Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Pet Toys to Avoid This Holiday Season

With Christmas just days away, you may be scrambling for last-minute gift ideas for your dog or cat. Unfortunately, feeling rushed can cause you to choose toys for your pets with safety hazards that you might not have considered. Since the last thing you want to deal with on a holiday is finding emergency care for a sick or injured pet, we have highlighted some toys for both dogs and cats to avoid giving as gifts this holiday season.

Potentially Hazardous Dog Toys

What dog doesn’t love a nice meaty bone, especially one containing chicken, turkey, or another type of meat? According to the Consumer Affairs Division, all types of bones can splitter or shatter inside of your dog’s intestinal tract and cause a serious blockage. This goes for both raw and cooked meat on a bone. Fragmented bones can also present a choking hazard. It’s better to stick to toy bones to help satisfy your dog’s instinct to chew.

Balls are another toy that help to satisfy a dog’s urge to chew. However, you need to take special care to ensure that the ball is not so small compared to your dog’s mouth size that he could swallow it. Dog toys filled with beans or beads could easily cause a choking hazard if your dog rips one open.

Tug toys for dogs have come under some debate in the last few years. Some people feel they make dogs too aggressive and damage their teeth, while others feel it’s a good toy to teach dogs to share. Many pet owners feel that tug toys help to keep large breeds under control when they become overly excited. We encourage you to consider your dog’s size and temperament before giving this toy.

In regard to these or any toys, feel free to ask one of our veterinarians at your next visit if you have questions about the best options to help keep your pet's mind sharp and body physically active.

Potentially Hazardous Cat Toys

Cats love to bat at string, yarn, and ribbon, but these items can create a choking hazard unless someone is closely supervising. They can also become lodged in your cat’s intestines if he or she accidentally swallows them. If you choose to give your cat a toy with plastic eyes, a plastic nose, or any type of dangling ribbon attached, be sure to remove these items first.

Scratching posts for cats are an excellent way for them to sharpen their claws and relieve stress while saving your furniture at the same time. However, you need to ensure that the post is firmly secure and has enough weight at the top not to topple over on your cat when used.

Instead of these toys that present hazards, consider toys that help complement your cat's hunting instincts. For example, toys that hide food and make them "work" for their meal can help keep minds sharp and bodies fit. Keep in mind, that just like children, a cat may have preferences for one toy or another, so it is important to try a variety of options, and even change out the options as you discover your cat's preferences.

What Your Pet Wants the Most is You

Giving your pet safe toys this holiday season is certainly a loving thing to do. From a pet’s perspective, your love and attention are better than anything they could find wrapped up under the tree. At this busy time of year, be sure to take the time to spend uninterrupted time with your dog or cat simply snuggling or playing together. If you have any concerns about his or her health or simply want to schedule a check-up, contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo at your convenience. We hope you have a happy holiday and safe winter season.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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

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St. Paul, MN 55117
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