Keeping Pets Safe Today and Forever!

This is a very special Saturday, and unless you also happen to celebrate all of the pet-related national holidays you may not even know it exists. Today is national puppy mill awareness day!

All pets, regardless of where they come from, receive the best of care at PAH!  (photo not of puppy mill pup, just Shawn and a super cute PAH patient) 

What is a puppy mill?

Puppy Mill is actually a slang term created to describe the breeding of dogs for profit on a high-volume or commercial level. Profit is the name of the game, but quality of life for the pets is not. Puppy mills are not to be confused with reputable breeders, who care for the pets and their quality of life. Pets bought through the Internet, at pet stores, or random people who seem to “always have puppies” are sure signs that you may be dealing with a puppy mill.

Why should I not buy a puppy mill pet?

Health: Pets from puppy mills are notorious for having health problems. Although a very long list, some of the common health problems include: hip dysplasia and skeletal weakness, organ failure, and epilepsy.  In addition, many puppy mill pets will arrive to pet stores or your home with above average numbers of parasites, some of which are deadly if not treated quickly.

Wellbeing: Puppy mill pups are known for being removed from their families at very young ages, when socialization and development are most important. Only to then spend much of their puppy months isolated and alone away from their original animal family and without much human contact.


What can you do about puppy mills:

Stopping puppy mills and the associated animal abuse is all about action. Spend your money on pets from shelters or reputable breeders, and do not support companies or pet stores that support puppy mills.

Take Action: Over the past decade the number of puppy mills has decreased and continues to decline, mainly in part to advocacy and buying choice.

Consider adoption as your first way to fight against puppy mills. Very frequently purebred pets will end up in shelters or in the care of breed-specific rescues.

If you do decide to purchase from a breeder, meet them and view where the pets are living. Check out this ASPCA article for more information on what to look for in a breeder.

Spend this Saturday doing a little advocacy and lobbying. Research your city and state’s stance on commercial breeding. Contact your state and local representatives and let them know you want to live in a puppy-mill free state, city, and nation!

If you live in San Diego, be proud! The city of San Diego is one of several major cities to have banned the sale of pets at pet stores in an attempt to decrease the demand of puppy mill pets.

If you have further questions or would like more information, be sure to check out these great resources:


One Green Planet

Pet Adviser

Six Big Wives with Tails…Or Was it Wives’ Tales?…

Garlic cures or prevents heartworms, fleas, and parasites

Although your family and friends may agree that the large amounts of garlic you eat make them want to run for the hills, this wives’ tale holds no truth. Garlic will not prevent heartworms, fleas, parasites or anything else related to your pet. Garlic is a natural toxin to your pet and will do more damage than good to their health. If you think your pet may have a parasite, call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment. Most parasites can be easily removed from your pet, and you will have the added bonus of your pet not being garlic-scented!

Who would dare say a black cat is bad luck?! Talk about a wives’ tale


All Pit Bulls are aggressive

This is by far one of the sadder wives’ tales we often hear about pets. Historically every decade or so a different breed becomes the new “worst dog to bring home.”  Right now that unfortunate and untrue title belongs to pit bulls. Bad press and a lack of education regarding safe training, breeding, and handling are often the cause of this common tale. Many dog breeds, especially those that have had a bad rap, are extremely intelligent and require pet-parents who are dedicated to teaching them good behavior and giving them lots of love. If you are looking for more information about pit bulls’ behavior, think you may want to adopt, or have further questions about the breed, contact one of the local pit bull rescue groups or the San Diego Humane Society.

In ancient times it was thought if you were bitten by a dog with rabies, you had to eat the dog to avoid getting rabies yourself.

You are likely thinking what we were thinking when we first read this: Thank you modern medicine! This wives’ tale, although never really true, has died out over the years as education surrounding rabies increased. The best way to prevent rabies is to have your pet vaccinated. If you live in California, you may already know that starting January 1, 2014, the age limit to receive the mandatory rabies vaccine for pets was lowered to from 4 months to 3 months. This is in line with many other states that have a lower age limit for the rabies vaccine. In addition, exercising caution around animals, especially those showing signs of aggression, will lower the likelihood of being bitten, and in turn lower the chance of potential rabies transmission.

