appetite and lethargy. Loss of hair is a rare side effect of chemotherapy drugs in dogs.

Is Sedation or Anesthesia Needed to Administer Chemotherapy to Dogs?

Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most patients; however, some dogs resent needle sticks and may need tranquilization or ultra short anesthesia but that is unusual.

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM

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



The Things Dog Owners Say About Understanding Dog Behavior

Well, a dog trainer write this article about  mistaken conceptions some dog parents have.  I hope this article will clear up the confusion.
Leaving your dog in the yard may lead him to bark his heart out for hours and annoy your neighbors.
I love animals; that’s why I became a dog trainer. But a large part of my job involves working with people, and while I tend to be a peaceful, diplomatic person, I am sometimes rubbed the wrong way by pet owners, particularly when their actions directly influence their dogs for the worse.
One of my biggest frustrations is pet owners who won’t take the time to train their dogs, but I have some other hot buttons as well — specifically, people who assume that their pet’s behavior is just the dog being a dog. While unwanted behavior is sometimes related to genetic factors, more often, a dog misbehaves either because he’s never been taught any differently or because the rewards for the bad behavior are greater than the rewards for the alternative.
Fortunately, there’s always time to change your dog’s behavior — and yours. Here are five of my biggest pet-owner peeves and why they make me so crazy.
Don’t Blame the Dog
“My dog is the alpha. He acts that way, because he’s dominant.”
This is a lousy excuse — dominance is not a personality trait in animals but a dynamic, fluid relationship between individuals in response to different resources. Forcing a dog into submission through methods like alpha rolls can hinder trust and increase aggression. In my experience, dogs who are said to be dominant are typically anxious and insecure. These dogs fare better with training that focuses on building their confidence and rewarding alternative choices.
“He’s spiteful/stubborn/just doesn’t want to listen.”
I highly doubt that your dog doesn’t come when called just to spite you. Instead, he probably enjoys the freedom he has when he’s off the leash over what happens when he’s clipped to the end of the leash. A dog who potties on the rug while you’re away isn’t getting back at you for leaving — more likely, he is anxious or was left alone for too long. Seemingly spiteful or stubborn behavior can be eliminated by teaching your dog the acceptable behavior — to come when called, for example — and making that behavior desirable to him by rewarding it with treats and praise.
“He gets plenty of exercise in the backyard.”
Most dogs do not get even a fraction of the amount of exercise their owners assume they get — or that they need — in the yard. Instead of running and playing, your dog is more likely to saunter around a little before lying down in the grass or waiting patiently by the door. Your backyard also does not provide the essential environmental stimuli needed to keep your dog’s social and investigatory needs satisfied. In other words, there aren’t enough things to see and hear and smell. Take your dog on a real walk, visit the dog park or participate in other activities, like agility or fly ball, to provide both the physical activity and mental challenge he requires.
“He’s fine in the yard by himself.”
Leaving your dog in the yard, possibly barking his heart out for hours on end, doesn’t accomplish anything other than annoying the neighbors. In fact, it can put your dog in a potentially dangerous situation. He probably isn’t entertaining himself; he can be upset and bored, and may take his frustrations out on anyone who gets too close — including the neighbors or their kids. That invisible fence you’re relying on to keep your dog in the yard doesn’t keep animals and neighbor kids out, which can lead to disaster. And if your dog wants out badly enough, he can escape. Chaining your dog is an even worse option; your dog may be even more frustrated and upset, and may be more primed to attack anyone who approaches him. If your dog shows concerning behavior when out in a fenced area, supervise him while he’s outside and then take him back inside where he can spend time with your human family rather than leaving him alone in the yard.
“The dog doesn’t mind when the baby plays with him — and it’s cute!”
Your aren’t doing your dog or your child any favors by allowing this. Hugs and kisses might be cute to people, but to a dog, they can be threatening. Your dog shouldn’t have to tolerate being pinched, grabbed, poked, stood on, climbed over and cornered by your child, nor should he be blamed if this behavior ends in a bite. It’s important that you allow only positive, non-stressful interactions between your child and the dog, and that you always supervise any time the two spend together. It is also crucial that you teach your child the right way to interact with your dog, because she will treat other dogs the same way — and if she is allowed to poke and pull at your pet, she may do the same to someone else’s dog and wind up getting bitten.
Phew, I’m done. My load is lightened — I’ve said what I’ve needed to say. I hope you feel inspired to make a change and do better for your dog. Can I get an amen?
Remember, be careful about letting the baby play with the doggie.  Till next time.


