Why Every Cat and Dog Owner Should Get Certified in Pet CPR


Many people know what to do if a human has a health emergency. But, would you know how to respond if your pet stopped breathing? Learning pet CPR could save your dog or cat’s life.
Dr. Deborah Mandell helped update and review the course material for the American Red Cross’ pet CPR classes. She works in the emergency room at the University of Pennsylvania’s, and has seen firsthand how knowledge can help.
“I’ve definitely seen patients whose owners have performed CPR at home or in the car and have saved their pets,” she says. “I am a huge advocate, obviously, of having all pet owners know it.”
The Red Cross offers the class in some chapters.
App Guides Pet Owners in CPR
The classes are taught by instructors trained by the Red Cross. Depending on the chapter, students might use mannequins, like those often used in human CPR classes, which help simulate true-to-life breathing and chest compressions. Other chapters might use stuffed animals instead.
The Pet First Aid app, which is available on iTunes or Google Play for Android, includes a tutorial on how to perform dog and cat CPR. Its videos and quizzes can be helpful as a refresher for pet owners who have their certification, too, says Dr. Mandell, a pet safety advisor for the Red Cross.
The guidelines for pet CPR changed recently and are now more closely aligned with those for human CPR.
“For a cat or small dog, you can do a one-handed or two-handed technique directly over the heart; for a round-chested dog like a Rottweiler, you put your hands at the widest part of the chest; and for a deep-chested dog like a Greyhound, you go, again, directly over the heart,” says Dr. Mandell in a synopsis of how pet CPR is done.

Recognizing Signs of Trouble

Mandell says it’s vital for pet owners to recognize what’s normal in their pets, so they know what’s not normal, especially because animals often hide their symptoms as a defense mechanism.
When it comes to doing CPR, she says, “You’re not always going to be successful, just as we’re not always successful. But, it does give pet owners that added chance of trying to maintain circulation until they can get to a hospital, where we can take over and try to fix the underlying problem.”
While Dr. Mandell recommends the certification for all pet owners, some may want to give it extra consideration, including people with pets who have a respiratory disease, a heart condition or for those who have short-nosed dogs who may be more prone to respiratory problems.
Dr. Mandell says, “You want to try to catch something before you need CPR, but there are those unfortunate situations in which you are in an emergency and you need to do CPR, and every pet owner should know how to do that — there’s no question.”

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




Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic condition in which a deficiency of the hormone insulin impairs the body’s ability to metabolize sugar. It is one of the most common endocrine (hormonal) diseases of dogs.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus in dogs. Type I DM occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. This can be the result of destruction of the cells in the pancreas that normally produce insulin. This form does not produce enough insulin and requires insulin injections to control the disease. Type II DM occurs when enough insulin is produced but something interferes with its ability to be utilized by the body. Dogs nearly always (99%) have the type I variety.
Diabetes mellitus usually affects middle-aged to older dogs of either sex, however it is most common in female dogs (twice as common in females as in males). The peak age seen in dogs is 7 to 9 years. Juvenile-onset diabetes may occur in dogs less than 1 year of age. . Any breed can be affected. Breeds at increased risk for diabetes mellitus include the Australian terrier, Samoyed, Schnauzer (miniature and standard), Bichon frise, Cairn terrier, Keeshond, Spitz, Fox terrier and the Poodle (miniature and standard).
Diabetes mellitus leads to an inability of the tissue to utilize glucose. Disease occurs from high blood sugar levels, inadequate delivery of sugar to the tissues and changes in the body metabolism.
Risk factors for diabetes mellitus include obesity, recurring pancreatitis, Cushing’s disease, and drugs such as glucocorticoids and progestagens that antagonize insulin.

What to Watch For

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Weight loss despite a good appetite
  • Sudden blindness
  • Lethargy
  • Poor body condition


Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the elevated blood sugar and help guide subsequent treatment recommendations. Some of these tests include:
  • Complete medical history and thorough physical examination.
  • Analysis of the urine to check for glucose and for signs of urinary tract infection.
  • Serum biochemical profile to determine the blood glucose concentration and to exclude other potential causes of the same symptoms.
  • A complete blood count (CBC).
  • Other tests such as abdominal X-rays or abdominal ultrasound if complications or concurrent diseases, such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), are suspected.


