Tag Archives: veterinary Larimer County CO

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!

7 Ways to Keep Your Cat Out of the Tree

Are you putting up a tree this year? If you have a kitty, you may find yourself trying to keep her from knocking it over. While some cats will content themselves with curling up beneath the tree and purring, others will see it as a kitty playground. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some tips on keeping Fluffy out of the tree.

Distract The Furball

There’s no reason you can’t give your cat her gifts a bit early. Offer Fluffy lots of fun new toys to occupy herself with. If your kitty tires herself out playing with her new squeaky mouse, she may be too tired to bother with the tree.

Secure The Tree

If you know or suspect that your cat is going to bring the tree down, use fishing line to secure the top of the tree to the wall or ceiling. It won’t show, but will add extra support. A sturdy tree base is also a must.

Decorate Carefully

If you hang a bunch of shiny ornaments on the bottom of the tree, you’re pretty much offering your furball an irresistible assortment of toys to choose from. Keep sturdy, non-breakable items on the lower branches, and put the shiny, fragile ones on the top third of the tree.

Get A Fake Tree

Fluffy will have a much harder time climbing a fake tree than she will a real one. Consider getting a synthetic tree this year.

Position The Tree Carefully

Try not to put the tree too close to a sofa, desk, or chair that Fluffy can climb onto. These things make great launching pad for frisky felines!

Playtime

Take time to play with your cat every day. If you can get Fluffy to burn off her excess energy playing Catch The Red Dot, she may leave the tree alone.

Training

We know, you can’t really train cats. (Actually, Fluffy tends to train her human pals, but that’s another topic.) However, you can make your frisky pet think twice about getting too close to the tree. When your kitty goes near the tree, make a loud noise: clap your hands, bang two pots together, or sound a bike horn. Chances are, your furball will hightail it to her favorite hiding spot!

Happy Holidays! Please feel free to contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet clinic, anytime!

Safety Tips for Walking Your Dog

Do you walk your dog daily? If so, that’s terrific! Even if Fido has a yard to play in, daily walks will still benefit him by keeping him active, preventing boredom, and offering mental stimulation. However, it can be easy to overlook basic safety precautions when something becomes routine. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses walking your dog safely.

Leashes

Be sure to use a steady leash, and check it regularly for signs of wear. Retractable leashes are great in certain situations, but they aren’t necessarily safe for all occasions, as the mechanisms do sometimes jam or break. Don’t use retractable leashes while walking along roads, or in areas where you may run into stray dogs or wild animals. Ask your vet for more information.

Night Walking

Always use reflective gear at night. Save exploring for daylight: after sunset, stick to familiar, well-lit paths, and keep walks short and sweet. Many predators are nocturnal, so don’t let Fido sniff around in wild or wooded areas.

Paw Care

Don’t forget that Fido is barefoot! Keep an eye on the ground, and re-route your pooch around glass or other sharp objects. In summer, try to walk your furry friend in the mornings and evenings, when it’s cooler out. Dog can get painful paw burns from hot tar! In winter, snow, salt, sand, ice, and chemical deicers can hurt your canine buddy’s feet. Fresh snow can also hide dangerous objects. Always try to keep your pet on soft ground, and use paw balm to protect his feet.

Hacks

Designate a specific jacket for doggy walking. Keep spare keys, a portable phone charger, waste baggies, treats, a small flashlight, and a whistle in the pockets. You may also want to clip a carabiner around your pup’s leash.

Roads

If you are walking along the side of the road, keep Fido to the outside. He has a shorter profile, and is harder for drivers to spot, especially on curves.

Pulling

Does your furry pal walk you, instead of it being the other way around? This can not only take the fun out of those daily walks, it can also be quite dangerous. To break Fido of this bad habit, you’ll want to stop and change direction every time he yanks on his leash.

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

Cold Weather Care for Cats

Like it or not, cold weather will be here soon. Winter can be a very dangerous time of year, both for people and pets. Below, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses cold weather care for kitties.

Sleep

Given the choice, most cats would probably be purrfectly content to sleep through winter. Offer your drowsy furball lots of comfy napping spots. However, while Fluffy’s fondness for naps is certainly adorable, it also makes it easy for her to get out of shape. Provide your kitty with lots of fun toys, and play with her every day.

Outdoor Dangers

Cats that go outdoors face many dangers, especially in winter. Deep snow, ice, frostbite, predators, and freezing temperatures are all dangerous to kitties. Chemicals, such as deicers and antifreeze, are also a serious concern. We strongly recommend keeping your furry buddy inside in cold weather. If you do let Fluffy out, bring her in at night, on cold days, and whenever bad weather is approaching. It’s also important to offer your furball a suitable emergency shelter.

