All posts by James

4 Ways That Great Nutrition Benefits Your Pet

Everyone knows that nutrition is important for any animal companion. When your pet receives the right combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water on a daily basis, they stay healthy—it’s that simple. But what specifically does good nutrition do for our pets? How does it benefit them? Let’s take a closer look at some of the important benefits of nutrition for your pet.

Skin and Fur Health

Did you know that a pet with a smooth, shiny coat of fur is probably in good health? A pet’s coat is one of the best indicators of their nutrition! Fatty acids play a big role here, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. When a pet receives these nutrients in the right amounts through their food, the skin stays healthy and moisturized. Fatty acids also provide anti-inflammatory properties, which can help your pet be less itchy. That leads to a coat with a smooth, healthy sheen and minimal shedding.

Disease Prevention

Another reason that nutrition is so important for your animal friend is because it helps prevent dangerous diseases. Vitamins and minerals, in particular, are the nutrients that keep your pet from coming down with diseases like distemper, parvovirus, leukemia, and many more. Vitamins reduce damage to the body’s cells, while minerals keep cells functioning normally. It’s important that your pet’s food supplies him or her with the proper vitamins and minerals.

Keep in mind that vaccination is also essential for helping your pet to avoid disease. Talk to your veterinarian right away if your pet needs vaccines or booster shots.

Body Condition

Your pet’s general body condition is another thing that’s affected heavily by nutrition. If a pet doesn’t receive enough protein, they won’t be able to build or maintain strong, healthy muscles. Protein is also essential for repairing damaged cells, making new cells, and building hair, skin, and other body tissues. That’s why your pet’s food should always include a good protein source, like chicken or beef.

Digestive Health

None of the nutrients listed above would do any good if your pet’s body wasn’t able to digest and absorb them. That’s where carbohydrates come in—they provide fiber that helps with digestion and elimination. They’re essential for allowing your dog’s body to use the nutrients received through food and eliminate the waste that’s left behind.

To learn more about your pet’s nutrition, call your vet’s office. We’re here for you!

Pets and Guests

Are you planning to have company over the next few weeks? If so, don’t forget to consider your pet when getting everything ready! Not everyone is as familiar with and/or enamored by our furry pals as we are. Read on for some great tips from a Downey, CA vet on helping guests and pets co-exist peacefully.

Guest Room

We recommend asking guests to keep their guest room closed at all times. This will help avoid awkward incidents, like Fido chewing their shoes or Fluffy sleeping on their suitcase. It’s also safer for pets, especially if your guests leave potentially dangerous items out. Even something as innocuous as a medicine bottle left out on a nightstand can have disastrous consequences!

Ground Rules

Many of our furry patients see guests as extra hands for giving ear scritches, and extra laps to nap in. However, some dogs and cats are more uneasy with strangers. You may want to set a few simple rules for interacting with your pet. These will somewhat depend on your pet’s personality. Does your cat tend to morph from a purring, cuddly lovebug to a hissing ball of rage with no warning? Maybe it’s best for your visitors to leave Fluffy alone. Does Fido get possessive about his food and toys? Ask guests not to touch his things. It’s also a good idea to ask your visitors not to discipline your pet.

Allergies

Allergies are something to consider when having guests. If possible, choose a room with flooring instead of carpets for guests. You’ll also want to opt for non-allergenic bedding, and get blinds instead of drapes. We also recommend getting a good air purifier, and vacuuming and dusting regularly. Setting out tissues and OTC allergy meds is a thoughtful touch.

Food

Not all foods are safe for our animal companions. Ask guests not to feed your four-legged friend. This is especially important to remember if you’re having children over, as little kids could easily ‘share’ something dangerous with Fido or Fluffy.

Playtime

Pets are very emotional, and often get rather stressed out by major changes. Take time to play with your pet every day. A fun play session will burn off your furry friend’s nervous energy, leaving them calmer and better behaved.

