Tag Archives: holidays

Happy Memorial Day to all the Servicemen, Servicewomen, and Service Pups Out There

Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Willingham and Lucca. Image courtesy NBC/PDSA.
Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Willingham and Lucca. Image courtesy NBC/PDSA.

Happy Memorial Day from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital !

 

Last year for Memorial Day we wrote a blog post about war and service dogs  which you can read here, admiring War Dogs for their courage and sacrifice.

This year we wanted to share the story of a U.S. Marines Dog named Lucca, who received the highest military award possible for a service dog, the PDSA Dickin Medal, after she lost one of her legs while sniffing out bombs in Afghanistan.

Dogs like Lucca make huge sacrifices to help protect our human soldiers, and we are so so grateful to them for their amazing work.

Her owner,Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, said, “Lucca is very intelligent, loyal and had an amazing drive for work as a search dog. She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her.”

Lucca sleeps alongside Cpl. Juan Rodriguez during her recovery. Image courtesy NBC/PDSA.
Lucca sleeps alongside Cpl. Juan Rodriguez during her recovery. Image courtesy NBC/PDSA.

 

From the article:

Meet Lucca, a retired U.S. Marine Corps dog who lost one of her legs while hunting for homemade bombs in Afghanistan.

More than four years after she was reduced to three paws, Lucca was awarded a top military medal for the 400 missions she completed during her service.

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals — a British charity known as the PDSA — honored Lucca with its Dickin Medal during a ceremony at London’s Wellington Barracks on Tuesday.

The PDSA says the award is “the highest award any animal in the world can achieve while serving in military conflict” and has given it out just 66 times since 1943.

Read the entire NBC article here.

 

Holiday Safety for Pets !

Holiday dog knocked over tree

Hanukkah may be over, but we still have Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve left in 2015! And no matter what you celebrate, the love we have for our pets is a universally celebrated tradition.

Keeping your pets safe over the holidays is easy !

Just being careful with unsafe items and leaving them out of the reach of  curious paws can make all the difference.

Here are a few tips to make sure this holiday season is a happy AND safe one for your pets.

Christmas Hanukkah cats

1) Candles!

Menorah lights, Kinara candles, and Christmas votives are beautiful traditions, but keep them away from the tails and paws of cats and dogs.

Do not put lit candles in the way of roaming curious pets, and make sure to blow out any candles before leaving a room or the house.

The fringe-like fur of a tail can easily burn when swept alongside a lit candle, and a rambunctious dog can easily knock into a candle that is sitting on a low coffee table, causing a tablecloth or rug to catch on fire.

 Christmas poinsettia

2) Holiday Plants

Poinsettias are toxic for pets. So are mistletoe, holly, holly berries, rosemary, and lilies. Lilies can also cause irreversible kidney failure in cats (lily nephrotoxicity).

Almost all holiday-themed plants should be kept far far away from your pets’ mouths.

The degree of toxicity depends on the weight of your pet and the amount of the plant your pet has eaten. If you suspect your pet has ingested an unsafe amount of a holiday plant, take your pet to your veterinarian right away.

Signs of toxic poisoning include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, seizure, collapse, and unconsciousness.

 

Christmas cat in tree butt

3) The Tree

The tree ! Whether it’s real or fake, the tree is anything but safe for your pets. Especially for kitties. Kitties looooove to make trouble with the tree.

Keep lights high! Don’t let dogs and cats chew on low-hanging lights and give themselves an electric shock.

Use safe decorations – go for plastic instead of glass, in case the ornaments get knocked off the tree or end up between jaws – Plastic ornaments won’t shatter as easily.

Keep ornaments with string and whispy angel hair out of the reach of your pets as well, to prevent any chance of dangerous string ingestion. Read more about linear foreign body dangers in our previous blog post here.

If your kitties love to climb the tree, make sure to anchor your tree to the wall, or give it a heavy, sturdy base, to prevent the tree from tipping over and hurting your pets or possibly causing damage to your home.

If your tree is REAL – keep cats and dogs away from tree water!

The tree water can contain insecticide, pine resin, and chemicals, everything your cat or dog should not ingest. The pine needles themselves are very dangerous for cats and dogs to digest – they can cause perforations or obstructions in the G.I. tract if ingested, and are toxic.

A couple of tips for keeping pets away from the tree:

  • Put aluminum foil around the base of your tree. The noise will alert you when pets are too close, and the noise itself may scare pets away.
  • Use a tree skirt to cover up tree water and the bottom portion of your tree.
  • Use strong citrus scents around the tree. Cats and dogs may not like these smells and may leave the tree alone because of them.

