Adventure hikes for dogs!

It’s no secret that pet owners in Denver adore our services like dog walking, pet sitting, and grooming—but we crave adventure here at Zoologie Pet Services, and are always on the hunt for exciting new ways to grow. That’s why we are ecstatic to announce our newest program: Adventure hikes for dogs! We’ll take your furry friend out to the best dog-friendly hiking trails in the area and make sure they get tons of breed specific exercise.

Dog hikes are the perfect way to ensure your dog is getting the exercise they need. When dogs don’t get enough exercise, it often leads to undesirable behaviors including excessive barking, chewing, and even health complications. Also, dogs are social creatures and providing adequate interaction will go a long way toward keeping your best bud happy and healthy.

Our “tour guides” are trained and certified to responsibly taking care of your pet. We give frequent breaks for fresh water and all dogs are brushed and toweled down before they return home to you. We’re always on the lookout for a good photo op, so get ready to swoon over adorable pictures of your dog having the time of their life.

We are currently offering three-hour hikes for $50, with each additional dog for only $25. If you take advantage of our special introductory rate, you’ll also receive a 50 percent discount for the hike! Please feel free to contact us with any questions—We would be happy to accommodate you!

Here are some of the trails we frequent:

1. Elk Meadow Off-Leash Area in Evergreen

The off-leash area is located right up the hill from the rest of Elk Meadow Park. This trail features some cool rocks to climb on and epic views of both 14ers and foothills. The best part is, no leash required, as long as your pup has the necessary shots and is safe around people and dogs.

2. Red Rocks Trail at Red Rocks Park

When Red Rocks isn’t serving as Denver’s premier entertainment spot for all things music, it doubles as a cool place to work out and hike. While this may not be quite as much fun as the off-leash spots, there are a variety of different paths we take, so there’s something for both the athletic labrador puppy and the laid back basset hound alike.

3. Bear Creek Trail in Lair O’ the Bear Park

While this is not an off-leash trail, it is still an awesome option. The variety of paths to take here will keep them running around for hours. Plus, most dogs love water and the added attraction of the creek running along the trail is a fun way for them to cool off during the warmer season.

4. Meadowlark Trail Loop in Littleton

This trail is within Jefferson County Open Space, and is a slightly longer, yet easier hike that crosses a creek and gets some awesome views of the mountains and foothills in the distance. This is the perfect solution for an older dog or beginning hiker.

5. Frazer Meadow Trail in Golden

Located inside glorious Golden Gate Canyon State Park, this three-hour hike offers four different trails for varying levels of proficiency, and awesome views of nearby and far away mountain peaks, the beautiful surrounding forests, and majestic meadows running through the park. Your dog will be entertained by all the space to run around.

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Pet allergies 101

You’re probably well aware of the discomforts that come with allergies, whether they’re seasonal or situational. However, you might be surprised to learn that your favorite furry friend can suffer from allergies just like people do. Can you imagine being itchy and sneezing while covered in fur? Pets depend on their humans for a variety of needs, including treatment for conditions that affect their health or quality of life.

Allergy symptoms flare up when the immune system recognizes a contaminant as potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, even everyday household items can set off symptoms in particularly sensitive animals. There are several breeds of dogs that are especially prone to allergies, including Terriers, Setters, Retrievers, Boxers, Shepherds, Beagles, Pugs, and Bulldogs.

It’s important to find the cause of pet’s allergies since treatments that only mask the symptoms can lose their effectiveness over time. Allergies also tend to worsen as the animal ages, and certain allergy treatments are most effective for younger pets, so early intervention is critical. Untreated allergies may result in “hot spots” from excessive licking and scratching, along with secondary bacterial infections.

What is causing your pet’s allergies?

Allergens trigger a reaction in one of four ways:

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Skin contact
  • Flea allergy dermatitis

The things that animals are allergic to share a lot in common with human allergies. Nearly anything can be a potential trigger, including pollen, molds, dust, dander, feathers, smoke, types of food, prescription/over-the-counter drugs, flea saliva, perfumes, cleaning products, and certain shampoos.