Happy Holidays! Please contact us, your Downey, CA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Holiday Gifts for Dogs

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Or are you just getting started? Your canine buddy definitely deserves a special present or two! Read on as a local Norwalk, CA vet lists some holiday gifts for dogs.

Toys

If your pooch could write Santa Claws his own wish list, we suspect that toys would be at the top of it. Actually, making sure Fido has plenty of appropriate toys is very important! You can opt for classic dog toys, like rope pulls or tennis balls. Or, try something more modern, like a mechanical ball launcher.

Beds

Fido is always adorable, but he manages to be extra cute when he’s snoozing in a comfy doggy bed. This would make a great gift for your four-legged friend! Senior dogs and large breeds may prefer orthopedic beds, while smaller dogs might like beds with raised sides.

Dinnerware

Did you know that raised dishes are more comfortable for dogs to eat from than bowls on the floor? Give your furry buddy’s dinnerware a ‘pupgrade’ and get him elevated bowls. Fido may also enjoy a pet fountain.

Spa Treatment

Many dogs find a good massage very soothing and relaxing. Book your canine pal a session with a pet masseuse! This is a great option for senior dogs.

Homemade Treats

Man’s Best Friend will definitely be thrilled with a package of his favorite store-bought treats. However, if you like cooking, you can also make Fido some snacks. This is a wonderful gift for Fido’s four-legged buddies, too! Just stick to recipes that use only dog-safe ingredients.

Training

Could Fido stand to work on his petiquette? Enroll him in doggy obedience classes. Of course, your furry pal won’t be particularly impressed by seeing his enrollment information on paper. Treats and toys will get that tail going!

Pupscription Boxes

Want to give your dog a gift that keeps on giving? Sign Fido up for a subscription box. You also get to watch your furry best friend’s adorable reaction whenever he realizes that he’s got mail.

Grooming Supplies

Fido may not love baths, but he’ll look—and smell—much better with proper grooming. Puppy shampoos, brushes, nail clippers, paw balm, doggy dental products, and pet wipes can all make great stocking stuffers!

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Ashton Animal Hospital, your Norwalk, CA veterinary clinic. Please feel free to contact us anytime!

Caring for a Toy Breed Dog

Do you have a pint-sized pup? Small dogs are adorable! Many toy breeds were initially bred as companion animals, so they tend to be very affectionate and cuddly. However, Fido does have some specific care needs. A vet discusses small dog care below.

General Health

Obesity is often a problem with toy breeds, simply because it’s so easy to overfeed them. They’re also prone to hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Ask your vet for more information. It’s also important to keep up with veterinary care. Those regular appointments are a great chance to get specific advice on Fido’s care!

Clothing

Little dogs get cold very quickly. In colder regions, snow is a serious hazard to them, as it can be over their heads so easily. Get Fido a winter jacket, and limit his outdoor time when it’s chilly.

Aging

Small breeds typically have longer lifespans than big dogs. They also age more slowly. Fido may not enter his golden years until age 10 or even older!

Gear

When shopping for your dog, always choose products that were specifically made for small dogs. Your pet could hurt himself on things made for bigger pooches! Also, toy breeds can easily get choked or jerked around when wearing collars. Get Fido a harness instead.

Injuries

Small dogs are very fragile. Fido could get hurt just by jumping out of your arms! Also, make sure not to step on the little guy. Be very careful when carrying your pup, and use a travel carrier if you take him out and about. If you have children, supervise pet playtime carefully. It’s very easy for a youngster to accidentally injure a tiny dog. We also recommend getting pet stairs, so your furry buddy doesn’t fall off the bed.

Outdoor Area

Do you have a yard for your dog to play in? That’s great! Be sure to use fencing that’s the right size. Otherwise, Fido could slip right through. Also, don’t leave your pet outdoors without supervision, especially after dark. Small dogs can make very tempting prey for many wild animals!

