How Safe is Your Pet this Season?

Holiday Pet Safety Tips in Colorado Springs, CO

The veterinary team at the Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs wants to ensure that your best friend is safe all season long. There are many new dangers that pets may encounter around the holidays. We’re always here to answer your questions about your pet’s needs.

Top 5 Most Common Holiday Dangers for Pets

These are some of the most common dangers that we often see during the holiday season:

  • Alcohol. While we can handle having a few drinks in celebration of the season, our pets cannot. It’s important to always keep alcoholic beverages out your of your pet’s reach to ensure that they’re safe from the danger of alcohol poisoning.
  • Christmas trees. It isn’t the holiday season without a festive tree! However, these lovely decorations can also cause a few hazards in the home. Christmas trees can be knocked over by overly adventurous and curious pets, causing damage to the home and injury to the animals!
  • Electrical cords. Does your best friend like to chew? The sight of all those new cords under the tree may be too appealing for your pet, so we recommend disguising and hiding electrical cords to prevent your pet’s curiosity. It’s also important that they never be left unattended around the decorations!
  • Holiday meals and sweets. You hear all year round that there are foods your pet should never consume, but during the holiday season we have so much more of those dangerous foods around the house! Traditional holiday meals contain so many of those dangers, like poultry bones, onions, garlic, grapes, and more. In addition, we often do a lot of baking during the holidays, introducing our pets to even more potential dangers with chocolate, sugar, macadamia nuts, raisins, and more. Keep those foods and treats out of your pet’s reach at all times!
  • Poinsettias and other holiday plants. For some odd reason, the most popular plants to bring inside the home at the holidays are toxic to your pet! Poinsettias, amaryllis, and lilies of all kinds are dangerous and we recommend keeping them out of your pet’s reach at all times so that your pet doesn’t have access to the leaves or berries that may fall off. You may also want to consider purchasing silk flowers for the look of the festive plant without the dangers.

If you have any questions about your pet’s safety and well-being this holiday season, the veterinary team at the Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs can help! Please contact us today to ask us all of your pet safety questions. That’s what we’re here for! Have a happy and safe holiday with your pet this year.

Missing the litter box

A tabby cat walking away from his litterbox.

You have a problem. Your cat is thinking outside the box, and not in a good way. You may be wondering what you did to inspire so much “creative expression.” Is your cat punishing you? Is Fluffy just “bad”? No, and no. House soiling and missing the litter box is a sign that your cat needs some help.

According to the Winn Feline Foundation, house soiling is the number one complaint among cat owners. The good news is that it is very treatable.

An accredited veterinarian can help you determine if the problem is medical or related to social or environmental stressors. In addition to a complete physical exam, the doctor will ask you specific “where and when” questions.

Health factors

Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, a specialist in feline urinary disorders at The Ohio State University, and founder of the Indoor Cat Initiative says that many veterinarians recommend a urine test for every cat with a house soiling problem. The urinalysis will determine if blood, bacteria, or urinary crystals are present — signs that your cat might have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

FLUTD is very common and can cause painful urination. Cats that begin to associate the litter box with pain will avoid it. Other medical possibilities include hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, and arthritis and muscle or nerve disorders that might prevent your cat from getting to the litter box in time.

Environmental factors
If there is no medical cause, the next step is to look at environmental factors. Start with the litter box. Your cat might be avoiding the litter box because it is not cleaned well enough, you’ve changed the type of litter you use, or there is only one box for multiple cats.

Another possibility is that your cat is “marking” — spraying urine, typically on vertical objects such as walls and furniture, or in “socially significant” areas near doors or windows. Both male and female cats mark. The most common offenders are cats that have not been spayed or neutered.

Buffington says that stress can cause elimination problems too. For example, subtle aggression or harassment by other house cats or neighborhood cats may be an issue.

Even unremarkable changes in your home can make your cat anxious or fearful. Look around. Did anything change right before your cat started having problems? Did you get a new pet? A new couch? Maybe you just moved the old couch to a different part of the room, or had a dinner party. Cats are sensitive creatures and changes that seem small to you can throw your cat off his game. Check with your veterinarian about finding solutions that work for both you and your cat



Three Tips for New Pet Owners


Did you recently bring home a new pet? If so, congratulations on the new addition! We know this is an exciting time for you and your family, and the team at Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs wants to help you be prepared. Whether you’re a first-time pet owner or an experienced one, your new “fur baby” is going to need a health care regimen established as soon as they become a member of your family. Consider the following three things that every new pet owner needs to know, and schedule your pet’s first appointment with us today!


  1. Bring Your Pet in for a Wellness Exam


Pets of all ages need regular healthcare and preventive care in the form of a comprehensive wellness exam. During the wellness exam, we evaluate your pet from nose to tail to ensure that all of their bodily systems are functioning properly. We also assess their weight, body temperature, and skin/coat. These exams can be conducted annually, bi-annually, or even more frequently, depending on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and health status. If we detect any abnormalities or conditions that could indicate a health problem, we can either recommend treatment or one of our diagnostic services, including digital X-rays, EKG, laboratory services, and ultrasound. We can discuss our recommendations for YOUR pet during the appointment.


  1. Vaccinate Your Pet


Just like human vaccines, dog and cat vaccines protect against a number of potentially-fatal diseases by helping equipping the body’s immune system to fight off any disease-causing organisms. For dogs, we typically recommend vaccines for rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus. For cats, we typically recommend vaccines for rabies, herpesvirus 1, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. We can discuss your pet’s lifestyle, age, and medical history to customize a vaccine schedule specifically for them, as vaccine recommendations can vary for pets of the same species and breed. Although it’s best to establish a vaccination schedule when your pet is a puppy/kitten, it’s never too late to start.


  1. Spay/Neuter Your Pet


If your new pet is a puppy or kitten, one of the most important aspects to consider is whether or not to spay/neuter them. At Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs, we recommend spaying/neutering for all pets, unless they planned to be used for breeding. These procedures can result in a number of health benefits for your dog or cat. For females, this includes decreasing the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer (when done before the first heat cycle). For males, this includes preventing testicular cancer (if done by 6 months of age) and reducing aggressive behavior. Spaying/neutering can also help with pet overpopulation.


Our goal is to partner with you in helping your new pet live a long, happy, healthy life, so by following these three tips, we can do just that! Schedule your new pet’s appointment at Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs today by calling (719) 579-9488. We look forward to meeting them!