Christmas Cat Dog eating

4) Holiday Foods

Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, which is toxic to both dogs AND cats.

Grapes and raisins are toxic for cats, dogs, and ferrets as well. Ingestion of grapes and/or raisins can cause acute (immediate) kidney failure in pets.

Excessively fatty foods (such as fat scraps from meats), foods with onions, foods with garlic, and foods with bones should not be given to your pets.

Foods with lots of fats and oils can upset your pets’ digestive systems. Onions and garlic, fresh and in powder form, can cause anemia in cats as well as dogs. Onion and garlic poisoning can have a delayed onset, so if you suspect your pet has ingested them, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Be mindful over the holidays of what leftovers and what treats you give to your pets. We all want our beloved animals to join in on the festivities and to make them feel like they are part of the fun, but let’s do so in a way that will not make them sick or compromise their health.

Christmas dog beer

5) Alcohol and Caffeine

Toxic for your pets! Keep away!

Christmas dogs gum

6) Sugarless Gum and Candy containing Xylitol

Toxic for your pets! Keep away! Most sugarless gum and candy include xylitol as an ingredient.

 

If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic or poisonous, don’t wait ! Contact a a qualified pet poison hotline immediately, such as the ASPCA animal poison center at 1-888-426-4435.

Or take your pet to a 24-hour hospital ! ASEC (Animal Specialty & Emergency Center) on Sepulveda Blvd and VCA TLC on Santa Monica Blvd are two 24-hour animal hospitals.

Know the symptoms of toxic poisoning: vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, seizure, collapse, and unconsciousness.

Holiday Cat staring at Christmas lights

Happy Holidays from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital! We hope that no matter what tradition you hold dear, that you celebrate it with loved ones, good fun, good cheer, and lots of warm snuggles.

 

Photo credits :

Mountain Dog looking guilty in front of the tree photo:

http://www.collegehumor.com/post/6852810/dog-feels-bad-for-knocking-over-christmas-tree

Hanukkah kitty:

gifsboom.net

Poinsettia photo:

Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons

Cat and Dog milk n’ cookies:

http://www.pet360.com/

Dog with a beer:

http://thepetproductguru.com/

Pups with bubblegum:

http://www.petwellnessnetwork.com/

Kitty in tree photo:

http://insyncexotics.blogspot.com/2012/12/celebrating-christmas-with-your-pets.html

On Veteran’s Day: Remembering Smoky, the WWII Hero Yorkie

Smoky memorial at Cleveland Metroparks in Lakewood, OH. Photo courtesy of Bill Wynne.
Smoky Yorkie Doodle Dandy and Dogs of All Wars Memorial, Cleveland Metroparks. Dedicated Nov. 11, 2005.

 

Four pounds of courage! Yorkie Doodle Dandy! Angel in a Foxhole!

These are all nicknames for the infamous WWII war dog, Smoky, a female Yorkshire Terrier found in 1944 in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle.

o-SMOKY1-570
Taken on Biak Island, Indonesia in Sept. 1944. About 5,000 enemy soldiers were trapped in caves two miles away.

 

After trading a G.I. two Australian pounds for the small pup, American Corporal Bill Wynne, who would became Smoky’s lifelong companion, trained Smoky to parachute from tall trees, run telegraph wire through small pipes (sparing the soldiers this life-threatening work), walk tightrope, and eventually to become one of the first therapy dogs on record by comforting injured soldiers.

o-SMOKY3-570
This was a stunt I dreamed up in New Guinea to draw judges’ attention to Smoky for the Best Mascot of the Southwest Pacific Area, SWPA, Theater of Operations. It worked as Smoky was chosen First Prize Mascot in the YANK Contest over more than 400 entries. In my book, you will find the wind collapsed the chute and Smoky was blown clear of the catching blanket on the seventh jump — one jump too many. She could have been killed.

 

Smoky served in 12 combat missions in the South Pacific and was awarded 8 battle stars. The brave little Yorkie lived to be 14 years old, passing away in 1957. Her human, Bill Wynne, wrote a book about his experiences with Smoky titled Yorkie Doodle Dandy: Or, the Other Woman Was a Real Dog, published in 1996. Several memorials were built to memorialize Smoky’s service, including the one pictured at top at the Cleveland Metroparks in Lakewood, OH, right next to the location of her final resting place.

o-SMOKY4-570
June 1945. The U.S. Army 120th General Hospital in Manila, took in the Battle of Luzon casualties. Smoky is held by Barbara Wood Smith American Red Cross on a bed of a wounded GI.

