All posts by James

7 Things Fluffy Will Do This Year

Happy New Year! Today, many people are reflecting back on the past year, and making goals and plans for the new one. What about your feline pal? As it turns out, Fluffy may have a few things in store for 2020. In this article, a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some educated guesses on your kitty’s plans for the coming year.

Sleep

We have a sneaking suspicion that many of our feline patients plan to sleep through most of the coming year. Cats are very dedicated to their beauty rest regimes! In fact, some of these drowsy little furballs will spend up to 20 hours a day snoozing.

Improve Flexibility

Kitties are very flexible, and manage to doze off in positions that would be both awkward and uncomfortable for us. Fluffy may want to try a few different configurations this year.

Supervise

Cats are very curious, if not downright nosy. Fluffy likes to keep a close eye on her humans at all times. Your furry little buddy will pay close attention as you go about your daily chores in 2020. She may even aim to follow you into the bathroom every day.

Help Around The House

Fluffy has a reputation for being aloof, but that really isn’t fair. Your cute pet actually does appreciate the love and care you give her. She may try to reciprocate by ‘assisting’ you with things like changing the sheets, wrapping gifts, and cooking.

Explore

Cats absolutely love investigating things. Fluffy will promptly check out anything new you bring home. She’ll also happily explore any closets or cupboards you open. Help your nosy little pet satisfy her adventurous streak by giving her boxes and paper bags to play in.

Work On The Pounce

Kitties are very playful, which is one reason they make such fun and adorable pets. Fluffy is never more charming than when she is attacking a catnip mouse or batting a ball around. Your frisky feline may want to work on her pouncing skills this year.

Relax

It’s probably safe to say that your furry little friend will spend a good chunk of the year just lounging about. Something about a relaxed cat really does help turn houses into homes!

Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, anytime. We’re dedicated to helping you keep your cat happy and healthy in 2020 and beyond!

Tips For Playing With Your Cat

Kitties are very playful, which is one reason why they make such fun and entertaining pets. Fluffy is super cute when she is pouncing on a catnip mouse or chasing the dot from a laser pointer! Actually, playtime benefits your furry friend both mentally and physically. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some tips on playing with your cat.

Know The Benefits

Playing is a great way to keep your pet happy and healthy! Your furry pal will not definitely benefit from the physical activity. Pouncing, jumping, and running will all help keep your furball strong and fit. She’ll also get mental stimulation, which is great for her emotional well-being. Plus, playing will burn off any excess energy she has, leaving you with a calmer, better-behaved pet. Last but not least, playing is a great way for you to bond with your kitty and make her feel loved and safe.

Set A Schedule

Cats are very much creatures of habit. Fluffy may stick to a set schedule for naps, meals, and cuddle time. Try to play with your feline buddy at roughly the same time each day. Even five or ten minutes a day will be beneficial.

Keep Toys On Hand

Many people like to relax at the end of the day by watching TV. Keep a laser pointer or wand toy handy near your favorite lounging spot. This will make it easier to incorporate your kitty’s play sessions into your personal down time.

Let Fluffy ‘Win’

Our feline pals are actually quite emotional. If Fluffy never ‘catches’ her prey, she may become discouraged and lose interest in playtime. Make sure to let her win sometimes.

Use Toys You Control

Fluffy should have some things that she can use by herself, such as catnip mice. However, when you play with your furry buddy, use toys that you control, such as wand toys and laser pointers. This will make playtime both more fun and more challenging for her.

Don’t Encourage Attacks

Kitties are skilled predators in the wild, and they like to practice their hunting skills on, well, pretty much everything. Many furballs use their humans as toys. Don’t encourage Fluffy to bite or scratch you! This is bad petiquette, and can actually grow into dangerous behavior.

Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, anytime. We’re always happy to help!

Exercising A Senior Dog

Is your pooch starting to slow down? Dogs are just as cute in their golden years as they are during puppyhood. However, senior dogs aren’t as active as their younger buddies. Fido will still need some exercise to stay healthy as he ages. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet offers tips on exercising senior dogs.

Walking

Those daily walks will definitely help keep Fido in shape. Let your dog pick the pace. You may find that you really enjoy taking a relaxing walk with your canine friend plodding along faithfully at your side!

Playing

Playing can also be a great way for your dog to stay active and fit. Playing will also benefit your furry buddy mentally. Just stick with safe, suitable activities. Don’t encourage your cute pet to jump or stand on his back legs very much. This is hard on his hips, and can contribute to or exacerbate hip dysplasia.

Swimming

Swimming can be another good way for Fido to get his doggy workout in. The water will support your pet’s weight, making it easy on his bones and joints. However, swimming isn’t necessarily a good option for all pups. Some dogs, such as brachycephalic dogs, lose their breath very easily. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Weather

Keep in mind that older dogs are very sensitive to temperature extremes. Keep Fido’s walks short and sweet when the weather is bad.

