Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Pet Poison Prevention Week

It’s officially Pet Poison Prevention Week! This week, take a moment to see your home through the eyes of your pet, and be aware of potential dangers that lurk in unsuspected places. We’ve commonly discussed seasonal poisoning dangers, and here are few of the most common toxic substances, especially as we officially enter spring this week:

Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications

It’s so easily to forget about a handbag containing medication being thrown on the back of a chair, or a medication left out on a coffee table. However, these substances can cause kidney failure, liver failure, and serious poisoning in our pets. Always keep human medications stored in their properly labeled containers, up high and out of reach of inquisitive pets. Additionally, never give your pet human medications unless specifically under consultation with our veterinarians.

Spring Cleaning Chemicals

Our pets are incredibly sensitive to the smells in our home. But, did you know that many of the cleaning chemicals we use also present poisoning dangers? As you’re giving your home an extra-good spring cleaning, keep dishwashing products, oven cleaners, drain obstruction chemicals, toilet bowl cleaners, and any counter sprays secured behind a cabinet door out of your pet’s reach. These items can cause skin irritation, tissue damage or even be fatal to your unsuspecting pet.


None of us want to share our home with unwanted rodents. Mouse and rat poisons are good at their job - killing unwelcome pests; however, these same toxic chemicals can be fatal to your dog or cat, too. When ingested, your pet will need immediate treatment. It’s important to be educated on the impact of these toxins, and pet-proof your home with other, less lethal, options. For example, ultrasonic repellents or scent repellents have proven both effective and safer.

Garden Preparation

In our Lake Elmo area, we go a little crazy at the first signs of spring! However, as you’re preparing to get your lawn and gardens ready, note that cocoa bean mulch and insecticides both present toxic hazards to our pets. Cocoa bean mulch contains a chemical called “theobromine”, which is toxic to dogs when ingested. Insecticides, even when consumed in small amounts, can be life-threatening. Be particularly mindful of bait stations, garden/lawn sprays, or sprinkled granules that may peak the interest of a curious pet. As you’re planning for thriving spring greenery, opt for pet safe pest control instead.

Our pets are quick, and they may ingest a toxic substance without us realizing it immediately. Be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Lethargy
  • Irritation to skin, eyes, mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding
  • Increased thirst
  • Stumbling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

If you note any of the above symptoms, please call Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo immediately at 651.770.3250.

We wish you and your pets a very enjoyable and SAFE spring!

Photo Credit: Zbynek Pospisil / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Antifreeze Toxicity

Antifreeze is more common during this time of year when the weather is chilly and our engines are susceptible to freezing, but it’s not entirely safe and it’s important to understand the danger it poses to our pets.

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, an organic compound that can cause ethylene glycol poisoning. It’s a potentially fatal condition that is caused when one ingests the compound, and pets are often exposed to antifreeze in a variety of different ways. For instance, your car may leak antifreeze from the engine to the ground or it could be spilt when you’re pouring it into your car engine. The container may also be loose or leak antifreeze down the side when you put the cap back on, and this will be exposed to your pets.

It’s one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets. If your pet does ingest antifreeze then it’s important they receive immediate care. However, prevention is always the best way to deal with something like antifreeze, and we’ll be talking about it in this article as well as some emergency tips.

Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning

In most cases, you’ll start to see symptoms within 30 minutes to 12 hours of your pet ingesting antifreeze. Some symptoms can also develop 2 to 3 days after ingestion.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Muscle twitching
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Head tremors
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination

The following symptoms typically show up 2 to 3 days after initial symptoms appear

  • Continued urination but reduced thirst
  • Low body temperature
  • Sluggish movements
  • Seizures
  • No appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Sores or ulcers in mouth
  • Drooling

Recognising Antifreeze

It’s important that you recognize the bright green color of antifreeze and the sweet smell that comes from it. Small amounts are toxic to the body when ingested, so if you notice any of the bright green liquid around your garage or car, make sure you clean it up before your pets are attracted by the smell.

Preventing Antifreeze Poisoning

The best method to avoid antifreeze poisoning in your pets is to take preventive measures.

  • Always keep antifreeze bottles out of reach from your pets. This includes locking them in cabinets and not placing them on open shelves.
  • When using antifreeze, make sure your pet is away from your car so they won’t smell or become curious about the antifreeze.
  • Make sure you seal the antifreeze bottle tightly when you’re finished using it.
  • Wipe up and clean any antifreeze that may have leaked when you placed the fluid in your engine.
  • If you do spill the antifreeze, keep your pet far away from it as you clean it.
  • Check your car frequently after using antifreeze to ensure that it isn’t leaking out of your engine and out underneath your car.
  • Purchase antifreeze that contains propylene glycol as an active ingredient. This is less toxic and doesn’t have a sweet smell or taste.

If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze or any other toxic substance, please call us immediately at (651) 484-3331.

4 Hazards to Avoid for a Safe Valentine's Day

What’s the first thing you think of when mentioning the word “February”? Did the thought of hearts, chocolates and candy-grams that make a special appearance this month jump to the forefront of your mind? It is the month of Valentine’s Day, and with the extra opportunity for treats and decorations, we wanted to share four Valentine’s Day hazards to be mindful of in keeping your pets safe during this sweet holiday!


A sugar substitute that is found in many candies and gums, xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, even in the smallest of amounts. Be sure to keep any of these items up out of reach of your curious canine. If your pet ingests any items containing xylitol, it’s imperative that you call us immediately. When xylitol poisoning is recognized early, treatment is possible and increases the likelihood of a better outcome for your dog.


It’s fairly well known that chocolate can present dangers to our dogs, and is potentially fatal. However, certain types of chocolate are more hazardous than others - typically the darker the chocolate, the greater the risk. Keep all chocolates far out of reach of your pets, and especially items such as cocoa, baker’s chocolate, and dark chocolate.

If you’re unsure of whether or not to seek veterinary attention, please give us a call. In addition to chocolate, there may be other items ingested which may be causing problems for your pet.

Floral Arrangements

As beautiful as they are, floral arrangements can be toxic to our four-legged friends. Lilies, tulips, azaleas, and Sago Palm are extremely hazardous, and can cause vomiting, kidney failure, and even death. If you receive an arrangement with any of these species, be sure to put them far out of reach from pets, and instead in a place where you can enjoy without worry of the flowers presenting a danger.

Bags & Wrapping

Everyone loves to get gifts, and once the treasure is unwrapped, the ribbon, bag, or wrapping is often cast aside. Your pets may be tempted to play with these items, or even to ingest them. Not only can this present a choking hazard, but also creates an opportunity for an intestinal blockage or other complications.

Having snacks along with a quiet movie night? Be sure to keep the chip or other snack bag out of your pet’s reach. Pet suffocation can occur in less than five minutes. This infographic shows how quickly and often this accident occurs.

We know you love your pet, and since this is a holiday celebrating love, be sure to spend some extra time with him or her. Giving the furry, feathered or scaled pets in our lives a little extra love is just what our doctors ordered!


“Poisonous Plants.” ASPCA, www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.

Photo Credit: Voren1

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