Pet Safety Tips for this Howl-O-Ween

dog sitting beside carved pumpkin

The chill in the air, the spooky decorations and bustle of trick-or-treaters that makes everyone tingle with excitement, might also leave your pet running scared. We at Central Veterinary Associates know that pets are family and therefore Halloween safety should be as much a priority for your pets as it is for your human loved ones.

There has been a rising popularity in dressing up pets in costumes in recent years. Although often adorable, this attire can also pose a danger to the health and safety of your pet by increasing stress and anxiety. What may look cute and fuzzy to you, may be triggering high levels of anxiety in your pet. Cats and dogs are especially susceptible and may exhibits signs of discomfort, such as folded down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail, hunching over and complete removal of the costume. If this sounds like your pet, opt instead for something more comfortable, like a festive collar or leash.

If your pet is unbothered by the costume, still ensure that its fabric doesn’t hang too low, which could cause them to stumble. Also make sure that the attire does not obstruct vision, hearing or mobility. Never tie anything around his or her neck that could cause the animal to choke and be strangled. As discussed in an earlier post, it’s important to remove any chewable parts or objects that could potentially get lodged in the animal’s throat and cause them to choke.

Another concern for pet parents this Halloween; candy. Treats containing chocolate and xylitol (a sweetener used in many foods) are most common on this day, but can be extremely poisonous to pets. To prevent your furry friends from getting their paws on these hazardous sweets, place candy in high or locked cabinets, out of the reach of animals and small children. Youngsters can often make the grave mistake of handing over delicious human food to their furry siblings, which could have detrimental ramifications.

As tempting as it may be, do not bring your animals along with you for trick-or-treating festivities if they are easily spooked. Even the most well-behaved animals can be spooked or become aggressive from the howl of a neighborhood werewolf or sight of a scary Freddy Krueger mask (let’s face it, that last one still gives us goosebumps). Keep your pets inside, in a room separate from the trick-or-treaters. Too many strangers will frighten and overwhelm them, causing dogs to become over-protective or even aggressive and cats to scurry out of the house. Always make sure your pet has a proper identification tag or microchip should they slip out the door while you’re trying to pass out goodie bags.

With these tips, you’ll be able to keep Halloween fun and safe for all of your loved ones, including your four-legged friends. In the event that your pet ingests candy, has a panic or attack, or escapes, contact your local Central Veterinary Associates clinic for medical assistance and remember that the Valley Stream location is open 24/7/365, including on Halloween.


Central Veterinary Associates Offer Tips for Traveling with Pets

Studio shot of cat and pet carrier

With the summer travel season well underway, Central Veterinary Associates is cautioning pet owners to take special care to ensure their animal’s safety with a collection of tips to keep everyone happy and secure during long-distance treks.

“Many people have not traveled with their pets before, so, for the animals, it may become a traumatic experience,” said Dr. John Charos, Chief Executive Officer of Central Veterinary Associates. “By following these tips, pet owners will be able to make this vacation a safe and happy one. If you are still unsure if your pet is able to travel, please consult your veterinarian.”

Before You Head Out

  • Speak with your veterinarian regarding potential concerns or risks, such as respiratory problems that arise for some breeds during air travel.
  • Research pet-friendly hotels and modes of transportation.
  • Find a carrier that’s perfect for your pet and write their name and your contact details on the outside.
  • Let pets become familiar with the crates before a long trip to avoid stress during travel.
  • Consider getting your pet microchipped to ensure they have identification should they get lost

What to Pack

  • Essential items, such as toys, bottled water, food/treats, medications and first aid kit.
  • General gear, like grooming products, collars/leashes, stain remover, paper towels and bathroom materials.
  • Pet identification, including your pet’s health certificate (required for air travel) and contact information for your veterinarian (in case of an emergency).

Road Travel

  • Take your pet on several short trips to assess your pet’s comfort level inside your vehicle prior to your trip.
  • Exercise your pet beforehand so that they can burn off energy and relax during the ride.
  • Secure your animal with a seatbelt, in a ventilated crate, in the back seat of your car. Animals that roam inside a vehicle are a danger to both the driver and themselves.
  • Take semi-frequent stops in order for pets to eat and relieve themselves.
  • Do not feed them in the car as they are susceptible to motion sickness.
  • NEVER leave a pet alone in a car as the hot temperatures can cause brain damage or even death.

