Category Archives: The Pet Page

Vol. 15, No. 05 – Dec 1 – Dec 14, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Three upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, December 7th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015, a second clinic on Tuesday, December 14th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a third clinic at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Tuesday, December 21st.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

Before deploying, a canine disaster search team must first achieve state or federal certification.

∙Fourteen Search Dog Foundation (SDF) search teams achieve FEMA certification.
Before deploying, a canine disaster search team must first achieve state or federal certification. During the test, each handler and dog team searches two separate rubble or debris piles, being allowed 20 minutes to complete each, showing teamwork, strategy, and, most importantly, trust in each other. After initial certification, each team must re-certify every three years to ensure they are up-to-date and ready to respond when needed.

Despite the disruption in testing scheduling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 14 SDF-trained search teams and many others across the nation achieved certification in the last six months.

Now, these teams can deploy with their task forces when needed in the aftermath of a disaster. None of this would be possible without you, and folks like you, who help these dogs not only go from rescued shelter dogs to rescuers but who also support partnered search teams in their training, ensuring they are ready when called upon to help others.

∙ Mark your calendar! The 10th annual Purrs & Paws Holiday Boutique and Marketplace is scheduled to return on Saturday, Dec. 4, for a day filled with holiday spirit, shopping and fun!
This event, organized by the Humane Society of Ventura County’s Animal Ambassadors, will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chaparral Auditorium and adjacent lawn at 414 E. Ojai Ave. in Ojai. Admission and parking are free.

Among the more than 30 vendors, you will find fun, festive and unique crafts, artistic creations and vintage items. This is a perfect opportunity to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts including fashion accessories, jewelry, gift baskets, fabric creations, pottery, baby items, bath and body products, plants and an array of unique holiday décor.

All proceeds from this charity event will benefit the Humane Society of Ventura County.
If you are interested in being a vendor, please email

The Humane Society of Ventura County is a nonprofit, compassionate care shelter dedicated to the protection and adoption of animals in need throughout Ventura County. For more information, visit

∙ The fossil of a jawbone could prove that domesticated dogs lived in Central America as far back as 12,000 years ago, according to a study by Latin American scientists. The dogs, and their masters, potentially lived alongside giant animals, researchers say. A 1978 dig in Nacaome, northeast Costa Rica, found bone remains from the Late Pleistocene period.

Excavations began in the 1990s and produced the remains of a giant horse and a piece of jaw from what was originally thought to be a coyote skull. “We thought it was very strange to have a coyote in the Pleistocene, that is to say 12,000 years ago,” Costa Rican researcher Guillermo Vargas told AFP.

“When we started looking at the bone fragments, we started to see characteristics that could have been from a dog. So, we kept looking, we scanned it… and it showed that it was a dog living with humans 12,000 years ago in Costa Rica.”

The coyote is a relative of the domestic dog, although with a different jaw and more pointed teeth. “The dog eats the leftovers from human food. Its teeth are not so determinant in its survival,” said Vargas.

Costa Rican researcher Guillermo Vargas says the fossil sample could be the oldest evidence of a dog in the Americas “It hunts large prey with its human companions. This sample reflects that difference.”

Humans are believed to have emigrated to the Americas across the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska during the last great ice age.

“The first domesticated dogs entered the continent about 15,000 years ago, a product of Asians migrating across the Bering Strait,” said Raul Valadez, a biologist and zooarcheologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
The presence of humans during the Pleistocene has been attested in Mexico, Chile and Patagonia, but never in Central America, until now.

Originally published on Live Science.

∙ It’s flu season, but not just for people. As the warm weather dies down, the largest recorded outbreak of canine influenza is sweeping through Los Angeles County.

At the Santa Barbara Humane Society, its staff recently decided to vaccinate all the dogs at the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria locations.

The virus is similar to the common flu; causing coughing, sneezing and a lack of appetite.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services director of shelter medicine Ginger White has been keeping a close eye on the rapid transmission of this virus.

Veterinarians are advising all animal owners to be on the lookout for this highly contagious virus. “The only way to get a diagnosis is by seeing the veterinarian and having pretty specific swab testing done,” White said. “The test needs to be sent out to a laboratory, which can take a couple of days to get results.”

In order to slow down transmission, Marrie recommends that dogs that get sick spend a month in quarantine.

Vol. 15, No. 04 – Nov 17 – Nov 30, 2021 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs. Two upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, November 23rd at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036, and a second one on Tuesday, December 7th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ Of all the cute things dogs do, cocking their head to one side while they look at you may be the most endearing. Yet surprisingly little research has looked into why they do it. Now, a new study of “gifted” canines—those capable of quickly memorizing multiple toy names—shows they often tilt their heads before correctly retrieving a specific toy. That suggests the behavior might be a sign of concentration and recall in our canine pals, the team suggests.

The researchers stumbled upon their find by chance while conducting a study of “gifted word learner” dogs. Most dogs can’t memorize the names of even two toys, but these talented pups, all border collies, could recall and retrieve at least 10 toys they had been taught the names of. One overachiever named Whisky correctly retrieved 54 out of 59 toys he had learned to identify.

Over the course of several months, the researchers tested the dogs’ abilities to learn and recall labels for toys, comparing their skills with those of 33 “typical” dogs. Owners placed toys in another room and asked for them by name. Only the seven gifted dogs were able to rapidly learn and remember names. But these dogs shared something else in common: the head tilt.

The pattern was too consistent to be pure coincidence, says Andrea Sommese, an animal behavior researcher at Eötvös Loránd University who led the study. “So, we decided to dig into it.”

A quick internet search turned up plenty of speculative results positing that dogs tilt their heads to hear better, to listen for specific words or tones, or to see past their snouts. Sommese found one poster hypothesizing that shelter dogs do it more often because they know on some level that humans find it irresistible.

The scientific literature was much more sparse. A search for previous studies on head tilting yielded surprisingly few results. There were some veterinary papers about the practice as a symptom of certain health problems, Sommese says, but nothing about the quizzical behavior familiar to dog owners. That led researchers back to their own data to look for clues.

