Category Archives: Uncategorized

House Training a Puppy

 How to Deal with “Accidental Housesoiling”

Let’s face it. A new puppy is likely to have small accidents around the house, even though you may do your utmost to prevent them. No system is perfect, especially when it involves an active and curious, puppy with incomplete control over its bladder and bowels. Let’s consider the three different scenarios when it comes to you, the owner, encountering a house soiling incident.

Before the Fact:  House Training a Puppy

If you are sitting at a table, minding your own business, and all of a sudden you notice your puppy sniffing the ground, circling, or (oh, no!) beginning to squat – stay cool. Do not suddenly jump up, yell, and charge at the puppy, as it will not comprehend such erratic behavior on your part. Instead, create a diversion, make a sound by banging on the table, or slamming a drawer, or even rattle a “shake can,” if you have one handy, to startle the little critter’s sphincters into contraction. But note: the diversionary noise should not be seen (or rather heard) to come from you. Rather, it should just happen – a sudden rude interruption of what was otherwise to be a wistful moment. If the puppy turns and looks at you, you might even shrug your shoulders as much to say, “Who me?” But, at the same time, make your way over to the mite, pick it up, and physically take it to an appropriate location, whether to strategically-placed newspapers or to the great outdoors.

Caught in the Act

If you enter a room to find your puppy midstream, or mid-bowel movement, once again, stay calm. It’s not a mortal sin, it’s an accident and there’s nothing done that can’t be undone. Again, you might want to make a diversionary noise to attenuate the elimination process and then carry or walk your pup to an appointed, acceptable location so that it can finish what it started. Later, return to the offending spot, clean up the mess with a paper towel or sponge and some water, and then treat the soiled area with a proprietary odor neutralizer. Nothing more, nothing less. Above all, remember not to punish the pup for its indiscreet behavior. It doesn’t know any better. It’s your job to teach the pup, not its responsibility to instinctively know what you want it to do.Punishment will only cause the pup to avoid eliminating in your presence and that will make housebreaking extremely difficult. Anyway, it’s unfair to punish a pup for failing to learn the proper location for elimination when you are the teacher.

After the Fact

If you walk into a room or come home to find an unexpected puddle or pile on the floor,do not immediately set out to catch and punish your puppy. Don’t yell, spank, or rub its nose in it. None of this behavior is appropriate or humane. Punishment of a pup that is caught in the act at the time is bad enough, but punishment after the fact is a disaster and will not be associated by the pup with what it has done. Its “accident” will have occurred minutes or even hours earlier and many other things will have happened in its life since that time. To have you suddenly come ranting toward it, shouting obscenities, and with your hand raised will only confirm, in the puppy’s mind, that you are truly psychotic and not to be trusted. This will increase its anxiety, especially around you, and will likely exacerbate the very problem that you are attempting to resolve (i.e. elimination in the house). The correct response in this situation (though you may be fuming inside) is to coolly, calmly, and collectedly, clean up the mess and neutralize odors as described above. Then think about why the accident may have occurred. Ask yourself how long ago the puppy was last taken outside. Were you asking the impossible – for the puppy to contain itself for longer than it was physically capable? Did you feed the pup and forget to take it outside? Was it transitioning from one behavior to another and you failed to capitalize on the opportunity? Whatever the cause, try and ascertain what it was and do something about it for the future.

Last Tips:  House Training a Puppy

Positive punishment, doing something physically to a dog to deter a particular behavior, is never indicated when training puppies or, indeed, adult dogs. This is especially true when it comes to housetraining. The correct approach is to train the pup to do what you want it to do rather than to punish an unwanted behavior. While negative punishment, withholding some desired resource, has a place in obedience training, even this training technique, has no place when trying to housebreak a pup. The only thing that you, the owner, needs to do is to show the pup where you want it to eliminate and reward it richly for eliminating in that location. Simultaneously, deprive the pup of opportunities for inappropriate elimination by being cognizant and ever vigilant. Keep a regular schedule and handle clean up in a matter-of-fact way. Don’t omit to use odor neutralizers when cleaning up messes as the odor of a previous soiling incident will attract the pup back to the same site as surely as a heat-seeking missile finds its source of heat. Odor neutralizers destroy the chemicals that cause the smell, thus completely eliminating this particular incitement for indoor elimination.

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

Slug and Snail Poisoning in Dogs

Overview of Slug and Snail Poisoning in Dogs

What’s worse than stepping on a slug in your bare feet? Accidentally poisoning your much-loved dog with slug bait!

If you have a problem with snails in your environment, be careful what you use to get rid of them. Your dog is prone to poisoning from household materials, especially your dog (who usually eats almost anything). One common toxin is metaldehyde, a common ingredient found in “snail bait” (molluscicides). In the United States, this type of poisoning occurs more commonly on the West Coast.

