Rain, Rain, Go Away, Our Dog Fido Wants to Play


Dog with rain boots and hat

So far, it seems the old adage of April Showers has held true to course. Daily rainfall can lead to flooding in coastal areas such as Long Island and we’ve seen our fair share of recent disasters. As such, we want to remind our pet owners of all of the potential dangers of severe weather.

Summer of last year left as many as 20,000 Long Islanders without power. In blackout situations that force people to evacuate, pet owners should take their pets with them. Exposure to extreme temperatures due from loss of heat or cooling may be dangerous to pets.

For instances of flood danger, pet owners should plan multiple routes to higher elevations and a safe destination. People should not assume that emergency shelters will allow pets. Prior to disaster striking, pet owners should contact their local emergency management office to see if there are pet-friendly shelters in the area. It would also be useful to lookup motels and hotels outside of town to see if they allow both people and pets as well as restrictions on the number, size and species.

Pet owners should make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. Owners may additionally want to get their dog or cat microchipped to increase the likelihood of a safe return home should the pet get lost or their collar fall off during an emergency.

In the event that a disaster occurs without warning, all pet owners should have an animal-friendly emergency kit that includes pet medication and medical records, sturdy leashes and harnesses and/or carriers to transport the animal, food, water, litter box, scoops and garbage bags, the veterinarian’s contact information, current photos of the animal in case they get lost and the pet’s bed or toys (if easily transportable).

“Emergency preparedness is crucial ensuring the safety of pets, their owners and first responders,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates. “Pet owners need to plan ahead to secure the information and essentials they will need during a natural disaster. VA offers microchipping services and pet boarding that has a veterinarian make regular rounds to ensure your pet’s comfort and administer medications during their stay.”

CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all major holidays. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit www.centralvets.com.

Easter Isn’t Always Sweet for Pets

The Bunny Hop might be a fun dance, but it could mean something much different to your pets. Though Easter season is often a symbol of joy, and the start to Spring, it can also prove to be a sad one for pet owners who don’t follow pet safety precautions. That’s why Central Veterinary Associates offers these tips to keep your pets out of harm’s way during the holiday.

  • Steer clear of Easter grass: Cats are attracted to string-like objects, especially those that make interesting sounds and can be easily ingested. Easter grass covers all of these areas, but it can cause blockage in the stomach. Symptoms include vomiting, straining to defecate and a painful abdomen. If you can see the Easter grass from the mouth or anus, do not pull it out yourself; instead, call a veterinarian immediately.
  • Keep holiday plants out of reach: Easter lilies and related plants are highly toxic to cats if ingested. The first signs include vomiting, lethargy and, if left untreated, may lead to renal (kidney) failure or even death. Another spring flower, the daffodil, is also toxic to cats.
  • Find all of the Easter eggs: The Easter egg hunt is a family tradition at most households and, sometimes, pets want to participate. But your pet may choke on the egg if he or she attempts to swallow it whole and a piece of a broken eggshell may pierce the inside of their stomachs. Plastic eggs filled with goodies are equally harmful as the candies and small toys inside can be dangerous to pets as well.
  • Clean up the toys: Like other gift-giving holidays, it is becoming increasingly popular for children to receive toys on Easter, but pets sometimes mistake these as their own personal chew toys. Small plastic pieces and rubber balls become ingested, causing blockages, and would need to be surgically removed.
  • Avoid feeding human food to your pets: People love to feed their pets under the table for this holiday season, but they are unknowingly harming their animals. Chocolate contains theobromine, which, for dogs, can result in diarrhea, seizures and death. Chicken, fish and turkey bones can break off and tear through the animal’s intestinal tract.
  • Hold onto your drinks: Coffee and tea contain dangerous components called xanthines, which cause the damage to the dog’s nervous system or gastrointestinal tract and heart muscle stimulation. Animals are also attracted to the sweet smell of alcohol. Each year, hundreds of dogs die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Keep such drinks out of reach.
  • Put away cleaning supplies: In the rush to get the house ready for the holidays, or after the guests leave, families might mistakenly leave cleaning products within their pet’s reach. Floor cleaner, furniture polish and window cleaner are considered toxins. Be sure to place cleaning products that are not in use away in an area where animals cannot reach them.
  • Give your pets some room: Some pets may become overexcited when meeting visitors for the first time. They may jump on the visitor or act aggressively by barking or hissing. Some pets might also urinate on the floor. When hosting a party, set up a separate area for your pets with plenty of food and water.

“By taking these necessary precautions, you should have a happy and peaceful Easter for both you and your pet,” says Dr. John Charos, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates “In the event that your pet gets sick, our Valley Stream hospital is open everyday, including on Easter Sunday.”

CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even in the event of a natural disaster. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738).

Keep Your Pets Smiling during Pet Dental Health Awareness Month

dog with electric toothbrush

With the exception of a pet owner going in for a slobbery kiss or cuddle they rarely take a peek into the mouths of their cat or dog. Many are unaware that the buildup of bacteria lurking within the crevices of pet’s teeth may contribute to serious health complications. In recognition of February being National Pet Dental Health Month, Central Veterinary Associates (CVA) reminds pet owners to protecting their fanged friends’ health through routine dental care.

