New Puppy? Here’s What To Do!

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Top 10 Things To Do For Your New Puppy

Bringing a new puppy home can be overwhelming, whether this is your first time, or tenth.  Here are the top 10 things to do for your new puppy:

  1. Choose the Right Food to feed. The choices out there are overwhelming these days, so the best thing you can do is to forget about all the fads.  There’s a good chance that your pup is not going to be a gluten-intolerant vegetarian that needs only limited ingredients to survive.  Stick with puppy food from reputable name brands (such as Science Diet, Iams) that know what they are doing; ask your vet instead of relying on advertising or TV to tell you what’s best.


  1. Kennel Training or “sleep with me” training. There is no perfect scenario here, since I’ve done both with good results.  The positive thing about kennel training is after the first three days, the puppy actually enjoys going in it, seeing the kennel as their safe place or den. Then, they can be left in the kennel when you are gone – no tearing up shoes and sofa!


  1. Take your new puppy to the Veterinarian. An exam is crucial to uncovering any congenital problems, and just as important, you can ask all the questions you want and feel confident that the answers are accurate.


  1. Get them Vaccinated and Dewormed. Just because the breeder or the internet told you that certain vaccines will kill your dog doesn’t make it true.  Believe it or not, there are reasons to vaccinate, including protection against some very bad diseases and helping to build your puppy’s immune system.


  1. Finding the right Toys and Chews. I recommend starting with numerous different types of toys and chews to find the ones they really like and don’t tear up too quickly.  For chews, rawhides are okay as long as they don’t have knots on the end to choke on. ALWAYS monitor your pup with toys, and especially all types of chews.


  1. Figure out how much Puppy and Potty Training your little one needs. This is where I approve online research for information and suggestions for different tricks that may work for different pups.  Most of the training is for you instead of the dog.


  1. Start getting your puppy plenty of Exercise and Socialization. Even before their full set of shots, you can walk your dog and set up play dates with dogs and humans (and even cats) that you know and trust are disease-free.  The first 6 months are crucial to their social structure and health; the walks and play help create a bond between you that will never be broken.


  1. Puppy Proof your house and yard. This usually means picking up stuff after they put it in their mouth, but making sure that they can’t get into the trash (kitchen and bathroom), or anything else (shoes and remotes) is essential.


  1. Play Doctor at home. You don’t realize how much easier your life will be later on if you start playing with ears, feet, and teeth.  The more you touch and love on your puppy now, the easier it will be when it’s time to medicate them as they grow older and smarter.


  1. Spay or Neuter your dog. I don’t want to go all Bob Barker on you, but if you will not be breeding you dog, there is no reason NOT to have them fixed.  This is another area where I want you to listen to your vet and not the breeder or internet.  We see many health problems resulting from not spaying/neutering pets, and want to make sure that your puppy is healthy and happy for a long time to come.


Authored by Dr. Roman Dye


Top 10 Signs Your Older Dog is Painful

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Has your furry best friend been slowing down?  Here are the top 10 signs your older dog is painful:olderdog

  1. They aren’t as playful as they used to be/they sleep all the time.
  2. They don’t get up in their favorite chair anymore.
  3. They hesitate before following your command when you ask them to sit.
  4. They are slow to rise after lying/sitting.
  5. They are less patient with the kids or just seem grumpier than usual.
  6. They slide around or don’t seem as steady on the wood/vinyl flooring.
  7. They don’t hold their tail up high anymore – it often seems to be tucked.
  8. One or both of their back legs shakes when they are at a standstill.
  9. They avoid the stairs or bunny hop (use both back legs at the same time) when they go up or down the stairs.
  10. They look like a body-builder from the front and a ballerina from the back (i.e. bulked up front leg/shoulder muscles and skinny hip/back leg muscles from slowly shifting their weight forward over time).

Dogs rarely cry out in pain unless they are feeling acute, severe pain (such as with a traumatic accident).  Instead, they adjust their behavior to allow them to continue to do their favorite things until they can no longer make further adjustments.  This is why we often miss seeing that our best friend is in pain. When a person limps, it is obvious, because we only have two legs.  When a dog feels pain it is much harder to tell they are not bearing weight normally.  Over time what I see as a veterinarian is asymmetric muscling (one thigh muscles is much bigger than the other or the front limbs are much more muscled than the back limbs).

The goal of pain control in animals is to keep them moving for as long as possible, both for their mental and physical health.  Studies show that regular exercise is the best pain control and animals who move more tend to live longer.

We have so many more options for pain control today than we had twenty years ago, ranging from nutritional supplements, injectable joint supplements, pain medications, therapeutic laser, massage, acupuncture, and other canine rehabilitation techniques.  Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you think your canine companion is experiencing discomfort and we will be happy to develop a personalized pain control plan that works best for you, your dog and your lifestyle.

