Bear Valley Vet Blog

Pet Poison Prevention

National Poison Prevention Week, which was enacted by Congress in 1961, always occurs on the third week in March. This year for 2019, it falls from March 17 to March 23rd. So, what exactly is the purpose of National Poison Prevention Week?

This specific week has been set aside to highlight awareness and prevention of poisoning, and what to do if any unfortunate scenarios occur. At Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center, we particularly use this week to remind our clients about their pets, and the potential dangers their furry friends can encounter if they get poisoned from everyday household objects.

Since pets are just naturally curious, it is extremely important to keep certain things away from paws’ reach. We encourage you to pay attention to:

  • Living rooms. Poisonous things in these areas include certain plants, fragrance products, batteries, bags/purses (which can contain many toxic items) and more.
  • Kitchens. There are many, many human foods which are poisonous to pets and which need to be kept away from them. Garbage cans should also be kept pet proof, and alcoholic beverages need to be safely stored away from curious snouts.
  • Bathrooms. All medications need to be safely stored away in cupboards and not on countertops. Bathroom cleaning products need to also be tucked away, and always remember to close toilet lids.
  • Garages. Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) products have a sweet taste that pets may enjoy, however these items are extremely toxic and should be safely hidden. Car products like cleaners and fluids need to also be properly stored.
  • Outdoor areas. Keep fertilizers sealed and out of reach. Grub or snail killers can also be harmful to pets, as well as insecticides and sprayed herbicides.

The above examples are just some of the common scenarios where pets can get poisoned from everyday products. If you believe your pet has ingested anything toxic, you must IMMEDIATELY contact us at 720-548-4297. Please be ready with the label or type of object that your pet has ingested.

We treat National Poison Prevention Week very seriously at Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center, and we highly encourage you to contact us for additional information on household toxins and how to keep your pet away from them. You can also reach out to the Pet Poison Helpline, which is available 24/7 for any additional questions or expert help.

Thank you, and let’s work together to keep our pets safe from any poisonous scenarios!

The Skinny on Fat Pets

Humans aren’t the only ones with an obesity problem: According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 58% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Just like people, when pets are overweight, they’re more likely to develop diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, joint injuries and many types of cancer.

Your Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center veterinarian can help you figure out what diet is best for your pet, as well as how much to feed for both weight loss and maintenance. The vet may also recommend exercise and Hill’s metabolic diet food, which is specially made for pets needing to lose weight to get healthier.

The fact is that well-loved pets are often too-well-fed pets, and many times their owners have a hard time accepting that they must limit treats and food in the interest of their pet’s health. One pet, however, took matters into his own paws and dictated a letter to his family:

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Every February, the veterinary community celebrates National Pet Dental Health Month by encouraging pet owners to take care of their pets’ teeth. Without proper dental hygiene routines, pets develop periodontal disease, which is the most common disorder affecting our pets nationwide. By age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have periodontal disease.

At advanced stages, dental disease can significantly impact a pet’s quality of life. It can cause mouth pain, which makes eating difficult. Plus, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause heart, liver and kidney complications. Pets are good at hiding pain, so it’s important for pet owners to take steps to prevent periodontal disease from striking in the first place.

During National Pet Dental Health Month, you’ll receive 10% off your furry friends’ dental invoices (excluding any products and medications) at Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center. Save even more when you pre-enroll in a dental plan on our website too!

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you’d like to book your appointment here.

Pet Obesity Prevention

Pet Obesity Prevention

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 58% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. When pets are overweight, they’re more likely to develop diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease, joint injuries and many types of cancer. Plus, excess body fat decreases life expectancy by two years.

To keep your pet at a healthy weight, do not give them any people food. Also, make sure you’re not giving them too much of their own food. Your Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center veterinarian may also recommend exercise and Hill’s metabolic diet food, which is specially made for pets needing to lose weight to get healthier. We can calculate the proper amount of calories your pet should eat per day so they lose weight at a safe rate.

If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, or if you want to take preventative action to keep your pet healthy, schedule an appointment at Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center.

Win Free Pet Care for a Year!

Win free care for your best furry friend for an entire year at Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center!

Win free care for your best furry friend for an entire year at Bear Valley Veterinary Care Center!

The winner receives:

  • 12 months of Heartgard heartworm prevention medication
  • 12 months of Frontline or Nexgard flea and tick prevention medication
  • One parasite screening
  • One nail trim
  • One early disease detection screening
  • One-year supply of Royal Canin pet food
  • Four free nights of boarding
  • One dental cleaning
  • Two well-pet exams
  • Necessary vaccines and boosters for a year

You can enter to win four different ways:

  1. Board your pet for four or more nights
  2. Get a well-pet exam
  3. Sign up for a pet insurance plan
  4. Review our hospital on Yelp

Have any questions about this contest? Contact us here!

Carnival-themed Open House!

Carnival-themed Open House!

Saturday, August 27th 10:00 am to 2:00 pm We’ll have festive concessions and non-alcoholic beverages, plus we’ll give away goodie bags with treats for you and your pets! Snap photos at the photo booth, play carnival games, and check out brief informational demos about laser therapy, acupuncture, early disease detection, nutrition, professional dental services, and heartworm prevention. A local police officer will also do a demo with his K9 bomb-sniffing companion! All attendees who RSVP will receive a coupon for one free night of boarding.* All pets are welcome as long as they are leashed throughout the event.

For more information and to RSVP, click here. We hope you’ll join the fun! *You will receive a free boarding voucher when you RSVP. Make sure you print your voucher and bring it to the event; it is only valid after a Bear Valley staff member signs it.