Never look a dog in the eye

Although they certainly won’t grow a second head, looking a dog in the eyes can be an easy inter-species miscommunication. Many dominant dogs can use a simple glance to put a misbehaving dog in their place. So it’s not surprising that a small human accidentally staring down a dog, can be an unintended and unsafe miscommunication between the two.  Generally when teaching kids to be safe around dogs, it is a good idea to follow this precautionary wives’ tale and teach them not to look a dog in the eye.

You don’t need to brush your pet’s teeth since they don’t feel pain

We cannot even begin to explain all of the things wrong with this wives tale! There is zero truth to this sad and unfortunate tale. Your pet can certainly feel pain, but like any creature that doesn’t speak human language they learn to live with the pain since they can’t tell you something hurts. When it comes to oral or dental pain, many pets will begin to only chew with one side of their mouth or try to not chew their food at all, to avoid agitating a painful spot or tooth in their mouth. To help keep your pets from living with unwanted pain, brush their teeth regularly; even older pets with their grumpy ways can get a good brushing.  It is also a very good idea to have their veterinarian check at least twice a year for broken teeth, receding gums, or issues with the roots of your pet’s teeth.

Walking by a black and white dog on your way to work means good luck for the day!

Although we couldn’t find any research to support or deny this wives tale, we do like to believe it’s 100% true. Who knows, maybe our many black and white patients, and the luck they bring, are why we love to be at PAH so much!

So You’re a Cat Friendly Practice…Now What?

For years we have been finding ways to help cats feel more comfortable at the Pacific Animal Hospital. Last year, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, a national organization focused on the health, safety, and wellbeing of cats, developed the Cat Friendly Practice certification program. Outlining the core elements of what makes for a cat-friendly veterinary hospital, the certification program aims to help veterinarians and staff members better their cat care protocols and cat knowledge.

Recognizing the need to always improve, we have spent the last few months focusing our efforts on becoming a certified Cat Friendly Practice (CFP). This past Monday we received word that we had past the certification process and are officially aCERTIFIED CAT FRIENDLY PRACTICE!!

Three main goals of the CFP certification are:

Double Trouble!

  • Evaluate attitudes and care provided to feline patients.
  • Examine the practice environment and equipment by considering the specific needs of cats.
  • Assess and implement practice skills, training and education.

At Pacific Animal Hospital, we have always been focused on ensuring your cat has a good experience at our hospital, so the changes we are making will not be drastic; instead they will aim to continue our current efforts to always improve our services.


What CFP Certification means for you and your special cat:

Education and information

You can expect for your doctor and technician to give you specific information about your cat and their needs. This may include verbal information, as well as handouts to take home and online resources.

Special care and handling

We are continuing to train all of our staff to use “least restrictive” handling techniques with all pets, but especially cats. As cats can be extremely sensitive to touch, we want to ensure their comfort at all times. The less your pet feels restrained, the lower their stress level, leading to a calm and happy visit with the doctor.

You will be an integral part of your cat’s healthcare team

We will ask you a few extra questions about your cat, ask for your input on treatment options, and ensure that all of your questions and concerns are addressed. You know your cat best, and we want to be sure you and your cat are comfortable with the treatment plan.

We will go slow with your cat

Dr. Picht has a special place in her heart for cats! She loves to spend quality time with each of her patients, but especially loves kitties.

When you arrive at the hospital, you will be ushered into a cat-friendly exam room, where you and your cat can acclimate. We will encourage you to let your cat slowly exit their carrier, on their terms, and explore the exam room. Extra special care is also taken in cleaning these rooms and prepping them for cats with Feliaway, a cat-friendly hormone spray that helps to reduce stress for cats.

Cat Advocates

Many of our already cat-obsessed staff will now be our official Cat Advocates. They will help our entire team stay focused on low-stress techniques and cat-comfort. Be sure to watch for them around the hospital!If you haven’t brought your cat to the hospital recently, we encourage you to call and make an appointment! You will get to experience what a Cat Friendly Practice is like first hand!