Avoid Antifreeze Poisoning with Your Pet This Winter

It's hard to imagine getting through a Minnesota winter without antifreeze, especially this season of 2017 to 2018 that has been especially cold. As helpful as antifreeze is to get a cold engine to start, it can be toxic or fatal to your pets. Unfortunately, the clear color and sweet smell attracts pets to antifreeze and they may lap it up thinking that it’s water. A dog or cat only has to ingest a tiny amount to experience immediate toxic effects.

While drinking antifreeze spilled on a driveway is a common way for pets to become ill, your dog or cat could also get into antifreeze you have stored in the garage. It’s especially important to keep it in a tightly sealed container and to place it on a high shelf where your pet won’t be able to access it. Better yet, just don’t let your pet go into the garage.

If you notice a spill anywhere in the driveway or garage, clean it immediately. This is important to do even if your pet isn’t right by your side. She could find it later and become ill after consuming just a small amount.

Anti Freeze Poisoning

How to Determine Antifreeze Poisoning in Companion Animals

A cat only needs to drink one teaspoon of antifreeze to become seriously ill while a dog will show effects after one tablespoon. Most symptoms appear within half an hour, although it can take up to 12 hours. Symptoms become most severe in cats 12 to 24 hours later and in dogs 24 to 72 hours later.

The most common indications of antifreeze poisoning include excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, drooling, seizures, lethargy, lack of appetite, and depression. It’s essential that you seek immediate help for your pet if you notice any of these symptoms, even if you’re not sure that consuming antifreeze is the reason for them.

Treatment of Antifreeze Poisoning

Please contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo at 651-770-3250 for an emergency during office hours. When our office is closed, you may contact one of the following emergency veterinary providers:
  • After Hours Veterinary Care, St. Paul, 651-487-1941
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, Oakdale, 651-501-3766
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, St. Paul, 651-293-1800

Treatment for antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats typically involves inducing vomiting, providing hydration via IV fluids and sodium bicarbonate, oxygen therapy if necessary, and kidney dialysis if necessary. We may also provide your pet with prescription medication depending on the active ingredients in the antifreeze that she consumed. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with additional questions about wintertime poison prevention strategies for your pet.

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Your Pet's Health Starts with Great Nutrition

It might seem obvious to say that the quality of food you feed your pet has an enormous impact on her health. However, many pet owners feel confused about how to interpret nutrition labels on pet food bags and how to make the best feeding choices. This can cause them to purchase pet food based on convenience rather then what is truly best for the animal’s nutritional needs.

When selecting food for your dog or cat, it’s important to consider his special health needs. This could include issues like chronic joint pain, food allergies, or a sensitive stomach. Another common mistake that pet owners make is feeding a dog or cat the wrong food for his species or age. For example, giving cat food to both a dog and a cat because it’s less expensive or giving a kitten food meant for a geriatric cat. These choices might not seem like a big deal, but they can contribute to poor health for your pet over time.

Your Pet's Health Starts with Great Nutrition

How to Evaluate Pet Food and Make the Best Choice for Your Pet
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is heavily involved in regulating food for humans, it doesn’t get nearly so involved in the production and sale of pet food. That’s why it’s important to look for an endorsement from the American Feed Controls Office (AAFCO) on the label of your pet’s food. This endorsement means that the manufacturer met minimum requirements for nutrition as well as quality, ingredients, and even packaging.

Food for cats should have antioxidants, fat, and fiber while food for dogs should contains vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and water. These are minimum AFCO requirements. The agency also recommends that pet owners look for the following:

  • Name of manufacturer and product
  • List of ingredients
  • Statement of nutritional adequacy
  • Statement of net quantity
  • Guaranteed analysis, which should include a percentage for each of the food’s primary ingredients

Another important thing to know is that the above requirements don’t give a complete picture of the pet food. A company besides the one that originally manufactured the pet food can also add ingredients, and they’re not required by law to include the extra ingredients on a list for consumers. We also encourage you to use caution when evaluating marketing tactics of pet food companies. Just because a marketer claims that a pet food is premium or all-natural doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than other brands.

