Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Choosing Safe Gifts for Your Pet

The holiday season is well underway, and you may still be wondering what to get your dog or cat for a gift. Like most pet owners, you consider him a part of the family and wouldn’t dream of overlooking him when it comes to holiday gifts. Buying species-appropriate toys for your pet isn’t spoiling him. Dogs and cats need a regular rotation of toys to keep their minds and bodies sharp. This is especially important during Minnesota’s long winter when your pet may not be able to exercise as often.

Choosing Safe Gifts for Your PetConsiderations When Choosing Dog Toys
When selecting a new toy for your dog, consider her age, breed, size, and energy level. A large chew toy, for example, is a great gift for a German Shepherd while a chihuahua wouldn’t even be able to fit it into her mouth. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we also urge you to consider anything on a toy that could pose a choking hazard for your dog. These could include plastic eyes, buttons, nutshells, beads, and strings that your dog couldeasily chew off and accidentally swallow.

Dog need to chew and will put their mouths on anything they can find. If you want to save your furniture and shoes, be sure to invest in several chewing toys such as tennis balls, knotted ropes, and rubber balls. Like people,dogs also enjoy the occasional treat. Just be sure not to overindulge your pet with treats to avoid issues with weight and dental health. Toys that provide a spot to hide a treat inside make your dog work for the treat and motivate her to keep playing until she reaches it.

Safe and Popular Toys for Cats
Today’s cat may not look anything like his ancestors who had to stalk and kill their prey if they wanted to eat. Even so, they still have the stalking and chasing instinct hardwired into their DNA. That doesn’t mean you have to provide your cat with small animals to hunt. He uses the same skills pouncing on a tie from a loaf of bread or a small ball you got at the pet store. Laser pointers, toy mice, string, and cat-sized balls are especially popular with the feline. Some cats enjoy catnip sprinkled on their toys as well. Indoor cats especially need a wide variety of toys to avoid boredom.

Time is the Best Gift of All
There closer we get to the holidays, the less time you might have to spend with your pet. This could cause your dog or cat to act up to get your attention. You can avoid behavior problems and increase the bond you sharewith your pet by taking at least a few minutes a day to talk to and play with her. After all, time spent with a pet is never wasted.

Happy holidays from the staff of Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo! We appreciate the opportunity to b e your local veterinarian.

Image credit: Name| iStock / Getty Images Plus

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


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)