Tag Archives: veterinary hospital Fort Collins CO

All About Your Feline Friend’s Hairballs

Cats are quite talented when it comes to grooming themselves. Unfortunately, that means that your feline friend ingests a lot of hair—that hair will eventually present itself in the form of a hairball! Learn more about your cat’s hairballs below from a Fort Collins, CO veterinarian.

How Do Hairballs Form?

When your cat grooms herself, tiny barbs on her tongue pick up loose hair from the coat, which your cat swallows. Most of that hair will move through Fluffy’s digestive tract, eventually getting expelled in your cat’s feces. Some of that hair, though, stays in the gut, forming a hairball—that hairball will occasionally be regurgitated. You’ll likely see some retching and gagging before your cat expels the hairball itself.

Do Hairballs Cause My Cat Any Harm?

The occasional hairball is a natural part of life for almost any cat—although it may not look pleasant when your cat is regurgitating a hairball, it shouldn’t hurt them in the least. If your cat coughs up the occasional hairball, there’s no need to worry.
With that being said, there are a few warning signs to watch out for when it comes to hairballs. If your cat’s hairball production has become frequent, or if they’ve suddenly started coughing up hairballs in rapid succession, it’s best to have them examined at the vet’s office right away. If your cat is retching but not producing an actual hairball, it may mean that the hairball is blocking your cat’s windpipe—this is a medical emergency and should be dealt with immediately.

Can I Help Lessen My Cat’s Hairball Production?

If you would like to try and reduce the amount of hairballs that your cat expels, there are a few steps you can take. The first is perhaps the simplest and most effective: brush your cat on a daily basis. This traps loose fur in the brush itself, preventing your cat from swallowing it in the first place. Another way to help minimize hairballs is by feeding your cat a specialized food, formulated to help reduce shedding and help hair flow through the digestive tract smoothly. This may be a helpful choice for cats with high hairball production—ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

Want to know more about your cat and hairballs? Does your feline friend need a veterinary checkup? We’re here to help! Schedule an appointment with your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic.

Great Holiday Gifts for Cats

Happy Holidays! As you check items off your holiday shopping list, don’t forget to pick up a few things for your kitty! Read on as a local Fort Collins, CO vet lists some great gifts for cats.

Beds

Our feline pals certainly are drowsy. In fact, Fluffy can sleep up to 20 hours a day! Get your tired pet some comfy beds to snooze in. (Don’t worry if your kitty already has a bed or two. As far as cats are concerned, you can never have too many napping spots.)

Kitty Garden

While we recommend that cats stay indoors, you can give your kitty a taste of the outside by getting her some pet-safe plants. Check the ASPCA site for suggestions.

Robotic Mouse

Robotic mice are another great gift option. These adorable modern toys react to your feline friend’s movements and vocalizations, providing lots of interactive fun.

Automated Laser Pointer

Does your furball love chasing that little red dot? Get Fluffy an automated laser pointer, so she can keep chasing after her elusive prey.

DVDs

Have you ever noticed your furry buddy ‘watching’ television? Get Fluffy some kitty DVDs, and let her binge-watch shows about birds and squirrels.

Wall-Mounted Furniture

If your kitty loves high spots, wall-mounted furniture would be a great gift option for her. Look into getting Fluffy some cat shelves, or even a catwalk.

Scratching Board

Is your pet using your sofa or carpet as a nail-care station? Give your furball a good scratching post or board. (Tip: sprinkle some catnip around it to make it tempting for Fluffy and encourage her to use it.)

Cat Tower

Cat towers are great for Fluffy! They offer her a scratching post and jungle gym, and also give her a good vantage point, so she can look down at her kingdom. If your budget is tight this year, go the DIY route and make your kitty a cat tower. Look online for step-by-step instructions.

Catnip Anything

Catnip mice are a classic holiday kitty gift, and are always a wonderful choice. However, Fluffy can now enjoy her catnip in several different forms. Why not offer your feline pal some catnip bubbles? You can also give Fluffy her own little catnip plant.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet clinic, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

Fluffy’s Cutest Secret Talents

Cats are quite talented little furballs. Our feline friends are excellent hunters and snugglers. They are also expert nappers! However, Fluffy actually has several other skills that you may not have noticed. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some of kitties’ cutest secret talents.

Traffic Weaving

Kitties are very small, so they sometimes have to be bold when they want attention. One way Fluffy does this is to run right out in front of her owners as they walk past. While cats do occasionally mistime these tricky maneuvers, what usually ends up happening on those occasions is that the human stops short to avoid accidentally kicking their frisky pet. (We suspect that this is actually a feline sport.)

People Training

Many of our feline friends have their owners wrapped around their adorable little paws. Fluffy may have you trained to feed her, pet her, or play with her on command. If you have a lap cat, your kitty may also have taught you how to properly be cat furniture. This basically entails not moving until it’s absolutely necessary, to avoid disturbing Her Furry Majesty.

