Training Talk: Bringing Home a New Puppy

By Darian Smock Trainer at ZimmVet 763-856-4848

Many families chose the holiday season to add a pet to their households. Bringing home a new puppy can be a fun and exciting time for the whole family, but also filled with new experiences and challenges. A puppy goes through lots of sudden changes when coming into your home. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make the transition go as smoothly as possible!

  1. Ask for a comfort item from the breeder or rescue. A toy or blanket with familiar scents (such as mom or littermates) will help soothe the puppy.
  2. Keep them busy. A busy puppy is a happy puppy. Have a variety of toys and vet approved chews to keep their minds occupied and not worrying.
  3. Get a Kennel. Giving your new family member their own “safe space” allows them to rest comfortably when feeling insecure or overwhelmed. Starting kennel training early will also help curb separation anxiety.
  4. Start a routine right away. Dogs are creatures of habit. Putting your puppy on a regular schedule for feedings, potty trips, and kennel time will help them know what to expect.
  5. Sign up for Training classes. Until we teach our new puppies the household rules, they are guessing and pushing boundaries. Getting them signed up for obedience classes will help you set up the standard of expectation for their behavior from the beginning and prevents having to go back and fix bad habits as an adult.

Always feel free to contact the training department here at ZimmVet at 763-856-4848 or for more helpful tips on bringing home a new puppy or to ask about our upcoming puppy kindergarten classes.

Importance of Starting Grooming at a Young Age

By: Michaela Tallant ZimmVet Professional Groomer

When puppies began to explore and age they go through different developmental stages. Starting from the moment you bring your puppy home at 8 weeks, your puppy is learning and pushing boundaries. This is the prime time to start training, socializing and, desensitizing.

Some breeds of dogs need grooming on a regular schedule. It is critical that you begin desensitizing them to the grooming process. This will help make the experience enjoyable for them and fear-free.

Here are some great Training and Desensitizing techniques that you can start with at home!


Winter Tips For Your Pet

By Dr. Abby Soderberg, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

The winter season and -20 below wind chill is fast approaching. Here are some ideas to keep your pets safe this cold winter season:

  • Some dogs are more susceptible to the cold than others. Short-coated, thin, sick, elderly, or very young dogs can get cold more quickly so adjust the amount of time they spend outside.
  • Just like in humans, any temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit can cause frostbite in our pets. If it’s too cold outside for you it’s too cold outside for your pets.
  • If your pet allows clothing, bundling them up before going outside can help prevent hypothermia.
  • For pets that do not tolerate boots on their paws you can apply Vaseline or Musher’s Secret to provide an invisible barrier between your dog’s paws and the environment. 
  • When walking your dog, keep yourself and your dog safe by wearing reflective gear (clothing, leash, collar, etc) and keeping your dog close when walking on the street. Avoid walking your dog on frozen lakes and ponds. Your dog could be seriously hurt if the ice breaks.
  • Only take your pets in the car if it is necessary and never leave them unattended as cold cars are just as dangerous as hot cars in the summer.
  • Keep your dog’s paw hair trimmed short to prevent snow and ice accumulation
  • Clean your dog’s feet after they come in from outside to remove any trapped ice, snow, or toxic chemicals such as de-icers or antifreeze and prevent them from licking it off and becoming sick. When wiping off your dog’s paws, remember to check for signs of injury, such as cracked or bleeding paws.
  • Purchase pet-safe de-icers for an extra level of safety.
  • Be cautious with anti-freeze as this chemical is toxic to dogs.  Antifreeze attracts cats and dogs because it is very sweet to taste, but it is extremely poisonous and can cause serious illness or death when ingested. Be sure to clean up any antifreeze that spills in your garage, and keep the bottle somewhere your pets cannot access.
  • Cats often sleep in the wheel wells of cars during the winter months to keep warm. Look in your wheel wells or honk your car horn before starting your car to prevent serious injuries. 
  • Our pets are usually less active in the winter months and are more prone to gaining extra un-necessary weight during this time. Talk to your local veterinarian if you would like their help in calculating a winter diet.   

Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

Lost and Found Pet Resources

By: Valerie Ferguson ZimmVet Receptionist

If you have ever lost or found a pet you may have stopped and asked yourself, “What do I do next?”

If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are some tips to assist in finding your pet or locating the rightful owner of the pet that you have found.

If you have lost your pet, the following steps may be helpful in their safe and timely return:

  • Search your house, yard and surrounding areas while calling your pet by name and using exciting words that your pet likes to hear such as “treat” or “go for a ride”
  • Leave your pets’ bedding, crate or your clothing with your scent on it by the location that your pet left from (blankets, pillowcases, clothing and pet beds work well)
  • Leave food and water out for them
  • If practical, leave doors open to the house, especially doors that your pet is used to using
  • Recruit neighbors, friends and family to assist in search efforts by car, foot, bike or by making phone calls to local veterinary clinics, shelters, rescues, law enforcement and posting on social media groups
  • If you have another pet in your home it may be helpful to take them with you while searching for your lost pet
  • Carry your pets’ leash, treats and a photo of your dog to show people that you encounter during your search


  • Large brightly colored signs are helpful in the area where the pet was last seen
  • When searching by car, drive with your flashers on and have a sign in the window that says “Lost Dog” or “Lost Cat”

The Value of Starting Obedience Classes Early

By: Darian Smock, ZimmVet Pet Trainer

Here at ZimmVet’s Training Department, we know that behavioral issues are the number one reason pets are surrendered to shelters. Taking your new puppy or dog to obedience classes shortly after they come home with you can help prevent the formation of bad habits and unacceptable behaviors. It also helps your dog understand your standard of expectation for your household rules. This helps set them up for success as they transition into your family because they aren’t guessing or having to push boundaries to know what the rules are.

