How to Stop Your Cat From Scratching the Furniture

How to Stop Your Cat From Scratching the Furniture

Pets can be fairly destructive in our homes, and cats scratch for a variety of instinctive reasons like maintaining healthy claws, helping them stretch, marking their territory, and just because it seems to feel good.
However, you don’t have to live with clawed up, scratched, and torn furniture just because you love cats. There are some ways that you can help discourage your cat from destroying your nice things, without putting them in pain or at risk by having them declawed.

6 Tips to Keep Your Cat From Scratching Your Furniture


1. Provide Better Alternatives

Cats are going to scratch. Period. So, to discourage them from ruining your furniture, provide them with more attractive alternatives that are actually made for scratching. Add a few scratching posts to different areas of your home where your cat tends to scratch. Be sure to provide posts that offer different textures (sisal rope, carpet, cardboard, or turf) and differently angled surfaces.

2. Try Cat Scratch Tape or Spray

Special double-sided tape that sticks to furniture or specially scented sprays can discourage your cat from scratching treated furniture.

3. Homemade Deterrents

You can also try to deter your cat from scratching the furniture by hanging aluminum foil from the backs of your sofa or chairs.

4. Vinyl Guards

You can also purchase specially designed vinyl guards that are designed specifically to protect the corners of your furniture from kitty claws.

5. Nail Caps and Mittens

If your cat still hasn’t given up on the furniture, then we recommend trying nail caps or socks/mittens for your cat. Nail caps are small, plastic covers that fit over your cat’s claws, preventing them from scratching. Mittens or socks are just what they sound like, cloth covers that fit over your cat’s paws to prevent them from scratching.

6. Trim Your Cat's Nails

One of the reasons cats scratch is to maintain the health and length of their claws. If you keep them trimmed regularly, their paws will stay comfortable, and they won’t feel as compelled to scratch as before.

Feline Lifestyle Enrichment Advice From Our Woodland Park Veterinarian

At Compassion Animal Hospital in Woodland Park, we want to help all of our patients live their best animal lives, and this means providing our clients education on the proper ways to enrich their pets’ environments and daily lives. To learn more about discouraging your cat from scratching and addressing other potential behavior problems, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian today.

Choosing Healthy Food for Your Pets

Choosing Healthy Food for Your Pets

A healthy body starts with a balanced diet and good nutrition. In fact, many health conditions in pets can be addressed and improved with dietary adjustments.
Choosing food for your dog or cat, however, isn’t always as simple as choosing healthy food for yourself. Dogs and cats have different digestive systems and body chemistry than humans do, so a healthy diet for a pet doesn’t look exactly like our own.
Thankfully, there are lots of great pet food formulations available ready-to-go, complete with all the calories and nutrition your pet needs.
We recommend selecting pet food for your pet based on your dog’s or cat’s specific lifestyle, health, weight, age, size, and medical history. The following pet food brands, however, are a good place to start:

Top-Recommended Dog Food Brands

Top-Recommended Cat Food Brands


Raiding the Pantry for Your Pet

There are a variety of human foods that make good snacks or treats for your pets, too!
Good snacks for dogs include plain, boiled chicken, rice, chopped carrots and green beans, unsalted and unsweetened peanut butter with no xylitol, watermelon (with the seeds and rind removed), blueberries, plain popcorn (no unpopped kernels), and bananas in moderation.
Cats can enjoy a snack of tuna, mackerel, chicken, or beef – be sure to avoid overly salty meats to prevent dehydration and salt poisoning. They can also enjoy cheese, bananas, and pumpkin.
Just be careful when feeding your pet human foods to be sure it doesn’t contain ingredients toxic to dogs or cats. Since their digestive systems are so different from ours, certain foods that are safe for people are actually quite dangerous for pets. Some can cause mild illness while others can be fatally toxic.

Nutritional Counseling and Weight Management With Our Woodland Park Veterinarian

If you’re struggling to find a healthy diet for your pet, if your pet is overweight, has arthritis, suffers from allergies, or has a sensitive stomach, our veterinarian can help you choose the right food to meet your pet’s unique health and nutrition needs.
To learn more about selecting pet food, treats, and nutritional supplements for your dog or cat or to schedule a nutritional counseling appointment, we welcome you to contact Compassion Animal Hospital today.

How to Tell if Your Pet is Overheating

How to Tell if Your Pet is Overheating

In the summer, pets can become overheated quickly which puts them at risk of suffering heat exhaustion (heatstroke). If not addressed promptly, heatstroke can cause permanent organ damage and even be fatal.
It’s important to learn the following signs of an overheated pet, take action to gently cool your pet down, and seek veterinary care right away.

Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke in Pets

How to Cool Down an Overheated Pet

If you notice any of the above-listed signs or symptoms, take immediate action to cool down your pet gradually:
If you notice signs of heatstroke, contact our veterinarian right away.

Don't Let Your Pet Overheat – How to Prevent Heatstroke

The best cure for an overheated pet is to prevent it altogether. Pets can’t sweat to cool down as humans do, so it’s extremely important to take steps to prevent them from becoming too hot.
Keep your pet cool and hydrated by avoiding going outside during the hottest times.
Make sure outdoor pets have access to plenty of shade and cool, fresh drinking water.

Ask Our Woodland Park Veterinarian About an Emergency Plan for Your Pet

No one wants their pet to experience a medical emergency, but an emergency can happen when you least expect it. So, it’s always good to be prepared with an emergency care plan for your pet. To learn more about emergency care and make a plan for your dog or cat, we welcome you to talk with our veterinarian at Compassion Animal Hospital today.

