Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

5 Paw Hazards Pet Parents Should Know About

When it comes to having cold feet, your pet may be an expert. Winter is filled with dangers that can damage your pet’s paws. You likely know that walking barefoot through the snow can be quite chilly for your pet’s paws, but what other winter hazards put your pet’s paws at risk? We put together a list of winter dangers that have the paw-tential to injure your pet.

1. Ice Melts and Salt

Ice melts and salt may be effective at keeping your walkway ice-free and your driveway drivable, but be cautious when it comes to letting your pet walk over them. Ice melts and coarse salt can create abrasions in your pet’s paws, which can lead to damage and infection rather quickly.

Salt and ice melts also easily cling to your cat’s or dog’s paw-fur, leading to the risk of ingestion when your pet cleans their feet. Salt and ice melts can cause diarrhea, vomiting, mouth sores, and severe dehydration. For smaller pets, consuming ice melts can even lead to seizures and tremors.

2. Hidden Branches and Other Dangers

Snow has a habit of masking objects that can injure your dog or cat. Some of the most dangerous items include gardening tools, branches or brambles with thorns, and broken glass. An unsuspecting cat or dog can wind up with a nasty cut or embedded thorn after an exciting romp through the snow.

Snow covering uneven ground can also lead to sprains and other foot injuries.

3. Cold-Related Cracking

Walking on ice and through snow really does a number on your pet’s paws. The wear and tear of the cold combined with the dry air can lead to cracks and chapped paw pads.

4. Anti-Freeze

While your pet may not be handy when it comes to car maintenance, it doesn’t mean that they are safe from the deadly effects of antifreeze. While dogs are more likely to lap up antifreeze (despite bitter additives manufacturers now put in their products), most poisoning occurs because pets walk through antifreeze spills and drips. Pets wind up cleaning their paws and ingesting the poison.

5. Frozen Surfaces

Walking across ice in fur-covered slippers is no easy feat. Icy surfaces can be extremely slippery for pets, even with the advantage of four legs instead of two. Sliding and slipping can easily turn into overstretching and tearing tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

How Can You Protect Your Pet’s Paws?

Luckily, vigilant pet parents can protect their dogs and cats with some simple precautions and preparation. We recommend:

  • Invest in dog boots if your canine companion will keep them on. The extra traction and rubber padding is a great way to prevent slips and cuts from sharp debris.
  • Clean up yard refuse when the snow melts or before snowfall.
  • Do not allow your dog or cat to walk across deicers or salt.
  • Keep your dog on the sidewalk during walks and do not allow them to run off-leash.
  • Use a paw conditioner like Musher’s Secret to protect your pet’s paws from cracking or chapping.
  • Rinse your pet’s paws before they come inside.

Have a Safe and Fun Winter With Your Pet

At Cedar Pet Clinic, we wish you and your family a happy and safe winter. We hope these tips will help your furry family members keep all four paws on the ground and keep their feet feeling their best. In the meantime, enjoy the winter wonderland we are fortunate enough to call “home!”

Should your pet encounter a winter-related injury or they’re due for a check-up, be sure to make an appointment or give us a call.

Photo Credit: Nate Evans / Pexels.

Why Winter Heartworm Protection is a Must

We have a warm place in our heart for pets, even on the coldest days of our Lake Elmo winters. To protect your pet, we want to encourage you to continue heartworm prevention this winter and beyond. This deadly disease is 100% preventable and is 100% fatal for dogs that do not receive treatment. It also robs the lives of countless cats and other mammals. Why should heartworm prevention be a year-long necessity for your pets?

Heartworms Are Deadly.

Heartworms wreak havoc on the unfortunate pets that they infect. They damage the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and more. This makes it hard for the dog or cat to breathe and makes it more difficult for the heart to pump enough blood through the body.

Dogs offer the best conditions for heartworms to thrive. Once a mosquito bites a dog and transfers heartworm larvae into the dog’s circulatory system, they mature, reproduce, and begin a cycle of damage. These gross worms can grow up to one foot in length, clogging the lungs and heart while starving vital organs of oxygen. If left untreated, heartworm disease is fatal in dogs.

When a cat contracts heartworms, these parasites cause similar damage although the heartworms are unable to grow to such a long length. Unlike dogs, there is no treatment for heartworms in cats.

