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Fort Collins Shelters in Need – Ways to Help Your Local Shelters

Our local shelters do so much for our community. They take in pets without homes and help them find families to call their own. Without them, the streets would be overcrowded with strays. However, it truly is a labor of love. Often these shelters operate on a shoestring budget and rely on volunteers and donations. Thankfully, there are some things that we can do to help.

 

Ways to Help Your Local Shelters:

  • Be a Photographer

You can be a professional or amateur photographer, either way, you can be a great asset to your local shelter. Getting great photos of the animals can help immensely when trying to find them a home. You can also hold a workshop to teach shelter workers how to take the best photos so they can keep up the good work.

  • Help with Transportation

Since a lot of people “shop” shelter animals online they don’t always live close by. Sometimes a foster or adoptive home may be an hour or two away. You can volunteer to shuttle dogs to their home and get a fido fun-filled road trip at the same time. Plus, you get to be an integral part of helping them get out of the shelter and into a home.

  • Donate Items

If you’re cleaning out your closets don’t forget about your local shelter for donations. They are always in need. Even if you don’t have gently-used pet beds or leashes, you can donate towels and sheets. They are used for comfort, bedding and also privacy curtains in the shelter.

  • Share Your Computer Skills

Are you good at graphic design, writing or social media marketing? Chances are your shelter could benefit from your skills. Most shelters need these things, but they are often out on the back burner for more pressing operations.

  • Check Affiliate Sales

Some places, like Amazon Smile, allow you to donate a percentage of your purchases to the charity of your choice. Check with your local shelter and see if they have programs like this.

 

You don’t have to just write a check to help shelters in need. Consider your skills or surplus in the home and you’re sure to find some way to help out. Then contact your local shelters and see what their needs are to get started.

 

Shelters in Fort Collins are always in need:

 

2200 N Taft Hill Road Fort Collins, CO 80524
Ph: (970) 224-DOGS (3647)


2321 E. Mulberry St., Units 1 & 3 Fort Collins, CO 80524

Shelter: (970) 484-8516
Clinic: (970) 484-1861

 

 

Getting a Cat – Complete Checklist for New Cat Owners

 

Cats make wonderful companions and are great additions to any family. They are creatures of comfort, so if you’re a first-time cat owner, make sure to have all the essentials ready for them. Getting a new kitty is a big change for you and for your new friend. To help make this time easier for you, we’ve got the complete checklist of everything thing you need and need to know.

Download the Complete Preparing for a New Cat  Checklist

Important Considerations:

Lifestyle: While it’s true that cats don’t exactly need as much time as a new dog, but they still need love, attention and a stable family life. Ask yourself the following questions before jumping into adoption.

  • Do you or anyone in the house have allergies to cat hair, dander or dirt?
  • Do you have any other pets that may not take well to a new cat? If so, do you have a plan of introducing them to each other?
  • Who will be the primary caretaker?
  • Do you want a long hair or short hair breed? Long hair breeds will take more time for daily grooming and may have more hairballs.
  • Will work or social life affect your ability to properly care for them?
  • Does your residence allow pets and is your home suited for a new cat?
  • Would an older cat or younger cat better suit your lifestyle? Kittens take more time and have more energy, but older cats may need more veterinarian care.

Costs: You want to make sure that you can always care for your vet. The best way is to create a budget for a new cat before you bring them home.

  • Does your new pet need to be spayed or neutered?
  • Is there an adoption fee that needs to be paid?
  • Monthly expenses such as food, litter, pet sitting or new supplies
  • Licensing fees and rabies shots
  • Litter box and scoop
  • Routine veterinary care
  • Microchipping
  • Grooming Brush
  • Beds and toys

Shopping Checklist:

Once you’ve decided a new cat will fit well into your lifestyle and you can afford the cost of care, the next thing to do is hit the pet store to get them their supplies.

  • Age appropriate food
  • Water and food bowls
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • ID tags (make sure your phone number is on it)
  • Hard plastic cat carrier
  • Litter Box
  • Litter Scoop
  • Brush
  • Sponge and scrub brush for accidents and hairball clean up
  • Non-toxic cleaner
  • Toys (feathers on wands, catnip mouse, etc)
  • Blanket or bed
  • Cat toothbrush and toothpaste

There’s no doubt that cats add spunk and tons of joy to any home. They may seem aloof, but in reality, they are just as caring as they are smart. A peaceful home full of warmth and love is a perfect place for a new feline friend.