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 Dogs Love? How To Recognize Dogs Unconditional Love

 Dogs may show us love when they smile at us and make eye contact.
We know that we love our dogs. Mine are as much real members of the family as my wife and children and my little granddaughter, Reagan. But do they love us back?
I think so, and I think they show us that love in ways that are distinctly individual to each dog and person. Gracie, my female Lab/Pit mix, makes a throaty woof when she wants me to find treats. Quora, our 11-year-old PomPeiCarrier ( Pomeranian, Shar-Pei, Cairn Terrier cocktail), does a little tap dance on the floor, which means she’s happy and ready for loving or playing. And Quixote, our 12-year-old Porkhuahua ( Pomeranian, Yorkie, Chihuahuablend), likes to find my wife, Teresa, and bump her with his nose to let her know he’s keeping tabs on her.
Recently, scientists have begun to explore more deeply the question of which emotions animals feel and how they display them. What they’ve found bolsters my belief even further.
Here are some of the ways, through body language, brain response and the choices they make, that I think our dogs show us love.
Sight, Sound, Smell
They are willing to make eye contact with us. In the world of dogs, making eye contact can be an aggressive act. Polite dogs, who just want to get along, avoid the long, hard stare that can intimidate or challenge other dogs. They don’t stare at people that way either, but they accept our looks of love and will even seek out eye contact from us. When our dogs are happy and comfortable with us, they give us that special gaze that says, “All is right with the world.” Their eyes are relaxed and normal size, showing little of the white. To build a closer relationship with your dog, you can teach him to look at you for guidance.
They react happily to the sound of our voice. Don’t you love it when you come home and call your dog, and he comes bounding joyfully to you? It’s even more special when he leaves a fascinating scent or favoritetoy (or brings it to you) to come and greet you. I think it’s one of the best feelings in the world, even if sometimes it’s just cupboard love.
They know our scent. Did you know that your scent triggers activity in the reward center of your dog’s brain? The area known as the caudate nucleus is rich in dopamine receptors, and in humans, it lights up when we anticipate pleasurable experiences, such as eating Mom’s fried chicken or reuniting with someone we love. Neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that when he trained dogs to enter an MRI machine willingly and unsedated and then scanned their brains while presenting them with the odors of different people, only one type of smell activated the caudate: that of someone they knew.  In his book, How Dogs Love Us, he writes: “Could it be longing? Or love? It seemed entirely possible. These patterns of brain activation looked strikingly similar to those observed when humans are shown pictures of people they love.”
Puppy Love
They wag their tails. Lots of people think a tail wag is always a friendly gesture, but it can have lots of different meanings — some not so nice. But when our dogs give a full-body wag with the tail held at mid-height, the message is clear: They’re happy and excited to see the person they love. Take a close look next time you see one of these happy wags: If your dog’s tail wags more to the right side of his rear when he sees you, it’s a signal that he feels good about your presence. That intriguing bit of information was discovered by an Italian neuroscientist and two veterinarians who used cameras to track the tail-wag angles of 30 pet dogs as they were shown their owner, a person they didn’t know, a cat and an unfamiliar dog. When the dogs saw their owners, their tails wagged most strongly to the right side of the body.
They snuggle with us. Touch is an intrinsic part of any loving relationship. There’s nothing so satisfying as sitting or lying on a sofa or sprawling on the floor with one dog tucked in at the crook of your knees and a couple more snuggled in on either side of you. Other dogs might lean against us, sleep with a head on our feet or lay a paw on our knee. I don’t know that there’s any scientific proof that this means our dogs love us, but it sure feels that way to me. They could lie on their beds or curl up with each other, but they choose to be physically close to their human family members. That’s really special.
They smile at us. Canine smiles have several meanings, but when your dog’s mouth is open and relaxed, what you’re most likely seeing is a calm, happy dog. That expression may demonstrate that our dogs are glad to see us, according to research showing that humans and animals use the same muscles to express emotion — including the muscles that form a smile. Naturalist Charles Darwin, who loved dogs, wrote about canine affection for people more than 100 years ago: “But man himself cannot express love and humility by external signs so plainly as does a dog, when with drooping ears, hanging lips, flexuous body, and wagging tail, he meets his beloved master. Nor can these movements in the dog be explained by acts of volition or necessary instincts, any more than the beaming eyes and smiling cheeks of a man when he meets an old friend.”
So, the next time you see your dog doing these actions, you will know what is on their mind-loving you!


