All posts by James

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!

Swimming With Fido

Summer is here, and people are flocking to pools and beaches. Many dogs also love swimming. However, you’ll need to take steps to keep your furry friend safe near the water. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses taking your canine buddy swimming.

Should Fido Swim?

Although many dogs—such as Water Spaniels, Labradors, Retrievers, and Poodles—are natural swimmers, this isn’t always the case. In fact, some of our canine pals will basically sink like a stone in water. Small dogs and brachycephalic dogs, like Boxers, really aren’t well-suited to swimming, and can quickly get in trouble. If you aren’t sure if you should take Fido swimming, check with your vet first.

Pools

When you take Fido to a pool, the first thing you want to do is show him where the stairs are. This is absolutely crucial for safety reasons. If your furry pal slips and falls in, you want to make sure that he can get back out. Test him by going to the opposite end of the pool and calling him to you.

Swimming Lessons

If your pooch doesn’t know how to swim, take time to teach him. Put a doggy lifejacket on your furry buddy for his lessons, and then gently support him as he’s learning. Encourage him with praise and ear scritches. (Treats should come later, after Fido’s out of the pool.) You can also try finding a friendly pup that already knows how to swim.

Paws

Dogs’ paws are very delicate when they are wet, much like human skin is after a bath. Don’t let Fido run around on harsh surfaces right after swimming. He could get painful blisters and abrasions!

Safety

Never leave Fido alone near the water, even for a minute. Even pups that can swim well can get in trouble if they fall into a pool and can’t get out. We recommend fencing off pools when they aren’t in use. This goes double for people with senior dogs and/or pooches that can’t see well. Pool covers are also dangerous, as dogs sometimes try to walk on them.

Fur

After Fido gets out of the water, rinse his fur to get the chlorine, salt, and/or sand out of his fur. Later, when he’s dry, give him a good brushing.

As your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care. Contact us anytime!

Grooming Your Bunny

Are you a new bunny owner? Congratulations on adopting an adorable pet! One thing you’ll need to do to keep Floppy comfortable and healthy is groom her regularly. Although rabbits are diligent at grooming themselves, they need to be brushed at least once a week. This will remove dead fur and dander from your rabbit’s coat, and get her accustomed to beauty treatments. A Fort Collins, CO vet discusses grooming bunnies in this article.

Brushing

Some bunnies, such as Angoras, must be brushed daily. Other rabbits only need to be brushed every week or so. If you aren’t sure what’s right for your furball, ask your vet for recommendations. One thing that applies across the board is the need to be extremely gentle. Bunny skin is very delicate, and rips easily!

Molting

No matter what type of bunny you have, you’ll need to brush her daily during her shedding cycles. Rabbits basically replace their entire coats a few times a year. This is known as molting. Keeping up with brushing at these times is crucial, as rabbits can get very sick from ingesting too much fur. Your vet may also recommend giving Floppy a hairball remedy.

Bathing

One thing that many new bunny owners don’t realize is that you should never bathe a rabbit. This is often terrifying for bunnies. In fact, they can even go into shock, which can be fatal! The only exception here is if Floppy gets something stuck to her fur. If that happens, you’ll want to gently lower the dirty part of your pet (usually the rump) into a small tub of lukewarm water. Swish the water around to clean her, then carefully pat her dry with a soft towel.

Peticures

Nail trims are also important. Overgrown claws can snag and tear on things, which can be quite painful for your furry pal. This can also lead to infections. Most bunnies should have pawdicures about once a month, though you’ll want to ask your vet for specific advice. It’s important to take time to get Floppy used to the idea. When your bunny is relaxed and/or snoozing on your lap, start handling her paws. Talk to her gently, pet her, and offer a treat. The next step is to start running clippers over her claws.

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

Tips for Choosing Dog Toys

Does your canine buddy sometimes run up to you holding his favorite toy? Fido has a pretty adorable way of asking you to play with him! Playing is actually great for your pet. It keeps him active, offers him beneficial mental stimulation, and lets him spend time with his favorite human: you. However, doggy toys are not one-size-fits-all. A vet offers some tips on choosing your pup’s playthings below.

Age

One thing you’ll need to keep in mind is Fido’s age. If your furry friend is still a young puppy, he’ll need soft toys. Once the little guy starts teething, chew toys are going to be at the top of his list. When your pooch is all grown up, he will need toys that keep him active, entertained, and, hopefully, out of mischief. Treat-dispensing toys, Frisbees, and puzzle toys are all good choices for frisky adult dogs. If your canine pal is a senior, he may just want a few treat toys, or perhaps a snuggly plush toy. Toys that make noise are a great choice for older pooches that don’t see well, while light-up playthings are great for deaf dogs.

Size

Consider Fido’s breed and size. Bigger dogs can break or rip toys easily, so they need tougher, more durable playthings than a smaller pup would. Larger dogs can also choke on toys made for puppies or little pooches. Small dogs, on the other hand, can injure themselves on toys that are too big.

Lifestyle

Keep your schedule and lifestyle in mind as well. If you often play with your furry buddy at night, opt for toys that glow or light up. If Fido enjoys burying things, get durable toys that will stand up to your four-legged pirate’s treasure-hunting antics.

Safety

Always put safety first. Choose toys that are durable, and won’t easily rip or break. This is sometimes a problem with plush toys and stuffed animals. Fido could hurt himself if he swallows a squeaker or stuffing. If your canine companion has any aggressive tendencies, or is a bit rowdy, skip the rope toys and tug toys. Some dogs get a bit too into playing Tug-O-War, and can get really riled up. This can be dangerous, especially with larger dogs. Ask your vet for more information.

