All posts by James

The Building Blocks of Your Pet’s Nutrition

Proper nutrition is a must for any healthy pet. Modern pet foods are specially formulated to give great nutrition to your companion, and there are plenty of options out there. In the end, though, your pet’s nutrition comes down to the basic building blocks—you’ll find that the nutrients that your pet needs are many of the same ones that you do! Let’s take a closer look at the building blocks of your pet’s nutrition.

Protein

Protein is essential for building all of your pet’s bodily tissues. That’s why diets made for young pets—puppy and kitten formulas—are typically very high in protein; it promotes healthy tissue and muscle development as a young pet grows. A high-protein diet might also be appropriate for a pregnant dog or cat, as they need extra protein to safely deliver their litter.

Carbohydrates

Your pet’s body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a simple sugar that provides energy. Carbs are the “fuel” for the body’s cells—they’re what keeps your animal friend going! Foods like rice and potatoes are high in carbohydrates, and are therefore included in pet food formulas often.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is also key for a pet’s good health. Insoluble fiber works to regulate glucose levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into your pet’s bloodstream. Fiber also helps your pet to feel full—it’s no accident that many weight-loss diets for pets are high in fiber!

Fats

Just like humans, pets need proper fats to stay healthy. It’s another important component for providing your pet with energy. The fat that your pet’s system doesn’t use for physical activity will be stored in the body to be used as a reserve.

High-energy pets will need more fat in the diet to retain high activity levels. A working ranch dog, for instance, needs more fat in their diet than an aging housecat does. Ask your veterinarian if your pet’s fat levels are appropriate for their needs.

Vitamins and Minerals

Of course, your pet also needs essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients, for proper nutrition throughout life. High-quality pet foods are made with just the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to keep your pet healthy for a lifetime.

Want to know more about your pet’s nutrition? Need a recommendation on a great diet choice? Call us today to learn more.

Key Vaccinations for Dogs

One very important part of dog ownership is making sure your dog stays up to date on his vaccinations. This is actually required by law in many places, and with good reason. Vaccinations help build your pup’s immune system, protecting him from dangerous and deadly diseases. They also help curb the spread of infectious disease. Because some diseases—such as rabies—can be transmitted to people, human safety is also a factor. In this article, a vet discusses important vaccines for dogs.

Core Vaccines

There are four main vaccines, generally called core vaccines, which all dogs should have. These are canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Canine parvovirus—or parvo, as it is sometimes called—is a deadly disease that affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems. It is extremely contagious, and can be spread very easily, even without direct dog-to-dog contact. Puppies are at high risk, as are unvaccinated dogs. Distemper is another dangerous virus. It can affect dogs’ gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems. Canine hepatitis is an acute liver infection, which is transmitted through body fluids, such as blood and saliva. The rabies vaccine is also crucial. Many people don’t realize that rabies has a 100% fatality rate in people once symptoms begin to show. It’s extremely fatal for dogs as well.

Non-Core Vaccines

In addition to the core vaccines, your vet may recommend a few other vaccines, depending on your dog’s exposure risk. These vaccines—known as non-core vaccines—include vaccines for Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Leptospira bacteria. Bordetella affects dogs’ respiratory system, and is often known as kennel cough. You may not know the term Borrelia burgdorferi, but you may be familiar with it regardless. It is the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, which, as you may know, is generally tick-borne. Leptospira bacteria causes Leptospirosis, an infectious disease that can affect both pets and people.

Vaccination Schedule

Fido’s vaccinations should start when he is about 6 to 8 weeks old. Typically, they are administered in groups, and are given every 3 to 4 weeks until puppies are about 4 months old. Once your dog is an adult, he should only need booster shots. Some of these should be given yearly, while others may only be needed every few years. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns about vaccinations, or about your dog’s health or care. We’re always here to help!

All About Antibiotics for Pets

Human patients commonly use antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Did you know that antibiotics are also very commonly prescribed to pets? They’re essential for helping pets with infections make full recoveries! Here’s everything you need to know about antibiotics for pets:

What Do Antibiotics Treat?

Antibiotics kill bacteria—not viruses—in or on the body. Antibiotics will never be prescribed to fight viral infections directly, although antibiotics could be used to treat a pet suffering from a virus if that pet has developed secondary bacterial infections.

How Do Antibiotics Work, Exactly?

There are multiple types of antibiotics, and they work in different ways. Some antibiotics weaken the cell wall of the bacteria until it bursts. Others stop the bacteria from multiplying, and still others interfere with bacteria cells’ capacity to repair themselves.

How Are Antibiotics Administered?

Antibiotics can take several forms. Some are administered orally in pill form to treat internal infections, while others are applied topically. These are usually in cream or ointment form, and are used to treat external infections on the outside of the body.