Comedy Routines

In Fluffy’s mind, she is a fierce and ferocious hunter whose vicious killer instincts can only be soothed by cuddles, treats, and soft beds. However, it’s hard not to laugh when watching some of your cat’s playful antics. Whether Fluffy is attacking a bottle cap, sprinting across the room, or batting at a fuzzy toy, there’s a good chance that your kitty keeps you smiling.

Housework

Cats may seem aloof, but they actually do try to help their human servants out from time to time. Your thoughtful furball may offer her assistance with giftwrapping, changing sheets, and packing or unpacking suitcases and boxes. She may also help keep the coffee table clear by knocking small objects off it.

Interruptions

Fluffy certainly has a knack for demanding attention at inopportune times. Your cat may sprawl out on top of a book you are trying to read, bat at your pen as you’re writing something, or wake you up when she wants breakfast. Kitties also like to interrupt traffic by napping in the middle of the kitchen or living room.

Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet clinic, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are completely dedicated to keeping our feline patients happy, healthy, and purring.

8 Great Holiday Gifts for Puppies

Has a puppy recently joined your household? Congratulations! We love seeing baby dogs grow from adorable balls of fur into happy, healthy adult pooches. With the holidays approaching, this is a great time for you to get little Fido some of the things he will need. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some wonderful gift ideas for puppies.

Stocking

First and foremost, get Fido his own little stocking. Fill it with yummy treats; doggy dental care products; grooming supplies; and paw balm or wax. You can also include some clippers, to help you trim your furry buddy’s feet.

Bed

A doggy bed is a great gift for puppies! If your pooch is going to grow into a big dog, get him an orthopedic doggy bed. Smaller dogs may like bolstered beds, which have raised sides.

Doghouse

Do you have a yard? Consider getting Fido his own doghouse. Choose one that will keep your furry friend cool in summer and warm in winter.

Obedience Training

Making sure your dog knows basic obedience commands is very important. Consider giving little Fido the gift of education by enrolling him in obedience training and/or doggy daycare. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Chew Toys

Teething can be a fairly painful process for our canine pals. Little Fido may gnaw on anything and everything in sight while his choppers are growing in. Get your pooch lots of suitable chew toys.

Fun Playthings

Toys keep our four-legged companions happy and entertained, promote physical activity, and provide them with mental stimulation. Get your little buddy a cute toy box, and fill it with suitable toys.

Crate

Fido will likely need to be crated at some point, either during travel or at his vet’s or groomer’s, so it’s a good idea to get him used to his crate now. (Tip: choose a crate that will be the right size for Fido when he’s all grown up.)

Veterinary Care

In order to get your furry buddy started out on the right paw in life, you’ll need to make sure he gets proper veterinary care. Exams, spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccines, and parasite control are all crucial to your four-legged pal’s health. Make Fido an appointment … and offer him a yummy snack in the meantime.

Happy Holidays! Please feel free to contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Common Cat Care Mistakes

Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world, and it isn’t hard to see why. Our feline friends are not only absolutely adorable, they’re clean, cuddly, and lots of fun. Fluffy is quite easy to care for, but even the most independent furball needs proper care to thrive. A Fort Collins, CO vet lists some common cat care mistakes in this article.

Lack of Veterinary Care

Cats should see the vet at least once a year, though some kitties may need to come in more often. In addition to vaccines, exams, and parasite control, Fluffy should be microchipped and spayed or neutered. At home, watch for signs of illness, such as hiding, poor grooming, or unusual behavior. Since cats often don’t show any symptoms until they’re very sick, it’s important for you to contact your vet as soon as you notice something is amiss.

Overfeeding

While dogs may get the gold medal for begging, cats aren’t very far behind. If your kitty is getting, well, a bit chubby, but always wants more food, that plaintive meow could be a lie. Let your vet, not your furball’s theatrical begging, determine what Fluffy eats.

Lack of Stimulation

Even though your furball may spend a ridiculous amount of time sleeping, she’ll still need something to do when she’s awake. Offer Fluffy lots of fun toys, and take time to play with her daily. We also recommend giving your kitty a comfy window seat with a good view, so she can spy on birds and squirrels and daydream about hunting.

Letting Fluffy Roam

Although Fluffy may love fun outdoor activities like digging up your flowerbeds, putting paw prints on your car, and leaving ‘gifts’ on your doorstep, she’s really much safer living indoors. Outdoor kitties are exposed to many dangers, including cars, weather, and predators. They’re also more likely to pick up parasites, and are at much greater risk of getting hurt, lost, or killed.

Punishment

Never punish your kitty for doing something wrong. Cats act mostly according to instinct, so punishing Fluffy may backfire by making her feel anxious, angry, or frightened. Positive reinforcement is a much better course to take when dealing with feline behavioral issues. If your kitty is misbehaving, ask your vet for specific advice.

Is your cat due for an exam or vaccinations? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO animal clinic, anytime.

Caring for Fido’s Furry Feet

Your dog’s paws are integral to everything he does. Those cute furry feet let Fido run after his favorite toy, hop into the car when it’s time for a fun ride, and jump for joy when he sees you. Caring for your canine pal’s paws isn’t difficult, but it is very important! In this article, a local Fort Collins, CO veterinarian discusses doggy paw care.

