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Coyote attacks are on the rise, here’s how to see if they’re in your area Via OC Register


Looking for tracks now could be beneficial if there are coyotes in your area. The number of coyote sightings, and attacks in urban areas of California has increased in recent years. Coyote mating season is in late January through February and pups are born in March and April. Coyotes can be aggressive and protective during mating or when protecting litters of pups.
It is unknown if the drought contributed to the rise in coyote attacks in rural areas but even when their food supply is abundant their territorial range can be one to three square miles.

Coyote bites reported to California Department of Fish and Wildlife in Los Angeles and Orange counties:

2012: 3

2013: 1

2014: 4

2015: 11

2016: 10


The University of California cooperative Extension has created an interactive map (click here) where people can enter where and when they have encountered coyotes. The map below shows encounters of different types in the last 30 days around Southern California. You can list your sightings at
Coyote control: Call your county animal control office or the United States Department of Agriculture, California Wildlife Services state office at 916-979-2675 .


Breeding occurs once annually, typically in late January and in February, with pups born in March and April. Parents and offspring continue to remain in a family group for about six months. Before giving birth, the adults excavate one or more dens in the soil, occasionally expanding the burrows of other animals, but sometimes using hollow logs, rock piles, or culverts. Typically, even when denning in suburban areas, they choose sites where human activity is minimal. If disturbed, the parents may move the litter to an alternate den site.

The size of a litter of pups is normally 4 to 7 and may depend on the female’s nutritional status, which is a function of food availability and coyote population density. Pups will remain in a family group for about six months.


Coyote prints are often difficult to distinguish from dogs.

Coyote prints often only show the claws on the middle two toes and they are usually much narrower than a dog print.

Sources: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Forest Service, University of Ca


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Video: Is Your Dog a Territorial Barker? This Training Can Help

Taken from

Do you have a dog who likes to alert bark inside the house or out in the yard? He may benefit from learning the “look” game. This great training rewards your dog for performing a more acceptable behavior instead of barking when he sees his usual triggers — perhaps people approaching or dogs walking past. In this game, you calmly say the word “look” to bring attention to the stimulus, then teach him that the sight or sound he normally barks at is his cue to remain quiet for a treat or reward.

The game is free of punishment. Punishing a dog for barking is never recommended, as punishment can often increase anxiety and aggression, inhibiting the bark temporarily without resolving the root emotion causing the territorial barking. Check out trainer Mikkel Becker’s advice for teaching the “look” game in the video below.

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Posted in: Dog Health, News, Pets, Westminster Veterinary Group

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Thinking about pet insurance?

Thinking about pet insurance? Look over the options of companies and use the questions provided to help you choose the best insurance for you and your pet.

Pet insurance questions

Insurance comparisons

Posted in: Cat Health, Dog Health, News, Pet Health, pet insurance, Westminster Veterinary Group

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FAQ PNA Prevention “Is feeding dry food the best way to prevent dental disease in dogs and cats?” – Pet Nutrition Alliance

FAQ PNA Prevention “Is feeding dry food the best way to prevent dental disease in dogs and cats?”



  • No. Unfortunately, there is a lack of long-term research providing evidence that any one method, including a dry dental diet, is “best” for preventing dental disease (i.e. gingivitis, periodontitis).1
  • Dental disease is even more complicated because there isn’t a clear relationship between the amount of plaque and calculus on the teeth and the severity of the gingivitis or periodontitis associated with it.1 Simply, a reduction of plaque and calculus may not result in a significant reduction of gingivitis or periodontitis for dogs and cats.
  • Therefore, mechanical debridement from foods or products that claim to simply reduce plaque or calculus formation cannot guarantee the prevention of dental disease.1
  • Current recommendations:
    • Research shows that tooth brushing is the most effective way to prevent dental disease. It provides mechanical stimulation of the gingiva, which enhances proliferation of fibroblasts and collagen synthesis. Brushing contributes to good dental health by preventing periodontal pocket formation and promoting epithelial attachment.1 Twice-daily brushing shows the greatest benefit in dogs,2 although once-daily brushing in dogs is adequate.3 For cats, there is evidence to suggest that daily tooth brushing reduces gingivitis.4
    • If a pet owner is unable or unwilling to brush their pet’s teeth daily, then it may require a combination of therapeutic strategies to reduce the risk of dental disease.5
      • For dogs: feed diets clinically proven to reduce plaque and calculus development and provide multiple chewing activities.5
      • For cats: feed diets clinically proven to reduce plaque and calculus formation6 and provide chewing activities.1
    • Dental diets may use a number of strategies to reduce dental disease. Mechanisms that might be used  are:
      • Mechanical abrasion
      • Inhibition of calculus formation (i.e. sodium hexametaphosphate-HMP)
      • Antibacterials (sodium ascorbyl phosphate)
      • Plaque retardants
  • Regulation:
    • Foods that claim to cleanse, freshen, or whiten teeth by mechanical action or abrasive action do not need pre-market approval and are permissible by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).7
    • If these types of claims are achieved by any other way (i.e. drugs), they must be approved by the FDA prior to going to market.
  • Options for oral health products:
    • The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) lists pet diets and products which may help in oral health.8 The VOHC provides a current list at


