Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Have a Safe and Happy Autumn with Your Pet

Fall is in the air in Minnesota. The temperatures may still be warm, but you can tell that the seasons are shifting. Kids are back at school, stores are already selling Halloween candy, and the green leaves are slowly turning magnificent shades of orange and red. Like all seasons, fall presents unique safety hazards for dogs and cats. We encourage you to review the items below and make any needed adjustments so you and your pet can enjoy the season.

Keep These Autumn Hazards in Mind
These are some of the most common pet hazards you might encounter this fall:

Safe and Happy Autumn

Mushrooms and plants: While most mushrooms are harmless, a small percentage can cause effects such as increased salivation, allergies, and digestive distress. Since you can’t always tell safe from unsafe mushrooms, it’s best to keep your pet away from them altogether. The autumn crocus and clematis plants, which only grow in the fall, can be dangerous for your pet to chew or swallow as well.

Piles of leaves: Nothing says autumn for kids like jumping in a pile of leaves. However, make sure you rake and dispose of leaves as quickly as possible after the fun. Leaves attract moisture, which in turn causes bacteria and mold. Your dog or cat could exhibit a decreased appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting if she chews on leaves filled with these substances.

Rodent traps: Mice and other critters will try to seek shelter inside as the temperature gets cooler outside. Homeowners typically try to prevent this by placing rodent traps and poisons on the exterior of their home. If you choose to do so, make sure your pet doesn’t go near them. He could develop tremors, a depressed mood, poor appetite, and abnormal movements if he consumes rodent poison.

Snakes: Snakes are already preparing for hibernation and have little patience with other animals in what they perceive as their space. If you normally take your dog for a walk in a natural setting, be sure she stays on the trail and doesn’t chase after snakes. Your dog may also alert you to their presence in your yard by barking in an especially aggressive manner. If you notice a snake, move your dog away immediately to avoid it biting her.

Autumn Holidays
Fall also brings two big holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Although both are several weeks away, make sure that you decorate with your pet’s safety in mind. Keep streamers, cardboard cutouts, and other seasonal items well out of his reach. It’s also important not to share Halloween candy or Thanksgiving treats with your pet and to supervise him closely to ensure that others don’t either.

Contact Us in an Emergency
Sometimes accidents happen despite your best intentions. If your pet’s curiosity gets her into trouble this fall, contact us right away at 651-770-3250. You can also find after-hours emergency information by clicking on the link above. Happy fall to you and your pet.

Image credit: Anna-av | iStock / Getty Images Plus

How Would You Care for Your Pet in a Natural Disaster?

The media images coming from the floods in Texas and Florida and the wildfires in Montana are difficult to see. People are losing their homes and livelihoods in circumstances they are powerless to control. Perhaps you have even seen pictures of pets rescued from the floods without their families. This is an especially fitting time for National Disaster Preparedness Month, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sponsors every September. The CDC encourages all Americans to create a disaster plan well before they ever need it, including families with pets.

How to Prepare a Disaster Kit for Your Pet
Few people are level-headed enough when a disaster suddenly strikes to plan how to escape with their pet. By preparing the kit in advance, you can just grab it and go. According to the CDC, a disaster kit for pets should include the following items:

  • Enough fresh bottled drinking water to last for two weeks
  • Regular pet food placed in a spill-proof and airtight container
  • Plastic bags for pet waste and/or a litterbox for cats
  • Brush, clippers, and other supplies for grooming
  • Two weeks’ worth of medication for your pet
  • A harness, leash, or both
  • Your pet’s favorite toys and personal bedding for comfort
  • A separate carrier for each pet labeled with his name, your name, and your contact information
  • Proof of your dog or cat’s vaccinations
  • Instructions for others to care for your pet if you become separated

Natural Disaster

Other Things to Remember in a Natural Disaster
If you have put off getting a microchip for your dog or cat, now is the perfect time to do it. Disasters are stressful and chaotic, which means your pet’s tag and collar could easily slip off. If you become separated and your pet has a microchip, the person who finds her can bring her to any veterinary clinic or shelter for scanning. The microchip stores your contact information so the veterinary clinic or animal shelter can get a hold of you.

