Can This Food Harm Your Pet?

Believe it or not, there are so many dangerous foods which can affect our pets’ health and well-being and the animal care team at the Veterinary Emergency Group wants to help you keep them safe. Especially during the holiday seasons, there are many popular human foods that our pets may encounter, some of which can be dangerous for them, and it’s important for all pet owners to know the difference.

Dangerous Foods for Pets in White Plains, NY

Some popular foods that can harm or kill your pet include:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Onions
  • Poultry bones
  • Raisins
  • Xylitol found in sugar free candy
  • …and more

How to Protect Your Pet During the Holidays

During the holiday season, it’s important to talk with your house guests to make sure that no one gives your pet treats without your consent. This is the best way to ensure that your pet doesn’t eat anything without your knowledge. It is also important to keep an eye on fallen table scraps which your pet could pick up and eat without warning. We recommend keeping your pet in a separate room during holiday mealtimes and parties to avoid this concern.

Remember that if your pet does consume food that is dangerous for them, the Veterinary Emergency Team can talk you through it and help you determine if emergency care is necessary. We are open and able to provide emergency care during all the hours your family veterinarian is unavailable, and that means weekends and holidays too!

Top 3 Pet Travel Items

Traveling With Pets in White Plains, NY

So you’re planning a week-long trip with your pet to sunny Florida this summer, or perhaps you’ll be driving a few hours away for a weekend camping trip. Wherever you’re going and however you’ll get there, Veterinary Emergency Group in White Plains, NY wants your dog or cat to be prepared for the trip.

In addition to food and water, there are many items that should accompany your pet when you travel, for their safety. Far too often, there are pet accidents and injuries that occur that could have been avoided with adequate preparation. We want to prevent these incidents from happening toyour beloved companion, so we have selected what we consider the top three items you need to travel with your pet.

  1. Emergency Supplies/First Aid Kit

Pets are curious by nature and can find themselves in potentially dangerous situations when they’re in a new environment. Hiking in the woods, playing in a dog park—you name it. As a rule of thumb, always bring a pet first aid kit when you travel with your pet. In addition to basic first aid supplies (gauze, scissors, hydrogen peroxide, etc.), your kit should include our phone number (914-949-8779) for local trips and the number of the nearest emergency pet hospital to your destination for long distance trips. Remember, Veterinary Emergency Group is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, should an emergency occur.

  1. Car Safety Harness/Carrier

A car safety pet harness is especially important for long road trips or trips on bumpy roads. Most pet safety harnesses are designed with a seat belt loop so they can be secured by a locked seat belt. A safety harness can keep your pet safe and seated while preventing any distractions caused by their roaming around the car. There are many sizes and styles available to accommodate most pet breeds. For air travel, all airlines that allow pets require pet carriers. Just be sure to check with your airline first for their pet policy, including the carrier dimension requirements.

  1. Pet Supplies

This may seem like an obvious item, but you’d be surprised at how many pet owners forget to bring their pet’s leash or collar during trips. Keep in mind that many places, such as parks and beaches, require that pets be on a leash at all times. Plus, many pets can be act unpredictably in a new environment and will likely want to explore, so keeping them on a leash will help keep them from chasing squirrels and rabbits, following the scent of another pet, etc. Make sure that your pet has identification as well, whether it’s in the form of an ID tag, a microchip, or both. Having a recent photo handy is also a great idea.

Emergency and Urgent Care for Your Pet

Emergencies can happen at any time of the day, when many veterinary hospitals are closed. Even if you think an emergency will never occur with your pet, it’s important to know where the nearest emergency vet is located. Located in White Plains, NY, The Veterinary Emergency Group serves pets from a number of communities, ranging from Manhattan to the Bronx. We have been providing emergency and urgent care services for over 25 years. Whether your pet needs treatment for a fracture, wound, or any other emergency, our experienced veterinarians are here to help.


Our hospital is open nights, weekends, and all major holidays, for your convenience to treat your pet, and no appointment is required. However, we ask that you call before your arrival, if possible. Our hours are:

Monday        6pm-8am
Tuesday       6pm-8am
Wednesday  6pm-8am
Thursday      6pm-8am
*Friday          6pm-
*Saturday     24 hours
*Sunday       24 hours

We know how stressful it can be to have a pet experience an accident, so you can be confident that our team of compassionate, skilled doctors will provide exceptional care in a timely manner. We also take the time to discuss your pet’s treatment in detail to ensure you have a full understanding of their condition.

