All posts by James

Work Like a Dog Day

Did you know that August 5th is Work Like A Dog Day? Some of our canine pals really work very hard! Dogs can be found in a variety of fields, and have proven absolutely invaluable partners. In this article, a local Fort Collins, CO vet discusses working dogs.

Breed Separation

Did you know that dog breeds are separated according to ‘jobs?’ Some pooches, such as German Shepherds, Australian sheep dogs, and Corgis, are grouped as herding dogs. That means that these breeds originally were developed to help herd and guard livestock. Other pooches found jobs hunting, pulling carts, or tracking. What pups had the easiest work? That would probably go to toy breeds, who, as companion dogs, had no duties at all, aside from cuddling their owners!

Law Enforcement

Many of our canine buddies can be found working in law enforcement. These smart pups can be found in many areas, from narcotics to search-and-rescue. Fido is also sometimes found on bomb squads, and/or helping apprehend criminals. Our fearless furry friends have saved countless lives! These amazing pups often bond so closely with their partners that their humans end up adopting them when it’s time for them to retire.

Therapy

One area where Fido really shines is in therapy. Comfort dogs are becoming quite popular in nursing homes, hospices, and hospitals. Dogs just have a special way of sensing our emotions, and comforting us. Even just spending a few minutes petting a sweet canine can help lift people’s spirits.

Service Dogs

Man’s Best Friend has really earned his title in this area. Dogs have helped thousands—if not millions—of people with disabilities live independent, happy lives. Fido can help guide the blind, but he is also a wonderful companion to people who are dealing with other issues, such as autism, epilepsy, and PTSD.

Pet On Duty

While not all dogs work for a living, even pampered pets usually have a few duties. Some of the things on Fido’s ‘chore list’ may include chasing squirrels out of the yard, making people smile, listening to us rant about something that’s annoying us, comforting us, and, of course, helping us finish leftovers. Our wonderful four-legged friends are definitely wonderful gifts, and something to celebrate!

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

Your Rabbit’s Veterinary Care Needs

Bunnies make very fun and adorable pets, and have a special way of wrapping their human pals around their paws. However, just like any other pet, Floppy needs regular veterinary care to stay happy and healthy. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses Floppy’s veterinary care needs.

Wellness

While rabbits aren’t required to have the same immunizations as dogs and cats, it is important to take Floppy to the vet every year for wellness care. Rabbits are very different from dogs and cats, so be sure to find a vet that has experience with them!

Spaying/Neutering

We strongly recommend that pet bunnies be spayed or neutered. This can help eliminate the risk of certain cancers. It will also really help curb bad bunny behaviors, such as spraying, digging, nipping, and mounting. Just like dogs and cats, rabbits make much calmer, friendlier, and better-behaved pets when they have been fixed.

Signs of Illness

No matter how old your bunny is, it’s important to watch for signs of sickness. Some common ones are changes in appetite, lethargy, tooth grinding, diarrhea or constipation, unusual behavior or vocalizations, and uncharacteristic aggression. Other red flags include red, runny eyes; strange postures; trembling; stumbling; wheezing; and fever. Ask your vet for more information on spotting signs of sickness. Rabbits can get very sick very fast, so it’s important to act quickly if you notice anything amiss.

Professional Advice

When Floppy is at the vet, don’t be afraid to ask questions about her home care. That’s what we’re here for! Your vet will be able to give you professional advice on your furry buddy’s diet and exercise needs, as well as offering tips on bunnyproofing, training, grooming, and, of course, entertainment. For instance, nail trims are an important part of Floppy’s wellness care. They can be done at home, but you’ll want to get specific advice from your vet.

Dental Care

Bunnies have open-rooted teeth, which means that their choppers really never stop growing. Floppy can develop some very painful dental issues, such as misalignments. This type of problem would require immediate veterinary care, as your furball may need to have her teeth trimmed. Warning signs include drooling, poor grooming, and a change in appetite. Ask your vet for more information.

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

Doghouse Repair Month

Did you know that July is officially Doghouse Repair Month? Does your pooch have his own little doggy pad in the yard? If so, this is a great time to give your Fido’s doghouse a good cleaning. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses doghouse repair.