The scientists found that when asked to retrieve a toy gifted dogs cocked their heads 43% of them time over dozens of trials, compared with just 2% of the time in typical dogs, they report this week in Animal Cognition. (Although gifted dogs tilted their heads much more often, they were just as likely to retrieve the correct toy regardless of whether they made the motion.) The animals even had a favored side, just like humans favor their left or right hand. This was consistent over months of recordings, regardless of where the owner was standing in relation to the dog. “If a dog was a left tilter, it would stay a left tilter,” Sommese says.

All of the border collies in the study were familiar with the words being spoken, he notes, but only the gifted dogs who had correctly attached a meaning to each word consistently exhibited the tilting behavior. That means head tilting isn’t just a sign of familiarity with particular sounds, Sommese argues. If it were, all 40 dogs would be equally likely to do it. The team thinks it could be linked to mental processing—a sign of high attentiveness or concentration in the gifted dogs. The dogs might be cross-referencing the command with their visual memories of the toys, for instance.

Monique Udell, a human-animal interaction researcher at Oregon State University, Corvallis, has never seen head tilting featured in a study like this before. She cautions that these observations are preliminary, but says she thinks they could provide an exciting new direction for research on canine cognition. “The next step is asking more questions to get at what the head tilt really means,” Udell says. “Can we use head tilting to predict word-learning aptitude, or attention, or memory?”

Sommese hopes to follow up on this study by figuring out what sorts of sounds might be similarly meaningful to the nongifted dogs, to elicit the same behavior. Until then, dog owners will have to be content knowing that when a pooch tilts its head, it’s probably just trying its best to understand what you’re doing.

∙Through grocery store tabloids and TV commercials inundating us with new fad diets it seems that we, as humans, are constantly focusing on our weight. But what about when it comes to where our feline friends fall on the scales?

Dr. Ashley Navarrette, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, offers insight on how to manage your cat’s weight.

“When evaluating body condition on a cat, veterinarians look and feel to determine the fat coverage on a patient and assign them a number on a scale –generally 1-9 –,” Navarrette said. “An ideal body condition ranges from a BCS 4-6 with a score of 5 being ideal. We start to get concerned when cats are a BCS 7 and above, which is where we start to label a patient as overweight and progressing toward obese (8 and 9).”

“Thankfully, most people can weigh their cats at home using the trick of weighing themselves first, weighing themselves and the cat, and then doing some simple math,” she said. “I recommend owners routinely check their cat’s weight at least once a month to catch any upward or downward trends early.”

Because patients typically only see their veterinarian one to two times a year, Navarrette says “it is heavily (no pun intended) the responsibility of the owner to keep their pet at an appropriate weight.”

Some owners may believe that a couple of extra pounds isn’t a big deal; however, Navarrette warns that that “fat and happy” does not exist. “While your pet may seem content being overweight, their body systems are being affect by the excess fat tissue and even so much as a pound overweight can make a big difference to a cat,” she said. “Cats that are overweight and obese tend to be less social and less active. We also tend to see decreased grooming because they simply cannot reach due to their size.”

In some cases, your veterinarian may also suggest transitioning your cat to an over-the-counter or a prescription weight-loss diet; these foods are traditionally higher in protein and fiber than other cat foods.

However, transitioning from one food to another can be a more difficult task than it sounds.

“Cats like what they like and hate what they hate” Navarrette said. “Often cats become accustomed to a particular diet, and you may have to trial various diets before your cat accepts one.”

Finally, when managing your cat’s weight, integrating exercise into their everyday life through indoor cat trees, interactive toys or cat perches can stimulate their metabolism.

“As with any weight loss journey, whether that be feline or other pets, this is a marathon and not a sprint. Weight loss will take time; patience and consistency are key to this process,” Navarrette said. “Check-ups may need to be as frequent as every six to eight weeks to monitor progress and make necessary modifications.”

Vol. 15, No. 03 – Nov 3 – Nov 16, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics are:
Tuesday, November 9th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a second at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Tuesday, November 16th.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ Jackie Rose Director VCAS stated “I am excited to announce that the Simi Valley Animal Shelter is, once again, fully open for all business, including pet adoptions! I am equally pleased to report that pet adoptions have steadily increased to match the expected rise of stray animals coming into our care.”

“As a reminder, adoption hours are 1:00pm – 6:00pm, Tuesday – Sunday, at both the Camarillo and Simi Valley locations. We encourage everyone to preview our dogs, cats, rabbits and other critters online prior to your visit. Also, please take a moment to review our new and improved adoption process which employs text messaging to reduce wait times and long lines.”

“Our staff and volunteers are here to answer questions and help make the best matches possible! Thank you for your continued support of our lifesaving efforts!”

∙ On Saturday, October 30, the HOWL-O-WEEN Dog Costume Contest was held in the Ventura Harbor Village for the first time since COVID. Over 70 adorable dogs participated, and every dog received a small goodie bag of pup prizes, plus five lucky dogs that were selected the most spookiest, most sea-worthy, cutest-prettiest, most creative and best in show took home grand prizes for winning their category including gift certificates from restaurants in the harbor including Margarita Villa, Le Petit Cafe, The Greek, Andria’s Seafood, Brophy Bros. and the Sugar Lab Bake Shop. The very large enthusiastic crowd roared their approval as each dog walked around the ring.

The dog entries went from Shiba Inus to Chihuahuas to most every other dog breed. Even a goat was entered but stayed home to eat more cans.

The judges, Breann Godeck from Coastal Cone, Sheldon (you know who that is) and TJ Mora from the Pet Barn had a very difficult time selecting the winners but managed to make their selections without getting into any fights.

Stacey Petrides was the outstanding MC (as she is every year) for the event and carefully called out each dog’s name and breed as they passed by and briefly interviewed each dog’s owner.
Music was provided by DJ Bennett as he played music that corresponded to the theme of the dog’s costume.

The judges were Breann Godeck, Sheldon Brown and TJ Mora. All photos by Richard Lieberman


Vol. 15, No. 02 – Oct 20 – Nov 2, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Three upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, November 2nd at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, a second clinic on Tuesday, November 9th at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a third clinic at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard on Tuesday, November 16th.

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙Are cats or dogs smarter? Both are domesticated, but is one smarter?

By Paula Schaap

Dog and cat owners make a lot of assumptions about their four-footed companions’ intelligence. Of course, we all like to imagine our Fido or Felix is the smartest animal ever to fetch — or pounce on — a ball. So, can we settle the age-old debate? Which species is smarter: dogs or cats?