Claws

Overgrown claws are very painful for our canine pals. They can affect your pet’s stride when he walks, and, over time, can even contribute to bone/joint disorders, such as arthritis. Make sure to keep Fido’s nails trimmed! If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, consider investing in a pair of clippers with sensors, which will indicate exactly where to make the cut. Of course, you can also just call us to schedule a quick ‘pawdicure’ for your furry best friend!

Weather Hazards

Summer and winter both bring specific hazards for those cute little (or not so little) paws. In summer, walking on hot tar can give your pet painful burns or blisters. Fido’s paws will be very delicate after he’s been swimming, so take extra care with your furry pal after he’s been in water. As a rule of thumb, if it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for Fido! In winter, snow, ice, salt, sand, and chemical de-icing agents can cause abrasions and burns. Wipe your canine buddy’s feet down with a damp cloth after each walk, and use a paw balm or wax to protect them. You’ll also want to be careful when walking your furry friend on fresh snow, as it can hide dangerous objects, such as broken bottles, from view.

General

We recommend inspecting your canine pal’s paws regularly for any signs swelling or injury. To make this more fun for Fido, work in a gentle paw massage for your furry friend! If you notice a light nick, you can treat it yourself with an antiseptic cream or spray. For anything more than a very minor wound, contact your vet right away. You definitely don’t want to take any chances with paw infections!

Do you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health, care, or behavior? Is Fido due for shots or an exam? We are here to help! Please contact us, your local Fort Collins, CO animal clinic, anytime.

Swimming Safety for Dogs

Are you looking forward to swimming and boating this summer? If so, you may want to bring your dog along for fun summer outings at a pool or lake. When swimming with dogs, you’ll want to be sure to always put Fido’s safety first. In this article, a local Fort Collins, CO vet offers some great advice on swimming safely with dogs.

Teaching Fido To Swim

While some dogs take to water like furry, four-legged ducks, others need to be taught how to swim. Never, ever, put your dog into water with the expectation that he will figure it out. Fido may be so frightened by the experience that he develops a lifelong fear of water. Instead, get into the water with your pup, and hold him gently. It may take a few attempts for him to figure out how to use all four legs. Reward him with treats and praise, so he feels positive about the experience.

Pool Safety

The first rule of doggy pool safety is to show Fido where the stairs are. This is crucial, because if he falls in, he’ll be able to get back out again if he knows where the exit is. Don’t just show him once: test him a few times. It may not be a bad idea to put a visual marker near the stairs, such as a potted tree or patio set, to mark the exit. Another thing to be careful of is your pool covering. You don’t want Fido to hop onto a pool cover, thinking it’s a solid surface! Therefore, adding a fence around your pool is always a good idea. If you have a senior dog, a weak pup, a puppy, or a pooch with poor vision, a fence is recommended.

Lake Safety

Before taking Fido to the lake, make sure your furry pal knows and obeys the five basic commands, which are SitStayComeHeel, and Lay Down. This is crucial because it can keep him from jumping off a dock, or wandering too close to a dangerous area. Always bring a doggy life jacket along for your pooch, and never let him off-leash near the water unattended.

Do you have any questions about your dog’s health or care? We are here to help! Reach out to us, your local Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.

Hot Weather Hazards for Pets

Now that we’re in the deep dog days of summer, it may be helpful to have a refresher course on keeping your pets safe! Use these tips from a Fort Collins vet to keep your pet cool and happy when it’s hot outside.

Provide Water

Hydration is key during the hot summer months. Make sure your cat or dog always has a dish of cool, fresh water to drink from, even if she’s staying indoors. Check the bowl periodically to see if it needs refilling or refreshing. You might even slip a few ice cubes in the bowl to keep it cool.

Provide Shade

If your pet is staying outdoors for extended periods of time, make sure she has a shady spot to cool off under. If there are good shade trees in your yard, you’re set. If there’s not, try making your own shade by setting up a tent or awning, or simply hanging a sheet up to make shade.

Watch for Heatstroke

Deadly heatstroke can affect our pets if they’ve stayed out in the humid weather and hot sun for too long. The first signs are usually drooling, panting, and weakness. If you witness vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, or collapse, the heatstroke has progressed. Move your pet to a cooler area immediately, allowing her to drink cool water, and call your veterinarian’s office right away for further advice.

Don’t Leave Pets in Cars

Of course, leaving your pet in a hot car is a big no-no. Even on days with temperatures in the 70s or 80s, the heat inside a parked car can rise to over 100 degrees in a few short minutes. Either leave your pet at home or bring them with you when you’re out, because leaving them in the car could be deadly. It’s even illegal in many areas!

Avoid Asphalt

Blacktop that’s baking under the hot sun can heat up to extremely high temperatures on a summer day. Our shoes protect against this heat, but a pet’s paw pads can easily be scorched by asphalt. Avoid the painful blisters and burns of blacktop by having your pet avoid these areas entirely.

Ask your Fort Collins veterinarian for more helpful hot weather tips to keep your pet hydrated, cool, and safe as the summer rolls on.