What is Snakebite Prevention Training?

Hiking in areas around Fort Collins is a favorite for most dog owners. I mean, it’s simply gorgeous out. Unfortunately, the same trails that you love are also host f0r many rattlesnakes.  In my Pet CPR classes, I recommend that avid hikers put their dogs through a snakebite prevention training. And always exercise caution when in areas that are known for poisonous snakes.

What is snakebite prevention training?

The training is simple, but a little harsh.  It should only be done by a specialized trainer with a class set up, do not try to do this yourself!  Your trainer will do all of the work to make sure it is done properly.  Once the trainer is ready a shock collar is placed on your dog.  The snake will be in a cage or somewhere contained but in a location that your dog is able to see, smell and identify the snake for what it is.  Once your dog has had a second to recognize some of the traits of a snake the trainer will zap him with the shock collar.  This instantly associates the presence of a snake with pain.  This will be repeated a few times in a session to make sure the dog associates the pain correctly.

Who should take the class?

I personally believe that almost all dogs should take this class.  In pet CPR classes I always remind dog owners that although it sounds mean, treating a snakebite is expensive and often the bite is fatal.  The brief shock caused by the training will far offset the alternative: a long and painful treatment for a venomous bite.  The training is necessary for anyone that hikes regularly with their dog, especially in areas like Fort Collins where rattlesnakes are extremely common in the summer months.

How often does the training need to be done?

Often a recheck session is recommended later that year or the following year.  Service dogs are required to be trained and regularly retested to make sure they retain their training.  For most dogs one recheck and then maybe a few years later is sufficient.  Most dogs never have to be shocked again after the initial session.

Who hosts the training?

In Colorado training is most often hosted by a rescue or service dog group as a fundraiser.  Keep an eye on our events calendar and local animal groups for news of an upcoming Snakebite Prevention Training class!

What are the Leash Laws in Fort Collins?


Do you ever notice dog’s off leash at parks, on trails, or in neighborhoods? Then you start to wonder if they really need to be on a leash? What about the safety of smaller dogs and cats? Why have your dog on a leash if they don’t really need it? Especially if they have excellent voice command skills. And that’s why it is important to be familiar with our state’s leash laws.

Basically, the laws state that all animals need to be in a fenced in area or leashed. But what’s more is that this seems to be an area of great debate in Fort Collins; being as we have tons of trails and natural wildlife area to explore. Some pet owners don’t agree with always having to restrain their pets, especially if they love to spend time outdoors. But parents, home owner associations, dog owners vs. cat owners, all have different opinions.

What’s all the fuss about:


  • Owners like their pets to be able to expend energy and explore the wilderness
  • People are worried about wildlife and their own pets (big dogs vs. little dogs, dogs, vs. cats)
  • Destruction of property
  • Safety

No matter how you feel, if your pet is found off leash and deemed “a stray” the following is stated at the Larimer Humane Society:

Even the most responsible pet owners can be accidentally separated from their pets. Each year, Larimer Humane Society receives close to 5,000 stray animals. Licensed pets that wander away from home can be returned to their owner without ever coming to the shelter. Lost pets not in compliance with the local pet license ordinance will be brought to Larimer Humane Society.

If you encounter a stray animal and feel comfortable bringing it into the shelter, please do so. If the animal you encounter is wearing its license tag, you can call Larimer Humane Society and obtain the owner’s contact information to notify the owner that you have their animal.
Impound and boarding fees will apply to pets brought into the shelter. For more information regarding animals at large as it pertains to the Fort Collins municipal code, please visit code section 4-93.

Impound & Boarding Fees
The impound fee for pets wearing their license tag is $40.

The impound fee for licensed pets not wearing their tag and unlicensed pets is $60.
In addition to the impound fee, an additional $15 boarding fee will apply per calendar day.
Stray animals are held for five days, not including the day the animal was impounded. After the five-day waiting period, stray animals become the property of Larimer Humane Society and are evaluated for potential placement in our adoptions program.

Clearly there are a lot of points of view on this matter, but the law stands. So, keep your pets restrained or confined (humanely, that is) because it’s the law. And that’s why even if you don’t agree with it, you could face fines, which no one wants.


