Keep Your Pet Safe & Happy


When a pet leaves your home or yard without you, he/she is subject to many hazards and dangers in the street. These include eating a poisonous substance or being hit by a vehicle, injured or stolen. He/she may be taken to an animal shelter or may remain in the street.


If you believe your pet has possibly been injured or ingested any toxic substance, bring the pet to North Figueroa Animal Hospital immediately for a checkup.  You do not need an appointment.


  • It is your responsibility to assure your pet has visible identification.
  • If you own a dog over four months, your pet must wear its City or County license tag on a collar at all times to insure that you can be contacted and the dog can be returned to you.
  • Any off-leash dog on public property other than an official dog park is in violation of Los Angeles City and County laws, and the owner can face a serious fine if cited by an animal control officer.

Talk to us at North Figueroa Animal Hospital about required rabies shot, spay/neuter and licensing your dog.


Cats are also required to be spayed or neutered and should have rabies shots even if they are kept in the house.  Any cat may get outside unexpectedly.

The veterinarians and staff at North Figueroa Animal Hospital can provide affordable services to assure you comply with these local and state laws.




It is normal for a dog to bark to alert you that a stranger is approaching your yard or door.  This can warn you and your neighbors of an unwanted intruder. While a “bark alert” can be helpful, continued barking can be very annoying to neighbors, can signal that the dog is in distress, and can result in a report to the animal control or the police.  Nuisance barking is a violation of local municipal code.


If your dog is barking excessively, bring him/her into North Figueroa Animal Hospital for a checkup.  There may be a treatable physical problem that is causing your dog pain, discomfort or alarm. Remember that excessive barking can be harmful to your dog’s health.  It is your responsibility to assure your dog is not a nuisance to neighbors and does not disturb the peace of the community.


Following are some of the main reasons dogs engage in excessive barking:

   Dogs bark from loneliness.  They are pack animals that need companionship. Isolating them in backyards or leaving them alone for long periods engenders fear because their basic instinct is to bond together for protection. Once they have a human "pack," they grieve and suffer when separated.  We recommend that your dog be allowed indoors with its human family for health and safety.  If left outdoors, your dog may engage in excessive, nuisance barking because he/she wants and needs to be with you. 

   Dogs bark from boredom or nervousness.  Barking can become an unpleasant habit that is very difficult to control.  If your neighbors report that your dog barks continuously when you are gone, try leaving the dog inside where he/she feels more  secure.  

   Dogs bark when they are tied/chained/tethered, because the forced confinement leaves them vulnerable and robs them of the chance for "flight." Chaining or tethering also can result in increased aggression and barking at any perceived threat. (State and city ordinances prohibit long periods of chaining.)

   Be sure to install and maintain an appropriate fence to keep your dog safe when it is in your yard. 

   Dogs may bark when they need medical attention or when there is not adequate food, water or shelter, all of which your are required by law to provide.  Failure to provide adequate, humane care for your pet can result in misdemeanor or felony charges being brought against you (PC 597). 

   Sometimes there are just too many dogs on a property and the combined barking creates a noise nuisance for the community.  L.A. City and County limit for dogs is three (3) per residence.  Dogs also bark when there is another dog close by or when other dogs bark.

   Dogs may bark because of cats or wildlife are near the property.  Bring your dog in the house if other animals are causing it to bark excessively.

   Dogs bark or howl at sirens, loud noises, whistles and other audio or visual stimulation.

   Dogs may bark because of weather conditions; such as, cold, rain, wind, lightening or thunder. 

   Dogs may become terrorized by fireworks.  Be sure your dog is inside on holidays when there are fireworks or other loud noises in your area.  Consult with one of our veterinarians if your dog becomes excessively nervous or fearful on these occasions.


If your dog continues to bark, consult a professional trainer.





The law requires that your yard must be kept clean of excessive pet waste and odor. 