Air Travel

  • Notify your airline ahead of time to reserve space for your pet.
  • Research your air carrier’s rules and limitations regarding animals, including breed, size and age.
  • Have a leash with you to secure your animal during the screening process.
  • Bring a soft carrier in the event that your pet can travel as a carry-on.
  • Larger pets must travel in the cargo section of the aircraft, where there is an increased risk of injury, so please consider whether it is completely necessary for them to travel with you. If this is the only option, select a direct flight to decrease the risks and select a hard carrier with ample space for the pet to lay down.
  • Do not feed your pet four to six hours before a trip, but do keep them hydrated with small amounts of water.
  • Do not give a tranquilizer to your animal as it throws off their equilibrium, leaving them vulnerable to harm. The decision to administer tranquilizers during travel should be made only with the help of your veterinarian.
  • As soon as possible after arrival, remove your pet from its crate to allow it to stretch and relax.

Sea, Bus and Rail Travel

  • Most cruise, train and bus lines do not allow pets, except for service animals, so call the transportation service for information.

beach dog

Central Veterinary Associates’ Valley Stream office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any of your pet’s needs. For more information, or to make an appointment, call Central Veterinary Associates at (516) 825-3066 or visit

Top 15 Common Toxins for Cats and Dogs

Highly toxic products, like pest killers, have always beCat and dog over white banneren known to be an obvious poison to both humans and their pets. But, did you know that there are several common household items in your cabinets that can prove toxic to your cat or dog? To ensure your pet remains safe, happy and healthy, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 most common toxins for our furry friends.

1) PAIN RELIEVERS/HEADACHE MEDICATION — Especially dangerous for felines, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and aspirin can lead to severe side effects, like ulcers, liver damage or failure, deoxygenation of red blood cells and stomach problems in pets.

2) ANTI-DEPRESSANTS — Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications like alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor) can lower an animal’s blood pressure, leading to weakness or collapse. Symptoms of illness may include agitation, vocalization, tremors and lack of coordination or trouble standing

3) CAFFEINE — There is no antidote to a caffeine overdose in a pet, which can cause restlessness, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits and bleeding, often leading to death. If your pet has had a few laps of soda, coffee, or tea, it is probably not enough to hurt him, but moderate amounts of coffee grounds or tea bags, and especially a single diet pill, can prove fatal.

4) CHOCOLATE — Theobromine, the primary alkaloid found in chocolate, is poisonous to dogs, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, hyperactivity and/or seizures. Theobromine is stronger in dark chocolate and semisweet baking chocolate than it is in milk chocolate.

5) XYLITOL — Xylitol is a substitute sugar often used in commercial products like toothpaste and sugar-free gum and is said to be 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate. The intake of Xylitol can cause an upsurge of insulin in the bloodstream and lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms of poisoning include weakness, vomiting, incoordination or difficulty standing, lethargy, tremors, seizures, and even coma. In severe cases, dogs may develop liver failure.

6) TOPICAL FLEA MEDICINE — Despite EPA reprimands, many companies still produce flea and tick medicines containing organophosphate insecticides (OPs) that are harmful if applied or ingested. Hair loss, skin irritation, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, trembling and respiratory problems are among the side effects of these medicines. Cats are particularly at risk since they lack the ability to metabolize or detoxify OPs. To learn more visit the Humane Society website.

7) COLD, FLU AND ALLERGY MEDICINE — Animals do not develop illnesses in the same manner as humans, so if your cat or dog gets sick, OTC medicines will not help and could be harmful to the pet. Poisoning symptoms include vomiting, pale gums, disorientation and confusion, diarrhea and sudden collapse. Owners are urged to induce vomiting in their pets and call the vet immediately. The ASPCA has a great resource regarding dog and cat flu, here.

8) ADHD MEDICINE — For unknown reasons, Adderall, the country’s most common ADHD medication, appeals to cats’ taste buds more than any other drugs. A single 20mg pill can kill the average-sized cat. Early signs of intoxication include anxiety, disorientation and distress, with unusual disturbance from light and sound and an increased heart rate or body temperature. If your cat has ingested an amphetamine, you should immediately induce vomiting and call your veterinarian.

9) NSAIDS — Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are among the ten most common poisoning cases reported to the National Animal Poison Control Center. NSAIDS, including naproxen (Aleve) and Flurbiprofen, can cause gastrointestinal/stomach problems and kidney failure. For more information on what common medications can harm your pet, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

10) VITAMINS AND MINERALS There are some vitamin supplements that dogs can safely consume, but large amounts of any “healthy” item will make your dog sick. Vitamin A overdose leads to limping, anorexia/weight loss, lethargy, stiffness of limbs, and constipation. Animals that have taken in too much Vitamin B-6 might experience neurotoxicity symptoms and sensitivity to light, while a Vitamin C overdose will cause diarrhea and abdominal bloating. Dogs who have consumed an excessive amount of Vitamin D will exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, excessive drinking and urination, abnormal heartbeat, limping and, in some cases, bleeding.