Choosing the Right Cat for Your Family

Choosing the Right Cat for Your Family

June marks the height of kitten season, which means there are loads of litters just waiting to be adopted. So, that’s why the month of June has also been designated Adopt-A-Cat Month to encourage cat ladies, cat guys, cat people, and cat families to visit their local animal shelters and bring home a kitten, an adult cat, or two (or more).
When you choose to adopt a cat, however, it’s important to know what you and your family are looking for, so that you can choose a new pet that will fit right into your family.

Top 3 Tips for Choosing the Right Cat for Your Family

1. Children or Other Pets

Kittens are fairly adaptable, and given the right encouragement and protection, they can adapt to just about any family. However, older cats have more established personalities. Before bringing one home, find out whether a cat is good with children, other cats, or dogs if you have any in your household.

2. Age

Before adopting, consider what age of pet you want to adopt. There are plenty of kittens, adult cats, and senior cats looking for homes. Cats of all ages have plenty of love and playfulness to offer.

3. Personality

Anyone who spends any time around cats knows that they all have distinctive personalities – just like people. Generally, cats can be divided into two personality types: greeters who are outgoing and friendly and those who are shy at first. Before choosing a cat to bring home, spend some time getting to know them first.

Establish Your Pet's Care With Compassion Animal Hospital

If you decide to adopt a new pet during Adopt-a-Cat Month (or any time of the year), we welcome you to establish care with Dr. Cooper at Compassion Animal Hospital in Woodland Park. We provide personalized wellness and preventative veterinary care for cats and dogs. To learn more, contact us today.

Why You Should Adopt A Senior Pet

Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet

With their graying fur and quiet temperaments, senior dogs and cats often get overlooked in animal shelters. However, deciding to take a chance and adopt a senior pet is often one of the most rewarding choices prospective pet owners can make. Whether you’re looking for a new cat or dog to bring home, we suggest you consider a senior for the following reasons.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet


1. Trained and Socialized

Senior pets are usually already trained and socialized. This means they come home having already been housebroken and teethed. Your senior pet will be ready to fit right in with the rest of your family and friends.

2. Less Demanding

Puppies and kittens have loads of energy and require a lot of work, training, and attention. Although senior pets like to get plenty of attention, too, they won’t be quite as demanding as a brand-new baby pet.

3. Fewer Surprises

When you adopt a puppy or kitten, there’s always a chance they could develop an unexpected health problem. When you adopt a senior pet, however, you’ll already know most of the pet’s medical history and needs.

4. Still So Much Fun

Senior pets – especially dogs – still love to play games and learn tricks. They’re eager to interact with and please their human family members. So, you’ll have loads of time to teach your rescue pet new commands and playtime activities.

5. You Can Be a Hero

When you choose a senior pet, you’re picking a pet that might otherwise not get adopted and end up spending a lot of time living in an animal shelter. When you bring home a senior dog or cat, you’ll be a hero who provides an older animal with the loving home, companionship and care they deserve throughout their golden years.

Learn All About Senior Pet Care With Our Woodland Park Veterinarian

At Compassion Animal Hospital, we tailor care to meet each of our patient’s individual needs. For senior pets, this means specialized nutrition and lifestyle recommendations, frequent health screenings, and wellness and preventative care designed to keep your cat or dog feeling happy, healthy, and energetic, well into his or her golden years.
To learn more about senior pet care or to schedule an appointment for your recently adopted senior pet, we welcome you to contact Compassion Animal Hospital in Woodland Park today.

9 Signs Your Pet Feels Stressed

Is Your Pet Feeling Stressed? Watch Out for These Anxious Behaviors

Anxious and stressed pets are nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, many everyday occurrences can trigger an anxiety response in pets. Simple things like changes to the environment, package deliveries, strangers, or car trips can be enough to make a cat or dog feel uneasy.
Although stress in pets is common, it’s something that pet owners should be aware of and able to recognize the signs so they can provide comfort and corrective training to help their pets relax and be happy.

9 Signs Your Pet Feels Stressed

1. Hiding

Stressed (or even sick) pets will often withdraw from the rest of the family. You might find your anxious dog hiding in a safe place or your fearful cat quietly tucked away under the bed.

2. Tucked Tail

Dogs instinctively tuck their tails between their legs when they feel afraid. A tall tail indicates a confident, happy pup, while a tucked one is a sure sign of a stressed dog.

3. Nose Licking

Dogs and cats both lick their noses to keep them clean and moist. However, more frequent nose licking than usual indicates anxiety.

4. Vocalization

Barking, yowling, hissing, or growling all indicate stress (and pain) in pets. Have your cat or dog examined by your veterinarian ASAP if you notice excessive vocalization.

5. Accidents

Anxious house-trained pets will often have accidents in the house or outside the litter box.

6. Destructive Behaviors

Pets experiencing separation anxiety and extreme fear often become destructive to their environments. Your pet might chew or scratch the furniture or destroy your favorite leather boots.

7. Yawning or Panting

When your well-rested pet yawns or pants excessively, this is likely an indication of discomfort or stress.

8. Side-Eye

Eyes that bug out or show a crescent of white (reminiscent of “side-eye” in humans) indicate anxiety.

9. Puffed Fur

When your dog or cat puts its hackles up (puffs up the fur along its back), this means your pet feels threatened and fearful.

Ease Your Pet's Anxiety With Help From Our Veterinarian in Woodland Park

If your pet experiences stress during every thunderstorm, Fourth of July, whenever you leave the house, or due to another trigger, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian at Compassion Animal Hospital. We’ll thoroughly examine your pet to rule out any potential underlying health problems that could be exacerbating your pet’s anxiety and then help you determine the proper course of treatment. We can recommend lifestyle adjustments, medications, and additional strategies to keep your pet healthy, happy, and calm.

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.