Blog

How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Pet

How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Pet

For those who may have been unaware, August is known as National Immunization Awareness Month for pets. Now, the question of whether to vaccinate pets or not and how often is one of the most debtated questions in veterinary medicine. Previously, it was much simpler as you would take your dog or cat to the vet at least once a year, and they would receive the recommended vaccinations and anything else they may need, and then you were on your way. However, now that the standard of care has changed, it is no longer as simple as just vaccinating every animal every year with every vaccine available.

Nowadays, vaccines have been divided into two categories: “core” and “non-core” vaccinations. Core vaccines are the ones that every animal should get at some point during their lifetime like rabies, distemper, and parvovirus. Non-core vaccines refer to the ones that should be administered based on certain risk factors of a particular animal. For example, the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine is for cats who are allowed outside and the bordetella vaccine is for dogs who are regularly boarded in a kennel.

One of the most straightforward reasons to vaccinate your pets is to comply with the local law. For example, it is typical for every community to require dogs and cats in some communities, to be vaccinated for rabies. The reason being that it is a public health issues considering rabies is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to people and it is not a curable disease. In fact, the only time it is acceptable to not vaccinate for rabies is if your pet has a disease that could be worsened by the vaccine. Another thing to consider is whether your pet goes to a day care, or a dog park or kennel. If they do, then they are likely to be exposed to more diseases so they should be on a regular vaccination schedule. Finally, you will want to consider your pets’ lifestyle. For example, does your dog encounter wildlife or play in areas where you may frequently spot wildlife? If so, then you may want to vaccinate for leptospirosis.

So, how often should your pets be vaccinated? Some recommendations include doing the puppy and kitten series, and then a booster vaccine in one year, and then every year thereafter.

Keep in mind that vaccines are important for your pet’s general health care and a cornerstone of proper wellness care for your animals. So, if you are looking to get your pet vaccinated or have further questions about pet vaccinations, please feel free to contact Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258!

Poisonous Plants You Should Keep Away From Your Pets

Poisonous Plants You Should Keep Away From Your Pets

The Humane Society of the United States once reported that there were over 700 plants that can produce enough physiologically active or toxic substances that can be potentially harmful to animals. So, if you have any pets in your family, you might be thinking that there are a lot of plants to remember. However, this is not to say that all of those potentially poisonous plants are deadly. There are different types of toxins and toxin levels that can cause mild to serious reactions that range from nausea and seizures to organ failure and even death. If you have an animal that has ingested a known toxic plant part, you should look to bring them to a vet for an examination immediately. Let’s take a look at some of the poisonous plants that are most commonly found in homes and gardens and should be kept away from your pets.

Ivy

The most common ivy foliage you will find in gardens in the United States are English Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, California Ivy, Branching Ivy, Glacier Ivy, and Needlepoint Ivy. Now, while you may not see animals eating ivy often, it is very toxic in the event it is ingested. If you believe your pet may have ingested ivy, some of the warning signs to look out for are diarrhea, vomiting, hyper-salivation, and abdominal pain.

Lilies

Pet parents should be aware of the potentially deadly risks associated with a cat ingesting lily plants and lily bulbs. Even a small amount of any part of the plant ingested, especially the bulb, can lead to kidney failure and the toxins in the lily can cause cats to have horrible illnesses. Such signs to be aware of are vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and kidney failure

Aloe Vera

While the soothing gel in the aloe plant is great for humans dealing with any scrapes or burns, it would be best to keep them out of the reach of animals because they can be very dangerous for them. Signs to be aware of that aloe has been eaten include depression, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, a change in color of urine, and even anorexia.

Tomato Plant

Most of the parts of the tomato plant are very poisonous to animals. Even though ingesting tomato plant leaves, vines, or stems is unlikely to be deadly, the toxins can still create great discomfort for your pet. These symptoms to look out for include weakness, unusual drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and paralysis.

These are just a few of the most common plants found in homes and gardens that can be very poisonous to your pets. As mentioned earlier, if you detect that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous plant, be sure to have them checked out by a vet or give Cherrelyn Animal Hospital a call at (303) 532-1258!