Petiquette

We love seeing pets get pampered! However, you shouldn’t coddle Fido too much. Teach your pooch basic commands, like Sit and Stay, and don’t let him nip at people or other dogs.

Do you have questions about toy breed care? Contact us, your vet clinic!

New Gadgets for Your Pet

We’re living in an age of technological marvels. It seems like almost every day there are new products and gadgets released. What about our furry friends? It seems that Fluffy and Fido both have fans in the technical sectors, as some really cool gadgets have been made just for them. A vet lists some of them below.

GPS Trackers

Man’s Best Friend loves exploring, and won’t hesitate to slip away for some doggy shenanigans. Some breeds, like huskies, are notorious for running off. Luckily, you can now get your pup a doggy GPS tracker. Some of these will alert you when your adventurous pet crosses a specific boundary, such as the edge of your yard.

Laser Pointers

Fluffy and Fido are both obsessed with chasing that little red dot. Now there are gadgets that allow you to play with your dog or cat remotely, by controlling a laser pointer with your smartphone. You can also speak to your pet through these gadgets. Some even allow you to dispense treats!

Microchip Feeders

Another way to spoil your furry buddy is with a microchip feeder. This feeder will only open when the pet wearing a specific collar tag comes into range. This is great for people with pets that steal each other’s food!

Interactive Toys

Dogs and cats love to jump and chase after things. There are now toys that move with your four-legged friend, making playtime both more fun and more challenging.

Laptop Scratching Pad

Does your kitty have a habit of walking across your keyboard? Give your pet her own ‘computer’ by getting her a laptop scratching pad.

Interactive Ball Launchers

You may have heard of mechanical ball launchers, which are definitely one of Fido’s favorite modern toys. The interactive ball launcher is a bit different in that it will shoot a mini-tennis ball from one of several holes. Your pup will never know which direction the ball will be launched in, which makes it extra fun for him.

Remote-Controlled Mouse

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your feline friend may not be able to resist ‘hunting’ a robotic mouse. Of course, Fluffy is a bit old-fashioned, and will never outgrow her love for cardboard boxes or paper grocery bags.

Is your dog or cat due for an exam, vaccines, or parasite control? Please contact us, your vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.

Acetaminophen Poisoning and Your Pet

Acetaminophen is an extremely common pain reliever and can easily be obtained over the counter. It’s probably in your home right now! Acetaminophen can be toxic to our animal companions, so it’s important to be aware of the danger so that you can take quick action in a worst-case scenario.

In this article from your local veterinarian, you’ll find out why acetaminophen poisoning occurs, what it looks like, and how to deal with it and prevent the problem in the first place.

How Does Acetaminophen Poisoning Occur?

Generally, pets are poisoned by acetaminophen in two ways: by gaining access to a medication that contains it and ingesting that medication, or by being unintentionally overdosed when an owner gives their pet acetaminophen in an attempt to help relieve pain.

Dogs are more commonly diagnosed with acetaminophen poisoning than cats, but our feline friends are at risk nonetheless. The smaller the pet, the greater the danger, since the amount of acetaminophen ingested reaches toxic levels faster in a smaller animal.

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of acetaminophen poisoning will usually manifest in a pet a few hours after ingestion. Symptoms include rapid or labored breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, swelling around the face, neck, or limbs, discolored gums, dark urine, jaundice, and—if treatment isn’t started quickly—coma or death.

What Do I Do if My Pet Ingests Acetaminophen?

If you know or even suspect that your pet has ingested a medication containing acetaminophen, take them to the nearest veterinary emergency room as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is started, the better chance your pet has of making a full recovery.

Possible steps that a veterinary team might take to treat a pet suffering from acetaminophen poisoning include induced vomiting, flushing of the stomach, and the administration of activated charcoal to absorb the remaining toxin in the stomach. In severe cases, blood transfusions might be needed. Intravenous fluid therapy may also be necessary to keep your pet hydrated and maintain their electrolyte levels. After recovery, an extended hospital stay might be needed to assess your pet’s progress.

