Signs Your Dog Might Have Heartworms


Signs Your Dog Might Have Heartworms

Pets become infected with heartworms when they are bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae. The larvae travel through the pet’s bloodstream to the heart where they live, grow, mature, and reproduce. While cats can become infected with heartworms, they are not natural hosts. Heartworm disease is much more serious and severe in dogs who are natural hosts for heartworm parasites.

What Is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is the name for the physical symptoms and damage caused by heartworm parasites when they have infected an animal.

Signs and Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Early on, heartworm disease often has no signs or symptoms or only very mild ones. The symptoms of heartworm disease vary, growing more severe as the case becomes more advanced.
There is no cure for heartworm disease in cats. Dogs infected with heartworms can be surgically treated to remove the parasites, but this treatment is invasive and often unreliable. As a result, heartworm disease in dogs and cats is often fatal, and the need for preventative treatments are essential to protecting your pet’s health.

How to Prevent Your Pet From Getting Heartworms

You can protect your pet from heartworms by minimizing your pet’s exposure to mosquitos. However, the best way to prevent your pet from contracting these parasites is with a heartworm preventative medication.
Heartworm preventatives are only available by prescription from your veterinarian because dogs must first be screened for heartworms before receiving a preventative. Administering a heartworm preventative to a dog that’s already infected can be fatal.

Heartworm Prevention With Our San Diego Veterinarians

At Pacific Pet Hospital, we take parasite prevention seriously. We recommend annual heartworm screening for dogs and year-round protection. When it comes to heartworm prevention, there are a variety of medications available, and our veterinarians can help you determine the one that’s best for your dog and your lifestyle.
To learn more about heartworm disease and parasite prevention or to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact us today.

Treat Your Dog With These Fruits and Vegetables


Treat Your Dog With These Fruits and Vegetables

Feeding your dog a diet that includes high-quality, veterinarian-recommended pet food should provide all of the nutrients and calories that your pet needs to stay healthy. Treating, however, can be a fun way to enrich your pet’s life and strengthen the bond you have together. You can treat your pet with high-quality, healthy pet treats purchased from a pet supply store, or you can experiment with some of the fresh fruits and vegetables you have on hand in your kitchen.
Although many of the foods people eat are toxic for pets, some of our favorite fruits and vegetables can actually be used to liven up your pet’s taste buds and used as treats for your dog.

25 Fruits and Veggies That Are Safe for Your Dog to Eat

The following fruits and vegetables are safe for your dog to eat. To create extra-special treats, try experimenting by pairing these ingredients with all-natural peanut butter (double-check that yours doesn’t contain any xylitol), and you can try freezing your homemade treats, too!

Always Treat Safely! 15 Human Foods That Are Toxic to Pets

Many of the foods that humans eat are toxic and dangerous for pets to ingest. When treating your pet, avoid these:

Nutritional Counseling at Pacific Pet Hospital

When trying out new foods with your pet, always keep a close eye on how their digestive system reacts. Although something might not be toxic for your pet, it doesn’t mean they’ll like eating it or digest it well. Additionally, make sure that the treats you give your pet make up no more than 10% of their daily calory intake to avoid over-feeding, weight gain, and all the health problems that come with obesity.
To learn more about creating a healthy, fun, and balanced diet for your dog, we welcome you to talk with a veterinarian at Pacific Pet Hospital today.

How to Keep Your Pet Warm on Winter Walks


How to Keep Your Pet Warm on Winter Walks

January is National Walk Your Pet Month. Even though, in the northern hemisphere, it’s one of the coldest months and the time when you least want to play outside. Despite the blustery weather, dogs still need to go outside for bathroom breaks and exercise. Consider the following tips to keep your dog warm and safe on winter walks.

6 Tips for Warm Winter Walks with Your Dog

1. Shorter More Frequent Walks

If your dog’s sensitive to the cold, consider going for shorter walks more frequently throughout the day. They’ll still get the same amount of exercise, but you and your dog will be able to warm up inside in between.

2. Add a Sweater

If your dog has short fur or is sensitive to the cold, they can wear a sweater or winter jacket that will insulate them against the cold. Just make sure the apparel is dry before going outdoors and never leave a pet unattended while wearing a piece of clothing.

3. Consider Your Dog's Breed

Some breeds are better suited to cold weather than others. For example, Siberian huskies and Alaska malamutes can tolerate cold better than chihuahuas or Dobermans.

4. Stay Dry

Even in relatively warm winter weather, a wet dog can get cold. During the winter, it’s best to keep your pet from getting wet on walks and playtime outdoors. During the winter, bathe yoru pets indoors only and make sure their fur is completely dry before heading out to play.