 

A big thank you to Smoky and all war dogs on this Veteran’s Day ! We appreciate you !

You can learn more about Smoky by visiting www.smokywardog.com.

o-SMOKY6-570
Newly discharged Cpl. Bill Wynne of Cleveland and Smoky are glad to home from the far Pacific. Smoky spent 18 months in combat. Dec. 1945.

 

All photos and photo captions courtesy of Bill Wynne.

4th of July Madness ! Fireworks Anxiety in Pets

Fireworks_in_San_Jose_California_2007_07_04_by_Ian_Kluft_img_9618

Independence Day is this Saturday! And while we all cannot wait for cold brews, warm tofudogs, and watermelon slices, we should also consider the most important 4th of July tradition – Fireworks !

Fireworks are beautiful, wondrous magic, but our pets absolutely hate them. Cats and dogs are scared of the loud bangs and pops, even if they are in the distance. And the flashes of light can seem scary and foreign.

Fireworks Dahlia nervous face 1
Got a nervous baby?

 

Dogs may drool excessively, bark, urinate and defecate without control, shake or tremble, and try to hide in response to the noise. Cats will run, hide, and refuse to eat.  Some pets will even chew through screens or break through windows in an attempt to escape the scary noises ! Even if the fears seem excessive, our pets cannot help having noise phobias. It is completely instinctive. And scolding does not help a frightened animal, it will make their fears worse.

Let’s try to help our babies out in nice ways and make this a less scary holiday for them <3

 

BHSAH tech Emma Katz uses a comfy shirt and headphones with soothing music to try and reduce fireworks anxiety in her 10-year-old pup

 

  • If you have an outside cat, bring him/her in to the house for the night. If she’s scared, she may run far away, or into the street. Bringing her inside for the night will insure that she is safe.
  • Take your dog(s) on a longer-than-usual walk early in the day, before fireworks start. This will tire them out and help reduce anxiety levels.
  • If you have a skiddish dog, or even a non-skiddish dog, as any dog can be scared of fireworks, try keeping him in the bedroom with a comfy bed and a toy that he likes. This will prevent him from running outside if the door is opened, and lessen the tendency to bark or howl excessively.
  • If you’re going out, leave your pet with a toy she is familiar with, and a shirt that smells like you, safely in a closed room. The more safe and secure an animal feels, the less stress and anxiety she will experience as a result of fireworks.

 

 

Fireworks Dahlia wrapped up
Glamour ! Wrap your babe up in a comfy shirt, fabric, or Thundershirt to reduce anxiety

 

  • Try wrapping your pet in a Thundershirt, or other soft t-shirt or fabric – some dogs feel very comforted being wrapped up in a Thundershirt and they can make a world of difference. There is also a Thundershirt for cats !
  • If your pet has an unusually high level of anxiety, and sequestering him in a room with toys and a comfy bed will not do, you can talk to your veterinarian about medicating with a mild sedative. One of the medications we use for this kind of behavior is Acepromazine, a sedative often used for pets when they have to travel by airplane.

 

Fireworks Dahlia nervous on bed

 

  • If further action is needed to help combat your pet’s severe noise phobias, we can recommend wonderful behaviorists that specialize in tackling these anxieties.

 

Have a great time on Saturday, and Happy 4th of July to all our clients and friends from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital !

 

(Fireworks pic by Ian Kluft/Wikimedia Commons)

(All dog pics of patient Dahlia Underhill by her dad Jason)

Holidays are here – Keep Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas Safe for your Pets!

Holiday Cat staring at Christmas lights

No matter if you celebrate the Festival of Lights, observe the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, or dig in to a good old fashioned Christmas ham, the love for our pets is a universally celebrated tradition.

So let’s keep them safe this holiday season by watching out for a few key dangers:

 

Kwanzaa candles are a beautiful tradition, but watch out for wandering paws!
Kwanzaa candles are a beautiful tradition, but watch out for wandering paws!

1) Candles!

Menorah lights, Kinara candles, and Christmas votives are beautiful traditions, but keep them away from the tails and paws of cats and dogs. Do not put lit candles in the way of roaming curious pets, and make sure to blow out any candles before leaving a room or house. The fringe-like fur of a tail can easily burn when swept alongside a lit candle, and a rambunctious dog can easily knock into a candle that is sitting on a low coffee table, causing a carpet or rug to catch on fire. Let’s all use our heads when lighting candles around pets!