Getting a diagnosis of your pet’s allergies

Your vet will want to know what symptoms you have observed, so be sure to note any excessive scratching, runny eyes, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, unusual snoring, swollen paws, or paw chewing. Try to remember if you introduced anything new into your pet’s environment around the time their allergies started.

After a thorough exam, your vet will be able to decide if any additional tests are necessary. They may recommend a blood test, skin test, or elimination diet to identify what is causing your pet’s allergies. Please do not attempt an elimination diet without the guidance of a knowledgeable vet.

Treatment options for your cat or dog

After consulting with your vet and determining what is causing your pet’s allergies, you’ll be ready to start a treatment plan. Here are some of the most common remedies:

Immunotherapy: After the skin test, a series of shots are administered that gradually desensitize your pet’s system. It has a high success rate and takes 6-9 months to become effective.

Elimination Diet: Your pet is fed a strict prescription diet until their system is entirely clear of allergens. Food items are introduced one at a time to identify which item is an issue for your pet. After the diet is over, your vet will recommend a safe and well-balanced diet.

Antihistamines: These are given to relieve allergy symptoms. They’re not very effective, and your pet can build up a tolerance very quickly. Quercetin supplements can act as a natural antihistamine but shouldn’t be given to animals with kidney issues.

Steroids: In some cases, your vet may recommend suppressing your pet’s immune system to relieve their allergy symptoms. This option comes with increased risk, but it is important to consider if necessary for your pet’s quality of life.

Itch Relief: There are products are available to relieve severe itching, including fatty acid supplements and soothing sprays. Frequent baths or wipe-downs will help with most non-food allergies. If you don’t have time to give your dog a daily bath after their walk, please contact us—We provide grooming transportation services and work exclusively with our preferred groomer in Denver.

Final thoughts and preventative measures

Feed your pet a well-balanced diet—They need diversity and can develop sensitivities to eating the same food over an extended period of time. We recommend a raw or homemade diet over commercial food since you’ll be less likely to encounter common allergens and contaminants. Avoid over-vaccinating your pet, as this can lead to a hyperactive immune system and inflammation of allergy symptoms.

Addressing your pet’s allergies will give you and your four-legged friend a great peace of mind. Even though the road to recovery can be a bit of a journey, the look of gratitude in your pet’s eyes is guaranteed to make it all worthwhile.

 

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Pet safety on New Year’s Eve

It’s time to watch the ball drop again and ring in a new year, but don’t forget to secure your pets before the party starts. It’s not unusual for animal shelters to see three times more lost pets than normal after New Years. The most common issue is animals will run away when they feel freaked out enough, and there’s plenty to freak out even the most even-tempered pet during this time of year.

We don’t want you to start 2017 with a tragedy—read on to find out how to reduce noise-anxiety and keep your pets safe during this New Year’s Eve.

Plan ahead for your pet’s comfort

If you’re going out to a loud event or fireworks display, it is probably best to leave your furry loved ones at home. It’s also a good idea to avoid bringing your pet along to places where dangerous food and drink might be available to them. Click here to read our guide on how long your pet can be safely left at home alone.

If you’re having a party at your place, consider blocking off a quiet room so your pet can take shelter. You can also make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise before the sun goes down, so that hopefully they’ll be too exhausted to get anxious.

Reduce your pet’s anxiety

If your pet is crate-trained, leaving them in their crate with plenty of water is one of the best ways to create a feeling of safety. You can also confine your cat or dog in a small room where they cannot get into much mischief. Playing calm music or using a white noise machine can go a long way to calming down your pet. If you have time, look into desensitization training to help your pet stay calm during noisy celebrations.

There are supplements and treats available to help lessen anxiety in cats and dogs. We recommend rubbing a small amount of lavender oil on your pet’s collar, or stopping by one of Denver’s many independent pet stores to stock up on supplies. Mouthfuls (4224 Tennyson St) offers various treats and CBD supplements. You can also check out Simpawtico (4500 W 38th Ave, Suite 110) to pick up a new toy or puzzle to keep your furry buddies occupied. Pro Tip: A little peanut butter or catnip can go a long way.