  1. Cave N. Nutritional Management of Gastrointestinal Disease. In: Fascetti AJ, Delaney SJ eds. Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition 1st ed. Ames, IA: Wiley-Blackwell; 2012: 188-192.
  2. Yamamoto T, Tomofuji T, Ekuni D, Sakamoto T, Horiuchi M, Watanabe T. Effects of toothbrushing frequency on proliferation of gingival cells and collagen synthesis. J Clin Periodontol. 2004 Jan;31(1):40-4.
  3. Horiuchi M, Yamamoto T, Tomofuji T, Ishikawa A, Morita M, Watanabe T. Toothbrushing promotes gingival fibroblast proliferation more effectively than removal of dental plaque. J Clin Periodontol. 2002 Sep;29(9):791-5.
  4. Ingham KE, Gorrel C, Blackburn JM, Farnsworth W. The effect of toothbrushing on periodontal disease in cats. J Nutr. 2002 Jun;132(6 Suppl 2):1740S-1S.
  5. Harvey CE, Shofer FS, Laster L. Correlation of diet, other chewing activities and periodontal disease in North American client-owned dogs. J Vet Dent. 1996 Sep; 13(3):101-5.
  6. Vrieling HE, Theyse LF, van Winkelhoff AJ, Dijkshoorn NA, Logan EI, Picavet P. Effectiveness of feeding large kibbles with mechanical cleaning properties in cats with gingivitis. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd. 2005 Mar 1;130(5):136-40.
  7. Association of American Feed Control Officials. 2011 Official Publication. Association of American Feed Control Officials, Inc. 2011: 144-145.
  8. Helping to Control the Most Common Disease in Dogs and Cats: Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease). Veterinary Oral Health Council Web site. Accessed April 26, 2013.

Posted in: Blog, Cat Health, Dental health, Dog Health, News, Pet Health, pet safety

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Coyote Alert!

Coyote Alert! We are receiving reports of increased coyote sightings, coyote attacks, and dog disappearances from a number of different sources right now including Next Door. Per our prior warning post, we are now in coyote breeding season which lasts from January to early March. Coyotes are more aggressive during the breeding season as they defend their den/home territories against other coyotes, foxes, and, unfortunately, domestic dogs. Recent weather patterns may have also contributed to the increased coyote activity. Please be very careful during this time and keep yourselves, your families, and your pets safe.

Posted in: Cat Health, Dog Health, Exotic Pet Health, News, Pet Health, pet safety, Westminster Veterinary Group

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Dangerous strain of dog flu spreads concern across U.S.

From CBS News

A dangerous new strain of dog flu is spreading concern across the West. A dog in Montana recently tested positive for the highly contagious virus, and the Washington state health department is warning pet owners after possible exposure at a Seattle-area kennel.

In Chicago, the dog flu spread so quickly last year that some shelters were forced to close their doors to prevent further contamination, reports CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

At Paws Chicago, they’ve treated around 300 sick dogs at their hospital and helped find them temporary homes while they recover. Vets understand the difficulty of containing this highly contagious virus.

Ashley Leise walks dogs in the Seattle area. She’s paying extra close attention to her four-legged friends after warnings about the new strain of dog flu.

“They can get sick just like us, and I know how much I hate being sick,” Leise said.

King County public health officials say up to 90 dogs staying at a kennel outside of Seattle may have been exposed to the virus. Two have tested positive for flu, but further tests are needed to confirm it’s the new strain.

“None of the dogs have immunity to fight it off, so you see large numbers of dogs getting ill when the virus starts to circulate,” said Beth Lipton, vet for Public Health Seattle and King County. “When dogs are going to day care or dog parks or boarding overnight in kennel facilities, it can spread very rapidly.”

Cases first showed up last March in Chicago and spread quickly. Around 2,000 dogs in 24 states have been infected. A vaccine was made available in November.

Vets say the disease is rarely fatal, but owners should see a vet right away if their dog shows symptoms.

