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Los Angeles pets live a life to howl about. Sunshine, car rides, beautiful hikes and owners dedicated to taking the best care of their four-legged children. But even the best pet owners could use a tip or two from the pros to ensure their fur babies will live a long and healthy life.

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Hours: Mon to Sun – 12 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Emilie Chaplow, a veterinarian with the Animal Specialty Group, cautions pet owners about common household toxins to avoid.

“For cats, lilies are deadly if eaten,” said Chaplow. “Dog owners need to keep their pet away from raisins and grapes as both can cause kidney failure, and Sago Palms are toxic to the liver if eaten.”

Animal Specialty Group features a state-of-the-art facility with board-certified specialists in seven disciplines. This teaching hospital uses a collaborative approach to healing and working with local veterinarians, and even helps local zoos.

Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to Newman, owner of Porter Pet Hospital, building a healthy relationship through obedience training is the single most important act a dog owner should make.

“Dogs are intelligent,” said Newman. “They can learn about 200 words. It’s important to spend time training your pet so they develop healthy habits.”

Related: Best Veterinarians in Los Angeles

Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun emergencies – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Veterinarian Scott Anderson said keep dogs away from Macadamia nuts.

“I have seen southern Californian dogs in serious medical distress from the nuts that are popular in this part of the country.”

Open since 1987, the doctors at Channel Islands Veterinary Hospital perform everything from routine check ups to advanced surgeries. Its veterinarians place a special emphasis on preventative health care for pets.

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Hours: Mon to Fri, Sun – 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Veterinarian Jeff Werber stresses continuous nutrition monitoring and problem prevention for Los Angeles pets to stay healthy and happy.

“The number one nutritional disease in pets is obesity,” said Werber. “About 40 percent of dogs and 25 percent of cats in the United States are overweight. Seventy-five percent of those pets belong to owners who are overweight themselves.”

Century Veterinary Group offers a newsletter created especially for Los Angeles pet owners.

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Hours: daily – 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; emergencies 10:30 p.m. to 8 a.m.

“Just as with people, the best way to ensure a long and healthy life for your pet is to have them examined on a regular basis, at least once every six or 12 months, by your veterinarian,” said David Bruyette, medical director at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. “This will help you and your veterinarian formulate a health plan tailored to your pet. Exams include screening programs designed to pick up disease’s before they start to cause any symptoms.”

VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital prides itself on taking care of pets and their people. Everything from routine to specialty and emergency care is handled at this location. By following these five simple suggestions, LA pet guardians can feel good about caring for their best friends.

Related: Most Heartwarming Pet Stories of 2011

Susan Hartzler is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She is covering Family & Pets. Her work can be found at

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