Holistic Medicine for Dogs

Trends in Holistic Medicine for Dogs

Holistic medicine is a controversial subject. There are passionate opinions on both sides. Opponents claim that if “alternative” treatments really worked, they would be more widely accepted and many illnesses and ailments would have been cured long ago. This side of the debate feels that herbs and medications are often used inappropriately without adequate training and understanding of the potential side effects or dangers and without scientific evidence that they actually work. These treatments have not been thoroughly investigated nor tested for efficacy or safety and in some cases may actually be harmful.

Proponents feel that holistic treatments provide a more “natural” way to heal the body in a world full of chemicals, preservatives and synthetics. Many times, “alternative” treatments are used to augment more traditional treatments and are not commonly used as the only treatment.

The final decision to add alternative treatments to your pet’s current regime should be decided between you and your veterinarian. Remember, these treatments are best used in conjunction with traditional medicine and should not be used to completely replace proven, effective treatments. To read the other side of the debate, see The Appeal of Alternative Therapy.

Just what does the term holistic really mean? The word holistic means the body as a whole. With regard to holistic medicine, the pet’s environment, lifestyle, disease, relationship with the owner or other pets, current medications as well as nutrition are taken into consideration when determining the best treatment for the pet. Another term often used to describe holistic medication isalternative treatments. Treatment options vary and may include homeopathy, herbal medication, acupuncture or even nutritional changes.

Holistic medicine alternatives have become more commonplace treatment options in veterinary medicine. The goal of holistic medicine is to promote wellness, not just to treat the symptoms of a disease. It is most often used to augment traditional medical therapy or surgery.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs

Homeopathy is often misunderstood. It is not the same as holistic nor is it the same as herbal treatment. The system of homeopathy used today was originally developed by a German physician in the mid 1800s. The basic principle behind homeopathy is that “like cures like.” The primary concept of homeopathy is that medicine, plants, minerals, and drugs that cause illness can also be used to cure the illness. Symptoms of illness are thought to be the result of an internal imbalance.

Homeopathic remedies include the use of plants, vitamins, minerals and other natural substances to treat illness. Homeopathic practitioners believe that homeopathic remedies contain vibrational energy essences that work with the disease state and help heal the pet.

Herbal Medicine for Dogs

The use of herbs for their medicinal value is an old practice that has regained new interest. Rather than the use of drugs, which can alter the body’s natural immune defenses, these remedies are used to help stimulate the body to heal itself. Often, herbs are used in conjunction with traditional drugs to help heal an ill pet.

Many of today’s commonly used drugs were discovered and isolated from plants. Taken in this purified and concentrated form, these drugs are fast acting but often have potent and undesirable side effects. The concept behind herbal remedies is to ingest an extract or dried form of a plant known for its medicinal properties.

Since the active compounds are present in smaller concentrations, the desired effect is often achieved with minimal side effects. Herbal medicines are available for a wide variety of problems and many people feel they are providing safer more natural medicine for their pets. Not all veterinarians dispense herbal medicines. If you are interested in supplementing your pet’s diet with any herb, vitamin or mineral, be sure to check with his veterinarian first. Some pets may require smaller than recommended doses or be on medications that can cause interactions.

Some of the more commonly used herbal remedies include:

  • Calendula for wound healing
  • Raspberry to help with pregnancy
  • Echinacea to stimulate the immune system
  • Milk thistle for liver disorders
  • Chamomile for wound healing and respiratory diseases
  • Gingko to improve memory (mainly used in dogs)
  • Lavender to promote restful sleep
  • Oats to reduce itching – used in a bath
  • Yeast as a skin supplement and for diarrhea
  • Asian ginseng for low grade fevers
  • Flaxseed for constipation and irritable bowel syndromeThese should be treated as medications and not given to your pet unless recommended by your veterinarian.Popular but not recommended:
  • Garlic or onion – can result in anemia
  • White willow – used to reduce inflammation but contains salicylates, which can be very irritating to the stomach, especially in cats.

Acupuncture, Acupressure and Massage for Dogs

As better health care and preventative medicine increases the life span of your pet, sadly some dogs and cats will acquire chronic diseases that may require periodic pain relief. Common examples of this are osteoarthritis and degenerative joint diseases. Dogs especially may have arthritis in hips, elbows, and spine that causes pain and limited activity as the pet ages. Anti-inflammatories prescribed by your veterinarian may control pain and inflammation but in some pets these drugs cause stomach upset and are not well tolerated. These pets may benefit from acupuncture, acupressure or massage to limit or relieve pain. Even pets treated with traditional medications may also benefit from the added help acupuncture and massage may provide.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of pain control that causes the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals by the brain. The stimulus for the release of these substances is accomplished with the use of fine needles placed in strategic locations on the body. It is generally a non-painful procedure, and well tolerated by many pets. Acupuncture is also thought to strengthen the body’s immune system and help improve organ function.

Acupressure is a version of acupuncture, except that in place of needles, firm pressure is applied to pain relief sites. The amount of relief is generally less and of shorter duration than that of acupuncture.

Physical massage is often beneficial in relieving chronic pain or rehabilitating an injury. Your veterinarian can demonstrate how to massage a sore limb or use range-of-motion exercises to increase circulation, strength and flexibility. For pets with sore hips or elbows, these joint exercises often extend the your pet’s activity and comfort level. The use of heat or cold with massage may provide added benefit. For a more intense massage, consider consulting a certified massage therapist. These animal loving professionals are trained in the proper ways to massage and strengthen your beloved companion. Ask your veterinarian for further advice on massage therapy or any holistic medicine for dogs.

Nutrition for Dogs

Nutrition is an important part of maintaining wellness in your dog. Some people feel that commercially prepared pet foods can contain excessive preservatives and chemical. There are a variety of natural pet foods available as well as some homemade diets. Be sure to ask your veterinarian before switching your dog’s diet. Homemade diets are not as easy as they may seem. Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes.

  • Homeopathic remedies include the use of herbs, vitamins, minerals and other natural substances to promote wellness.