How Can I Prevent Poisoning?

Clearly, preventing acetaminophen poisoning in the first place is your best option. Do this by keeping any and all medications out of your pet’s reach, and never give your pet a painkiller meant for humans.

Does your pet need an appointment? Call us, your local vet clinic, today!

Raising a Friendly Kitten

Have you recently adopted a kitten? Congratulations! Little Fluffy will waste no time in gaining control of your household. Our feline overlords certainly have a way of melting our hearts … and getting us to completely spoil them. While there’s nothing wrong with pampering your adorable pet, you still need to teach your little ball of fur some manners. Read on as a Downey, CA vet offers some helpful tips on raising a polite kitty.

Playtime Petiquette

Kittens, as we all know, are basically tiny little predators in adorable packages. Your furball will be very focused on sorting out how all of those teeth and claws are supposed to work. She may try to practice on you. This is adorable now, while your pet is tiny, but it’s best to nip that habit in the bud. It won’t be cute or charming in a full-grown cat! Don’t tempt Fluffy to pounce on your toes or fingers. When you play with her, use playthings that you can control, like wand toys.

Just Say No

While no one is sure how much human language cats understand, it’s probably safe to say that Fluffy can learn a few simple phrases, such as ‘Get down from there’ and ‘What are you doing in there?’ If your kitty scratches you, tell her to ‘Play nice’ or ‘Put your claws away.’ Say this in a disapproving tone, and then immediately walk away and ignore her for a while. Just be sure to use the same phrase each time.

Socialization

Part of little Fluffy’s socialization entails introducing her to new people, so she develops an open mind. Have some people come over to pet and play with your kitten, and give her treats and cuddles.

Cuddles and Love

Providing your pint-sized pet with comfy beds, good food, a clean litterbox, and proper veterinary care will help keep her happy and healthy. It’s also important to spend a lot of time with your kitten, and make sure she feels loved and safe. Talk to her, pet her, handle her claws, and brush her gently, so she gets used to being handled. Also, let little Fluffy doze off in your arms or on your lap. There are few things more precious than purring kittens!

As your Downey, CA vet clinic, we look forward to serving all of your kitten’s veterinary care needs. Contact us today!

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. This is one cause that we are always happy to support! While we love seeing any animal go to a good home, shelter dogs really need help. Read on as a Norwalk, CA vet discusses adopting shelter dogs.

Benefits

There are many reasons to consider adopting a shelter dog. First and foremost, you’ll be giving that one special pooch a new lease on life. That’s a truly beautiful and rewarding act of kindness, and a great way to find your four-legged friend. You’ll also be promoting good animal welfare, as this is a more responsible choice than going through a breeder or pet store. Plus, you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of adorable furry faces. No matter what kind of dog you want, you’ll likely find the perfect match in a shelter!

Preparations

Before you bring your pooch home, you’ll need to pick up some doggy supplies. Your shopping list should include food, treats, toys, bedding, a crate, dishes, grooming supplies, waste baggies, a leash, and a harness or collar. If you don’t know what size or breed you’re getting, then hold off until you’ve chosen Fido, as you’ll need that information to pick the right products. You’ll also want to do some petproofing. Remove or secure anything that could be dangerous, such as toxic plants; plastic bags; wires and cords; household, garden, and automotive chemicals; and anything small or sharp. If you have a yard, make sure that your fencing is secure. We also recommend getting a self-latching gate.

Tail Wags And Happy Dances

The day you bring Fido home will be life-changing for both of you. Just keep in mind that your new pet may need time to adjust. He may also need some more training. Don’t be surprised if your canine pal sleeps a lot, especially at first. Being in a shelter is very scary and stressful for dogs, so your pup may need time to just relax and recoup. A trip to the vet’s is definitely in order. Otherwise, just focus on getting to know your furry buddy, and offering him top-notch care. With love, patience, and great TLC, you’ll have that cute tail going in no time!

