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.

What Happens During Your Pet’s Teeth Cleaning


What Happens During Your Pet's Teeth Cleaning

To safeguard the comfort and health of their teeth, gums, and bodies, pets need dental care just like people do! This usually includes a combination of at-home care and professional dental cleanings with a veterinarian.

What to Expect During a Pet Dental Appointment

For your pet’s comfort and safety, pet dental cleanings and examinations take place while pets are fully sedated under general anesthesia. Depending on your pet’s breed, age, medical history, and veterinary records, we might recommend running a diagnostic blood test before your pet’s dental appointment to ensure their liver and kidneys are healthy enough to efficiently process the general anesthesia medications.
If your pet’s lab results are good, we can begin the pet dental appointment by administering a sedative to help your pet relax before we administer the general anesthetic via IV. This anesthetic ensures your pet feels no pain and experiences zero stress during their dental exam and cleaning and also makes it easier for our veterinarian to thoroughly examine and clean your pet’s teeth and gums. We use state-of-the-art equipment to monitor your pet’s vital signs to ensure safety and comfort throughout the examination.
Other than general anesthesia, a pet dental cleaning and exam is similar to a human’s dental appointment. We scale and polish our patient’s teeth, examine the gums for signs of gum disease, and look for signs of any other potential problems such as cavities, broken teeth, or infections. At this time, we might also take a set of digital dental x-rays to screen for problems that might not be visible to the naked eye, such as issues happening inside your pet’s teeth or below the gum line.
If any serious issues are found, such as severe tooth decay, broken teeth, or abscesses, our veterinarian will take steps to resolve the problems during the dental appointment.
Once your pet’s teeth are cleaned and the examination is complete, we wake your pet from general anesthesia and monitor them closely in recovery. Pets usually return home the same day. We might recommend feeding your pet a soft diet for a few days following their dental cleaning and might also prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication.

Comprehensive Pet Dentistry in San Diego

At Pacific Pet Hospital, we provide comprehensive dental services to cats and dogs and also provide pet parents with education regarding caring for their pets’ teeth at home between professional dental cleanings and exams.
To learn more about pet dentistry or to schedule a dental appointment for your dog or cat, we welcome you to contact our office 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.

How to Keep Your Pet Calm During Veterinary Visits

How to Keep Your Pet Calm During Veterinary Visits

When you have a pet who gets really stressed and scared visiting the vet, it’s not only tough on your pet, but it’s tough on you, too! As a result, fearful pets often don’t receive all the wellness and preventative veterinary care they need to stay healthy.
If your pet gets stressed, consider the following tips and contact our veterinary clinic for more information about how we can help you get your pet the care they need.

6 Tips for Calmer Veterinary Visits

1. Get Friendly and Familiar With the Veterinary Clinic

We welcome pets to stop by our office when they don’t have an appointment to get a few pats, snuggles, and treats to help create positive associations.

2. Use Calming Pheromones

Calming pheromone products for cats and dogs can be highly effective at reducing stress and anxiety. Use these products in your pet’s carrier and in your car on the way to the veterinary clinic.

3. Carrier and Car Ride Training

Get your pet used to spending time in their carrier and riding in the car. Be sure to take your dog or cat out for plenty of rides that don’t end with a needle poke at the veterinary clinic. This way, they won’t associate riding in the car with unpleasant experiences.

4. Positive Reinforcement

Bring lots of treats and give your pet lots of praise for getting into their carrier, riding in the car, and going into the veterinary clinic. This helps create positive experience for your pet, making them less fearful of the veterinarian.

5. Book Early Appointments and Limit Wait Time

We recommend anxious pets come at the beginning of the day for their appointments when there will be fewer animals in our office. Additionally, refrain from arriving very early to reduce the actual amount of time your pet is inside the clinic.

6. Anti-Anxiety Medications

For highly stressed pets, we can often prescribe a sedative that your pet can take before visiting our office.

7. Virtual Veterinary Appointments

While we don’t recommend always visiting the veterinarian virtually, telemedicine is an option for anxious pets to be seen by a veterinarian.

Telemedicine, Stress-Free Vet Visits, and Cat Comfort Exams in Chula Vista

At Pacific Pet Hospital, we provide cat comfort exams and can help our canine patients have calmer veterinary visits, too. To learn more about anti-anxiety medications, telemedicine for your pet’s examination, and additional steps we can take to simplify visiting the veterinarian, we welcome you to contact our office today.