11) GLOW STICKS — Children love glow sticks and glow jewelry, especially in the summer months, but if a cat ingests its chemical base [dibutyl phthalate (DBP)], it may experience drooling, vomiting, skin and eye irritation, and a burning or stinging sensation. Since cats are excellent groomers, this toxin can spread quickly during a cat’s natural attempt to clean itself.

12) HOUSEHOLD ITEMS — Bleach, fertilizer, insecticide, road salt, antifreeze, detergent, chlorine and ammonia are all common chemicals that can cause serious problems for your pet. While direct ingestion can lead to death, pets can access these toxins through other means, such as licking the toilet bowl while it still has remnants of a chemical, or breathing in toxic fumes after the product is sprayed. Among the risks are cancer, liver failure, anemia, tremors, kidney failure, lymphoma, neurological disorders and irritation to the gastrointestinal system. For a list of pet-friendly alternatives to these household chemicals, click here.

13) CANINE HEART MEDICATIONS — Used to treat congestive heart failure in dogs, Digoxin can be fatal when administered incorrectly, or if left in an area where your dog can get to it while you aren’t watching. The first symptoms of myocardial toxicity are depression, diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia or disinterest in food. The toxicity can progress quickly, potentially causing the pet to experience seizures or become comatose. If your dog has been poisoned, rush it to the veterinarian for an immediate checkup.

14) CERTAIN FLOWERS — Lilies, philodendrons, morning glory, tulips, hyacinth, poinsettias (the holiday flower), oleander, amaryllis and azaleas are all toxic to cats. Ingestion of any part of these flowers can lead to kidney damage and bladder problems. For a list of all potentially dangerous plants, click here.

15) COMMON FRUITS AND VEGGIES —Man’s best friend loves to scramble when their owners drop scraps while cooking or eating, but you should be careful about what foods your pet can access. Grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure and onions and garlic can damage red blood cells and are more potent in powdered form, such as in a soup mix packet. Avocado leaves, fruit and seeds contain persin, while cyanide is found in apple seeds. It will typically take up to three days for the toxins to kick in. Affected dogs will appear weak and may have dark orange/red colored urine. Visit the ASPCA website for a full list of foods that are dangerous for dogs.

Dr. Greg Nelson to Appear on The Weather Channel’s “Wake Up with Al Roker”

Central Veterinary Associates has announced that Dr. Greg Nelson, Senior Vice President, will appear on The Weather Channel’s “Wake Up with Al Roker” on Monday, March 16 at 6:40 a.m. During the segment, Dr. Nelson will discuss ways to keep your cats safe during the spring season, how certain plants can be harmful to them and the importance of spaying or neutering your cat.

A cum laude graduate of the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Nelson is the Head of Diagnostic Imaging and the Head of Surgery at Central Vets’ main hospital at Valley Stream. He is board certified in canine and feline practice and has received numerous honors during his career, including the ASCPA’s Presidents Award for Outstanding Veterinarians.

The Weather Channel can be seen on Channel 62 (Cablevision), Channels 93 and 211 (Time Warner Cable), Channel 214 (DISH Network) and Channel 362 (DirecTV).

For more information about Central Veterinary Associates, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit


Central Veterinary Associates Alerts Pet Owners of Recall of Jump Your Bones Brand Treats

VALLEY STREAM, NY — Central Veterinary Associates has announced that Jump Your Bones, a Florida-based pet treats company, is voluntarily recalling select lots of its treats due to the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. In addition to the risks for pets, humans can also be subject to Salmonella poisoning by handling the contaminated pet product.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide at pet food stores, boutiques, and online stores. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (best used by date) printed on the side of the plastic tube. The following products are included in the recall:

  • Jump Your Bones Kangaroo Bites and Roo Bites, 
Size: 2.82oz. and .32 oz. Plastic Pouch. Best Used by Date: May 2016.UPC: 63633010041

There are no reports of illness in pets or people as a result of the products. Pets that are infected with Salmonella may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will only have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

“It is important for all pet owners who purchased these products to return them to the store for a full refund,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates. “It is recommended that this product no longer be fed to your pets and to contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible if your pet becomes ill as the result of consuming this product.”

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