Thursday, March 28, 2013

Winston. He Likes to Take it Slow.

Dogs like to walk. Show me a dog that doesn't like to take a walk and I'll show you a cat. Of course, not all the dogs are the same, and while most like to walk...some of them want to have it their way. They'll walk, but only if they get to plan the route and/or dictate the pace. It's not an issue of attitude or difficult temperament, they're just set in their ways. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

Consider Winston. He's a bulldog.

The first thing you'll notice in this that he's not walking. In fact, he's lying down with a big ol' grin on his face. Happy dog is happy in the sun. Winston is not much of a walker...and when he does walk, well sir, he likes to take it slow. Some dogs will run and scurry or yank against their leash trying to pull away like they're late for a very important date. But not good ol' Winston here. This guy savors his time outdoors. You may wonder why he doesn't step lively like other dogs, sprinting their way through their appointed session. We've asked ourselves the same question. Winston likes to slowly amble up the sidewalk, stopping to sniff around periodically, or stand in a perfectly good patch of dirt. Maybe lying down on the asphalt in a particularly warm sunbeam. He does this every time we take him out for his walk. Some days he'll even play a little tug of war with the leash, refusing to move faster than a snail's pace even as the traffic light up ahead is changing. 

And then it dawned on us...maybe this dog's got it all figured out. He's not in a rush to get anywhere because what good does it do? As the old adage goes...or maybe it was Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." 

This dog doesn't want to miss a thing. So he stops and looks and sniffs and looks some more...and lies down and reflects on life, on philiosophical matters, on the very nature of the canine mythos. He's smart like that.

It would seem we can all learn something from Winston. Take it slow. Enjoy life. Lie down on the sidewalk and enjoy the beautiful L.A. weather. There will be time enough to walk later. 

Time enough, indeed... 

Canine Papilloma Virus. A Contagious Menace.

They look awful, but luckily they're often benign and treatable. Warts or tumors on the surface of the skin that are caused by the canine oral papillovirus. These are not the same type of warts or lesions that humans can contract, they are found primarily in canines who have been infected with the virus.

The lesions are often circular shaped, with a rough texture and can appear dark or even black in color. They're most commonly found inside the lips, mouth or tongue; but may also sometimes be found near the genitals, eyelids and even toes. Most dogs around the age of two or younger are most susceptible to getting CPV and displaying the proper symptoms. Despite their sometimes horrendous appearance, the warts are often benign and don't pose a deeper, more dangerous risk to the health of your pet.

You may be wondering how your pet got these ugly things. First off, they're spread through contagion; so if your dog had prolonged interaction with another dog that carries CPV, chances are that's the culprit. They may also pick it up from exposure in an environment where other dogs with CPV have spent some time, such as a dog park or grooming parlor.

Luckily, these papillomas often go away on their own. But some veterinarians may choose to biopsy some lesions on your dog in extreme cases. If there are an inordinate amount of warts, especially around the mouth, and eating or other basic functions are hindered; your vet may choose to remove them surgically or frozen off cryogenically. Follow-up visits will be required to monitor any existing lesions to make sure they don't turn malignant or get infected. Antibiotics may be necessary if any of the lesions show signs of bacteria.

So don't worry, while these things are horrible to look at and not too comfortable for your pooch to put up with...they are can be treated or removed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring has Sprung...and that means it's Baby Season.

With the warmer weather comes new additions to families everywhere in nature. Our friends at the California Wildlife Center wanted to remind everyone that with this season of newborns, it's up to all of us to ensure that they survive these crucial growing periods and live long healthy lives.

Here are a few ways to watch out for our wild animal friends:

1. Be on the lookout for nests.
When trimming trees or shrubs, be careful to check for any bird or squirrel nests. If you do find one, try to hold off on doing your yard work untul the babies leave. However, this isn't always possible to do, so if you must proceed, gently relocate the nest to an area nearby. That way Mom and Dad can find their little loved ones again, your yard chores are finished...and everybody wins!

2. Babies can be put back into their nests.
One of the biggest misconceptions about wildlife is the idea that if a baby bird or squirrel comes into contact with a human, the Mom and Dad will reject the little tyke. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. If you do come across a baby that has fallen from its nesting place; by all means, pick it up and place it back into the nest as soon as possible. You will not doom the poor little thing to abandonment by its family. You will, in fact, save its life.

