Tag Archives: animal hospital Fort Collins CO

Guinea Pig Care Tips

Have you decided to adopt a Guinea pig? These little furballs make very cute pets! Although Guinea pigs—or cavies, as they are sometimes called—are fairly easy to keep, they do have some specific care needs. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some tips on Guinea pig care.

Comfy Cage

Making sure your furry friend is comfortable in his cage is very important! For one Guinea pig, we recommend getting a cage that is about 7.5 square feet. If you have more than one cavy, you’ll need a bigger cage. Add a suitable substrate, such as aspen. Avoid pine and cedar substrates, as they are toxic to small animals. Your pet will also need a hidey-hole, as well as some dishes and a water bottle.

Offer Proper Food

You can feed your Guinea pig commercial food for his main meals. Your pint-sized pal will also need plenty of fresh water, as well as good grass hay, such as Timothy hay. You can supplement these things with fresh produce. Always research a new food before giving it to your pet, as not all fruits and veggies are safe for cavies. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Chew Toys

Cavies must chew quite a bit to keep their choppers healthy. Offer your adorable pet lots of suitable chew toys. Many cardboard, wood, and wicker items are fine, as long as they don’t have small parts or sharp edges, and are not coated in varnish, paint, or glitter. (Tip: the cardboard tubes from toilet-paper rolls can make great cavy playthings.) Ask your vet for recommendations.

Buddies

Guinea pigs are very sociable, and are often happier with a buddy or two to play with. Just be sure to only keep same-sex cavies together!

Veterinary Care

Keep a close eye on your cavy, and watch for any potential signs of illness. Some common ones are lethargy, reduced appetite, weight loss, and unusual posture, behavior, or vocalizations. Contact your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.

Love

Last but not least, make sure your pint-sized buddy feels loved, safe, and comfortable. Pay attention to your little pet, and take time to pet and play with him. You may be surprised how charming and lovable these cute furballs can be!

Do you have questions about Guinea pig care? We can help! Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet hospital, today!

Arthritis in Dogs

Is your canine buddy approaching his golden years? Fido will be just as cute as a senior as he was as a puppy! Your pet will slow down as he ages, and may develop a very calm, sweet demeanor that you truly enjoy. However, just like people, dogs often develop certain health problems as they grow older. Arthritis is one of the most common ones. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses arthritis in dogs.

At-Risk Breeds

While any dog can develop arthritis, some breeds do have a higher risk of it than others do. For instance, it is particularly common in retrievers and German Shepherds. However, there are also some additional risk factors that can increase the chances that Fido will become arthritic. Obesity is a big one. Infections, traumas, and joint abnormalities can also contribute to arthritis. Ask your vet for more information.

Warning Signs

Arthritis often develops fairly slowly, but there are some ‘telltail’ symptoms to watch for. Limping is often one of the earliest warning signs that a dog is developing arthritis. At first, Fido may only limp right after he gets up, but that limp will become more pronounced over time. Reduced interest in play is another common sign. Your pooch may have trouble getting in and out of cars, or climbing stairs, if he has arthritis. You may also notice your canine friend licking or chewing his paws.

Veterinary Care

If you know or suspect that your dog is developing arthritis, contact your vet immediately. While arthritis cannot be cured, there are now many wonderful options for helping soothe pets’ pain. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Keeping Fido Comfortable

In addition to making sure that your canine companion gets proper veterinary care, there are some small but significant things you can do to help your pup get around more easily. We recommend getting a good, orthopedic doggy bed, which will help your pooch sleep more comfortably. Pet ramps or stairs will make it easier for your furry friend to get in and out of the car, or climb onto the sofa. Last but not least, follow your vet’s recommendations for Fido’s diet and exercise regime. Good food and safe, suitable activity will both benefit your pet, and help keep that furry tail wagging.

Do you think your dog is developing arthritis? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO animal clinic, today!

Safety Tips for Letting Your Pocket Pet Use a Runabout

Do you have a hamster or Guinea pig? Exercise balls, or runabouts, are becoming very popular accessories for pocket pets. Runabouts can be both fun and entertaining for tiny furballs, but they can also be very dangerous if used improperly. A Fort Collins, CO vet offers some tips on getting your furry pal a runabout or exercise ball in this article.

Shopping

Runabouts are definitely not one-size-fits-all. Your little buddy could be seriously hurt in a wheel that is the wrong size! Do your research, and be sure to choose the correct size. We also recommend checking product reviews and safety ratings before making a purchase. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Stay Grounded

Stairs can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal, to pets in exercise balls. Don’t let your furry friend roll around near stairs, and never put him on a tabletop.

Adult Supervision Required

Never leave your four-legged pal in a runabout unattended. Your cute pet could get stuck in a corner, or trapped underneath something. This can be both scary and dangerous for the little furball!

Furball’s Choice

Even small animals have their own likes and dislikes. Some of these little guys really enjoy runabouts, while others find being in a rolling plastic ball very scary. Never force your pet to use a runabout. If your pint-sized buddy seems frightened, offer him another type of toy instead.

Safety Check

Before letting your tiny pet roll around, make sure his exercise ball is closed securely. If in doubt, use tape to hold it shut.

Cleaning

Your pocket pet may soil his runabout while he’s using it. Clean the exercise ball after each use, and let it dry completely before letting him use it again.

Playtime

Even if your adorable pet loves being in his runabout, you want to be careful not to leave him inside it for too long. About 15 minutes is plenty. It’s better to give your four-legged friend several short sessions than one long one.

Other Pets

Keep Fido and Fluffy in another part of the house when your pocket pet is in his runabout. Your miniature furball could be seriously hurt by a playful dog or cat!

