Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

4 Hazards to Avoid for a Safe Valentine's Day

What’s the first thing you think of when mentioning the word “February”? Did the thought of hearts, chocolates and candy-grams that make a special appearance this month jump to the forefront of your mind? It is the month of Valentine’s Day, and with the extra opportunity for treats and decorations, we wanted to share four Valentine’s Day hazards to be mindful of in keeping your pets safe during this sweet holiday!


A sugar substitute that is found in many candies and gums, xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, even in the smallest of amounts. Be sure to keep any of these items up out of reach of your curious canine. If your pet ingests any items containing xylitol, it’s imperative that you call us immediately. When xylitol poisoning is recognized early, treatment is possible and increases the likelihood of a better outcome for your dog.


It’s fairly well known that chocolate can present dangers to our dogs, and is potentially fatal. However, certain types of chocolate are more hazardous than others - typically the darker the chocolate, the greater the risk. Keep all chocolates far out of reach of your pets, and especially items such as cocoa, baker’s chocolate, and dark chocolate.

If you’re unsure of whether or not to seek veterinary attention, please give us a call. In addition to chocolate, there may be other items ingested which may be causing problems for your pet.

Floral Arrangements

As beautiful as they are, floral arrangements can be toxic to our four-legged friends. Lilies, tulips, azaleas, and Sago Palm are extremely hazardous, and can cause vomiting, kidney failure, and even death. If you receive an arrangement with any of these species, be sure to put them far out of reach from pets, and instead in a place where you can enjoy without worry of the flowers presenting a danger.

Bags & Wrapping

Everyone loves to get gifts, and once the treasure is unwrapped, the ribbon, bag, or wrapping is often cast aside. Your pets may be tempted to play with these items, or even to ingest them. Not only can this present a choking hazard, but also creates an opportunity for an intestinal blockage or other complications.

Having snacks along with a quiet movie night? Be sure to keep the chip or other snack bag out of your pet’s reach. Pet suffocation can occur in less than five minutes. This infographic shows how quickly and often this accident occurs.

We know you love your pet, and since this is a holiday celebrating love, be sure to spend some extra time with him or her. Giving the furry, feathered or scaled pets in our lives a little extra love is just what our doctors ordered!


“Poisonous Plants.” ASPCA, www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.

Photo Credit: Voren1

Exercise and Commitment to Your Pet's Health

The obesity epidemic in the United States is reaching epidemic proportions in both pets and people. Whether in part to our long and cold winters or intentional neglect, pet obesity is a tremendous problem. One easy way to combat this issue is to hit the pavement with your dog at least 30 minutes each day. Here are a few important considerations as you commit to better health for your pet!

Safety First

To avoid an accident or a cold-related illness, you’ll want to pay attention to seasonal safety. This begins with your dog's paws. Even though he may protest, consider covering them with dog boots to protect against the chill caused by ice and snow. If you go without booties, be sure to trim extra fur between your dog's toes. This stops ice from sticking to his toes. Our online store features a Dermoscent Bio Balm which helps keep your dog’s feet protected when used before and after a daily walk.

It is important to pay attention to the signals your dog sends that she's in danger of developing frostbite or hypothermia. Some of these including quicker panting, whining, anxiety, discomfort of lifting of paws, disorientation, or sitting down while on the walk. If any of these occur, head home at once.

Benefits to Your Dog’s Emotional Health

Dogs who do not get necessary daily exercise can develop problem behaviors such as excess chewing or destruction of household objects, eliminating in the house, separation anxiety, or  aggressiveness. Before getting frustrated with your dog, think about if he's getting enough regular exercise. Daily outings together increases the chance for social interaction with other dogs and people. Walking improves your dog's confidence since it exposes them to a wide range of people, places, situations, and weather conditions. This gives you a chance to practice training and simple commands. Of course, the added benefit of having the opportunity to get your undivided attention is what your pet wants most of all!

A Daily Walk is Good for YOU, Too!

No matter what the weather conditions, a brisk half-hour walk daily helps lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and Seasonal Affective Disorder in humans. January may be chilly, but it's also National Walk Your Dog Month. If you do not normally take your dog for a walk every day, the flipping of the calendar to 2019 is the best opportunity to make a new habit.

