Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

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.

Image credit: onetouchspark| iStock / Getty Images Plus

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

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)