Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

The Importance of Exercise to Your Pet

We’re two weeks into the new year, and if you’re like many people, you’ve likely thought of changes you’d like to make in your life to do better in the year ahead. As a pet owner, maybe you’ve even thought of ways that you can enhance and enrich your pet’s life. If so, one of the best commitments you can make for your pet, (and one in which you’ll reap the benefits, too!) is exercise. Here are a few reasons why this is so important!

Help in the Prevention of Obesity

It’s clear to see that pet obesity has reached large segments of our pet population. This last October, we posted this to our Facebook page:

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With pet obesity having its own “day” named after it, we know that we should direct attention to the cause of the problem. By committing to a plan of daily exercise, you’ll help keep your pet’s weight at an appropriate level. At your pet’s next preventive care exam, ask us which type of activities will be best for your pet, based on age, breed and overall health conditions. Exercise may look different for each pet - for example, it’s pretty simple to put a leash on your dog and head outside around the block a few times. For our feline friends, having plenty of toys around, or even a laser light for then to chase may be a perfect way to take in some exercise. For those of us who share our home with a pocket pet, bird or other exotic species, there are very specific exercise regimens that will be of benefit - we can help you with activities appropriate for your pet's needs.

Mental Stimulation

When exercising, especially when venturing outside, there are plenty of opportunities for your pet to enrich his mind right in addition to the physical benefits to his or her body. With the potential for socialization with the other dogs on the stroll, plenty of critters to see (squirrels, birds, rabbits), and the abundance of new smells and sounds, your dog will benefit from a good deal of mental stimulation. This helps to burn mental energy, leaving less time for separation anxiety and the destructive behaviors that may coincide with it.

For cats, providing them opportunities to forage for their food makes meal time an enriching activity. Hunting feeders keep your cat physically active, while also meeting the need to hunt and prey. This leads both to a slimmer and better behaved feline companion!

Overall Wellness and Health

Just as in people, frequent exercise helps reduce the risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, diseases of the heart and kidneys, cancers, and respiratory conditions. Meanwhile, daily walks and exercise help keep your pet agile and limber. Even a twenty-thirty minute jaunt has health benefits which will ward off premature aging by helping to develop an overall state of fitness and wellness.

As you do venture out of doors, keep an eye on your pet to monitor them for tiring or signs of discomfort, particularly in our cold January temperatures. Additionally, if your pet has any medical conditions, you’ll want to modify an exercise routine specifically to your pet’s health needs and limitations.

Time With You

Of course the health benefits to your pet are important, but one of the most important rewards of exercise with your pet is the time you’ll share together. Not only do you help build your pet’s confidence and enhance the bond you share in spending time with them, but this time will contribute to BOTH of you in emotional and psychological ways.

We hope you have a fabulous start to your new year, and that it is one of health and wellness for both of you! Please don’t hesitate to contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you have additional questions about your pet's behavior or health.

Reference used in this article:
“5 Reasons Why Your Pet Should Be Your Workout Buddy.” Pet Health Network, www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/5-reasons-why-your-pet-should-be-your-workout-buddy.

 

Photo Credit: kzenon

New Pet? Let's Get Started off on the Right Paw!

Have you recently made a commitment to decide to adopt a pet? Or have you already brought your pet into your home and are wondering how you can be the best pet parent you can be for your new companion? In this article, we’ll offer some tips on how to ease the transition of your pet into your home as well as get him or her started onto a healthy journey, maximizing the time that will be spent with you!

Tip #1: Prepare your home.

This sounds simple, but in reality, you really need to view every item in your home from the height of your pet. Perhaps furniture items that you never give a second glance to harbor curious extra sniffs, tugs or even chewing. Consider what you are leaving out in your pet’s reach and remember that he or she really doesn’t know the difference between a $10 pair of shoes or a $350 pair of shoes. As an alternative, have several pet-safe toys in the area your pet will be occupying. Clear away anything else that you don’t want to have innocently damaged.

Secure an appropriate crate, food and water bowls, and check for pet licensing requirements where you live.

Tip #2: Schedule your pet’s veterinary visit.

Preventive care is the key to your pet’s overall health. Vaccinating against disease, such as lyme, leptospirosis, Bordetella (kennel cough), and implementing other preventive measures to protect against heartworm, or tick-borne illnesses, help to not only keep your pet healthy and parasite free, but your family members, as well! On your pet’s first visit, we’ll help to set up a vaccination schedule and help you know what you might expect at the various stages of your new friend’s life.

Tip #3: Start with a dental regimen right way.

Much like preventive care that we discussed in tip #2, proper care of your pet's teeth will also help to contribute to his or her overall health. We can help show you how to brush your pet's teeth, but you can also check out the video below! It's important to begin this routine early on in your pet's lifetime, so that they can not only benefit from the rewards of dental health, but to help desensitize them in having their mouth, gums and face handled. Our team can provide suggestions on some of the toothpastes and brushes that both we and our clients prefer.