  • Essentially all dogs will require one or two daily injections of insulin to control blood glucose. These injections are given under the skin using a small needle. Most dogs become readily accustomed to the treatments. Your veterinarian’s office will train you in the proper use of insulin and injection techniques.
  • Most oral hypoglycemic agents only work if the pancreas is still producing some insulin. This is why oral medications are ineffective in dogs (because dogs almost always have type I DM).
  • Proper weight management, a high fiber diet and regular exercise can aid in control of DM.
  • Ovariohysterectomy (spaying) is indicated in female diabetic animals to reduce the effects of estrogen on diabetes and insulin.
  • Complications like urinary tract infections may require additional medications, but certain drugs, including steroids (such as prednisone), should be avoided in diabetic dogs.
  • Prepare for frequent adjustments to therapy early in the course of treatment. Veterinarians prefer to start with a low dose of insulin initially and adjust upwards slowly to avoid overdosing. Your veterinarian may recommend hospitalization to measure the blood glucose every few hours (mapping a 24-hour glucose curve).
  • Glucose curves may help your veterinarian determine the best type of insulin, the dosage, and the frequency of insulin administration, however they are thought to be of limited use in some pets and are not currently being recommended for all pets.

Home Care and Prevention

At home care involves administering prescribed medications, including insulin, as recommended. Try to give insulin twice a day, 12 hours apart and at the same time each day. You should also work with your veterinarian to develop a weight management and feeding plan. Stick to regular feeding times.
Observe your dog’s thirst and frequency of urination. If these remain increased, your veterinarian may need to adjust the insulin dosage.
Insulin overdose may cause low blood glucose, potentially resulting in disorientation, weakness or seizures (convulsions). If you notice any of these symptoms in an otherwise responsive dog, offer food immediately. If the dog is unconscious, Karo® syrup can be applied to the gums. In either case, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Familiarize yourself with insulin, insulin syringes, insulin storage, and insulin handling; your veterinarian or pharmacist can help.
While there is no way known to prevent type I DM, proper weight management can reduce the likelihood of your dog developing type II DM.


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

Spaying a Dog or Cat: Reasons Why


The major cause of the overpopulation of dogs and cats is not spaying or neutering them.  Please read this.
spay-pupkittenFor those of us who understand the benefits of spaying and neutering our dogs and cats, it can be hard to comprehend why anyone wouldn’t get their their pets fixed. Those in the know can help by sharing knowledge of the benefits, and debunking the all-to-common myths that are still believed by too many pet owners. If you are researching the pros and cons of spaying your dog or cat, or are looking for information to share with a friend or neighbor to educated them, this article will help you with facts so you or they can make a responsible, informed decision as a loving pet owner.
Here are just some of the great reasons to spay or neuter your dog or cat, and myths below that.
1. Your pet will be happier.  If you care about your pet’s happiness, spaying or neutering is one of the kindest things you can do for them. Unfixed pets
2. Your pet will be healthier. Medical evidence proves it! In females, spaying helps prevent uterine, ovarian, and breast cancer which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Females spayed before their first heat (4-5 months old) are the healthiest, but it helps at any age. For males, especially if done before 6 months of age, it prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems.
3. Your pet will live longer. Because they are healthier (see #2), spayed and neutered pets have a significantly longer average lifespan. Also, neutered pets are also less likely to roam or fight (see #4), lengthening their lifespan.
4. Your spayed female won’t go into heat. This means you don’t have to deal with blood staining, yowling, and the more frequent urination – which can be all over your house! Female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. That’s a lot of mess and noise!
5. Your male pet is less likely to roam. An un-neutered male pet is driven by strong hormones to mate, and will often turn into a Houdini escape artist to get out of their home or yard, especially if there is a female in heat close by, or sometimes even miles away!
6. Your male pet will be friendlier. A fixed male is less likely to want to fight with other pets, even females, who may not appreciate his annoying ongoing advances.
7. Your female pet will be friendlier. When a female pet goes into heat, the hormones can make her behavior become erratic. A usually friendly pet who goes into heat can suddenly become aggressive with both people and other pets in the home.
8. Marking & humping will be reduced or eliminated. This true is for both dogs and cats, and especially for males. Also male dogs will be much less likely to ‘hump’ other dogs… or people’s legs or your couch cushions!
9. It will save you money. Fixed pets have fewer health problems so vet bills are lower. They are less likely to bite, avoiding potential costly lawsuits (80% of dog bites to humans are from intact male dogs). They are less likely to try to escape and do damage to your home or yard, or cause a car accident.
10. You are saving pets lives. You may say your pet will never get out or run away, but that’s what almost every pet owner thinks – accidents happen! Pet overpopulation is a problem everywhere. For every human born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born. There simply aren’t enough homes for all these animals.