7 Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat


We’re usually careful about what our pets eat during the holidays, but there are things that they can get into all year long. Making sure that your pets are healthy  In fact there are seven foods that your dog should never eat.

1. Alliums

These types of food have been associated with a red blood cell damaging condition, hemolytic anemia. Garlic and onions, plus any food season with them could end up with your pup feeling disoriented, fatigued and listless. Plus, they could suffer rapid heartbeat, darkened urine or vomiting.

2. Spoiled food

I don’t know why some pet owners have fallen into a trap of letting our pets dispose of spoiled food, but we kind of have. But in all truth, if you wouldn’t eat it, then neither should your dog. Especially if it was mold or smells funny, send that old food straight to the trash.

3. Fried foods

There is no doubt that us Americans love our fried food. But extremely fatty food, such as fried chicken is very toxic for our dogs. We have more complex digestive systems that can handle the extra oil and breading, but our pet do not. This can cause pancreatic inflammation that can in turn damage to your dog’s other intestines.

4. Grapes/Raisins

We’re not really sure why that most dogs get sick from eating grapes, but it happens frequently. There is a strong correlation between eating grapes and kidney failure. If your dog has eaten grapes and show signs of diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, or weakness, it’s time to contact the vet.

5. Macadamia nuts

Another mysterious and trouble causing food is macadamia nuts. Luckily this isn’t a big problem because your dog would have to eat a good amount of them to get sick. But if they do it can get serious. Symptoms from eating these nuts include, fever, muscle weakness, depression and vomiting.

6. Salty snacks

If your dog ingests too many salty they could end up with sodium ion poisoning. A chip or two isn’t going to hurt them; but if they get into a whole bag, you need to watch them closely and give them plenty of water. Symptoms include depression, high fever, diarrhea, vomiting,  excessive thirst, kidney damage, and seizures.

7. Xylitol

If you have sugar free foods in your house, check them for this low-calorie sugar substitute. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. If ingested they can cause a drastic spike in insulin levels which can cause dangerously low blood sugar later on. Signs of xylitol poisoning includes vomiting at first, followed by fainting, seizures, weakness, staggering and even death.

If you’re ever concerned about your dog having consumed these foods, call the vet right away. The best way to avoiding accidental poisoning is to keep these foods locked away where your dog can’t reach them.


Dog Treats for Valentine’s Day



When we think of Valentine’s day, we think of a day of love that is filled with chocolate and flowers. And there is no reason not to include your canine companion with these dog treats for Valentine’s Day. After all, they have a piece of your heart too.

Remember to always keep your dogs away from candy, but making them there own special dog-friendly treats is a great way to include them.  Check out these easy to make recipes for your dog this year!


Heart Shapped Pup-cakes


  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (xylitol free)
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots or chopped broccoli
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • Cream cheese as frosting
  • Strawberry (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit  and grease your cupcake pan with butter or vegetable oil
  2. Mix the flour and baking powder in a small bowl
  3. Add the oil, peanut butter, and honey to the flour mixture
  4. Add the buttermilk in a small amount at a time and mix
  5. Add in the carrots or broccoli
  6. Place the mixture into the cupcake pan and bake until a toothpick can be cleanly removed from the cupcake
  7. Let the cupcakes cool for 20 minutes and remove them from the pan
  8. After the cupcakes are cooled mix up your frosting

For frosting:

  1. Apply softened cream cheese to ice the cupcake
  2. Optional: cut up strawberries and mix them into the cream cheese
  3. Spread the strawberry cream cheese on the cupcakes

No- Bake Peanut Butter Balls


  • 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt (make sure there are no dog toxic ingredients like artificial sweeteners)
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (dog safe)
  • 3 cups of rolled oats


  1. Mix the yogurt and peanut butter to make a paste
  2. Add oats 1/4 a cup at a time and fully mix all the oats with the wet ingredients
  3. Scoop out tablespoon sized portions of the mixture and roll it into balls
  4. Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cool in the fridge for one hour

These treats can be stored for 7-9 days if kept in the refrigerator.

It’s true that many Valentine’s Day presents are chocolaty hazards to your dog. But, these delicious homemade treats are the perfect way to share the sweetness with your dog.