 

Holiday Menorah Dog Goldies bernalwood-hanukkahdogsbsc
These pups have impeccable candle behavior! Just don’t leave them unattended!

2) Holiday Plants

Poinsettias are toxic for pets. So are mistletoe, holly, holly berries, rosemary, and lilies. Lilies can also cause irreversible kidney failure in cats (lily nephrotoxicity). Almost all holiday-themed plants should be kept far far away from your pets’ mouths. The degree of toxicity depends on the weight of your pet and the amount of the plant your pet has eaten. If you suspect your pet has ingested an unsafe amount of a holiday plant, take your pet to your veterinarian right away.
Signs of toxic poisoning include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, seizure, collapse, and unconsciousness.
Holiday dog knocked over tree
Someone looks guilty…

3) The Tree

Oh, the tree. So beautiful, so festive. Whether it’s a blue and white sparkly Hanukkah bush, a small fiber-optic dorm room tree, the fake, reliable family-room tree you dig out of the garage every year, or a real Douglas Fir that you cut down yourself, the tree is anything but simple for your pets. Especially kitties. Kitties looooove to make trouble with the tree.
Keep lights high! Don’t let dogs and cats chew on low-hanging lights and give themselves an electric shock.
Use safe decorations – go for plastic instead of glass, in case the ornaments get knocked off or end up between jaws, the plastic ornaments won’t shatter as easily. Keep ornaments with string and whispy angel hair out of the reach of your pets as well, to prevent any chance of dangerous string ingestion. Read more about linear foreign body dangers in our previous blog post here.
If your kitties love to climb the tree, make sure to anchor your tree to the wall, or give it a heavy, sturdy base, to prevent the tree from tipping over and hurting your pets or possibly causing damage to your home.
If your tree is REAL – keep cats and dogs away from tree water! The tree water can contain insecticide, pine resin, chemicals, and preservatives, everything your cat or dog should not ingest. The pine needles themselves are very dangerous for cats and dogs to digest – they can cause perforations or obstructions in the G.I. tract if ingested, and are toxic.
A couple of tips for keeping nosy pets away from the tree are:
  • Put aluminum foil around the base of your tree. The noise will alert you when pets are too close, and the noise itself may scare pets away.
  • Use a tree skirt to cover up tree water and the bottom portion of your tree.
  • Use strong citrus scents around the tree. Cats and dogs may not like these smells and may leave the tree alone because of them.

Holidays 800px-Classic_Hanukkah_sufganiyot

4) Holiday Foods

Mmmmm. We love holiday foods. Christmas has fruitcake, marshmallow bars, and honey baked ham. Kwanzaa has roasted chicken and peanut soup. Hanukkah has latkes and sufganiyot. Everyone eats chocolate. Yum.
These are all bad for our pets!
Keep all excess fatty foods, foods with onions, foods with raisins, and food with bones away from your pets. Excess fat and oils can upset your pets’ digestive systems. Onions and garlic can cause anemia in cats as well as dogs. Raisins and grapes, like chocolate, are toxic for pets.
Be mindful over the holidays of what leftovers and what treats you give to your pets. We all want our beloved animals to join in on the festivities and to make them feel like they are part of the fun, but let’s do so in a way that will not make them sick or compromise their health.

Holiday cats_hanukkah-and-xmas1

Happy Holidays from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital! We hope that no matter what tradition you hold dear, that you celebrate it with loved ones, good fun, good cheer, and lots of warm snuggles.

 

 

 

Photo credits! :

Kitty in tree photo from:

http://insyncexotics.blogspot.com/2012/12/celebrating-christmas-with-your-pets.html

Kwanzaa candles photo from:

http://www.kwanzaa.org.uk/

Golden Retrievers photo from:

https://bernalwood.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/bernal-heights-canines-celebrate-beginning-of-hanukkah/

Mountain Dog looking guilty in front of the tree photo from:

http://www.collegehumor.com/post/6852810/dog-feels-bad-for-knocking-over-christmas-tree

Sufganiyot photo from:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Classic_Hanukkah_sufganiyot.JPG

Santa and Rabbi Persian kitties photo from:

http://www.thegloss.com/2010/11/12/odds-and-ends/gallery-holiday-cats/

Boo! Halloween Safety is SPOOKtacular

HotDog 1
Lisa, Gary, and Renée look sizzling in their funtime sausage suits.