Turns out, the answer isn’t as straightforward as pet lovers might like.

“Dog-cognition researchers do not study ‘intelligence’ per se; we look at different aspects of cognition,” Alexandra Horowitz, a senior research fellow who specializes in dog cognition at Barnard College in New York and the author of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” told Live Science.

In fact, Horowitz questions the human habit of comparing intelligence across species.

“At its simplest form, cats are smart at the things cats need to do, and dogs at dog things,” she said. “I don’t think it makes any sense at all to talk about relative ‘smarts’ of species.”

Brian Hare, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, agreed with that assessment. “Asking whether a dog is smarter than a cat is like asking whether a hammer is a better tool than a screwdriver — it depends on what it was designed for,” he told Live Science.

This is not to say that animal behavior researchers haven’t tried to measure dog and cat intelligence — or, more precisely, cognitive abilities beyond those needed to sustain life.

Kristyn Vitale, an assistant professor of animal health and behavior at Unity College in Maine, said animal intelligence is typically divided into three broad areas: problem-solving ability, concept formation (the ability to form general concepts from specific concrete experiences) and social intelligence.

Vitale primarily studies cats, and her current focus on the inner life of cats revolves around social intelligence. Often stereotyped as aloof and disinterested in humans, cats actually show a high degree of social intelligence, “often at the same level as dogs,” she told Live Science.

For example, studies show that cats can distinguish between their names and similar-sounding words, and they have been found to prefer human interactions to food, toys and scents. Human attention makes a difference to cats: A 2019 study published in the journal Behavioural Processes found that when a person paid attention to a cat, the cat responded by spending more time with that person.

In one of the rare studies directly comparing cats and dogs, researchers found no significant difference between the species’ ability to find hidden food using cues from a human’s pointing. However, the researchers noted that “cats lacked some components of attention-getting behavior compared with dogs.” (Pet owners who’ve watched a dog beg at its feeding bowl while a cat walked away know exactly what the researchers observed.)

Cats and dogs are intelligent in different ways.

Then, there’s brain size. A commonly held notion is that brain size dictates relative intelligence, and if that were always true, dogs would appear to prevail.

Hare said he and University of Arizona anthropologist Evan MacLean recruited more than 50 researchers around the world to apply a test they developed across 550 animal species, including “birds, apes, monkeys, dogs, lemurs and elephants,” he said.

The idea was to test one cognitive trait, self-control, or what researchers call “inhibitory control,” across species. Their test, reported in a 2014 paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was the animal version of the famous 1972 Stanford University study in which children ages 3 to 5 were tested on their ability to delay eating a marshmallow.

The cross-species study showed that “the bigger the brain an animal had, the more self-control they showed in our animal marshmallow test,” Hare said. The ability to exercise self-control is one of the indications of higher cognitive function.

But there is one catch: Cats weren’t included in the test, so while we can speculate how they might have performed based on their brain size, we don’t actually know.

Another thing to keep in mind when doing this kind of intelligence assessment is that we may treat dogs and cats differently, Vitale said.

So, ultimately, who wins? The takeaway may be to appreciate your pet’s particular kind of intelligence, especially the social intelligence that makes them delightful companions.

∙A new study conducted by Mars Petcare and published in The Veterinary Journal has shown that smaller breeds of dogs, such as Dachshunds and Toy Poodles, are generally more predisposed to periodontal disease than larger breeds, such as German Shepherds and Boxers.

For the study, researchers reviewed more than three million medical records from Banfield Pet Hospital across 60 breeds of dogs in the United States, finding that periodontal disease (both gingivitis and periodontitis) occurred in 18.2% of dogs overall (517,113 cases).

The authors say that while the true prevalence of periodontal disease (44-100% of cases) is only realized through in-depth clinical investigation, the figure reported in this study was consistent with other research based on conscious oral examinations.

When the authors reviewed the data by dog size, they found that extra-small breeds (<6.5 kg/14.3 lbs) were up to five times more likely to be diagnosed with periodontal disease than giant breeds

Additional risk factors for periodontal disease seen in the study included a dog’s age, being overweight and time since last scale and polish.

The five breeds with the highest prevalence of periodontal disease found in the study were the large Greyhound (38.7%), the medium-small Shetland Sheepdog (30.6%), and the extra-small Papillon (29.7%), Toy Poodle (28.9%), and Miniature Poodle (28.2%). Giant breed dogs (such as the Great Dane and Saint Bernard) were among the lowest breed prevalence estimates.

The authors say there are several potential reasons why smaller dogs are more likely to develop dental issues than larger dogs. For example, smaller dogs may have proportionally larger teeth, which can lead to tooth overcrowding and increased build-up of plaque leading to inflammation of gums. Smaller dogs also have less alveolar bone (the bone that contains tooth sockets) compared to their relatively large teeth.

Vol. 15, No. 01 – Oct 6 – Oct 19, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ Since 1992, the Spay and Neuter Animal Network, otherwise known as SPAN, has made it their mission to reduce dog and cat overpopulation throughout Ventura County by raising public awareness about the direct consequence of irresponsible breeding.

Today more than ever, responsible dog and cat owners like you play the most significant role in the solution to overpopulation by spaying and neutering your pets. SPAN shares in that responsibility by providing financial assistance to pet owners who would otherwise be unable to pay for this procedure.
SPAN is a highly regarded nonprofit and recognized for commitment to their mission and overall success. Over the last 30 years, SPAN has provided financial assistance for the spay and neuter of over 35,000 thousand dogs and cats.

“SPAN receives hundreds of requests for financial assistance every year. Our ability to help pet owners is directly related to our Thrift Store sales, Legacy gifts, and unrestricted cash donations. Thanks to our all-volunteer staff at SPAN, we are proud to say that 100% of our income is used towards spay and neuter procedures.” — SPAN Board of Directors
For more about SPAN, their mission, and opportunities to assist, please visit at
Shop the SPAN Thrift Store, located at 110 N. Olive St. Suite A Ventura (Please visit website for store hours). SPAN Thrift Store Phone: 805-641-1170

∙ Veterinary Viewpoint: Raising healthy puppies
Dr. Joanna Bronson

Lack of sleep is normal for new puppy owners. Puppies play hard, eat, and sleep. Potty training should rotate around any change in activity. Puppies will have to relieve themselves after playing, eating, and sleeping, and any other form of excitement, usually every hour for puppies a month old or younger.

