Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Preparing for Cold Weather with Your Pet


Winter has already teased us with some very cold days in November. That means the real season will be here before we know it. Just like the other three seasons, winter requires pet owners to make some adjustments to ensure their favorite companion animal stays safe and healthy until the warm weather returns again

While it isn’t necessary to keep your pet inside all winter, we at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo encourage you to consider the cold weather from your pet’s perspective. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, for example, consider adding insulation to her dog house. Bring her inside when the temperatures drop below a comfortable level. Even if you think it looks silly and your pet protests wearing them, placing a sweater and booties on your dog on the coldest winter days is a good idea. The booties also protect your pet from injuries caused by cuts from ice or road salt.

Learn to Recognize Signs of Hypothermia and Frostbite

When your pet is consistently exposed to below-freezing temperatures, it could result in either of these conditions. Common signs of hypothermia include weakness, lethargy, uncontrollable shivering, and bright red or black body tissues. If your pet develops frostbite, you can usually see signs of it on his tail, paw pads, and ear tips. Please contact us right away if you notice exposed areas of your pet become red and then dark.

Look for These Winter Hazards, Too

Don’t be surprised if you go to start your car one morning and find a cat or small dog in the wheel well seeking warmth. A stray pet or possibly even a wild animal may try to get into the exhaust system or under the hood of your vehicle as well. Always double-check your car for extra visitors before starting the engine.

Unfortunately, anti-freeze poisoning of pets is common in the winter. The clear color and sweet smell attracts thirsty pets and they can become violently ill almost immediately. You can avoid this by storing any unused anti-freeze out of your pet’s reach as well as wiping spills in the garage or driveway immediately.

Besides damaging your pet’s paw pads, road salt can make her ill if she tries to ingest it. Be on the lookout for her trying to do this and cover her paws when walking to avoid an injury. Keeping the fur between toes trimmed can also help keep her paws in good shape this winter.

Be Prepared for Increase in Arthritic Symptoms

The cold weather can cause increased pain and/or stiffness in our aging pets. Joint supplements or receiving therapeutic laser treatments may be beneficial to help in reduction of inflammation. We're proud to offer Class IV laser therapy to our clients as an effective treatment for many cases of acute and chronic pain.

Don’t Forget About Chickens!

The downy feathers of a chicken help to keep them warm during cold weather. However, they need an insulated chicken coop free of drafts to be comfortable and remain in good health. When a chicken settles down at night, they typically does so on a perch. This helps to keep the feet warm but leaves the combs and wattles vulnerable to the extreme Minnesota cold. To prevent this, look around the coop and patch any holes. The added benefit of blocking drafts is that it also prevents rodents from entering the coop. Make sure your chickens always have a fresh supply of water (unfrozen).

Please contact us at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you need additional cold weather tips.

Image credit: Tomas Maracek / iStock / Getty Images Plus 

Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Pets


Our pets suffer from many of the same diseases that we do, including cancer. However, their human family members sometimes mistake cancer symptoms for typical signs of aging since cats and dogs age at an accelerated rate compared to human aging. While some of the symptoms described below can also occur with aging, it’s important to schedule an appointment for your cat, dog, or exotic pet at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you notice new or unusual symptoms.

Unfortunately, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in companion animals and it is especially prevalent in older dogs. As with most diseases, early detection greatly increases options for treatment and improved quality of life and time with you. We urge you to familiarize yourself with these common cancer symptoms, especially since November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

  1. Any appetite change, including the refusal to eat or showing little interest in eating
  2. Bodily discharge such as vomit, pus, blood, or diarrhea
  3. Persistent cough, difficulty catching their breath, and sometimes gasping to get air into the lungs
  4. Offensive odor emanating from open masses or wounds
  5. Lethargy, included an unwillingness to play or exercise. If your pet is suddenly sleeping more or seems depressed, don’t write it off to old age. It could be one of the earliest signs of cancer
  6. Enlarged or bloated abdomen
  7. A wound that doesn’t heal as expected could be one of the first signs of skin cancer in pets. A cut or wound could also heal initially and then return and scab over repeatedly
  8. Suddenly favoring some limbs over others or a limp when walking
  9. Unexpected and sudden weight loss
  10. Any new mass on your pet’s body

These ten items are not an exhaustive list of cancer symptoms, and may be signs of other disease. It's important to pay attention to any clues your pet provides to you about his or her health, and call us if you've noticed changes.

