How to Recognize When Your Pet Is in Pain

How to Recognize When Your Pet Is in Pain

Taking care of our pets would be a lot simpler if they could just explain how they feel and tell us what they need. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, most cats and dogs instinctively hide signs of pain and other symptoms of illness that they experience. As a result, pet owners often don’t notice that anything is amiss until their pet has become too ill to continue hiding their symptoms.

8 Signs Your Pet Is in Pain

Since it’s so tough to see a pet’s pain, it’s up to pet owners to be vigilant observers of the behavior of their cats and dogs. Keep a close watch for any changes to their behavior, routine, appetite, energy level, and appearance, as even slight shifts can indicate a problem.

1. Mobility Issues

Musculoskeletal problems like arthritis are some of the most common causes for pets to experience pain. If your pet limps, favors certain limbs, struggles to get up or down, or is reluctant to move around, this is a sign of pain.

2. Appetite Changes

Loss of appetite or weight loss can indicate pain.

3. Vocalization

Unusual vocalization like whimpering, yowling, howling, or growling can indicate pain. This is especially true if your pet always vocalizes while eating, having a bowel movement, or moving around.

4. Sleeping Patterns

If your pet has become excessively tired or conversely seems restless or agitated, this could indicate pain or other health problems.

5. Appearance Changes

An unusual posture or gait could indicate pain.

6. Personality Changes

Unexplained aggression, disinterest in play, or withdrawal from other members of the family indicate illness.

7. Excessive Grooming

Excessively grooming, licking, or biting at a particular area can indicate pain, illness, or anxiety.

8. More Frequent Accidents

A lapse in litter box training or housebreaking can indicate a health problem.

Pain Management for Pets in Woodland Park

If you notice any unusual changes or behaviors in your pet, we strongly encourage you to schedule a veterinary appointment right away. We’ll examine your cat or dog and recommend any diagnostic testing necessary to determine the underlying cause of your pet’s discomfort. Then we’ll work closely with you to determine the appropriate course of treatment.
At Compassion Animal Hospital, we’re committed to helping our patients live long and happy lives. We offer a comprehensive list of services to help our patients find relief from chronic and acute pain. These treatments include pain medications, nutritional supplements, dietary adjustments, lifestyle adjustments, surgery, cold laser therapy, and more.
Dr. Cooper will work with you and your pet to find a pain management plan that works best for you. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe Around Wildlife

Here in Colorado, we all know that we're lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world with nature at our doorsteps. However, having nature so nearby also means that wildlife and potential dangers are close, too. As a result, it's necessary for pet owners to take some precautions to keep their pets safe from wild animals in our area

How to Keep Your Pet Safe Around Wildlife

Here in Colorado, we all know that we’re lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world with nature at our doorsteps. However, having nature so nearby also means that wildlife and potential dangers are close, too. As a result, it’s necessary for pet owners to take some precautions to keep their pets safe from wild animals in our area.

8 Tips for Protecting Pets from Wildlife


1. Vaccines

Keep your pet’s vaccines current. Vaccines protect pets from diseases that wildlife spread like rabies and leptospirosis.

2. Minimize Risk

Garbage bins, food and water bowls, and pet waste all attract wildlife to your yard. Keep stinky skunks, hungry bears, and other predators at bay by eliminating these attractants.

3. Don't Leave Pets Unattended

If you live in an area where wildlife roams free, don’t leave your pets unattended. They could become a coyote’s, mountain lion’s, or even an eagle’s prey. (Especially true for small dogs and cats.)

4. Use Your Pet's Leash

When hiking or camping with your pet, be sure to use a leash — especially if your pet has a strong scent or prey drive. Without a leash, your pet could be walking beside you on the trail one moment, and sprinting off in pursuit of a small critter the next.

5. Consider Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

This special training helps teach dogs to avoid snakes by training them not to dig or stick their noses into the kinds of places where dangerous rattlesnakes like to sleep.

6. Avoid High-Risk Times and Areas

Predatory wildlife is most active at dusk and dawn. It’s safest to keep your pets indoors or close by during these times of the day.

7. Prevent Parasites

When you think of wildlife, you probably don’t think about fleas and ticks, but where wildlife roam, these parasites also run rampant. Avoid brushy areas and protect your pet with parasite preventatives.

8. Be Prepared

When you’re out for a walk or in nature for a hike, be prepared to defend yourself against an unexpected attack from an aggressive dog or a wild animal. Be sure to carry bear spray at all times and make plenty of noise while you walk so that you avoid surprising any bears that might be just around the corner on a trail.

Update Vaccines and Parasite Prevention

Before you go exploring with your pet, schedule an appointment at Compassion Animal Hospital in Woodland Park. We’ll update your pet’s vaccines and recommend a thorough parasite prevention routine to keep your pet safe in the great outdoors.