Ask for Pet Food Recommendations or Schedule a Nutritional Assessment
If you’re concerned that your pet could need a special diet, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo. Our veterinarians will evaluate your dog or cat’s health and let you know if she would benefit from a change of diet. We’re also happy to recommend a specific brand or a pet food that meets your dog or cat’s special needs. You don’t have to wait until your pet’s annual check-up to visit us.  We care about your pet almost as much as you do and want to see her as happy and healthy as possible.

Image credit: Pixabay

Change a Pet’s Life Day is January 24

If it were up to you, Change a Pet’s Life Day would take place every day. That’s just how much you love animals. This January 24, you will have the chance to impact many animals’ lives for the better when you participate in this annual event. The awareness campaign hopes to draw attention to the pets waiting in shelters for permanent homes as well as animal welfare in general.

Are You Considering Pet Adoption?
Change a Pet’s Life Day
Most animals end up in shelters through no fault of their own, such as being born to a homeless mother or surrendered when their previous owners moved. They make just as good of pets as those you would get from a private party or pet store. To encourage adoptions on January 24, many animal shelters across the country will reduce or even completely waive the normal fees to adopt. When you adopt from a shelter, you know that the pet has been spayed or neutered, up to date on core vaccines, and has received a thorough exam by a veterinarian.

You can still help pets get adopted even if you can’t bring home a dog, cat, or other animal yourself. Be sure to tell your family, friends, and co-workers about Change a Pet’s Life Day and spread the word on social media as well.

Could You Provide a Foster Home?
Another way you can help if you can’t adopt is to offer temporary foster care to a waiting dog or cat. Pet rescue organizations retrieve adoptable animals from shelters where they would otherwise face euthanasia after a set time. The organizations then need volunteers to take the pets into their homes until they can find them a permanent placement. You would provide plenty of love as well as food and shelter for your foster care placements. The organization may also ask you to help screen people who apply to adopt the animal permanently.

Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter
Change a Pet’s Life Day takes the hard work of many volunteers to make it a success. One thing you can do is volunteer at a shelter participating in the event. Animal shelters often need help with processing adoption paperwork, bringing pets to meet their new families, and advertising for the event.

Do Something New for Your Own Pet This Year
If you already have one or more pets, January is the perfect time to start a new routine together. Take a new route when walking, sign your dog up for an obedience class, or vow to play with your cat more to keep boredom away on these cold winter days. The new year is also a great time to establish a preventive healthcare routine for your cat or dog at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you haven’t already.

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It's National Train Your Dog Month

Did you know that January is officially National Train Your Dog Month? Started by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) in 2010 and now in its ninth year, the awareness campaign hopes to bring attention to the importance of everyday manners. After all, dogs and humans are two very different species. It’s not realistic to expect them to live in harmony without investing time and resources in dog training. For 2018, APDT has chosen a theme of “Make Training Part of Everyday Life with Your Dog.”

The Benefits of Training Your Dog as Early in Life as Possible

Many first-time dog owners are surprised to learn that they can start training a puppy as early as seven weeks of age. Because your puppy has a lot to learn about life and living with a human family, we recommend enrolling him in a puppy obedience class if possible. Your puppy will learn how to interact with other animals and people as well as become accustomed to a range of different environments.

National Train Your Dog Month

Proper socialization as a puppy is critical to the psychological well-being of your adult dog. A training class also teaches skills to you as a dog owner, including how to handle housebreaking and common puppy behaviors such as excessive chewing. Your puppy will learn such things as acting politely when a guest arrives at your home, coming when you call her, and not pulling on the leash during walks. Even if you adopt an older dog or don’t get the chance to enroll your puppy in obedience classes, it’s never too late to start.