Prepare for the worst

Even the best-laid plans can sometimes come undone, so it’s always best to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Make sure your pet’s ID tags and microchip are up to date, especially if you have recently moved or changed your phone number. Have current pictures of your pet from various angles ready, just in case they manage to slip away from you somehow.

If your dog is a huge flight risk, dress them in a sweater for the night so they’ll stay warm if they happen to get lost. Never run after your pet in pursuit—they think you’re chasing them and will run faster. Just calmly walk or drive after your pet, calling their name and offering food or treats if possible.

Final thoughts…

You know your cat or dog better than anyone, so consider your individual situation when making plans. Every situation is different. If you adopted a new pet over the holidays and are still getting to know them, be sure to check back here next week for our guide to taking care of new pets.

Do you need a last minute pet-sitter or dog-walker? Give us a call—we can help with all that and more!

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Traveling over the holidays, with your pets

Despite being filled with festivities and cheer, the holiday season can get pretty stressful. Traveling can create an additional element of stress, and when you add a pet to the mix, and.. well, things can get downright chaotic.

Are you one of the 103 million Americans expected to travel during this season? If you’re venturing away from Denver to visit with family this month, you are part of a growing trend fueled largely by rising wages and low gas prices. In fact, AAA is reporting an anticipated 1.5 percent increase in holiday travelers over 2015.  

Traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be a complete disaster, as long as you’re equipped with a flexible and realistic mindset.

Brainstorm your pet’s needs before the trip

The most important part of traveling with a pet is making sure that they’re able to travel with a reasonable level of comfort. If you have a dog that gets severe anxiety in new places or around new people, it might be better to arrange for pet-sitting services in Denver and leave Fido at home.

Take a moment to visualize your pet’s likely experience throughout the trip. Will they be left alone in a hotel room for hours on end? Will the host at your destination be pet-friendly? Is there enough room in your vehicle, or are there layovers on your holiday flight?

In addition to vaccination records and other identification, you’ll need to bring your pet a supply of food and water from home. It might be difficult to find your pet’s preferred food on the road, and exposure to different water sources can cause discomfort and indigestion. If you’re feeding your pet a raw food diet, or if they’re on medication that must be refrigerated, consider how you will keep such items at a safe temperature.

Traveling with your pet in a car

Ideally, you know how comfortable your pet is on road trips before taking them on a long drive. If they’ve never been in the car first, try taking them on short trips with plenty of positive reinforcement. Most cats do not enjoy car rides; however, if you have an adventurous breed they might like to join you.

Young dogs are susceptible to motion sickness since their equilibrium is still developing. Transport your dog inside a crate with a waterproof bottom to prevent a messy situation if this is a concern for you. Motion sickness in dogs may be relieved or lessened by taking the following steps:

 

  • Make sure your dog is not looking out the side windows
  • Feed your dog no later than 3-4 hours before departure
  • Provide plenty of water and rest stops throughout the trip

 

Older dogs may also experience motion sickness, in which case your vet may prescribe something to help. Take care to secure your pet safely inside the vehicle to protect them in case of a collision, and remember that air bags might be dangerous for animals when inflated.

Taking your dog on an airplane

Since regulations vary from airline to airline, it is critical for you to verify specifics ahead of time. Most animals do not do well on long flights, and it is recommended to avoid air travel if at all possible. Be sure to verify your carrier meets requirements, and make a plan in the case your loved one is misplaced during transit.

Note: Most airlines will not allow animals in the cargo hold during extreme temperatures.

Our verdict: hire a pet-sitter

If you’re traveling out-of-state for the holidays this year, it might be better for both you and your pet to leave them in the hands of a trustworthy pet-sitter. Watching after a sick pet will hamper your participation in holiday events, and you will feel guilty for bringing them along if something happens away from home. However, if you’re only going to be in the car for a few hours and your hosts are agreeable, then feel free to bring along your furry friends.

Do you need a pet-sitter in Denver for the holidays? We offer last minute arrangements, cat-sitting, dog-walking, and much more. Feel free to get in touch—we want to help!

 

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