It’s National Pet Dental Awareness Month: Why Does Your Pet Need Dental Care?


It's National Pet Dental Awareness Month: Why Does Your Pet Need Dental Care?

We know that we have to care for our own teeth or face major health problems. Many of us, however, don’t realize that our pets’ teeth require the same level of care. February is National Pet Dental Month, and Compassion Animal Hospital is celebrating by spreading awareness about the importance of caring for your pet’s teeth.

Why Is Dental Care Important for Pets?

Dogs and cats are at risk of dental disease just like people. In fact, by the time dogs and cats are three years old, they’re highly likely to have already developed some form of gum disease.
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a bacterial infection of the gums that occurs when plaque hardens, turns into tartar, and accumulates along the surface of the teeth. This buildup creates pockets where harmful bacteria thrive.
Periodontal disease causes persistent bad breath and painful, red, swollen, receding, and bleeding gums in addition to eventual tooth loss. Left untreated, the bacteria from a gum infection can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, causing organ damage and eventually leading to premature death.

How to Care for Your Pet's Teeth

Pets with the healthiest teeth and gums have a combination of at-home and professional dental care.

At-Home Pet Dental Care

We strongly encourage pet owners to brush their pets’ teeth using special pet-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste. If your pet simply won’t tolerate brushing, we recommend trying dental wipes that’ll help you remove some of the plaque from your pet’s teeth.
You can also provide your pet with daily dental treats, chew toys designed to promote dental health, and a dental-friendly diet.

Professional Pet Dental Appointments

While every wellness exam includes a quick look at your pet’s teeth and gums, regular pet dental appointments are essential to maintaining their oral health. During a pet dental appointment, our veterinarian will scale and polish your pet’s teeth, removing all plaque and tartar buildup. We’ll then perform a thorough examination and might also take a set of dental x-rays to determine whether there are any problems occurring below the gum line or inside the patient’s teeth.
Pet dental exams are similar to human dental appointments – except that they occur with a pet under general anesthesia for their safety and comfort. To learn more about the importance of dental care for pets or to schedule an appointment for your dog or cat, contact Compassion Animal Hospital today.

How to Entertain Your Pet Indoors with These 5 Cold Weather Pet Activities


How to Entertain Your Pet Indoors with These 5 Cold Weather Pet Activities

The weather outside is frightful, but your pet still has the same amount of energy to burn. What are you supposed to do when it’s too cold and snowy to head outside for a romp around the neighborhood? Although it might be tricky to play outside, there are plenty of activities you and your pet can enjoy inside to keep them entertained and busy through the worst of the winter.

5 Indoor Activities for Pets

1. Puzzle Games

Puzzle games engage pets by having them solve a puzzle to get rewarded with a treat. Pets love to solve a good puzzle, and you’ll be happy that they’re busy during the day. You can purchase puzzle toys from the pet store or make your own by stuffing treats in a slit tennis ball.

2. Training

When you’re stuck inside on a cold day, take advantage of the opportunity to bond with your pet and keep them entertained by working on their manners and tricks with positive reinforcement training.

3. Hide and Seek

You can play hide and seek with your pets by hiding treats and/or their favorite toys in new spots around your house. Then ask them to go find their ball, monkey, or duck.

4. Visit an Indoor Class

If your dog needs to run and burn off some serious energy, look for an indoor agility class or indoor dog park and schedule your pet for regular visits. Just be sure your dog’s vaccinations are completely up-to-date before you arrive. These types of dog clinics usually require similar vaccines as groomers and boarding facilities. So, you might need to bring a health record or health certificate from the veterinarian. This ensures your dog will be safe and so will all of his new buddies.

5. Exercise Inside

Dogs can get some indoor exercise by playing tug-o-war with you, working on chew toys, and even by playing shorter games of fetch. Cats enjoy plenty of indoor games like cat teaser, chase, and even peek-a-boo.

Take a Winter Outing to See Our Woodland Park Veterinarian

A great way to get out of the house with your pet is to schedule your pet’s wellness exam and preventative care appointment at Compassion Animal Hospital. Your pet will enjoy seeing our friendly staff and getting a change of scenery. Plus, your pet will be happy to have another year of good health!

How to Care for Senior Pets


How to Care for Senior Pets

It’s no secret that pets age faster than their two-legged, less-furry best friends (humans). They become senior pets much sooner than we do, too. Although our pets might be getting older, there’s no reason they have to lose the energetic, playful spirit of the puppy or kitten that lives inside them. With the proper care, your senior pet’s golden years can truly sparkle!

5 Tips for Taking Care of Senior Pets

1. Wellness Appointments

It’s always best to detect, diagnose, and treat illnesses in cats and dogs as soon as they arise. We recommend more frequent checkups for senior pets. With appointments scheduled every six months, we monitor our patients closely for signs of age-related disease or other health concerns.