Halloween is fun! For us people! Let’s make it fun and safe for our pets too.

Below are some great tips by the BHSAH and the AVMA for Halloween dog and cat safety.

 

Come in kitty, come in! Just for a couple of days.
Come inside kitty, come inside! Just for a few days.

BLACK CAT (AND ALL PET) SAFETY:  Keep your pets, especially your cats and black cats, inside on the days preceding Halloween, on Halloween Day, and for a few days after Halloween. Don’t leave them outside unattended. According to the AVMA,  “Halloween pranks committed against pets can be vicious, and black cats are particularly at risk.” Leaving your pets inside during these days greatly reduces the chances any ne’re-do-wells will have access to your family pet.

 

No kitty no! Chocolate is toxic for cats too.
No kitty no! Chocolate is toxic for cats too.

 

HALLOWEEN CANDY: A delicious treat, but just for humans!! Especially anything chocolate and candy with raisins, both of which are toxic for dogs. Candy wrappers, lollipop sticks, and any other candy detritus are also harmful. Keep them away from your animals! See our previous post about chocolate toxicity and a guideline for chocolate toxicity symptoms at www.bhsah.com to recognize if your dog has eaten chocolate and could need medical attention. Chocolate is toxic for cats as well.

When you and/or your kids are done trick-or-treating, stash your stash somewhere your dog and cat cannot possibly reach. One of the worst feelings a pet owner can have is to come home to find a sick pet on the floor, surrounded by dozens of torn candy wrappers and an empty Halloween candy sack.

 

May the force be with you. And watch out for that lit pumpkin.
May the force be with you. And watch out for that lit pumpkin.

 

JACK O’ LANTERNS: Jack O’ Lanterns are super fun and  a great Halloween craft! But keep them out of the reach of your kitty’s swinging tail or curious paws so he doesn’t burn himself! Please. Thank you. Please don’t let your excited pug knock over your lit pumpkin and set your house on fire. Put your jack o’ lantern in a place the furries can’t reach. OR, alternatively, light your pumpkin with an LED candle – they are a brighter and safer alternative to candles.

 

 

Halloween Safety old costumesSTRANGERS IN SCARY CLOTHES: Does this look scary to you? Do you think it might spook your dog? We know a couple of dogs these vintage haunters might fright. If your dog is skittish, or has anxiety about strangers, keep him in a separate room while trick-or-treaters come to the door and ring the doorbell. It will help to reduce anxiety in your pet, and may prevent an anxious dog from biting a child or unsuspecting grown-up dressed in a bloody Burt Reynolds circa “Boogie Nights” costume.

Keeping your dog or cat in a separate room during trick-or-treat time will also prevent your beloved pet from running out of the house when you open the door to greet people.

And just in case Fido or Socks does escape, make sure your pets have been outfitted with a microchip and a collar with a tag before Halloween! Microchips and proper identification are a pet owner’s best friend.

 

Hotdawg, what a delicious looking family!
Hotdawg, what a delicious looking family!

DOGGIE AND KITTY COSTUMES:  We know, we know. It can be ridiculously cute to dress pets up in costumes. Especially as tacos/hotdogs. Or Star Wars characters. At the BHSAH, we are total pet costume lovers. But we need to remember that pet costumes are super fun – but they are primarily for us. Not all animals think they are that great. In fact, some animals hate them. Be sure that you don’t dress your beautiful pet in anything that interferes with their ability to breathe, pant, see, hear, move, or bark. And if your pet is demonstrating a noticeable opposition to being dressed up, just leave poor kitty or puppy alone! Forcing your pet to wear something they noticeably have an opposition to will increase their anxiety and distress, and nobody wants that on a fun holiday like All Hallow’s Eve. Pick a comfortable, soft costume like the lovely hotdog costumes that puppy Gary and elegant kitty Lisa are modeling here!

This pup is ready for his Halloween adventure.

And most importantly, have fun! Be safe! Take a flashlight! Trick or Treat!

 

(Above, farm dog Vinny enjoying some pumpkins from Biringer’s Black Crow Pumpkin & Corn Maze

black cat photo by Guillaume Paumier / Wikimedia Commons

kitty candy photo from projectdenneler.com

Yoda-Pug from deltaattack.com

Vintage Halloween costumes photo from digitaldeconstruction.com

HotDog family photos by BHSAH client Jason McDonald. )