All posts by James

DIY Pet Projects for Kids

Are your children spending a lot of time at home lately? If so, the family pets may be enjoying extra attention. Why not have the kids make some things for their furry pals? This will both occupy your young ones and pamper your pet a bit! A local Fort Collins, CO vet lists some great options in this article.

Cats

You can make your feline pal a little kitty tent in just a few minutes, using an old tee shirt and a wire hangar. Another option is to make Fluffy her own box castle. If you want to keep it simple, just connect a few boxes together, and then cut doors out of the connecting sides. Or, go all-out and incorporate towers, turrets, and balconies. This is also a good one for bunnies.

Dogs

Many of our canine patients love playing Tug O War with their human buddies. To make Fido a new rope toy, cut an old tee shirt or towel into thin strips. You can use two or even three different-colored ones if you like. Alternating the colors will make the toy more attractive. Braid the strips together, and then braid those together. You can also incorporate a tennis ball if you like. Tie the end off in a big knot. Done!

Smaller Pets

Do you have a bunny, hamster, Guinea pig, or another pocket pet? There are loads of toys you can make using cardboard or plain paper. The cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls are very versatile. Cut them into rings, and reassemble them as small balls. Or stuff them with fresh herbs, hay, or shredded paper. You can also make pyramids out of them, or fold them into ‘envelopes’ around a yummy snack.

All Pets

Another thing you can do is turn a soft sweater into a comfy bed for your furry friend. Turn it inside out, and told the torso into an O shape, leaving the neck open. Trim and sew it. Then, turn it right-side out, and sew the arms to the torso. Use the neck opening to fill it with stuffing, then seal that off as well. Voila! You can also find lots of patterns online for beds or tents for smaller pets.

Please reach out to us, your local Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

Behavioral Counseling for Dogs

Are you familiar with the term behavioral counseling, in regards to pets? Just like people, dogs can sometimes suffer from mental issues, which often are a result of neglect, trauma, or phobias. Behavioral counseling is used to help our canine pals get over fears or phobias, or sometimes just learn better manners. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some key warnings that it may be time to get Fido some professional help.

Aggression

Dogs all have their own personalities, and their own ways of reacting to threats, both real and perceived. While some of our canine buddies are pretty much ‘bomb proof,’ others get defensive quite easily. If Fido has any tendencies to aggression, either towards people or other pets, there’s a good chance he would benefit from counseling. This includes things like growling, barking, snarling, nipping, baring the teeth, and biting. Food aggression is also a concern.

Compulsive Behaviors

Does Fido constantly chase his tail, or growl at the mail coming through the slot? Does he refuse to leave the cat alone, or ignore your commands? He may benefit from professional training.

Anxiety

Our four-legged friends can also suffer from anxiety. There’s quite a long list of things that can make pooches feel fearful, lonely, depressed, or scared. Uneasiness with being left alone—which is known as separation anxiety—is a common one. Fido may also be frightened of loud noises, storms, strong smells, car rides, vacuum cleaners, or even specific types of people. That anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, including destructive behaviors, such as chewing and digging.

Tips

Does it sound like your pet could benefit from behavioral counseling? Go for it! You may be amazed at how helpful it can be. The exact training steps needed to help Fido will vary, depending on the type and severity of his issue. However, there are some common rules of thumb. First, don’t punish your pup for misbehaving. Dogs don’t really understand the concept of punishment, especially after the fact. This may make your four-legged buddy feel scared, confused, or angry, which will only make matters worse. Focus on rewarding your pooch for being good. Also, be consistent with your rules. Finally, make sure your furry friend is getting enough activity, entertainment, and attention.

Do you think your canine companion needs behavioral counseling? Call us, your Fort Collins, CO local vet clinic!

Tips for Adopting a Shelter Cat

June is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month. This is a great time to bring a new feline pal into your home! If you’re considering adopting a shelter kitty, you have our support! Here, a Fort Collins, CO veterinarian lists some tips for adopting a shelter cat.

Be Ready To Commit

When you sign those papers, you are committing to caring for your feline buddy for the rest of her life. That’s a big deal! Don’t proceed unless you are ready for that kind of commitment.

Spend Time With Fluffy

It’s important to make sure that you’ve chosen the right kitty for your home and family. Spend some time with Fluffy before finalizing the adoption. Also, try to match your furry friend’s energy level and purrsonality to your household. A timid cat may not be happy in a home with lots of activity and other pets, while a friendly furball may be lonely if she stays home alone frequently.

Ask Questions!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your potential pet. You may be able to find out quite a bit about Fluffy’s background!

Consider Getting Two

Our feline friends may try to act aloof, but they’re actually very loving and cuddly. They also often get lonely by themselves. Consider getting two furballs. You get double the cuteness! However, you don’t necessarily have to pay double cost, as your pets can share many things.

