Pet Health and Safety Tips
Check back regularly for information from the area of veterinary medicine and animal care tips. Let us know if you'd like to see a particular animal-care topic discussed on this page.
Does your pet need to be dewormed? Could other parasites be affecting your pet's health?
Worms (internal) and other parasites can rob your pet of vital dietary nutrients and cause digestive disorders. We can quickly test your pet for worms/parasites at North Figueroa Animal Hospital and provide affordable and effective treatments.
Here are some other tips for keeping your pet safe and healthy:
WEATHER CHANGES CAN AFFECT YOUR PET.
If you have any indication that your pet has been adversely affected by hot or cold weather, bring him/her in for a checkup at North Figueroa Animal Hospital immediately, or contact the nearest veterinary clinic in an emergency. Here are some tips on keeping your pet healthy all year long:
• Be sure that your pet is not left in sunlight without a shady area where he/she can keep cool. A dog's basic body temperature is higher than a human and they can quickly overheat and suffer serious or fatal consequences.
• Be sure cool, fresh water is available to your pets at ALL times. (State and local humane laws require this.)
• Do not leave your pet's water bowl or food bowl in the sun. The water or bowl itself can become so hot that the animal is burned by touching it and cannot ingest the hot water.
• Do not make your dog run on a hot day. If you run with your dog for exercise, do so in the cool morning or evening hours.
• Never leave your dog in a vehicle on a warm or hot day. Never leave your dog(s) alone in a completely closed vehicle at any time.
• Do not put your dog in the bed of a truck where his/her pads may be burned by the metal surface. (It is a violation of State law to transport your dog in an open truck bed without cross-tethering for safety.)
· Bring your pet inside at night or during cold or rainy days. Especially short-haired dogs can suffer from cold the same as humans.
· Do not leave your pet outside during thunder or lightening. Some pets become frightened at loud noises or weather conditions and may try to escape your yard to find a place to hide.
· Do not leave the pet's food or water bowls where they may freeze.
· If your dog has an outside doghouse, be sure it is well insulated and in good repair and that the floor is sufficiently off the ground to avoid flooding during heavy rains.
· A dog house should provide adequate space for the pet to stand up and turn around but also be small enough to conserve body heat. If your dog likes blankets, provide warm, soft blankets during cold days or nights.
· Never put your dog in an open truck bed when the temperature of the metal may be at or below freezing. The pads of his/her feet may become frozen to the surface. (It is a violation of State law to transport your dog in an open truck bed without cross-tethering for safety.)
Caution with Collars
Microchipping is the permanent method of identifying your pet, but a properly sized collar with an ID tag and/or a license can save your dog’s life by providing a visible way for him/her to be returned to you if lost.
An improperly fitted collar can be a danger to your dog, so ask us to check your puppy or dog’s collar size when you bring him/her in for vaccinations or any other treatment. Our staff at North Figueroa Animal Hospital will examine the fit of the collar and instruct you on how to assure your dog’s collar is a safe and comfortable size.
· The collar must be expanded or replaced when you can no longer insert two fingers comfortably between the dog’s skin and the collar.
· NEVER LEAVE A CHOKE (METAL) CHAIN ON YOUR DOG’S NECK. The loops on a chain can catch on fencing or sharp objects and your dog may be hung and/or strangled to death in minutes.
· A choke chain or unchecked collar can also be covered by the fur of the dog and the skin may grow over it, embedding it in the dog’s neck. (IF YOU DISCOVER A COLLAR OR CHAIN IN THE SKIN/FLESH OF ANY DOG, IT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION.)
· Frequently check your pet’s collar for size. Your dog may gain or lose weight, which affects the tightness or looseness of the collar. You do not want the collar to choke the dog or fall off.
· Puppies quickly outgrow their collars. This may not be noticed—especially on long-haired dogs.
· The collar must be checked weekly to assure it is not choking your growing pup.
· Consider a breakaway collar for dogs that play together, because tags or hooks can become entangled during contact and bind the dogs together at the neck.
· Breakaway collars with ID tags are also recommended for cats, who may get caught on sharp objects as the jump or climb and be strangled or choked trying to get free.
DON’T FORGET: If your dog is over four (4) months, State law requires that he/she has a rabies vaccination. At that time North Figueroa Animal Hospital provides a rabies tag for your dog’s collar which will identify that the dog received it’s shot at our clinic and also provides our name and address. This tag should be kept on your dog at all times and your address should be kept current with our office. If someone notifies us that they have found your dog, we will contact you.
Thinking about a second pet?
Some pets left alone for long periods become very lonely and can develop undesirable behavior or habits merely because of boredom and lack of play and companionship. Having a companion of its own species is usually a great source of comfort and joy for your pet and makes him/her feel much more secure and content. There is nothing that can bring more happiness than seeing loving pets playing together.
With proper training and by selecting animals of mellow temperament, cats and dogs or other species can often live very compatibly with each other. It is wise to get guidance in introducing animals of the same or different species so that it is a good experience for all involved.
It is also advisable to bring your perspective new family member to North Figueroa Animal Hospital for a veterinary check up to determine there are no signs of illness before introducing it to your pet(s).
Cats should be introduced slowly until they indicate an acceptance of each other, and dogs and cats (kittens and pups) should not be placed together until it is obvious they are comfortable and safe with each other. (We recommend consulting an expert on how to introduce new pets.)
Dogs are pack animals by nature, and usually need and enjoy a canine companion for play and exercise. However, that does not always mean your dog will easily adapt to having another dog in his/her yard and sharing his/her home. Show consideration to your pet’s feelings and responses to a new pet before making a decision to make it part of his/her permanent environment.