Fun Things to Do with Your Dog in the Snow


It may seem like winter weather has to limit you and your dog’s activities, but there are lots of fun activities for you and Fido when it’s snowing. Many dogs love playing in the snow so here are some activities to try.

Snowball Fights

Snowballs are a dog’s dream! They are edible balls that can be chased and caught. After a fresh snow, go outside with you dog and start throwing snowballs. Many dogs will try and catch them in their mouth, while others will simply chase the snowball. You can also try throwing a tennis ball or another brightly colored ball around the snow. Be sure to keep an eye on your ball or it will get lost in the snow.

Search and Rescue 

We have all heard about the amazing dogs that find and rescue people after avalanches, your dog can do (almost) the same thing. Start by burying your dog’s favorite toy or treats in the snow. The first few times let your dog watch you bury the object so that he gets the idea. Do not bury the toy too deep, just so it is barely covered by the snow. Then let your dog loose to find the the toy or treats. When your dog catches on to the game, bury the objects a little deeper in the snow.


When there is a lot of snow on the ground, snowshoeing with your dog is a fun activity for both of you. Leash your dog up and hit the trails. I would recommend using  a long leash (if in an open area) so that your dog is free to bound ahead or explore a bit more. Keep your eyes peeled for any wildlife or other hazards to your dog.


There are many forms of sledding you can do with your dog. There is of course what we think of as dog sledding, seven dogs tied to a sled running through Alaska, and the more relaxed version you can do at home. For the less serious version of dog sledding find a small, lightweight sled and a harness for your dog. Attach a leash to the harness and the leash to the sled. Most dogs will not move on their own so I would bait your dog with food or get him to follow you. You can leave the sled empty or put a light child or object in the sled.

While winter is a great time to curl up next to the fireplace with your dog, it is also a fun time to get outside. Be sure to take proper precautions while playing outside. Do not stay outside for extended periods of time when it is very cold and keep your dog hydrated. 




Pet Care Options For When You’re Out of Town


Pet care options are one of the hardest decisions you will make when leaving town. You want to choose a service that is right for you and your pets. You want to return home to fur kids that are happy and relaxed. You want the peace of mind knowing that your pets are well cared for and happy while you are gone, so you can enjoy your trip! So how do you pick the right pet care options for you?

  • Pet Sitting

Hiring a pet sitter can be a great option for your pet, especially if they older or anxious. The get all the comforts of home, get to stick to their normal routine and do not have any exposure to diseases.  A pet sitter can also double as a house sitter and bring in mail, water a few plants and turns lights on and off.  You get the benefit of regular updates from your sitter and knowing that everyone is cared for in your absence. A good pet sitter will spend as much (or more) time and attention focused on your pet as you do!

The main downside of a professional pet sitter is that it can be a more costly option if you only have one pet and are requiring multiple visits per day.  If you have more than one pet, then the cost for pet care is usually similar to boarding.

  • Overnight sitters

Does your dog have a nighttime routine that cannot be disrupted? Does your cat sleep with you at night?

If you have a puppy, a dog or a cat that desires extended company, or a pet that has medical concerns, then you may want to hire an overnight sitter.  Your fur kid will enjoy the benefits of keeping their same routine, including night time cuddles.  You home will also look more lived in, and for many pets, this type of pet care is similar to your regular routine if you work during the day. Often your sitter will also recommend, or require, an additional visit for dogs during the day for a potty break.

  • Boarding kennels

Some pets actually enjoy a boarding kennel versus staying at home while their owner is away. Young, energetic dogs who socialize well with other dogs can be great candidates for a boarding facility where they are allowed to play during the day. They are taken care of all day, can have walks and playtime, and some facilities even send you updates or have cameras for you to watch. Plus you can usually bring their own food and a few toys for them for comfort. Each kennel has different schedules and policies, so be sure to find one that provides the services you (and your pet) desires.

Cats can also be boarded on occasion. It is not generally recommended, due to the levels of stress a new environment cause for your cat, but some cats are well suited to the change. There are cat kennels that provide playtime and access to common areas.