3. Fledging vs. Falling
So let's say you do find a small baby bird on the ground, under a tree or shrub someplace. Be cautious and investigate its condition. You may have discovered a baby bird in its FLEDGE period. This is the one to three week span during which baby birds learn how to fly. During this time, its perfectly normal for baby birds to live on the ground instead of in the nest. If you think you may have found a fledging baby, just leave it be. Give a look around to see if Mom and Dad are in the vicinity. Chances are its a healthy little bird and it's doing just fine. You can always check to see how its doing if you're not sure by just a visual examination. If you can touch the bird and it feels warm, it's probably okay. If you can manage to gently open its mouth and see that its pink and shiny inside, the little one is healthy.

4. Sick or Injured Animals
If you happen across a sick or injured baby bird, squirrel, opossum, or bunny; the most important thing to do is keep it in a warm, dark and quiet place. If the animal is cold to the touch, has dull eyes or a white and dry mouth, the animal is definitely in need of some attention. Contact the California Wildlife Center as soon as possible and let them know about your find. You can reach them at 818.591.9453 or at Do not feed the animal and most importantly, with bunnies...quiet is paramount. Even the sound of someone's voice at normal speaking volume can be enough to panic a bunny to the point of no return.

5. A few other tips
Keep cats indoors. Baby animals are just too easy for them to prey upon and most kitties will pounce without even intending to do harm. Also put decals or curtains on paneless windows, so baby birds will know not to collide with the glass.

Spring is in the air. Let's make sure everyone can enjoy this wonderful time of the year safe and happy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finally. Online One-Stop Shopping the Easy Way, with DugDug!

Let's say you're shopping online for your pet's medication or that special food your furry friend loves. But there are so many websites to choose from. So you start to comparison shop for the best price, hitting one site after the next. If you're searching for the best deal on pet meds, you know you'll need to find the right dosage that corresponds to your pet's weight and particular malady. But many of the sites you're looking up aren't giving you very helpful results. The prices are tough to compare because your search results aren't specific enough for the product you need.

That's where DugDug comes in. The idea came to founder David Keh when he was trying to buy some simple medications for his pet poodle. Problem was, none of the sites could quote him an accurate price for the size of his dog and the dosage he needed. Everything he found was useless. So he came up with a way to buy medications, food, even dog toys to make it super easy for the consumer.

Here's basically how it works: let's say you're looking to buy Frontline Flea and Tick control and want the spot on treatment version. Just click the Flea and Tick section, then the Spot On Treatments tab and you'll find a list of different brands, including Frontline, K9, Advantix, etc. You just click on Frontline and there you'll find a list of tabs that correspond to various dog sizes and dosages. Choose the tabs that fit your situation and a list will appear below, showing all of the online vendors who have that exact Frontline spot on treatment and the prices they are selling it for. Then its up to you to choose the best one and you'll go right to that store, whether it's Amazon,, or whichever.

You see, DugDug is doing the collating work in order to show all of the online stores that have what you need based on the information you enter. It's much quicker than searching high and low across the Internet. DugDug has done all the work for you. It's a simple one-stop website that doesn't sell the goods themselves but connects to you the stores that do. DugDug gets a small piece of the action from some of the sites if you indeed choose to buy from those stores, but they always list the best prices from the respective vendors regardless of whether those vendors pay a fee or not. So you can rest assured you are always getting the best price snapshot at that time.

Right now, the site pretty much handles mostly dog related products, but hopes to branch out soon. So give it a shot the next time you need to do some shopping. The time you save may be your own!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Is a Raw Food Diet Safe?

Consumers who like to eat healthy and natural often want the same for the pet. According to market research, a raw food diet is growing in popularity despite the higher cost than regular pet foods. Owners claim happier pets who have healthier teeth, shinier coats and fewer vet visits. So why the popularity of this new trend in pet diet practices? The explanation is simply in the name: raw. Pet companies who produce raw diet options use a balanced combination of pure bone and complete meats where very little of the animal is wasted. The result is an all-natural diet that offers the same nutrition as if your pet hunted down its prey and consumed it.

But while regulatory standards oversee the nutrional value of pet foods for consumers, many veterinarians are concerned that such foods might expose owners and other pets in the house to unnecessary germs. Since these meals are "raw", they could pose a danger of exposure to harmful contaminints such as E.Coli or Salmonella. In fact, a University of Minnesota study tested 60 raw meat meals in which 7% tested positive for both.

So what's the solution? The fact is there really isn't one hard and fast answer. If you feel the nutrional advantage to your pet is beneficial, than that is the pet food for you. Take precautions when feeding you pet a raw diet. Isolate their dish or bowl away from areas where exposure to E.Coli or Salmonella could spread.  Always wash your pet's bowl thoroughly and with hot water after use. Or, of course, do nothing. Maybe a raw diet isn't the way to go for your pet.

