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2022 Winner of Alameda Magazine's Best Veterinary Clinic Award.

Fireworks Safety Tips for Dogs

The 4th of July is a time for celebration, but it’s also a time when many dogs experience stress and anxiety due to fireworks. Because illegal fireworks are likely to start before July 4 and continue well beyond it, it’s wise to be prepared for the entire month of July.

Here are some essential tips to keep your furry friends safe and comfortable during the festivities:

  • Designate a quiet room in your house where your dog can feel secure. Include familiar items like their bed, toys, and blankets.
  • Close windows and doors to minimize the noise.
  • Use heavy curtains or soundproofing materials to dampen the sound further.
  • Keep your dog indoors during fireworks displays to prevent them from running away or getting injured. Ensure all gates, doors, and windows are securely closed to avoid any escape attempts.

Small dog hiding under a bed.

  • Consider using calming aids such as anxiety wraps like the ThunderShirt, pheromone diffusers, or calming supplements.
  • Play soothing music or use white noise machines to help drown out the fireworks sounds.
  • Stay with your dog to provide comfort and reassurance.
  • Engage in interactive play or provide treats to distract them from the noise.

Big dog peeking out under a blanket.

  • Make sure your dog is microchipped and wears an up-to-date ID tag. In case they do escape, this will increase the chances of them being returned safely.
  • Take your dog for a long walk or engage in vigorous play before the fireworks start. A tired dog is more likely to rest calmly during the noise.
  • Consider leaving town with your dog for complete avoidance of the fireworks, especially at peak times.
  • If your dog has severe anxiety, consult with us for additional options such as prescription medications.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your dog stays safe and calm during fireworks. Remember, your pet relies on you to create a secure environment, so be sure to take the necessary steps to protect them.

Foxtail Season is Here!

The skies are blue, the flowers are blossoming, and the foxtails are OUT. Foxtails pose a major threat to our pets, as the grass awns embed into their nose, ears, tonsils, eyes, and paws. Every year between May and October, California veterinary hospitals are very busy removing foxtails fragments from our affected pets. Most animals need to be sedated for the removal, and not all attempts are successful. This can mean multiple trips to the vet—and therefore an expense—that could otherwise be avoided.

Mass of foxtails near a bay.

What Are Foxtails?

Foxtails are the seed part of various grasses that have a unique structure, enabling them to burrow into the soil with ease. This characteristic, while beneficial for the plant’s propagation, can be harmful to animals. The seeds are designed to move forward and not backward, which means once they attach to your pet, they can embed themselves deeper into the flesh, causing pain, infections, and sometimes severe complications.

Pets, particularly dogs who love romping through the grass, are at risk of foxtail injuries. Some common signs that your pet may have picked up a foxtail include:

  • Persistent licking or chewing at a particular spot
  • Shaking their head or tilting it to one side
  • Pawing at their eyes or ears
  • Sudden sneezing fits or nasal discharge

During foxtail season, we suggest you adhere to the following guidelines to avoid being a victim:

1. Avoid High-Risk Areas. Steer clear of areas with tall, dry grasses, especially during the late spring through fall. Choose your walking paths wisely, opting for well-maintained trails and parks. It is highly advised not to let your dog off leash. We all know that dogs love running through open fields, but with the amount of foxtails around, it is just not worth it. If you have a neighbor with an unkept lawn riddled with foxtails, a simple solution would be to switch up your route. Only take your dog in areas that are safe from foxtails. Walks are never fun when you’re having to yank on the leash every time your pet sniffs the plants.

2. Regular Grooming. Keep your pet’s fur trimmed, especially around the paws, ears, and underbelly. This reduces the chances of foxtails clinging to them and makes it easier to spot and remove any that do. Some coats are almost like Velcro and the foxtails really stick to them.

3. Perform Daily Checks. After any outdoor activities, thoroughly check your pet for foxtails. Pay special attention to their paws, between the toes, and around the face and ears. Perform a thorough check every day after each outing

4. Train Your Pet. Teach your pet to allow you to open their mouth and look inside, as foxtails can become lodged in the gums or under the tongue. Get them comfortable with you handling their paws and ears, as well.

Close-up of a foxtail.

What to Do if You Find a Foxtail

If you find a foxtail on your pet, remove it carefully with tweezers if it has not yet embedded itself. However, if the seed is not easily removable or you suspect it has burrowed into your pet’s skin, seek veterinary assistance immediately. Do not attempt to remove foxtails from sensitive areas like the eyes, ears, or nose on your own, as this may push them deeper.

If we’re not able to accommodate you on a same-day basis and we recommend that you visit the emergency or urgent care, please follow our instructions. Do not wait. Be diligent and be quick. Foxtails are expensive. And keep in mind that not all foxtails can be easily removed. Foxtail removal can take multiple vet visits, and some even escalate to the level of a specialist who must use specialized imaging and equipment to remove these terrible plant pieces.


Our lobby is now open for anyone not experiencing respiratory symptoms. If you or your pet are coughing, sneezing, have nasal discharge, or other cold, flu, or COVID-like symptoms, please call or text us at 510-523-1626 (option 1 if calling) to let us know you are here for your appointment and we will assist you curbside. Be sure to include your first name, last name, and your pet’s name. Everyone else is welcome to come inside and we will be with you as soon as we can.

Exams & Non-Urgent Questions

To schedule a non-urgent appointment, please text us or use the website widget to request an appointment. IF YOUR PET IS HAVING AN URGENT MEDICAL ISSUE, PLEASE CALL US AND CHOOSE OPTION 2 FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.

We require 24-hour notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment to ensure we are able to provide care for as many patients as possible. If less than 24 hours is provided, there may be a late cancellation/no-show fee, even if we reschedule the appointment. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

New clients are required to pay a deposit for the first exam for each pet. If less than 24-hour notice is given to cancel or reschedule the first visit, the deposit will be waived. If more than 24-hour notice is received, the deposit will be applied to the first exam.

Prescription Refills

Prescription food and medication refills may be called in or texted to 510-523-1626 (option 3 if calling), or ordered via the website widget. Please allow at least 2 business days to process refills. If the medication or food is a special order, we will let you know when it is available for pick up. If the prescription is from another pharmacy, including online, please let us know and allow a week to process since we need to get doctor approval. We appreciate your patience.

Coronavirus Information

For the very latest information on COVID-19, you can check these sites:

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
WHO – World Health Organization
WSAVA – World Small Animal Veterinary Association

Photo of black and white cat

If you need veterinary care for birds, reptiles, or small mammals, click here for Dr. Granzow’s list of local exotic vets.

Office Hours

We will be closed on Thursday July 4, for Independence Day.

Monday – Friday:
8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Our reception area will be closed daily from 12:30 – 2:00 pm for training and lunch breaks.

Your Pet Portal 

You can click on the link below to log into your Pet Portal account and check upcoming appointments, schedule new appointments, check the due dates of your pet’s vaccines, request prescription refills, and request boarding reservations for your pet.

If you don’t have an account yet, you can also click on the link to sign up.

Otto Pet Portal Login (temporarily disabled)

Contact Us

(510) 523-1626

Alameda Pet Hospital
2275 Buena Vista Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
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