  • Pick up after your pet at least once a day. 
  • For good health and a happy pet, keep your cat's litterbox clean. 
  • Do not allow your pet--dog or cat--to relieve him/herself on your neighbor's property or in a public area. 
  • Carry a plastic bag with you when walking your dog and clean up after him/her.  It's the law!  


Talk to our veterinarians at North Figueroa Animal Hospital if you have any questions or notice any change in your pet's habits that might indicate illness or injury. 




Every year thousands of pets are lost or stolen in the Los Angeles area.   If your dog is wearing a rabies tag from North Figueroa Animal Hospital, we will contact you if we receive a call from someone who has found him/her.


There are important responsible actions you can take to assure your dog does not become lost or stolen:


•  Don’t allow your gates to be left open when your dog is in the yard; and quickly repair any damaged fences.

•  Teach children to close doors and gates.  

•  A screen door can impede a curious pet from running out.

•  Don’t allow a child under 16 years of age to walk a dog without being accompanied by an adult.

•  Remember that you are responsible for your pet’s actions and care at all times.

•  Do not allow a cat to sit in a window with a loose screen where it can jump or fall.

•  If you have a small pet, check to see if it can get under a gate/fence or can squeeze through spaces such as where the gate adjoins the fencing or through wrought iron enclosures.

•  Never leave your pet in an unprotected area without supervision.  (This includes your front yard, a park or walking on the street.)

•  Most dogs reported as stolen have actually been able to escape or wander from a yard and become lost.  They may picked up by a stranger or an animal control officer, or injured by traffic.

•  Never leave a  dog alone in a parked car.  (This can be an invitation to pet theft.)

•  When you take your dog for grooming or to the dog park, be sure there is no article visible in your parked vehicle (such as mail) that indicates the address where the animal is kept.  Pet thieves often watch residences and steal pets from yards while the owner is gone.

•  Never leave any dog tied outside a business while you shop.

•  Never walk your dog off leash.  (He/she can be stimulated by a cat, squirrel or other dog and run after them.  You may not be able to catch up.)

•  Be sure your dog, cat or rabbit is microchipped and that your dog is wearing a license and an ID tag at all times (cats can safely wear an ID tag on a breakaway or elastic collar.)

•  Spay or neuter your pet early to curtail his/her urge to roam in search of mating.


IMMEDIATELY CREATE A FLYER WITH YOUR PET’S DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO, AND CIRCULATE IT IN THE AREA WHERE THE PET DISAPPEARED.  (Post  the flyer anywhere you  legally can.)  Include the pet’s color, gender, size/weight/whether it is spayed or neutered.  Identify the breed if it is recognizable or a purebred.  Indicate the street location/address where the pet was last seen and provide a 24-hour phone/message number, and any reward offered.


IMMEDIATELY VISIT ALL SURROUNDING SHELTERS TO POST A FLYER AND SEARCH FOR YOUR PET.  The L.A. City shelter that serves Highland Park is the North Central Care Center.  Visit the following websites: (L.A. City shelters) (L.A. County shelters)  (Pasadena Humane Society - Glendale & other areas)


Return to shelters at least every two (2) days to look for your pet and assure the flyer has not been removed.


Run an ad in a local paper and post a flyer at North Figueroa Animal Hospital if your pet was lost in our area.  (If your lost dog has a rabies tag with our address, please notify us to be sure we have your current contact information.)


If you have evidence that your pet was stolen, notify animal control

and your local police/sheriff's department.


If you offer a reward, DO NOT go to a location alone with cash

to meet someone who claims to have your pet.



LOST PET.  Often a pet is not found or brought to the shelter for

many weeks.


Check Internet websites for more advice on finding a lost pet. 




All companion pets need some basic training, but your pet may not understand what you expect unless you know how to properly convey that information to him/her.  It is wise to get professional advice either at a local training class or a recommended trainer so that you have a successful teaching experience with your pet.  No training methods should involve or result in injury to the animal. 