Thankfully, the potty-training process usually goes smoothly when consistency is followed. There may still be occasional accidents, and during inclement weather, an indoor potty-training pad may come in handy. The important thing is not to punish the pup when an accident happens. He’s doing what nature tells him to do. Praising him when he does go outside is a good thing.

If an accident is discovered, and he is close by, pick him up, take him outside and walk a bit. Do not rub his nose in it his accident.

Any new puppy should be closely chaperoned inside and outside. New puppies want to chew anything in sight. Rocks, twigs, leaves, etc., all taste and crunch satisfactorily. Watch and remove any objects before they get lodged or swallowed.

Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, it’s best to avoid dog parks and contact with other dogs. If your puppy is small enough to carry, you may expose him to watching other animals, while keeping him safe from touch.

Puppies like to bite, you and everything in sight. Their teeth are horribly sharp. Exchange your flesh for a toy and trying to keep him occupied with appropriate chew toys, but make sure that toys cannot be easily dismantled and parts swallowed or get stuck in his mouth.

Also, be aware of poisonous substances and plants. Keep the garbage and all human food out of reach. Medications should always be kept out-of-sight. Electrical cords are very tempting to chewers and can be deadly through electrocution.

∙ Dr. Joanna Bronson of Bronson Veterinary Services,

Whether you’re a new dog owner or a seasoned pup parent, there’s always something new to learn about taking care of your pet.

Keep your dog on heartworm medication
Add extra water bowls around the house to prevent dehydration in older dogs
It’s best to make your older dog’s trip to the water bowl as short and easy as possible.
Making sure your older dog has constant access to water can help prevent dangerous dehydration.

If your dog has difficulty climbing stairs, it’s a good idea to keep their food and water bowls on the ground floor of the house.

Give your dog personal space if they need it. All dogs are different — some pets love to snuggle up, but others don’t like to be closely cuddled or held.

Long play sessions, active games, praise, and treats are all ways to show your dog that you love them without invading their personal space.

If you’re struggling to train your dog, miscommunication may be the problem.
Giving dogs inconsistent verbal cues can be confusing for them. For example, telling your dog to “go potty” one day and “go pee” the next can be confusing.

Instead, train your dog using the exact same word or phrase every time and try to keep those cues short, like saying “down” rather than “go lay down.”

Try to keep your dog’s diet consistent
Suddenly changing your dog’s food could upset their stomach or give them diarrhea.

Brush your dog’s teeth every day
Just like those of humans, dog’s teeth should be regularly brushed to avoid cavities and bad breath.
If you aren’t able to brush your dog’s teeth, talk to your vet about products that your dog can chew on to control tartar buildup.

Make and keep regular vet visits
Dogs can sometimes develop health problems that aren’t obvious to the untrained eye, so it’s important to schedule routine visits to the vet.
Regular checkups are also opportunities to monitor your dog’s dental health and keep them up-to-date on vaccinations, which can help you avoid costly interventions in the future.

Resist the urge to bend the rules, even on special occasions. For example, allowing your dog on the furniture as a treat but then scolding them for jumping on the sofa the next day can be very confusing, so try to establish clear house rules and stick to them.

Praise your dog for good behavior instead of scolding them when they’re naughty
Instead of scolding your dog for being afraid or nervous, try showering them with praise when they calm down or giving them a treat when they appropriately react to a stressful situation.

Just as humans may develop neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease as they grow older, our aging canine friends also can develop dementia, also referred to as canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS), a complex of behavioral and neurological symptoms the prevalence of which increases with age.

“Hurry up I need to go!” Savana

Vol. 14, No. 26 – Sept 22 – Oct 5, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
The upcoming clinics is Tuesday, September 28th at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ An Idaho Falls animal control officer reported finding an Alaskan Malamute inside a hot vehicle at the Grand Teton Mall. The dog’s owner is now charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and she pleaded not guilty.

When the animal control officer found the dog, they noted the outside air temperature at 80 degrees. The dog was lying down, panting and whining. A thermometer placed inside the car noted it was 98 degrees. Court documents do not indicate how long the dog had been left in the car.

Animal control took the dog to a vet clinic where they gave the dog fluids. The veterinarian who cared for the dog noted dog’s temperature had risen to over 103 degrees, which is far too hot for a Malamute.

About midway through treatment, the woman arrived at the clinic, paid the bill and the animal was returned to her. If convicted, the woman faces up to six months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

As the western United States and eastern Idaho faces record-breaking heat this summer first responders and health experts have issued warnings about how hot temperatures can reach in a car.

∙ By Amy Quinton | UC Davis
UC Davis leaders, veterinarians and California legislators have unveiled a new emergency program to help rescue animals in disasters. Called the California Veterinary Emergency Team and administered by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the program will support and train a network of government agencies, individuals and organizations to aid domestic animals and livestock during emergencies.

California is providing $3 million a year for the California Veterinary Emergency Team, under legislation authored by Sen. Steve Glazer and incorporated into the state budget recently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The program will be modeled after the UC Davis-led Oiled Wildlife Care Network, created in 1994 to mobilize volunteers and professionals to rescue and treat shorebirds and other wildlife that are injured during oil spills.

A primary goal of the new California Veterinary Emergency Team is to increase response capacity and help standardize disaster response across counties, bringing together disparate and fragmented groups. Currently, the California Animal Response Emergency System, or CARES, within the California Department of Food and Agriculture is charged with managing evacuation and care of animals during emergencies. They also work with community animal response teams and nonprofit organizations.

∙ Parents of a child with autism might wonder if a pet cat would be a good fit for the family. Now, research suggests both children with autism and cats benefit when a feline joins the household.

Gretchen Carlisle, a research scientist at the Missouri University Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, in Columbia, Mo., and her colleagues studied the pet dynamic from both sides.

“It’s not only important to examine how families of children with autism may benefit from these wonderful companion animals, but also if the relationship is stressful or burdensome for the shelter cats being adopted into a new, perhaps unpredictable environment,” Carlisle said in a university news release.

