Loving the Gentle Giants

Although we see pets of all shapes and sizes there is one very special breed that we just can’t get enough of lately. Yes, in case our Facebook post earlier this week didn’t give it away, we are talking about Great Danes. These beautiful creatures have always been a favorite amongst celebrities and royalty –Disney’s 1966 classic The Ugly Dachshund, anyone? Lately they have stolen the show for us too. An incredibly loving dog, Danes are not always people’s first choice of pet. Their large size and notorious “bull in a china shop” ways can turn many people off. Here’s what you really need to know about Danes:


Ms. Layla is a beautiful example of a female Great Dane! How does anyone say no to those big puppy dog eyes!


Like many breeds, Great Danes have certain health concerns to be aware of before bringing one into your home. With their very large size, there are two major health problems to be aware of, bone and hip issues and heart disease. Although neither of these should be too surprising when the average weight of a Dane is 100-130 pounds.  Their slender frame can also easily be overloaded. So like all dogs, Danes need to be watched for weight gain.


If you ask Google, the Great Dane temperament is “devoted, reserved, gentle, friendly, confident, and loving.” In other words, your best friend and mother all wrapped into one big furry package. In addition, Danes are known for their independence and need for high levels of socialization.  If they go without socialization when young, Danes can become extremely protective of their family and bite those they are suspicious of. We highly recommend anyone considering bringing a Dane into their family, talk with your veterinarian, breeders, rescue groups, etc. to be sure you are ready to meet their needs. The rewards are more than worth the work, but you have to be ready!

Living with a Great Dane:

If you have friends or family members who have Danes you are likely all too familiar with their notorious yet goofy habits. Danes love to show their love for you by sitting on you and leaning all 100+ pounds on you while standing. They also can have serious gas issues, so be prepared to hold your nose! Oh and did we mention some Danes, because of extra facial skin, can slobber with the best of them (picture the classic scene from Turner and Hooch multiplied by ten) That all being said, a well socialized Great Dane can make for an amazing family member. They are smart, loving creatures that make excellent additions to a human family. If you would like more information about Great Danes, be sure to give us a call or check out our pet handout on Great Danes.

Dr. Facebook May be Lying to You

We all know everything ever posted on Facebook is true. Never in the history of Facebook has anything ever been made up…well maybe that one time when your aunt posted that she lost 20lbs by eating only cake, but other than that, never. If you can’t read the sarcasm behind this intro, let us help you. Facebook is full of untruths and bad media stories. The recent ice water being dangerous for dogs is just another example of why Dr. Facebook should not be your pet’s veterinarian.

Based on how the story in the article was told, it lead us to believe that there are some missing facts or other causes of the dog’s bloat. Ice in general is not dangerous for your pet. The real issue is that, like humans, when in a state of over heating drastic temperature changes can cause your pet to go into shock. Room temperature water is the best route to cool off your pet, and sipping water instead of big gulps will help keep them from experiencing bloat.

The P.S.A. being made, let’s talk about some great ways that ice can be good for your pet.

Ice Lick: If you are a pet parent and Pinterest lover you have likely seen the dog-friendly ice lick. What better way to keep your toy-crazy dog busy this summer than encasing all his favorite toys in a giant block of ice.

The DIY Pinterest Ice Lick is a must in the San Diego summer heat!

Frozen Toys: If your pet is canvas-plush-toy safe, try freezing their toys. One of our staff members has a puppy whose favorite treat is her frozen canvas bone. Especially with the recent heat, a frozen toy can be the perfect way to help keep cool.

Ice Cream: Ok, a bit of a stretch we know, but pet-friendly ice cream is a great way to keep pets refreshed. Check out our past blog for some tasty frozen treat recipes! Just be sure to only include ingredients that are safe for dogs and cats. No need to cause an allergic reaction while trying to stay cool.

Frozen water bottles: A popular trick amongst rabbit owners, frozen water bottles are an excellent way to keep pets cool. Leave a frozen water bottle (on or wrapped in a towel if you prefer) near places your pet likes to lounge, and you are likely to find them lounging butted up next to it. A warm pet will naturally seek out cool places to lounge (Shade and cold flooring being two other popular choices).

If you think your pet is experiencing an issue with over heating, come to the hospital immediately. Overheating is a very serious condition and your pet will need medical attention as soon as possible.

For more information on bloat (the ailment in the recent facebook posting), check out AAHA’s recent article!  If you are unfamiliar with the American Animal Hosptial Association (AAHA), they are the largest animal hospital accrediting organization, and maintain the strictest requirements for hospitals to pass –and they also happen to be who we are accredited through!

Our Recent Visitors

With our recent “wild” visitors to the hospital, we started talking about what to do when you are in areas where there may be wildlife, or in a case like ours, when the wildlife comes to you. With just a few simple steps you can help to ensure that you and your pets are safe.

A recent brace of ducklings were found in our parking lot. Talk about the most precious wildlife! Thanks to Project Wildlife, these little cuties will be re-homed somewhere safe.

How to keep your pets safe around wildlife

On their turf: If you are out in nature, and you come across wildlife:

  • Keep your pet on a leash at all times
  • Avoid contact, even if the wildlife approaches you. They may be carriers of rabies or other diseases or parasites.
  • If camping, and you think your pet’s water or food dishes may have been shared with wildlife, dispose of any water or food remains, and thoroughly wash the bowls with antibacterial soap.
  • Give all wild creatures their space. Be it a snake on a walking trail or a raccoon at a pit stop; keep you and your pets safe by staying away from the animal.

On your turf: If you find a critter or a critter’s parting gift on your property, follow a few simple tips to help keep your pets safe:

  • Check all fences for tunnels or holes, broken boards, broken screen doors, or other areas of possible entrance. Fix or mend anything that may be allowing critters onto your property or in your home.
  • If you let your pets outside to go to the bathroom at dusk or nightfall, go with them. If there are critters around you can scare them off before a conflict occurs.
  • If their food or water is kept outside, be sure to keep it covered when not in use. This will help ensure parasites are not spread through contamination.


What to do if your pet comes into contact with wildlife:

If your pet comes into contact with an animal, shares a water or food dish, or is bitten or scratched be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately. They will give you further directions on what to do. Likely, they will recommend that you come down to the office so your pet can be examined for cuts or other wounds, first aid can be administered, and your pet’s overall condition can be monitored. A follow up visit may be needed if the doctor suspects that your pet may have been exposed to a disease or parasite.


If you happen to come across a wounded animal or need assistance in removing wildlife from your property, contact Project Wildlife. This great organization is well equipped to handle everything from bees to bears. Whenever we have a wild animal brought to us or find one in our parking lot, they are our first point of contact!
Project Wildlife:

(619) 225-WILD (9453)

Wildlife Triage Center

887 1/2 Sherman Street

San Diego, CA 92110