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How to Find a Missing Pet in Larimer County

Loosing a pet can be extremely scary, especially if you do not know where to start looking. There is a lot of information out there on how to find a missing pet, but I wanted to write something specific to Larimer County (Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Wellington, Berthoud, Timnath) so you can just go down the checklist and get it done.

1. The Basics

For the first few minutes after a pet goes missing, you want to start with the basics.

  • Do a patrol of the area to see if you find any evidence of Fluffy
  • Talk to the neighbors, especially anyone working outside, to see if they noticed Fluffy going by
  • If Fluffy is a dog, swing by her favorite places to walk or any place for play dates to see if she went there
  • Read up on How to Catch a Loose Dog for some tips if you do see her running free

2. Who to Contact First

You have done the basic search and turned up nothing. This is typically 15-30 minutes after you have realized Fluffy is missing. Now it is time to reach out for help.

  • Larimer Humane Society – call to speak to animal control over the phone and give them a heads up that you just lost your pet. To submit a lost report you have to go into the shelter.
    • (970) 226-3647
    • 3501 E 71st Street, Loveland, CO 80538
  • If Fluffy has a microchip, contact the company to let them know she is missing and how to reach you, just in case your information is not up to date.
  • Contact any veterinarians, groomers and pet supply stores in your immediate area (around a mile from where she went missing), in case someone picks her up and brings her in.

3. Social Media Time!

The internet is your best friend when it comes to finding a pet. Your friends and complete strangers are going to be happy to help you search the interwebs for any news of Fluffy.

  • Post on all of your personal social media networks. Include a recent picture, where and when she went missing and any directions you want people to follow, such as how to contact you, not to chase Fluffy, Fluffy is afraid of men, etc. Specifically ask people to share the post. If you know any people in the animal world, such as your normal dog walker or groomer, ask them to share since they have such a large reach.
  • Post on these pages. There are many pages specifically dedicated to helping reunite missing pets with their people. Post on as many as you can, but start with Facebook. That is where we have had the most luck in recent years.
    • Lost and Found Pets of Northern Colorado – Facebook group that is very active and easy to post in.
    • Nextdoor – This is a newish system for people to coordinate with their neighborhoods on various subject. When you post it can be seen by those directly in your area.
    • Post on Craigslist in the Community -> Pets section as well as Community -> Lost+Found. There is no charge to do so.
    • Helping Lost Pets – You have to fill out their online form, which gives you a flyer you can use and their website has a ton of helpful tips. Once you fill out the form, they will post it in their Facebook group.
    • PawBoost – You can pay for upgraded service, but they list your pet for free on Facebook and in their database.
    • LostMyDoggie – They post on Facebook but they also alert local shelters and rescues.
    • PetKey – A smaller page, but everything helps!
  • Head out and continue looking for Fluffy. Make sure you are able to answer the phone if someone calls! Ask your neighbors to check their garages, sheds and yards to make sure she is not hiding there.

4. What is the Next Step?

If you are approaching evening, there are a few steps you can take, especially if Fluffy is shy and still might be in the area.

  1. Double check with any neighbors coming home to make sure they did not see her earlier in the day.
  2. Consider leaving your door open so Fluffy can come in at night, if she was lost from your home.
  3. If Fluffy is a cat, place her litter box outside where she can smell it.

5. The Next Day

You have done all of the fast, easy options and Fluffy has not been found. Now is time to dig in and spread the word that Fluffy is missing.

  • File a lost pet report with Larimer Humane Society, if you have not already done so. Consider also reaching out to the Humane Society of Weld County, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, the Longmont Humane Society or the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Animals can travel a surprisingly long ways and folks sometimes pick them up and take them to their local shelter, which may not be Larimer County.
  • Post a lost pet ad in the Coloradoan or Reporter Herald, or small local papers. It may seem outdated, but they are still read regularly.
  • Contact local breed rescues that relate to Fluffy. For instance, if she is a Golden Retriever, contact the local Golden rescue. There are too many for me to list here, and they change regularly, so search online for one. You can also contact All Breed Rescue Network at (888) 440-6467. They keep a running list of breed rescues in the Colorado area. Sometimes breed rescues will be able to offer more suggestions or help specific to your breed.
  • Print off flyers from one of the sources you used yesterday. Post flyers in veterinary hospitals, groomers, trainers, pet supply stores, the dog park and anywhere animal related. Many local businesses also have community boards. Start with businesses near you and increase the distance the longer Fluffy is missing. Posting flyers on mailboxes and phone poles is illegal, although many people do it.
  • Continue to update posts online. People will be wondering if you found Fluffy and you want to keep them searching. Ask for help again and for people to keep sharing your posts.
  • Talk to people in the neighborhood where Fluffy went missing. Offer a reward for any information leading to finding her.
  • If you hear of people spotting her, go to that area and search. Shy animals can be very hard to catch, especially during active times of the day when there are a lot of people around. If you believe she might be in the area, go out during quiet times in the evening or morning when she is more likely to appear. You can also look at renting a humane trap if you are sure she is there but cannot catch her.