Here are some of the common myths, with the truths explained:

Excuse: It is more natural to leave my pet unaltered.
Fact: It would also be more natural to live in a cave and not have pets at all. But humans have chosen to domesticate dogs and cats, and with that comes a responsibility to keep them safe, happy and healthy. See above for how spaying and neutering is an integral part of that responsibility.

Myth: My pet’s babies won’t contribute to pet overpopulation.
Fact: Even if your pet is a purebred, and you can find homes for all their babies, those are homes that could have adopted a pet – there are purebreds of almost every single breed  in shelters and rescues. And though you might be a lifetime pet owner, can you be sure that all your babies’ homes will never give up their pet to a shelter?

Myth: It will change my pet’s personality.
Fact: A dog’s personality is formed by genetics and environment, not by sex hormones. Ask anyone that has fixed their pet! There are some behaviors that are typically reduced by fixing your pet, but they are undesirable… unless you like a pet that territorially urinates, tries to fight more with other pets, or tries to escape to get out to find a mate!

Myth: My pet will get fat.
Fact: Just like with people, metabolism and food intake is what determines if a pet becomes overweight. Just visit a shelter to see all the overweight unfixed pets! Fixed pets can be calmer, so do sometimes need to eat less.

Excuse: My pet will never escape.
Sit at an animal shelter intake desk for 1 day, and listen to how many owner’s reclaiming their pets say exactly that. Accidents happen. Don’t let the accident be your pet escaping and causing yet one more oops litter.


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

Why Does My Cat Keep Meowing?


A. Cat parents often wish they could better understand what their favorite feline friends want or desire. A cat’s meow can be interpreted in many different ways and can indicate an array of feelings and needs. Here are some of the most common reasons for your cat’s vocalizations:
1. Greeting- Many cats will meow as a greeting when you enter your home or walk into a room. Cats will also meow at another cat or animal in the household to extend a hello and acknowledge the other animal’s presence.
2. Attention – An exuberant meow followed by leg rubbing or another attention seeking behavior may indicate your cat is looking for some quality time spent together. Some petting or rubbing behind the ears may be in order.
3. Hunger – A meowing cat is often a hungry cat. This is one of the most common reasons for a cat to vocalize to their owners. A cat will meow to get your attention at feeding times or even when they want extra food.
4. Sickness – A sick or hurt cat may begin to meow excessively, warranting a visit to the veterinarian. There are numerous reasons for a cat in distress to meow—whether it is related to an upset stomach, an injured leg or a urinary blockage. These meows should be carefully investigated.
5. Entering or leaving – Most cats will vocalize when they want to be let in or out of a room. You may notice when you are in the bathroom or behind the closed door of a room that your cat begins to meow, scratches at the door, and often reaches its paw under the door. This is a clear indication that the cat wants to be where you are.
6. Angry – An agitated cat may meow to warn their owner or another household pet that they are upset and would like to be left alone. This angry meow may increase in sound volume as the cat becomes more stressed or agitated. Often a cat will exhibit this type of meow at the veterinary office when they are unhappy with their examination or restraint.
Each feline is different and so are their vocalizations. Learn to understand the variety of meows your cat uses on a daily basis. This will help you develop a better relationship with your cat and help them live a more trusting and happier life.


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

Making Sense of Your Dog’s 5 Senses


Your dog’s senses allow him to behave and perform in ways nothing short of magical. Dogs perceive the world differently from the way we do – we share the same senses, but with remarkable differences.

