Pet Ownership 101



Owning a pet (s) is a big responsibility!  As members of our family, their needs need to be met in order to have a healthy and happy life style, just like us humans.  If you are a pet parent now, I’m sure you know the importance of time, love and dedication for our pets. Let’s go over some key points:

Safe environment, diet, preventative care, exercise and more – are critical in keeping our pet’s healthy in help them live a comfortable and long life!

Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship. We all want to help pets, but we must be able to provide for them.

Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation.

Properly socialize and train your pet. It’s never too late to get your pet trained.

Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money.

Make sure your pet receives preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.  We all want to ensure life-long protection for our beloved pets.  Yearly or every 3 year vaccines (depending on the vaccine and age of your pet) are recommended. We advise you to follow your own veterinarian’s recommendations.  As a pet gets older, one may think their pet is not at risk or vaccines are not needed. Young or old, all pets need to be vaccinated for their own protection and the safety of others.  Pacific Animal Hospital has incredible Wellness Packages for pets of all ages.  Our plans cover all of your pet’s yearly preventative care needs, and you can pay in flat monthly installments or all at once for even greater savings.    



Make sure your pet is properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos). Give your pet the protection of a 24hr microchip! Please keep in mind that microchips do not replace identification and rabies tags. Microchips are great for permanent identification, but nothing replaces a collar with up-to-date identification tags.  It’s a quick and painless procedure and it lasts for our pet’s lifetime!  Please keep your registration information up to date. If you move or you change your phone number, you will need to update your microchip registration as soon as possible. Here at PAH, we are pro microchipping!   

Don’t contribute to our nation’s pet overpopulation problem: limit your pet’s reproduction through spay/neuter, containment or managed breeding. This is so important! As a pet gets older they can develop pyometra (pus filled uterus – females) or testicular cancer (males).

Prepare for an emergency or disaster.  Always have a copy of your pet’s vaccinations, extra medications, pet carriers , leashes/collars and/or harnesses.

Make alternate arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your pet. Don’t wait until the last minute. There are some wonderful rescue groups in your county.

Recognize any decline in your pet’s quality of life and make decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.  Talk to your veterinarian if you noticed something different in your older pet.   

At Pacific Animal Hospital our goal is for every pet to receive preventative care.  We are the health care provider for our patients so it is up to us to take good care of them!  If you have any questions or concerns about vaccines or any other topic regarding your pet’s wellness, consult with your veterinarian so they can give you the information on your specific pet needs. What a wonderful gift to give to you and your pet!  Protect their health and future by seeing your veterinarian twice a year!


Rattlesnake Update


With our ongoing beautiful weather, everyone is out and about with their happy K9’s and enjoying the walks, jogs, parks and hiking trails. If you’re going to be in rattlesnake territory with your furry pal, take precautions to help avert tragedy.  If your dog gets bit, consider it an emergency.



You know that the rattlesnake shakes it tail, warning its victim with a rattle before striking with its venomous bite.  Dogs are 20 times more likely to be bitten by rattlesnakes than people are, according to the Animal Medical Center of Southern California. A snake bite is also 25 times more likely to prove fatal to a dog, on average. The smaller the dog, the more likely it is that the bite will kill him. The typical canine’s risk level for rattlesnake bite is approximately 500 times higher than for contracting rabies.


A dog bitten by a rattlesnake will be in extreme pain from the venom’s effects, and the site of the bite will swell dramatically. Dogs are most likely to be bitten on the face or legs. If bitten on the face or head, a dog can suffocate because his throat could close from swelling. He could become paralyzed, experience low blood pressure or have uncontrolled bleeding. You might see two small holes about an inch apart where the snake struck. Again, get your pet to the vet immediately!





Swelling starts almost immediately!  Yikes!













1) Walk your dog on 6-foot leash.

If you hear a rattle or see a snake on the ground ahead of you, if your dog is on a 6 foot leash, you can avoid it.  Majority of rattlesnake bites occur when a dog is off-leash or on a flexi-lead.

2) Avoid rocky or dense brush or grassy areas.

In your walks with Rocket, stay on the trail, and choose wide trails or roads over narrow brush-bordered trails if possible. That way you are more likely to see a snake sunning itself across your path and be able to stop and avoid it in time. Also, keep your yard grass cut short and eliminate brush, piles of rocks where snakes like to sun themselves as well as hide.

3) Snake-proof your yard.

Your yard may be fenced to keep Rocket safely in, but it won’t keep most snakes out unless you snake proof it. Snakes can get under fencing that does not have a solid cement base (like a block wall). On wood fences or solid iron fences, use hardware cloth all along the base of your fence, including across any gated areas.

4) Know a dog’s rattlesnake-bite symptoms.

If you don’t recognize the symptoms of a rattlesnake bite in your pet, you might delay rushing them to the vet immediately – and that delay could be fatal.

Immediate symptoms almost always include:

  • Puncture wounds (can be bleeding)
  • severe pain
  • swelling
  • restlessness, panting, or drooling

Depending on how much venom the bite injected into your pet, and the size of your pooch, any of these more severe symptoms may appear quickly or within a few hours:

  • lethargy, weakness, sometimes collapse
  • muscle tremors
  • diarrhea
  • seizures
  • neurological signs including depressed respiration

5) If you and your pet encounter a rattlesnake…

Calmly and slowly back away from the snake until you are no longer within striking distance (about the snake’s length) and until the snake stops rattling at you. Then carefully leave the area – if there is one snake, there are likely to be more in that same area.