Tip #4: Socialization

The window of time from several weeks up until about 4 months is a significant time for your new pet, especially as a puppy. This socialization period impacts him or her for the rest of their life in reactions to environmental stimuli. For kittens, this time may vary from 2-14 weeks. 

Why is this so important? By helping pets feel calm in fearful situations or unfamiliar circumstances, you’ll not only build their confidence, but also help reduce potential for aggression, fear biting, or submissive behaviors that become difficult to manage. 

Seek out local obedience classes or ask our veterinarians for suggestions on how to maximize this pivotal moment in your pet’s life. Are you noticing excessive barking, destructive chewing or house training issues that seem to be lingering? These tips may help.

Tip #5:  Choose Good Nutrition

Navigating food labels is complicated for us as humans. Trying to understand what our pets need can be even more difficult. It’s important to choose a high quality pet food that meets each stage of your pet’s changing physical and mental needs. Our veterinary team can help provide guidance on the right amount of food, the best type for your pet’s individual needs, and what your pet’s feeding schedule should look like. Important to consider - even though treats may seem tiny and harmless to you, pet obesity is a common problem, and each calorie adds up in their overall daily dietary intake.

Tip #6:  Prepare for a Lifetime of Devotion and Companionship

Pets truly are a gift in our lives and they will be your most devoted of companions. By committing to a schedule of preventive care, parasite prevention and a healthy, active lifestyle, your pet will thrive and you’ll further strengthen the bond that you share. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we’re here to be with you on your pet’s journey of health, whether your pet is a dog, cat,  rabbit, gerbil, hamster, hedgehog, turtle, rat, chinchilla, ferret, guinea pig, pet chicken, duck, goose, snake, iguana, chameleon, frog, or, sugar glider! (or even, a tarantula!)

References:
Becker, Mikkel. “Your Guide on How to Socialize a Kitten.” Vetstreet, www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/your-guide-to-socializing-a-kitten.
Donovan, Liz. “Puppy Socialization: Why, When, and How to Do It Right – American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 4 June 2015, www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/puppy-socialization/.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Pet Toys to Avoid This Holiday Season

With Christmas just days away, you may be scrambling for last-minute gift ideas for your dog or cat. Unfortunately, feeling rushed can cause you to choose toys for your pets with safety hazards that you might not have considered. Since the last thing you want to deal with on a holiday is finding emergency care for a sick or injured pet, we have highlighted some toys for both dogs and cats to avoid giving as gifts this holiday season.

Potentially Hazardous Dog Toys

What dog doesn’t love a nice meaty bone, especially one containing chicken, turkey, or another type of meat? According to the Consumer Affairs Division, all types of bones can splitter or shatter inside of your dog’s intestinal tract and cause a serious blockage. This goes for both raw and cooked meat on a bone. Fragmented bones can also present a choking hazard. It’s better to stick to toy bones to help satisfy your dog’s instinct to chew.

Balls are another toy that help to satisfy a dog’s urge to chew. However, you need to take special care to ensure that the ball is not so small compared to your dog’s mouth size that he could swallow it. Dog toys filled with beans or beads could easily cause a choking hazard if your dog rips one open.

Tug toys for dogs have come under some debate in the last few years. Some people feel they make dogs too aggressive and damage their teeth, while others feel it’s a good toy to teach dogs to share. Many pet owners feel that tug toys help to keep large breeds under control when they become overly excited. We encourage you to consider your dog’s size and temperament before giving this toy.

In regard to these or any toys, feel free to ask one of our veterinarians at your next visit if you have questions about the best options to help keep your pet's mind sharp and body physically active.

Potentially Hazardous Cat Toys

Cats love to bat at string, yarn, and ribbon, but these items can create a choking hazard unless someone is closely supervising. They can also become lodged in your cat’s intestines if he or she accidentally swallows them. If you choose to give your cat a toy with plastic eyes, a plastic nose, or any type of dangling ribbon attached, be sure to remove these items first.

Scratching posts for cats are an excellent way for them to sharpen their claws and relieve stress while saving your furniture at the same time. However, you need to ensure that the post is firmly secure and has enough weight at the top not to topple over on your cat when used.

Instead of these toys that present hazards, consider toys that help complement your cat's hunting instincts. For example, toys that hide food and make them "work" for their meal can help keep minds sharp and bodies fit. Keep in mind, that just like children, a cat may have preferences for one toy or another, so it is important to try a variety of options, and even change out the options as you discover your cat's preferences.

What Your Pet Wants the Most is You

Giving your pet safe toys this holiday season is certainly a loving thing to do. From a pet’s perspective, your love and attention are better than anything they could find wrapped up under the tree. At this busy time of year, be sure to take the time to spend uninterrupted time with your dog or cat simply snuggling or playing together. If you have any concerns about his or her health or simply want to schedule a check-up, contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo at your convenience. We hope you have a happy holiday and safe winter season.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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
651-487-3255

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1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800