National Pet Hydration Awareness Month


Water and Your Pet: National Pet Hydration Awareness Month

The summer months mean warmer weather and more days spent playing at the beach, and who doesn’t love taking their dog to splash in the waves? However, the warm weather and the ocean present two potential problems for pets: dehydration (and subsequent heatstroke) and water intoxication. Both are serious health concerns and can be fatal.
During National Pet Hydration Awareness Month in July, our veterinarians are spreading awareness about the importance of proper pet hydration. Keeping your pets hydrated by providing plenty of cool, fresh water can help prevent dehydration, heatstroke, and water intoxication which can all be fatal.
To safely have fun with your pets this summer, keep them hydrated and learn to recognize the signs of both dehydration and water intoxication.

Signs of Dehydration in Pets

Your pet might be dehydrated if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive panting
  • Appetite loss
  • Sunken eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of skin elasticity
Dehydration is a medical emergency and can be fatal if left unaddressed.
Your pet’s body contains 80% water! That’s a way bigger percentage than humans who are about 60% water. So, your pets need to drink a lot to stay hydrated in warm weather. You can help your pet stay hydrated by providing plenty of fresh, cool drinking water. Consider purchasing a pet water fountain to encourage drinking or adding broth ice cubes for an enticing flavor your pet will love.

Signs of Water Intoxication

Water intoxication occurs when the ratio of water to salt in your pet’s bloodstream becomes unbalanced. Water intoxication can happen when pets drink too much water (hyponatremia) or ingest too much salt (hypernatremia).
Mild signs and symptoms include:
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Dilated pupils and glazed eyes
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pale gums
Severe signs and symptoms include:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
Water intoxication is a medical emergency, as it can be fatal without prompt treatment.
When you visit the beach, be sure to bring plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink and carefully monitor how much saltwater your pet might be taking in.

Learn More About Keeping Your Pet Safe This Summer

To learn more about the importance of proper pet hydration and electrolyte balance, we encourage you to talk with our veterinarians in Chula Vista. To schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact Pacific Pet Hospital 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.

The Number One Cause of Pet Scratching – Allergies!


The Number One Cause of Pet Scratching - Allergies!

We all know the telltale signs of allergies in people: runny noses, watery eyes, sneezing, and redness. Like people, dogs and cats can suffer from allergies, too. However, the most common signs and symptoms in pets tend to look a little different than they do in people.
Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of allergies in pets means you’ll be able to spot them in your own pets and help them get treatment and relief if needed.

4 Signs and Symptoms of Allergies in Pets

1. Itching and Scratching

Persistent scratching and itchiness is the most common sign of allergies in pets. A pet with allergies might keep you (and himself) awake at night with all the scratching, biting, licking, and head shaking.

2. Skin and Coat Problems

Pet allergies also frequently cause allergic dermatitis that causes a variety of skin and coat problems. You might notice that your pet has developed a rash, hot spots, scabbing, or swelling around their face or paws. They might also start to lose fur, and develop bald patches.

3. Frequent Ear & Skin Infections

Pets with allergies tend to suffer from frequent ear and/or skin infections. These can be complicated with fungal or bacterial infections, and in addition to your pet’s discomfort, you might notice a foul odor coming from your pet’s infected ears or skin.

4. Respiratory Issues

Like in people, allergies in pets can also cause respiratory issues. Pets with allergies might have nasal congestion or discharge coming from their noses. They can also experience respiratory problems like asthma that lead to wheezing and difficulty breathing. Breathing troubles in pets are serious and dangerous. They should be immediately addressed by a veterinarian.

If Your Pet has these Symptoms, Schedule an Allergy Evaluation for Your Pet With Our Veterinarian in Chula Vista

If you notice any signs or symptoms of allergies in your dog or cat, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Pacific Pet Hospital. We’ll talk with you about your pet’s symptoms and any patterns you notice to try to determine whether your pet’s suffering from environmental, seasonal, food, or flea allergies. We can then provide you with a variety of treatment options designed to treat your pet’s symptoms and even alleviate allergies altogether.
To learn more about pet allergies, we welcome you to contact our Chula Vista animal hospital today.