Slug and snail baits generally contain 3 percent metaldehyde and products are formulated as blue- or green-colored pellets, powder, liquid or granules. A dosage of 190 to 240 milligrams per kilogram of body weight is lethal for most dogs and cats. However, the toxic dose can range anywhere from 100 to 1000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

What to Watch For

Signs of poisoning in dogs begin within 1 to 4 hours of exposure and can be fatal if left untreated. Repeated seizures can cause very high body temperature, which can lead to complications similar to those observed in pets suffering from heatstroke. If there is a possibility that your dog or cat has been exposed to metaldehyde and exhibits any of the following symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.


  • Anxiety, excitement, panting
  • Disorientation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Extreme sensitivity to sound and touch
  • Generalized muscle tremors, which can progress to loss of consciousness, seizures and difficulty breathing


Diagnosis of Slugs and Snails Toxicity in Dogs

Metaldehyde poisoning mimics symptoms of other diseases and poisonings so your veterinarian will need to know that your dog may have ingested this type of poison. This will reduce the need for extensive diagnostic tests and specific treatment can be started earlier.

After a thorough physical examination, your veterinarian will probably recommend several diagnostic tests and treatments. These might include:

  • A complete blood count (CBC) to assess the general health of your pet and evaluate for infection or inflammation, anemia or low platelet count.
  • A biochemistry profile to evaluate internal organs (like the liver or kidneys) for other potential causes of seizures and to evaluate for complications arising from repeated seizures, muscle tremors or high body temperature.
  • Arterial blood gas analysis to evaluate changes in the acid-base status of the blood, which may be affected after repeated seizures, tremors or high body temperature.
  • Analysis of stomach contents.

    Treatment of Slugs and Snails Toxicity in Dog

Treatment of your dog will involve ridding the body of the toxin and treating the symptoms. Your dog will probably require hospitalization for 24 to 72 hours. Your veterinarian may include any of the following in the treatment:

  • Administration of medication to induce vomiting, gastric lavage (pumping of the stomach) and enemas to prevent further absorption of the toxin from the stomach and intestinal tract.
  • A cool water bath to lower body temperature.
  • Medications such as diazepam (Valium®) or fentanyl (a narcotic pain reliever) to control anxiety, seizures and excessive muscle tremors.
  • Muscle relaxants such as methocarbamol, guaifenesin or xylazine to control muscle tremors.
  • Placement of an endotracheal tube (a plastic tube in the airway) to provide artificial respiration if your pet stops breathing.
  • Placement of an intravenous (IV) catheter to provide fluids to correct dehydration and acidosis, common problems after excessive muscle activity and repeated seizures.


Home Care


  • If you suspect metaldehyde poisoning has occurred, call your veterinarian immediately.
  • Bring remnants of packages or containers to your veterinarian for identification of product ingredients.
  • Administer any medications prescribed and follow your veterinarian’s instructions for care.

Preventative Care

Prevention is always the best medicine. Keep your dogs away from areas where snail and slug bait are used or stored.

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

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372


How to Potty Train a Puppy

It is normal for puppies to have “accidents.” In fact, soiling accidents are unavoidable in the early days of potty training, even if you keep a constant eye on your puppy. The chances are that several soiling accidents will occur inside your home before your puppy gets a handle on controlling his bodily functions. What’s most important is that you learn how to handle these situations correctly, since improper disciplinary actions can result in bad habits.

It is common for first-time puppy owners to make mistakes in handling accidents, but you must take into consideration that puppies are not like human beings. Puppies do not have the capacity of linking the long-term nature of cause and effect. It is futile to punish a puppy for an incident that occurred hours, or even a few minutes ago. Doing this will only confuse and frighten the puppy, which can place a strain on the bond that you are trying to create with your puppy. This is why trainers advise owners to keep their puppies crated until they have been trained to wait until they are taken outside to relieve themselves.

Acting Without Overreacting/Potty Training a Puppy

Punishments should always be within reason and should not be severe, no matter how messy the accident was. It is also not wise to follow advice regarding extreme but effective punishments. While harsh punishments may work with some dogs, they sometimes border on the absurd and inhumane. Examples of these so-called “effective punishments” are rubbing the nose of the puppy into his “mess,” beating the puppy, or locking the puppy up in a dark, enclosed space. These kinds of punishments are simply acts of cruelty; they are not the right way to raise a puppy. Your puppy will grow up fearing and mistrusting you.

An appropriate reprimand must be given to the puppy as soon as you see that the puppy is eliminating inside the house or is about to. Stop the puppy from eliminating by reprimanding him in a firm and loud voice. A quick “No!” or “Stop!” should do the trick.