Authored by Dr. Kelly Hutchison




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Image result for itchy dog

Skin allergies or atopic dermatitis is a genetically inherited, recurrent, pruritic (itchy) skin disease.  It is caused by environmental allergens, most commonly pollen. The average age of onset is 1 to 3 years old but can begin at any age.

The clinical signs that a dog will exhibit include mild to severe pruritic ears, face, feet and underside of chest and abdomen.  Secondary skin and ear infections are very common.  The most common cause of ear infections (otitis externa) are inhalant pollen allergies.  Sometimes a seasonal occurrence is observed.

The diagnosis is made by excluding other diseases that cause pruritus such as mange, fleas, lice, food allergies, contact allergies, drug reactions and folliculitis.  Skin or blood allergy testing can be done to support the diagnosis.

Treatment of allergic skin disease has many different possibilities.  Hyposensitization (allergy shots) is 60 to 80 percent effective, requires giving shots at home, and can take up to 1 year to see beneficial results.  Other treatments include anti-histamines, Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils), anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisolone and cyclosporine, or the newest drug that blocks allergies called Apoquel.  Occasionally topical sprays are used to help alleviate the itchiness.

Allergic skin disease is a life-long disease and requires long-term management. Recheck exams are warranted to control secondary infections, control parasites and minimize flare-ups.

Authored by Peter De Waal, D.V.M.

Is Dr. Google Your “Other” Veterinarian?

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Do you search the internet for veterinary care information for your pet? Here’s a few important tips to remember when surfing to be sure you find accurate medical information that comes from trustworthy sources.


  1. Most important of all….. Be sure the information comes from a veterinarian

On line you will find an abundance of fun, engaging pet advice; yet for science-based medical facts, look for articles written by a licensed, practicing veterinarian.


  1. Stick with the professionals

Rest assured professionals stay professional – they don’t discredit other viewpoints.  Professionals seek to present new, cutting edge advances in an informative way without degrading conflicting opinions. It is wise to practice a bit of healthy skepticism when reading anything that says your veterinarian is doing something that harms your pet.


  1. Don’t forget – the internet is an open forum which does not require fact-checks

Too often, material found on the web is not verified or approved by certified professionals. Veterinarians, however, are required to uphold professional ethics as their reputations are at stake.  It would be very unwise for veterinarians to risk their medical licenses by advocating unproven recommendations or unnecessary services.


  1. Steer clear of inflated captions and tabloid-like headlines

If it sounds sketchy, it most likely is not reputable, fact-based information.


  1. Verify recommendations by checking multiple sources

Confirm what seems like legitimate guidance with other websites authored by veterinarians; here you will find the most science-based, reliable information.  Look for references to original research studies and accredited veterinary universities.


  1. Call a friend – your own veterinarian!

Read something on the internet you are unsure of? Ask your veterinarian! Your veterinary healthcare team knows your pet and can offer suggestions distinctly appropriate to your loved one. Veterinarians welcome the opportunity to explain the “why” behind their recommendations.



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What does it mean to work for the best animal hospital in Colorado Springs? This is the story of my journey…….

When I was young, I always wanted to be around animals, telling everybody that I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up.  My family didn’t have pets, but my friends did, and I was the kid that hung out with the “furry” kids, rather than the human kind.  When I was old enough to decide what to do with my life, I tried on other careers, which left me with a strong desire to make a bigger impact on the world.  My wife and I recognized that caring for animals was our passion and would make a difference in our lives as well.

When I found Westside Animal Hospital, I knew I had found my home – a family that all believe in sharing dreams together, while passionately taking care of the little ones that cannot care for themselves every day.  What I didn’t realize was how much we take care of the cherished pet’s families which is a heartfelt privilege. The relationships we build with these families, through good times and bad, integrate us into being part of their family in the most respectful way.  We are honored to be with them through the fun and the kisses – and the pain and sorrow.   We are there for new births, puppy breath, and kitten crazies; through mill dog rescues, laser chases, garbage grazing, and tennis ball fetishes.  And we are there for the graying muzzles, the aging kidneys, arthritic hips, and training new siblings on what is right and wrong.

Being a veterinarian has made me realize that we are not just the general family practitioner, we are also the pediatrician, ear/nose/throat doctor, dentist, cardiologist, orthopedic surgeon, radiologist, dermatologist, oncologist, GI enterologist, behaviorist, and ultimately, the geriatric care specialist.  We also serve as the human’s therapist whenever the need arises.  Here at Westside, the entire staff takes great pride in what we do and how we do it.  I sincerely believe in how we practice medicine, how we care for the animals and their caregivers, and in how we continually strive to be the best animal hospital for our dear clients, their beloved companions, and our dedicated team members.