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









How to Socialize a Dog; An Important Topic


While socializing your puppy may seem like a good thing to do; remember, it is a critical thing to do during  a puppy’s development.  If not correctly socialized during first 16 weeks, you may have a dog that is either scared of other dogs and people or aggressive towards them.
It’s  easy, just take your puppy with you wherever  you go: shopping, visiting friends, dog park, walking around neighborhood.  Expose the puppy to everything in his surrounding environment.
“This one is really cute.” That is my nurse describing the patient that she just put into the exam room for me. When I enter the room, I am greeted immediately by a friendly but cautious 9-month-old Brittney Spaniel. He is very, very cute.
His owners have brought him to me today because he is fearful of anything new and of most things outside, including noises. Through interacting with him, watching him interact with the environment and unfamiliar people, and watching videos of his behavior with other dogs, it is clear that he was not socialized. How can I tell so quickly? Let me explain…
I can rule out any trauma because we know his history. He was kept by the breeder until four months of age at the family’s request for personal reasons. There was no history of trauma with the breeder or with the very nice family who adopted him.
I can rule out any negative learning because the family hasn’t done anything to scare him. I can also rule out (not concretely, but for the most extent) any hereditary influences because both parents and the rest of the litter are unaffected. However, the rest of the litter was adopted out at two months of age. In addition, to point to an influence other than heredity, this puppy has a desire to greet people. What I mean is that he goes toward someone when he sees them. His temperament and personality are friendly. If the person backs away, he goes toward them again to solicit attention. When they pet him, his tail tucks showing fear. He wants the interaction, but it scares him. Finally, he loves and plays normally with other dogs. There were five other dogs in the breeder’s house. In other words, he was well socialized with other dogs.
What is left to cause this baby to be so scared of things outside and of people? Socialization. That’s right, here we go again. I am like a broken record telling people to socialize their pups, but this is just as important as anything that you do for your dog’s health. It is as important as heartworm prevention, spaying and neutering, and vaccinations. It is also easy and free.
In this case, the breeder bred a wonderful dog but she didn’t socialize the dog for the new owners before the age of 16 weeks. Most likely, she just didn’t know to do this, or she thought that exposure within her house was enough to create a well adjusted puppy. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. As a result of the lack of exposure, the dog is afraid of what he hadn’t experienced between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. Mostly that includes unfamiliar people and unfamiliar things.
Burn this equation into your brain:

a) No exposure = Negative exposure

b) If you don’t socialize your pup before 16 weeks, it is equivalent to a negative interaction, not a neutral interaction.
The door for socialization closes at 16 weeks. It may be cracked a hair for some individual dogs, but for most, it is closed. After that, you are treating a behavior problem and you don’t want to be in that situation. You can find out more about socialization here (and here).
What should the breeder have done?
She should have taken the puppy out five days a week between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. Some of those outings could have been in her neighborhood because there are lots of new things to see and experience. However, some outings have to be outside of the neighborhood. I like to see about 50 percent of the outings be away from home. This can include running errands, visiting the veterinarian’s office, or even going through the pick-up line at school. It doesn’t really matter where the pup goes as long as the experience is positive and he sees something new.
The goal is to expose the puppy to everything you think he will see and hear as an adult, within that two month period. It seems like a lot, but you would be amazed at how much you can get accomplished during just one outing.
I am wishing for and waiting for the day when I don’t have to remind people to socialize their puppies. That is definitely going to be a day for celebration.

by Dr. Linda Radosta

Well, I hope this helped.  I got my Bailey, a German Shepherd Dog, at 3 months of age.  I took him everywhere with me and then when he was 3 1/2 months I sent him to boarding school for obedience training.  He’s a wonderful boy.


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 Licking Means Your Cat Loves You


This article is not about safety, but about a fun topic:  our kitties licking us.  I have an Abyssianian and Isabel is always licking me.  Yeah, her tongue is a bit grainey, but I still love it.

This is from Jane A Kelley, Catster

Today’s weird science question comes from Kendraw:

“My cat is obsessed with licking me. She will tolerate pets, but what she really wants to do when she needs attention is to lick me anywhere she can get skin. She won’t lick my face, thank goodness, but my arm, elbow, and hand are fair game! She will literally hold me down in her paws and clean me. And it’s not just a few licks; she gets quite thorough about it. I’ve tried bitter spray. No luck. I know it’s a sign of affection, but is there any way I can gently get her to stop?”