Another effective way to stop him would be to startle him with a loud noise, causing him to immediately stop what he is doing. You might also take hold of the scruff of his neck and give him a quick shake, causing him to stop what he is doing and turn his attention to you. In all of these instances, follow by taking him outside immediately so he can finish eliminating and reward him with positive reinforcement once he is done. Whether you use verbal praise, petting, or a training treat, you want your puppy to associate going outside to eliminate with good responses form you.

To avoid accidents, you must always keep an eye on your puppy. Always be on the lookout for signs that your puppy is about to eliminate. These signs include sniffing at the floor, scratching at the door, whining, or looking uncomfortable.

Whenever an accident does happen, and it will happen, do not blame the puppy immediately. Remember, that it is your responsibility to keep a constant eye on the puppy, and when you cannot do this you will need to place the puppy in his crate. Before you begin cleaning the mess, make sure that the puppy is not in the room so that he cannot see you cleaning the mess. This may cause him to associate soiling on the floor with your willingness to clean it, giving him no incentive to discontinue the behavior.

Getting Rid of the Evidence

Cleaning up thoroughly after an accident is very important because a puppy has a very keen sense of smell and will return to the spot where he previously eliminated unless all of the scent is removed. Using common cleaning products like soap or detergent powder simply is not enough. To completely eliminate the smell, it is best to use chemical cleaning products and a specially formulated odor eliminator. If you did not buy a pet formulated odor eliminator before bringing the puppy home, now would be a good time to get one. After you have cleaned, keep the puppy away from the newly cleaned area so that he does not ingest or come into contact with the chemical cleaning products.  Success with housebreaking a puppy!

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

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Is Dog Saliva Cleaner Than People Saliva?

He licks his butt, drinks out of the toilet and eats out of the trash. By all means, let your dog slurp on your face. He sounds like a regular clean freak.

But how many times have you heard that his mouth is cleaner than yours? I don’t know where your mouth has been, but I’m thinking, no.

The idea may be based on a couple of observations. First, dogs lick their wounds. These wounds eventually get well, and to some extent, may possibly be helped in their healing by the licking. Most of its benefit is likely because the licking stimulates blood flow, which encourages healing, and because it removes dead tissue, sort of like debriding a wound. But there may be more to it. Researchers have found saliva contains histadins and nitrite, which ward off infection, and nerve growth factor, which accelerates healing.  But spit is probably not the best way to get these healers, because spit also has bad things in it.

Both dogs and humans have bacteria-filled mouths. Some of the bacteria is the same, some is different.  Some is harmless, some is not. Dog bites get infected. So do human bites. And it may be that the early literature that found that human bites got infected more than dog bites also fed the notion that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. But when the data was re-examined, it turns out that the type of human bites that are more infected are the ones that somebody gets on their fist when punching somebody else in the mouth. Human bites on any other part of the body are no more likely to get infected than dog bites. Both bites should be thoroughly cleaned.

It is true that you’re more likely to catch an illness from kissing a person than kissing a dog. That’s because so many illnesses, like colds, flu and strept throats are species-specific. That doesn’t make the dog’s mouth necessarily cleaner. After all, they’re more likely to catch something by kissing another dog compared to a human. But some people have gotten sick from kissing a dog after the dog has eaten something to which dogs are comparatively impervious. Salmonella, for example, has been found in dog treats and food on occasion. The dogs that ate it seemed perfectly fine; the people who kissed them right after they ate it got salmonella!

What we need, of course, is hard evidence. On the popular Mythbusters television series (OK, not exactly HARD evidence, but…), the stars found more bacteria in a sample taken from a human mouth than from a dog mouth. At least one YouTube video  from a student science project found the opposite.

Yet another had inconclusive results.

In fact, there are loads of home-based small experiments but none of them seem to agree!

This student project at amnh,org probably has the best data I’ve found. The author of the study found that humans had slightly more bacteria than dogs, but dogs had a greater diversity. This diversity included gram-negative bacteria, which is more likely found in fecal matter. Probably because they lick their butts!

Regardless, it’s not so much the quantity as the quality. Some bacteria is totally harmless, so unless you know what bacteria you’re counting it doesn’t really matter. Nobody expected anyone’s mouth to be aseptic.