It’s essential to follow the label instructions properly when administering an antibiotic to your pet. Keep in mind that some antibiotics must be given on an empty stomach to prevent the medication from binding with ingredients in your pet’s food. Other antibiotics, though, must be given with meals to improve the rate of absorption. If you’re unsure whether or not your pet’s medicine should be given with food, call your veterinarian right away. Also, make sure to ask before you split or crush a pill—this could render medicine ineffective, and it could cause serious side effects in some cases.

Always finish the full regimen of antibiotics that has been prescribed to your pet, even if your companion seems to look or feel completely better before all of the pills are gone. Stopping medication before the infection is gone, or lapsing during treatment, can lead to dangerous bacterial resistance. This means that the bacteria harming your pet develops a resistance to the antibiotic, rendering the medication useless!

Is There Any Possibility of Side Effects?

It’s possible for some pets to have adverse reactions to antibiotics, such as vomiting or diarrhea. Let your vet know right away if your pet seems to be reacting poorly to their medication!

Would you like to know more about antibiotics for pets? Call your vet’s office today.

Cats With Curls

Have you ever seen a curly-haired cat? While most of our feline pals have straight fur, there are some curly kitties out there. A local vet discusses cats with curls below.

Selkirk Rex

Did you happen to notice the buzz last year when a special kitty—an orange cat with curls—caught the internet’s heart? This furball’s story dates back to 1987, when a kitty named Miss DePesto, was born in a Montana shelter. Though her siblings had straight fur, Miss DePesto had curls. Later, she was bred to a black Persian. Their kittens, who also had curls, became the original Selkirk Rex. In 1992, The International Cat Association accepted the Selkirk Rex as a breed. Six years later, the American Cat Fanciers Association added it as well. Today, the Selkirk Rex is known for being gentle, loving, and cuddly.

LaPerm

The LaPerm also traces back to the 1980s, which is rather fitting given that perms were all the rage at the time. The first LaPerm kitten was actually born hairless. However, over the next few months, her curls came in. The owner, realizing that her feline pal was quite rare, began breeding the kitten’s offspring. Today, their descendants look rather like teddy bears. These sweet, lovable kitties are often referred to as the poodle of cats. Even their whiskers are curly!

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex is a British kitty, originating in Cornwall in the 1950s. These cute furballs have cream-colored coats, and actually look like lambs. Cornish Rex cats have quite tight curls, big ears, and slender bodies. Their coats are very soft, which is a good thing, because these friendly, sociable kitties absolutely love to cuddle. They have fun, affectionate personalities, and even like to play Fetch!

Devon Rex

Last but not least, we have another British feline, the Devon Rex, from Devonshire, England. The breed is traced back to a stray who gave birth to a curly kitten in the 1950s. Today’s Devon Rex kitties are all descended from that cat, whose name, ironically, was Kirlee. Playful and curious, the breed is known for being super cuddly, and forming extremely close bonds with their humans. They often like to follow and supervise their owners 24/7, and absolutely hate being ignored.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Call us, your local vet clinic, today! We are always happy to help!

Teaching Your Puppy His Name

If you’ve recently adopted a puppy or plan on getting one soon, one of the first orders of business will be teaching young Fido his name. It’s the foundation of your relationship and the starting point for all other training. Use the following tips to successfully teach your puppy his name:

Choosing a Name

First, set yourself up for success by choosing a great name for your pup. Try to pick a name with two or more syllables, rather than a single-syllable name; it’s easier for your puppy to distinguish and understand, and it won’t sound like any single-syllable commands such as “sit,” “stay,” or “down.”

Another naming tip: don’t use nicknames (“Bud” instead of “Buddy”, for example) when training your puppy, as this could confuse him. Consistency is key!

Training

Begin by simply saying your puppy’s name. Speak clearly and firmly, but use a pleasant tone of voice throughout the whole process. When your puppy looks at you, reward him with a treat. Allow your puppy to look away, then repeat the above process. Offer a treat as soon as he looks—this is reinforcing the notion that looking at you upon hearing his name results in a reward.

Repeat this process a few times, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want your puppy to lose interest and make things harder on yourself. Try breaking up name-training into a few short sessions per day, and try training in different rooms of the home so that your puppy doesn’t start to associate his name with one particular area. It won’t be long before your puppy has learned his name successfully!

Avoiding Negative Reinforcement

Many puppy owners make the mistake of accidentally providing negative reinforcement. This might occur, for example, when your puppy has an accident in your home. Your instinct is probably to yell “Fido, no!” or “Bad dog, Fido!” but this could backfire. It’s associating your puppy’s name with a negative scenario, which could lead to behavior and training problems in the future. When your puppy misbehaves, leave his name out of your reprimand. Simply say “No!” in a firm, authoritative voice without adding your pup’s name.

