Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

The Skinny On Your Pet’s Extra Weight

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. From pudgy to lanky, we love our furry friends no matter what they look like. To show their affection, many pet owners enjoy showering their cats and dogs with treats and table scraps. We get it: food is love. Unfortunately, this form of appreciation can have a dangerous effect on your cherished pet.

If you’re thinking, “My pet is a little plump, so what?”, read on to learn more about the consequences of extra pounds, and what you can do to help your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Joint Strain and Pain

Carrying around extra weight takes a toll on an animal’s joints. Over time, the likelihood of joint and bone damage increases for hefty pets. Many become prematurely arthritic and have a hard time getting around the house or up and down stairs.

Heart Disease, Difficulty Breathing, and Organ Damage

As with humans, excess weight for pets can lead to elevated blood pressure, which could lead to heart failure. This is because your pet’s heart has to work harder to push blood through their body and to the excess tissue.

Just as the extra weight puts a strain on a pet’s cardiovascular muscles, it also makes it harder to breathe. In fact, when a pet’s body weight becomes too high, all of their organs struggle to keep up, including the liver.


Pet diabetes is one of the most harmful and dangerous complications of extra weight. As your pet gains pounds, their body must produce more blood glucose and insulin. Eventually, the pancreas won’t be able to keep up with the demand and will ultimately burn out. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to cataracts, urinary tract infections, seizures, enlarged liver, and kidney failure.

Quality of Life

Obese pets don’t just suffer physically. Overweight dogs and cats aren’t able to enjoy all the fun activities they once loved, like trips to the local trail or chasing a cat teaser. Their inability to breathe makes them uncomfortable and quickly tired.

And, simply, pets with extra weight tend to not live as long. Shaving off extra pounds can add years to your pet’s life.

How Chubby Is Too Chubby?

Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight. If it did, it would be much easier for pet owners to recognize. The best way to find out if your pet is too heavy is to bring them in for a checkup. We’ll assess your pet’s overall health, including if their weight is putting them at risk.

What Can You Do to Help Your Pet Get Back Into Shape?

When it comes to your pet’s diet, there is a lot of conflicting information. The reality is that not all food is right for every pet, and they can be picky! It can be frustrating and costly for your pal to turn up their nose to their new dinner. If you’re trying an alternative to commercial food, you don’t want your pet to suffer from a vitamin or mineral deficiency. For exercise, it’s essential to tailor your plan to fit your pet’s activity level and current weight. It can be dangerous to go all in right away.

From planning your pet’s diet and meal portions to creating a safe plan to become more active, we’re here to support your pet’s slim-down. Let’s get started today on the road to a healthier life. We love to see the smiles of pet parents that know their pets are fit and flourishing.

If you need guidance or have questions regarding your pet’s weight, don’t wait. Make an appointment today.

Photo Credit: Mikhail Sedov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

No Party Fowls: How and Why You Should Respect Chickens

Chickens are nothing to bock at. Seriously - these creatures are remarkable! Chickens have more fascinating lives than you may realize. For example, they can recognize over 100 faces of humans and other animals. Chickens are also the closest living relative to the T-Rex… talk about an interesting family reunion.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating International Respect for Chickens Month by learning more about the lives of these domesticated birds.

Why Do Chickens Deserve Our Respect?

It’s easy to overlook how neat chickens can be. These feathered friends live pretty interesting lives and have a few secrets that many people find fascinating. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Did you know that chickens may have more cognitive function than many of our pets? Chickens even possess object permanence and have relatively advanced problem-solving skills.

  2. These unique feathered fowl have social hierarchies and communicate with up to twenty-four different vocalizations. Recent studies demonstrate that hens are empathetic to their chicks’ distress and many perform mourning rituals when a member of their flock passes away.

  3. There’s no denying that chickens are amazing. These neat birds even dream… with one eye open! That’s right. Chickens have a mechanism that allows half of their brain to sleep while the other half remains alert.

  4. What’s that chicken’s name? Chickens can learn to recognize and respond to their own names. They can even learn the names of their flockmates over time.

  5. Knock-knock. Who’s there? Your chick! Mother hens and their chicks can communicate through the shell of their eggs before the chicks hatch. Once the chicks are born, they already know their mother’s voice and respond to it. This helps keep them safe.