Without Heartworm Prevention, Existing Larvae Can Mature in Winter

Mosquitoes spread heartworm larvae (or baby heartworms)--not the adults. If a mosquito passes heartworm larvae to your dog in the fall and you discontinue heartworm prevention during winter, those larvae can mature into adults over the wintertime. Once these heartworms reach full-size, heartworm preventative medicines cannot kill these adults.

Additionally, it can be dangerous to give a dog with adult heartworms preventative medicine. This can send the body into shock and lead to heart issues. This is why we always test dogs and cats before prescribing heartworm medication.

Warm Winter Days and Spring Present an Opportunity for Mosquitoes to Hatch

As our winters become less and less predictable, we can expect more frequent warm winter days. These higher temperatures give mosquitos a chance to hatch. All it takes is one hungry mosquito to bite and infect your pet.

Treatment Is More Expensive Than Prevention

Heartworm preventative medications are only a fraction of the price of heartworm treatment. When a dog contracts heartworms, the treatment takes one or two overnight stays at the clinic and weeks of uncertainty and stress.

Dogs must stick to bed rest as they recover from heartworm treatment. As the bodies of expired heartworms break down, they create a risk of heart failure and permanent lung damage.

Don’t Leave Your Pet Out in the Cold When it Comes to Heartworms

Saving a small amount of money by skipping heartworm prevention during winter can quickly become a costly mistake. The risk of losing your best friend is not worth saving a small amount of money. Your pet’s heart is precious. Protect it every day, no matter the season.

If you have questions or are due for a heartworm preventative refill, please give us a call at 651-770-3250 or make an appointment to see us.

Photo Credit: Hasan Albari / Pexels.

What You Should Know About Your Pet’s Pearly Whites

Nothing brightens our days at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo more than puppies and kitty kisses! As a pet owner, you may notice these kisses become less pleasant, though, as our pets get older and their breath gets worse. If you’ve been avoiding your dog’s kisses due to bad breath, it’s time to take a moment to consider if your pet is due for a dental check-up and cleaning. Why? Bad breath is a common sign of gum disease which can shorten your pet’s life.

Your Pet’s Dental Health is No Small Matter

Did you know that dogs and cats are less prone to cavities? This is because they don’t eat nearly as much sugar as we do. Yet pets still suffer from other oral issues. The biggest issue pets face is gum disease.

Gum disease can decrease a pet’s lifespan, cause jaw damage, lead to lost teeth, and cause severe pain. Your pet’s body sends white blood cells to combat plaque. In the process, these white blood cells erode your pet’s gums, leaving bacteria a backdoor into your pet’s body and bloodstream. Once bacteria catch a ride on your pet’s bloodstream, they make their way to vital organs.

How to Easily Improve Your Pet’s Dental Health?

1. Know the Signs of Dental Pain and Dental Disease

If it’s been a while since you’ve had a peek at your pet’s pearly whites, it’s a good time to do so. Look for these signs of dental issues:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Stinky breath
  • Discolored build-up along the gumline
  • White spots or an eroding tooth (cats)

Beyond this quick check, look for these additional signs that may indicate dental issues: your pet having trouble eating, pawing at their mouth, or refusing to eat, or only eating softer foods.

Dental issues worsen with time and can become acutely painful. We can diagnose your pet’s dental problem and treat it.

2. Schedule a Dental Cleaning and Checkup

Pets need dental cleanings and exams, too. During a regular cleaning, we will assess your pet’s dental needs using x-rays. Then we will remove the tartar from your pet’s teeth and perform any other procedures your pet needs like tooth extractions.

As for your pet, they will be sleeping soundly under anesthesia. Not only will they not feel a thing, but they will remain safe through their exam and cleaning.

3. Invest in Dental Chew Toys, Treats, and More

Treats and dental chew toys promote better dental health while your pet has a blast. Dental treats and toys are designed to scrape away plaque as your dog chews, chews, chews.

You can also add a drop of an anti-plaque solution to your pet’s water to boost the power of those plaque-removing toys and treats. (Ask one of our Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo team members for suggestions!) These often loosen the plaque, making it easier to remove.

Commit to Your Pet’s Dental Health

Pet dental health is more important than most owners realize. When you keep your pet’s teeth clean, you’re protecting their health. It’s never too late to begin a dental routine for your pet. Please give us a call or make an appointment to schedule a cleaning today!

Photo Credit: Erik Mclean / Pexels.

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