2. Adjust Surroundings

Senior pets commonly encounter age-related mobility issues. You can make it easier for them to get around by making some accommodations in your home. Purchase elevated food and water bowls, an orthopedic pet bed, and add stairs or a ramp onto the couch or bed.

3. Be a Vigilant Observer

Sometimes, it can be tricky to tell when your pet isn’t feeling well. After all, pets have no way to tell us when they aren’t feeling well or when they’re in pain, and most pets instinctively try to mask or hide signs of illness. Senior pet owners should be aware of the signs of pain and illness in pets. Any unexplained changes in your pet’s behavior, routine, appearance, attitude, or energy level could indicate an underlying problem.

4. Feed an Age-Appropriate Diet

Senior pets have different dietary needs. Consider switching your older pet to a food that’s formulated especially for them.

5. Consider Nutritional Supplements

Some pets with age-related health problems can benefit from a variety of nutritional supplements. Talk with our veterinarian about whether vitamins could benefit your pet.

Schedule a Senior Pet Care Appointment in Woodland Park

Knowing exactly when a pet becomes a senior varies based on breed, size, and species. Generally, dogs are considered to be seniors at around six or seven years of age and cats at around age 11. If you’re caring for an older pet, we encourage you to talk with Dr. Cooper at Compassion Animal Hospital about adjusting your pet’s wellness care routine. Typically, senior pets visit the veterinarian two times a year for health screenings, physical examinations, and vaccination updates. To learn more, contact our office today.

Kennel Cough in Dogs: What Is it and How Do Dogs Get It?

If your dog enjoys playing with other dogs or spends time at the dog park, in boarding facilities, in group training classes, or any place that other dogs frequent, then he is at risk of contracting kennel cough. Read on to learn everything you should know about kennel cough, like how it spreads and how to protect your dog.

What Is Kennel Cough and How Do Dogs Get It?

Kennel cough (also referred to as canine infectious tracheobronchitis or bordetella) is a type of respiratory infection that affects dogs. Kennel cough causes inflammation in an infected dog’s throat and lungs.
A wide range of viruses and bacteria can lead to kennel cough, but most commonly the bordetella bacterium is responsible. This highly contagious disease easily spreads through respiratory droplets in the air, direct contact between dogs, and via contaminated services like shared water and food bowls or toys.

Signs and Symptoms of Kennel Cough

The most common sign of kennel cough is, as you might have suspected, a cough. The cough associated with this disease has particular characteristics. It sounds a little like honking. It might sound as if your dog is trying to hack up something that’s caught in his throat.
In addition, your dog might have the following signs and symptoms:

Is Kennel Cough Dangerous for Dogs?

While kennel cough can be quite serious for puppies and dogs with other health conditions, it’s fairly easy to treat in adult dogs. The coughing and early signs of kennel cough, however, can also indicate more serious diseases such as canine influenza or canine distemper. These should be treated as soon as possible. For this reason, it’s essential to schedule a veterinary appointment and get an accurate diagnosis right away if your dog has a cough.

Kennel Cough Treatment and Prevention with Our Woodland Park Veterinarian

As prevention is always the best medicine, we strongly encourage dog owners to vaccinate their puppies and dogs against the Bordetella bacterium to prevent the most common causes of kennel cough – especially if the pet will be spending time in public places, around other dogs, or in boarding facilities. However, our Woodland Park veterinarian at Compassion Animal Hospital is fully equipped with in-house diagnostics and a range of treatments and therapies to help our canine patients stay strong while fighting and recovering from kennel cough.

Could Your Pet Be in Pain?

Animal Pain

Learn to Recognize the Signs During Animal Pain Awareness Month

During September, Compassion Animal Hospital recognizes Animal Pain Awareness Month by teaching pet parents how to recognize signs of pain in cats and dogs. Recognizing when a pet is in pain can be extremely difficult. In the wild, predators choose to target animals that appear sick or weak. Our pets evolved to instinctively mask signs of illness and injury, including pain. Although it’s difficult to spot, you can learn to detect subtle signs.

Learn to Recognize Pain in Your Pet

Signs of Pain in Cats & Dogs

Pain in Your Pet
Pain Unique to Cats

Signs of Pain Unique to Cats

Signs of Pain Unique to Dogs

Pain Unique to Dogs
Health Screening for Your Woodland Park Pet

Schedule a Preventative Care Appointment and Health Screening for Your Woodland Park Pet

The best way to deal with pain in pets is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. With a strong focus on wellness and preventative care, our veterinarian at Compassion Animal Hospital recommends scheduling pets for regular checkups. This will help us detect signs of illness, age-related disease, or other health problems and begin treatment before they progress far enough to cause your pet any pain. If your pet already has an acute or chronic condition, we’ll work with you to establish a safe and effective pain management plan. To learn more, contact our Woodland Park veterinarian today.