There is a common misconception that dogs and puppies need a long time to “settle in” to their new home. This is untrue and can actually be detrimental as it doesn’t give your new pet a clear set of rules and boundaries to follow. A new puppy or dog will be more comfortable and happier when they are able to know exactly what is okay and not okay. It is recommended to stat a group class with a new pet within 4 weeks of bringing them home.

Our Puppy Kindergarten and Obedience 1 classes are positive reinforcement style group training classes that are designed to help build the relationship between you and your dog while giving you the tools to shape a pleasant companion at home. Starting obedience classes early will help ensure that you’re not going back a year later fixing bad habits, and it’s a great way to start off your relationship with your new best friend on the right foot!

Take A Hike

By: Valerie Ferguson ZimmVet Receptionist

The beauty of a Minnesota hike doesn’t need to end when the snow begins to fly. There are many opportunities throughout our great state to enjoy a winter hike with your furry friend! Many towns, county parks, regional parks, recreational areas, and state parks offer access to beautiful walking/hiking trails year-round.

A personal favorite of mine is the Candlelight hikes offered at various Minnesota State Parks during the months of January and February. These hikes are often dog-friendly; however I always call ahead to confirm that your pup is invited to join you.

A few things to consider while enjoying a winter hike with your dog:

  • Protect their paws from snowballs with a protective product, I prefer Mushers Secret or hiking booties
  • Clean your dogs’ feet of any salt or sand that they may have picked up so their pads do not get irritated from the harsh chemicals that can be used on walkways
  • Monitor the outdoor temperature; even though dogs have hair they may still get cold depending on the type of hair coat they have and they rely on you to know when to bring them inside
  • Just like humans, dogs require water and nutrition during longer winter hikes just as they would during the summer months
  • Be a responsible pet owner and abide by the posted trail rules
  • For your safety, always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be home and check-in with them upon your return home

Now all that you need to do is get outdoors and begin exploring with your four-legged pal!

What is Your Dog Trying to Say?

By Lena Hansen ZimmVet Pet Hotel and Daycare Assistant Manager

Dog Body Language Basics

Dogs use body language to communicate their emotional state to others.  It is important to understand how they communicate and what they are trying to tell us.  Though they have many different signals, here are a few body language basics to help you better understand your pooch and be able to respond accordingly:


Benefits of Professional Grooming all Yearlong!

Michaela Tallant ZimmVet Groomer- 763-856-4848

Having your dog scheduled for regular grooming appointments not only helps them stay looking and smelling great, it also has multiple health benefits. Here are 5 professional grooming benefits:

  1. Consistent nail trims will ensure your dogs nails are kept at a comfortable length. It can be uncomfortable for many dogs when their nails are too long. It can also cause them to walk differently, causing pain and lack of structure for their paws.
  2. Consistent ear cleaning at your grooming appointment will ensure your pet’s ears are cleaned and can help detect early signs of medical issues such as ear infections.
  3. Keeping up with grooming all year long will help ensure your pet does not have matting. During the winter and summer there are many things that dogs play in that will increase their chances of matting including snow, water, dirt or even their collars can cause matting.
  4. Professional grooming will keep their skin and coat healthy. When having your dog professionally groomed, groomers will use products that put moisture and vitamins back into their skin and coat.
  5. Consistent visits will keep your dog smelling wonderful and keep them properly brushed which can decrease shedding. Special treatments like ZimmVet’s de-shed use special conditioner and shampoo to help open up the hair follicles and release the undercoat.

Professional grooming is important all year long. Keeping them clean and matt free will result in a happier, healthier dog! ZimmVet offers Professional Grooming for dogs and cats! Talk to a daycare or hotel staff member to schedule your pet’s groom.

Get Your Dog Ready for Hunting Season

By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

Many people enjoy hunting as a hobby with their dogs. A little preparation can make the time fun for you and your dog.

Flea & Tick Prevention

Fall is peak time for transmission of lyme disease from adult ticks. Fall is also when many pets become infested with fleas. There are a variety of products on the market including topical and oral options. Talk to your veterinarian about what product is best for you pet.

Internal Parasites

Hunting dogs are at higher risk to contract roundworms and hookworms from the environment. These parasites can then be passed to people. Heartworm prevention, such as Interceptor®, deworms for these parasites and should be given once a month.


Pro-Active Pet Dental Care

By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

February is National Pet Dental Month.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3.  With the percentage of oral disease so high, we all probably have a pet in need dental care in our own home.  And unlike people, pets cannot tell us if they are feeling pain from gum disease, or a built up of bacteria/tarter on their teeth.  Signs, like bad breath, usually mean your dog or cat should have already had dental treatment.  The first step in creating a dental plan for your pet is having a dental exam by your veterinarian.