Please feel free to contact us, your local Fort Collins, CO animal clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are always here to help!

Winter Care for Dogs

Winter is right around the corner. Is your dog ready for the cold weather? While our canine pals do have fur coats, they still need a bit of extra TLC to help keep them safe, healthy, and warm during the cold season. In this article, a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some advice on caring for your pooch in winter.

Grooming

Tangles, mats, and dead fur can make Fido’s fur less effective at keeping him warm. Brush your canine pal regularly.

Clothing

If your dog has thin fur, he may need some clothes to help him stay warm when the thermometer plunges. Pick up a good doggy sweater for your four-legged buddy. Be sure not to choose anything that is tight on him!

Paw Care

Snow, ice, sand, salt, and chemical de-icers are all harsh on Fido’s sensitive paws, and can cause painful burns and blisters. Use balm or wax to protect your pup’s furry feet. Keeping your dog’s nails and toe fur trimmed will help him get better traction on slippery surfaces.

Shelter

We always recommend that dogs live indoors, where they are safer, warmer, and happier. But if Fido does spend a lot of time in the yard, make sure he has suitable shelter outdoors.

Bedding

Offer your pet a nice, comfy bed to curl up in at night. If Fido is in his golden years, consider getting him a good, orthopedic doggy bed. Placement is also important: don’t put your pooch’s doggy bed in a chilly or drafty area.

Diet

Some dogs need extra calories in winter. If your dog is a senior, recovering from illness or surgery, or spends a lot of time outdoors, he may need bigger portions during the cold season. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Exercise

As the weather cools, you may opt to take your dog on shorter walks, rather than a leisurely stroll. To keep your pooch from becoming a couch potato, try to keep him active inside. Playing fetch is one great way to get Fido moving.

Ice

When walking your furry pal, don’t bring him too close to frozen bodies of water where there could possibly be thin ice. You don’t want to take any chances on your pet falling through!

Do you have any questions about your dog’s health or care? We can help! Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, anytime.

Is Your Cat Bored?

Kitties are unofficial experts at lounging around and looking cute. Your feline friend can spend as much as 18 hours a day napping! However, even with all that sleep, your furball needs stimulation to keep her happy and amused when she is awake. In this article, a Fort Collins vet discusses boredom in cats.

Signs of Feline Boredom

If Fluffy is bored, she might drape herself over the back of the sofa, staring winsomely at nothing. Bored kitties sometimes try to amuse themselves by knocking small items off coffee or end tables. Sometimes our feline friends will bolt and run to another room for no reason, perhaps to see if there is anything interesting going on in there. Your furball may also follow you around, climb up onto your lap, or try to explore a closet or cupboard to amuse herself. Some cats get a bit destructive when they are bored, so Fluffy might pounce on you. Kitties are also prone to snacking when they are bored, so if your cat seems to be eating a lot, she could be bored.

The Benefits of Keeping Your Furball Amused

Just like people, pets need stimulation to be truly happy. Playtime is great for kitties, as it engages their instinctual behaviors, and allows them to indulge their inner hunters. Mental stimulation is also good for kitties as they age. Senior kitties often experience cognitive decline, much like people do, and stimulation helps prevent that. Also, kitties that are entertained are less liable to indulge in destructive behavior, or misbehave by play-fighting.

Entertaining Fluffy

As they say, prevention is much better than a cure. Keep Fluffy entertained by providing lots of kitty toys. Boxes, paper bags, and kitty tunnels all offer fun spots to explore. A cat tower is also a great option, as it provides a sleeping spot, scratching options, exercise, and, if placed in front of a window, live entertainment. Actually, just watching birds, squirrels, and other wildlife can keep your furball interested for hours. Make sure Fluffy has at access to at least one window with a good view. To make this even more fun for your furball, put a bird feeder outside the window. Some kitties even enjoy watching nature DVDs, particularly those about birds.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health, care, or behavior? Contact us, your Fort Collins veterinary clinic, any time!

Will a Hedgehog Make a Great Family Pet?

Don’t want to get the typical dog or cat as your next family pet? Perhaps you’re considering a more exotic option… the hedgehog! Before you get one, though, read your Larimer County veterinarian’s words of wisdom below.

The Family Lifestyle

Before you run out and purchase a hedgehog, consider your family’s lifestyle. Will you and your family members have the time to commit to a hedgehog? If you do, a hedgehog will make a great pet—they don’t need a huge living space, they won’t keep you up at night, and they’ll be happy without another hedgehog companion. If you don’t, though, it’s not fair to the hedgehog when you can’t commit the necessary amount of time.

Hedgehog Personality

In general, hedgehogs are gentle, quiet, fun little animals. They’ll probably be a bit solitary at first, but will acclimate to their human owner over time. If they are housed and fed properly and are given enough attention, a hedgehog should stay very happy.

Young Children

Keep in mind that young children might not be ready for the handling requirements of a hedgehog. While their quills don’t stab like a porcupine’s would, they can poke painfully if the hedgehog isn’t picked up properly. Young children might not have a good grasp on the method, so you might want to wait until your kids are older. Also make certain that children understand the amount of time and work that’s going to have to go into caring for your new pet.

Basic Maintenance

Hedgehogs are relatively low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they’re no-maintenance. You’ll need to change your hog’s bedding regularly, switch out food and water, and clean their cage properly.

Ask your Larimer County veterinarian for more advice on whether or not a hedgehog is the right choice for you and your family dynamic. For the right owners who know what they’re getting into, a hog will make a great spiky addition to the family!