Pet supply stores have various books, DVD’s and other aides to help you humanely teach your pet certain desired behaviors.  

If your pet is not responding to training efforts and you believe there may be a medical issue involved, bring him/her in to North Figueroa Animal Hospital for a complete physical check up.

Here are some basic, humane training tips that apply to ALL animals:


  Be patient and kind to your pet and demonstrate your appreciation when he/she responds appropriately to your training efforts and commands.   (“Good boy/girl!” and petting and/or healthy pet treats can encourage your pet to learn quickly.)

  Enroll your dog in a local training class offered by a community college, park or other civic group as soon as all vaccinations are completed, including rabies.  (This will help your pet become well socialized to other dogs and humans in a controlled environment.)

  Spay or neuter your animal by four months of age in order to curtail “mating” behaviors and to avoid litters of puppies that will add to our local pet overpopulation problem.  (This is the law in the City and County of Los Angeles.)

  Spaying or neutering early also reduces the risk that your male cat will “spray” and will avoid a female cat vocalizing or trying to escape to randomly breed and produce unwanted litters.

  Socialize your dog, either at a supervised dog park, doggie day care or by allowing him/her to play with other friendly dogs.  (Never place your dog in danger of injury or attack by a threatening animal.)

  Never hit your pet with your hand or any other object.  (Hitting an animal can result in charges of animal cruelty.)

  Never allow any child or adult to hit or otherwise abuse your pet.  (As the owner, you are responsible for the animal’s care and treatment at all times.)

  Never punish your pet by neglecting it. (State and local laws require that you provide food, water, shelter and humane treatment of any pet at all times.)

  Never put a choke chain on your dog unless you have received instructions from a professional trainer in its proper use.

  Do not leave any chain on your dog’s neck that can become hooked on a protruding object and strangle your dog.

  Do not keep your dog on a chain or rope (other than for its safety for short periods).  State and local laws prohibit tethering your pet as a means of confinement.  Chaining your pet can result in it becoming fearful because it is unable to protect itself and may result in aggressive or other undesirable behavior.

  Never place any kind of chain or choking device on a cat.

  Do not encourage aggressive play in a puppy or adult dog. Behavior such as biting, jumping or tugging may seem cute in a young pet but may be a serious and even dangerous problem when the pet matures.

  Be generous with your affection toward your pet –not only when it is a puppy or kitten, but as it matures.  The best training aide is your pet’s trust and desire to please you.  The sound of your voice praising your pet is his/her greatest reward.  Dogs best understand short (one-word) commands, not long sentences.  Some pets learn easier than others; but proper, clear communication, repetition and patience will bring the desired results.


Contact a professional trainer for help with any behavior that is problematic.


Playful biting and chewing are normal in young animals.  However, biting can be a serious and painful problem for the human owner and should be redirected to objects on which the puppy or kitten can safely exercise this natural instinct to help them loosen and shed their baby teeth and stimulate growth of adult teeth.

Chewing is normal for dogs of all ages.   Chew toys reduce stress, provide pleasurable sensations in the mouth and gums and assist in keeping their teeth clean.    (Caution:  It may be advisable to place dogs in separate areas before giving chew items to more than one pet in order to avoid growling or fighting over a favored treat.)

Be sure your puppy or kitten has toys and non-toxic items of an appropriate size and texture on which it can bite and chew at any time.  Pet supply stores have many tested items that will divert your pet from destroying valuable items or chewing on furniture while its adult dental structure is developing.

Talk to us at North Figueroa Animal Hospital about your pet’s need to chew as part of its normal development, its ongoing dental needs, and keeping its teeth clean to avoid gum and other diseases as it matures or ages.


Contact your local animal control agency for instructions as to legal requirements if your pet bites or otherwise inflicts injury on a human or other animal.  (Be sure to keep the pet’s rabies vaccination up to date and retain the rabies certificate on file.)