Download the Complete Preparing for a New Cat  Checklist

5 Valentine’s Day Treats for Your Pet

 

Is your pet the lucky Valentine in your life this year?  After all, they are our special friends and constant companions. So, celebrate the day with these delicious Valentine’s Day pet treats!  It’s a great way to show your precious little fur baby some extra love.

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 Shaped Pup-cakes

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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. Then 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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

 


Baked Tuna Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

These treats add a little oomph to plain canned tuna.

Ingredients:

  • Canned tuna
  • Cat-friendly garnish (like catnip or wheat grass)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Mix one can of tuna and one tablespoon of garnish in a medium bowl
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop the tuna mix onto the baking sheet
  4. Form tuna mix piles into a heart shape on the baking sheet
  5. Bake these treats for about 5 minutes or until they are warm

Feed this Valentine’s day cat treat in moderation, too many treats can give your cat a stomach ache.


Spinach and Chicken Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

Many cats crave some roughage (like spinach) in their diets, it’s the reason many cats try to eat house plants. These treats are a great way to add some variety to your cat’s diet, all in the form of a tasty treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of steamed boneless, skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of quick cooking oats
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Place the cooled chicken, spinach, oats and egg in a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is smooth with some chunks
  3. Pour the chicken mixture into a bowl and add the flour, mixing with your hands
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut with a small heart cookie cutter OR make thumbnail sized balls and flatten them
  5. Place the shaped dough on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be cleanly removed

Be sure to completely cook the chicken before adding it to the treat mixture. Feed these treats in moderation and break larger treats into cat-sized pieces.


Cooked Salmon

Cooked salmon is great as a special Valentine’s day cat treat. Many cats love this tasty fish. Be sure to cook all salmon thoroughly (by steaming or grilling) to make it safe for your cat. For this special treat, dice a small amount of cooked salmon and feed it to your kitty in a dish.

 

Valentine’s Day can be filled with dangerous food for your pet. However, these Valentine’s day treats are sure to safely woo that special four-legged friend in your life.

 

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

 

The spookiest night of the year is almost here. It’s the time for ghouls, ghosts, and candy. And while mostly it’s all in good fun, it can be a dangerous time for our pets.

Keep your pet indoors

Halloween can be an especially dangerous time for cats. Black cats, in particular, can be targeted by neighborhood kids. They can be chased, shot at with BB guns, or otherwise messed with by kids looking to get into mischief. In our home, we make sure to lock our cats indoors from late afternoon until the next morning. They don’t like it much since they are indoor/outdoor and dusk is their favorite time of day, but it’s better than taking a chance of them being hurt.

Plus, the constant ringing of the doorbell can be pretty stressful for both cats and dogs. Most of our pets are highly attuned to and affected by the sound of our doorbell ringing. They can often go bonkers at just one ring, let alone a series of rings in a short amount of time. Set your pet up in a quiet back room with a radio or TV playing softly to drown out the noise. This will help keep them safe and calm during the peak hours of trick or treating.

Hide the candy

Of course, most of us know that chocolate is toxic for dogs. But candy, in general, can cause a lot of gastrointestinal distress to our pets. Even though they don’t exactly seek out candy, dogs, in particular, will eat pretty much anything that catches their noses. That’s why it’s best to keep your Halloween candy stash out of your pet’s reach. Don’t forget to check out our post on Halloween Candy Safety for more details.

Practice decoration and costume safety

Decorations can pose threats with wires, ribbons and open flames in pumpkins. Make sure to keep an eye on your pets around any tricky decorations that could harm them. Also, if you’re going to dress up your pet it’s good to be aware of costume dangers.


Halloween is tons of fun for both children and adults, but it can be pretty confusing and a little scary for our pets. They don’t really understand what it is all about. Just think about what goes through the heads during Halloween. Why do their family members suddenly look so funny? What are all these crazy loud decorations that go “BOO!” and make creepy music when people walk by them? And why do all these strange people keep ringing the doorbell??? It’s no wonder that they need a little help staying safe during this spooky holiday.

September: Emergency Preparedness Month – Preparing with Pets

 

After seeing two extremely powerful hurricanes hit the U.S. and the raging wild fires in Oregon, it makes us all consider what we would do in a natural disaster. And it’s actually a perfect time to think about your plans since September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.