Dr. Amy Wolff

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

Aggression in Dogs

 Different Kinds of Aggression in Dogs


Understanding the Types of Canine Aggression

If you have ever been bitten by a dog, you are certainly not alone. More than 2 percent of people in the United States are bitten each year – that’s more than 4.3 million people! But what causes aggression and how should an owner handle it in dogs?

What Is Aggression in Dogs?

Aggression in dogs is defined as a threatening or harmful behavior directed toward another living creature. This includes snarling, growling, snapping, nipping, biting and lunging. Dogs that show such behavior are not abnormal; they are merely exhibiting normal species-typical behavior that is incompatible with human lifestyle (and safety). There are many reasons why a dog will act aggressively toward strangers or even his owner.

The first step, when attempting to find out why your dog is being aggressive, is to take him to your veterinarian. Some veterinarians will visit you at your home – but dogs tend to be more aggressive on “their” territory. If there’s no medical cause for the aggression, your veterinarian may refer you to a behaviorist, who will then obtain a full behavioral history and recommend therapy.

Even if treatment appears to be successful, you should always be on guard. The frequency and severity of aggression may be reduced but, in most cases, aggression cannot be eliminated completely. You must weigh the risks of keeping an aggressive dog against the benefits. Remember, safety for yourself and people around you is the primary concern!

Diagnosis of Aggression in Dogs

In the course of a veterinary examination, your veterinarian will determine if there is a medical reason underlying your dog’s aggressiveness. For instance, a dog with neck pain may show aggression when pulled by the collar.

Once medical causes have been ruled out, your veterinarian will refer you to a behaviorist. At the behaviorist’s, you’ll be asked to answer many detailed questions regarding your dog’s behavior. The session may last a couple of hours. An accurate description of your dog’s behavior is necessary. Keeping a journal is helpful. You should note:

  • What elicits the aggression
  • How often it occurs
  • To whom it is directed
  • The specific behaviors
  • The dog’s postures at the time.  Videotaping your dog’s behavior is helpful for the behaviorist, but don’t get hurt while making the video. Answers to the many questions asked can lead the behaviorist to establish the cause of the aggression, and then outline an individualized approach to its treatment. The behaviorist will also provide a professional opinion of the risk involved.Aggression is influenced by several factors, including: genetic predisposition, early experience, maturation, sex, age, size, hormonal status, physiological state and external stimuli. Behaviorists use a classification system based on patterns of behavior and the circumstances in which they occur. This is done to determine the dog’s motivation and the cause of the behavior. The classification is as follows:
  • Dominance-related aggression is one of the most common types of canine aggression that behaviorists treat. The aggressive acts are directed toward one or several family members or other household pets. Dogs are pack animals, and they relate to humans as members of their own species and pack members.
  • Territorial aggression is directed toward approaching animals or people outside of the pack in defense of a dog’s area (home, room or yard), owner or fellow pack member.
  • Inter-male aggression between adult males usually involves territorial or dominance disputes. Inter-female aggression occurs most frequently between adult females living in the same household.
  • Predatory aggression is directed toward anything that the dog considers prey, usually other species, but sometimes any quick-moving stimulus, like a car or bike.
  • Pain-induced aggression is caused by a person or animal that causes pain. It often occurs when a person attempts to touch a painful area or when injections are given.
  • Fear-induced aggression occurs when people or animals approach a fearful dog. This is common when the dog cannot escape, and is sometimes seen when an owner uses severe punishment. Active, unpredictable children may also stimulate this type of aggression.
  • Maternal aggression is directed toward anyone that approaches a bitch with puppies or in false pregnancy.
  • Redirected aggression occurs when a dog that is aggressively motivated redirects the aggression from the source to another. For example, a dog that is barking at the door may redirect his aggression onto an owner that is pulling him back. Dominant dogs often redirect onto subordinates.

Treatment for Dog Aggression

Treating aggressive behavior may involve a combination of behavior modification techniques (habituation, counterconditioning and desensitization), drug therapy, surgery (such as neutering/spaying), avoidance and management (such as leash or head halter). Each case is unique, and the success of treatment varies depending on the diagnosis and in accord with your capability, motivation and schedule.

Even with successful treatment, however, there is no guarantee that the aggressive behavior won’t return. In most cases, the frequency and severity of aggressive behavior can be reduced but the aggressive behavior cannot be eliminated completely. The best that may be hoped for is to reduce the probability of aggression. You must weigh the risks of keeping an aggressive dog against the benefits.

Home Care for Aggressive Dogs

If your dog is unpredictable, consider using a comfortable basket-style muzzle until you can get professional help. Until you receive professional help, avoid all interactions that trigger your dog’s aggression. Do not attempt physical punishment. This can increase the intensity of your dog’s aggression and may result in serious injury. Avoiding problems may involve:

  • Keeping your dog confined in a separate room when visitors or children are present
  • Housing or feeding your dogs separately if they are fighting with each other
  • Removing objects like bones or rawhides that your dog may be guarding.  Do not allow children to have unsupervised access to your dog. Children should be taught to avoid interacting with dogs that are eating, chewing on a bone, or resting. They should not be allowed to tease or hurt dogs.Keep your dog on a leash at all times. In the home, you may want to attach a thin nylon leash on a buckle collar, which your dog can drag comfortably. This will give you safer control over him. Indoor leashes can be attached to head collars for even greater control. If your dogs are fighting, do not get in the middle. Interrupt the aggression using water, a loud noise, blanket or spray.    Dr. J. Michelle Posage and Dr. Amy Marder

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

Canine Polydipsia and Canine Polyuria


Polydipsia and Polyuria in Dogs


Polydipsia refers to an increased level of thirst in dogs, while polyuria refers to an abnormally high urine production. While serious medical consequences are rare, your pet should be evaluated to ensure that these conditions are not symptoms of a more serious underlying medical condition. Your veterinarian will want to either confirm or rule out renal failure, or hepatic diseases.

Polyuria and polydipsia can affect both dogs and cats, and can be brought on by a variety of factors. If you would like to learn more about how these diseases affect cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.


The most common symptoms of these medical conditions are an increase in urination, and drinking much more water than usual. There are generally no other behavioral changes.