6) If your pet is bitten by a rattlesnake…

If you can, carry your dog to your car. If you can’t carry your dog without them struggling, walk them to your car. If you see people around, yell for help.  Limiting the dog’s activity will limit the venom moving around in their body, which is better. DRIVE YOUR PET TO A VET IMMEDIATELY! The faster your dog can get the anti-venom and other emergency treatment from the vet, the greater their chance of survival.


The rattlesnake vaccine has not been shown to be effective in any scientific studies so far and carries a risk of anaphylactic reaction and abscess at the injection site. As soon as studies can show it is effective and the benefit outweighs the risk of reactions to the vaccine, we will recommend vaccinating.

The better option currently is to enroll your dog in a Rattlesnake Avoidance Class which are very effective in preventing bites.  Rattlesnake Avoidance Training classes will be held at Kindred Spirits Dog Training in Vista on May 14th and 15th, 2016.  You can register online at The class takes approximately an hour.  If you have any questions, concerns or feel that your pet has been bitten by a snake, bring your pet in to see us right away!  We are open 7 days a week, Monday – Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, and on the weekends from 8 am to 5 pm.

DSC00219We all strive to care for and prevent any injuries to our pets.  They give us so much love unconditionally as well as having fun and being part of the family! If you have any questions on any matter, please call us anytime!


Pets and Allergies- Here we go again!


Is your pet scratching a lot lately?  Warm weather, winds and pollen in the air is something we humans and pets dread.  Allergy season.Watery eyes, scratching, licking and biting all over and sneezing are symptoms that are very uncomfortable for our pets! They can also lead to other ailments if left untreated. Excessive scratching isn’t the only sign of an allergic condition, but it’s the most common. Itching can also indicate a number of other issues.Pets with allergies also often have problems with their ears – especially K9’s. The ear canals may be itchy and inflamed as part of a generalized allergic response, or they may grow infected with yeast or bacteria.

Signs your pet’s ears are giving him problems include scratching at the ears, head shaking, and hair loss around the ears. If infection is present there will often be odor and a discharge from the ears.The following information may help you understand why your pet is extremely itchy and what you can do about it:

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea bite dermatitis is the most common allergy in pets. When a flea bites our frisky feline and faithful canine, a small amount of its saliva is released into their skin.

Signs and Symptoms of Flea Allergy Dermatitis

While non-allergic cats and dogs experience little or no irritation from a flea bite, those that are allergic suffer intense itching and irritation – sometimes for days – at the bite site. This occurs with even a single bite. Bites may become red or inflamed, but the most significant signs and symptoms are usually self-inflicted. Your pet is likely to chew, lick or scratch excessively at bites, often causing localized hair loss, scabbing or sores. The presence of fleas, flea eggs or flea feces along with these symptoms makes this a likely diagnosis.



Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Talk to your veterinarian about the best flea control products for your pets.  Keep your fur babies on a monthly flea preventative schedule. They will be truly grateful!

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies are also called seasonal allergies, airborne allergies, inhalant allergies, and atopic dermatitis. Exposure to allergens occurs through inhalation. Common irritants include dust mites, mold, mildew, and pollens from grass, trees and weeds. Pollens cause seasonal allergies.

Signs and Symptoms of Environmental Allergies

Our pets are more likely to develop severe body-wide itching as the primary symptom. Excessive scratching, licking and biting can cause hair loss, injuries and infections. Inflamed ears and ear infections also occur, especially in dogs. Hayfever symptoms, such as puffy or watery eyes, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing, are occasionally present, too.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Chemicals that come into contact with your cat or dog’s skin are the problem allergens.  Those found in or on detergents, soaps, shampoos, carpets, synthetic fibers, wool, leather, paint, petroleum, rubber, plastic and insecticides are common problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Significant itching is the main symptom of contact allergies. Redness and irritation are likely to occur on and around the site of contact.  Self-inflicted complications such as hair loss, sores, scabbing and hot spots are often seen.



Diagnosing Allergies in Cats and Dogs

The signs observed by your veterinarian while checking your pet’s skin, eyes, and ears provide important clues as to whether your cat or dog is experiencing a flea, food, environmental or contact allergy. Your information helps tremendously too! Food allergies are diagnosed with an elimination diet trial. Your veterinarian will advise you on feeding your pet a limited antigen hypoallergenic diet, usually for two to three months. Then, suspected foods are gradually reintroduced. You monitor your pet closely, watching for the return of allergic symptoms.

Treating Allergies in Pets

Preventing exposure to allergens is key to managing your pet’s allergies. Prescribed medication often help control symptoms, while specially formulated shampoos or other topical therapies minimize itchiness and reduce excessive scratching. Consult with your veterinarian to see what the best treatment would be.


In the last couple of weeks, we have had so many calls from PAH pet parents making appointments to see a Dr.  Their main concern is their pet scratching like crazy, sneezing and biting/chewing on themselves and/or head shaking and smelly ears.  It can happen that quickly. If your pet has one of these symptoms, please don’t ignore them.  Your furry pals will be extremely happy once they visit their vet and get diagnosed and treated!