Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

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

www.pet-loss.net

Find support groups and good information.

https://vet.tufts.edu/petloss/

Help on explaining pet loss to children.

www.aplb.org

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

 

Start Your Fall Off on the Right “Paw” with Our Top Safety Tips

We love this time of year in Lake Elmo. As the leaves redden then fall, the air cools, and we finally get a break from the heat, we fall in love with this beautiful city we call “home.” And we’re not the only ones--It seems like everyone, including our pets, just breathes a little easier in autumn.

And while we want you to make the most of this season before the snow arrives, we also want to help keep you, your beloved pet, and our community safe from the dangers that emerge this time of year.

So, unpack those sweaters, leash up your pup, and enjoy the cool weather. Breathe easy by avoiding these fall dangers:

1. Fungi Aren’t Fun for Pets

The mushrooms seem to pop up out of nowhere in fall. While they can make the landscape picturesque, they have the potential to make your dog or cat extremely sick as well. It’s true that most mushrooms are harmless, but the wrong ones can be deadly. It’s best to avoid them on your walks and always supervise your pet when they’re in an area where mushrooms may grow.

 2. Don’t Let Your Dog Feast on Fallen Fruit

If your dog or cat likes to forage for fruit, you want to try to break this habit. While a nibble of an apple or a carrot every now and then can make an excellent treat, gorging on fruit from the ground can make your dog or cat sick.

3. Watch Out for the Back to School Blues

Does your cat or dog seem glued to the window, waiting for their little humans to return home from school? This time of year pets are still adjusting to the change in schedule. Be sure you keep your pet mentally stimulated to break up the boredom.

Dogs and cats often become more sedentary in autumn as well. Between dusk creeping earlier and the kids having homework, keep your dog or cat active with scheduled playtime. Set some time aside each evening to keep your cat rolling, tumbling, and purring. Enjoy the wonderful weather by taking your dog on an evening stroll.

And of course, don’t let your dog eat the kids’ homework… or any other school supplies. 

Some supplies that can be dangerous for dogs:

  • Glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Pencils 
  • Pens
  • Yarn
  • Paper clips
  • Rubber bands
  • Snack bags (which can cause suffocation) 

4. Beware of Antifreeze and De-icer

As you winterize your car, properly dispose of antifreeze and de-icer containers or store them sealed and out of reach of your pet. The ethylene glycol in antifreeze attracts curious kitties and hungry hounds. It smells and tastes sweet but can easily cause kidney failure.

Clean up any antifreeze spills or drips. It just takes one teaspoon to get a cat or dog very sick.

5. Halloween Candy is a No-No

From chocolate to xylitol, Halloween candy can be poisonous if it gets into the wrong paws. Make sure you don’t leave that candy bowl within paw’s reach and remind your kids how dangerous it can be to share with the pets.

6. Don’t Let Pests Play a Trick on Your Pet

Remember to check your dog for ticks after walks. Ticks like to hide in between toes, in the armpits, and under the ears.

Jumping into piles of raked leaves may be a blast, but these piles can harbor pests like fleas and ticks. They can also make a cozy spot for mice and rats to stay warm. They could also carry fleas, ticks, or even the bacteria causing leptospirosis.

Have a Safe Fall from Us Here at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo!

After you’re done sipping the latest pumpkin spice creation, enjoy some fresh air as you rake, bag, and dispose of the leaves. Bring that extra Halloween candy into work to share, watch for wild mushrooms, and keep that antifreeze locked up tight. Prevention is always easier, safer, and less stressful than reacting to an emergency.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, active fall. We at Cedar Pet Clinic are here if you have any questions or if you need to record your dog’s pre-Thanksgiving weight!

Image credit: Elena Rogulina / Pixabay

Benefits of Immunizations

Calling All Pet Parents: It’s Immunization Reminder Time!

We cannot predict when your pet will get sick. Of course, we wish we could.  Luckily, with the help of vaccines, we can prevent some of the most painful and fatal diseases that at one time took the lives of countless pets.