Spa Boarding – Pet spas are popping up all over the place. You can choose packages that include grooming, play groups, and gift baskets for your dog.  It’s almost like they are on vacation too!

Vet Boarding – A lot of vets also have boarding services with vet techs there for them around the clock.  This option is perfect if your pet has health issues that require 24 hour observation or care that a pet sitter would not be able to provide. Think of a cat that is not easy to medicate.

Pet care should be the part of your trip that is the least concerning! Choosing the pet care option that is right for you is the first step, then you decide on the company (pet sitting or boarding kennel) that best fits your needs. If you make these choices correctly then both you and your pet will have a wonderful vacation!

The Problems with Dog Kennels


Dog kennels can be a great place to make sure your dog stays safe while you are away on vacation or a business trip. However, there can be some serious dangers when it comes to kennels. There can be exposure to sickness, behavioral problems, and even trauma for dogs who spend too much time in a kennel.


Sickness found in Kennels 

Dogs in kennels are at risk for contracting a whole host of diseases and parasites. Respiratory conditions like Kennel Cough, and Canine Distemper, as well as parasites, fleas, ticks and mange, can easily be passed from dog to dog.


Behavioral Problems

There is a whole of of stress put on a dog while being kept in a kennel. The strange cage, loud noises, weird smalls can be a lot to take in. Dogs that have been in a shelter for long periods of time exhibit more problems. They can show signs of destructiveness, fearfulness, and tendency to flee. Of course the shorter the dog is in a kennel the less detrimental the effects, but most dogs experience stress on some level when in a kennel.

Kennel Syndrome

When dogs are left in a kennel or a shelter too long,  can actually experience periods of insanity. There was a study done at University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute. It included videotapes of 30 police-trained German shepherds in their kennels after work. They found that the dogs showed definite signs of stress and even temporary mental illness. Keep in mind this is for dogs with jobs and a lot of interaction throughout the day. Imagine how bad it is for dogs that hardly ever get to leave their cages.

It’s likely that short trip to the kennel will not traumatize your dog. However, it’s important to check out a kennel before hand. Also, make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Lastly, if you’re adopting a dog in from a shelter, be kind and patient as they learn the ropes of life outside of the cage.

5 Tips to Picking a Veterinarian You Love!


Adding a new pet to your family is very exciting. It’s important to find a good vet and start their care as soon as possible. But it is likely that you feel a little overwhelmed when you see the long list of vets in the directory. It’s not too hard to narrow down the search if you know what to consider when choosing a vet.

1. What kind of accreditation do they have?

The best veterinary hospitals are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). They regularly evaluate the practices on about 900 different standards of excellence, which means the level of care is the best in the industry. Visit their website to find an AAHA accredited vet near you.

Many clinics are also starting to offer a Fear Free certification. This is a course that teaches veterinarians to work with animals in such a way as to minimize the fear and stress involve in a vet visit. Find a Fear Free certified veterinarian near you.

2. How convenient are their hours and location?

There’s no doubt that we are busy people. That is why it is important to have a veterinarian office that is located near your home or on your daily commute. Moreover, make sure that they have the hours that fit your daily schedule. If you work long days, find a location with evening or weekend hours.

3. What type of emergency care do they offer?

Accidents and sickness happens. We can’t plan for them and unfortunately they also can happen at all hours of the night. Make sure to have a plan in place for emergency care. If the vet you choose has AAHA accreditation, there is a good chance they have 24 hour emergency services.

4. Do they in house medical equipment and lab testing?

The best offices have in house testing and equipment. If your pet needs lab work or x-rays, the results will be faster; meaning you will know what is wrong and how to treat it as soon as possible.

5. Are there good online reviews and testimonials?

Nothing beats a face to face encounter to tell how much (or how little) you are going to like any particular office. However, in the great day and age of the internet, we have sites like that help shine the light behind the doors. Read reviews on community sites as well as testimonials on their website as well. This will help you get an idea if the practice is a good fit for you family.


After you’ve picked a vet, go for a regular check to assess the level of care. If they are a perfect, then great! If not, try again until you find the one that is just right for you.

Do you have any recommendations for veterinarian offices in the Fort Collins or Loveland area? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!