The Nose Knows

The first thing your dog does when you walk in the door is sniff your legs. Dogs gather a lot of information from a quick sniff of their environment – both physical and emotional details. He smells where you’ve been and even how the experience affected you. Dogs sniff each other and each others’ secretions constantly, monitoring various physiological and emotional changes on an ongoing basis.
Dogs live in a world of odors. Their sense of smell is their most refined sense; in fact, it is so refined a bloodhound can identify scales of skin shed by humans three days previously. They can also detect drugs in hidden in body cavities, can sniff out rats, termites, bombs, missing persons, bodies drowned or buried in snow or rubble, and even the presence of melanoma cancer. Their noses are about as sensitive as our eyes.
The scrolled, scent membrane inside a dog’s nose is about four times greater in area than the equivalent smell organ in humans. In the dog’s nose, there are over 200 million scent receptors in the nasal folds compared to our 5 million. Moisture on the nose helps to capture scent and transmit it onto odor-sensitive nasal membranes, which cover the nose’s wafer-thin turbinate bones. These bones comprise of convoluted folds, ensuring that the tiniest amount of scent is captured within them.

See, Spot

Have you ever noticed how your dog acts when you are approaching him from a distance? He sees you immediately, and he stops and stares; but it’s obvious that he doesn’t know who is coming toward him. You start talking to him, perhaps calling his name, but he is still unsure, although he will act interested. Finally, when you get close enough to him that he picks up your scent, he will run to you happily.
Your dog trusts his sense of sight the least. However, while smell is his most refined sense, sight is his strongest. Dogs have no good biological reason to identify different colors. Though they can distinguish between certain colors, their color vision is limited and the colors may appear muted to them. Dogs see more clearly than humans do in dim light. This allows for increased movement definition of prey animals. Although their ability to see detail is limited, they are quite exquisitely sensitive to movement, and are able to pick up even very slight movement of hiding prey. A stationary object may not be noticed from a distance, but the dog will see it as soon as it makes a move.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

You must have experienced the result of your dog’s super hearing ability. You are sitting in your favorite chair reading or taking a nap, with your faithful pet lying at your feet. It’s blissfully quiet – not a sound to be heard. Suddenly your dog leaps to his feet and begins barking loudly, his protective bark, and you run to the window to see who is approaching. But there’s no one there. At least not at first. It takes moments before someone actually comes into view and walks by the house or into the yard.
The dog’s ability to hear is incredibly acute compared to humans. They can hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies and a greater distance than we can. Also, experiments have shown that a dog can locate the source of a sound in about six-hundredths of a second. Their highly mobile ears capture sounds and funnel them down to the eardrum. You might see your dog cock one ear to capture the initial sound, and then use both ears to catch the maximum number of sound waves. Protection and guard dogs use their sense of hearing, along with their sense of smell, to detect possible intruders, sometimes from great distances.

Touch and Go

Touch is the first sense the dog develops and remains a powerfully important sense throughout his life. Mothers begin touching newborn puppies almost immediately after birth by licking and nuzzling. Touch-sensitive hairs called vibrissae, which are capable of sensing airflow, develop above the eyes, on the muzzle, and below the jaws. The entire body, including the paws, is covered with touch-sensitive nerve endings. The physical sense of touch is very sensitive, although dogs do have a high threshold of pain.
Body sensitivity varies among dogs, but most enjoy being stroked around the head, chest and back. The most sensitive nerve endings are along the spine and towards the tail, and dogs show great enthusiasm in pats or extended rolls and slides on the grass.

The Taste Test

Dogs use their large tongues to lap up water, but they have few taste buds in comparison to humans, approximately one for every six, most of them clustered around the tip of the tongue. They can detect sweet, sour, bitter, and salty tastes. However, your dog has no real sense of taste as we know it; he smells rather than tastes. It’s possible that dogs gain more information about food from their sense of smell than from taste. This may account for their desire to for indiscriminate chewing or eating.

How Do They Do That?

Then there all of the other things that dogs can do that seem to defy explanation – a kind of sixth sense. They seem to be able to detect changes in the earth’s magnetic field; they may, to some extent, be able to detect infrared wavelengths of light, a kind of heat that living animals emit; they can detect sudden changes in barometric pressure when a thunder storm is brewing; they can detect vibrations from earthquakes much sooner that instruments; they can find their way home from long distances over unfamiliar terrain. They can even detect your mood.
Do dogs have a sixth sense? Maybe they do. Or maybe, like some believe, it can all be explained by already-known biological mechanisms. However you explain their abilities, dogs and their sensitivities are truly wondrous.

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 Cancer in Dogs with Cancer Preventing Foods


Cancer in dogs is awful as is in humans.  As with people, there are ways of preventing cancer by using cancer preventing foods.