Carlisle’s team monitored shelter cats after being adopted by families with at least one child with autism. The cats were screened using a profile to identify those with a calm temperament. The researchers made home visits to check on the cats two to three days after adoption and every six weeks for 18 weeks.

To test cats’ stress, Carlisle’s group looked for levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the cats’ feces, and found it decreased over time, she said.

Kids on the autism spectrum may have sensitivity or sensory issues and occasional problem behaviors accompanied by loud, sudden outbursts, Carlisle said. Because of those concerns, screening cats for a calm, easy-going temperament may increase the odds of a better match.

This research may help animal shelter staff overcome the financial and management hurdles that can result when cats are returned to shelters if there is not a good fit with the adopted family, she noted.

“Obviously, the shelters want to place all of their cats in homes, but some families may require a more specific fit, and using research-based, objective measurements for screening temperament may help increase the likelihood of successful, long-term matches,” Carlisle said. “Our hope is that other scientists will build on the work of our exploratory study so shelter cats and families of children with autism might benefit.”

The report was published Sept. 6 in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

∙ Your Dog May Get Jealous Even if It Just Imagines You Petting Another Dog
David Nield

Nearly 4 in 5 dog owners report instances of jealousy from their pooches, and new research suggests those behaviors can be triggered even if a supposed rival for affection and attention is out of sight.
As we cannot quiz canines about their thoughts or feelings, the study is a useful insight into what might be going on inside a dog’s mind when it sees (or doesn’t see) something that it thinks it needs to be jealous of.

In humans, jealousy is thought to be closely linked to self-awareness, so the research also has something to say about whether or not dogs are actually aware of themselves .

Bastos and her colleagues ran exercises with 18 dogs, which looked on while their owners sat next to either a realistic-looking fake dog or a fleece cylinder. The fake dog acted as a rival for affection, and the cylinder acted as a control.

Once the dogs had observed the scene with their owners and the fake dog, a barrier was put up blocking the view of the fake dog but not the owner or the owner’s motions. Researchers then tipped the fake dog over and tapped the owner on the shoulder, signaling that they should pretend to pet and talk to the now-gone fake dog.

The owners were, in fact, petting a fleece-covered shelf at this point, an effort on the researchers part to avoid the owners providing any unconscious cues to the canine on how to react. Owners used generic phrases – “You are such a good dog!” – to avoid getting their pet excited.

The fake dog remained on the scene, too, but was located 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) from the owner, was always facing the owner, and within view of the actual dog.

Three human-like signatures of jealous behavior were observed. First, the behavior only emerged when a perceived social rival was involved, and second, it emerged even for out-of-sight interactions with this rival.

Thirdly, because the fake dog was either imagined to be present during the first scenario or was actually present even when the dog owners were petting the cylinder, the researchers could say that the jealous behavior happened as a consequence of the interaction and not just because of the presence of the other dog.

“These results support claims that dogs display jealous behavior,” says Bastos. “They also provide the first evidence that dogs can mentally represent jealousy-inducing social interactions.”

The research has been published in Psychological Science.

Vol. 14, No. 25 – Sept 8 – Sept 21, 2021 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics in September are:
Tuesday, September 21st at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main), and a second at Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 on Tuesday, September 28th.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ Are Cats Ticklish?
By Jennifer Nelson

Your cat is lying next to you on the couch pawing and playing when you decide to reach over and give her belly a little tickle. Wait, are cats ticklish? “Cats can be ticklish but, since they don’t laugh, they show it in different ways,” says Dr. Angelica Dimock, managing shelter veterinarian at Animal Humane Society.

“Ticklish areas include chin, cheeks, belly, and paws,” says Dr. Dimock. But other areas may seem like they are ticklish but have a medical explanation. If you pet a cat along its back in a certain spot, you may see its skin twitch. That’s not a ticklish reaction but rather it’s a nerve reflex. Dr. Dimock says the base of their tail is another spot that some cats react to and can seem like it’s a tickle spot, but again, it’s more like a reaction that they have an itch.

“Cats may be itchy due to fleas, allergies, skin infections, or a disease called feline hyperesthesia syndrome,” she says. Lastly, if you pet their tail base and they move their hips upward, this is a scent gland area, and they are marking you (or it could be an in-heat female who is looking for a mate!).

Tickling a cat may not be as fun for your cat as it is for humans. Cats can become aggressive if they don’t like the feeling of being tickled. If you do try a tickling session, knowing your cat’s warning signs when they’re not happy can help prevent any injuries if they become angry or aggressive. Some common warning signs include ears back, wide eyes, freezing up (stop moving), and vocalizing. If your cat gives you any of these indications, it likely means ‘please stop, I’m not enjoying that.’

Since cats usually don’t make any bones about telling you they’re unhappy, you should be able to get a feel fairly quickly if they enjoy tickling and where. Typically, if they’re enjoying the touch they may purr, knead with their front paws, make soft movements with their tail, seem relaxed or even nudge your hand when you stop.

Tickling, especially under their chin and on their cheeks, mimics the bonding behavior that cats do with other cats so while your pet can’t laugh, she can express perfectly well if she likes your brand of tickling.

∙ Stephan Carey, associate chairperson in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, answers questions about the warning signs of kennel cough and explaining how its outbreak is connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, known as CIRD or “kennel cough,” is a complex of highly contagious bacteria and viruses that cause transmissible upper respiratory tract disease among dogs in group settings. As the name suggests, it can happen in kennels, boarding facilities, doggie day care centers and animal shelters, but it can really occur anywhere dogs are commingling, including veterinary clinics, dog parks and dog shows.

It is common to see mild increases in the numbers of outbreaks during the summer months every year because of increases in travel — so, increased kenneling for pets — and increased social activity among dogs at dog parks.

COVID-19 has affected all walks of life — for humans and animals alike. How has it played a part in increased kennel cough cases?

In 2020, because of the COVID-related shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions, we saw a marked decrease in the numbers of outbreaks of CIRD. This is very similar to what happened to the 2019-2020 flu season in people. Normally the influenza season in the U.S. runs from late September through April. In 2020, the flu season was cut short by about one month because of the implementation of COVID restrictions (social distancing, hand hygiene, decreased travel) in early March. We saw the same effect on CIRD/kennel cough cases in the summer of 2020.

