All posts by James

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!

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Did you know that September is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month? This is one cause that is truly near and dear to our hearts. If you are ready to bring a new pet into your family, please consider going to a shelter to find your furry friend. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some great reasons to get Fido from a shelter.

Save A Life

Our canine friends often wind up in shelters through no fault of their own. Some shelter dogs are lost pets whose owners cannot be located. Others have been abandoned by their owners, or surrendered due to unfortunate circumstances. Unfortunately, Fido may not have much time to find himself a new forever home. Giving a sweet pup a second chance at happiness is a wonderful thing to do!

Find The Right Pup

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have their own unique personalities. Whether you want a small cuddly companion pooch, an athletic pup to hike and jog with, or a jovial family pet, you’ll likely find exactly what you are looking for at a shelter. You’ll also be able to hang out with Fido before making a final decision. This is very important! Doggy adoptions are long-term commitments, and definitely not something to take lightly.

Save Money

Adopting from a shelter is often significantly cheaper than getting your canine buddy from a dealer or pet store. You may also save on veterinary care costs, since many shelters provide basic services, such as spaying/neutering.

Promote Good Animal Welfare

Adopting from a shelter is a great way to give that one lucky canine a new lease on life. You’ll also be helping other dogs in need. The money you put towards Fido’s adoption fees will help the shelter feed and care for their other furry wards. Plus, you’re freeing up space for another homeless pup.

Make A Forever Friend

Dogs are very smart, and know when someone has helped them. It’s no surprise that many people report that the pups they have adopted from shelters are extremely loyal and affectionate. Fido will reward you with unconditional love and friendship, endless tail wags and happy dances, and lots of cuddles and face licks. What more could you ask for?

Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, anytime. We’re dedicated to providing great veterinary care.

Doggy Paw Care

Does your dog know how to Shake Paw? Fido’s furry feet are adorable! They’re also very important to his health and well-being. After all, without his paws, your pet wouldn’t be able to walk, run, or jump. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses caring for your dog’s paws.

Claws

Overgrown claws are actually very problematic in dogs. They are quite uncomfortable for Fido, so your pup may adjust his stride to compensate. This puts extra strain on your furry buddy’s bones and joints, which can aggravate or contribute to painful conditions like arthritis or hip dysplasia. If you aren’t comfortable trimming your canine pal’s nails yourself, contact your vet or groomer and set up a quick pawdicure appointment. Or, get a pair of clippers that are equipped with sensors. These will indicate exactly where to cut. Also, don’t forget to check your dog’s dewclaws. These are the ones higher up on Fido’s ‘ankle.’ Sometimes they can become ingrown, which is very painful!

Paw Pads

Your dog’s paw pads are very sensitive. Fido can get burns or blisters by running on hot or harsh surfaces. In summer, hot tar and asphalt can really do a number on your pet’s feet. Dogs’ paws are extra delicate when they are wet, so be extra careful after your pooch has gone swimming. In winter, salt, sand, snow, and ice can also hurt your pup’s feet. Use paw balm or wax to protect your furry friend’s paws.

Foreign Objects

We recommend inspecting your canine buddy’s feet regularly. You’ll want to look between Fido’s toes, as dogs often get pebbles or other foreign objects stuck between them. Ticks also sometimes latch on to dogs’ feet, so keep an eye out for hitchhikers as well. Also, if your pooch has those adorable tufts of fur between his toes, keep these trimmed back. They can easily get gunked up and matted, which is very uncomfortable.

Injuries

Paw injuries are definitely not something to take lightly! Fido can step on a sharp object, or get bitten or scratched. If you notice your furry pal limping, immediately take a look. You can treat a very minor cut yourself with antiseptic, but call the vet for anything else.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can ever be of assistance. As your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, we are always here to help!

Keeping Kitty Cool

Do you often find your cat sprawled out in a sunbeam? Our feline friends certainly do love sunbathing. However, summer can be tough on kitties. After all, Fluffy is wearing a fur coat, and doesn’t have many ways to cool herself off. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses keeping cats cool.

Brushing

Cats are pretty good about grooming themselves, but that doesn’t mean your pet can’t use a helping hand now and then. Brushing your feline pal regularly will get that dead hair, dust, and dander out of her coat. This will help keep her cooler. (Bonus: this is also a great way to spend time with Fluffy, and make her feel pampered.)

Water

Make sure that your feline buddy always has plenty of fresh, cool water. You may want to get your furball an automated waterer, or a pet fountain. Many kitties actually prefer to drink running water.

Cool Bed

Offer your kitty some comfy napping spots in cool areas. Fluffy may like a shaded corner near the AC, for instance. Of course, if you let your furball roam, she probably won’t have trouble finding a cool napping spot. Cats are very, very good at getting comfortable!

Pawckey

Did you know that batting an ice cube around can help your kitty cool off? Fluffy’s paw pads—or ‘toe beans,’ as some people call them—help kitties regulate their temperature.

Hammock

It’s really very easy to make Fluffy a hammock. Just get a table or end table with four legs, and a sturdy piece of material. Cut the fabric so that it’s smaller than the tabletop, and then just tie the corner to the legs. Presto!

Keep Kitty In

The best way to keep your kitty cool in summer is to keep her indoors, in rooms with climate control. If you do let your furry buddy roam, limit her outdoor time during the hottest parts of the day.

Cold Snacks

Who says kitties can’t have a cool treat? Drop an ice cube into your cat’s bowl on sweltering days. Fluffy may also enjoy a cool bowl of sodium-free broth, or perhaps some cat milk, which you can get in pet stores. Some chilled, boneless tuna, fish, or chicken in water is also fine.

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

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!