A Proactive Approach is Best

Even if you feel sure that your pet is simply aging and doesn’t have cancer, it’s better to rule it out than to assume. A cancer diagnosis catches most pet owners by surprise. The good news is that pet cancer doesn’t always mean a fatal outcome. The earlier we can diagnose a specific type of cancer in your pet, the more likely we will be able to treat it and help him feel comfortable. Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo will do everything possible to give you more years with your beloved companion.

Image credit: Neniia Lanti / iStock / Getty Images Plus

How to Help Your Pet with the Stress of Halloween


Halloween can be a stressful holiday for pets. They have no way of understanding why kids dress in costumes or why the doorbell doesn’t seem to stop ringing. The weeks leading up to the holiday can make them feel anxious with the new-to-them decorations, goodies, and other objects which may heighten curiosity. Fortunately, you can take several steps to make the season more enjoyable for your dog or cat.

Never Share Halloween Treats with Pets

It can be hard to resist sharing a piece of candy with your pet when he looks up at you with sad eyes. You might think it’s harmless, but even a small amount of a treat meant for people can be toxic for your pet. He could suffer immediate gastrointestinal distress, which could include symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. An increased heart rate, rapid rate of breathing, and even seizures can also happen.

Dogs and cats don’t always know what’s good for them and often watch carefully for someone to drop a treat on the floor. Your pet may feel so tempted that she breaks into a candy bag and ingests wrappers or sticks along with the treats. It can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation if something becomes stuck in your pet’s throat and blocks her airways. To avoid these problems, don’t give in when your pet begs and keep all seasonal treats out of her reach.

Costumes: Yea! or Nay?

Few things are as adorable as a pet in a Halloween costume. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun as long as you’re careful. Be certain that the costume doesn’t cover your pet’s eyes or prevent breathing in any way. Also, supervise him closely to ensure that he doesn’t chew off parts of the costume and potentially choke on it. Pay attention to your pet's comfort level, and if you notice extra stress, remove the costume.

Keep Your Pet Away from Lit Pumpkins

A carved, lit jack-o-lantern is a beautiful, festive sight on Halloween night! If you choose to place a burning candle inside a pumpkin, make sure that your pet doesn’t go anywhere near it. A dog could knock it to the ground with an enthusiastic tail wag and a curious cat could burn herself sniffing a new object. An artificial candle that you can turn on and off (but still kept far out of reach) might be a better idea.

Keep Your Pets Indoors

The commotion at the front door could cause even the most docile pet to act aggressively or escape out the door to get away from it. Before Halloween arrives, select an area of the house well away from the door for your pet to hang out until after the trick-or-treating ends, perhaps enriched with calming music and a favorite toy or treat. The same is true if you decide to host a party. Another good reason to keep your pets inside is that someone could steal them or play a cruel prank. Black cats are especially in danger this time of year.

Seek Immediate Help for a Sick or Injured Pet

Some dogs and cats are very determined and their curiosity can get them into medical trouble despite your best efforts. If your pet becomes sick or injured on Halloween, be sure to contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo during regular business hours at 651-770-3250 or one of the following after-hours emergency veterinary clinics:

  • After Hours Veterinary Care, St. Paul, 651-487-3255
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, Oakdale, 651-501-3766
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, St. Paul, 651-293-1800

We wish your entire family (both two-legged and four!) a safe and happy Halloween!

Image credit: Adogslifephoto / 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)