Always ask your veterinarian for their thoughts on the matter and do some research, talk to some people you know who feed their pet a raw diet. Maybe just let your pet decide. They are often the best and final word on almost any matter. If they like eating it, then maybe that's the one they should have. If not, problem solved.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Taming the High Cost of Pet Care

It seems the price of, well, everything has gone sky high and that includes vet care and pet supplies. So what is there to do about it? Just pony up more of your hard earned cash to keep your pet healthy and happy? Heck no! You're going to do a little homework. You trained your pet to behave, now it's time to show those prices who's boss and bring those costs way down. Here are some of the ways to go about doing just that.

Read Your Labels 

Most mainstream pet foods like to use big, flashy words to convince you that their product is the best one on the market. The truth is, you may be buying only that: words. Some companies will often stuff their foods with a lot of fillers that you don't need and your pet probably would rather not eat. Stay away from any bag of food that has the word 'Premium' on it. Chances are there's nothing premium about it but the price. Look for brands that claim their food is 'complete and balanced' or promises '100% nutrition'. Those aren't just buzzwords to the Association of American Feed Control, those claims are intended to promise that the food meets at least the minimum requirements of the regulatory organization that oversees all foods and medications intended for animal consumption. You're likely to be paying upwards of 80% more per pound with those brands who claim their food is 'premium' when mostly what you're getting is filler. 

Flea and Tick Protection

A major patent on one of the active ingredients in flea and tick products has expired, which means that more companies can now utilize it under their brands. Much the same with pharmaceutical companies and their patents, once one expires, it's up for grabs. So do some comparison shopping among a wider variety of brands as they will all be competing for your doggy dollar and undercutting each other to get it. 

Shop Online

Most of our savvy clients are probably aware of this, but buying online can help save money, especially when it comes to medications and flea and tick protection. Some of the sites you probably know, like, but others, such as; or offer competitive prices on almost everything your pet needs. 

Getting a Check-Up

Finally, vet care costs can also be quite astronomical. But there are ways to save here as well, and I don't mean compromising on the quality of care. Ask other pet owners for the best vets in your area; call around to find out what their examination fees are what's included in the visit. City animal shelters sometimes offer free neutering and spaying services and you may even find a vaccination clinic that will give your pet shots for free or at a huge discount. Check online with your local city services, there may be some programs for low-income families to get good veterinary care for little or no out of pocket cost. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Food Stamps...for pets!

With a lagging economy putting many Americans in dire financial straits, families have found themselves forced to make difficult sacrifices. Unfortunately, the ones who suffer these tough economic times are pets who are brought to shelters or just abandoned because their owners simply cannot afford to care for them any longer. There has been a spike in the amount of cats and dogs who have been surrendered to animal services facilities due to financial hardship. 

But one organization is looking to help out those pets in need. The Pet Food Stamps program has been created for the sole purpose of assisting people who cannot afford pet food and supplies. The organization is a non-profit corporation that subsists on the generous contributions from donors who want to prevent another animal being euthanized because their owners had to make a devastating choice that no one should have to be subjected to. 

Their website is pretty easy to remember, but here's a direct link:

Whether you want to donate or apply for their assistance, this link will take you to the right place. Like them on Facebook as well. This is a wonderful organization doing some amazing work in an area that has been long-neglected for too long. The Pet Food Stamps folks intend to help low income families with veterinary care by the end of 2013 as well. 

Farewell to Miles...and some of our other favorites.

We at Paws, Claws, Wings, and Things sometimes have to say goodbye to some of our best four-legged friends. We have to remember that, as much as we love and care for each of our furry clients as if they were our own, the reality is they are not our own. They have wonderful owners who love them very much and life can often take us on an unexpected journey.

Such is the case with a couple of our beloved pets, who are moving away from us and on to new experiences and adventures.

This brings us to Miles. One of the smartest and most easy-going dogs around. He knows when you're coming up the sidewalk and greets you at the door, ready to do some serious walking.

Always stretches before it's time to go...but never leaves until he gets some belly-scratchin's first. When we head out, he's well-behaved yet inquisitive. Everyone in the neighborhood loves him, even those who've never met him before always comment on how good looking he is and wonder why he isn't doing TV commercials yet.

Miles just shrugs it off, maybe someday he will. He takes it all in stride since he gets such notices quite often. This is a humble dog who knows he's got it going on, but plays it cool. We are sure going to miss him and wish his owner Jenny the best of luck with her new job.

We also want to take this opportunity to say that we are going to miss a few of our other departing clients who are onto bigger and exciting things.

Gus and Sophie, and their owner Dawn.

And Milo and Gryffin, and their owner Tessa. 

We wish them all the best of luck...and hope our paths cross again in the future!