Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Change a Pet’s Life Day is January 24

If it were up to you, Change a Pet’s Life Day would take place every day. That’s just how much you love animals. This January 24, you will have the chance to impact many animals’ lives for the better when you participate in this annual event. The awareness campaign hopes to draw attention to the pets waiting in shelters for permanent homes as well as animal welfare in general.

Are You Considering Pet Adoption?
Change a Pet’s Life Day
Most animals end up in shelters through no fault of their own, such as being born to a homeless mother or surrendered when their previous owners moved. They make just as good of pets as those you would get from a private party or pet store. To encourage adoptions on January 24, many animal shelters across the country will reduce or even completely waive the normal fees to adopt. When you adopt from a shelter, you know that the pet has been spayed or neutered, up to date on core vaccines, and has received a thorough exam by a veterinarian.

You can still help pets get adopted even if you can’t bring home a dog, cat, or other animal yourself. Be sure to tell your family, friends, and co-workers about Change a Pet’s Life Day and spread the word on social media as well.

Could You Provide a Foster Home?
Another way you can help if you can’t adopt is to offer temporary foster care to a waiting dog or cat. Pet rescue organizations retrieve adoptable animals from shelters where they would otherwise face euthanasia after a set time. The organizations then need volunteers to take the pets into their homes until they can find them a permanent placement. You would provide plenty of love as well as food and shelter for your foster care placements. The organization may also ask you to help screen people who apply to adopt the animal permanently.

Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter
Change a Pet’s Life Day takes the hard work of many volunteers to make it a success. One thing you can do is volunteer at a shelter participating in the event. Animal shelters often need help with processing adoption paperwork, bringing pets to meet their new families, and advertising for the event.

Do Something New for Your Own Pet This Year
If you already have one or more pets, January is the perfect time to start a new routine together. Take a new route when walking, sign your dog up for an obedience class, or vow to play with your cat more to keep boredom away on these cold winter days. The new year is also a great time to establish a preventive healthcare routine for your cat or dog at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you haven’t already.

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It's National Train Your Dog Month

Did you know that January is officially National Train Your Dog Month? Started by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) in 2010 and now in its ninth year, the awareness campaign hopes to bring attention to the importance of everyday manners. After all, dogs and humans are two very different species. It’s not realistic to expect them to live in harmony without investing time and resources in dog training. For 2018, APDT has chosen a theme of “Make Training Part of Everyday Life with Your Dog.”

The Benefits of Training Your Dog as Early in Life as Possible

Many first-time dog owners are surprised to learn that they can start training a puppy as early as seven weeks of age. Because your puppy has a lot to learn about life and living with a human family, we recommend enrolling him in a puppy obedience class if possible. Your puppy will learn how to interact with other animals and people as well as become accustomed to a range of different environments.

National Train Your Dog Month

Proper socialization as a puppy is critical to the psychological well-being of your adult dog. A training class also teaches skills to you as a dog owner, including how to handle housebreaking and common puppy behaviors such as excessive chewing. Your puppy will learn such things as acting politely when a guest arrives at your home, coming when you call her, and not pulling on the leash during walks. Even if you adopt an older dog or don’t get the chance to enroll your puppy in obedience classes, it’s never too late to start.

Use Real Life Scenarios to Train Your Dog
While training classes offer your dog an excellent advantage, he still needs training in everyday situations to learn how to behave well consistently. APDT recommends using these opportunities for dog training:

  • Car rides: Even a short car trip is a chance to teach your dog what you expect. For example, he should come when you call him to the car and sit during the ride. If you go to a drive-thru at a restaurant or bank or somewhere that you plan to take your dog in with you, it provides a great opportunity for socialization as well.

  • Take your dog to stores that allow dogs: Some types of stores and restaurants, especially pet stores and outdoor cafes, allow customers to bring their dogs. This is a good time for your dog to practice sitting nicely while someone pets her, walking indoors on a leash, and staying in the car while you load the items you purchased.

  • Delivery personnel: Your dog is going to have to get used to the mailman, the UPS delivery driver, and the meter reader. When one of these people approaches your house, command your dog to sit and be quiet. Be sure to reward any cooperation you get with extra attention or an occasional treat.

  • Cooking dinner, relaxing, or entertaining guests: You don’t want your dog to jump up on you when you’re cooking at the stove or trying to watch TV in peace. It’s even worse when your dog won’t leave guests alone. Train your dog to remain quiet during these times or to play independently.

Of course, you may not know how to teach these skills when you and your dog first learn them in obedience class. It’s okay not to do it perfectly, but you must practice the skills repeatedly or your dog won’t learn them. Please don’t hesitate to contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you have additional questions about your dog’s behavior or health.

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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.

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After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
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Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
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St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)