5. Wash Paws

If you and your dog visit any areas with freezing weather, be mindful of antifreeze, ice melt, and sidewalk salt. When pets go for walks, these substances can get stuck to their paws. Then, dogs might lick them off. These contain toxins that can be irritating to paws and very harmful if ingested. Be sure to wash and dry your pet’s paws first thing after you come inside from a frosty winter walk.

6. Too Cold for You Is Too Cold for Your Pet

The idea that cats or dogs have more resistance to the cold than people just because they wear natural fur coats is not accurate. If it’s too cold outside for you, then it’s too cold for your pet. Try to minimize time outside in extreme weather and find ways to stay active indoors.

Schedule a Winter Checkup at Pacific Pet Hospital

Whether or not you plan to visit any snowy states with your pet this winter, it’s important to keep regular wellness in check. Schedule your pet’s annual preventative care appointment to ensure all of their vaccines are current and they’re well-prepared for the beginning of parasite season which will be here before we know it.

How to Have a Safe Halloween With Your Pet

How to Have a Safe Halloween With Your Pet

Halloween is just around the corner. While you might love a fun scare from time to time, it’s important to take a few steps to make sure your pets will be safe on the ghostly, ghoulish holiday.

5 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe on Halloween

1. Store Treats Safely

Chocolate, raisins, certain nuts, and the artificial sweetener, xylitol are all highly toxic to pets. Make sure all of your treats are stored safely out of your pet’s reach.

2. Be Mindful of Dangerous Decorations

Halloween decorations can create a dangerous environment for pets. String lights create the danger of electrocution. Glow sticks and fake blood are poisonous for pets. Bouncy ball eyeballs could pose a choking risk. Fake cobwebs can entangle pets, and some decorations might simply just be scary for pets.

3. Be Careful About Pet Costumes

Everyone loves a dog or cat in a cute Halloween costume. Be sure you choose a costume that your pet likes, too.
Be mindful of headpieces and hoods that might cover your pet’s ears, as these will make them uncomfortable and could cause anxiety. It’s also important to choose a costume that doesn’t have parts that your pet could chew off and accidentally choke on.
Additionally, for the safest experience, never leave your pet unattended while they’re wearing a costume.

4. Create a Stress-Free Retreat

Whether you’re hosting a party or opening the door to trick-or-treaters, all the noise, costumes, and general commotion can trigger stress and anxiety in pets.
Keep your pets inside on Halloween – do not leave them out in the yard. (This is especially important with cats and black cats, particularly.) If you need to take them out to the bathroom, make sure they are secure on a leash.
Provide your pets with a safe, quiet space in a closed-off room in your house where they have everything they need to be calmly away from the bustle.

5. Tags and Microchips

Frightened, anxious pets often flee in fear, bursting out the front door or pushing their way through a window screen. Make sure your pet’s collar tags are up-to-date and, if you haven’t already, get your pet a microchip before Halloween arrives.

Schedule a Microchipping Appointment at Pacific Pet Hospital

If your pet does not yet have permanent identification in the form of a microchip, we strongly encourage you to schedule a microchipping appointment at Pacific Pet Hospital before Halloween arrives. To learn more, we welcome you to contact us today.

Beach Safety for Dogs — 7 Tips and Tricks

Beach Safety for Dogs — 7 Tips and Tricks

It’s summer, and everyone loves spending a fun day at the beach. Whether you go for walks, play fetch, or take a swim with your dog, consider the following tips to make sure your dog has just as much fun as you do!

7 Tips and Tricks for Safe Day at the Beach With Your Dog

1. Pick a Dog-Friendly Beach

Dogs aren’t welcome at all beaches. Make sure you visit a beach that allows dogs.

2. Pack Smartly

Bring everything your pet needs to stay safe and healthy during a day in the sunshine:

3. Watch What They Drink

Watch your dog closely to makes sure they aren’t lapping up the seawater which can put them at risk of dehydration or – even worse – salt poisoning.

4. Learn to Swim in a Safer Spot

Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Before you take your dog to the ocean, make sure he likes the water and can swim in a safer place like a swimming pool, pond, or lake.

5. Protect From the Sun

Dogs – especially those with short hair – are at risk of sunburn. Apply a dog-safe sunscreen liberally to your dog, concentrating on the ears and nose where they’re most susceptible to burns.

6. Dangerous Items Hide in the Sand

Be wary of broken glass, fishing hooks, and other dangerous items that can be hiding in the sand. Be sure to check your dog’s paws throughout the day and after you leave and/or have him wear a pair of dog booties to protect his paws at the beach from hot sand and dangerous items.