Open Your Heart

Shelters are full of adorable felines. However, don’t overlook the less purrfect kitties, the ones no one wants. They often make the best pets, just because they’re so grateful and happy to be adopted. Give that senior kitty or the furball with one ear a chance!

Prepare To Be Charmed

Cats have many skills, such as napping in odd positions, making paw art on windshields, and, of course, leaving ‘presents’ on our doorsteps. They’re also pretty good at melting hearts! You may be surprised at how quickly Fluffy wins you over.

Pat Yourself On The Back

By adopting a shelter cat, you’re doing a small thing that can make a big difference. You’re promoting good animal welfare, opening up space at the shelter, and, most importantly, giving that one lucky cat a second chance. That’s ‘pawesome!’

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

Things Cats Don’t Care About

Cats are very loving and affectionate little pets. However, while it’s safe to say that our feline friends truly love their humans, they aren’t purrticularly concerned with being courteous to us. Read on as a local Fort Collins, CO vet lists some things that Fluffy just couldn’t care less about.

Your Clothes

Fluffy has very pretty fur, and she often thoughtfully tries to share it with us. Lint rollers are a must for many people owned by cats.

Your Sleep Schedule

Has your frisky pet ever woken you up by jumping on you as you were sleeping, or batting a toy down the hall in the middle of the night? Does Fluffy wake you up to let you know she wants breakfast right meow? Case in point.

Local Wildlife

We know, Fluffy looks cute and innocent. However, your adorable little furball is actually a ruthless serial killer. Cats kill billions of small animals every year! Keep your tiny lion indoors.

Your Comfort

One thing we love about cats is the fact that they fit perfectly into our laps. It’s always adorable when a sleepy furball dozes off on you! However, at some point, you may find that you need to get up, but hesitate in order to avoid moving your furry little princess. If you do move Fluffy, you may get a little meow of protest. The indignity!

Us

Kitties are both safer and healthier with proper veterinary care. However, our feline patients don’t seem to see it that way. (Sorry, Fluffy: coming to see us is for your own good!)

Personal Space

Kitties are very affectionate. However, they do sometimes tend to use us as, well, furniture. We suspect that more than one of you has woken up in the middle of the night to find your furball sprawled up across half the bed while you are smooshed over to the side.

Your Privacy

Cats like to stay close to their humans, and monitor them throughout the day. Your feline overlord may even follow you into the bathroom!

The Laws of Physics

Cats have a remarkable capacity to fall asleep in positions usually associated with knots, pretzels, or perhaps mosquito flight patterns. They’re also capable of some truly impressive gymnastic feats!

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

Fun Facts About Hamsters

Do you have a pet hamster? If so, you may want to put a tiny pawprint on your calendar for May 10th. It’s National Hamster Day! These little furballs really are adorable, and make wonderful pets. A local Fort Collins, CO vet lists some fun facts about hamsters in this article.

Lone Hamster

There are actually several types of hamsters. The Syrian hamster is one of the most popular ones. Just don’t let that cute face fool you. Syrian hamsters will fight each other, so you can only keep one in a cage.

Cozy Pets

Like many smaller animals, hamsters feel safe and secure in enclosed spaces. It’s important to give your little buddy a good hidey-hole. This doesn’t have to be fancy. You can use tissue boxes, small flowerpots, or store-bought hamster homes.

Hoarding

Hamsters, as you may know, are notorious for hoarding things. This is one issue that can arise with giving them seed mixes. Hammie will stash his favorite bits for later, and then beg for more. Ask your vet for nutritional recommendations.

Moon Over My Hammy

Hamsters are actually nocturnal. This is something to keep in mind if you get one for a child. If you put Hammie’s cage in your youngster’s bedroom, he may keep your child awake.

Active Furballs

Hamsters are actually quite active. In the wild, they spend a lot of their time foraging. Pet ones generally enjoy spending time on an exercise wheel or runabout. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Hammie Can Learn His Name

Hamsters may be small, but they really are adorable. They’re also quite friendly. Hammie can learn to recognize his humans, and may even learn his name.

Hamster Types

There are three kinds of hamsters that are most often seen as pets. The Syrian is the largest, and can get to be about 6 or 7 inches. Teddy Bear hamsters are close to the Syrian in size, but have short hair. Then there are the dwarf breeds, which include the Roborovski, Djungarian, Chinese and Russian. Some of these tiny furballs never get any bigger than 2 inches!

Hamsters Are Clean

Hamsters often pick a spot in their cage to use as their bathroom, and will only soil there. That’s definitely a big plus for a little pet!

Do you have questions about hamster care? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, today!

Lepto and Dogs

Spring is around the corner. At this time of year, one thing for pet owners to be aware of is lepto. Lepto is a disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria, which is found in water and wet soil. Although lepto is an issue year-round, cases typically spike in spring and fall. A Fort Collins, CO vet discusses lepto below.