Many people are unaware that, like with humans, poor dental hygiene is a leading factor in the health of a pet’s internal organs. The continuous build up of tartar over time may lead to inflammation of an animal’s gums, gingivitis, or serious infections such as periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis may lead to bone loss, painful abscesses, difficulty eating or infection of the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys caused by the spread of bacteria through the blood stream.

“People are accustomed to going to regular checkups with their dentists and brushing their teeth on a daily basis, however oftentimes neglect the maintenance of their pet’s dental hygiene,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates. “I always emphasize the importance of good dental hygiene with pet owners. The well-being of cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits and other pets can be affected by proper care for pet’s teeth, gums and breath. Owners should consider visiting their vet for a full pet dental exam to better understand how dental health affects overall health.”

Bad breath is an indicator that pet owners should address the dental care of their dog or cat. The recognition of a drastic change in the scent of the pet’s breath should prompt them to bring the animal in for a full dental exam at their local veterinarian’s office, which is encouraged annually. This will allow your veterinarian to visually examine the pet’s face, mouth, teeth and gums. Sometimes, the doctor sedates the pet in order to get a thorough look inside its mouth to ensure there are no dental diseases. 

Pet owners can improve their pet’s dental health through regular maintenance, such as brushing the cat or dog’s teeth. Since cats and dogs do not know to “swish” or “spit” on command, it is important to purchase a pet-approved, non-toxic toothpaste that contains enzymes to break down the plaque. Unlike the ones made for human dental hygiene, pet toothpaste is edible and has a flavorful taste, which comes in handy when trying to appeal to the animal. Proper dental care standards suggest that pet owners brush their pet’s teeth at least two or three times a week to prevent dental diseases, plaque buildup and bad breath.

In addition to regular cleanings and brushing, anti-bacterial supplements are available for water dishes, which can reduce the amount of oral bacteria that causes foul-smelling mouth odors. Pet treats, created with animal-safe ingredients that clean teeth, eradicate plaque, strengthen gums and leaves breath smelling fresh, are available at local pet stores. There are also veterinary prescription diets available that can be used if your veterinarian deems appropriate.

 CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even in the event of a natural disaster.

Central Veterinary Associates Offers Tips on Keeping Your Pet Safe This Winter Season

With national and local computer models forecasting a major winter storm—including heavy snow, cva-winter-tipsstrong winds and coastal flooding—for Long Island this coming weekend, Central Veterinary Associates (CVA) is reminding pet owners that freezing temperatures and blustery weather can have an adverse effect on the well-being of their animal. That’s why the veterinarians at the long-running animal hospital want all Long Islanders to know how to keep their pets, dogs and cats especially, safe and healthy in these wintery conditions.

  • Always Dry Off: When your dog or cat comes in from the snow, ice or sleet, be sure to thoroughly wipe down their paws and stomach. He or she may have rock salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals on their paws which, if ingested, can cause severe stomach problems. Antifreeze should especially be watched for as it can lead to kidney failure. In addition, paw pads may get cut from hard snow or encrusted ice, so it’s important to check them over and treat them accordingly.
  • Hold Off on Haircuts: Save for extreme circumstances, you should never shave down your furred animal during the winter. Their long, thick coats are vital for protection from the cold. If you have a short-haired breed, consider getting him a coat or a sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
  • Keep Bedtime Warm: Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafty areas. A cozy pet bed with a warm blanket or pillow is ideal.
  • Bathroom Breaks: If you have a puppy or aging pet that may be sensitive to the cold, it may be difficult to take them outside. Use wee-pads or old newspapers to train puppies or to allow older pets to relieve themselves.
  • Bring Pets Inside: If domesticated animals are left outdoors during winter months, they run the risk of health conditions caused by extreme temperatures. Cats are especially susceptible as they have free reign of the outdoors, and become lost during a storm, or taken in by a neighbor. In similar fashion to summer months, you should never leave your pet alone in a car in cold weather, as they could freeze and develop serious cold-related health conditions.
  • Keep a Short Leash: Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm as they can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so make sure that your dog always wears his identification tags. CVA highly recommends that all pets are outfitted with a microchipping device, which it makes available as part of a low-cost service.
  • Check Your Engine: As you’re getting into your car in the morning, bang loudly on the hood of the car before getting in. Outdoor cats and wild animals like to sleep under cars or within the engine compartment or wheel base, as the engines keep the vehicle warm long after the car is parked. However, once the car is started or in motion, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt or tires.
  • Clean Up Spills: If you spill any antifreeze or winter-weather windshield fluid, be sure to clean it up immediately. Pets, especially cats, are enticed by the sweet-tasting liquid, but it is poisonous. Ingesting antifreeze leads to potentially life-threatening illness in all animals, domesticated or otherwise. If possible, use products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

“It is very important to keep your pet safe and healthy during the winter season, and especially during storms like the one in the forecast this weekend,” says Dr. Aaron Vine, DVM, Vice President, Central Veterinary Associates. “The extreme cold may have an adverse effect on your pet’s health, so pet owners must take the necessary precautions for their pets when bringing them outside. It is especially important during extreme weather circumstances to ensure that your pet is microchipped, which makes it easier to locate them. In the event they become ill as a result of being exposed to the elements, please bring them to a veterinarian immediately.”