Before deciding on a second pet, be sure the two animals have a chance to meet on neutral territory and make sure there is a positive reaction—that they play without aggression and share water/food without fighting. At the same time, do not misinterpret normal, healthy play and jumping as conflict. It is always good to have a behavioral expert or trainer evaluate whether two dogs seem to be a good match BEFORE making a commitment or decision to adopt
· Be sure both animals are healthy and that all vaccinations are current.
· Be sure that the new pet is a good choice for your family and that you can afford its care (grooming, training, veterinary attention, plus daily necessities).
· If you have young children, monitor their conduct around any pet. Do not allow them to harass, hit or throw objects at any animal.
· Some breeds of dogs are genetically structured toward territoriality and/or dominance and may not be a good choice if you have another pet.
· Animals of any species who are strangers to each other should never be left unattended until you are certain they fully accept each other.
· In order to assure initial friendliness will continue, help your pets build a positive, permanent relationship of play, exercise, sleeping and sharing.
· A new pet’s behavior may change after a few days or weeks, when he/she becomes more relaxed and may decide to assert dominance or challenge an existing pet. This may be normal adjustment or may signal issues that need attention.
· Do not leave either pet in danger at any time. If a serious conflict arises, keep the animals in separate areas until you can obtain professional advice and/or assistance.
Unless they are very young animals (under four months), be sure both your own cat/dog/rabbit and the pet under consideration for adoption are spayed or neutered BEFORE placing them together. This is highly recommended even if they are the same gender.
If any animal becomes injured by another, immediately bring him/her to North Figueroa Animal Hospital or your nearest animal clinic to check the severity of the wounds and provide treatment. Minor wounds and punctures left untreated can become infected and result in the need for more extensive and expensive care.
The investment in a trainer or canine behaviorist BEFORE you get another dog can help you evaluate whether or it is a good idea for you, your pet and your family.
CONSIDER ADOPTING FROM AN ANIMAL SHELTER
Shelter animals are spayed or neutered, microchipped and receive basic vaccinations before adoption. You will also receive a certificate for a free veterinary checkup. North Figueroa Animal Hospital honors these certificates and our veterinarians will be happy to examine your new pet and determine if it needs additional medical attention.
The three nearest animal shelters to North Figueroa Animal Hospital are:
www.laanimalservices.com (L.A. City shelters)
http://animalcare.lacounty.gov/ (L.A. County shelters)
www.pasadenahumane.org (Pasadena Humane Society - Glendale & other areas)
There are other municipal shelters and private rescue groups throughout the greater Los Angeles area that have a variety of pets of all ages. Many of these pets are already trained and accustomed to living in a home with other pets. Employees of the shelter or volunteers for rescue organizations can discuss with you your needs and provide suggestions regarding selecting a new pet. However, be sure you also consult a behavioral expert to affirm you are making a good choice for your individual situation.
If you are looking for pet of a specific breed, there are “breed rescue” organizations listed on the Internet and for which you can obtain referral from shelters. If you decide to obtain your pet from a breeder, be sure it is a reputable and established business and is in compliance with state and local laws.
Housebreaking requires patience and encouragement. NEVER hit or physically threaten your pet with your hand or any object for "accidents" in the house. Anger and aggressive responses toward the pet will only frighten and confuse it and can create anxiety and stress that can prolong the undesirable behavior.
Young animals do not have control over their bodily functions and may not be able to anticipate the need to relieve themselves. Older animals that have been kept outside, in kennels or an animal shelter where they are confined to a small space may need time to understand that they are now able and expected to go to a special area for urination and elimination.
If it appears there may be a physical problem that is causing your pet to not be able to control when or where he/she relieves him/herself, bring the pet in for a complete medical checkup at North Figueroa Animal Hospital.
Here are some basic tips for housebreaking:
Be consistent in showing your pet where to relieve him/herself after eating and at regular intervals (no longer than two hours). Speak kindly and encourage the pet to perform elimination functions. Wait patiently for the animal to make the communication connection.
Place several litter boxes in proximity to a kitten’s play area so that he/she can access them quickly. (Be sure the kitten can climb easily into the litter box.)
Keep a cat’s litter box clean. Cats are fastidious creatures and will avoid walking in their own waste.
Take the pet to the same “potty” area(s) each time so that it becomes familiar with the odors that can trigger response.
Spaying or neutering can help with housebreaking issues by reducing a male dog/cat’s urge to “mark” its territory.
Pet supply stores have aides to assist in housebreaking. Talk to employees about what it is available and effective.
Utilize humane information and tips provided by trainers and authorities on Internet sites on pet housebreaking.
Praise your pet for good behavior.
Contact a professional trainer for advice if your efforts are not producing the desired results.
Your Aging Pet
As your pet ages, he/she will undergo the same changes as a human. These include impaired hearing and failing eyesight, heart and kidney problems, tooth loss and gum disease, sleeping more and, often, weight gain or loss. Many geriatric pets become arthiritic, and getting up and down or walking can be very painful. Do not encourage him/her to engage in strenuous activity if it appears to cause serious discomfort.
Older pets can often become easily disoriented just like older people. Be careful that your senior companion does not wander out an open gate, because he/she can become confused and wander into traffic or go in the wrong direction trying to find the way home. Your elderly dog or cat should wear visible identification with your contact information and a dog should always have a comfortable collar with its license, so that it can be returned to you.
If your dog or cat is aging, bring him/her to North Figueroa Animal Hospital for regular check-ups. Your pet cannot verbalize aches and pains. Do not allow him/her to suffer unnecessarily. Our veterinarians can recommend affordable treatment, medications and/or diet changes to maintain a quality life for your pet in his/her sunset years.
Please take a moment to browse through our website. You will find additional information on each page to help you provide complete care for your pet. Plus, you can provide feedback or contact us using our contact form.