What Can You Do to Observe International Respect for Chickens Month?

If you want to join in and show chickens some much-needed respect, try:

  1. Adopting Rescued Chickens
    Caring for chickens in your backyard can give you and your family first-hand experience with how friendly and complex chickens can be. This changes how you think about domestic fowl while providing an animal in need of a better life.

    Many local rescues, including The Chicken Run Rescue, have chickens in need of caring homes. They are often rescued from neglect, abuse, found as strays, or left behind when families move away.
    Ready to have your own hens? Check out the regulations in your area for keeping a coop before you adopt your first feathered friends. You may need to submit an application, like the Lake Elmo residential chicken permit.

  2. Sharing a Chicken Fact with the Hashtag
    Educate others about the amazing virtues chickens have and the harsh reality they experience. We often fall into the “we don’t know what we don’t know” space, which can be easily remedied with a little time, education, and awareness.

We Respect Creatures, Large and Small

We hope that you’ll join us in celebrating International Respect for Chickens Months by researching where your chicken comes from and spreading the word about the remarkable potential chickens possess. 

If your feathery, furry, or scaly friend is in need of veterinary care, we hope you’ll choose Cedar Pet Clinic. We’re here for you and your pets.

Image credit: Pixabay

“Shellebrate” World Turtle Day

Take the plunge to protect turtles and tortoises by celebrating World Turtle Day, observed May 23rd each year to increase awareness, respect, and knowledge of these amazing shelled creatures. These turtle-y awesome reptiles deserve to be celebrated and protected. Do you know all of these fascinating turtle facts?

Turtles Are Living Dinosaurs

Turtles are one of the oldest reptile species on Earth, with some fossils dating back to the Triassic Period. That’s 220 million years ago!

They haven’t changed much since then. Most Testudines fossils closely resemble the turtles and tortoises that still slowly wander our planet.

Turtles Live Very Long Lives

There’s a tortoise living on Saint Helena that’s estimated to have hatched in 1832. That’s old enough to have heard the news from the Battle of the Alamo as it happened, to learn of the invention of the telegraph, and see the outcome of the American Civil War.

Turtles are one of the longest living species on Earth. Most turtles, including those in the pet shop, can live up to 40 years. Land-dwelling tortoises live between 50 and 100 years.

Turtles proudly wear their ages on their shells. Each plate of a turtle’s shell has rings and layers, similar to a tree. These rings denote growth spurts in a turtle’s life. While not as regular as a tree’s growth, these rings can help determine how old a turtle is.

Almost Half of the 300 Species of Turtles and Tortoises Are Endangered

From Loggerhead turtles to red-eared sliders to gopher tortoises, the number of shelled-creatures that roam the Earth is shrinking. Today, 130 of the 300 species of turtles and tortoises are considered endangered.

This is because they face a wide range of threats, mostly caused by humans. Habitat destruction has left many tortoises and turtles without food, refuge, and a safe place to lay their eggs. Turtles are taken from their natural habitats and wind up living in tanks and cages in human homes or poached for their eggs and meat. 

Turtles have also been swept up in the devastating impact of human pollution. Many sea turtles mistake plastic bags, straws, and packaging as their natural prey, jellyfish. Plastic fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death. Some accidentally get caught in fishing nets, discarded rope, or 6-pack rings and cannot get to the surface to breathe.

Additionally, climate change has made it difficult for turtles to survive long enough to reproduce. From wildfires to shoreline erosion and severe weather, many turtles don’t stand a chance.

How can you help?

World Turtle Day is an opportunity to spread the word about how amazing turtles and tortoises are. It’s also a great time to reflect on how much different our world would be if we permanently lost these living dinosaurs.

To celebrate World Turtle Day

  • Be mindful of your use of plastics
  • Watch for turtles and tortoises crossing the road. If a tortoise is crossing, pick it up after safely pulling over (use two hands, one on each side of the shell between the head and tail), and place it on the side of the road it was headed toward.
  • Report cruelty to turtles and tortoises
  • Take action and contact legislators when it comes to protecting turtle habitat
  • Share this article and use the #WorldTurtleDay hashtag in your post

Happy World Turtle Day from all of us at Cedar Pet Clinic, and if your pet turtle or tortoise needs vet care, we’re here for you!

Image credit: Pexels

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)