Best Collar and Leash to Use for Walking


The long sunny and warm days of summer are always inviting. You may find yourself walking your dog more frequently and longer while the sunlight lingers long into the evening hours. Taking your dog for walks is not only healthy, it is a fun way to bond with your pup pal. However, the bonding and fun could be cut short if you’re busy fussing over the wrong sized leash and collar.

At the pet store, the huge aisle of leashes and collars can be pretty confusing. That’s why we have a great list for you to deter the best collar and least to use while walking your dog.

  • Collars & Harnesses:


Standard Flat Collar

A standard collar that works for most dogs. It’s important to continue to check the size of the collar as your dog grows or gains/loses weight. You should be able to slip two fingers under the collar comfortably. This is not the best choice for dogs with long or large necks like Greyhounds or Whippets.


The Martingale collar adjusts itself when the dog pulls on the leash. It works great for dogs that tend to pull during walks. It tightens just enough that the dog won’t slip out, but doesn’t choke or harm their neck. These are perfect for dogs who tend to get excited by every sight (SQUIRREL!) and sound.


The harness is perfect for breeds that have pushed in faces Ppugs), trachea issues (Pomeranian), or long slender necks (Italian Greyhounds).  It avoids putting pressure on their necks allowing them to walk more freely. The main draw back is that harnesses can promote pulling in some dogs.


Choke collars and prong/prick collars

  • Leashes:


Standard Leash

What is great about the standard leash is that it is also a versatile leash. You can opt for nylon, leather, or chain and they all work about the same. The best thing to remember about this type of leash is to get the right size. If you have a small dog, then a smaller lighter leash will work better than a heavy one. For a dog that chews, try the chain leash. If you walk a lot around dusk or at night, get a nylon leash with a reflection element.


Some walkers swear by the retractable leash because it allows the dog to roam freely. However, there are some draw backs. It offers little control, meaning your dog can dart off without much warning, ripping the handle right out of your hand. Even worse, they could get into trouble while on the leash. If there is a dangerous animal, like a snake, in a shrub you won’t be able to pull them back as effectively with a retractable leash.

Slip Lead





This is like the Martingale collar, but with a leash attached. It is great for training dogs to stand by your side while you’re walking. The slip allows for safe corrections while still enjoying your walk.



There are a lot of choices out there when deciding on the best collar and leash you need for your dog. We are always here to help sort out the details. Give us a call if you want to know the type of collar and leash we would recommend for your dog.

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How do I Know if my Pet is Overheating?


As we prepare for the start of school it easy to think that summer is almost, but the hot weather still pounds down and the heatstroke is still very real.

So, how do you know if your pet is overheating? And even more importantly what do you do if it’s happening to your pet.

How do I spot overheating in my pet? 

  • Constant panting
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty walking, weakness or wobbliness
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Collapse
  • Bright red, grey, bluish or purple gums
  • Seizures


What do I do if I realize that my pet is suffering from heatstroke?

  • Remove them from heat immediately, but be careful not to over cool your dog too quickly.  
  • Lay them on a cool surface, like a tile floor in an air conditioned room.
  • Use cold compresses on their neck, armpits, and groin areas.
  • Gently wet their paws and ears with a sponge or washcloth
  • Take their rectal temperature to give to the vet
  • Get your pet to ANY vet ASAP. Call your vet on the way, but at this moment the closest vet is the best vet.
  • If you are not at home alone, have one person find the closest vet near by while you do the above subtle cooling techniques.
  • Call your vet and let them know of the situation in case you need a follow up appointment.

Things you want to make sure NOT to do:

Do not use cold water or ice, over cooling can cause blood vessels to constrict which traps the excess heat in the body’s core and can end up doing more harm than good.

Do not force your dog to drink, give them a fresh bowl of water, but do not force it if they are not interested.

Do not leave them unattended or let them “sleep it off.” Similar to any other trauma, letting them sleep it off or giving the time to relax alone can be detrimental. They can easily end up worse off in this situation.


The dog days of summer may be upon on us, but it doesn’t mean that we have to suffer with over heating. Check back next week to find out how to keep your Fort Collins pet safe in the sun!