6. DO NOT Give Up Hope

The longer you search the more discouraged you become. Keep looking! Here are a few searches I have helped with over the years for people I know:

  • A small, very shy dog went missing. We tracked her to a neighborhood where kids had spotted her (we paid them to keep an eye out for her). After a few days we were not able to find her until a kid came forward. A woman in the neighborhood had picked her up and had given her to a family member in Colorado Springs. Once confronted we were able to get her back.
  • A dog ran out his front door. The neighbors a few houses down saw him, but not not the people at the end of the block. He vanished! They continued searching and found him late that night being walked by a nice couple who lived down the street. They had been leaving earlier when they saw him run by, so they put him in the garage and then left for a few hours. They had just returned home.
  • A woman’s dog had been missing for months. She sent out flyers to shelters across the country and he showed up here, in Larimer County. Turned out a trucker had picked her up and driven her across 3 states before dropping her off at the local shelter!

We regularly hear stories of animals being reunited years after going missing due to their microchips. Keep that information up-to-date and continue your search!

7. Once you Find Your Pet

Congratulations! I am so excited for you and you must feel so relieved!

  • Take the moment and enjoy it. Do not scold Fluffy, she is just happy to see you!
  • Plan a trip to the vet if your pet was gone for awhile or appears to be injured.
  • Go back and take down those flyers, lost pet reports and postings online so that everyone knows you found your fur kid.
  • Return the favor and share information about missing pets for other people!

If you have a resource that is not listed, Please Let Us Know so we can get it added!

Keep Your Dog and Cat Safe from Rabies

 

At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we are loving the beautiful weather we are seeing in Colorado. With this nice weather we are also aware of the increased chances of encountering a wild animal when out with our dogs and cats. Here we discuss everything you need to know about rabies and how to keep your furry friends safe this spring and summer!

What is Rabies?

Over the recent years rabies has making a much larger appearance in our area. Normally rabies is found more commonly in warmer states. Cold weather does not get the chance to kill as many diseased animals. Our warm winters has allowed the disease to travel more easily from animal to animal without breaking the chain.

Basically it’s a disease the attacks the central nervous system. Because of this affect on the central nervous system animals affected with rabies can often act tame or angry. It is transmitted through saliva a few days before the animal dies when the virus is being “shed”. Saliva is the only means of transmission, not blood, feces or urine, so outside of being bit by an affected animal it is unlikely your animal will be infected. Rabies also dies quickly when exposed to the air, so as saliva dries up the disease will die with it. The disease also can only travel through wounds or broken skin, not just from surface contact.

What Wild Animal Carry Rabies?

Rabies in dogs and cats comes from an encounter with a wild animal that is already infected. Species that can carry rabies:

  • Bats
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Opossums

There are a few others, but these are the species that are most often seen. In Colorado the largest concerns lie with bats and skunks.

How to Keep Your Dog and Cat Safe

  • Vaccinate on Schedule – Follow the recommended schedule for rabies vaccinations from your veterinarian. I am not a huge fan of over vaccinating, but this is both required by law and recommended for safety, especially as rabies outbreaks are becoming more common in recent years. Most often a puppy or kitten is vaccinated around 4 months old, a year later, then every 3 years after that.
  • Treat Any Bites Immediately – Even if your dog or cat is current on their rabies vaccine, still seek treatment from a veterinarian if your pet has contact with a wild animal. Bites can be hard to find in thick hair, especially small bites like from a bat. Get a veterinarian involved just to be safe.
  • Keep Your Pet Away From Wild Animals – Most of the animals that can carry rabies are nocturnal or biurnal but rabies will make them act abnormally. Still, avoid hiking with your dog off-leash at dusk and check your yard at night before letting your pets outside. Keep your cat indoors (good in general) unless on leash.
  • Keep Wild Animals Out of Your Yard – When possible, secure fencing and make sure you are not inviting wild animals into your yard. This mean securing food so animals are not encouraged to come to eat. If you are feeding stray cats, great! Just put the food somewhere that will not encourage wild animals to come into the same area frequented by your dog or cat.