Why Does My Dog Scoot?

Dog Scoot

Why Does My Dog Scoot?

You might think it’s funny, cute, or even gross that dogs sometimes scoot their behinds along the carpet or grass. This is called scooting, and it’s a dog’s attempt at getting relief from a more serious health problem.

What Causes Dogs to Scoot Their Bums?

Sometimes, a dog might have an itch, and scooting will resolve it right away. As a result, they stop the behavior. If the scooting continues, however, your dog might be experiencing one of the following health problems.

Irritated or Infected Anal Sac Glands

Anal glands give your dog a unique scent, but they can be problematic to their health and comfort, and scooting might indicate a gland issue. Even though expression of the anal glands was recommended for some time, it can lead to irritation, inflammation, and infection. These glands should only be expressed by a veterinarian when there is a good reason to do so.

Skin Infections

Bacterial and fungal infections in and around a dog’s anus can cause irritation that leads to scooting. These infections can be resolved with antibiotics and/or topical treatments.


Food, flea, and seasonal allergies can cause rashes, itchiness, and skin irritation. Sometimes allergy-related skin problems express around a dog’s hind-quarters.
Dogs To Scoot Their Bums

Fecal Contamination

If a dog has long fur or has had a recent bout of diarrhea, then he’s especially susceptible to bacterial contamination and irritation in the perianal area. Keeping the fur in the area trimmed shorter and washing the area with gentle soap and warm water can resolve the problem.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms also cause irritation that leads to scooting. A veterinarian can sometimes diagnose intestinal parasites just by examining your dog’s behind. Other times, a fecal sample might be necessary. Intestinal parasites can be eliminated with a variety of treatments.

Rectal Prolapse

This condition occurs when a part of a dog’s lower intestine protrudes beyond the anus. This causes significant discomfort but can be fixed with a surgical procedure.
Dog with Scooting Problem

Have a Scooting Problem in Your Household? Schedule a Veterinary Checkup

While a little scooting might not indicate a problem, scooting that doesn’t resolve on its own, persistent licking, or visible signs of irritation are all cause for a veterinary checkup. At Compassion Animal Hospital, our Woodland Park veterinarian will perform an examination of your pet and order any necessary diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s behind-dragging problem. We’ll then recommend the most appropriate treatment to resolve the underlying issue. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your dog.

Why Your Pet Needs a Bikini Body Now (Pet Obesity Awareness)

Cat with Obesity

Why Your Pet Needs a Bikini Body Now (Pet Obesity Awareness)

Whether your pet wears a bikini, one-piece, or just his natural fur for swimming, it’s important that cats and dogs stay in shape and maintain a healthy weight. All beach-body jokes aside, pet obesity is a very real and very serious health problem for our pets. More than half of dogs and cats in the United States are classified as either overweight or obese.

What Causes Obesity in Pets and Why Are So Many Pets Overweight?

Similar to humans, pets most often become overweight and obese due to eating an improper diet and not getting enough exercise. Occasionally, additional factors (endocrine disorders or medications) can also contribute to weight gain.
Dietary choices for pets are confusing. Which foods are best, how much food pets should eat, how often pets should be fed, and whether or not pets should have table scraps is unclear to many pet owners.
Overweight Pets

Why Chubby Pets Aren't Cute

Okay, we’ll admit that all pets are cute, but pet chubbiness shouldn’t be encouraged the way it is with funny pictures and jokes circulating the internet. Overweight and obese pets face a plethora of health risks such as:

Is My Pet Overweight? How to Recognize a Fat Pet

Your cat or dog should have a visible narrowing at the waist (in front of the hind legs). A sagging belly, a sausage-shaped physique, or a broad/flat back are all signs of too much weight. If you’re unsure, you can always ask your veterinarian to determine a healthy weight range for your pet based on species, breed, age, and size.
Overweight Dog

Weight Loss and Managing a Pet's Weight

If your pet needs to lose a few pounds, we highly recommend scheduling a veterinary appointment. Dr. Cooper at Compassion Animal Hospital can help you set a healthy weight goal for your pet and provide you with a weight loss and weight management plan to achieve it!
First, our veterinarian will examine your pet and screen for any health conditions that could be contributing to the excess weight. Once underlying conditions have either been ruled out or treated, we’ll help you and your pet begin working toward their weight loss goal. In addition to setting your pet up with a daily exercise routine, we’ll help you make appropriate dietary choices for your pet. The right food, scheduled meals, proper proportions, and limited treats will ensure your cat or dog receives ample nutrition and calories while enabling them to reach a healthy weight.