Fatigue

Be careful not to overexert your canine companion. Keep a close eye on Fido. Look for signs of fatigue, such as panting. If you see signs that your pooch is getting tired, take him back in. You may want to opt for several short daily walks and play sessions, rather than a few long ones.

Paw Care

Younger dogs often grind their claws down just by running around. Older dogs? Not so much. Make sure to keep your furry friend’s claws trimmed. Overgrown nails are uncomfortable for pups to walk or run on. This can cause Fido to change his stride, which is bad for his bones and joints.

Talk To Your Vet

All of our canine pals are unique, and they all have their own specific care needs. Ask your vet for advice on Fido’s workout routine.

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

Raising A Polite Kitten

Have you just adopted a baby cat? Congratulations! Kittens are beyond a doubt one of life’s greatest treasures. We suspect that it won’t take little Fluffy long to melt your heart, if she hasn’t already done so. However, kitten parenting isn’t all purrs and cuddles. You’ll need to teach your baby feline the do’s and don’ts of being a good housecat. A Leesburg, VA vet discusses raising a polite kitty in this article.

Playtime

Kittens are super playful, which is one reason that they’re so entertaining. It’s impossible not to giggle when watching a frisky feline pouncing on a catnip mouse. However, your pet will want to sort out how all those claws and teeth work, and may very well try to practice on you. You definitely want to nip that habit in the bud! When little Fluffy pounces on you, tell her ‘No’ in a firm tone of voice. Then, walk away and ignore her for a while.

Discipline

Sooner or later, your tiny ball of fur is going to do something she shouldn’t. She may jump on the counters, or start knocking things off the table. Don’t punish little Fluffy: that will just scare her. Instead, discourage bad behavior by doing something that will startle and annoy your mischievous pet without hurting her. Squirt her with water, stamp your foot, or make a loud noise. You can also say something like ‘No’ or ‘Bad kitty!’ in a disapproving tone. Just be consistent, and use the same phrasing every time.

Socialization

If you want little Fluffy to grow into a friendly, sociable furball, you’ll need to pay lots of attention to her now. Luckily, socializing kittens is pretty fun. Offer your tiny buddy toys and treats, and spend lots of time cuddling and playing with her. The more you interact with your adorable feline friend, the more interactive she’ll become!

Scratching

Scratching is an instinctive behavior in cats, so you probably won’t have much luck getting your pet not to do it. Instead, you want to focus on teaching her proper scratching habits. Get her a good scratching post, one that won’t wobble. Put toys and catnip near it to make it more appealing. Whenever you see little Fluffy using her nail-care station, reward her with treats, cuddles, and compliments.

Please contact us, your Leesburg, VA vet clinic, anytime. We are always happy to help!

Tips For Choosing Dog Treats

Does your canine buddy get super excited at the thought of a treat? Does he come running whenever you go near his treat jar? Treats are definitely one of Fido’s favorite things. However, there are some things to keep in mind when offering your pet snacks. Here, a Fort Collins, CO discusses giving your dog treats.

Store-Bought Treats

Given the option, Fido would no doubt happily sample every single brand of doggy treats that is out there. That’s probably not feasible, so you’ll need to pick for him. Get into the habit of reading labels, and choose products that list ingredients you can actually identify. Meat, fish, and/or poultry should make up the bulk of the ingredients. Also, be sure to choose treats that are the right size for your dog.

Homemade Goodies

If you like cooking, you can make Fido’s snacks. Just stick to foods that are safe for dogs. Plain, cooked meat, fish, or chicken are good options. You can also include things like cheese; eggs; bacon bits; peanut butter; sodium-free broth; plain yogurt; safe fruits and veggies, like pumpkin, peas, carrots, and bananas; and/or olive oil. Look online for recipes, or just make up your own.

Tricks For Treats

Many dogs actually enjoy working for their snacks. Have Fido perform a command for his snack. Once he’s mastered basic obedience commands, teach him some cute tricks, like Roll Over or Shake Paw.

Curb Begging

We can’t really talk about dog treats without discussing begging. Some of our canine patients have their humans wrapped right around their paws! If you absolutely can’t resist your pet’s sad eyes, offer him something healthy, like a carrot, instead of that meatball he’s drooling over.

Don’t Go Overboard

Although treats are beneficial, you don’t want to overindulge your pup. Generally, they should only make up about 5 percent of his daily caloric intake. Sorry Fido, you can’t have all that bacon!

Monitor Recalls

Although fortunately the odds of your dog ingesting tainted food or treats are slim, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Monitor pet food recalls. You can do that through several websites, including the FDA site here and the AMVA site here. You can also set up email alerts.

Please contact us if we can ever be of assistance. As your local Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, we’re here to help!