Use Real Life Scenarios to Train Your Dog
While training classes offer your dog an excellent advantage, he still needs training in everyday situations to learn how to behave well consistently. APDT recommends using these opportunities for dog training:

  • Car rides: Even a short car trip is a chance to teach your dog what you expect. For example, he should come when you call him to the car and sit during the ride. If you go to a drive-thru at a restaurant or bank or somewhere that you plan to take your dog in with you, it provides a great opportunity for socialization as well.

  • Take your dog to stores that allow dogs: Some types of stores and restaurants, especially pet stores and outdoor cafes, allow customers to bring their dogs. This is a good time for your dog to practice sitting nicely while someone pets her, walking indoors on a leash, and staying in the car while you load the items you purchased.

  • Delivery personnel: Your dog is going to have to get used to the mailman, the UPS delivery driver, and the meter reader. When one of these people approaches your house, command your dog to sit and be quiet. Be sure to reward any cooperation you get with extra attention or an occasional treat.

  • Cooking dinner, relaxing, or entertaining guests: You don’t want your dog to jump up on you when you’re cooking at the stove or trying to watch TV in peace. It’s even worse when your dog won’t leave guests alone. Train your dog to remain quiet during these times or to play independently.

Of course, you may not know how to teach these skills when you and your dog first learn them in obedience class. It’s okay not to do it perfectly, but you must practice the skills repeatedly or your dog won’t learn them. Please don’t hesitate to contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you have additional questions about your dog’s behavior or health.

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Pet Safety Tips for the Winter Season

After teasing us with warm weather well into December, Mother Nature has decided to send us winter after all. It officially begins this Friday, December 22, but anyone living near Lake Elmo, Minnesota can see that it’s already here. Nonetheless, this is the day chosen as Keep Pets Safe in Winter Day by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (ASPCA) to Animals. The organization hopes to highlight some winter safety tips that pet owners might not have considered otherwise.

Pet Safety Tips for the Winter SeasonASPCA Recommendations for Winter Pet Safety
As a pet owner, you know that your dog or cat should spend less time outside when the temperature is below freezing or the wind is cold and blowing. However, you may not realize that you need to supervise your pets around common winter products such as pellets used to melt ice. These contain chlorine and salt that could become lodged in your pet’s paw pads and cause a painful infection.

Anti-freeze presents a safety hazard as well since your pet may lap it up thinking that it’s water. Be sure to store it on an out-of-reach shelf in the garage and wipe up any spills on the driveway immediately. Some other things that the ASPCA advises for pet owners include:

  • Since your pet can feel disoriented by the ice and snow and not recognize surroundings normally familiar to him, be sure to keep him on a leash while outdoors
  • Get a microchip for your pet if you don’t already have one 
  • Although she might protest, put booties on your pet’s paws and a coat over her body when you need to be outside in very cold weather
  • If you use rodenticide products to keep pests from entering your house to escape the cold, make sure you place them in a location inaccessible to your pet
  • Look under the wheel wells and the hood of your car before starting it as an animal may be hiding there to keep warm

How to Know if Your Pet Has Developed Frostbite or Hypothermia
It’s a common misconception that animals can stay warmer in the winter than people can because they have a permanent fur coat. Cats and dogs don’t have as much body fat to keep themselves warm and they’re much smaller in size. They’re usually not wearing a heavy winter coat, boots, gloves, a hat, and a scarf either. A companion animal can develop frostbite or hypothermia quickly for these reasons. Uncontrollable shivering is often your first clue that something is wrong. You should also look for the following:

  • General weakness and fatigue
  • A bright red or black appearance to body tissues such as the gums
  • Icicle formation on your pet's body

Please contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo for an immediate evaluation if you notice any of these symptoms.

We hope that you and your pets stay safe and warm this winter season. Remember that dogs still need to go outside to exercise and go to the bathroom no matter how cold it gets. As long as you remember the safety rules we’ve just outlined, everyone should do just fine.

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After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128


Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)