Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

How Do Pets Get Diabetes?

When you think of diabetes, you might not think that your dog or cat is at risk, but our pets can suffer from diabetes just like people. But how well do you understand this disease and the risk factors your pet has of developing it?

What is Diabetes?

 Diabetes in cats and dogs results from their bodies not producing enough insulin or not being able to properly respond to the insulin their bodies do make. The lack of insulin and/or the inability to effectively use insulin leads to a spike in glucose (or sugar) in the blood.

In other words, the sugar would normally be turned into energy, but the lack of insulin makes the sugar unusable, which leaves a surplus of sugar in the body.

Diabetes in Cats Vs. Dogs

Dogs and Diabetes

Dogs are more likely to suffer from Type I diabetes. This occurs when their pancreas cannot produce insulin. This means the body cannot properly digest or use energy from food that the dog eats. Once pets develop Type I diabetes, they will always be diabetic.

Cats and Diabetes

Our feline friends suffer from Type II diabetes more often than dogs. This form of diabetes the pancreas functions properly and produces insulin, but the cells do not react to it as they should. This form of diabetes can be reversed if your cat or dog improves her body condition and sheds some extra pounds.

What Causes Diabetes in Pets?

Diabetes is a complicated disease, and there isn’t only one cause of diabetes in pets. Some breeds of dogs and cats are genetically predisposed to becoming diabetic while others are not. 

If the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas fail or get damaged or destroyed, the result is Type I diabetes. The destruction of the cells is permanent, which is why there is no cure for Type I diabetes.

What causes pancreas cells to die? Pancreatitis and genetics.

Type II diabetes develops from being overweight or obese. The extra weight turns normal cells into insulin-resistant cells. 

What Pets Have a Higher Risk for Developing Diabetes?

Dogs develop diabetes more frequently than cats. About 1% of dogs will become diabetic and the older they get, the more likely they are to develop this disease. About 1 in 500 cats is diagnosed as diabetic.

While there are some pet groups that are more likely to get diabetes, pets of all ages, genders, and sizes can develop it.

Higher-Risk Pets

  • Older cats and dogs
  • Male cats
  • Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely to get diabetes
  • Inactive pets
  • Pets that experience pancreatitis
  • Pets with hyperthyroidism

Common Dog Breeds with a Genetic Predisposition to Develop Diabetes

  • Dachshunds
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Pomeranians
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Toy Poodles
  • Terriers
  • German Shepherd Dogs

What Can You Do to Prevent Diabetes?

Keeping your dog or cat active and at a reasonable weight is the first step to providing them with the guidance they need to avoid developing diabetes. This means feeding your pet the right portions of a proper diet and keeping them physically engaged with exercise and play.

Make sure your cat has a high protein diet, low in carbs. Dogs do best with quality proteins, complex carbs, and fiber.

If you have any questions about how you should feed your cat, dog, or other pet, what kind of food and how much, or any other concerns, please make an appointment. When it comes to diabetes, don’t put your pet at risk.  Like most illnesses, avoidance is best, but early detection lessens the severity of symptoms, the toll on the body, and improves both the length and quality of your pet’s life. If you suspect your pet may be diabetic, bring her in and we’ll happily diagnose her and set her on the path to improved health.



Image credit: Rodrigo Souza | Pexels

What Pet Parents Need to Know to Prepare for Extreme Weather

Weather extremes can turn your life upside down, and our area certainly isn’t a stranger to severe weather. In fact, the Lake Elmo area is 75% more likely to see tornadoes than other cities in the U.S.!  As a pet parent, preparation takes a bit more effort, but protecting our precious pets is worth the time, energy, and small investment in emergency supplies.
Lake Elmo doesn’t just get tornadoes. Other weather events we should all brace for include blizzards, hail, thunderstorms, and winter storms. And once the storm passes, it's important to remember the side effects of these violent events have a lasting impact.  Are you ready for flooding and power outages? How about relocation if necessary?
Before you find yourself in a risky situation, make sure you’re prepared to care for your pet when the weather strikes.