Cleaning

Give Fido’s home a good scrubbing. If you keep bedding in Fido’s doghouse, give that a thorough cleaning as well. (Note: bedding in doghouses can attract fleas and pests, so you may just want to put down a carpet or mat.)

Inspection

Take a good look at your furry buddy’s outdoor home. Look for places where Fido may have tried to eat or chew his house. You’ll also want to check for large splinters and sharp parts, like nails or screws, that may be sticking out.

Setup

Fido’s doghouse should be in a shaded area, with the opening facing away from prevailing winds, at least in winter. Your canine companion may enjoy a breeze in summer, so you can move it seasonally if you like. The doghouse should be raised off the ground a bit. This will help keep it dry when it’s raining, and can keep critters out as well. If you want a door, try hanging thick strips of plastic from the opening.

Improvement

Want to really get that cute tail going? Add some fun features to your canine pal’s outdoor area. Your pooch may love a kiddie pool to splash around in on hot days. Fido may enjoy a sandbox, so he can bury treats and toys. Outdoor toys are also a hit with our furry friends, as are doggy decks. Another project is to change out the ground cover near the doghouse. Artificial turf is safe and pet friendly. Buffalo grass is another good choice.

Tips

While Fido may enjoy having an outdoor spot to hang out in when he’s in the yard, he will be safer, healthier, and happier living inside. Man’s Best Friend is part of the family, and will feel isolated, sad, and lonely if he spends all his time outdoors! Last but not least, when it’s time to replace your pup’s doghouse, pay close attention to the material. Choose something that offers great insulation. Be sure to avoid pressure-treated wood: it’s actually toxic to dogs.

Please call us, your local Fort Collins, CO pet clinic, anytime. We are always here to help!

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.

Hamster Care Basics

Are you looking for a cute pet that is small in size, but big on personality? A hamster may be a great choice for you! These little guys are both adorable and charming, and can really make great pets. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses hamster care.

Cage

Making sure your pet is happy in his habitat is very important! Minimum cage size recommendations will vary, based on what kind of hamster you get, so check with your vet before you go shopping. Choose a cage with a solid bottom. Wire floors are dangerous, and also won’t hold substrate. Hammie’s cage should also offer suitable ventilation. A mesh lid is a great choice for that reason.

Accessories

Once you have the cage, you’ll need to choose a substrate. Aspen is a good option. Avoid pine or cedar substrates, as they are actually toxic to small animals. Add a hidey-hole and a water bottle. Hammie may also like some mazes and tunnels, and perhaps an exercise wheel. Choose a solid one, as wire wheels are dangerous. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Location

Choosing the right spot for the cage is very important. Hamsters shouldn’t be in direct sunlight, or too close to a vent, fireplace, heater, or air duct. If you have dogs or cats, raise your hamster’s cage off the floor: Hammie won’t feel very safe with Fluffy and Fido constantly looking into his home! A quiet spot where he can still see and hear you is best. Temperature is also important. Your hamster’s area should always stay between 65 and 75 ℉. If the little guy gets too cold, he may try to hibernate. This is extremely dangerous for pet hamsters!

Feeding

Hamsters are quite talented little beggars, and are notorious for hiding their food and then begging for more. Your tiny furball can have commercial hamster food for breakfast and dinner. Hammie will also need some fresh produce and, of course, the occasional treat. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice.

Toys

Hammie will need plenty of toys, including lots of safe, suitable chew toys. Many wood, wicker, and cardboard items can make great playthings for Hammie! Avoid anything with small parts, sharp edges, or dangling threads, as well as items coated in varnish, paint, glitter, or dye.

Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet hospital, anytime. We are here to help!

Fido’s Golden Years

Have you started noticing grey around your pup’s muzzle? Does Fido walk slowly, when he used to zip around? It can be bittersweet to notice that your canine buddy is aging. Your pooch will still need good food, proper activity, and regular veterinary care in his golden years, but his care regimen may change a bit. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some senior dog care tips.

Grooming

Brushing Fido regularly will benefit him in several ways. For one thing, it will remove dead hair and dander from his fur. This will improve the insulating qualities of his coat, so he can stay cool in summer and warm in winter. It’s also good for his circulation. Claw trims and doggy dental care are also important.