“So if your dog doesn’t eat well, misses a meal, if you see coughing, if you see lethargy, just being tired, moping around, it could be a sign of a fever,” vet Rob McMonigle said. “If you see that, give your local vet a call and schedule an appointment because they’ll need to get on some special medications for it.”

The Seattle and King County health department says their Facebook post outlining the symptoms has been viewed 189,000 times since Tuesday. Local vets are now stocking up on the vaccine.

And while the virus is no laughing matter, a viral video features a Chicago pup named Herbert who’s putting on a brave face while recovering from the flu.

“Dogs are household members and often times they’re like kids in the family,” Lipton said. “People want to take care of their pets and do the right thing and keep them safe.”

Humans can’t contract the virus, but they could spread it to healthy dogs after close contact with an infected dog.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in: dog flu, Dog Health, News, Pet Health

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Safety for your pet, think insurance.

A rapidly growing pet concentrated industry is the insurance sector for pets. This occurs for a few reasons; more pets pet households, increased homeownership, revenue increases, and better product introduction to the market. Industry insurance products now include accident and illness, accident only, dog insurance with wellness plans included, cat insurance with wellness plans, and specific dog or cat policies.

There are many good reasons to get pet insurance. First, the insurance does help to curb the cost of care especially if there is an emergency. Some of the new policies come with emergency and wellness care coverage up to 90% reimbursement on veterinary care expenses. Also, insurance products now offer alternative deductible plans annually charging $100 -$250 or incident specific deductible plans. There is now more value in the plans offered and not as many limits of reimbursement.

Things to consider before purchasing

  • How much does the plan cost?
  • Is wellness included?
  • What type of care is included (general, emergency, chronic conditions, and specialists)?
  • How will reimbursements work?

The downside of any insurance is the exclusion of pre-existing conditions and some breed specific conditions. Although, with thorough research of the plans offered by many companies like Nationwide, Trupanion, American Society for the Prevention Cruelty to Animals, VPI, Petplan, and Embrace; an owner can reap the rewards of being prepared to care for their pet in an emergency or healthy life. See our insurance resource page for help in deciding what pet insurance is best for you.


American Pet Products Association (2015) Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics.

Pet Product New International (2015)

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Client Education Websites and links

Client Education Website

American Veterinary Medical Association

Canine Inherited Disorders Database, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

Indoor Pet Initiative, The Ohio State University

Partners in Animal health, Cornell University

Pet Health Library, American Animal Hospital Association

Pet Health Network, IDEXX

Pet Poison Helpline

Works and Germs Blog by Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DAVCIM

Posted in: Bird, Bird Health, Blog, Dog Health, exotic animal health, Exotic Pet Health, News, Pet Health

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Caring for Your Rabbit

Often we see rabbits and the pet parents on a regular basis. We see some great care of rabbits and then there are days we know there is a lack of knowledge of how to care for a rabbit or senior rabbit. We want to educate clients on best care tips for a rabbit.
The first thing is yearly appointment with a knowledgeable veterinarian. Here are some simple tips for a rabbit care:

  1. Diet review-know the nutritional needs and proper diet habits
  2. Flea control applied
  3. Bloodwork drawn and lab tested
  4. Check the perianal area for cleanliness
  5. Monitor for molar issues by watching for drooling, rubbing the face, and unable to eat
  6. Watch for clogged eye ducts
  7. If you observe any changes in weight, posture, uneven gait while moving, lumps or bumps, coughing and changes in urine output report immediately to your veterinarian.

Examine your pet regularly while grooming your rabbit. If you see any changes in your rabbits health according to the list above, you need an appointment please call 714-899-1100. Waiting too long to resolve an issue can leave your pet in pain. Our goal is to keep a pet parent well informed and a pet rabbit pain free and happy. Our doctors are here to give advice, support, education, and even some rabbit pampering.

Posted in: Blog, Exotic Pet Health, How to properly care for you rabbit, News, Pet Health, Rabbit, Westminster Veterinary Group

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July 4th Safety

July 4th Safety

Fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after the July 4th festivities.

Preparing in advance:

  • Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification tags with up-to-date information. If you have horses, you might consider marking a safety (breakaway) halter with your contact information and leaving it on your horse during this stressful time.
  • If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
  • If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.
  • Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs and horses – just in case.
  • If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.
  • Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained? Are pasture fences secure enough to keep horses or other livestock confined? Evaluate your options, and choose the safest area for your animals; and make improvements if needed to make the area more secure.

Safety during July 4th celebrations:

  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
  • If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewersaway from curious pets.
  • Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic.
  • Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
  • Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
  • If you’re travelling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.
  • Follow safe food handling and hygiene practices to protect your family and guests.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
  • Check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock.
  • If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.

Related resources:

Podcast: Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

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