We should always be ready for whatever life throws at us, like hurricanes, droughts, fire, flood, landslides, tornadoes, terrorism, and more. There are a few things we can do that will make any disaster a little easier, especially when there are pets involved. 

Emergency Preparedness for Pets

  • Update and secure collars
  • Update microchips or have microchips implanted
  • Create a list of pet-friendly accommodations if you need to evacuate
  • Keep a recent picture of each pet
  • Make a list of emergency 24hr vets in your area
  • Have emergency food and supplies on hand
  • Have a carrier and leash for each pet
  • Coordinate with neighbors, family, friends and pet sitters in case you get stranded and your pet is home alone aloneEmergency Preparedness

Make an Emergency  Kit

It’s always important to have an emergency preparedness kit at home. Here are a few items you need to make sure to have on hand. If you’re going to be evacuated, you’ll need a 3 day supply of materials.  If you’re staying at home it’s best to plan for 2 weeks.

  • Water: One gallon, per person per day
  • Food: Stock up on at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food. Include plenty of pet food and a manual can opener. 
  • Flashlights and electric tea candles
  • First aid kit that includes pet supplies
  • Batteries, including backup batteries or chargers for phones
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Camping stove/battery powered hot plate to warm up food

There are so many things to worry about during an emergency. If you have some of your basic necessities covered, you’ll have that much more peace of mind. Plan for every member of your family, including your pets. Disasters happen fast and can hit hard. Having even the smallest plan in place will help you know how to navigate if it happens to you.

In case an emergency was to happen while a Wet Noses Pet Sitter was at your home we will do everything to keep your pet safe. We will coordinate with you and keep your pets safe until they can be reunited with you.

3 Tricks To Help Your Dog Go Potty When It’s Cold Outside

We all know it’s not very pleasant to use a cold bathroom in the middle of winter.  So, it’s no surprise to know that our dog’s feel the same discomfort when it’s cold outside.  Often dog’s refuse to go potty outside in the cold or rain, causing them to hold it all day and eventually have accidents in the house.  This is harmful to your pet and not to mention bad for your rugs, that’s why we have a few tricks to get you through!

Shovel a Spot:  

Uncover a small grassy area for them to use, it should be big enough for them to turn around a few times and sniff the area.  It’s best to do this in an area that they have used before, they will get the “green light” to go if they can pick up the scent of past potties. Also, make sure to bundle them up in jackets and sweaters that fit snug to avoid accidents.  You may want to invest in little booties for them as well for days where the ground is frozen.

Give Out Treats:

 You can help train you dog to go on command by use cue words such as “Go Potty or Time to Go” to help them know when it’s time to potty.  In my house we say, “Let’s go do a good boy” to let our dog Rigsby know when it’s time head out for a bathroom break.   Once you use the verbal cues, make sure to dole out treats liberally.  It may be cold for you outside as well, but stand right next to them to hand them out as soon as they go.  If you wait until they return to the doorway then they may think they treat is because they are coming to you and not because of the potty break.  

Make an Indoor Potty Place:

 If all else fails and the weather is truly terrible outside for weeks and your dog absolutely refuses to use potty outside, you can make an indoor bathroom for your dog.  Be aware that if you do this, it can be very hard for them to be house trained to use the bathroom outside again. It does however makes sense for some families to set up an exercise pen or baby gate in the garage/laundry room and make a special area for them use. Put real grass bathroom patches or a pee pad in the area so they know that they have a safe space to use in the home and leave your carpets safe from accidents

It can be really hard on pets and pet parents in the winter months, so hopefully these tips will help you get through until spring.  Don’t forget to let us know any tips that work for you in the comments!

Getting Familiar with Kong Toys

 

Chances are you have heard of the famous dog toy, the Kong. Kongs are a great tool in the repertoire of any dog owner. They are great because they can be customized to fit you and your dog’s needs.

Some tips before getting started:

  • Buy the correct size (sized by weight of dog).
  • Buy one large enough for the largest dog in your house.
  • Supervise your dog while using the Kong to make sure they do not chew pieces off and eat them.
  • Wash the Kong after each use. They can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.

Loading the Kong:

1. Start with a hard food such as treats or your dog’s kibble in the bottom third of the Kong.

2. The second layer is the flavors add on. This is something your dog likes to eat like fish oil, or coconut oil.

3. The next layer, that fills the last 2/3 of the Kong , is the soft layer. This can be any type of soft food. I like to use canned, wet food, cream cheese, peanut butter or dog safe baby food.

