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.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Bond Between Seniors and Aging Pets

seniors-senior-petsThere’s an unmistakable connection between people and pets who have experienced the joys and hardships that come with old age. Though it’s likely that neither of them will be running marathons anytime soon, both have a refined appreciation of life and companionship. Additionally, they set a comfortable pace for one another, which, in turn, help fulfill the activity they both need for optimal health.

Bringing a new puppy into the home can be a huge responsibility that requires someone to give them full attention to meet their demands, but senior animals are usually already trained, thus providing the human-pet bond with half the stress. Also, for those who enjoy a relaxed, slow-paced lifestyle, older pets are more than happy to spend their time cuddled up on a couch watching black-and-white films.

Older adults can sometimes experience feelings of loneliness and lack of purpose once their children move out and they retire. According to Aging Care magazine, animal companions can reduce depression, and lower blood pressure and stress levels through friendship and dependency.

If you are considering adopting an older pet, this list can be a good reference as to whether or not it is the best choice for you:

  • I have a calm, stay-at-home lifestyle
  • I enjoy low-to-moderate physical activity
  • I have a steady routine
  • I have the financial means to support an aging pet and its ailments
  • I have the patience to give a pet time to adjust to his or her new environment
  • I have a lot of love and time to devote to my new companion

When you do bring a new furry friend into your family, be sure to contact your local Central Veterinary Associates clinic to adhere to all of your pet’s medical needs. For more information, or to make an appointment, call our Valley Stream location, 24/7, 365, at (516) 825-3066 or visit www.centralvets.com.

How to Serve Up a Trouble-Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to come together with friends and family to give thanks and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal. It can also be a time when people find it hard to resist slipping the family pet a nibble of the Thanksgiving feast from the table. However, what may seem as a generous gesture can actually be harmful to your dog or cat’s health. Here are some holiday tips to keep your furry friends safe and avoid a trip to the veterinarian on Thanksgiving night:

Treacherous Turkey
If you decide to give your cat a dog a helping of turkey, make sure the meat is fully cooked. Undercooked or raw meat can leave them susceptible to salmonella poisoning. Check to make sure all bones are removed to reduce the risk of choking and select only the lean, white meat. Turkey fat and skin can lead to severe gastrointestinal issues, like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive flatulence and, in some cases, life-threatening conditions like pancreatitis.Dog and cat choosing between veggies and meat

Serious Side Safety
Similar to certain parts of the turkey, letting your pets indulge in sides that are rich in fats can lead to diarrhea and upset stomach at best and worst case pancreatitis.

Say No to Dough
According to the ASPCA, when ingested, raw bread dough mixed with an animal’s internal temperature can cause the dough to rise in its stomach. As the dough expands, the animal may experience vomiting, bloating and severe abdominal pain, which could become a life-threatening and require emergency surgery.

No Bones About It
Aside from being a choking hazard, cooked bones are often brittle, and sharp pieces can get lodged in your pet’s intestines. The bones of a bird, like chicken or poultry, are especially dangerous as they are hollow and easily susceptible to breaking.

Don’t Let Them Eat That Cake, Cake, Cake
As mentioned in a previous safety article, chocolate is fatally poisonous to dogs and cats, so keep sweets well out of their reach. Additionally, you should make sure your pets keep their noses out of the cake batter, which may contain raw eggs that have salmonella and could lead to food poisoning.

Potent Packaging
Plastic wrap, wax paper and aluminum foil will damage your pet’s intestinal track and cause obstruction. Make sure all wrapping is thrown away and the garbage is placed out of the way of pets. If you’re exchanging holiday gifts early, as some families tend to on this day, be sure to also keep wrapping and tissue paper away from your animals.

Fatal Flowers
Everyone loves a holiday tablescape complete with a beautiful Thanksgiving floral arrangement. But, plants like poinsettias, holly berries, mistletoe and cedar Christmas are toxic to animals. Opt either for a safer flower bouquet or take steps to ensure the plants will be out of your pet’s reach at all times. This is easier with dogs than with cats, who may climb on the table out of curiosity.

Kitchen Collision
For many families, the kitchen and dining area are the holiday hub for you and your guests, but it shouldn’t be for pets. With pots and pans, serving dishes and dinner plates being passed from one place to another, there’s a chance Fluffy or Fido could end up being burned by a dish’s spillovePeasant womanr or caught under a guest’s foot.

Over-Generous Guests
Speaking of guests, it’s important to fill your friends in on the pet safety restrictions that you have set for your pet. Little does a child know that sharing her chocolate cupcake with the dog, or your great aunt giving your cat a couple sips of her homemade hard cider, can be a major risk to the pets’ health. Even if it’s safe for them to consume, too much of a good thing can still be detrimental as your pet’s overindulgence can lead to stomach problems.

With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your furry family members in good spirits and out of the emergency room this Thanksgiving. In the event that your pet gets into something harmful this holiday, contact your local Central Veterinary Associates clinic for medical assistance and remember that the Valley Stream location is open 24/7/365, including on Thanksgiving.

New York Has Gone to the Dogs

The Big Apple was recently named the fourth most dog-friendly city in the United States by Find the Home. The study scored cities and counties across the nation on a Dog Friendly Index of one-to-100, taking into account the availability of groomers, veterinarians and pet sitting services, as well as parks and other locations for pet owners to play with their furry friends. New York City’s fourth-place ranking is due to its Dog Friendliness Index of 82.76; Nassau County is close behind, with a rank of 81.9; and Suffolk County pulled a score of nearly 75.

How can you make your community more pet-friendly and get all three regions to the top ten? The first step is to get involved. This can be as simple as stopping by to welcome new neighbors to the community with a treat for their pets, along with helpful information about neighborhood pet resources, such as the location of your local Central Veterinary Associates clinic and available dog walkers and pet supply stores. This information can be beneficial to anyone with a pet new to the area.

In towns lacking vital resources for pet owners, personal initiatives may be necessary to making it more pet-friendly. In an area lacking public garbage cans and curbside waste bags, residents are encouraged to contact local government officials to request them. If you’re the go-getter type, you may be happy to place them in the area yourself. Pet owners will appreciate the convenience and these pet-friendly resources will serve as a reminder to residents to pick up after their pets.

If you own a business and are considering making it pet-friendly, start off small by posting pet-friendly hours and limiting the animals to only certain areas of the store. If you’re looking to increase traffic to your store on a certain day, consider utilizing pet-friendliness for a promotion or event. It’s important to keep water bowls, treats and toys on hand at your business in order to best serve an animal’s attention. As a precautionary measure, restrict your business area to pets that are leashed, potty-trained, well behaved and non-aggressive.

To build a relationship with other pet lovers in your community, identify local dog parks and pet-friendly events to participate in. Volunteering at events like adoption drives and pet walks are a great way to connect to other animal lovers and together make the world safe and more humane for all living creatures.

Central Veterinary Associates is one of the oldest, continuous veterinary practices with convenient animal clinic locations throughout Nassau and Queens Counties. We provide outstanding veterinary, emergency hospital, surgery, holistic and acupuncture, dental, exotics, house call and second opinion/specialist services. For more information about Central Veterinary Associates, or any of our services please call, (516)-825-3066.