Prevention is Key!

Take these steps to keep your dog and cat safe from encountering animals with rabies. Always better safe than sorry, so if you ever have a possible run-in with a wild animal take the time to get your pet checked by a veterinarian to get any possible treatment. Keep those fur kid safe!

 

Does My Dog Lick Excessively?

 

Do you ever catch your pooch in the act of licking his feet, forearms, or other extremity so ferociously you think to yourself, “wow, that must really feel good”? While his licking may seem a non-issue, and one that provides him joy, that doesn’t mean it might not be his response to an underlying issue if they lick excessively.

Canine acral lick dermatitis (ALD) – also known as lick granulomas – is a lesion to the skin caused by chronic licking, resulting in skin inflammation. Over time, the skin thickens and the area can’t heal because they lick excessively. The licking and the inflammation cause itching, which causes your dog to lick even more, creating a vicious cycle of itching, licking, inflammation, and the inability to heal.

ALD can also result in secondary issues including bacterial infection, ruptured hair follicles and ruptured sweat glands. These issues just add fuel to the cycle, making the itching even worse which increases your dog’s need to lick.

The most common location for ALD is on the front side of a front leg between the elbow joint and paw, though they are often found on the ankle and between the toes. The condition is most often seen in middle-aged, large-breed dogs. Many veterinarians believe itchy skin triggers the excessive licking, although it is thought it can also be set off by a painful condition, such as trauma to the leg, a fracture, post-surgical discomfort, arthritis, or nerve damage. A fungal or bacterial infection, as well as skin mites, can also trigger itching in your pooch.

Not only is ALD rooted in health conditions, incessant licking is also a common obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs – yes, dogs can have OCD, too! Rover’s licking may trigger the release of endorphins (a chemical in the brain that leads to feelings of happiness) and once he learns licking brings about a pleasant feeling, he’ll likely continue to do it. As well, psychological factors such as boredom, stress and separation anxiety can result in excessive licking. To best determine how to treat the issue, it is important to determine the cause.

If you suspect your pooch has an ALD lesion, there will typically be a raised area of ulceration, hair loss, and thickened skin around the lesion. Your veterinarian should first rule out any potential allergies first, as a dog with recurrent skin or ear infections, hot spots, or itching in other areas may have an allergic condition that needs treatment. Several tests are needed to diagnose ALD, including skin scrapings and fungal cultures, and to look for infection.

If it is determined that your pooch is indeed suffering from ALD, once treated effectively, you’ll likely need to address any psychological or emotional factors that may have contributed to your pet’s obsessive licking. Try to refocus his energy with frequent walks, playtime, and other methods of physical activity. Make sure you and everyone in your family pays extra attention to Rover, stimulating his brain and keeping him happy and secure.

The best way to prevent ALD is to talk to your vet as soon as you notice you dog start to lick excessively. Make a habit of running your hands over Rover regularly to check for damp fur or sensitivity. If you notice him licking a particular spot but there’s no injury to the skin, wrap the area with an Ace bandage to discourage further licking. Anything you can do to prevent Rover from self-injury will be extremely beneficial.

While we associate licking with a dog’s natural instinct, sometimes it can serve as a sign of an underlying issue and, when done excessively, should never be ignored.

4 Ways You Can Help Animals In Shelters

 

According to the ASPCA, there are about 7.6 million dogs and cats in United States shelters each year. As much as you and I may want to, we can’t take home 7.6 million dogs and cats. So what can you do to help animals in shelters and the community?

1.Walk

If you walk your dog(or any dog) frequently you can earn credits(which turn into monetary donations) for a local shelter of your choice using a smartphone app called “Walk for a Dog”. You can use this app to log miles walked with your pooch, and share it with other walkers to increase the amount of credit earned for your shelter.

Check out the website here: http://www.wooftrax.com/

2.Donate

In addition to monetary donations, shelters always need supplies like bleach, paper towels, and other odds and ends.Most shelters have a wish list on their website of items they need donated. I generally make these donations after I go shopping at big box stores(like Costco). I usually buy more paper towels than I can keep in my house, so I donate half to a local shelter.

The Fort Collins Cat Rescue also has a kibble supply program. This program gives food donated by local pet stores and individuals to low income pet owners in the community. The rescue takes donations of both kibble and wet dog and cat food. They will take partially opened bags in original packaging. This is a great use for the rest of that bag of food your kitty does not like. Call the Fort Collins Cat Rescue and Spay Neuter Clinic for more information.