Best Cat Breeds For Those With Allergies

Best Cat Breeds For Those With Allergies

For those who were unaware, June is actually Adopt-A-Cat month. So, if there was ever a time to visit your local shelter and adopt a new furry addition to the family, this would be the perfect month to do so. However, one of the biggest, if not the biggest setbacks for adopting a cat is allergies. Now, you may be wondering what may cause these allergies and a common misconception is that it comes from the cat’s fur. In actuality, it is a protein known as Fel D1 which is found in cat saliva that causes you to sneeze and feel itchy. So, if a cat licks a piece of your clothing, the saliva will dry up and become airborne which increases the likelihood of an allergic response. 

The good news is that some cat breeds produce less of this protein than others which makes them the ideal pets for people who have these allergies. So, let’s take a look at some of the best cat breeds for people with allergies. 

Balinese

These cats are also referred to as the “longhaired Siamese” and while they may look like the unlikely candidate to be a hypoallergenic cat breed, they are one of the few breeds that produce less of the Fel D1 protein than other cats. They are also smart, sweet, and fun to be around. Similar to the Siamese, they are also known for their ability to communicate vocally and they are sensitive to your mood, so they will be willing to cheer you up if you’re feeling gloomy.

Oriental Shorthair

While these are also considered non-allergenic cats, it would still be a good practice to groom them frequently to keep danger at bay. These breeds are also natural entertainers, full of enthusiasm, and enjoy being at the center of attention. They also tend to be conceited one minute and the animated the next, depending on their mood. You can also expect them to go to great lengths to be involved in your activities as they are highly curious.

Sphynx

The hairless Sphynx is one of the cat breeds that is most associated with being a hypoallergenic breed. Keep in mind, however, that just because they are hairless, that does not mean they are maintenance-free. They will require frequent baths in order to remove any gummy buildup of oils on their skin. They also have large ears that will require frequent cleaning. As far as their personality, to say they are lively would be an understatement. They are known to keep you entertained as they perform their aerialist feats from the tops of doorways and bookshelves (if you have one). They are also very devoted and loyal and will follow their owners around as they wag their tails similar to that of a dog and constantly purr with affection.

These are some of the different cat breeds that go best with people who suffer from allergies. For more information about cat breeds or even cat maintenance, feel free to call Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258!

Keeping Your Pets Safe Amidst Coronavirus

Keeping Your Pets Safe Amidst Coronavirus

Last month, we discussed some of the ways you can keep your pets busy while you are all home during a pandemic. Now, while maintaining the health and safety of yourself and those closest to you is of the utmost priority during this COVID-19 pandemic, you might also be thinking about how you can keep your pets safe and clear from the virus as well. The good news is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that the disease is typically spread to humans through person-to-person contact. Here in the US, there have been very few reports of pets or livestock succumbing to the coronavirus.

Now, while there is little evidence that suggests that the coronavirus can be transmitted to or from animals, you can’t be too safe and should still practice best hygiene practices around your animals. For example, you should be washing your hands thoroughly throughout the day and especially before and after you have direct contact with your pets, their food or their supplies. Let’s take a look at a couple of other ways you can keep your pet safe during this pandemic.

Stock Up On Pet Supplies

You should also look to prepare a kit that includes any essential supplies you would need on hand in the event of an emergency. This emergency kit should have at least a month’s supply of your pet’s medications along with about two weeks worth of food.

Designate An Emergency Caregiver

You also want to identify someone who will be relied upon to help with your pet’s short-term or long-term care in the event that you are unable to do so. This can be a family member, a friend, your neighbor, or even your favorite boarding facility.

Create A Pet Dossier

Now, if assistance is required from your designated emergency caregiver, you should try to make things easier by having all of your pet’s information in one place. Some of the things you want to make available are their habits, food preferences, any medical conditions the caregiver should be aware of and the medications they take, your local veterinarian contact information, and also any behavioral tendencies that. This information will make things much smoother for the caregiver.

At the end of the day, we all want to make sure that we are putting in the proper safety precautions that will ensure the safety of not just ourselves but everyone we come in contact with and that includes our pets. So, these are some basic guidelines that people can follow. For more information on how you can keep your pet safe during this pandemic, feel free to contact Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258!

