Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

How to Prepare to Provide Your Cat or Dog with Necessary First Aid

As April springs into full-swing, we want to celebrate National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. As pet parents, we always try to keep our pets safe. One essential procedure that many pet parents forget about is providing their dog, cat, or other pet with first-aid. When it comes to your pet’s safety, you should be prepared to be a first responder when an injury or illness occurs.

Poisoning, Toxins, and Ingestion of other Household Hazards

The first step to keeping your pet safe when it comes to household hazards is education. Do you know what your dog, cat, or bird can or cannot eat? Most people know that anti-freeze is dangerous, but did you know garlic can be, too? Luckily, the AVMA has put together a helpful brochure you can use, then print and keep in your First-Aid kit as a reference.

If your pet eats something he or she shouldn’t, call us immediately.

Tips for Pet First-Aid for Injuries

Trust us, pets tend to get into some mischief, and unfortunately, it isn’t always harmless. It’s essential to know how you should respond if your pet gets hurt. Here are some of the most common types of injuries pets face and how you should respond. For almost all of the following scenarios (except choking), you should try to muzzle your pet to protect yourself from incidental bites.

Bleeding from Cuts or Internal Injury

Minor cuts or scrapes: Cover the wound with gauze. Wrap it tightly and apply pressure. It can take three minutes or more for blood to begin to clot.

Major Cuts: If your pet suffers an unfortunate but serious cut, tourniquet the limb with gauze orca band, then cover and apply pressure to the wound. Bring your pet into us immediately or go to an emergency vet clinic. If it takes more than 15-20 minutes, you will have to loosen the band for about 20 seconds so the limb can receive circulation.

Internal Injuries

If your pet suffers an internal injury, bring them in ASAP. Signs of an internal injury include bleeding from orifices, bloody urine, and irregular pulse (too fast or weak).


Chemical burns should always be addressed quickly. Flush the wound with ample water and bring your pet in.

Burns from Hot Substances: Apply an ice pack to the burn. It's a good idea to make an appointment with us so that we can help in prevention of infection.


Check inside your pet’s mouth for what they’re choking on. If you can easily reach the object carefully remove it, but be aware that you could be easily bitten due to your pet's anxiety and stress levels. If you can’t reach the object, call us or a nearby emergency clinic immediately for further instructions. 

Possible Broken or Fractured Bones

If your pet breaks a bone, try to immobilize them by swaddling them or carrying a heavier pet, like a larger dog, in on a makeshift stretcher.

How to Prep a Pet-Ready First-Aid Kit

Everybody has a first-aid kit lying around, but not many people stock theirs with pet-friendly supplies. Being prepared can get your pet out of a lot of trouble and decrease the severity of a wound or illness.

First-Aid Supplies for a Pet-Ready Kit

  • Poisons and toxins List
  • A list with our number (651-770-3250) and the emergency vet nearest you
  • Your pet’s vaccination paperwork and tags
  • A leash
  • Self-cling bandage (like what they wrap your arm with after you donate blood)
  • A muzzle
  • Gauze
  • Tape
  • Antiseptic
  • A towel (and a pillowcase for cats)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Gloves
  • A rectal thermometer with petroleum jelly
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers

We hope this article helps you feel prepared to help your pet should you ever be faced with an emergency. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt, call our veterinary team. From allergic reactions to bug bites to porcupine quills, we see it all!

Photo Credit: absolutimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus

What Do You Need to Know About Dog Bite Prevention?

Take it from us: dogs don’t want to bite, but it happens from time to time, mostly out of fear and misunderstanding. Unfortunately, dog bites are a lose-lose situation for the dog and the human. One in five people that get bitten by a dog needs medical treatment, and dogs that bite often end up in quarantine, and their owners end up responsible for the damages. In order to prevent you or your little one from accidentally becoming one of the 4.5 million Americans that get bitten annually, and to help you recognize when your own dog may bite, we’ve put together some tips to help!

Why Do Dogs Bite?

When we say dogs don’t want to bite, we mean it. Most dog bites are the result of dogs feeling cornered, stressed, startled, or defensive.

Why Do Some Dogs Feel Fearful?

There are many reasons dogs can react with stress and anxiety. Like people, dogs are individuals, so the reasons and their reactions vary. Some may have experienced traumas before being adopted while others just have nervous dispositions. It’s always a good idea to treat all dogs as having the potential to be fearful or anxious, and to always be mindful of their body language.

Identifying Signs of Fear, Anxiety, and Stress in Dogs

Fortunately, many dogs give plenty of warning signs before biting.

While dogs, like people, often respond to stress or fear by escaping the situation, there are times when dogs will feel trapped or cornered. Alternatively,  they may feel motivated to stand their ground. When dogs bite, it’s usually out of fear, so recognizing the signs can help keep you and your family safe.