Here are some wish lists for shelters in the Fort Collins area:

Fort Collins Cat Rescue and Spay Neuter Clinic: https://www.fccrsnc.org/Donate_MoneyandItems.php

Larimer Humane Society:http://www.larimerhumane.org/donate/wish-list

Animal House:http://www.animalhousehelp.org/wishlist.php

3. Shop for a cause

Amazon has a program called Amazonsmile, which donates 0.5% of your purchase for most items to a charitable organization of your choice. If you shop on amazon a lot that 0.5% of each purchase can really make a difference.

4. Projects at home

These are really fun projects and are great if you have a group of animal loving kids(or adults) to entertain. The United Way of Larimer County has directions for items you can make at home and donate to animal shelters. These projects are simple, low in cost and can make a big difference. Contact the shelter of your choice to see if they will take what you make or have similar projects.

Fleece dog toys:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Fleece-Rope-Dog-Toy.pdf

Cat Blankets:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Cat-Blankets.pdf

Kitty Forts:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Kitty-Forts.pdf

So, while we can’t take every animal in a shelter home, these activities are a great way to help. Also consider volunteering or fostering for a local shelter if you can. Small things make a big diffrence in the life of shelter pets.

 

 

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter

 

Recently, there has been a post going around Facebook telling dog parents not to give their dogs peanut butter. If you look further into why peanut butter can be deadly to your pup, you will find xylitol to blame.

So what the heck is it? Xylitol is a food additive that is used to replace sugar in many foods. It is found in hundreds of food and health products, such as gum, human toothpaste, vitamins, and now peanut butter. While xylitol is perfectly safe for humans it is extremely toxic to dogs. Potentially more toxic than chocolate.

When minimal amounts of xylitol is used are used  (like doggie mouth wash) it is perfectly safe for your dog. However, the concentrations of the sweetener in most human food is very dangerous to your dog and can cause poisoning.

So what are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs?

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination or difficulty walking or standing (walking like drunk)
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Left untreated poisoning can lead to liver damage. These symptoms typically show up 10-60 minutes after eating it.

So what should you do?

1. Always read the labels of any product you giver your pooch and look for potentially poisonous things. Only some brands of peanut butter have this type of deadly sweetener in them.

2. Do not leave gum or toothpaste where your dog can get to them.

3. If your dog does eat xylitol, call your vet right away.

 

With veterinary care arriving quickly, your dog will hopefully be able to have a full recovery.

Vote Yes on Larimer County Ballot Issue 200

 

Earlier this week I sat down like so many of you and proceeded to sort through data and articles, opinions and ballot entries for the upcoming election. Overall, this process usually takes me an hour or two as I like to make sure I am positive of my choices and am being thorough in my research. This year was especially interesting because I had an animal issue to decide, which are always proposals that are close to my heart, including  Larimer County Ballot Issue 200.

I usually do not get involved in politics. I do not discuss it in my business or with my employees. I do not mention it on social media or hand out flyers. The fact is I usually do not know what is on the ballot until I sit down to do my voting research, typically the day before the election. This year when doing my research I realized that this year, for the first time, I have something to say.

I am not a political expert, but what I am is an animal expert. I have worked at Larimer Humane Society, granted it was many years ago. I worked with Wildkind, animal rescues and aviaries. I stay in touch with current rescues and help fund raise to help animals. I married an animal control officer, so this is definitely an area with which I am familiar. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Issue 200 is set to increase taxes one penny per $10 to raise money for a new shelter for the Larimer Humane Society. Like many of you, I have mixed feelings on the humane society, often feeling they could do a better job and sometimes disliking their policies. During my research I read article after article on the issue, weeding through the opinions, but in the end I came to one realization: the opinions against Issue 200 were almost exclusively due to the fact that the writers did not feel it was the responsibility of the tax payers to help fund animal care. This statement and this statements alone is what I disagree with. No matter how well you feel Larimer Humane Society lives up to expectations, they are the group that cares for stray animals. They provide animal control facilities for animal emergencies. When there is a natural disaster they step in to provide housing for the evacuated animals. When there is a loose dog  or a trapped cat, they are who you call. Caring for the animals of our society is the responsibility of all residents, not just of those who wish to adopt pets. I know some people may take issue with the comparison, but taking care of the neglected children of Larimer County falls to all of us, as well should the care of animals. If Larimer Humane Society needs a larger building in order to save more animal lives then that is a tax I can get behind. No matter what your opinion, get out and vote this week!