The primary causes of polydipsia and polyuria include congenital abnormalities, and those associated with renal failure. Congenital diseases can include diabetes, a decrease in steroid production by the adrenal glands, and some rare psychological disorders. Kidney diseases, meanwhil, can be congenitally based, or can be linked to tumors, increased steroid production, increased thyroid hormone levels, and electrolyte or hormonal disorders.

Other potential factors behind polydipsia and polyuria are low protein diets, medications that are prescribed for removing excess fluid from the body (diuretics), and age. The younger and more active a dog is, the more likely it is that it will have intermittent increases in thirst and urination.


Your veterinarian will examine your dog to determine the true levels of thirst and urination by measuring water intake and urination output. A baseline of normal fluid levels (hydration) and normal urination will be established for comparison, and an evaluation will be performed to ensure that the increased thirst and urination are not signs of a more serious medical condition.

Standard tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), a urinalysis, and X-ray imaging to rule out or confirm any issues with the kidney (renal) system, the adrenal system, and the reproductive systems.

Any other symptoms accompanying the increased levels of thirst or urination, even when appearing unrelated, will be taken into consideration during the final diagnosis.


Treatment will most likely be on an outpatient basis. The primary concern is that renal or hepatic failure can be causing increased water consumption or increased urination. If both of these concerns have been ruled out, and there are no other serious medical conditions associated with either of these conditions, no treatment or behavior modification will be necessary.

Your doctor may recommend water limitation, while cautioning you to observe that your dog is adequately hydrated. Hydration levels should be monitored during and following treatment, since dehydration can also bring about serious medical complications. If the dog is dehydrated, electrolytes may also be prescribed.

Living and Management

Observation and comparison against the determined baseline levels are recommended for judging progress.


There are currently no known preventative measures for either polydipsia or polyuria.


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

Urinary Tract Infections in Cats



Feline Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease in Cats


Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (IFLUTD) is a general term for disorders characterized by blood in the urine, difficult or painful urination, abnormal, frequent passage of urine, urinating in inappropriate locations (ie., bath tub), and partial or complete blockage of the urethra. Also known as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS), or Interstitial Cystitis, this treatable condition occurs in the bladder and urethra of the lower urinary tract; that is, the tube from the bladder to the outside, through which urine flows out of the body.

Idiopathic feline urinary tract disease, and inflammation of the bladder for unknown reasons, are diagnosed only after known causes such as kidney stones or urinary tract infection have been eliminated. Any of the above symptoms or combination of these symptoms may be associated with feline lower urinary tract disease. The same symptoms may apply to diversely different infections, and pinpointing the exact cause for the condition can be complicated, since the feline urinary tract responds to various outside influences in a limited and predictable fashion.

This disease occurs in both male and female cats. The incidence of blood in the urine, difficult or painful urination, and/or blockage of the urethra in domestic cats in the U.S. and U.K. has been reported at approximately 0.5 percent to 1 percent per year. While it can occur at any age, it is found most commonly cats between the ages of one and four-years-old. It is uncommon in cats less than one year of age and in cats greater than 10 years of age.


  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abnormal, frequent passage of urine
  • Urinating in inappropriate locations
  • Blockage of urine flow through the urethra to outside the body
  • Thickened, firm, contracted bladder wall, felt by the veterinarian during physical examination
  • Some cats with lower urinary tract diseases exhibit similar symptoms to those observed in humans with interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)


By definition, this is a disease that arises spontaneously, or for which the cause is unknown. There are many possible causes, including noninfectious diseases like interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome); viruses, such as a calicivirus, a feline syncytium-forming virus, or a gamma herpesvirus can be some of the potential causes for an infection. Frequently, idiopathic lower urinary tract diseases will occur without the presence of a significant amount of bacteria or white blood cells in the urine (white blood cells spilling into the urine would show that an infection is being fought off by the body); studies of male and female cats with and without blockage of the urethra found bacterial urinary tract infections in less than three percent of young-to-middle-age adult cats, and approximately ten percent of senior cats. Stress may play a role in the cause of the condition (due to lowered resistance), or in making the condition worse, but it is unlikely to be a primary cause of the urinary infection.



Your veterinarian will rule out a range of disorders in arriving at a diagnosis. Some possibilities are metabolic disorders including various types of kidney stones and obstructions. A urinalysis will be ordered, as well as blood tests to determine whether a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic disease is causing the symptoms. A detailed physical examination will determine whether physical trauma, disorders of the nervous system, anatomical abnormalities, or something as simple as constipation, could be the factors behind the symptoms.

X-rays are useful in locating kidney stones if they are suspected, and your veterinarian may want to conduct a cystocopy to determine whether there might be cysts, stones, or polyps in the urinary tract.


If your cat does not have blockage of the urethra, it will probably be managed on an outpatient basis, although diagnostic evaluation may require brief hospitalization. If your cat does have blockage of the urethra, it will most likely be hospitalized for diagnosis and management.

For cats with persistent presence of crystals in the urine associated with plugs in the urethra that are causing blockage of the urethra, appropriate dietary management will be recommended. Observations suggest that feeding moist rather than dry foods may minimize recurrence of signs. The goal is to promote flushing of the bladder and urethra by increasing urine volume, thereby diluting the concentrations of toxins, chemical irritants, and substances that can add to the components that produce urinary tract stones and lead to inflammation of the bladder and urinary tract. Whether prescriptions medications are used will depend upon the diagnosis.


Your veterinarian will want to continue to monitor blood in the urine by urinalysis, and will recommend a diet that will help with healing and prevent recurrence. It is wise to keep stress as low as possible for your cat, and you will need to be diligent in giving medications on the schedule prescribed by your veterinarian.

If catheters have been used to retrieve urine from the bladders, there may be some trauma that could lead to infection. You will need to be aware of this possibility and watch for symptoms. Surgery can sometimes also increase the likelihood of infection, and scarring from surgery may narrow the urethra, making urination more difficult. Signs of urinary tract infection generally subside within four to seven days following treatment. If they do not subside, you will need to return to your veterinarian for further treatment.


The means of reventing recurrence will depend upon diagnosis. If there is something in your pet’s environment that is found to have brought the condition on, you will, of course, be advised to make changes.