Do you need help with your puppy’s training or behavior? Does your pet need his initial veterinary examination or vaccinations? We’re here to help with all of your puppy’s care needs. Set up an appointment here at the clinic today.

5 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Has your dog or cat been fixed yet? If not, we strongly recommend that you see to this right away. Although spay/neuter surgery should ideally be performed before your pet reaches sexual maturity, it can safely be done on adult pets as well. Making sure your furry pal has been spayed or neutered is very important! Read on as a local veterinarian lists some reasons to get your four-legged buddy fixed.

Better Behavior

Good petiquette is one of the biggest benefits to spaying or neutering your furry friend. Dogs and cats that have been fixed are typically much calmer—and therefore better behaved—than those who are intact. They’re also less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors, such as mounting and marking their territory by spraying.

Safety

Safety is another concern with intact pets. They often try to escape so they can go looking for love. This puts Fido and Fluffy at greater risk of being lost or seriously injured!

Support Animal Welfare

Pet overpopulation is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons that there are so many homeless pets out there. A single pair of cats can have 11,606,077 descendants in just nine years! We know, kittens and puppies are adorable, but there are already far too many wonderful dogs and cats in need of loving homes. Also, even if you do find great homes for your four-legged friend’s babies, there’s really no way to guarantee that their own offspring will fare so well. Making sure your pet doesn’t contribute to pet overpopulation is a great way to support good animal welfare!

Health Benefits

Did you know that spaying and neutering can prevent certain health issues? Getting your female dog or cat spayed will reduce the risk of her developing uterine infections and breast tumors, which are often malignant. Neutering male pets protects them from certain prostate problems and testicular cancer. Ask your vet for more information.

Spare Yourself The Sound Of Kitty Caterwauling

Have you ever heard the “love songs” of an amorous kitty looking for a mate? If so, you probably will agree that being spared Fluffy’s singing is reason enough to get your furball fixed!

Are you ready to make an appointment for your pet? Contact us, your vet clinic, anytime. We offer excellent veterinary care.

Tips on Choosing a New Canine Companion

Are you thinking of adding a dog to your family’s ranks in the near future? There are plenty of considerations to make before deciding on your next canine companion. Here are a few tips for making the best possible choice so that you and your dog can enjoy years of happy, healthy companionship down the road.

Consider Your Lifestyle

First, consider your own lifestyle. Do you have young children? This is an important consideration to make when thinking about adding a dog to your family, as young children will need to be taught about proper handling techniques, safety measures, and more when it comes to owning a dog.

Consider your living situation; do you live in a home or an apartment? In the suburbs or in the center of a city? A large-breed dog may not work well for apartment dwellers depending on size and exercise needs.

Finally, take time to think about what kind of commitment you’re willing to undertake. Most dogs will live to be at least 10 years old, and many can live twice that long. Make sure that you’re prepared for the responsibility, and remember that older dogs need loving homes too!

Consider the Breed

Different breeds of dogs come with different personalities, although temperament can vary greatly even within a single breed. Generally speaking, working dogs and sporting dogs have a lot of energy—they’ll require a good bit of physical activity and will want frequent human contact to be as happy as possible. Something like a terrier, on the other hand, could display an independent streak and might have a more difficult time following commands. It all depends on the dog, so make sure to perform your due diligence before making a final choice.

Consider Care Requirements

Make sure to factor in your potential companion’s care needs before making a decision. Budget for supplies like food, dishes, beds, a leash and collar, and a crate, as well as the cost of veterinary care. Think about what kind of grooming requirements your pooch might have; long-haired dogs will require frequent brushing and bathing, as well as trips to the groomer’s office. Take note if the kind of dog you’re considering is predisposed to certain types of medical issues—ear infections, hip dysplasia, eye trouble, etc.—and factor in the costs of veterinary bills and preventative care.

For more help choosing a dog, contact us today!

6 Things Every Cat Owner Says

Do you talk to your cat? If so, you’re not alone. Many people chat with their furry pals. Sometimes Fluffy even talks back! However, we suspect that many of our feline patients hear the same things from their humans. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some things every cat owner says.

Get Down From There

Kitties don’t have a very good vantage point from ground level. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they like to climb to higher places. Fluffy loves to be able to get a better look of her servants (that would be you) and her kingdom. Many people owned by cats find themselves plucking their furry companions off tables, counters, and even bookcases.

What Are You Doing In There?

Kitties are very curious, and absolutely love to explore new places. For Fluffy, investigating an open closet or cabinet is a fun adventure. Your furball also won’t be able to resist hopping into open suitcases, or jumping into cardboard boxes.