The next time you're tempted to skip your dog's daily walk, think about the important benefits your pet will miss: It's not exactly warm and sunny this time of year, yet your dog still wants all of the benefits he receives from a daily walk. As always, please contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital at (800) 924-0588,  if we can be of further assistance.

Photo Credit: LottaVess

Training for Your Pet

When deciding to bring a new pet into a home, people create checklists of items that will help make the pet more comfortable and happy…..tasty treats, cute sweaters, plush dog beds, and maybe even toys galore. However, one item that may never even make it on the list is the need for behavior or obedience training.

January is designated as “National Train Your Dog Month” for very good reason - people who take the time in working on core obedience skills with their dog tend to have stronger bonds and a more fulfilling experience as a pet owner. Why is training your dog so important?

Misinformation is Prominent in Internet Searches

There are a multitude of websites which offer advice on pet training, and unfortunately, not all of them are good consult. Some can even be downright harmful to your pet or set in motion a lifetime of fear, anxiety and stress. It’s important to find reputable trainers who embrace positive reinforcement strategies. This will help build your dog’s confidence and trust in you. Training which inflicts punishment is harmful to the emotional and social development of your dog.

Once you find a training opportunity which you feel comfortable with, try to enroll before your puppy is around 8 weeks of age. This is a critical time in his or her development. (Make sure your pup is up to date on vaccinations!) If you adopt an older pet, ask for appropriate classes or possibly even in-home training to help get your pet started off on the right paw!

Dogs That Receive Positive Training Reinforcement are More Social and Predictable

By setting up positive experiences around other dogs, people and situations, your dog will learn to be calmer and less fearful of change and unknown situations. Learning basic commands and being rewarded with a high-value and tasty treat sets the stage for positive associations with training, and your pup will love the time shared with you! Some of the valuable commands or skills that your pet may learn include:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Off
  • Drop it
  • Bite inhibition
  • Crate training
  • Tips for potty training

By having these commands and experiences to rely on in new situations, your dog will be calmer, more confident in knowing what to expect and have an association draw from on how to behave properly.

Training Helps Reduce Anxiety-Induced Behaviors

By spending time with your pet in training, you are helping them burn mental energy - right along with physical energy. It’s often said, “A tired dog is a good dog!” - and there is some merit to this. By giving your dog tasks or a job to do, you’ll notice a significant impact on the leftover energy they have each day. You’ll likely notice a calmer, more rested canine. This leaves less time for shredding furniture, chewing on shoes, digging, or other inappropriate behaviors.

Training Helps YOU Be a Better Owner!

By spending time with your dog, you’ll learn how take cues from his or her body language -- subtle, as well as not so subtle. By recognizing moments where your dog is becoming stressed, even slightly, you can redirect the behavior into something positive or remove your pet from the stress-inducing situation. For example, if a neighbor comes to visit and you notice your dog licking or persistent yawning, you’d know that this is an experience which is causing stress, not necessarily excitement or boredom. You’ll know that this is a situation in which you should intervene, potentially before it escalates, possibly into even a fear bite. This infographic by Dr. Sophia Yin clearly illustrates body language of fear and anxiety. It’s a good reminder that fear doesn’t always look like we think it may. Time in training with your dog helps keep these stress signals in mind.

In our Lake Elmo Area and surrounding communities there are a few of the training schools which may be in close proximity to you:

For The Love of Dogs in Hudson

Animal Inn Training

St. Paul Dog Training Club

Schindler Dog Training

If you’re looking to learn more about pet behavior and ways to help enrich your pet’s life through behavior training and understanding your pet’s “language”, ask one of our veterinarians, and we’ll point you in the right direction. There are several behavior issues that can be solved, or at the very least, mitigated with proper training.

Important to note: any time that your dog has a change in behavior, such as seeming to forget potty training, when it previously was a well-known skill for him or her, there may be an underlying medical cause, so be sure to contact us. 

Happy training!

Photo Credit: mdmilliman

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

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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)