Doggy Comforts

Small touches can keep your pup much more comfortable. Pet ramps or stairs will help your furry pal get around more easily. A good doggy bed is also important. (Note: we recommend orthopedic beds, especially for medium and large dogs, because of the extra support they provide.) You may also want to get Fido some elevated doggy dishes, which will be easier for him to eat from than regular ones.

Exercise

Just like people, dogs slow down as they age. Your pooch may become more interested in napping than in chasing tennis balls. Don’t let your pup become a complete couch potato! Fido will still need some activity, even if it’s just a slow, relaxing stroll.

Mobility

Dogs often develop medical issues in their golden years. In between Fido’s regular appointments, watch for symptoms of sickness. Bone/joint issues, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, are common. Warning signs of these problems include limping, stiffness, grumpiness, and reduced interest in play. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss. You may be surprised at how many options there are for helping older pets feel better!

Love

At the end of the day, Fido wants nothing more than to hang out with his best friend: you. Keep your furry friend’s tail wagging by spending quality time with him every day. Remember to enjoy this special stage of your canine companion’s life. Older dogs often develop a very calm, sweet demeanor that is an absolute joy to be around. Plus, they’re adorable!

Do you have questions about senior dog care? Call us, your Fort Collins, CO pet hospital, today!

Adopting a Stray Cat

Have you been considering adopting a stray kitty? This is a truly wonderful act of kindness! Many stray cats can make wonderful pets. However, there are some things to keep in mind before deciding to adopt Fluffy. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses adopting a stray cat.

Strays Vs. Ferals

While stray cats and feral cats are biologically identical, they are worlds apart in terms of purrsonality. Strays are used to humans, as they have been around people before. Many are former pets that either got lost or abandoned at some point, and learned how to fend for themselves. Feral cats, on the other hand, have always been wild. Stray cats can become feral if left on their own long enough. And, occasionally, feral cats can be tamed. A feral kitty that won’t let you get near her may not ever make a good house pet, but will still benefit from food, fresh water, shelter, and regular veterinary care.

Veterinary Care

The first thing you’ll want to do is make Fluffy a veterinary appointment. This is especially important if you have other pets! We recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept current on vaccinations and parasite control. A full exam is also in order. Don’t let your feline friend interact with other pets or children until your vet has given the all-clear.

Settling In

Just like people, cats all have unique personalities. Some strays will happily walk right into your home, hop onto your couch, and curl up for a nap. Cats that are more timid and/or wary will need more time to settle in. Start Fluffy out in a quiet room, with comfy beds, toys, treats, and kitty furniture. Don’t force attention on your feline pal, however: let her decide when she wants to be petted.

Purr Activation

Many former strays become so accustomed to living indoors that they lose all desire to go outside. To convince Fluffy that the indoor life is both fun and luxurious, set out some pet-safe plants, offer lots of treats, and take time to play with her daily. With time, patience, and lots of TLC, you’ll have that little motor going before you know it!

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

5 Common Signs of Sickness in Dogs

Dogs may not speak our language, but they are pretty good at communicating. Fido may run and hide when he hears the word ‘Bath’ and knows full well what ‘Do you want a treat?’ means. Your pet will also let you know when he needs to go for a walk or wants to play. However, Man’s Best Friend isn’t quite that clear when it comes to letting us know that he doesn’t feel well. Below, a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some signs of illness in dogs.

Bad Breath

Fido isn’t exactly known for having winter-fresh breath. However, if your dog’s affectionate doggy kisses make you cringe, your furry friend may need medical attention. Bad breath can be indicative of many different health problems.

Excessive Thirst

It’s not unusual for dogs to gulp down some water after a vigorous walk or a fun game of Fetch. However, if Fido seems to be constantly thirsty, contact your vet. Excessive urination is also a warning sign.

Lack of Appetite

As you’ve probably noticed, our canine buddies have very healthy appetites. If Fido isn’t interested in dinner, he may be sick!

Tummy Troubles

Just like people, pets occasionally get upset stomachs. A single incident of vomiting or diarrhea may not be anything to be concerned about. (Note: we always advise erring on the side of caution, so check with your vet to be on the safe side.) Frequent, bloody, and/or excessive vomiting or diarrhea, on the other hand, is definitely a warning sign.

