Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Dog Parks and the Importance of Being Prepared

From a dog’s perspective, what’s not to love about a dog park? Your favorite canine gets to run around off-leash, socialize with other dogs, and check out new sights that he doesn’t get to see every day at home. While you surely know that you must closely supervise your dog at any dog park, you may have given less consideration to the fact that you must prepare to ensure that he remains safe during every visit. Before you explore dog parks in Lake Elmo, Oakdale, Stillwater, or other nearby communities, keep the tips below in mind.

Make Sure Your Dog Has a Microchip

Dog Parks and the Importance of Being Prepared

Even with your eyes on your dog every second, she could dart after a squirrel, another dog, or try to run due to fear of a sudden noise. With their four legs and smaller body size, most dogs can outrun humans any day of the week. The last thing you want is for your fun trip to the dog park to end in heartache when you lose your dog. Although your dog may have a collar and a tag with her name and your contact information, it could easily slip off or become caught on something.

A microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, gives you added peace of mind. It contains all of your contact information and is gently embedded beneath your dog's skin  near her shoulder blades. That means it can never fall off. If your dog doesn’t find her way back to you, anyone who finds her can take her to the nearest veterinary clinic or animal shelter for scanning. The person who completes the scan can then contact you to come and pick up your dog.

A Vaccinated Dog is a Healthy Dog

The rabies vaccine is just one mandatory vaccine that you must obtain for your dog under Minnesota state law. This keeps him and others safe from catching this serious and often deadly disease. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we check your dog’s vaccination status at every preventive care exam. We will ensure that he stays on schedule with all required vaccines and provide you with information about optional vaccines at this appointment. The vaccine for Lyme disease is one example of the latter.

Since you can’t control whether other dogs at the dog park have received their vaccines, the best thing you can do is make sure that your own dog gets his vaccines on schedule. Unfortunately, dogs can easily pass serious diseases to one another. This is especially true when they’re in close quarters like at a dog park.

Don’t Bring Home Another Dog’s Parasites

Fleas can easily jump from one dog to another, and ticks are out in abundance this year. Before every visit to a dog park, make sure your dog has protection against fleas, ticks, heartworm, and other parasites. Some parasites are not only a nuisance, they can be fatal as well.

Above all, relax and have a wonderful time playing with your dog at the park!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Flea and Tick Season

Flea and Tick Season

Now that it’s finally spring, fleas and ticks are out in even greater number. It’s important for all pet owners to understand these parasites as well as the symptoms they transmit. Although these parasites can be annoying and even deadly, taking a proactive approach to parasite management will ensure they don’t harm your pet.

Symptoms of Fleas in Companion Animals

Fleas are wingless creatures that can survive for up to 12 weeks. Although they are microscopic in size and usually not visible to the human eye, fleas can jump as high as two feet. They attach to your dog or cat because they can’t survive for long or reproduce without a living host. The following symptoms are common indications of a flea infestation:

  • Sneezing, watery eyes, or a runny nose
  • Licking, biting, or scratching more than usual
  • The appearance of sand grains or dark specks in your pet’s fur
  • The appearance of tiny white eggs in your pet’s feces
  • Patches of missing fur
  • Scabs or hot spots
  • Pale appearance to the gums

Fleas continually reproduce after locating a living host. They can store blood at a rate that’s 15 times the weight of their own body, which puts your pet at risk of anemia from the blood loss. If your dog or cat is already prone to allergies, he could develop allergic flea dermatitis due to flea infestation. This can cause serious health complications.

A Tick Bite Can Be a Death Sentence

Ticks typically live in bushes, trees, and grass. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for them to land on your pet’s body without you knowing it. A tick is a parasite that requires blood from its host for survival. Although ticks are larger than fleas, you probably won’t notice one on your pet until it has become engorged with her blood. This is called the incubation period. During this time, your dog or cat could develop tick paralysis, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It’s important to check your pet for ticks daily so you can remove one before it has the chance to inflict such damage.

The most common symptoms of a tick bite include appetite loss, fever, swelling, arthritis, and general lethargy. The exact symptoms often depend on which type of disease the tick has transmitted to your pet.

Do Your Part to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

Keeping your grass, trees, and bushes well-maintained in the warm weather months is essential to cut down on the tick population. It’s also a good idea to use a special flea comb on your pet daily. If your pet spends time outdoors, be sure to wash his bedding and toys in hot water once a week.

If you don’t already have your pet on year-round flea and tick control, we recommend that you start now. Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo would be happy to recommend a parasite prevention plan based on your pet’s lifestyle and other individual factors.

Photo Credit: Pixabay


Spring into Summer Safety

When you see 15 inches of snow fall in the middle of April, it’s hard to believe that summer will ever arrive. Yet here we are in May with temperatures frequently above 80 degrees. That means that we finally get to spend time outside with our pets. It can be hard to switch to a mindset of warm weather safety when we have experienced cold for so long. The tips below will help you and your pet to have a safer summer.

Spring into Summer Safety

Dogs and Swimming

While many breeds of dogs can swim instinctively, this isn’t true of all breeds. Those with broad chests or small hindquarters can have an especially difficult time. We encourage you to remain in the water with your dog and to stay an arm’s length away or less to ensure you can reach her if you notice signs of distress. Your dog should wear a (dog-approved) life vest when on a boat just like all other passengers.

Lawn and Garden

When you mow the lawn or work in your garden, keep your pet in the house if possible. Several types of chemicals and lawn and garden products can be harmful to her, including slug and snail bait, insecticides, and mulch. The chemicals contained in some of these can cause tremors, seizure, and even death. Using organic products is a good alternative. It’s also important to be aware that your pet could investigate outdoor rodent traps or poisons and become injured or significantly ill. If you do choose to use them make sure that your pet can’t access those specific areas.

Picnic Food

Summer is a wonderful season for having outdoor get togethers with friends. If your pet is around, she will probably be ever vigilant for people dropping a tasty morsel or two. The smells could get so tempting that she might even go after what’s on the grill. To avoid illness, a burn injury, or a choking situation, keep your pet contained away from the food or in the house. You should also let your guests know that they shouldn’t feed her any human food. (And, keep an eye on the trash - a curious and quick pet can get into garbage when you least expect it!)

Summer Parasite Control

Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworm can be a huge problem for pets during the summer because they’re more prevalent in the warmer weather. Their presence has become much more visible in the past couple of weeks, due to our warmer temperatures.

Unfortunately, fleas can survive a couple of months, even without a living host. They can easily get into your bedding, carpet, or furniture, so make sure that you vacuum frequently and wash anything your pet has touched in warm water. A dog or cat with fleas may display excessive itching and body sores. If you think your pet could possibly have fleas, please contact us, as both your pet and your home will need treatment.

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, AnaplasmosisEhrlichiosis and other serious health conditions to your pet. The warmth of your pet’s skin folds is especially attractive to them. Don’t forget to do a tick check of your pet’s body daily by running your hands from his head to tail and checking the underside, paws, and ears as well.

Heartworm is just one of several types of worms that can inflict serious damage. Some of the indications your pet could have heartworm are fatigue, difficulty breathing, refusal to eat, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fortunately, with monthly preventive medication, the risk of contracting heartworm is very small.

Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo carries several parasite control products and at your next visit, we'll assess your pet and then make appropriate recommendations. Prevention is definitely the best course of action to keeping your pet flea, tick and heartworm free. Our Cedar Pet Clinic Veterinarians will suggest a product for your pet based on her age, health and lifestyle.

If you experience an emergency with your pet this summer or would like more seasonal safety tips, please contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo at 651-770-3250.

Photo Credit: mheim3011

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)