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

External Parasites That Harm Cats

If you own a cat, proper parasite control is important not only for your feline friend’s health, but for your family’s—some of these pests can be transmitted from cats to humans! External parasites live on your cat’s body and feed off of blood or tissue. Below, learn more about external pests and how to keep your cat safe from harm.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny brown-colored parasites that cause skin irritation, allergies, and even more serious problems like anemia in severe cases. To make matters worse, fleas can jump several feet, possibly jumping off of your cat and infesting surfaces, items, and other pets or family members in your home.

If you’ve noticed your cat scratching themselves more than usual, or if there are visible black particles underneath your pet’s fur (these are flea droppings!), make an appointment at the vet’s office. A flea treatment will be prescribed—shampoos, liquids or gels applied to the skin and fur, a flea collar, oral tablets, and other products are available—and your cat will be put on a flea preventative after the infestation is over.

Ticks

Ticks latch on to your cat’s skin and draw out blood, growing larger the longer they remain. They can transmit many dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks can also be brought indoors on your cat and then infest other pets or human family members. Luckily, they’re easily prevented with simple precautions; keep your cat on a high-quality flea-and-tick preventative, and check your cat’s body regularly for ticks if they venture outdoors.

Lice

Lice are another type of external parasite that can hurt your cat, although it’s a far less common problem than flea or tick infestations. These tiny parasites, like fleas, cause skin irritation and can even lead to cases of anemia without treatment. Eradication involves applying shampoos or other topical products that kill off both lice and lice eggs on your cat’s body.

Mites

There are various types of mites, including some that live normally on your cat’s skin and don’t cause any problems. When an infestation occurs, your cat will suffer from irritated skin and possible hair loss. Medications to eradicate mites will need to be given for several weeks if your cat is found to be suffering from an infestation.

To learn more about keeping your cat—and family—safe from parasites, call your vet’s office today!

Meet the AKC’s Newest Breed: The Azawakh

The ‘puparazzi’ are all buzzing about the latest dog news: the AKC has just welcomed another new breed into their ranks. The Azawakh (pronounced Oz-a-wok) was formally inducted on January 1, 2019. This brings the total number of AKC-recognized breeds to 193, including the 2018 inductees: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vandee. In this article, a local vet discusses the Azawakh.

History

The Azawakh is actually an ancient breed, having originated in West Africa. They were first bred as guard dogs, companions, and hunters by the blue-clad Tuareg nomads, who cherish and love their canine friends. Long-legged and elegant, the Azawakh is a sighthound, hunting by sight rather than scent. In fact, their name means ‘Sighthound of the free people’ in the Tuareg language. Quick and hardy, these fast pooches are renowned at hunting antelope, wild boars, hares, and other game.

Physique

The Azawakh has a unique, elegant appearance. They have long legs and a short, fine coat, which only needs occasional grooming. These lovable pooches come in all colors and color combinations, from black and brown to fawn to brindle. Sometimes, they have a black ‘mask’ on their faces, and/or white markings on their legs, chest, or tails.

Training

Azawakhs are both smart and independent, so proper training is a must. Socialization is also very important. It’s worth noting that they are quite proud, and don’t do well with negative reinforcement. To keep things positive–and keep that tail wagging–focus on rewarding Fido for being good.

Diet

The Azawakh doesn’t have any specific dietary needs, so a good, high-quality dog food will do fine. You do have to be careful not to overfeed Fido, however. These friendly pups do tend to gain weight easily, and are at risk of becoming obese. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including portion sizes.

Temperament

Azawakhs are quite affectionate and lovable, and become very attached to their owners. Though they have a sweet, calm, demeanor, they are quite energetic, and need regular exercise to stay healthy. These dogs make great pets for joggers! However, you may need to urge Fido to keep moving: left alone, your canine buddy will probably opt to just take a nap.

Please feel free to contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your furry friend’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great care!

Caring For Your Pet as They Age

While the exact age that your pet is considered “old” can vary depending on species, size, and breed, one thing is for sure: our animal companions need our love and care as they get older! As your pet enters their senior years, there are several things you can do to make sure that they stay happy and healthy.

Frequent Veterinary Visits

One of the best ways to make sure your senior pet stays in good shape is by having them examined at the veterinarian’s office regularly. This way, health concerns can be found early and treated quickly. Plus, your vet can offer tips on continuing to keep your aging pet in good health as time goes on.

Senior Nutrition

Senior pets’ nutritional needs are different than those of younger animals. Older pets might need diets that are easier to digest, and they often benefit from diets with specially formulated nutrient levels or anti-aging properties. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is ready to be given a senior formula, and ask for tips on transitioning your pet from the old diet to the new.

Preventative Care

Just because your pet has gotten older doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need preventative care! Vaccinations and pest-control medications are just as important now as they ever have been—since older pets’ immune systems tend to be weaker than those of younger pets, a serious disease or a pest infestation can sideline your aging pet’s health before you know it. Consult your vet right away if your pet needs vaccinations or parasite control medicines.

Appropriate Exercise

Exercise is important for your pet’s health throughout life, but it’s especially critical in the senior years. Light exercise helps your pet’s entire body remain more mobile, and it helps keep muscle mass at appropriate levels and also avoids dangerous obesity. Ask your veterinarian what kind of exercise will keep your pet’s body in great shape without over-exerting them.

Mental Stimulation

Keeping your pet stimulated mentally is another key step for maintaining good health in the senior years. Many older companions begin to suffer from cognitive dysfunction—think of it as your pet’s version of Alzheimer’s disease—and mental stimulation can help to avoid it for as long as possible. Play with your pet regularly, and try puzzle toys to give the mind a good workout.

For more tips, contact your vet’s office. We’re here to help!