Lethargy

Although dogs do spend a lot of time napping, Fido should pretty much go from being sound asleep to fully alert at the sound of a cheese wrapper. If your furry pal seems listless, weak, and/or fatigued, however, he could be ill. A reduced interest in walks and playtime can also be indicative of sickness.

Tips

These are just a few signs of sickness in dogs. Others include grumpiness; skin problems; respiratory issues, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and/or wheezing; unusual behavior or vocalizations, such as uncharacteristic whimpering; red or runny eyes; and chewing or licking at a specific spot. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these signs in your furry best friend!

Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to providing excellent veterinary care!

Spring Cleaning for Pet Parents

Spring is finally here! As we leave another winter behind, many people are rolling up their sleeves and getting some spring cleaning done. Don’t forget about your pet’s things! A local Fort Collins, CO vet offers some spring cleaning tips for pet owners in this article.

Bedding

Wash your four-legged buddy’s bedding, and inspect it for tears and rips. We recommend using hot water and unscented detergent. Beds that can’t go in the wash can be vacuumed.

Toys

Inspect your furry friend’s playthings, and toss out anything that is worn or ripped. Toys that are still in decent condition can be given a good cleaning. To clean a rope toy, remove metal parts, soak it in water, and pop it in the microwave for about a minute. Stuffed animals can be washed in the washing machine. Use unscented detergent and the hottest wash and dry cycles you have. Plastic and rubber toys, such as Kong toys, can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Use the hot setting, and skip the soap. The water and steam will do the trick. Check care instructions for other toys.

Perishables

Go through your pet’s food, treats, and medicine, and get rid of anything that is no longer good. Don’t forget to check expiration dates! If you store your furry pal’s food in a specific container, such as a pitcher or storage tote, give that a good cleaning as well.

Grooming

Many animals shed heavily at this time of year, as they lose their winter fur. We recommend brushing your pet daily during peak shedding times. If you have a dog, bring Fido outdoors for his beauty sessions in warm weather. That way, the fur will just blow away.

Household

We recommend vacuuming regularly, especially during shedding season. This is also a good time to change your air filter. If you need to remove pet fur from your clothing or upholstery, try using a squeegee, rubber dish glove, or a damp sponge. You may also want to put some removable slipcovers on your furniture, at least until shedding season winds down.

Veterinary Care

Fleas and ticks will follow soon behind the spring thaw. Make sure that your four-legged pal is current on their vaccines, exams, and parasite control products!

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

Respect Your Cat Day

Did you know that there’s a very important kitty holiday coming up? March 28th is Respect Your Cat Day! While cats aren’t difficult to care for, it’s easy for us to overlook some of their needs, and unintentionally disrespect them. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet offers tips on how to respect your feline overlord.

Toys

Make sure that Fluffy has suitable entertainment options. Kitties can get bored, restless, and unhappy with nothing to do! Offer your cute pet lots of toys to push beneath the couch, and take time to play with her daily.

Litterbox

Make sure to keep Fluffy’s litterbox clean. We recommend scooping it out daily, and replacing the litter about once a week. No one likes a dirty bathroom!

Veterinary Care

We know, coming to see us is definitely not one of your pet’s favorite pastimes. Fluffy would probably rather be napping. However, your furball will look and feel much better with proper care. Keep up with your feline pal’s regular appointments. At home, watch for signs of sickness. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.

Grooming

Cats take their beauty routines very seriously, but that doesn’t mean your kitty can’t use a helping hand now and then. Senior cats and longhaired kitties in particular need some help with grooming. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Stimulation

While toys are very beneficial for our feline friends, they shouldn’t be your furball’s only source of entertainment. Make sure your pet has a good window view, so she can watch birds and squirrels. You may also want to leave a TV or radio on for Fluffy if you are leaving her alone. The sound of voices and music will provide mental stimulation, and keep her from being lonely.

Kitty Comforts

Your four-legged pal will really appreciate having a few things that were specifically made to suit her needs. Offer your cute pet some kitty furniture that encourages her to jump and climb. Cat towers are great for this!

Purrs

Cats may pretend to be independent, but at the end of the day, they are quite cuddly and affectionate, and are happiest when they feel loved. Spend time with your kitty every day, and pay attention to her.

Please reach out to us for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. As your Fort Collins, CO animal hospital, we are here to help!