4. Top the Kong by sticking something in the soft layer, like a carrot or dental chew. In order to make the Kong last longer, you can stick it in the freezer.

5. To make a simple Kongscicle fill the Kong with chicken or beef broth and freeze it.
6. You can also buy Kong brand filler. It comes in a few flavors. This is good in a pinch but is not very healthy for your dog.

 

This toy is perfect for when you have to be gone for most of the day. Or even just rainy days that you want your pup entertained. It’s challenging, fun, and also rewarding.  Want to learn more about incorporating the Kong into training your dog? Check out these Training Videos for even more tips!

What are your experiences with this toy? Does your dog love it, did they shun it, or even destroy it? Let us know your stories in the comment section!

 

Top 5 Places to Board Your Dog in Fort Collins

 

 

I don’t know about you, but the vacation bug has bit my family pretty hard already this year. We’ve already booked our first trip and are anxiously awaiting when that week finally arrives. Sometimes when we go out of town it’s best to board the pups for their safety and our peace of mind. If you’re planning on a vacation this year here are some of the best places you can board your dog while you are away.

  • Four Paws Pet Hotel & Resort – The Four Seasons eat your heart out, this one really is for the dogs. They have spacious rooms, from cots to twin beds in a climate controlled room, your dog is sure to be pampered. They even let you check in on your pet when ever you want through their 24 hour surveillance.
  • Camp Bow Wow – With a friendly and knowledgeable staff, Camp Bow Wow is a great option for your dog. They have tons of indoor and outdoor play areas with 24 hour webcams you can check up on your pooch.  Cozy cabins and nightly treats give your dog a real camp experience.
  • Raintree Animal Hospital – They have over-sized kennels and super comfy cots that are affordable plus a yummy doggy snack bar with morning and afternoon treats for your pooch.
  • Rover’s Ranch Kennels – This is a place where you can truly know that your pets are in the hand of animal lovers. Some pet parents think of it as a “home away from home” for their dogs when they go out of town.
  • VCA Fort Collins Animal Hospital – A great place for you pup to stay where they will treat them like family and also be able to attend to special medical needs or just do a routine check up.

When you get the chance to get away and relax on vacation, have an exciting event or job opportunity, the last thing you want to worry about it is you four legged family members who weren’t able to come along for the adventure. That’s why having a reliable caretaker for them is so important.

Why I Love Being Your Sidehill Sitter

Being a pet sitter is the best job in the world! I have worked many other jobs in the pet care industry, but working for Sidehill as a pet sitter is my favorite job I have ever had. Here are three reasons I love being your pet sitter and love being a Sidehill sitter.

1. At Sidehill we strive to give the best care to your pet. 

We know that leaving your pets at home can be scary! As a pet parent I feel the same way, but I trust Sidehill 100% to keep my animals happy and safe.I know that all of our sitters do everything we can to keep your animals content. We love to give extra belly rubs, extra play time and sometimes extra treats. Additionally, all of our sitters go thought lots of training, including pet first aid and CPR, to keep your pet safe.

2. We get to form relationships with the pets we take care of.

 Many of our clients at Sidehill book regularly, so we get to develop relationships with pets. One of my favorite experiences as a pet sitter was developing a relationship with a shy dog. I have watched this dog and his brother and sister multiple times. Each time he barked at me and did not want anything to do with me. This went on for a few visits, then slowly he started warming up to me. Finally he wanted to hang out with me, I know soon I will be able to pet him. This experience was very fulfilling and why I know forming relationships with pets is so important.

 

3. We get to make clients feel safe.

Another cool part of my job is forming relationships with my clients. Our clients are really cool people and really care about their pets. Leaving your pet in the care of a stranger is so hard. For this reason, we do client meetings. During a client meeting your sitter gets to learn about your home and pets. The other benefit to client meetings is that you get to put a face to your pet sitter. Knowing who your pet sitter is really helps make our clients feel safer about leaving their pets at home. Additionally, we always offer to text or email our clients each day. This allows the client to check up on their pet and helps them feel safer.

 

Being a pet sitter is a really amazing job. I get to work with awesome pets and learn new things every day. We love getting to work with you and your pets and can’t wait to meet you (or see your pets again)!