How To Keep Your Pets Safe from Wildlife

How To Keep Pets Safe From Wildlife

Wildlife and pets don’t mix well most of the time and it is up to you as the owner to keep your pet safe in the event they encounter a wild animal. Now, due to the fact that this does not happen as often, it can be difficult to foresee these types of issues. However, with the spring and summer months approaching, you can expect more and more wild animals to be out and about, making their way into backyards. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of the potential dangers your pet might face.

Depending on where you live, you might deal with different threats to the safety of your pet. Some common animals that you will want to keep an eye out for are, especially in the Colorado area include: coyotes, deer, and moose. Coyotes can be particularly dangerous as they are a rabies reservoir species which means an attack from them can put your pet at risk for rabies.

As it pertains to pet safety around wild animals, you would most likely deal with two scenarios which are home safety and walking safety. So, let’s take a look at how you can keep your pet safe in both scenarios.

Home Safety

One of the main draws for wild animals is food. So one of the easiest things you can do to keep your pet safe is to make sure there is no trash in your yard and avoid leaving food outdoors. Also, if you have noticed a lot of rodents in your home or outside near your home, you will want to take care of the problem immediately, because they can lure in snakes and other predators to your yard. Now, while you may consider your yard as a safe place, it is important that keep eyes on your pet as they are outside, especially at dusk and dawn. It is during these times that wild animals can find their ways into fenced yards and cause trouble.

Another factor that can draw in wild animals is pet waste, so, be sure to regularly clean your yard for animal waste to prevent any wildlife from wandering into your yard.

Walking Safety

Now, when you are walking your pet, make sure you keep them on a leash and near you at all times. By allowing them to roam, it puts them at risk for animal attacks, especially in a wooded area. In the event a wild animal does approach you, avoid running away from the animal. Simply face them and slowly back away. You can also try to keep the animal from approaching by making a lot of noise and make yourself appear as big as possible. Stomping your feet, throwing rocks, and shouting are all methods that can help. Finally, never approach a wild animal if you see one. Instead, try to leave a path for them to escape while staying as far away as possible.

Cherrelyn Animal Hospital is available if you have additional questions about protecting your pet from wildlife. Also, if your pet has been involved in an attack with a wild animal, give us a call at (303) 532-1258!

How to Interpret Common Dog Behaviors

How To Interpret Common Dog Behaviors

The way your dog acts and reacts to certain things can be a clear indicator of their mood. While you may not because to speak the native canine tongue, it is still very important to be able to interpret dog behavior. For example, why is your dog licking certain textures or circling the same spot in front of you? There could be reasons within a dog’s state of mind or even health concerns that may cause them to do certain things and by learning how to understand their behaviors, you will be able to help them better. So, let’s take a look at some common dog behaviors and understand what could be behind them.

Bad Breath

As it pertains to bad breath, dogs are not known for having the best smelling breath, however, if you notice a specific change, you might want to take a trip to your veterinarian as it could be linked to their oral health. A change in your dog’s breath could be a cause for concern as it pertains to their gastrointestinal tract, liver, or, kidneys as well. For example, if their breath smells like urine, they could be having a kidney problem. If they start exhibiting sweet-smelling breath, it could be a sign to vets that they have diabetes. This is particularly true if they are drinking more water and urinating more often. So, while this may not directly link to their mood, it is still something that you should pay attention to and let your veterinarian know if any sudden changes occur.

Circling

When a dog cannot stop walking in circles, it could mean they have health issues. While it is fun for them to chase their tail if they cannot stop the compulsion, there might be a deeper problem beneath the surface, for example, it could be linked to an ear infection. Other reasons include idiopathic vestibular syndrome which is common in older dogs as well as poisoning or even a brain tumor. However, only your vet will be able to determine the exact cause of your dog’s circling, so if things become a problem, bring them in for a check-up.

Biting

Puppies, in the beginning, may nip at you as they are learning to communicate with their pet parents and this will usually happen while playing. This is because young dogs tend to communicate with their mouths when they interact. However, if your pup begins nipping regularly, you should look to stop it early as it can develop into a problematic behavior down the line. Dogs usually bite out of anxiety, fear, or aggression. If you are struggling to determine the cause or teaching them not to do so, you might want to consider working with a trainer.