7. Rinse Off

Salt can irritate your dog’s skin and coat. Thoroughly rinse your dog’s fur when you’re finished splashing in the waves.

Keep Your Dog Safe With Regular Wellness and Preventative Care

To keep your dog safe at the beach and everywhere else they go in life, make sure you keep up with their wellness and preventative care appointments at Pacific Pet Hospital in Chula Vista. We’ll ensure they’re properly protected from parasites and contagious diseases. Plus, we’ll ensure your pet has proper identification at the beach by talking with you about microchipping your pets.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today.

Tips to Protect Your Pets for National Lost Pet Prevention Month

Tips to Protect Your Pets for National Lost Pet Prevention Month

With the fireworks, camping, and travel associated with Independence Day celebrations, it’s easy for pets to get scared and disoriented, run off, and get lost. In fact, more pets go missing on July 4th in the United States than on any other day of the year. That’s why July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month. To keep your pets safe this Fourth of July, consider the following pet safety tips.

5 Pet Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

1. Keep Pets Indoors

On July 4th, make sure your pets are safe and secure inside well before the fireworks start. Be sure to let them out to the bathroom while it’s still light outside and early enough that you’ll be able to find a calm window between the pops and bangs.

2. Check Collars and ID Tags

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with updated identification tags before the celebrations begin.

3. Get a Microchip

Collars and tags are great, but microchips are way better. Pet microchips are permanent identification for your pet, and they greatly increase the chances of being reunited with your dog or cat should they become lost.
If your pet is already microchipped and you’ve moved recently, check to make sure your information is up to date with your microchip registration company. If you aren’t certain, our veterinarians can scan your pet and check for you.

4. Drown Out the Sound

Although our pets’ ears are more sensitive than our own, you can help create a more calming atmosphere inside your house by playing music, turning on a white noise machine, or running a fan or an air purifier. This will help cover up the scary sounds of fireworks exploding all over the city.

5. Keep Your Pet Calm

You can also help calm a stressed pet with over-the-counter supplements or prescription sedatives from our veterinarians. Additionally, a thunder shirt (a sort of tight-fitting, harness-like vest) can help keep a dog calmer during stressful situations.

Protect Your Pets Every Day of the Year at Pacific Pet Hospital

If you have not yet had your dog or cat microchipped, there’s no better time than now. Microchips not only help to keep your pets safe on July 4th, but they protect them every day of the year. Our veterinarians at Pacific Pet Hospital in San Diego, welcome you to schedule an appointment to have your pet microchipped today.

Foxtail Dangers: Safety Tips for Hiking & Outdoor Exploration with Pets

Foxtail Dangers: Safety Tips for Hiking & Outdoor Exploration with Pets

With the continuing need to avoid crowded places to promote public health and safety, more and more people are spending their free time recreating with their pets in the great outdoors. Whether you drive to the ocean shore, the lake, or take a hike in the hills, you’ll be doing your best to keep you and your dogs safe from COVID-19, but you might be exposing your pets to other, more wild dangers like heat exhaustion and exposure to fleas and ticks. One of the lesser-known, but more common risks of outdoor recreation that you should be aware of before loading up your pets and heading out into the great unknown are foxtails.

What Are Foxtails and Where Do They Grow?

Grasslike weeds, foxtails grow in abundance every spring and summer. You’ll find them in just about every untended (and even in some well-tended) grassy areas. They grow in fields, brushy areas, meadows, the wilderness, and even sprout up in sidewalk cracks.

How Can a Foxtail Be Dangerous for a Pet?

Foxtail seeds have a fishhook-like shape. Unfortunately, these seeds are also the perfect shape for sticking to a dog’s fur. Foxtail seeds can get stuck in dogs’ fur, between their toes, in their ears, up their noses, in and around their mouths, and even on their eyelids. With their sharp design, the seeds expertly burrow into the pet’s skin and have been known to work their way into the body. Left unattended, errant foxtails stuck to a dog can lead to serious problems, like infection, punctured lungs, or other organ damage.

Foxtail Safety and Prevention

The best way to prevent your pet from picking up foxtails is to avoid them. Trim your yard. When hiking, keep your dog away from the brush. (This will help prevent parasites, too!) Brush your pet after outdoor play and inspect them for foxtails. Check between the toes on each paw, legs, bellies, face, mouth, eyes, ears, and tail.

Signs Your Pet's Suffering from a Foxtail Barb

Symptoms of foxtail irritation differ depending on where the barb is embedded.
If you’re worried your pet might have an embedded foxtail, we encourage you to contact Pacific Pet Hospital right away. Our Chula Vista veterinarian will promptly remove the foxtail to prevent any complications.