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

Heat Stroke in Dogs

The Dangers of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Working up a good sweat in the hot summer months may be good for you, but it can lead to heat stroke in your dog and kill him in a matter of minutes. Heat stroke is a dangerous condition that takes the lives of many animals every year. Your dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, your dog has entered the dangerous zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke in dogs, irreversible damage and death can occur.

Here are some cold summer facts about heat stroke in dogs: The temperature in a parked car can reach 160 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with partially opened windows. And any dog exercising on a hot, humid day, even with plenty of water, can become overheated. Overheating often leads to heat stroke. As a pet owner, you should know the dangers of overheating and what to do to prevent it. You should also know the signs of heat stroke and what to do if your dog exhibits those signs.

When humans overheat we are able to sweat in order to cool down. However, your dog cannot sweat as easily; he must rely on panting to cool down. Dogs breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, directing the air over the mucous membranes of the tongue, throat and trachea to facilitate cooling by evaporation of fluid. Your dog also dissipates heat by dilation of the blood vessels in the surface of the skin in the face, ears and feet. When these mechanisms are overwhelmed, hyperthermia and heat stroke usually develop.

Dogs who have a thick coat, heart and lung problems or a short muzzle are at greater risk for heat stroke. Others at risk include

  • Puppies up to 6 months of age
  • Large dogs over 7 years of age and small dogs over 14 years
  • Overweight dogs
  • Dogs who are overexerted
  • Ill dogs or those on medication
  • Brachycephalic dogs (short, wide heads) like pugs, English bulldogs and Boston terriers
  • Dogs with cardiovascular disease and/or poor circulation

Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Dogs

If your dog is overheating, he will appear sluggish and unresponsive. He may appear disorientated. The gums, tongue and conjunctiva of the eyes may be bright red and he will probably be panting hard. He may even start vomiting. Eventually he will collapse, seizure and may go into a coma.

If your dog exhibits any of these signs, treat it as an emergency and call your veterinarian immediately. On the way to your veterinary hospital, you can cool your pet with wet towels, spray with cool water from a hose or by providing ice chips for your dog to chew (providing he is conscious).

Veterinary Care for Dogs with Heat Stroke or Heat Illness

Heat related illness is typically diagnosed based on physical exam findings and a recent history that could result in overheating. Your veterinarian may perform various blood tests to assess the extent of vital organ dysfunction caused by overheating.

Intensity of treatment in dogs depends upon the cause and severity of the heat illness.

  • Mildly increased temperature (less than 105°F) may only require rest, a fan to increase air circulation, fresh water to drink and careful observation.
  • Markedly increased temperature (greater than 106°F) must be treated more aggressively. Cooling can be promoted externally by immersion in cool water or internally by administering a cool water enema.
  • Underlying aggravating conditions, such as upper airway obstructive diseases, heart disease, lung disease and dehydration may be treated with appropriate medications, supplemental oxygen or fluid therapy.

Home Care for Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. Check your dog’s temperature rectally if you suspect heat stroke. If it is over 105 degrees F, remove your dog from the heat source immediately and call your veterinarian.

Meanwhile, place a cool, wet towel over your dog or place him in a cool bath. Do not use ice because it may cause skin injury. Spraying with water from a garden hose also works well.

  • If your dog is overheating, he will appear sluggish and unresponsive.

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

Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

 Does Your Puppy Need a Bordetella Vaccine?


Bordetella is one of the bacterial causes of “kennel cough.” If your puppy is to be boarded, go to the groomer, dog park, and doggy day care or interact with other dogs on a regular basis, the Bordetella vaccine is recommended.

If your puppy is boarded at a kennel, the kennel will require this vaccination.

Bordetella is highly contagious, and readily transmitted through the air or by direct contact. Signs of kennel cough include coughing which can be mild in healthy adult dogs or severe in unvaccinated dogs or dogs with other health issues.

A puppy’s risk of kennel cough is determined by the probably of exposure to other dogs. If the risk is great, a bordetella dog vaccine is recommended.

The bordetella vaccine can be given by the intranasal (in the nose) route or by injection. The intranasal vaccine may work faster to give immunity but either method is acceptable.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provides the following vaccination recommendations:

  • Puppies can be vaccinated using the intranasal vaccine as early as 3 weeks of age (depending on the product label). A second vaccine dose should be given two to four weeks later.
  • Puppies can receive the injectable vaccine starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by a booster three to four weeks later – between the ages of 10 and 12 weeks.
  • For puppies older than 16 weeks, the intranasal vaccine can be given once OR the injectable vaccine can be given twice, two to four weeks apart.
  • Dogs should receive boosters every 6 to 12 months, depending on exposure risk.

For all bordetella dog vaccines, it is important to vaccinate at least 5 days before potential exposure. Vaccines do not work immediately. It takes time for the body to respond to the vaccine, develop immunity and provide protection against the specific disease.Dr. Debra Primovic – 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

Dog Shedding Solutions

 Shedding in Dogs

If you read or hear about how some breeds of dogs don’t shed, you can discount it. Every dog sheds – some more than others – but they all shed.  Read on for some dog shedding solutions.

So why then do some dogs appear not to shed while others shed so much you could weave a thick blanket out of the discarded fur? The answer lies in the growth rate of the hair, which is based on genetics, nutrition and environment.

Shedding is the process by which old hair naturally falls out and new hair begins to grow in its place. The new hair does not “push out” the old hair. Since hair growth and loss is a continual cycle, there is no true starting point.

When dogs run free in the wild, they brush up against bushes, trees and other flora. This action removes old hair naturally. Our house pets need brushing to accomplish this same goal and to prevent large amounts of hair from accumulating in the coat. But brushing is also good for your dog. It not only decreases the amount of hair on your clothes and furniture; it also stimulates the blood supply to the skin. And brushing your dog’s hair helps to prevent skin parasites, such as mites, fleas and ticks, from infesting your pet and your home and keeps unsightly and sometimes painful mats from forming.