That Isn’t A Toy

Fluffy may be a pampered and beloved pet, but she’s actually a predator at heart. That said, it isn’t uncommon for cats to ignore their toys, and play with cotton balls, bottlecaps, or even shoes instead.

What Do You Want?

Sometimes, it’s easy to figure out what Fluffy wants. For instance, if your kitty is sitting in front of her empty food bowl yelling, she’s probably demanding you feed her dinner right meow. And if your furry buddy is scratching at a door, she wants to get in or out. (She may change her mind as soon as you open the door, but that’s another topic.) However, sometimes cats can be a bit more vague. Fluffy may meow to tell you about the squirrel in the yard or the moth in the kitchen. Or, she may just want to complain about something. With cats, you just never know!

I Just Fed You!

Fluffy has been known to immediately eat her breakfast, and then demand more. We know, those plaintive meows are hard to resist, but don’t overindulge your pet. Follow your vet’s nutritional advice.

I’m Sorry, I Have To Move You

You’ve probably noticed that kitties are pretty sleepy. Sooner or later, you’ll have to move your furball mid-nap!

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO animal clinic, today!

Getting Your Dog Ready for Winter

It’s hard to believe, but autumn is already here. Snow and cold weather are just around the corner. As you start stowing away your summer things and pulling those heavy coats out of storage, don’t forget about your canine buddy! Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some advice on getting Fido ready for winter.

Clothes

If your four-legged pal has thin fur, he may be more comfortable with a sweater to wear on cold days. This isn’t a universal recommendation, however: some dogs, like huskies, have thick fur that provides sufficient protection from the cold. Ask your vet for specific advice. If your pooch does need clothes, go through his wardrobe, and make sure everything is clean and still fits. Avoid anything that is tight, constricting, or itchy, as well as items with buttons or zippers.

Paw Care

Snow, salt, sand, and ice can all cause painful paw abrasions. Use paw balm or wax to protect your dog’s furry feet. You may want to wipe Fido’s paws down with a damp cloth when you bring him inside. We also recommend using pet-friendly de-icing agents. Last but not least, if your canine companion has tufts of fur growing between his toes, you may want to trim these: otherwise, they may collect ice balls.

Bedding

Fido may spend a good chunk of winter napping. Make sure your furry pal has a comfy bed to snuggle up in. Older dogs and large breeds may appreciate orthopedic beds, which will provide extra support. If you really want to pamper your pup, get him a thermal blanket, or even a heated bed.

Food

Some dogs need to eat a bit more in winter, as they burn extra calories just staying warm. If Fido is outdoors a lot, or is a working dog, nursing mama, or a puppy, you may want to increase his serving sizes. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Doghouse

Does your canine buddy have a doghouse? Give it a good cleaning before it gets really cold, and make sure it is well-insulated. Hang strips of carpet or thick plastic in the door. This will help block the wind. The doghouse should also be raised off the ground a bit to keep snow out.

Please call us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

The Benefits of Playing With Your Cat

Do you take time to play with your feline buddy regularly? If so, that’s great! Playing is actually really good for Fluffy! In this article, a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some of the benefits of playing with your cat.

Exercise

Cats, as you may have noticed, tend to get rather lazy as they grow older. This makes it easy for them to gain weight. Chubby cats are cute, but they face some very serious health risks. Playing is a great way to keep your pet active. Even a few minutes of chasing that elusive red dot will help keep your kitty’s muscles strong, and reduce the risk of her becoming obese. You don’t have to worry about your furry buddy overexerting herself. When Fluffy is done, she’ll just walk away.

Relieve Stress

Just like people, kitties can suffer from anxiety and stress. Playing gives your feline companion a chance to take out her frustrations in a healthy manner. This is great for cats that are grumpy or anxious. Playing can also help soothe tensions between multiple cats. Of course, this is also a great way for you to relieve stress: it’s hard not to smile when watching a frisky furball pouncing and rolling around. In fact, this may be just as fun for you as it is for Fluffy!

Bonding

Kitties can become very, very attached to their humans, but that friendship really has to be nurtured. Playing is a wonderful way to bond with your pet. It can also help you build the trust of a furball that is shy or frightened. When you take time to hold that laser pointer for Fluffy to chase, your kitty will know that you are doing something just for her, and she will appreciate it. (Cats tend to show their thanks in some fairly odd ways, but that’s another topic.)

Beat Midnight Zoomies

Does your feline pal tend to sleep all day and then race around at night? Does Fluffy have a habit of pouncing on your toes while you’re trying to sleep? Tire your frisky pet out with a fun play session before bed. Then, give her a late dinner. We all know what happens when cats are both full and tired: naptime!

Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, for your kitty’s veterinary care needs. We are happy to help!