Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

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.

Image credit: Name| iStock / Getty Images Plus

Tips for a Pet-Safe Thanksgiving Holiday

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and the official kick-off of the 2017 holiday season. Whether you’re traveling or hosting dinner locally, the logistics of Thanksgiving can be a little more challenging when you have a pet. Taking a few minutes to review safety tips now is the best way to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable holiday, including your pets.

Traveling with Pets for Thanksgiving
If you plan to travel outside of Minnesota or out of the country, remember that your pet needs a health certificate signed by your veterinarian. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo now if you know you will be traveling with your pet. Our staff will ensure that she’s up-to-date on vaccinations and generally well enough to travel. Thanksgiving Holiday

When traveling by car, be sure to restrain your pet for the entire trip. Not only is it a safety hazard to have an animal walking around freely in the vehicle, your pet will feel more secure when restrained. Remember not to leave your dog or cat in a car alone, not even for a few minutes. As you pack for the trip, be sure to include your pet’s regular food as well as toys, blankets, medications, and other supplies. 

If your holiday plans include staying with friends or family, make sure they’re okay with you bringing along your pet. Someone in the family could have animal allergies, feel anxious around dogs or cats, or simply prefer not to be with them. As a guest in someone’s home, it’s important to respect your host’s wishes and board your pet if necessary.

Thanksgiving Pet Safety When You’re the Host
Having extra people in the house can be stressful for your pet, which could cause him to act in unexpected ways. You might want to consider keeping your pet in a kennel or another room with the door closed while people eat their meal. This will prevent begging for food or unexpected aggressive behavior. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet away from the front door as people arrive. The excitement of the day could cause him to run out the front door and become lost.

Many foods and treats associated with Thanksgiving simply aren’t safe for house pets. Some of these include:

  • Turkey, turkey skin, and small bones
  • Bread dough and yeast
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Artificial sweetener

These foods can cause symptoms ranging from bloating and gas to seizures and shortness of breath. If you notice that anyone has dropped food on the floor, pick it up and throw it away before your pet can get to it. Additionally, keep an eye on the garbage can. The smells of forbidden foods may be too much for your pet to resist and you could find the contents of your garbage spilled all over the floor.

If you choose to decorate at Thanksgiving, keep in mind that several plants are toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. The most common offenders include ferns, hydrangeas, baby’s breath, and amaryllis. Avoid buying these plants if possible or at least put them in a location your pet can’t access.

Emergency Contact Information
Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo will be closed on Thursday, November 23 for Thanksgiving. You may contact one of the following 24-hour facilities if you do experience an emergency with your pet:

  • After Hours Veterinary Care, St. Paul: 651-487-1941
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, Oakdale: 651-501-3766
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, St. Paul: 651-293-1800

We wish you a safe and happy holiday!

Image credit: IrisImages | iStock / Getty Images Plus


Do You Know the Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats?

A diagnosis of cancer in a beloved dog or cat can come as a shock, especially when you didn’t notice any unusual symptoms. One reason for this is that our pets are masters at disguising their pain. When they lived in the wild, they needed to do this so as not to appear weak to predators. The behavior has remained with them, even though many live comfortable lives as house pets.

Because November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo would like to make you aware of 10 common signs of cancer in dogs and cats that might surprise you. Some are subtle enough that you could mistake it for something much less serious. These symptoms include:Cancer in Dogs and cats

Any type abnormal discharge: Vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, and pus may be unpleasant, but they’re also a way for your pet to let you know that something is wrong. You may also notice a bloated or distended stomach if your pet is experiencing internal discharge.

Change in appetite: Tumors can make it difficult for your pet to chew or swallow his food, which typically appears as a loss of interest in eating.

Breath and body odor: Cancer cells in the nose, mouth, or anal area can produce offensive and unusual odors.

Breathing difficulty and/or coughing: This can be a sign of lung cancer. Your pet will cough without relief and may even start gasping for air.

Changes in urination and defecation: You may notice that your dog or cat eliminates less often or more often than usual. Fecal products may appear loose or contain tinges of blood.

Fatigue and lethargy: Your pet may appear listless, depressed, and show little interest in play or exercise. She may also sleep much more than usual. 

Appearance of new bumps or lumps: If you notice a new hard mass on your pet’s body, please bring him into our animal hospital so we can check for internal tumors. 

Wounds that heal slowly or not at all: If your pet has a wound or cut that doesn’t appear to heal in the expected time, it could be due to cancer.

Limping: Your dog or cat may have a bone tumor if you notice him limping or favoring some limbs over others.

Sudden weight loss: Even the loss of a pound can make a big difference for a pet who’s not overweight. Please let us know if you notice sudden or significant weight loss.

Don’t Ignore These Symptoms
The above symptoms may or may not indicate cancer, but it’s best not to take chances. Whether you’re a long-time client or new to the area and searching for a veterinarian near me, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo so we can evaluate these symptoms. If we diagnose cancer, we will discuss all treatment options and let you know realistic survival expectations.

Depending on the specific cancer and how early we catch it, your pet could live for many more years. It’s also a good idea to schedule regular preventive care to help stay ahead of this serious health issue. Cancer is a significant problem for dogs and cats over age 10.

Image credit: Lindsay_Helms | iStock / Getty Images Plus


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)