All posts by James

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!

Playing With A Senior Cat

Is your feline friend starting to slow down? As Fluffy gets older, she’ll become more interested in napping than in making mischief. Of course, playing will still be beneficial for your kitty, both mentally and physically. There are some things to keep in mind when playing with senior cats. Read on as a local Fort Collins, CO vet discusses playing with an older kitty.

Use Senior-Friendly Toys

Although your cat should have some toys she can play with by herself, for your kitty play sessions, you’ll want to use things that you can control, like a laser pointer or wand toy. Cats all have their own preferences when it comes to toys. However, your feline buddy’s preferences may change as she ages. She may find it easier to track toys that are brightly colored or ones that make noise. Experiment with different playthings, and see if your cute pet seems to enjoy a specific type of toy.

Keep Sessions Short And Sweet

Fluffy won’t have the stamina that she did when she was younger, and may tire out after just a few minutes. That’s purrfectly fine! Even just a few minutes of jumping and pouncing will benefit your furry pal.

Choose The Right Spot

Pick a place that is both comfortable and safe. Senior cats sometimes get clumsy, and could fall off a bed or couch. We recommend keeping Fluffy on the floor, preferably in an area with soft carpet.

Let Your Kitty Win

Let Fluffy ‘catch’ her prey sometimes. Your kitty may become discouraged if she never ‘wins,’ and could lose interest. (Of course, your feline pal will never catch that elusive red dot, but she’ll have fun trying.)

Keep It Routine

Many cats are very much creatures of habit, and do best on a specific routine. Try to play with Fluffy at the same time every night.

Enjoy Cuddles

After a fun play session, Fluffy will know that you did something just to make her happy. She may express her appreciation of this in some pretty adorable ways. She might meow at you, rub against your legs, or jump into your lap for cuddles. Then again, she may just ignore you afterwards and take a nap. You just never know with cats!

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

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!