Love You,” (CC-BY-SA) by Doryana02

Well, Kendraw, you’ve got a question and I’ve got some answers. First I’ll talk about why cats lick, and then I’ll give you some tips on how to persuade your cat that there are much more awesome options than grooming you until your skin is raw.

1. Licking is a means of social bonding

Kittens groom each other, and older cats who aren’t related but get along well also spend time grooming one another. Often they’ll get the spots that are hard for a cat to reach by themselves, such as the top of the head and inside the ears. Exchanging scents through grooming also increases the bond between a pair of cats. (One Catster writer documented her attempt atlicking her cat back.)

My cats, Thomas and Dahlia, loved to groom each other.

2. When your cat licks you, she’s paying you a huge compliment

A tongue bath from your cat is an indication that she feels totally safe in your presence. You are truly a member of her family, and she reinforces that by cleaning you like her mother cleaned her when she was a kitten.

3. Your cat’s tongue is covered with barbs

Your kitty’s tongue feels like sandpaper because it’s covered with papillae — backward-facing hooks made of keratin, the same material that makes your kitty’s claws. The papillae help cats rasp meat off bones, and they also assist in grooming by acting like a comb to pull out loose fur and dirt.

Cat tongue, (CC-BY) by Jennifer Leigh

4. Your cat might be licking you because of anxiety

Some cats get so stressed that they begin licking compulsively. (One mysterious condition is called feline hyperesthesia.) Cats who lick themselves bald are often trying to comfort themselves because they’re stressed. Other compulsive kitties might lick and suck on fabric,plastic, or even your skin.

5. To stop your cat from licking you, distract her

Learn the signs that your cat is about to start licking. Before she starts washing your arm raw, redirect her attention with a toy. If your cat likes catnip, slip a catnip-filled kicker toy in front of her when she’s about to lick you. If she’s not a catnip fan, try a treat-dispensing toy instead.

Playing kitten, (CC-BY-SA) by Stephan Czuratis

6. De-stress your cat with interactive play

Play is always good. It keeps your cat fit and trim, and it strengthens the bond between you. Not only that, but the chemicals released during exercise help your cat to relax and feel content.

7. Be patient

It’s not easy to retrain a cat who has gotten used to performing a habitual behavior such as licking. Remember to stay gentle and avoid yelling or intense physical reactions like shoving your cat, tossing her off your lap, or (heaven forbid) hitting her.

Sure, cats lick us all they want, but do they dig it when we try to lick them? Uh, not so much.

Have you been able to rehabilitate a compulsive licker? Please tell us in the comments how you did it. And, as always, if you have any other weird science questions, ask me by leaving a comment!

by JaneA Kelley

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 Can Learn About Brushing a Dogs Teeth

Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is the most common disease in our canine companions. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable diseases. Fortunately, we can reduce or even prevent dental disease by feeding a crunchy diet, appropriate chew treats and toys and daily tooth brushing. The following are steps to guide you on teeth cleaning for dogs:
  • The first step is to start with a clean, healthy mouth. Good dental hygiene should start with a young pet with healthy new teeth and gums, or after your pet has had a professional dental cleaning.
  • You will need a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpastes and baking soda may cause problems. Furthermore, veterinary toothpastes have flavors that are appealing to dogs. Anything other than a bristled tooth brush will not get below the gum line, which is the most important area to brush.
  • There are several important facts about our pets’ mouths that tell us when, where and how to brush. Periodontal disease usually affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into “tartar” (calculus) that cannot be removed with a brush. Because of this progression, brushing should be done daily, with a brush to remove the plaque from under the gum line.
  • Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet’s daily routine. Just before a walk or before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time. Take a few days to let both of you get use to the process. Follow with praise and a walk or treat each time.

    Brushing your Dog’s Teeth

  • Start by offering your dog a taste of the veterinary toothpaste. The next time, let him taste the toothpaste, then run your finger along the gums of the upper teeth. Repeat the process with the tooth brush. Get the bristles of the brush along the gum line of the upper back teeth and angle slightly up, so the bristles get under the gum line. Work from back to front, making small circles along the gum lines. It should take you less than 30 seconds to brush your pet’s teeth. Do not try to brush the entire mouth at first. If all that your pet lets you brush is the outside of the upper teeth, you are still addressing the most important area of periodontal disease – prevention. If your pet eventually allows you to brush most of his teeth, so much the better.
  • Even with the best tooth brushing, some dogs may still need an occasional professional cleaning, just like humans. By brushing your pet’s teeth daily and curtailing the amount of periodontal disease, you may reduce the frequency and involvement of dental cleanings and provide your pet with a healthier, sweeter smile.
Dr. William Rosenblad at PetPlace.