This year, we have seen a notable increase in CIRD outbreaks, particularly during the latter part of the summer. While we would expect a mild increase in most summer seasons, it’s particularly notable this year nationally. There have been large outbreaks reported in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, California, Missouri and Minnesota, and this is happening in other parts of the U.S. and in the UK as well.

The biggest contributor to this uptick is likely the increased commingling of dogs because people are going back to work and enrolling dogs in day care settings, because people are traveling and boarding their dogs in kennels, and because of increased social activities like frequenting dog parks. All of these are likely the result of the easing of COVID restrictions.

Another COVID-related factor is that many dogs likely had lapses in CIRD vaccinations during 2020-2021, as access to veterinary care was heavily impacted by COVID. Many of the CIRD vaccines need to be given annually to provide optimal protection and missing a year could increase the risk of transmission.

Like humans preventing the spread of COVID, vaccinations are among the most important things we can do to keep pets safe. While there aren’t vaccines for all factors causing kennel cough, there are vaccines for the most common, like Bordetella and Canine Influenza Virus — similar to the flu shot for humans. So, being sure that your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date, especially if you’re in situations where they’re going to be around other dogs, is the best thing to do.

The most common symptoms of kennel cough are deep coughs that sound as if something were stuck in their throats. Other symptoms include sneezing, running nose, eye discharge, lethargy, loss of appetite and sometimes fever.

If your dog is exhibiting any symptoms of kennel cough, contact your veterinarian immediately and keep them away from other dogs. Your veterinarian can determine whether a veterinary visit is recommended. In many cases, dogs have self-limiting infections, and the recommendation may be to simply isolate the pet rather than to make a visit to the veterinarian, which could potentially increase the risk of transmission.

In dogs with more severe signs or risk factors for complicated infections — such as puppies, dogs with chronic respiratory disease or immunocompromised dogs — veterinary care may be necessary. Your veterinarian can also advise you on the need for quarantine. If quarantine is advised, plan to keep your dog away from social environments, including day care and boarding, for at least 14 days after their symptoms have resolved. This is generally how long it takes for a dog to clear the infection and no longer be contagious to other dogs.

Vol. 14, No. 24 – Aug 25 – Sept 7, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ My name is Laura Lindsay. I’m the new Ventura Chapter Leader for Love on a Leash, the San Diego-based national non-profit organization certifying pet therapy teams to provide comfort and healing to people in our community.

In Ventura, we’re looking to expand our chapter and grow the number of pet therapy teams to meet the increased demand for pet therapy services in this post-COVID environment. School is starting soon and life will become far more complicated for families across our county. Add to that a growing fear of the Delta virus, controversy around vaccines and vaccine booster shots, continued economic challenges for families and businesses in our community and that leads to increased stress. I anticipate there will be growing needs for our after-school Paws for Reading programs in our local libraries, visits with home-bound seniors in our senior centers, staff and patient visits in local hospitals and behavioral healthcare centers, visits adults with developmental disabilities, and scheduled wellness days to help reduce stress at our local colleges and schools.

We are standard poodles, Rocket and Winnie, we have been active pet therapy dogs in Ventura for several years.

In order to meet this demand, we need to do three things:

Identify any already-certified local pet therapy teams who are available and wanting to volunteer to work.

Identify local pet owners who would like to become certified pet therapy teams able to volunteer in Ventura.

Help educate the general public on the difference between therapy dogs, service dogs, and emotional support dogs; how utilizing certified Pet Therapy Teams can strengthen existing programs; and the value of pet therapy teams in helping to reduce stress in our local environment.

You can learn more about this organization at

Thanks for your time and for anything you can do to help this important cause.

Laura Lindsay Chapter Leader, Love on a Leash Ventura Chapter

(914) 610-8918


∙ SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics are: Tuesday, July 31st at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036 and a second clinic on Tuesday, September 7th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015.

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that approximately 51,000 packages of Simply Nourish frozen dog food has been recalled by its manufacturer, Wet Noses Natural Dog Treat Company of Monroe, Wash.

The affected dog food contains elevated levels of Vitamin D, the FDA said.

Consumers are advised to stop feeding the products listed below to their dogs. Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. Vitamin D when consumed at very high levels or over a long period of time can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Consumers who have dogs that have consumed any of the products listed below and are exhibiting these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

Affected Simply Nourish frozen dog food products were distributed at select PetSmart stores nationwide.

The products are packaged in 2lb and 4.5lb packages across specific date ranges.

No illnesses have been reported to date, and no other products are affected, according to the FDA.

The recall was initiated after a routine nutrition test confirmed elevated Vitamin D levels on certain Simply Nourish frozen food products. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem arose as a result of the vitamin mix dosage being significantly reduced by the vitamin mix manufacturer, and this change was not detected or properly communicated. As a result, the dosage was not reduced.

Consumers who have purchased Simply Nourish Frozen Food are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-938-6673 from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PST.

∙ The Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners that Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.’s products have been “associated with the illness or death of hundreds of pets who had eaten the company’s dry dog food.”

The FDA said Tuesday it has issued a warning letter to the Evansville, Indiana, family-owned company because inspections of manufacturing plants revealed evidence of violations.

As of Aug. 9, the federal agency said it was aware of “more than 130 pet deaths and more than 220 pet illnesses that may be linked to eating brands of pet food manufactured by Midwestern,” which may contain potentially unsafe levels of aflatoxin, a byproduct of mold.

“The FDA is dedicated to taking all steps possible to help pet owners have confidence that the food they buy for their animal companions is safe and wholesome,” Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement. “Samples of dog food were found to contain high levels of aflatoxin.”

∙ When given the choice between a free meal and performing a task for a meal, cats would prefer the meal that doesn’t require much effort. While that might not come as a surprise to some cat lovers, it does to cat behaviorists. Most animals prefer to work for their food — a behavior called contrafreeloading.

A new study from researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine showed most domestic cats choose not to contrafreeload. The study found that cats would rather eat from a tray of easily available food rather than work out a simple puzzle to get their food.