Statistics

Lepto is zoonotic, which means it can move from one type of animal to another. Raccoons, opossums, deer, and rodents are a few types of animal that can be infected. It can also be transmitted to people, which is one reason it is so concerning. Actually, according to the Merck Animal Health Headquarters, leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonotic infection in the world. The site also estimates that about 8 percent of dogs are shedding the bacteria at any given time. Cats can also get lepto, but it is more prevalent in dogs.

Contraction

Fido can pick up lepto just by walking through an area where an animal with lepto has recently urinated. Other methods of infection include eating an infected carcass; drinking contaminated water; swimming in contaminated water; or through contact with contaminated soil, food, or bedding. Wet pastures and paddocks are a big concern here, as are lakes, ponds, streams, and even standing water.

Signs

Lepto can present itself in a variety of ways. Some common symptoms include fever; lethargy; breathing difficulty; reduced appetite; jaundice; vomiting; swollen legs; diarrhea; dehydration; or inflamed eyes. It’s worth noting that some dogs don’t show any symptoms. Other pooches may recover on their own. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Lepto can cause serious medical problems, including kidney failure. In some cases, it can even be fatal. If you notice any of these symptoms in your canine pal, contact your vet immediately. Lepto can be treated, but it’s important for it to be caught early.

Prevention

There is some good news: there are vaccinations available for Lepto. It’s not considered a core vaccine, so it isn’t necessarily going to be recommended for every pooch. Your vet may recommend vaccinating Fido if he spends a lot of time outside, or if he is often in areas that could be contaminated. As the saying says, better safe than sorry!

Do you want to know more about lepto? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, today. We are here to help!

Your Pet and Marijuana

Since the legalization of marijuana, we’ve seen some sweeping changes here in Colorado. These shifts have also affected the veterinary care industry. We’ve seen a huge increase in cases of marijuana ingestion over the past few years! This is definitely something for pet owners to be aware of. A Fort Collins, CO vet discusses pets and marijuana.

Keep Pot Away From Pets

As we all know, our furry friends can be quite curious. Fido, in particular, will eat pretty much anything. Keep all marijuana products, including edibles and oils, safely out of paws’ reach. If marijuana is being smoked, put your four-legged pal in another area.

Be Honest

People can be a bit hesitant when it comes to admitting that their pets have ingested marijuana. This is due to embarrassment and old stigmas, or sometimes out of concern of legal repercussions. It’s very important to tell your vet the truth. Withholding this information can delay treatment and waste time, as your vet will likely start running tests. It’s also worth mentioning that these tests can be expensive, so you may end up costing yourself extra money. We’re not here to judge you: we just want to help pets feel better!

Ask Your Vet About CBD Products

You may have noticed CBD pet products, including dog treats, popping up. While there have been studies on the potential benefits of the use of CBD products in humans, there isn’t much definitive research on pets yet. Check with your vet before offering your furry friend any of these products.

Act Immediately

Signs of marijuana ingestion in pets include confusion, staggering, whimpering, and unusual behavior. If you know or suspect that your furry friend has ingested marijuana, call your vet immediately. You can also contact the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline, which is 1-855-764-7661. (Charges may apply.) In most cases, pets recover just fine with proper supportive care. This typically entails things like giving pets fluids and monitoring them closely. However, it is important to understand that marijuana can be toxic to pets in large doses. Plus, many edibles contain things that are toxic to pets in and of themselves. Brownies, for instance, may contain chocolate, nuts, and xylitol, which are all poisonous to pets.

Please contact us, your local Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care. We are here to help!

4 Types of Dog Allergies

Did you know that dogs can suffer from allergies, just like people can? Allergies are no more fun for Fido than they are for us! Your canine pal can react to a wide variety of things. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some different types of allergies.

Environmental

Environmental allergens, as the name suggests, are things that are present in your pet’s environment. Pollen, dust, mold, grass, and leaves are all examples of this. Some of these are seasonal, so Fido’s allergies may act up at certain times of year. Cigarette smoke and perfume would also be considered environmental. Given that Fido loves to sniff and explore, he can pick up or inhale quite a lot of these things in a short time.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are quite common in our canine buddies. Your dog can be allergic to the food itself, or to additives, chemicals, and/or preservatives used in processing. Fido can be allergic to a wide variety of foods. Grains, however, are a common culprit. Your pooch can also be allergic to dairy products, legumes, or root vegetables. Some pups are even allergic to certain meats, such as chicken, beef, or pork! 

Insect Allergies

Flea bites aren’t fun for any dog, but they are particularly miserable for pups that have allergic reactions to them. Your furry friend can also be allergic to bee stings. (Note: this won’t necessarily keep him from trying to eat bees.) Keep up with Fido’s parasite control products! You’ll also want to take steps to keep your environment flea-free. Vacuuming regularly and mowing your lawn regularly will both help with this.