Panting

Dogs usually expel their body heat from their mouths. So, when your dog begins to pant, it’s likely that they are too warm and are regulating their body temperature. Be sure to pay attention to this behavior as it could also be linked to pain. The best way to help is to ensure that they are well hydrated before any physical activity, especially during the warmer months.  

Regardless of the behavior your dog is exhibiting, if you feel that it could be linked to something related to their health, be sure to bring them into your veterinarian. At Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, we will be more than happy to take a look and give you the tips you need to keep your pup on the right track. Give us a call today at (303) 532-1258!

How to Use Positive Reinforcement To Train Your Dog

How to Use Positive Reinforcement To Train Your Dog

Positive reinforcement is a great method to manipulate the kind of behavior you expect from someone and it can be especially useful when training your dog. The idea of positive reinforcement means rewarding the behaviors that you like while ignoring the behaviors you do not like. There are various tactics to use such as praise, life rewards which include games, walks, and/or car rides, and also treats to rewards your dog’s good behavior. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come with training your dog with positive reinforcement. 

Gets Everyone Involved

By implementing positive reinforcement, it allows the entire family to get involved in training the dog. You will not have to speak in a strong tone, use any strength, or put yourself or another family member in danger. For example, it may be a little dangerous to allow a child to use certain methods of dog training like leash corrections and other forms of punishment. So, with positive reinforcement, you can give your child a handful of dog treats while teaching them the commands you are using allowing them to train your dog the same way you do, while under your supervision.

Establishes Communication

Positive reinforcement also allows you to communicate with your dog. You simply decide what it is that you want your dog to do and then let them know by offering rewards when they do that desired action. As you continue to reward them for doing things correctly, they will be more likely to repeat these good behaviors. Using punishment is not always as clear, for example, when you punish a dog for housebreaking accidents. Say, you catch your dog urinating on the carpet and you scold them or even resort to smacking them with a rolled-up newspaper. Your intention is to let them know that it is not acceptable to eliminate in the house, however, your dog might interpret it as that they should not eliminate when you are around. This kind of confusion can be avoided through positive reinforcement. Using this same example, the goal is to teach your dog to eliminate outside rather than inside the house. So, rather than punishing them, you would just reward the behavior you are seeking which is using the bathroom outside. So, every time your dog eliminates outside, you would shower them with praise and treats.

You Can Use It For Various Behaviors

Training methods like leash corrections or other forms of punishment may not be effective for every dog. In fact, sometimes, the punishment can only make the behavior problem worse. Aggressive dogs are a great example of this because, in the face of punishment, they tend to become even more aggressive. Similarly, fearful dogs might not respond well to even the slightest punishment as they may become even more fearful when you use it as a training method. Clicker trainers, however, have noticed greater success through positive reinforcement when it came to training aggressive and fearful dogs.

Keeps It Fun

If you are someone who keeps training sessions short and upbeat, positive reinforcement training can keep things fun for you and your dog. Once your dog realizes that training will lead to a lot of good things for them, they will start to view them as playtime and will simply offer good behavior in hopes of getting the rewards.

If you are looking for additional ways to best train your dog or any pet, feel free to contact Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258.

Cold Weather Safety Tips For Dogs

Throughout all the seasons, our dogs need love, support, protection, and care and, in the winter, when the weather is cold, they need extra help to stay warm.  What is a normal activity in the warmer months, can be devastating to your pet during the winter. Some of the dangers associated with dogs during winter range from ingesting anti-freeze to hypothermia that can lead to sickness and even death.  Here are a few tips that will keep your dog safe, warm and comfortable this winter.

Keep Your Pup Warm 

The first most important step to keeping your dog safe in winter is, of course, keeping them warm.  During winter, dogs are at risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Keep them warm by leaving them home rather than taking them out and leaving them in a car.  Your car acts as a refrigerator during winter and you don’t want your dog exposed to this cold that could get them sick. 