Cancer is so scary, and so prevalent. There are times when I think we’re powerless to fight against it – it will get us all in some way eventually. But I guess that’s a pretty nihilistic, cynical approach. So I decided to look into what – if anything – we can do to prevent it from happening to our dogs in the first place.

There is a surprising amount of information available out there, and a lot of the articles I read seemed to come to a common consensus on what a cancer prevention diet for a dog looks like. Here are some of the most commonly agreed-to concepts and cancer preventing foods.

Disclaimer: You should always consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet. If you suspect or know your dog to have cancer, you absolutely need to talk with your dog’s health care provider before proceeding.

Low Carbs, High Protein, and Good Fats for Cancer Prevention in Dogs

Although research on every kind of cancer hasn’t been done yet, many types of cancer cells feed on the sugars in carbohydrates, high fructose fruits, and starchy veggies; however, most cancer cells cannot feed on good fats. The idea with a preventative diet, then, is to keep your dog’s carb content low, while keeping protein and good fats high. This generally means staying away from traditional carb-based grain kibbles and moving towards something more whole-foods based.

A general, suggested breakdown is:

  • Dogs: 50% protein (fish or poultry is best), 50% veggies (dark leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and green beans are good choices)
  • Sources of Omega-3, 6, and 9

Cancer Preventing Foods

Ideally, the most healthy, cancer-preventative way to feed your dog is home-prepared meals using raw, whole, organic foods. Click here for some good guidance on how to prepare a cancer-fighting meal for your dog. However, since many people can’t do that, you may want to try diets that are frozen raw,dehydrated or freeze dried. There are even some high-quality canned foods for dogs that will do the trick.

There is one commercially-produced prescription diet for dogs that is specifically meant for dogs with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, and that’s Hills Prescription Diet Canine n/d. It’s not for use with all types of cancer, but you can ask your vet if it’s appropriate for your dog.

Warning: If your dog is on chemotherapy or is immunosuppressed, you should not feed a raw diet.

Sources Of Good Fats And Other Add-Ins:

  • Flax oil (1 teaspoon per 20 pounds daily)
  • Olive oil (1 teaspoon per 20 pounds daily)
  • Coconut oil (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds daily–might have to start with smaller dose and work up)
  • Fish oil (1000 mg per 10-20 pounds daily)
  • Turmeric (less than 1 tablespoon daily)
  • Garlic (1/2 clove for dogs under 40 pounds, 1 clove for dogs over 40 pounds, daily for 5 days, then rest for 2.)
  • Milk Thistle (200 mg per 10 pounds, daily)
  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella

A Note About Water and Cancer Prevention

Depending on where you live, the water might carry more toxins than you realize. Although it might taste fine, and everyone in the house seems fine, over time, the buildup of chemicals can lead to serious health problems, including cancer.

To combat this, offer your dog filtered water that you change frequently. Also, be sure to use glass or ceramic bowls so toxins from plastic don’t leach into the water. Yes, that means using store-bought water from plastic bottles is a no-no as well.

Other Tidbits about Cancer Prevention Diets in Dogs

  • Avoid preservatives
  • Obesity is bad news – it can create inflammation, which can lead to the formation of tumors – so keeping your dog’s weight in check is a key to keeping cancer away
  • There are a lot of different types of supplements in the form of pills, powders, and drops. There are way too many to mention here, but I personally use Nupro and Nzymes with my dogs, and both are great sources of general health support. I encourage you to do your own research to find something that works well for your dog.

We can’t possibly prepare for and prevent everything, but I do know prevention is so much easier than treatment. After doing this research, I have a different outlook. I can see how simple it is to change a few things that could make a big impact, and potentially even save my dogs’ lives!

What about you? Do you have any secret cancer-fighting recipes or tips? Share your comments in the comment section below.


  • Hofve, DVM, Jean “Holistic Cancer Prevention & Care in Your Pet”. Only Natural Pet Store
  • Hofve, DVM, Jean “Milk Thistle–A Wonder Herb?”
  • Poutinen, CJ “Is Cancer Prevention in Dogs Possible?” The Whole Dog Journal
  • Smith, Melissa “Coconut Oil For Pets: Numerous Benefits Dogs, Cats”
  • “The Best Diet for Dogs With Cancer” K9Medicinals
  • “Cancer and Diet”. Centinela Animal Hospital

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