Contact Allergies

Fido can react to a variety of things, such as certain fabrics or ingredients in his doggy shampoo, floor waxes, and mulch. Your pup can also be allergic to dander, or even to your cat. These often manifest as skin issues, such as rashes, and can make your furry pal very itchy!

Tips

Some common signs of allergies include itchiness; skin trouble, such as hot spots, scaling, and flaking; ear problems; snoring; flatulence; vomiting; diarrhea; paw irritation; and/or red, runny eyes. If you see any of these signs, contact your vet immediately. Allergies can’t be cured, but there are ways to manage them.

Do you know or suspect that your pooch has allergies? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, today!

Signs of Sickness in Cats

February is National Cat Health Month. Kitties are very easy to care for, but they aren’t as invincible as some of them seem to think. They also instinctively try to hide signs of illness. This is because in the wild, showing weakness can attract predators. Therefore, it’s important to watch for warning signs. Here, a Fort Collins, CO veterinarian lists some signs that your feline buddy is sick.

Hiding

Some kitties are scaredy-cats, and will bolt for their favorite hiding spot when the doorbell rings. Fluffy   may also take a nap in a quiet spot. However, if your pet seems uncharacteristically withdrawn, and doesn’t want to leave her chosen hiding place, something could be wrong.

Poor Grooming

Cats are usually very meticulous about keeping themselves clean. However, just like people, they don’t always keep up with their beauty rituals when they’re sick. If Fluffy ignores her fur, it will soon start looking unkempt.

Reduced Appetite

Kitties can be finicky, but a lack of appetite is far more serious than simple fussiness. If Fluffy just isn’t interested in dinner, there may be something wrong with her. Sudden increases in appetite can also be a sign of sickness, as can changes in water consumption.

Vomiting

The occasional hairball is more or less ‘purr’ for the course with our feline friends. Frequent and/or excessive vomiting, however, is definitely not normal.

Fever

Fever is as much of an indicator of illness in cats as it is in people. If Fluffy seems unusually hot, contact your vet.

Litterbox Woes

Changes in the amount, texture, color, or odor of Fluffy’s waste can be signs of sickness. Straining to go is also a huge red flag.

Respiratory Issues

Your feline pal should breathe quietly, at least when she isn’t meowing at you. Fluffy may sneeze occasionally, but she shouldn’t gasp, wheeze, or cough.

Unusual Behavior

To be fair, if we recommended that cats come in every time they did something unusual, our waiting room would be overflowing with kitties 24/7. What you want to look for is behavior that isn’t normal for your pet. For example, if Fluffy is normally very aloof, but suddenly starts demanding attention, she may be ill. Changes in vocalizations can also be a warning sign.

As your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, we’re dedicated to offering great care for cats. Please feel free to contact us anytime!

Teaching Your Dog Tricks

February is Dog Training Education Month. Has your pup finished his petucation yet? If not, this is a great time to show Fido something new! Read on as a local Fort Collins, CO vet offers tips on teaching your canine companion some cute tricks.

Start With Basic Doggy Obedience

All dogs should know simple commands, like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. If your furry pal doesn’t have all of these down yet, work on these first.

Choose Tricks That Fit Fido’s Personality

All of our canine pals are unique, with their own doggy personalities. Keep this in mind when choosing tricks. For example, not all dogs fetch very well. Some will run after the object, but won’t bring it back. Others will just tilt their heads and look at you as though wondering why you threw away a perfectly good toy. Keep your pet’s personality and capabilities in mind.

Class Curriculum

Dogs don’t have very long attention spans, except perhaps when it comes to watching their human buddies cook bacon or cheeseburgers. Your furry pupil may get bored with long sessions. Keep ‘classes’ short and sweet. About 15-20 minutes at a time is fine. Also, if possible, try to work with your pet at the same time each day.

Build On Basics

Many of the more complicated dog tricks—such as fetching slippers—are built on a foundation of simpler tricks. For example, if you want to teach Fido to get your remote, start by teaching him to Fetch. Then, have him start learning the words for specific objects. Look online for step-by-step instructions.

Offer Rewards

When teaching dogs anything, it’s very important to provide positive reinforcement. Praise and compliment your pooch for doing well. Of course, snacks are also a great reward. Choose small portions, though: you don’t want to overfeed your adorable student.

Have Fun

Classic dog tricks, like Shake and Roll Over, will always be cute, but Fido can learn much more than that. You can teach your pup to Smile, Hide Your Eyes, or Play Dead. Or, if you want to teach your canine buddy something more useful, show him how to put his toys away, turn lights off and on, or get you a drink from the fridge.

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