The bottom line? Keep your dog’s mouth as clean as possible. Brush his teeth to prevent gum disease and infection. Close the toilet lid. Put away the trash. But go ahead, live life on the edge: Give your dog a kiss on the snout!                                By |

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

18 things you didn’t know about dog paws

We all swoon for puppy-dog eyes, cocked ears and a wagging tail, but it would be a mistake to give your pup’s paws short shrift.
While the eyes, ears and tails of your dog may get most of the attention for their expressiveness, don’t underestimate the power of dog paws! Aside from just being awfully sweet, the paws are wonderfully designed appendages that enable canines to perform their feats of doggie derring-do. Whether slender and elegant, bold and athletic, or floppy and furry, a dog’s trotters are a fascinating study in anatomy and adaptation.
Consider the following:
1. Of the 319 bones, on average, that comprise a dog’s skeleton, a handful of those (so to speak) are dedicated to the paws. Along with bones, dog feet include skin, tendons, ligaments, blood supply and connective tissue.
2. Paws are made up of the following five components:
3. The digital and metacarpal pads help work as shock absorbers and help protect the bones and joints in the foot. The carpal pads work like brakes, of sorts, and help the dog navigate slippery or steep slopes.
4. Paw pads have a thick layer of fatty tissue that insulates the inner foot tissues from extreme temperatures, as it doesn’t conduct cold as quickly. (Think whales and blubber.) Meanwhile, as the paw gets cold when it hits the ground, arteries transfer the chilled blood back to the body where it warms up again. Because of these traits, scientists believe that domestic dogs first evolved in colder environments before spreading out into other climates.
5. The pads also offer protection when walking on rough terrain. Dogs that are outside a lot and exposed to rough surfaces have thicker, rougher paw skin; dogs that stay in more and walk on smoother surfaces have softer pads. The pads also help the dog distinguish between different types of terrain.
6. The inner layer of skin on the paw has sweat glands that convey perspiration to the outer layer of skin, which helps cool a hot dog and keeps the pads from getting too dry. But paws can also exude moisture when a dog gets nervous or experiences stress; dogs get sweaty hands, just like we do!
7. Dogs are digitigrade animals, meaning that their digits — not their heels — take most of their weight when they walk. Because of this, dogs’ toe bones are very important.
8. Dog’s toes are equivalent to our fingers and toes, although they are unable to wiggle them with the ease that we do.
9. Dewclaws are thought to be vestiges of thumbs. (Imagine if dogs had evolved opposable thumbs? The world might be a very different place!) Dogs almost always have dewclaws on the front legs and occasionally on the back. Front dewclaws have bone and muscle in them, but in many breeds, the back dewclaws have little of either. (Because of this, dewclaws are often removed to prevent them from getting snagged. However, opinions on the necessity of this procedure are mixed.)
10. Although they don’t provide much function for traction and digging, dogs do use their dewclaws; for example, they help the dog get a better grip on bones and other things the dog may like to chew on.
11. That said, Great Pyrenees still use their rear dewclaws for stability on rough, uneven terrain and often have double dewclaws on the hind legs. Among show dogs, the Beauceron breed standard is for double rear dewclaws; the Pyrenean shepherd, briard and Spanish mastiff are other breeds that have double rear dewclaws listed for show standards as well.
12. Breeds from cold climes, like St. Bernards and Newfoundlands, have wonderfully large paws with greater surface areas. Their big, floppy paws are no accident; they help them better tread on snow and ice.
13. Newfoundlands have the longest toes of all breeds, and Labrador retrievers come in second. Both breeds also have webbed feet, which helps make them excellent swimmers. Other breeds with webbed feet include the Chesapeake Bay retriever, Portuguese water dog, field Spaniel and German wirehaired pointer.
14. Some breeds have what are called “cat feet.” These have a short third digital bone, resulting in a compact feline-like foot; this design uses less energy to lift and increases the dog’s endurance. You can tell by the dog’s paw print: cat feet prints are round and compact. Akita, Doberman pinscher, giant schnauzer, kuvasz, Newfoundland, Airedale terrier, bull terrier, keeshond, Finnish spitz, and old English sheepdog all have cat feet. (But don’t tell them that.)
15. On the other hand — er, paw — some breeds have “hare feet,” which are elongated with the two middle toes longer than the outer toes. Breeds that enjoy hare feet include some toy breeds, as well as the Samoyed, Bedlington terrier, Skye terrier, borzoi and greyhound. Their paw prints are more slender and elongated.
16. And then there’s “Frito feet.” If you notice the distinct smell of corn chips emanating from the feet of your dog, resist salivating. Because when you find out that the source of the aroma is due to bacteria and fungi, you may become mightily grossed out. Generally this doesn’t lead to complications for the dog.
17. Do you love having your hands massaged? So does your pup! According to the ASPCA, a paw massage will relax your dog and promote better circulation. They recommend rubbing between the pads on the bottom of the paw, and then rubbing between each toe.
18. Although the exact etymology isn’t known for sure, the word “paw” appears to come from the Gallo-Roman root form “pauta,” which is related to late 14th century Old French “patin,” which means clog, as in the type of shoe.

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