Dogs express that they’re afraid through their body language. Some of the most recognizable signs include:

  • Tucking their tail between their legs
  • Hunkering down low
  • A nervous, flicking motion of the tail
  • Lowering their head
  • Averting eye contact and turning away
  • Widening their eyes so you can see their eye whites, also known as "whale eye"
  • Flattening out their ears
  • Curling their lips back and exposing their teeth
  • Darting their eyes, looking around for an escape route
  • Hackling their fur on their back and neck

While these signs do indicate that a dog is afraid, they may not always bite, but it is always a good idea to give a dog that is showing signs of fear or anxiety space. Slowly back away and do not approach a dog that is fearful.

How You Can Help a Nervous Dog

If your dog tends to be nervous and expresses fearful body language, you will want to be patient and work slowly to socialize your dog and build up your pup’s confidence. If you’re not sure how to do this, we recommend that you consult us or potentially a professional dog behaviorist.

How to Avoid Risky Situations that Could Result in a Dog Bite

It’s important to recognize the signs of stress in a dog, but you can also keep yourself and your kids safe by avoiding high-risk situations. Some of these scenarios include:

  • When a dog is eating or asleep
  • When a dog is sick or injured
  • When a dog is guarding or playing with a toy
  • When a dog is growling or barking
  • When a dog is in a fenced-in backyard, with the potential to be backed into a corner
  • When a dog’s owner is not present or did not give you permission to pet the dog

Final Thoughts

Always keep an eye on children as they play around or approach dogs. Well-meaning and curious kids are the most common victims of dog bites that can result in severe injury. Even if your little one knows a dog, don’t leave them unattended.

Remember, fearful dogs can be irrational and unpredictable. Stay safe and aware this National Dog Bite Prevention Week and help take a bite out of dog bites!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Prevention week

AVMA DogBite Infographic

Lyme Disease

Spring has officially reached us in Lake Elmo, which means we all start to get pretty excited at being able to head outdoors without multiple layers of clothing to protect us from the elements. However, there’s one lurking parasite that also has been waiting for spring. Once temperatures hit 40 degrees, ticks are hungry, alert and looking for a meal, one of which possibly may be you or your pet. While ticks may carry a variety of diseases, we’re going to discuss Lyme disease in this article and how to prevent it.

What Causes Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected “deer tick”, otherwise known as a blacklegged tick. These ticks tend to be more prevalent in areas heavily populated by deer and mice. The ticks  become infected when feeding off of a host that is infected, and then the tick transmits the Borrelia burgdorfer bacterium when feeding off of the new host. In order for Lyme disease to be transmitted, the tick must be on the host for 24-48 hours.

What Are Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Once the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium travels through a host’s body, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Lethargy
  • Joint stiffness and swelling
  • Lameness
  • Fever
  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If you notice these behavioral or physical changes in your pet, please call our Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo veterinary team and we can test your pet for Lyme Disease. Early treatment helps to lower Lyme disease infection’s impact on your pet’s kidneys. If your pet does test positive, an antibiotic which has been proven effective in resolving symptoms may be prescribed.

How Can I Protect My Pets From Lyme Disease

The best ways to protect your pets from Lyme disease are to avoid contact with ticks, use preventive measures, and vaccinate your pets for Lyme disease each year.

Take an inventory of where you live. Look around, and notice any shady, damp areas at ground level. Look toward edges of woods or fences and walls. Ticks like long grass where they can easily attach to a host walking by, as well as places they can hide out of direct sunlight. By keeping your grass mowed and clearing debris from the edges of your lawn, you can help in keeping tick populations down. If you do consider hiring a lawn service company to treat for pests such as rodents and ticks, be sure to inform them about your pets. Follow directions carefully so as not to have your pet exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals.

When walking with your pets, avoid areas where tick populations may be higher, especially such as longer grass and dark, damp areas of the woods. Additionally, avoid areas where deer may congregate, as the likelihood of Lyme-infected ticks is higher.

For your pets, use a flea and tick prevention year-round to help protect your pet. Our Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo veterinarians can help guide you to the best solution for your pet, based on age, overall health and lifestyle. Each tick preventive works a bit differently, whether repelling or killing the ticks. It’s important to note that it’s still imperative that you check your pet over frequently, especially after venturing outside, for ticks that may have attached to your pet. Should you find a tick, use tweezers to remove it instead of your bare hands. Gently remove the tick, and clean the area with a small amount of rubbing alcohol.  Monitor the area for signs of infection, and call us if you notice any swelling, redness, or any of the previously mentioned Lyme Disease symptoms.

We hope you have a fun and adventure-filled spring!

Photo Credit: Enterline Design Services LLC / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)