Once the individual old hair has been removed, new hair can form. The growth of hair occurs in three cycles:

  • Anagen. This is the initial hair-growing phase, the period of active production by the hair follicle.
  • Catagen. After the hair has grown to a specific length, determined by genetics, the hair enters this temporary transitional state.
  • Telogen. After a brief time, the hair then enters the final resting phase or non-growing state.Exactly when the hair falls from the follicle and sheds depends on environment, heredity and nutrition. For “non-shedding” dogs, the hair growth is much slower and few hairs are shed at a time, giving the false impression that the dog does not shed.At any point, approximately 90 percent of a dog’s hair is in the growth stage. The remaining hair is in either the resting or transitional phase. The growing phase occurs in patterns and is not synchronized all over the body.Shedding in dogs is influenced by the amount of time spent in the sunlight and by temperature fluctuations. Outdoor dogs usually shed their thick undercoat in the spring to prepare for warmer weather. Indoor dogs shed all year long but in smaller amounts, since they are exposed to a more constant temperature and consistent light source. A dog’s shedding cycle may also change as the pet ages or becomes ill.Some female dogs shed more hair than usual after they have been in heat. This usually occurs around 3 to 4 years of age, if at all. Some breeders refer to this as “blowing their coat.”Puppies‘ coats are usually fuzzy with short, downy hair. In some breeds this hair may not change to the adult coat until the age of 5 months. The best time to begin grooming is when your pet is still a puppy. By spending a few minutes every day gently brushing your puppy, you are creating a close, trusting bond. Eventually, your dog may look forward to this time every day.

    Adequate grooming, proper diet and exercise all contribute to a shiny, healthy-looking coat and a happy pet. If your dog appears to be losing a large amount of hair and/or if the coat is dull and dry, see your veterinarian.

Grooming Tips for Dog Shedding Solutions

Brush short-coated dogs two to three times per week whether they have smooth or rough hair. You can use a hound glove (a grooming glove with wire bristles in the palm) with medium-soft bristles. Gently brush in the direction of hair growth (with the grain).

Medium-coated dogs like golden retrievers require a slightly firmer bristle brush. Be sure to brush the feathering (longer hair) on the chest and legs, too. Again brush with the grain of the hair.

Long-coated dogs, such as Yorkshire terriers and Afghan hounds, require a soft, long-bristle brush and wide-tooth comb and should be brushed daily. Grasp a handful of hair and gently brush from the skin outward, paying special attention to mats. Severe mats can only be removed by careful shaving, which should only be done by your veterinarian or a professional groomer. Combing afterward can help smooth the coat.

Dogs with double coats, such as Alaskan malamutes and Pomeranians, require a stiff long-bristle or wire brush. These breeds have a thicker undercoat that can get trapped in the outer coat during shedding. Brush with the grain of the hair at least two to three times weekly. Daily brushing is recommended during the shedding period.

Carder or slicker brushes are also useful. These consist of a small, flat board with multiple, fine wire teeth on one side and a short handle. They are especially useful with mats. You may need to experiment with several types of brushes before you find the one that is best for your dog.

Brushing is only one part of a thorough grooming regimen, and if done on a regular basis, only about 10 minutes a day are needed. To learn more about grooming, consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer.


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

Poisoning in Dogs – What You Should Know

Poisoning in Dogs – What You Should Know

We live our lives surrounded by various poisons and toxic substances, which can lead to potential illness in our dogs. Poisoning is a common problem in dogs due to their curious nature, indiscriminate diets and the intentional administration by a well-meaning owner.

Poison and toxin are terms commonly used interchangeably but do have slightly different meanings. A toxic substance is anything that causes abnormal body function. This includes overdoses of medications as well as poisonous substances. A poison is a substance that can result in abnormal body function and has no medical use.

Damage to the body is based on the amount of poison ingested and how long the poison was in the body before treatment. If treatment is immediate, many poisons do not result in significant illness. Some, regardless of how quickly treatment is administered, are fatal or result in permanent damage.

The effect of a poison is not always immediate. Some poisons do not cause illness for days, weeks or even years after ingestion but the most common poisons usually result in signs of illness within 3-4 days of exposure. Therefore, if you see your pet ingesting a potentially toxic substance, do not be lured into thinking he will be fine just because he does not immediately become ill. Every toxic ingestion is cause for concern and should prompt an immediate call to your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility.

Without witnessing exposure or ingestion of a poisonous substance, poisoning can be difficult to diagnose. Signs to watch for vary depending on the type of poison and type of exposure. Some poisons are inhaled and a few are absorbed, but the majority are ingested.

What to Watch For

Signs of poisoning in dogs may include:

  • Lethargy or sluggishness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stumbling or staggering
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Seizure

Diagnosis of Poisoning in Dogs

Diagnosing illness due to poisoning can be difficult if the exposure or ingestion was not witnessed. Sometimes, pets are treated based on a strong suspicion of poisoning and not a confirmed diagnosis. Due to the variety of poisons, specific tests to diagnose the exact poison are often not available. A high level of suspicion of a specific poison may be the only way to determine the best treatment.

If you suspect a poisoning, bring in samples of recent urination, defecation and stomach contents if your pet is vomiting. In a few cases, samples can be sent to a laboratory for confirmation of the poison. This confirmation usually takes several days so treatment for the suspected poison is usually already begun when the diagnosis is confirmed. For this reason, many people elect not to pursue the expense of extensive testing to find the exact poison.

Diagnosis can be made from the following:

  • Witnessing. Diagnosing a poisoning is easiest when the ingestion or exposure is witnessed. Sometimes, you will find the evidence – medication packages, bottles, packages, trash or poisons – in the house or yard. Without known exposure, diagnosis becomes difficult.
  • Diagnostic tests. Some poisons, such as antifreeze, have a test available to confirm its presence in the blood. Many poisons, unfortunately, do not have these types of quick reliable tests.
  • Physical examination. Sometimes, a specific poison can be diagnosed or suspected based on physical examination findings or behavior of the pet.
  • Routine blood and urine tests. Some poisons are diagnosed or suspected based on routine blood and urine evaluation. Some poisons are known to cause severe kidney damage, liver damage, electrolyte or mineral abnormalities. If these abnormalities are found on blood or urine tests, poisoning may be suspected.
  • Antidotes. Another method is to administer an antidote and see how the pet responds. This is only effective if there is already a strong suspicion of a specific poison, there is an antidote available for that toxin and the antidote is given early in the illness. If the pet responds and improves with the antidote, poisoning can be confirmed. An example would be poisoning with anticoagulant rodenticides. If the animal has signs of bleeding, vitamin K can be administered. If the pet improves, the diagnosis is probably rodenticide exposure.Unfortunately, definitive confirmation of a poisoning is not always possible.