What Pet Parents Can Do to Prepare for Extreme Weather

There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it: preparation saves lives. This means examining your particular circumstances like your home’s shutters, power backup, and pets’ needs to determine what’s best for your household. We’ve put together a thorough list to help you decide what you need to do to prepare your pets before storms strike.

Make a Pet-Friendly Plan

Make a plan for the entire family, including your furry family members. Write this plan down, and practice it with the kids and the pets to make sure everyone is prepared for if a disaster happens. Your goal should be that the actions you and your family take are second-nature and the automatic response if the power goes out or you get snowed in.
If you plan on leaving, you will need a plan for your pet. Leaving your pet behind should be a last and very temporary option. This means you need to research shelters and pet-friendly hotels, now. Many AirBnB and other short-term rentals allow pets. If you can stay with friends and family, this is usually the best option.
Know where to call or look if your pet goes missing. This means both her safe places and the local animal rescues and shelters.  Make sure your pet's microchip is up to date (see info below). Also, make sure your pet has a collar and tags, and get a light colored collar and write your name and cell phone number in permanent pen on both the inside and outside of the collar.  Tags can come loose, but collars usually stay on and this secondary means of identification can help reunite you with your pet.  The ink on the outside may fade, but the ink on the inside will last longer - all of which can help you get your pet back as soon as possible.
Work through different scenarios, following a what-if mindset. 
Check trees around your home, now, before the winds start up. Tree trimming can save your home, vehicle, and your life.

 Tornado Tips for Pet Parents

Keep your pets inside. Birds, cats, rabbits, and all other pets are safest within the protection of four walls and a roof.
Practice bringing your pets with you into your tornado safety area within your home.  Make one person in the house responsible for bringing the pet, another for food and water dishes, someone for the pet’s bed, etc.  Make sure you have everything you and your pet need so you don’t have to venture out until it is safe.  

Power Outages and Pets

If you own a reptile or fish, make accommodations to keep her warm and oxygenated if the power goes out.  Battery backups - and extra batteries - are very important to keep on hand in this case.  

 Keep Your Pets’ Microchip and ID Tags Up-to-Date

 When emergencies strike, pets tend to go missing. The shock of lightning, trees and limbs crashing down, and high winds can engage a pet’s natural ‘flee-to-safety’ instinct. This is why so many shelters fill with lost and scared animals after natural disasters.
Make sure your pets’ microchips have your most recent phone number and address just in case your cat sneaks out of the house or your dog squeezes under the fence, and they have tags and a collar as suggested above.

 Prepare Emergency Supplies for You and Your Pet


 A First-Aid Kit is Always a Good Idea

 Adapting your first-aid kit to be pet-ready is simple. And if you don’t have a first-aid kit of your own, use this time to make one.
You can order a pre-made one online or make your own. Just be sure you have
  • Ice packs
  • Gauze
  • Tape
  • Cotton balls
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Gloves
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Bandaids
  • Bandage wrap
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • A syringe (this comes in handy for washing wounds and administering medicine)
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Styptic powder
  • Muzzle
  • Blanket or towel to wrap your pet in if you need to tend to injuries
  • Treats to distract a stressed or injured pet

 Keep In a Safe Place

  • Your pets’ veterinary records
  • Prescriptions and medications
  • Our contact information (on a business card or written down)
  • Printed pictures of your pets
  • A crate or carrier
  • A trusted neighbor’s contact information
  • Poison control phone number 
  • A water treatment kit

 Stock Up On

  • Non-perishable food and treats
  • Leashes and a muzzle
  • Toys
  • Bedding
  • Silver emergency blankets
  • Water
  • Litter
  • Paper towels
  • Towels
  • Trash bags
  • Bleach
  • Candles
  • Sterno
  • Soap and dish soap
  • Plastic poop bags
  • Puppy pee pads to give your pet a place to go to the bathroom
You can keep all of these supplies in an inexpensive tool box or 5 gallon bucket from a home improvement store.  This way you can just grab it and take it to the safe zone in your home, or into your vehicle if you are evacuating.  Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  
Make sure you have enough of your pet’s prescription well before a storm hits, just in case the roads are impassable or communication lines are down.  