You’re still going to want to walk your dog during the winter but when it’s especially cold out, keep younger, older, and sick pets indoors.  If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for them too. Cute coats and dog boots are to help healthy, adult dogs stay warm in winter. You may want to invest in a cute dog coat or sweater to outfit your dog when you take them on a walk.  

On your walks, make sure your dog wears something reflective.  Because it gets darker earlier in winter, reflective gear will help your dog stay seen during your walk.  This might include wearing a reflector in their clothing, a reflecting leash, or a reflecting collar. You want to make sure your pets can be seen while walking on the street, protected from passing cars.  Avoid ice on your walks as well. Frozen lakes and ponds are dangerous because if the ice breaks, your pet could accidentally fall in.  

Protect Your Dog From Dangerous Situations

More pets become lost during the winter because snowfalls can disguise recognizable scents that normally help them find their way home.  Prevent your dogs from becoming lost by keeping them leashed on walks and just in case, make sure their collars have up-to-date contact information.  

When you finish your walk, wipe your dog’s paws.  Your dog’s paws can pick up all kinds of toxic chemicals like rock salt, antifreeze, and de-icers.  Wipe off their paws when you return home to prevent them from licking their paws and becoming sick. Also, purchase pet-safe de-icers for your home.  It goes without saying that your dog may or may not eat these de-icers so it’s best to have a pet-safe one.  

Remember to check your dog’s paws for bleeding and cracks.  This is a sign that they are damaging their paws while out walking and you’ll want to know why and if you need to take a break for a day or so until their paws heal.  Avoid spills of antifreeze as antifreeze attracts dogs and cats because it is very sweet to taste. Antifreeze is extremely poisonous and if a dog ingests it, this can lead to serious illness and even death.  

Blizzards can sometimes bring extreme cold that can cause power outages.  Make sure to have an emergency plan that includes your pets. Have an emergency kit with enough food, water, and medication to last your pets at least five days.  By thinking ahead, you are more likely to keep your pet safe.  While wintertime can be fun with snowfall walks, we want you to keep these safety tips in mind to protect your beloved pet.  Call Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258 with any of your pet health needs.

The Benefits of Walking Your Dog

The importance of walking your dog - dog holding leash.

Most of us don’t think about how important it is to give our pup a walk but truly, there is a wide range of much-needed health and social benefits in exercising our furry friend.  Not only does our dog get to explore the world and get out of being locked up in the house but also is activated and excited by the world giving them their dose of life. Walking shows your dog how much you care and love them every time and tires them out ridding boredom and destructive behaviors.  The more your dog is exposed to new situations, the smarter and more adaptable they become. Here’s a list of a few important reasons why walking your dog daily is essential to their health and well-being.    

Training Opportunity

Training is key to any well-behaved dog and walking your dog gives them the chance to obey commands during distractions.  You can test those basic commands that they easily obey in the house like sit, stay, or lie. This will improve your dog’s command retention and attention span.  It’s an opportunity for leash training as well so they know they must obey on the leash. You can teach them to heel and lead you along. For the best results, bring treats on your walk and reward your pup whenever they perform a command correctly further engraining good behavior and listening skills.  

Exercise

Walking your dog is perhaps the main way to give them exercise, which keeps them healthy.  Firstly, dogs that are sedentary have a greater chance of becoming obese and having irregular pooping and constipation.  By walking your dog, you are improving their stomach health and digestion. You’ll likely keep them thinner and healthier.  Walking has been known to help dogs avoid various diseases too. Dogs typically need between 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, which will improve their mood making your dog less bored, restless, and anxious.    Walking is healthy for the dog owner too. Research shows that walking 30 minutes per day decreases the risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses. Walking your dog will improve their overall mental and physical health.  

Fun, Exploration, and Gaining Self-Confidence

The experience of walking is one of exploration for your dog and keeps their minds and bodies active. Your furry friend will be excited by all the new sights, sounds, and smells.  When walking, you’re there to support your dog and they know this. They feel loved and because of this support, they can adapt to new scary situations. Being this leader and protector is crucial for the health of your dog and creates a stronger bond.  These walks boost the self-confidence of your pup. Your dog is likely to meet other canines on your walks together. This socializing is great for your dog to learn how to introduce themselves safely to a stranger under your protection.     