Treatment of Poisoning in Dogs

All poisonings should be considered emergencies so call your veterinarian immediately. General treatment for poisoning is listed here. Some poisons have specific antidotes or require additional treatment.

Reducing Additional Absorption

By removing as much of the poison as possible, additional absorption can be reduced. For topical exposures, bathe the animal in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap. Inducing vomiting or gastric lavage (stomach pumping) can be used if the poison was ingested less than 2 hours before examination. Inducing vomiting should only be attempted in conscious, alert animals and only if recommended by a veterinarian. It is not recommended for those animals that ingest corrosive or petroleum based products or if the animal is already vomiting. Enemas can also be given to eliminate a poison that may be found in the feces.

Delay Absorption

The most common method used to delay absorption of a toxic substance is to administer activated charcoal. This works by binding the toxin and preventing further absorption. The toxin can then pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Cathartics and enemas are used to help speed the transit of the charcoal and poison through the intestines.

Speed Elimination

Intravenous fluids are commonly used to hasten the poison through the body. In certain situations, medications, such as mannitol or furosemide, may be used to accelerate excretion by stimulating the kidneys to produce more urine.

Reduce Continued Toxin Damage

There are antidotes available for certain poisons. Unfortunately, the antidotes are typically only effective early in treatment. If diagnosis and treatment are delayed, the antidote may no longer be effective. Some antidotes are quite expensive and may not be available in your area.

Some poisons or toxins that have antidotes include:

  • Ethylene glycol
  • Acetaminophen
  • Organophosphates
  • Permethrins
  • Lead
  • Anticoagulant rodenticides
  • Metaldehyde
  • Snake venom
  • Zinc
  • Arsenic

Supportive Care

Even if there is an effective antidote available, supportive care may be required. If the toxin has already started affecting body systems, hospitalization with intravenous fluids is recommended. Based on the symptoms and poison ingested, additional supportive care may include:

  • Heat support
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Pain medication
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Medication for vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulcers
  • Blood or plasma transfusions
  • Sedatives
  • Seizure controlDespite all treatment, some poisonings are not amenable to treatment and the pet may not survive.

Home Care and Prevention

For most poisonings, there is not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you suspect your dog has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing the pet in for examination and treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic substance should never be done unless specifically directed by a veterinarian.

For topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap can reduce further toxin absorption before the dog is examined and treated by a veterinarian.

The best home care is prevention. Keep all potential poisons safely and securely stored away. Do not allow your pet to roam. Keep your dog leashed or in a fenced-in yard to prevent exposure to toxic substances.

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

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

310 919 9372

Your Guide to Common Dog Poisons

Common Canine Poisons and Toxins

There are hundreds of items your dog can get access to. Some things are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. This article is a guide to help you determine if a particular item is a problem and link you on to more in-depth information. Be sure to look at the related articles, which can be found on the right-hand side of the page.

If you think your dog may have been exposed to a toxin, the best thing to do is to check the label of the item you think your pet ingested. Read the information about toxicity. Often, but not always, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to dogs and some manufacturers even discuss dog toxicity. If there is an 800 number on the package – call them! It’s also recommended that you call your veterinarian to confirm the recommendations. If you go to your veterinarian, take all packaging and any information you have on the product.

General Information. For most poisonings, there is not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you suspect your pet has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing the pet in for examination and treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic substance should never be done unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. For topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap can reduce further toxin absorption before the pet is examined and treated by a veterinarian.

List of Common Dog Toxins

Non-toxic Items Commonly Eaten by Dogs. Chewing on things is a normal part of puppyhood so before you rush your pooch to the veterinarian, here is a list of some commonly eaten and, thankfully, non-toxic items. If your pup chews any of these, don’t worry about toxicity. The only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

Amitraz. Amitraz is an insecticide used in some brands of dog tick collars and topical solutions. Toxicity most often affects curious puppies who ingest the poison but can occur from wearing the tick collar or receiving demodectic mange treatment. Typical symptoms begin within about 2 to 6 hours of ingestion and often begin with the pet becoming weak and lethargic. Vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation are also common. Without treatment, coma may result. In severe untreated cases, toxicity may result in death. Call and see your veterinarian for treatment.

Amphetamines. Amphetamines are human medications that are commonly used as appetite suppressants and mood elevators or for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. Amphetamines must be prescribed by a physician, but because they are popular as appetite suppressants and mood elevators, they are often purchased illegally. Amphetamines are nervous system stimulants that also affect the brain. After ingestion, toxic signs are usually seen within one to two hours. Common signs include restlessness, hyperactivity, agitation, tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary treatment for amphetamine toxicity is crucial and will give your pet a better chance of full recovery. If left untreated, amphetamine toxicity can be fatal.

Ant Traps. If an ant trap is ingested, the only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Most ant and roach traps are made from either sticky paper or chlorpyrifos, which has a low level of toxicity in mammals but is highly toxic to insects. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

Antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicosis is a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion of antifreeze or other fluids containing the ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol itself is not toxic, but it is metabolized in the animal’s body to several extremely toxic chemicals that are responsible for its potentially lethal effects. Ethylene glycol poisoning results in nervous system abnormalities and severe kidney failure with almost complete cessation of urine output. Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not treated soon after ingestion (within 4 to 8 hours). The minimum lethal dose for dogs averages five milliliters per kilogram of body weight. Thus, a little more than three tablespoons (or 45 milliliters) could be lethal for a 22 pound (10 kg) dog. Definitive treatment should be started as soon as possible after consumption of ethylene glycol (within a few hours). If treated promptly and appropriately, pets that have consumed ethylene glycol will not develop kidney failure and have a good chance of survival. Signs to watch for include: nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy and incoordination progressing to coma. Pets may act as if they are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion of ethylene glycol depending on the amount ingested.