“There is an entire body of research that shows that most species including birds, rodents, wolves, primates — even giraffes — prefer to work for their food,” said lead author Mikel Delgado, a cat behaviorist and research affiliate at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “What’s surprising is out of all these species cats seem to be the only ones that showed no strong tendency to contrafreeload.”

In the study, Delgado, along with co-authors Melissa Bain and Brandon Han of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, provided 17 cats a food puzzle and a tray of food. The puzzle allowed the cats to easily see the food but required some manipulation to extract it. Some of the cats even had food puzzle experience.

“It wasn’t that cats never used the food puzzle, but cats ate more food from the tray, spent more time at the tray and made more first choices to approach and eat from the tray rather than the puzzle,” said Delgado.

Cats that were part of the study wore activity monitors. The study found that even cats that were more active still chose the freely available food. Delgado said the study should not be taken as a dismissal of food puzzles. She said just because they don’t prefer it, doesn’t mean they don’t like it. Delgado’s previous research shows puzzles can be an important enrichment activity for cats.

Why cats prefer to freeload is also unclear. Delgado said the food puzzles used in the study may not have stimulated their natural hunting behavior, which usually involves ambushing their prey.

The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition. The research was supported by Maddie’s Fund and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Vol. 14, No. 23 – Aug 11 – Aug 24, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙ SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use. SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics in August are: Tuesday, August 24th and Tuesday, August 31st, both at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard.
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙ Federal legislation reintroduced in June would require more stringent health screening for dogs entering the U.S.

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an AVMA announcement indicates less than 1% of the million-plus dogs entering the U.S. each year are inspected for rabies, influenza, hepatitis, and distemper.

“Diseases such as screwworm, canine distemper, rabies, canine influenza, leptospirosis, and canine melioidosis have been diagnosed in imported dogs, which were often distributed to homes and farms across the U.S.,” the AVMA announcement states. “Although the Healthy Dog Importation Act will apply to all dogs imported into the U.S., its implementation will have a heavy focus on dogs being imported for transfer (donation, sale, adoption, etc.).”

On June 29, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon reintroduced the bill, HR 4239, which would amend the Animal Health Protection Act’s provisions on importing live dogs. Rep. Schrader is a veterinarian, and he co-chairs the Veterinary Medicine Caucus with one of the bill co-sponsors, Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, who is not a veterinarian.

“The Healthy Dog Importation Act would finally provide the proper oversight needed to make sure the dogs being brought into our country are healthy, and will not endanger our people, our pets, or our food supply chain,” Rep. Schrader said in the AVMA announcement. “By having key safeguards in place, we can detect potential serious safety concerns and prevent these dangers from turning into a public health crisis.”

The bill, first introduced in 2020, would add requirements that imported dogs arrive in good health and come with certification that a licensed veterinarian had inspected each dog and confirmed it has received all vaccinations and passed all tests required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for importation. Dogs arriving in the U.S. also would need to be at least 6 months old and accompanied by an import permit.

Those requirements would include exceptions for dogs imported for research purposes or veterinary treatment, as well as exceptions for dogs younger than 6 months old that are imported to Hawaii in compliance with state requirements.

The bill also would direct federal agencies to create an electronic database for documents and permits related to importing dogs. The AVMA announcement indicates that tool is intended to aid the screening process overseen by the USDA, CDC, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

∙ Veterinarians are making strides in learning more and more about man’s best friend, thanks to recent discoveries in the field of canine health, but a lot of questions still exist when it comes to mobility issues in our four-pawed friends.

A dog’s mobility may be compromised because of age, injury, or birth defect, and animals suffering from these conditions may experience serious pain. As such, pet owners should know how to recognize when their canine companion is lacking a certain spring in their step.

Dr. Daniel Eckman, a staff veterinarian in rehabilitation at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, weighed in on the problems that can come from mobility issues in dogs.

“Many of the common signs include reduced walking distances, persistent lameness, not being able to perform a sport that they previously could, and being painful when touched,” Eckman said. “Rehabilitation can be necessary at any point.”

Mobility issues can be breed-specific—some larger breeds, including Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, tend to have joint problems, while Dachshunds tend to be more susceptible to back complications.

One of the most powerful tools owners can use in identifying these kinds of issues is observation, Eckman said.

When dog owners notice some of the key symptoms associated with mobility issues, the exact location and cause of the pain can be identified by consulting your veterinarian. To determine if there are any infections or imbalances that could be contributing to the immobility, your veterinarian may order radiographs or clinical blood tests, such as a complete blood count, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile.

Another way to support pets during this process is working with a certified animal rehabilitation practitioner to develop rehabilitation plans and/or home exercises, according to Eckman.

“Physical exercises can be used to increase the range of motion of joints,” he said. “They also can increase strength and limb awareness. Other techniques like joint mobilizations may increase the range of motion and decrease the pain of joints. Massage can reduce muscle fatigue and restrictions. Therapeutic ultrasound, laser therapy, and extracorporeal shockwave also can reduce pain and treat various conditions.”

There are many exercises that can be done at home that offer a great workout for pets who need to be active while not adding insult to injury.

“Low-impact exercises may be walking on softer surfaces such as grass or dirt; you could also incorporate sand. Try to avoid concrete or asphalt when possible,” Eckman said. “Animal rehabilitation facilities may use a water treadmill to allow lower impact but increase resistance.”

As your dog ages, joint and cartilage problems can be difficult to treat; however, owners can work to ease or even delay the onset of these mobility diseases through diet.

In addition, supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and green lipped mussel—which have been proven to reduce inflammation and pain, improve function, and slow progression of joint damage and arthritis in both humans and animals—and diets that are protein rich and include omega-3 fatty acids, such as those derived from fish, can also support increased mobility.

“Good, quality nutrition, keeping pets lean, and avoiding high-impact and or dangerous sports are some of the best preventions for arthritis and mobility issues,” Eckman said. “Finding and treating underlying conditions as soon as a problem is noted is also important, as is working with a veterinarian on best treatments and practices for their individual pet.”

Although a dog’s mobility naturally declines as they age, their quality of life doesn’t have to. Managing your dog’s weight and incorporating a flexible, low-impact exercise routine into a comprehensive support program can allow our furry friends to enjoy their golden years.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at Suggestions for future topics may be directed to

∙ Make sure your dog has good traction on stairs and floors.