Set Up A Schedule for Walking Your Dog

To ensure you and your pup get your best exercise, set a schedule and make walking a part of your daily routine.  For example, set your alarm a half-hour earlier and use this time to go for a walk! Your dog will love you for it and be super excited!  You can pick a loop in your neighborhood to walk daily if it’s too tricky to keep changing your walking locations. A loop also means you’ll be able to properly time your walk and don’t have to walk the same way each time.  If you have children, you can take them with you. Children have boundless energy so your walk can give them the chance to stretch their legs too. Don’t worry if you miss a day as life can sometimes get hectic. Just get back on schedule the next day.  Trust us, your dog will thank you for it and you’ll have a much healthier dog when they get to exercise regularly.

We know that the happiness of your pup is important to you and walking them is one of the best ways to show them your love and boost their happiness.  If your dog is having any health issues, give the Cherrelyn Animal Hospital a call at (303) 532 1258 and set up an appointment today!

The Importance of Dental Health for Pets

Dental health for pets is super important!

Going to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning seems standard now for us but did you know that it is just as important for your dog or cat? Your pet may not be able to tell you that their mouth hurts so it’s up to you to advocate for your pet’s best health by having them go visit a dentist! Here is a list of some of the benefits of maintaining dental health for pets! 

Avoid Periodontal Disease

Plaque buildup, or calcified bacterial growth near the gums, is a frequent cause of periodontal disease. This is such a common problem that statistics show that 4 out of 5 adult dogs have periodontal disease. Some of the warning signs to watch for are red gums and uncommonly bad breath. In more advanced cases, the bacteria can affect the teeth’s roots as the gum recedes and leads to an abscess. Signs that this complication has occurred are swelling of the face, different chewing or eating patterns, pain, or even unexpected tooth loss. Proper dental health activities for your pets such as annual professional cleanings and regular at-home brushing are great ways to remove plaque and avoid periodontal pain. Periodontal disease is not reversible, so it’s best to catch it before it happens. 

Dental Health Can Help Avoid Heart, Kidney, and Liver Disease

Not only does periodontal disease affect the mouth, but the bacteria that builds of the teeth can, of course, get ingested. It then can infect your dog or cat’s heart, kidneys, and liver and cause other severe problems. 

Avoid Teeth Pain 

No pet owner ever wants to see their beloved animal in pain. There are many reasons why a pet may experience tooth pain. Some pets can retain their baby teeth which leads to gum irritation or stress related to overcrowding. In other cases, a lack of dental hygiene can cause teeth to painfully fall out or get worn down. This makes it difficult for them to do the activities that they love, such as playing fetch, nibbling on a favorite bone, or even eating. Cavities are often quite common. Unfortunately, tooth pain is often only noticed by owners when it’s severe and sometimes much more difficult to treat, so regular dental checkups are important! 

In addition, your pet can suffer from inflammation or ulcers. Some of the symptoms include bad breath, bloated gums, and of course, changes in eating habits. Good dental health for pets can help prevent some of these painful conditions! 

Better Breath

This may be more for you than your pet, but all owners know the struggle of wanting to be close to your dog or cat while their breath causes you to recoil. Regular dental cleanings can lead to fewer bacteria in their mouth and, as a result, better breath. A win-win situation, indeed! Taking your dog or cat to the dentist is an easy way to improve their quality of life and even prolong their life span. Though some pets may find a visit to the dentist stressful, in the right hands, it can be smooth and easy. With decades of experience and great care for our animal community, Cherrelyn Animal Hospital is dedicated to keeping your dog and cats happy and healthy. Call us or visit us online to schedule your pet’s dental visit!

Taking your dog or cat to the dentist is an easy way to improve their quality of life and even prolong their life span. Though some pets may find a visit to the dentist stressful, in the right hands, it can be smooth and easy. With decades of experience and great care for our animal community, Cherrelyn Animal Hospital is dedicated to keeping your dog and cats happy and healthy. Call us or visit us online to schedule your pet’s dental visit!