How to Choose the Right Pet Food Brand

How to Choose a Brand

It is important to ask questions when it comes to the wellness of your pet. Pet food companies place sales reps in stores acting as nutrition experts for the store itself. As these are biased individuals they may not be the best source of guidance. Additionally, anyone can post their opinion about nutrition on the internet and may not have any education whatsoever in nutritional needs of pets. When evaluating pet food choices, a discerning consumer can make an educated choice by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Does the brand have an established a reputation for quality?
  • Does the company conduct research and publish their results in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks?
  • Is the food fed to animals in clinical food trials before marketed and sold? (AAFCO feeding trials)
  • Does the company in question employ veterinarians or have a scientifically-grounded quality control?

When researching individual brands, we advise our clients to look for red flags on marketing websites and product labels.

  1. Grain-free: It may be a popular diet choice for humans; however, very few animals cannot tolerate rice, wheat or corn. Some grains contain beneficial nutrients and are active ingredients rather than simple filler. There is no evidence of alternate ingredients having higher nutritional value.
  2. Veterinarian-approved: A meaningless term requiring no testing or regulation.
  3. However, while not a guarantee of quality, AAFCO tested brands signify that the manufacturer was willing to undergo feeding testing, thus the designation carries some weight.
  4. No byproducts: Not an indication of quality, as many animal byproducts are more nutritionally beneficial than standard muscle meat.
  5. Raw diet:  Raw food is also a dangerously misleading dietary trend. Marketed as being closer to their pet’s natural diet, raw food can contain dangerous parasites and bacteria, causing severe illness if consumed, not to mention the risks to the human handling the food. Prepared (cooked) food eliminates these dangers by killing bacteria. In addition, these types of diets are commonly very deficient in vital minerals and nutrients that pets require for general health. The American Medical Veterinary Association made a policy discouraging the feeding of raw diets in 2012.

As with any food, the most important part of the equation to consider is that pets can tolerate a poor diet for a long period of time before symptoms develop. A pet may be developing heart disease, vision loss, immune deficiencies, bladder stones or other severe diseases far before the pet becomes ill. Only a veterinary professional can evaluate your pet’s nutritional needs and determine what foods are best.

If you have questions regarding pet food or specialty diets, please contact a Bear Valley staff member today

Debunking Pet Food Myths

Food Myths

A balanced and complete diet is a major component of overall pet health. As an owner, you have complete control over your pet’s daily nutrition, making you responsible for their dietary health. In the past, most owners fed their dogs and cats mainstream brands. Now, fueled by recent human diet trends, companies have started to push alternatives like “holistic,” “natural,” “grain free”, and “evolution diet” products, resulting in untested brands entering the market.
Commercial pet foods have been manufactured and sold for over 150 years. With the proliferation of online retailers, information about unconventional pet dietary needs has propagated and companies can market “complete and balanced” products.  Many of the terms contained in the labeling of these products may appear straightforward, but are actually misleading. For example, “natural” is a legally-protected term requiring no artificial or synthesized ingredients. However, the term “natural” is often inaccurate as factory-produced vitamins and minerals are added to most pet foods. 

A Holiday Story

About a year ago, a local family found a little Chihuahua running the streets of Lakewood. Despite searching far and wide, they had no success finding his original family. With compassion in their hearts, the family decided to take him in as one of their own, naming him Papi. They didn’t know anything about his history, where he came from, if he had vaccines or anything else. But, they did know he was sweet.

Eventually, the family decided they needed to bring him in for veterinary care because they noticed that he had trouble going to the bathroom. During his exam we discovered a number of health issues including severe dental disease and the source of his bathroom issues, a hernia common to unneutered older dogs.

Since one of their other pets was already in the hospital, they decided to schedule the surgery for Papi a few weeks down the road. Unfortunately for poor Papi, the day he came in for surgery we found a perforation of his large intestine, which uncommonly accompanies this type of hernia. The risk of surgery and the chances for proper healing and survival dramatically changed in this moment. Knowing the increased risk, he underwent surgery that day.

Fleas in Denver

Flea & Tick Prevention

Sometimes our state’s love of the great outdoors can come back to bite us. Due to increased outdoor activity and high levels of interaction with other pets, the risk of fleas in the Denver area is high during the warmer months. These bloodsucking insects feed on mammals and lay eggs in their fur, transmitting harmful parasites like tapeworms, as well as causing dermatitis and anemia. Fleas also carry potentially fatal diseases like the Murine typhus and plague, with Colorado ranking among top three states in the country for reported plague cases, which can also be transmitted to humans, endangering friends and family.

One flea can reproduce nearly 50 times a day, making it a substantial threat to your pet’s wellbeing. Flea infestations often spread throughout your home — living in your carpet and furniture, and making them tough to eradicate.

Fortunately, regular application of flea medication is a surefire way of keeping your pet free of these nasty parasites. Flea medicine comes in a number of forms including topicals, shampoo and chewable tablets, all of which work by killing existing fleas and preventing new infections by stopping their eggs from hatching. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter flea medication is highly ineffective and should be avoided. For the majority of our patients, Bear Valley recommends Frontline Plus. In addition to flea control, Frontline protects against ticks, making it a critical component of preventative care.

We recommend that all pets begin a monthly prevention regimen as soon as possible. If you suspect that your pet may already be infested, please contact your Bear Valley veterinarian to schedule an appointment today.