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


Beer for Dogs and Wine for Dogs Are A Big No-no.

I have written many pieces for Dogster revolving around the eternal question, “What can dogs eat?” In many of these, I find myself equivocating or dancing around things that, while not technically toxic or poisonous, really have no place in a dog’s daily dietary intake. The month of February offers a number of celebratory occasions — Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1), Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), National Drink Wine Day (Feb. 18), and National Margarita Day (Feb. 22) — that typically see a great deal of alcohol consumed by dog owners.
Beer for dogs and wine for dogs is a big no-no!!
There is no wiggle room when it comes to questions such as, “Can dogs drink beer?” or “Can dogs drink wine?” Without condition, qualification, or hesitation, I can say that we should never allow our dogs to taste, much less to openly consume alcoholic beverages of any kind. Whatever you are celebrating in February, or any other month, really, keep all bottles, cans, snifters, tumblers, growlers, and flutes out of your dog’s reach at all times. Here are three reasons why your dog should not drink alcohol.
1. The principal ingredients are toxic to dogs
Well before they are processed or fermented for use in beer, wine, or any mixed drink, the main ingredients of alcoholic beverages are among the top plants that are toxic or poisonous to dogs. Since we’re celebrating National Drink Wine Day soon (Feb. 18), we’ll start with grapes. There’s no question that seeded or seedless, the grape is nature’s candy; grapes are a sweet, juicy, delicious fruit. While the reason why is still a mystery to veterinary science, there is no question that to many dogs grapes are also toxic. That rules out anything made with or from grapes, from raisins to wine.
What about beer? Following water, grain, and yeast, hops constitute a primary ingredient in the production of beer. Like grapes in wine, it is not known precisely why hops are toxic to dogs. Like grapes, though, there is no doubt that consumption of hops causes violent physical reactions in many canines. We’re talking not only about immediate physical symptoms such as vomiting, wild fluctuations in body temperature, and labored breathing, but also potential kidney damage. People who enjoy brewing their own beer at home should be especially careful to store brewing hops securely from curious dogs.
2. Dogs are not built to drink alcohol
Dogs can and will eat or drink anything out of simple hunger, curiosity, or boredom. There are YouTube videos beyond count proving that people find it entertaining to watch a dog consume “human” foods and drinks. What these don’t take into account is that dog physiology is, in any number of ways, very different to that of their human owners. Dogs’ intolerance of alcohol in part derives from their size. It takes far less alcohol to intoxicate and poison an adult dog than it does for a fully grown adult huma
It doesn’t even have to be poured in a glass or a bowl for alcoholic or ethanol-based food or drink to pose a real threat to your dog’s health. Dogs have displayed symptoms of alcohol poisoning and ethanol toxicity from things as simple as a rum cake, and from having absorbed wine or other alcohol through their skin when it’s been spilled on a carpet or couch. Eating uncooked dough containing yeast is also sufficient to provoke symptoms of poisoning in dogs.
Humans build up tolerance to beer and wine through responsible consumption over time. A dog’s kidneys were not meant to filter or process the alcohol content of beer, wine, or indeed drinks of any alcoholic nature. And because dogs tend, by and large, to be much smaller than their human owners, even a small amount of wine or beer is sufficient to cause noticeable physical alterations in the typical dog.
3. Alcohol poisoning and ethanol toxicity
We’re through two reasons — potentially toxic ingredients and physical intolerance — and we’re only just now reaching the major reason why dogs shouldn’t ever drink or lap up alcoholic beverages, including wine and beer. That reason is that, in any configuration, whether it’s beer, wine, a cocktail, or your most trusted brand of nighttime cough syrup, dogs are at risk of alcohol poisoning, also called ethanol toxicosis.
Alcoholic beverages of every stamp cause the same kinds of reactions in dogs that they provoke in humans, only — due to dogs smaller size and inability to process its intoxicating properties — much faster and with more dangerous results. The higher the alcohol content, the worse it is for your dog. As in humans, one of the first things affected by alcohol consumption is the nervous system. Confusion, disorientation, and weakened motor functions are all primary symptoms of ethanol toxicity in dogs.
Given enough alcohol, people can pass out. For dogs, the consequences can be more severe with much less. We’re talking about digestive upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, and trouble urinating on the lighter end of things. In large enough quantities, which needn’t be large at all, dogs can suffer potential comas, kidney failure, and heart failure on the extreme end. Severe indications of alcohol poisoning in dogs can manifest within as little as an hour after consumption.
Enjoy your drinks responsibly, and without your dog
Whether you’re having pals over for winter sporting events — professional football, college basketball, or a spring-training baseball game — or sharing an evening in with a special someone, make sure all alcoholic beverages and foodstuffs containing alcohol are kept well out of the reach of your dogs. If it’s nice out and you’re headed to the local beer garden, or you’re planning a winery tour, and the place is dog-friendly, then, by all means, take your dog along for the company.
No matter where you are, enjoy your favorite beverages responsibly, but don’t let your dog’s curiosity or pleading eyes influence your choices. The sheer number of potential disasters that alcohol presents to our dogs should be reason enough to properly dispose of empty containers when your dogs and puppies are nearby.