Stay Safe, Lake Elmo

When it comes to weather, you never know exactly what to expect, but by preparing, you will know how to react. These simple steps can possibly help save your pet’s life. If you need to stock up on your pet’s prescription food or need to refill her prescription, please give us a call. 
Image credit: Houskey Hou | Pexels

Coping After You’ve Lost a Pet

Our pets fill our hearts with love. They wait for us to return when we’re away and snuggle extra close when we’re feeling down. And losing a pet can leave a huge hole in our hearts, homes, and families. And while the people around us offer their condolences, the pain can feel immeasurable. So, how can you begin to cope after the loss of your pet and start to work toward closure? 

While every pet parent grieves differently and each pet and situation is unique, we hope our tips can help you cope while celebrating the life and memories of your pet.

Understanding the Hurt and Pain of Losing a Best Friend

 We bond with our pets and share a connection that only a pet parent can understand. Losing a dog, cat, hamster, rabbit, snake, or any other is like losing a family member. There’s that unbearable silence when you wake and the sobering absence when you get home. Our pets give us purpose, direction, and structure our lives. Losing a pet completely changes your life. It’s normal to feel the pain, anger, and sadness that accompanies this difficult time. You may also feel very alone, in shock, or in denial.

One thing is for sure: grieving a pet is normal but never easy. And there is no “normal reaction,” but there are some things that many people find helpful in the coping process.

Dealing with the Loss of Your Beloved Pet

Create a memorial and invite loved ones.

If you had a special spot in your yard, dedicate it to the memory of your pet. From a birdbath to a sapling, choose something beautiful where you can celebrate your pet’s life and meditate on the joy she brought into your life.

Invite friends, family, and loved ones that knew your pet to a memorial service. Allow others to share their stories of how amazing your pet was. Express your feelings and honor your pet’s life in a way that feels right to you.

If you don’t have the right outdoor spot, create a memory box with your pet’s collar, tag, photos, paw prints, or written memories.

Talk About How You Feel

Share your feelings with people that care about you. If you feel like you’d be able to express yourself better with a professional, consider making that appointment.

Don’t lose touch with your friends. If you went to the dog park, reach out to some of your friends to take a walk there or invite them over for tea or coffee to share in memories of your pet.

Don't Rush or Ignore the Grieving Process

Grieving takes time. How much? Everyone’s timeline is a little different. Let the process to unfold naturally. If you rush the process, you may struggle more by cycling back into profound surprise, anger, and denial. And ignoring the grieving process can lengthen the time it takes to heal and create an unhealthy disposition.

Take Care of Yourself

The range of emotions that come along with the loss of a pet can take a lot out of you. Check in with yourself and a trusted friend to be sure you’re eating properly, sleeping enough, and keeping up with your responsibilities.

Do your best to stick to your schedule and take care of your mental and physical well-being  with meditation, yoga, exercise, or hikes.

Talk Gently but Honestly with Your Children

Some parents are afraid to tell their kids what happened to their pet. You’ve probably heard the stories of the farm or people telling their kids the cat ‘ran away.’ While their hearts are in the right place, this can confuse kids and lead to distrust.

If you need assistance talking to your children, there are some excellent books that can help. Take a look into these:

The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit to Pet Paradise by Adrian Raeside

Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

My Pet Memory Book by S. Wallace

I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm

Our Hearts Are with You as Your Work Through the Process

We understand the loss and are here to provide additional resources, such as those found on our website:

Pet Loss and Grief


Find support groups and good information.


Help on explaining pet loss to children.


We understand this is a difficult journey, and as avid pet lovers, empathize with the impact this loss has on your life. You are part of our family at Cedar Pet Clinic, and we want you to know we care about you and your pet. Losing your best friend, your beloved pet, and that unique companion that made your life whole disrupts reality and never feels fair, but we’re here with understanding and compassion.


Image credit: EKH-Pictures | 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)