Veterinarian Dani McVety, founder of veterinary hospice Lap of Love, told Insider that all dog owners should make sure their pets have good traction on smooth floors.

“Tile or wood floors can be difficult for dogs to walk on,” McVety said. “Use rug runners, bath mats, or yoga mats to give them a ‘runway’ to walk on.”

Owners looking to add traction to slippery floors should use rugs or mats that won’t slide around and are easy to clean.

Clip the hair between your dog’s toes to improve their grip
Fluffy dogs with longer coats can develop thick tufts of hair between their toes, and McVety advised keeping these strands short to help your pup correctly use their paws.

“By using a beard clipper for people, you can clip all the hair around their toes and help expose their pads,” McVety said.

Make sure to comb out the hair beforehand and be extra cautious not to nick your pup’s paws during the clipping process.

Vol. 14, No. 22 – July 28 – Aug 10, 2021 – The Pet Page

SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.

SPAN Thrift Store regularly provides $10 spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.

Two upcoming clinics in August are: Tuesday, August 10th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015, and a second one on Tuesday, August 24th at the Albert H. Soliz Library – El Rio, 2820 Jourdan St., Oxnard, 93036.

Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

Can Dogs Get Poison Ivy?

You and your pooch just spent a perfect summer afternoon hiking when you look over and see her rolling around on the forest floor in a cluster of what appears to be poison ivy. The telltale shiny, notched three-leaf vine clusters are known to make humans red and itchy. But can my dog get poison ivy, too?

“Yes, dogs can get a rash from poison ivy,” says Dr. Aziza Glass, Freshpet veterinarian in Houston, Texas. Although some of our furry companions may fare better than others. “Some dogs’ fur protects and keeps their skin from being in contact with urushiol oils that cause the itchy rash,” says Dr. Glass. If you have an old English sheepdog, he’ll fare better than a Chinese crested since dogs with thin, hairless, or short coats are more at risk of developing the rash.

If you’re fairly certain the offending plant was poison ivy or poison oak, the best thing pet parents can do is give their pooch a bath right away. “Be sure to have gloves on when bathing them as their coats may retain oils from the poison ivy,” says Dr. Glass. Also, use an oatmeal shampoo or an anti-inflammation dog shampoo that will not only remove the urushiol oil but also help to soothe their skin.

You’ll need to wash any towels you use, your clothing, and anything else your pup has come into contact with before the bath, like his collar, leash, bedding, or the back seat of your car. This will help reduce the transmission of oils to you, back to him, or anyone else in the family.

What are the Symptoms of Dogs with Poison Ivy or Oak?

If your dog has come into contact with poison ivy, physical signs to watch out for include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Scratching where the rash developed
  • Blisters
  • Restlessness, lethargy, panting heavily, or trouble breathing may indicate an allergic reaction that requires immediate veterinary care
  • Check areas of thin, short, or no hair where your dog is most likely to develop the rash such as the armpits, groin, belly, and even the nose.

Even more dangerous for your dog than developing the rash is eating the plant. “For many, it will give them an upset stomach. But for some dogs this can cause a severe allergic reaction that could cause your pet to go into anaphylactic shock, causing airways to constrict and prevent breathing,” says Dr. Glass.

This is an emergency that requires immediate veterinary care. If you suspect your dog has ingested poison ivy, watch him closely to see if he’s vomiting or has diarrhea. Contact your vet for advice.

After you’ve washed your pet, continue to monitor his behavior and check whether he’s still touching the rash. “If your dog is still scratching or trying to lick the rash, you can apply a cold compress to the rash area or keep a fan on your pet. The cool air will help to soothe the skin and reduce irritation,” says Dr. Glass.

If needed, apply the appropriate size recovery cone or cloud collar to prevent him from further irritating the rash area.

If your dog has been in contact with poison ivy, know that he can also pass it on to you or even your other pets. You can contract the rash from petting a dog’s coat who’s been exposed to the plant and still has some sap or oil on his coat. Your other pets can get it too if one of them rubs up against the pup with poison ivy or oak. This makes it crucial that you wash your pet and everything he’s come in contact with before the bath, including other pets, bedding, or furniture just to be safe.

The hallucinogenic portion of marijuana (and other things) is extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

By Dr. Cathy Lund owns City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats, in Providence.

We love our pets. That’s why we take care of their illnesses and protect them with vaccinations, and why we seek out quality foods and engage their mental health with visits to the dog park.

But giving them drugs or treatments that we think are safe can harm our pets. It is troubling when The Providence Journal publishes an interview with a local dog trainer that makes it seem as though marijuana is both safe and effective for many medical problems of dogs and cats.

Tell that to the young couple who rushed their 3-year-old Labradoodle to the veterinary emergency center after the dog collapsed from intractable seizures. The dog survived, but may have liver damage, all from eating two marijuana cookies. The couple had no idea that marijuana is toxic to pets, and certainly wouldn’t have given their beloved dog those “treats” if they had known the truth.

The hallucinogenic portion of marijuana, THC, is extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Our pets have many more receptors for these compounds in their brains, which is why the chemical can overwhelm their bodies. They can die from ingesting too much of this drug.

Interestingly, the non-hallucinogenic component of marijuana, CBD, may have some safe application in veterinary medicine, and when used under the appropriate guidance of your veterinarian, may be helpful in moderating pain and stimulating appetite.

We think of our pets as family members, and it is natural to believe that our foods and our medicines are safe. But how many of us know that chocolate, and even raisins, can be toxic to dogs, or that your cat might die from eating a single Tylenol capsule or a piece of a lily flower or stem?

Our pets are not people, and veterinarians are doctors for animals, trained to provide expert advice about what is safe and effective and what isn’t. Veterinarians know how important pets are to their families, and can discuss the pros and cons of various treatment options. What we will not do is recklessly promote the use of products that might injure our patients, simply because they are widely used in humans or perceived as some alternative, and therefore “safe” treatment.

No loving pet owner wants to hurt his or her pet, but we know it is tempting to try products or treatments out of a desire to find a cure or relieve pain. Your veterinarian is ready to provide the guidance and insight necessary to sort through what are often confusing and contradictory reports. As your pet’s health-care advocate, we absolutely want to keep your pets both healthy and happy.