Aspirin. Aspirin toxicity (salicylate toxicity) is poisoning that occurs following the ingestion of aspirin or aspirin-containing products. Cats and young animals are more susceptible to the effects of aspirin than are dogs because they are unable to metabolize the drug as quickly. Aspirin interferes with platelets, which are responsible for helping the blood to clot. Disruption of platelet function increases the amount of time it takes the blood to clot after being cut. Spontaneous bleeding may also occur causing pinpoint bruises to appear in the skin and on the gums (petechiae). Aspirin toxicity may cause gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal problems are common in dogs whereas central nervous system depression is most common in cats.

Arsenic. Although a common poison in the days of Agatha Christie, arsenic is somewhat difficult to obtain and animal poisonings are rare. Usually, poisoning is due to the ingestion of very old insect traps. Since 1989, the use of arsenic in insect traps has greatly diminished but there are still some out there. The lethal dose is 1 to 25 mg per kilogram of weight, and signs of poisoning include severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. If caught early, most pets are treated and recover. If treatment is delayed and the signs of illness are severe, pets usually do not survive. If your pet has ingested an insect trap, make sure to check the label to see if arsenic is present and call your veterinarian.

Bathroom Cleaners, Bleach, Lysol and Other Corrosives. Household cleaners can cause very serious “chemical burns.” Most often these chemicals are ingested or licked by dogs causing a caustic or corrosive burn usually affecting the tongue and upper esophagus. If chemical ingestion is witnessed, immediately flush the mouth with large amounts of water. This can help reduce the amount of chemical in the mouth and may reduce the damage. Chemical oral burns may not show up immediately. Call your veterinarian for additional treatment recommendations. Common signs include: lack of appetite, drooling, pawing at the mouth and excessive swallowing.

Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, that when absorbed into the bloodstream, forms a compound that causes hypoxia (reduced oxygen supply) of the heart and brain. Dogs can be exposed by automotive exhaust in a closed garage, faulty exhaust system, non-vented furnace, gas water heater, gas/kerosene space heater and/or smoke inhalation from a fire. Some pets are predisposed to toxicity due to preexisting heart or lung disease. Symptoms of toxicity include drowsiness, lethargy, weakness, incoordination, bright red color to the skin and gums, difficulty breathing, coma and/or abrupt death. Occasionally, chronic (low-grade, long-term) exposure may cause exercise intolerance, changes in gait (walking) and disturbances of normal reflexes. Be aware that if the source of poisoning still exists, both you and your dog are at risk. Prevent toxicity by minimizing exposure and using carbon monoxide detectors around your home.

Carbamate Insecticides. Carbamates are a type of insecticides used to treat insects on our crops and soils, prevent and treat flea infestations and are used in ant and roach baits. The majority of toxicities in dogs related to this chemical are due to improper use of the chemical, especially when many different types of insecticides are used at the same time. The dog formula should never be used on cats. Carbamates affect the nerve-muscle junctions. Without a normal nerve impulse through the muscle, the function of the muscle is impaired. Since muscle tissue is present in the intestinal tract as well as the heart and skeleton, various signs may be seen if a pet is exposed to toxic levels of this insecticide. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, difficulty breathing, muscles tremors, twitching, weakness and paralysis. Prompt veterinary care is required to survive a toxic exposure.

Chocolate. Chocolate, in addition to having a high fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts. The levels of caffeine and theobromine vary between different types of chocolate. For example, white chocolate has the lowest concentration of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao beans have the highest concentration. Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. The high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Once toxic levels are eaten, the stimulant effect becomes apparent. You may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and possibly excessive panting. Heart rate and blood pressure levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases.

Cocaine. Cocaine is rapidly absorbed from the stomach, nasal passages and lungs. Following exposure the cocaine usually leaves the system within four to six hours. The lethal dose of cocaine in dogs is 25 mg per pound of body weight. Dogs exposed to cocaine show signs of intermittent hyperactivity followed by profound lethargy. Some may develop seizures. Treatment is aimed at supporting the body systems. Inducing vomiting is not helpful since cocaine is so rapidly absorbed. Hospitalization with intravenous fluids and sedatives are typical treatments. Depending on the severity of illness, amount ingested and time lapsed before treatment, some pets exposed to cocaine do not survive.

Detergents and Soaps. Most soaps and detergents are generally non-toxic. You can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item. Read the container for additional information. If ingestion is witnessed, you may flush the mouth with large amounts of water.

Ecstasy. Ecstasy, also known by various street names such as XTC, Adam and MDA, is chemically related to other amphetamines, which stimulate the central nervous system. After ingestion by dogs, signs of toxicity generally develop within one to two hours and last longer in pets than in humans due to the animal’s inability to metabolize the drug. Symptoms include hyperactivity, restlessness, drooling, tremors, staggering, seizures, and if no treatment is given, coma and death ensue.

Estrogen Toxicity. Estrogen toxicity is a condition in which a group of estrogen compounds (female hormones), either produced in excess within the body or administered from the outside, become poisonous to the body of dogs. Estrogen toxicity is seen most commonly in reproductive-age females and older. Symptoms can include: lethargy, pale gums, bleeding, fever, thin hair coat and feminization (female sex characteristics) in males.

Ethanol. Ethanol is an alcohol that is used commonly as a solvent (liquid that dissolves) in medications and is the major ingredient of alcoholic beverages. Common causes of toxicity in dogs include direct access to alcoholic beverages or spilled medication, ingestion of fermented products (bread), intentional or malicious administration by human beings and/or dermal (skin) exposure to these products. Toxicity can cause a wide variety of signs and may lead to death. Signs can include: odor of alcohol on the animal’s breath or stomach contents, incoordination, staggering, behavioral change, excitement or depression, excessive urination and/or urinary incontinence, slow respiratory rate, cardiac arrest and death. If you suspect your pet has ingested a form of ethanol, please call your veterinarian for additional instructions.

Fuel. Gasoline is not a commonly ingested toxin, most likely due to its odor. If ingested, unleaded gasoline irritates the gastrointestinal tract and may cause vomiting. Some dogs may inhale stomach contents as they vomit, resulting in aspiration pneumonia. To develop signs of toxicity, the amount of gasoline that needs to be ingested is around 20 ml per kilogram of weight. For a 20 pound dog, that is about 1/2 cup. Diesel fuel and jet fuel may also cause gastrointestinal upset but have less toxicity than unleaded gasoline.