Choosing Cat Toys

Do you find a mountain of cat toys under your sofa every time you move it? If so, you likely have a pretty happy pet. Playing is very important for Fluffy. It entertains her, helps keep her in shape, and provides enrichment. However, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing kitty toys. A Fort Collins, CO vet discusses choosing your feline buddy’s playthings in this article.

Wand Toys

Wand toys can be really fun for Fluffy! You control the toy’s movement, which makes playtime both more fun and more challenging. Just be sure to put these up after your pet is done playing: you don’t want her getting tangled up.

Catnip

Our feline pals are highly entertaining, and they’re never more fun to watch than when they’re enjoying some catnip. Get Fluffy some refillable toys, and refresh the catnip when it dries out.

Honeysuckle

Not all kitties like catnip. In fact, about a third of them are immune to its effects. If your furball doesn’t seem to care much for catnip, try getting her a honeysuckle toy instead. For some reason, cats that don’t like catnip sometimes love honeysuckle.

Modern Toys

While Fluffy will never grow tired of classic kitty toys, she also enjoys some more high-tech playthings. Get your furry little friend a robotic swimming ‘fish,’ a remote-controlled mouse, or an automatic laser pointer.

Toys For Multiple Kitties

Do you have more than one cat? You’ll need a variety of toys. Kitties all have their own purrsonal preferences. Fluffy may like catnip mice, while Mittens may prefer crinkly toys.

DIY Toys

If you want to save money, or just like making things, why not make Fluffy’s playthings? You’ll find great ideas and instructions online.

Toys That Aren’t Toys

Cats certainly are quirky little furballs. It’s not uncommon for people to buy their kitties expensive playthings, only to have their feline friends ignore their toys and play with a random household object instead. If Fluffy absolutely loves batting at bottlecaps or crumpled-up pieces of paper, let her have them. Just be sure never to let your pet play with anything dangerous. Anything small enough for her to choke on is a definite no. Sharp objects are also unsafe, as is anything that could be toxic.

Is your pet due for vaccinations, exams, or parasite control? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, today!

6 Great Ways To Pamper a Senior Dog

As your dog gets older, you’ll start to see some changes in him, both in his appearance and his behavior. Fido’s muzzle may turn grey, and he’ll become more interested in napping than in chasing squirrels around. Your pooch will still be the same loyal and loving companion as always, and he’ll still greet you with tail wags when you come home. However, he’ll definitely appreciate some extra TLC. A Fort Collins, CO vet offers tips on pampering a senior dog in this article.

Orthopedic Beds

Comfy beds are very important for senior pets. Older dogs often get quite stiff and sore. Orthopedic beds are great, as they offer extra support. Fido may also appreciate a heating pad or a thermal blanket on cold nights.

Pet Ramps

Fido won’t be as athletic as he once was. He may have difficulty getting in and out of cars, climbing stairs, or getting on and off beds and couches. Pet ramps or stairs will help him stay mobile.

Pain Management

Modern veterinary medicine now offers a wide range of treatment options that can help manage pain in pets and increase their range of motion. Acupuncture, for example, can be very helpful for treating dogs with arthritic pain. Massages can also be quite effective. Ask your vet for more information.

Supplements

Good nutrition is important for dogs at any age. When your canine companion reaches his golden years, you’ll want to change to a senior-formula food. Fido may also benefit from certain supplements, such as fish oil. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Raised Dishes

Elevated dishes are another small touch that can help keep your faithful friend comfortable. Eating from bowls on the floor can put a lot of strain on your furry pal’s neck and back! Give Fido’s dinnerware a ‘pupgrade’ and get him raised dishes.

Belly Rubs

Fido will never outgrow his love for you, or his fondness for getting petted. Offer your canine buddy lots of belly rubs, ear scritches, forehead rubs, and back scratches. That expression dogs make when you get that itchy spot is absolutely adorable! Savor this special time in your pet’s life, as it may pass much too quickly.

Please reach out to us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, for your senior dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re dedicated to helping you keep your pet happy and healthy.

Is Your Cat Obese?

Obesity is one of the most common health issues we see in our feline patients. In fact, over half of America’s cats are, well, a bit chubby. That’s a lot of pudgy pets! Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses kitty obesity.

Health Risks

Fluffy will still be adorable if she’s overweight, but she’ll be much healthier staying at or near her ideal weight. Obesity increases your kitty’s chances of developing some very dangerous health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues, and even certain cancers!