Ok, there’s no wiggle room here.  NO ALCOHOL for your furry loved ones!!    

 by Melvin Pena from Dogster


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

Never Feed Your Cat Any of These Poisonous Foods For Cats


Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions contain chemicals that can damage red blood cells in cats and dogs. Cooking these foods does not reduce their potential toxicity, because they contain organosulfoxides. Make sure you carefully read food labels; fresh, cooked and/or powdered garlic and/or onions can be dangerous for pets even in small doses.

Uncooked Eggs

Cats need significantly more protein than dogs because of species differences in protein metabolism. However, raw eggs may expose them to salmonella or lead to an inflamed pancreas, known as pancreatitis. It’s safe to serve your kitty cooked eggs — but only on occasion and only in small amounts.


Because bones can splinter, they can cause a cat to choke as well as block the intestinal tract. If a bone becomes an intestinal obstruction, it is a true emergency that may require surgery.

Fat Trimmings

Although cats need certain essential amino acids found only in meat, feeding fat trimmings is not a safe way to try to provide them. Feeding your feline such fat can lead to gastrointestinal upset and even pancreatitis.

Caffeinated Drinks

Caffeine can cause problems such as an increased heart rate and agitation in your kitty. So keep your cat away from coffee, soda and tea, as well as chocolate — especially bitter chocolate.
I think the most surprising food is milk-cats and milk seem to go together.  KITTENS and milk are fine; not adult cats.

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




Top Ten Signs of Heart Disease in Dogs

Heart disease is something very important to consider in both humans and dog and cats.  Here is a great article from PetMD.
Early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference when it comes to heart disease and your dog. As a dog owner, you should be aware of the signs of heart disease so that you can bring it to your veterinarian’s attention as soon as possible.

#10 Coughing

Coughing is a very common symptom of many illnesses, one of those being heart disease. Minor coughs will not last more than a few days. If after three days your dog is still coughing, or is experiencing other symptoms, seek veterinary care.

#9 Difficulty Breathing

Changes in breathing relating to heart disease may include difficulty breathing due to shortness of breath, labored breathing, or rapid breathing.

8 Changes in Behavior

If you notice behavior changes in your dog, such as tiring more easily, being less playful, reluctance to exercise, reluctance to accept affection, being withdrawn, or an appearance of depression, these are all signs of heart disease.

7 Poor Appetite

Loss of appetite is almost always a symptom of something. If combined with any of the other symptoms on this list, it could be a strong indicator of heart disease.

6 Weight Loss or Gain

Weight loss is definitely a symptom of heart disease, though weight gain can be as well. More likely than weight gain is a bloated or distended abdomen, giving your dog a potbellied appearance.

#5 Fainting/Collapsing

If your dog faints or collapses at any time, seek veterinary help. It may be a sign of many different serious illnesses, heart disease being one of them.

#4 Weakness

Weakness may be seen as a general sign of aging, but be sure to seek veterinary attention if it is combined with other symptoms.

#3 Restlessness

If your dog gets restless, especially at night, it may have heart disease.

2 Edema

Edema is the swelling of body tissues. In regards to heart disease, your dog may show swelling in the abdomen and extremities if it has heart disease.

#1 Isolation

If your dog suddenly starts to isolate itself or is keeping its distance from other pets and/or you, this may be a sign of heart disease.

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