Food

Kittens, senior cats, nursing mamas, and kitties that go outdoors may need a bit more food than usual when it’s cold out. Pets that suffer from arthritis or other bone/joint problems may benefit from certain vitamins or supplements. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice.

Veterinary Care

Cats with bone/joint issues often get very stiff and sore in winter, and may benefit from pain management treatments. It’s also important to keep up with your furball’s regular veterinary appointments. Ask your vet for more information.

Grooming

Dead fur, dander, and dust all detract from the insulating properties of Fluffy’s fur. Although most of our feline friends are pretty good about keeping themselves clean, some of them –particularly senior cats, fluffy furballs, and kitties with thick coats—need a little help. Brush your cute pet regularly.

Litterbox

Don’t make your kitty use a cold bathroom! Make sure that Fluffy’s personal powder room is in a spot that is easy for her to access and isn’t too chilly.

Cuddles and Purrs

Purring cats make great snuggle buddies! On those cold winter nights, settle in with a good book or movie and your favorite beverage, and let Fluffy curl up on your lap.

Do you have questions or concerns about your cat’s health? We’re here to help! Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet hospital, today!

Safety Tips for Letting Your Pocket Pet Use a Runabout

Do you have a hamster or Guinea pig? Exercise balls, or runabouts, are becoming very popular accessories for pocket pets. Runabouts can be both fun and entertaining for tiny furballs, but they can also be very dangerous if used improperly. A Fort Collins, CO vet offers some tips on getting your furry pal a runabout or exercise ball in this article.

Shopping

Runabouts are definitely not one-size-fits-all. Your little buddy could be seriously hurt in a wheel that is the wrong size! Do your research, and be sure to choose the correct size. We also recommend checking product reviews and safety ratings before making a purchase. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Stay Grounded

Stairs can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal, to pets in exercise balls. Don’t let your furry friend roll around near stairs, and never put him on a tabletop.

Adult Supervision Required

Never leave your four-legged pal in a runabout unattended. Your cute pet could get stuck in a corner, or trapped underneath something. This can be both scary and dangerous for the little furball!

Furball’s Choice

Even small animals have their own likes and dislikes. Some of these little guys really enjoy runabouts, while others find being in a rolling plastic ball very scary. Never force your pet to use a runabout. If your pint-sized buddy seems frightened, offer him another type of toy instead.

Safety Check

Before letting your tiny pet roll around, make sure his exercise ball is closed securely. If in doubt, use tape to hold it shut.

Cleaning

Your pocket pet may soil his runabout while he’s using it. Clean the exercise ball after each use, and let it dry completely before letting him use it again.

Playtime

Even if your adorable pet loves being in his runabout, you want to be careful not to leave him inside it for too long. About 15 minutes is plenty. It’s better to give your four-legged friend several short sessions than one long one.

Other Pets

Keep Fido and Fluffy in another part of the house when your pocket pet is in his runabout. Your miniature furball could be seriously hurt by a playful dog or cat!

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

Winter Care for Dogs

Winter is right around the corner. Is your dog ready for the cold weather? While our canine pals do have fur coats, they still need a bit of extra TLC to help keep them safe, healthy, and warm during the cold season. In this article, a Fort Collins, CO vet offers some advice on caring for your pooch in winter.

Grooming

Tangles, mats, and dead fur can make Fido’s fur less effective at keeping him warm. Brush your canine pal regularly.

Clothing

If your dog has thin fur, he may need some clothes to help him stay warm when the thermometer plunges. Pick up a good doggy sweater for your four-legged buddy. Be sure not to choose anything that is tight on him!

Paw Care

Snow, ice, sand, salt, and chemical de-icers are all harsh on Fido’s sensitive paws, and can cause painful burns and blisters. Use balm or wax to protect your pup’s furry feet. Keeping your dog’s nails and toe fur trimmed will help him get better traction on slippery surfaces.

Shelter

We always recommend that dogs live indoors, where they are safer, warmer, and happier. But if Fido does spend a lot of time in the yard, make sure he has suitable shelter outdoors.

Bedding

Offer your pet a nice, comfy bed to curl up in at night. If Fido is in his golden years, consider getting him a good, orthopedic doggy bed. Placement is also important: don’t put your pooch’s doggy bed in a chilly or drafty area.

Diet

Some dogs need extra calories in winter. If your dog is a senior, recovering from illness or surgery, or spends a lot of time outdoors, he may need bigger portions during the cold season. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Exercise

As the weather cools, you may opt to take your dog on shorter walks, rather than a leisurely stroll. To keep your pooch from becoming a couch potato, try to keep him active inside. Playing fetch is one great way to get Fido moving.

Ice

When walking your furry pal, don’t bring him too close to frozen bodies of water where there could possibly be thin ice. You don’t want to take any chances on your pet falling through!

Do you have any questions about your dog’s health or care? We can help! Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, anytime.