Feeding Fluffy

Cats are absolutely adorable, and they know it. Fluffy isn’t above using her cute faces and charming meows to cajole you into handing out treats and snacks. In fact, many pets have their humans trained to feed them on demand! That’s one reason it’s so important to pay attention to portion sizes. Even giving your furball just ten calories too much a day can lead to a weight gain of about a pound a year. That’s a lot for a kitty! Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Kitty Workouts

If you put Fluffy on a treadmill, she’ll probably curl up and take a nap on it. You may need to trick or tempt your furball into staying active. Get Fluffy some pieces of cat furniture that will entice her to jump and climb. (Tip: cat towers are great for this.) You can also get your kitty moving by playing with her every day. Use toys that you can control, like a laser pointer or feather toy. This will make playtime more challenging for your cat, and will also help keep her moving.

Weight Check

With some kitties, it’s quite obvious that they are overweight. However, it isn’t always that easy to tell if a cat is obese or not, especially with longhaired furballs. While you’ll want to get an official opinion from your vet, there is a simple test you can do. Try to feel your kitty’s ribs. If you can’t feel them at all, Fluffy probably isn’t just fluffy. If you can easily feel them beneath a layer of fat and skin, your pet may be near her ideal weight. If they’re protruding, your pet may actually be underweight.

Do you know or suspect that your cat is obese? Is Fluffy overdue for a veterinary exam? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, today!

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Dental problems are a very common issue with our canine pals. Fido can develop some very painful problems, such as gum disease, infections, abscesses, and misalignments. One of the best ways for you to keep your dog’s mouth healthy is to brush his teeth regularly. Of course, you will need to help your furry buddy get used to the idea. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some tips on brushing your dog’s teeth.

Get The Right Products

A trip to the pet store is in order. You’ll need to get things that were specifically made for dogs. Toothbrushes and toothpastes made for humans are neither safe nor suitable for our furry friends. To make the experience more pleasant for your four-legged pal, choose a flavored toothpaste, like chicken or beef.

Start Slow

Don’t just immediately jump into trying to brush Fido’s teeth. Start by just gently rubbing his tongue and gums with your finger, to get him used to having his mouth touched. When you’re done, immediately reward your dog with treats and praise. Once your canine companion has accepted this, you can add a bit of doggy toothpaste. The last step is to incorporate a pet toothbrush.

Sweeten The Deal

What’s the best way to get Fido to do something he’s not particularly enthusiastic or certain about? Bribe him! The promise of a yummy snack can work wonders for your furry friend’s attitude.

Stick To A Schedule

You don’t have to do your dog’s entire mouth every day. Just do one part at a time, and keep rotating. Try to make it part of your furry pal’s daily care routine. Once Fido is accustomed to the idea, this should only take a minute or two a day.

Backup Plan

Dogs can be quite opinionated. Some pups just won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed. If your canine buddy isn’t having it, there are some other things you can do to help keep his mouth healthy. Dental-formula treats, kibble, and chews will all help fight plaque and tartar. You can also try putting some pet toothpaste on a chew stick. Oral rinses and dental flakes can be beneficial as well. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you know or suspect that your pet has dental issues? Does Fido need to have his teeth checked? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, today!

Taking Your Cat to the Vet

August 22nd is Take Your Cat To The Vet Day! Of course, given the option, Fluffy would rather celebrate Spoil Your Cat Day, Hug Your Cat Day, or Take Your Dog To The Vet Day. We know that most of our feline patients would rather stay home and take yet another nap than come visit us. However, proper veterinary care is crucial to your kitty’s health and well-being. A Fort Collins, CO vet discusses taking Fluffy to the doctor in this article.

Fluffy’s Appointment Schedule

How often your pet needs to come in will depend on her age, lifestyle, and health. We recommend that all furballs be fixed, spayed or neutered, and kept current on vaccines and parasite control. Generally, adult kitties should come in at least once a year. If Fluffy is a senior, is allowed to go outdoors, or has medical issues, she may need to come in more often. Ask your vet for specific advice.

The Trip

Most cats are not particularly fond of car rides. There are some ways to make the trip a bit easier on your kitty. If Fluffy only sees her carrier before appointments, she may immediately be on edge when she spots it. Leave the carrier out between appointments, and put comfy bedding and some toys in it. On the ride, keep a window cracked, and play some soft music for your furball to meow along to. Also, try to avoid sharp turns, bumps, and sudden stops or starts. If your feline pal is extremely nervous, ask your vet about using cat-calming products.

Emergency Care

If you know or suspect that your pet is sick, schedule an emergency visit right away. Cats tend to be very secretive when they are ill, and often try to mask signs of illness. Some warning signs to watch for are hiding, poor grooming, respiratory issues, uncharacteristic behavior or vocalizations, vomiting, diarrhea, litterbox issue, and changes in food or water consumption.

Coming Home

Even if your kitty protests all the way to the clinic and all the way back, she’ll likely calm down very quickly when she gets back to her domain. Get Fluffy’s motor going again by offering her a yummy treat or a new toy. Some extra cuddles may also be in order.

Please reach out to us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!