Please call us, your Norwalk, CA vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care. We’re here to help!

Making Your Yard Dog-Safe

Do you have a yard for your pup to play in? Fido should live indoors with his humans, but he does enjoy getting outside to enjoy some sunlight and fresh air. However, our canine buddies do have a knack for getting into trouble, so you’ll need to make sure that your property is safe for your dog. A Downey, CA vet offers some advice on how to do that in this article.

Fencing

Sturdy fencing is an absolute must. Fido has definitely been known to jump over fences so he can go on doggy adventures. The height you’ll need will depend on how big your pup is, of course. A Chihuahua probably isn’t going to jump a four-foot fence, but a boxer might. If you know or suspect that your furry buddy may try to dig out under the fence, bury chicken wire along it and weight it down with rocks.

Pools

If you have a pool, you’ll need to take some precautions. First and foremost, make sure Fido knows where the stairs are, so he can get out if he falls in. It’s also a good idea to fence the pool off when it’s not being used. This goes double for people with senior dogs, small dogs, pups with vision and/or mobility problems, and, of course, dogs that can’t swim.

Plants

Check your yard carefully, and remove any toxic and/or dangerous plants by the root. Sago palms are a big concern here. Foxtail grasses are also a big hazard. You can find a full list of safe and unsafe plants at the ASPCA website here.

Doggy Basics

Fido should always have shade, shelter, and water outdoors, even if he’s only going to be outside for a little while. If your property is out in the open and doesn’t have many trees, put a tarp up to provide shade.

Pupgrade

Want to get some extra tail wags? Give your pooch a doghouse to hang out in. Or, Fido may enjoy having a sandbox for burying toys and treats, or a kiddie pool to splash around in. You can also incorporate some fun outdoor toys, such as flirt poles and tug toys. Pet fountains are also a big hit with our canine pals.

Please reach out to us, your local Downey, CA vet clinic, for your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are always here to help!

6 Ways To Tell If Your Cat Is Healthy

September is Happy, Healthy Cat Month! While Fluffy should be happy and healthy all year, this is a great time to pay her a little extra attention. Actually, it’s not always easy to tell if a cat isn’t feeling well. Our feline friends can be tough to read! In this article, a Downey, CA vet lists some signs that your kitty is in good health.

Clean Bill Of Health

First things first: the best way to find out for sure if your feline pal is healthy is to keep up with her veterinary appointments. Regular exams will help your vet keep a close eye on your cute pet’s health. This also makes it more likely that any developing issues will be caught—and therefore treated—early on, which can be extremely beneficial.

Appearance

Fluffy should have clear, bright eyes, and her fur should be soft, clean, and flea-free. Ideally, she should be neither overweight nor underweight. You also shouldn’t see any discharge from her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Purrsonality

Kitties are known for being frisky and playful. If Fluffy just can’t resist chasing that little red dot or batting at that wand toy, she’s probably feeling pretty good. Your furball may also have a bit of a ‘cattitude,’ and may meow at you to demand that you pet her or pick her up, or sometimes just to argue.

Good Appetite

Healthy animals have healthy appetites. While Fluffy can be pretty finicky, she will let you know if she simply doesn’t like what you offered her. Your furry pal’s water intake should also be fairly consistent. Follow your vet’s recommendations.

No Litterbox Woes

While changing the litterbox isn’t the best part of having a cat, it can be useful as well as necessary. Pay attention to your pet’s litterbox contents. It’s a good sign if you don’t see anything unusual. You can also try a litter that will change color if something is wrong. Ask your vet for more information.

Curiosity

Our feline buddies are very inquisitive little furballs, and love to investigate, well, everything and anything. If Fluffy is constantly checking out boxes or paper bags, and sniffing at items you’ve brought home, she’s likely doing well.

Please reach out to us, your local Downey, CA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!