Please see our companion Holiday Safety Tips blog. Central Veterinary Associates currently offers vaccinations against canine influenza and pet boarding services and provides emergency care in the event an animal becomes sick. The Valley Stream hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information, or to make an appointment, call (516) 825-3066.

CVA keeps its hospital in Valley Stream open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all major holidays. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit www.centralvets.com.

12 Pet Safety Tips to Ensure Your Pet’s Health and Happiness This Holiday Season

There’s something about the holidays that gives us a warm feeling of contentment and appreciation of loved ones, such as our pets. Lights, presents, decorations and food are all common themes to our celebrations, but they’re also what contribute to pets winding up in the hospital during the holiday months. In honor of the close of Hanukkah and the start of the 12 days of Christmas, here are one dozen tips that will allow your furry family members to join in the festivities while staying out of harm’s way.Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Chancy Candles

Hanukkah is the festival of lights and there’s no quintessential holiday symbol like a Menorah. Tradition dictates the candles burn themselves out, however this can pose a potential life threatening danger for both pets and humans. It’s important to keep your pet away from the room containing a lit Menorah, or update your Hanukkah observance by using battery-operated candles that provide a pet-safe holiday glow.

Christmas Tree Cat-tastrophies

Nothing catches a feline’s curiosity more than the lights, ornaments and smells of Christmas trees, often climbing into and around them to learn more. Securely anchor the tree to keep it from knocking over should Fluffy decide she’s the next Tarzan, swinging from its branches. To avoid stomach issues, sweep the needles frequently to avoid them from ending up in animal’s bellies. Try to keep your pet’s furry faces out of the water in the tree stand and don’t add toxic tree preservative products to it.

Toy Treachery

As mentioned in a previous article, animals are susceptible to choking on toys. Whether it’s your son’s dreidel, daughter’s Polly Pocket or even your dog’s favorite worn toy, your canine has the potential to swallow a small piece that can get lodged in its esophagus, stomach or intestines. Long, stringy toys are often feline’s favorite, but ribbon, yarn and loose little parts can get stuck in their intestines, requiring emergency surgery.

Keep the Beast From the Feast

As mentioned previous safety tips article, human food can often pose a threat to the health and safety of our beloved, furry friends. Chocolate gold coins or a candy-filled advent calendar are especially harmful to animals as consumption of these human sweets can cause severe toxicity. Foods high in sugar and fat can also cause gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis.

Dangerous Decorations

Cats and dogs often mistake baubles for playthings. So, any glass, breakable or edible ornaments should be placed high on your tree, out of the reach of your pets. Ensure that the ornaments you buy are too large to get lodged in your animal’s throat. Shards from broken ornaments are an intestinal blockage hazard and have the potential to injure paws, mouths or other body parts.

Troublesome Tinsel

Tinsel can be used to give your home a touch of sparkle, but don’t use it if you have curious pets. Ingesting tinsel can potentially block their intestinal track, which leads to severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. It can also wrap around their intestines, causing major surgery.

Harmful Holly

As mentioned in our Thanksgiving article, holiday plants and pets don’t always mix well. Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested while mistletoe can lead to gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Lilies, although beautiful, if nibbled on by a cat, can cause kidney failure. Opt instead for faux holiday plants or choose a pet-friendly bouquet.

No If, Ands or Nuts

Macadamia nuts and walnuts can cause severe lethargy, fever, vomiting, tremors, joint stiffness and immobility if consumed by animals. Keep bowls of these nuts on high tabletops, out of reach of your pets.

Wicked Wires

Keep wires and batteries out of paws’ reach. If chewed on, wires can deliver a potentially lethal shock and batteries can cause severe burns to the mouth and esophagus.

No Pinot for the Pup

It is important to never leave your alcoholic beverages unattended in areas where pets can reach them. According to the ASPCA, alcoholic drinks have the potential to be toxic to pets. If consumed, an animal can become severely intoxicated and weak, very depressed or may go into a coma. In severe instances, death from respiratory failure can occur.

Grapes and Onions and Avocados, Oh My!

Keep grapes, raisins, onions, avocados and garlic away from furry mouths. Although delicious and healthy for humans, these foods can cause lethargy, lack of appetite and vomiting for animals.

Fireworks Fuss

Animals are sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells, so during your New Year’s fireworks it’s best to leave your pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV on to drown out the sounds of the firecracker festivities. Cats are also vulnerable to digesting strings of thrown confetti that can get lodged in their intestines, causing the need for surgery, so be sure to forgo throwing any in homes with felines.

The Central Veterinary Associates (CVA) family would like to wish you and your pets a happy and safe holiday season. Should your furry family members get into any of these items, or anything else to raise concern this winter, contact your local CVA clinic or bring them to our Valley Stream emergency service location open 24/7/365, even during the holidays.