Busting the “Over-Vaccination” Myth

Some pet parents believe vets overly vaccinate pets. This is simply not true. Our team, along with all other veterinarians, take an oath to use science and our skills to benefit society and protect animals. We promise to prevent needless suffering of animals and their keepers--and this is precisely what immunizations do: protect pets from pain and senseless death.

This is why the myth and rumor of over-vaccination continues to break our hearts and put pets at risk.

Why Does Your Pet Need Vaccines?

Just what impact do vaccines have on your pet? Let’s take a closer look.

Vaccines help your pet’s body build up antibodies that will attack and defeat viruses and bacterial infections that they may later come in contact with. Without vaccines, your pet’s body is unprepared to fend off the illnesses and poses a greater risk, and sometimes guaranteed death, if they cross paths with certain viruses.

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are essential for all cats and dogs. When it comes to vaccines, we consider “core” vaccines universally recommended no matter where you live. Why? These protect both you, your pets, and other animals from serious illnesses. From rabies to parvo, vaccines keep your pet alive and provide you with peace of mind.

Core Vaccines for Dogs:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Adenovirus (canine hepatitis)
  • Rabies

Core Vaccines for Cats

  • Distemper (panleukopenia)
  • Calicivirus
  • Rhinotracheitis
  • Rabies

Non-Core Vaccines

Don’t confuse “non-core” with “less useful.” While non-core vaccines may seem less necessary because they are not required, they are just as vital when it comes to safeguarding your dog or cat from illness, suffering, and possible death. We may recommend non-core vaccines that will help your pet, based on lifestyle and pet's overall health.

Non-core does not imply that the diseases they prevent are less lethal or less painful than the illnesses core vaccines prevent.

For example, the leptospirosis vaccine is a non-core vaccine, but leptospirosis can lead to death in dogs. And feline infectious peritonitis is always fatal for cats, yet the vaccine is a non-core vaccine.

Non-Core Vaccines that Protect Your Pooch:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
  • Lyme Disease
  • Canine Influenza
  • Corona Virus

Non-Core Vaccines that Protect Your Cat:

  • Feline Leukemia
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis
  • Chlamydia
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough)

Cat Health Spotlight: What is Feline Leukemia Virus?

While cars are the #1 enemy of cats, Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) takes a close second. Why? While automobile trauma is the leading cause of death for our feline friends, FeLV is a close runner up. 85% of cats diagnosed with FeLV pass away within three years due to related complications from the virus.

Why is FeLV so dangerous? This virus suppresses a cat’s immune system, leaving them vulnerable to other infections. And the virus, itself, can cause lymphoma, other cancers, and anemia.

Symptoms of FeLV:

  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Infections: UTI, bladder infection, upper respiratory infection, skin infection
  • Pale or inflamed gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizure
  • Miscarriage of kittens

How Does a Cat Become Infected with FeLV?

FeLV is passed from cat to cat through bodily fluids like saliva, urine, feces, nasal mucus, and breast milk. It can be transmitted from one cat to another when they groom each other, bite while playing, and at rare times when they share a litter box or food dish.

Cats that are allowed out are at higher risk for FeLV.

How Can a Cat with FeLV Be Treated for the Virus?

Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for FeLV once a cat has caught the virus. We can only help manage symptoms and related issues.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Cat from FeLV?

The most effective way to protect your cat from FeLV is to have her vaccinated. The FeLV has significantly reduced the number of cats infected with FeLV over the past 25 years. It is safe to vaccinate kittens and cats. We recommend all cats get vaccinated, even if you intend for them to just stay indoors (because, as you probably know all too well: cats are master escape artists).

Sometimes we suspect caring pet parents are afraid to ask questions about their pet’s vaccines or the possible illnesses their pets are at risk for without vaccines. Don’t hesitate to ask questions at your appointments. We’re here to inform pet owners and protect pets.

Vaccines need to be current to be effective. If you’re unsure how long it’s been since your pet received her last immunizations, give us a call, we are happy to help! 

Photo Credit: Ablokhin / 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
651-487-3255

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800