Dogs or cats under extreme stress may run away when you call and put themselves in more danger. The CDC recommends keeping a leash or harness near each exit that you can place on your pet in a hurry if you need to evacuate. It will be less stressful for you because you know that your pet is right by your side.

When you create your written disaster plan, consider where you would evacuate to if necessary. List the names and addresses of shelters, hotels, or friends and family who could accommodate you. While it’s best to remain with your pet, that isn’t always possible due to restrictions at your temporary shelter. That’s why it’s important to include safe places you could temporarily bring your pet. If you don’t have to evacuate, try to keep your pet in a secure area of your home until you’re able to get back to your normal routine.

Disease Can Spread Quickly in the Aftermath of a Disaster
When a flood, fire, tornado, act of war, or another disaster occurs, escaping the immediate situation is the only thing on most people’s minds. One thing they don’t consider is how quickly disease can spread when hundreds or thousands of people and animals are gathered in the same space. This is especially true for animals who aren’t current on their vaccines. We encourage you to schedule a preventive care examif it’s been more than a year since we’ve seen your dog or cat. Our staff will ensure he’s up-to-date on vaccines and as prepared for an emergency as possible.

Image credit:  Akabei | iStock / Getty Images Plus

Protect Your Pet from Human Medication

The Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), part of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), compiles statistics on toxins consumed by pets each year. According to the organization, over-the-counter (OTC) medication topped prescription medication for the first time ever in 2015. This includes natural and herbal supplements as well as ibuprofen, Tylenol, and other well-known pain relievers.

Protect Your PetAt the close of that year, the APCC had received 28,500 reports of pets accidentally ingesting OTC medication meant for humans. Approximately 16 percent of its calls involved pets who had gotten into their owner’s prescription drugs. It also keeps statistics on cases of pets ingesting other types of household toxins.

How to Protect Your Pet from a Toxic Drug Reaction
Animals should never take medication meant for people and vice versa. Before you give your pet any medication, please clear it with one of the veterinarians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo. This includes treatments you can buy for your pet without a prescription. Once you have the medication at home, be sure to follow these tips to keep your pet safe:

Keep your medication in its original container and store it well out of the reach of your pet. Leaving it on the counter or placing it in a plastic bag is just asking for trouble. Your pet doesn’t know it’s something that could hurt him and won’t hesitate to sniff, lick, and chew your pills. If you do prefer to use a plastic pill organizer, make sure it’s on a high shelf or in locked cabinet your pet can’t access.

Be sure to keep OTC and prescription medication for yourself and other human family members separate from veterinary medication. Some pills can look nearly identical and it’s easy to give your pet the wrong medication or take something not meant for you, especially when you’re in a hurry.

If you keep medications in a purse or backpack, be certain to store it in a safe place while you’re at home. Both dogs and cats have a strong sense of smell and their curiosity can get the better of them. In fact, we recommend storing purses and backpacks away from pets even if you don’t normally carry medication. Your pet could easily get into something else she shouldn’t have, such as gum or make-up.

Symptoms Your Pet May Experience
The specific symptoms your pet experiences depend on the type of medication he chews or swallows. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, lack of appetite, tremors, seizures, and lack of coordination. The Pet Poison Helpline reported in 2016 that companion animals consumed these types of human medication most often:

  • Acetaminophen, including Tylenol
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications 
  • Attention deficit disorder drugs
  • Beta-blockers
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure pills
  • Cholesterol lowering agents
  • Ibuprofen
  • Sleep aids
  • Thyroid hormones

If you witness or suspect that your pet consumed human medication, please contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo immediately during our regular office hours at 651-770-3250. You may contact any one of the following after hours:

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

Although we hope you never experience an emergency, knowing who to contact on short notice can save your pet.

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)