Glow Jewelry. The active ingredient in most glow jewelry and other glow-in-the dark products is dibutyl phthalate. This substance has low toxicity and there has not been a report of an animal poisoned by its ingestion. If your dog has ingested dibutyl phthalate, you may see profuse drooling. Encourage him to drink a small amount of milk or eat a piece of bread. This will help dilute the taste of the dibutyl phthalate. Even rinsing the mouth out with water can help reduce the signs associated with glow jewelry exposure. Even after rinsing the mouth, you may want to bathe your pet to remove any dibutyl that may have leaked out of the tooth marks and onto the pet’s hair coat.

Grape and Raisins. Ingestion of grapes or raisins can be toxic to dogs.  The amount of grapes or raisins ingested has been between a few grams to about 2 pounds, and dogs ingesting these large amounts have developed kidney failure. Any dog that ingests large amounts of grapes or raisins at one time should be treated aggressively, so contact your veterinarian immediately if ingestion has occurred. Eating a few here and there has not been proven to be toxic.

Herbal Medications. While most plants used have beneficial properties, it is important to remember that the strength of the plant’s active ingredients will vary with the variety of herb and the horticultural practices used to grow them. Herbs can be sprayed with pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers. They may have been fertilized with improperly prepared compost, which can harbor harmful bacteria. They may produce more than one active compound causing unwanted side effects, which may worsen some medical conditions. There are no standards for quality control in production and dosages. Onion, garlic, pennyroyal and ginseng are a few of the commonly used herbal preparations that can cause toxicities if used inappropriately. Many have vomiting and diarrhea as a side effect. Even if your pet is taking an herbal supplement without complication, make sure your veterinarian knows what you are giving. Some herbs interfere with other health concerns and other medications.

Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a popular and effective over-the-counter medication available to treat pain and inflammation in people. For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning dog owner who tries to alleviate pain in his dog by administering a dose he thinks is adequate without knowing the toxic dose. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Symptoms include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy.

Inhaled Toxins can be toxic to dogs.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is typically associated with confinement in a running vehicle but can also occur in a home with improper ventilation and faulty furnaces. If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to carbon monoxide, remove him from the scene and place him in an area with fresh air. Contact your veterinarian or local emergency facility for further instructions.
Smoke inhalation is another common inhaled toxin.

Iron. Iron is a chemical element that is important to red blood cell production in the body. It is found in a variety of supplements and vitamins. Iron toxicity typically occurs after accidental ingestion of the supplements or from overdoses of supplements. Iron comes in a variety of forms and the forms that may result in toxicity are: ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulfate, ferric phosphate, and ferrous carbonate. Toxic levels of iron cause damage to the stomach and intestinal lining as well as cause severe liver damage and heart damage. The first signs generally occur within six hours of eating a toxic amount. Even without treatment, your dog may appear to have improved after the initial gastrointestinal upset. Unfortunately, spontaneous recovery has not really occurred and about 24 hours later, diarrhea returns along with liver failure, shock and possible coma. Bleeding disorders can also occur. See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect iron toxicity.

Ivermectin. Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug that causes neurologic damage to the parasite, resulting in paralysis and death. Ivermectin has been used to prevent parasite infections, such as heartworms or ear mites. Causes of ivermectin toxicity in dogs include administration of excessive doses and breed sensitivity to lower doses (which occurs in some breeds such as the collie or Australian shepherd). Toxicity can result in any number or combination of clinical signs including dilated pupils, depression, drooling, vomiting, tremors, disorientation, weakness, recumbency (inability to rise), blindness, unresponsiveness, slow heart rate, slow respiratory rate, coma or death.

Lead. Lead toxicity refers to poisoning due to ingestion or inhalation of products containing the element lead. Dogs may be exposed to lead from several different sources. Lead toxicity can cause anemia (low red blood cell count), gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and nervous system problems (seizures). Lead crosses the placenta from pregnant mother to babies and is also excreted in her milk. Thus, the developing fetus and nursing young can be affected. See your veterinarian if you suspect lead exposure.

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 20 Poisonous Foods for Dogs

 Top 20 Human Food that Poison Dogs in the U.S.

Dogs are known for eating things they should not. To make matters worse, some of these things are toxic. Embrace Pet Insurance has shared their database of claim information to reveal the human foods that poison the most pets. Chocolate tops the list of food accident claims received by Embrace, followed by raisins and mushrooms.

There are more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the United States each year. “If you aren’t sure if a food is toxic, please check with your veterinarian before feeding something new” says Dr. Debra Primovic, editor in chief of PetPlace.com. “Many well intending pet owners think a grapes or raisins are not a problem and later find their dog has developed kidney failure.”

Laura Bennett CEO & Co-Founder of Embrace says: “Raising awareness of everyday hazards in your own pantry can help prevent undue distress to the nation’s pets.”

The top 20 toxic food items from Embrace’s claims archive, in order of frequency, were:

1. Chocolate
2. Raisins
3. Mushroom
4. Xylitol (sweetener commonly in gum and pastries)
5. Grapes
6. Vitamins
7. Chewing Gum
8. Bones
9. Uncooked Chicken
10. Macadamia Nuts
11. Sugar
12. Bread
13. Cake
14. Coffee
15. Corn Cobs
16. Dough (especially yeast doughs)
17. Uncooked raw meat
18. Rawhide
19. Uncooked salmon
20. Avocado

Ranking number 1 is chocolate. The worst variety of chocolate for pets is dark baking chocolate.

Symptoms of pet poisoning can vary from mild stomach and bowel upset (vomiting and diarrhea) to neurological problems, kidney failure, low blood sugar, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death. Symptoms depend on the item and quantity ingested or inhaled, and the physiological response of the individual pet.

“Some foods can be toxic to one pet in certain amounts and not bother another pet”, says Primovic. “For example – as little as a couple raisins could cause kidney failure in one dog and may not affect a different dog.”

Healthy treats that are safe for pets may include small amounts of lean cuts of meat (as long as they have been properly cooked, thoroughly cooled and have no bones) and small pieces of vegetables such as carrots.

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