Common Emergencies We Treat

The Veterinary Emergency Group treats virtually any pet emergency. Our facility is equipped with an in-house laboratory, digital X-ray technology, a Snyder ICU unit, and more to treat your pet. Some of the most common emergencies we treat include:

  • Trauma and other injuries
  • Puncture and other wounds
  • Poisoning
  • Acute lameness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Heatstroke
  • Seizures

You can learn more about the conditions we treat by visiting our Urgent Care and Emergencies pages. If you think your pet is in need of emergency or urgent care, give us a call at (914) 949-8779 to speak with a doctor.

Springtime Pet Safety Tips

Spring has sprung, and
with the change of season, our thoughts inevitably turn to Easter celebrations,
spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects. But the new balmy
weather can prove not-so-sunny for curious pets—or their unwitting parents.
Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of
potential springtime hazards for your delicate, furry friend. To help you out,
our ASPCA experts have come up with a few seasonal tips that will help prevent
mishaps or misfortunes. 
Screen Yourself Many pet
parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows.
Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats,
who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug
and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make
sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.
Buckle Up! While every
pet parent knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them
to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car
windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye
injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury,
or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a
seatbelt harness designed especially for them. 
Spring Cleaning Spring
cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep
all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all commercially sold
cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using
them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.
 Home Improvement
101 Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your
pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels
to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be
cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and
power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated
pet-friendly room during home improvement projects. 
Let Your Garden
Grow—With Care Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides
keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant
for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them. Always store
these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions
carefully. Check out our full list of garden care tips. 
Poisonous Plants Time to
let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including
Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily
prove fatal if eaten. Check out our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic
plants for your home and garden.
Ah-Ah-Achoo! Like their
sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and
pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and
sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your
pet has a springtime allergy, please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Pesky Little Critters
April showers bring May flowers—and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is
on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick
control program. Ask your doctor to recommend a plan designed specifically for
your pet. · Out and About Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer
walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat
has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home
address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information. Canines should
wear flat (never choke!) collars, please. 

Reasons To Act More Like Your Pet

Pets aren’t always easy to take care of, and they often require a
substantial time commitment (something you’re all too aware of at, say, 3 a.m.,
when Bing Clawsby is finally ready to go outside and do his business). But pets
provide an amazing return on that time investment, especially when it comes to
your health. Case in point: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and
triglyceride levels than non-pet owners. But that’s not all. Pets also model
many surprisingly healthy behaviors that humans would do well to emulate. Here
are just a few, according to veterinarians, dog trainers, and other pet
1. They focus on what matters most. You may get grumpy after a bad
day at the office, but your pooch never does. “Companion animals mostly care
about food, love, and shelter (not always in that order). As long as they have
those things, they don’t need much else,” Mary Gardner, DVM, a veterinarian and
cofounder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice tells Yahoo Health. “Pets also
don’t complain much at all. People believe they hide their pain; I simply think
they manage it differently.” If humans could model these behaviors, Gardner
adds, we’d be healthier, happier, “and more people would want to be around
2. They practice portion control (even if not by choice). Snowball
might not want to limit her kibble intake any more than you want to limit your
tortilla-chip intake. Nonetheless, she typically eats reasonably sized helpings
of nutritionally balanced food — and never gets to eat straight out of the bag.
Follow her lead. “Both animals and people need structure and regulation when it
comes to portion size,” says Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo
Animal Rescue based in Redmond, Washington. 
3. They know how to de-stress. Your pooch doesn’t pour a glass of
cabernet when the going gets rough (though, yes, it would make a very popular
YouTube video if she did). She may, however, start begging for a walk or to
play a game. Smart dog! “Actively seeking healthy activities — that function as
de-stressors when stress levels are high — helps to reset people as well as dogs,
and bring us back to a productive and functional status, from which many things
feel a lot more ‘do-able,’” Marisa Scully, a certified dog behavior specialist
in Philadelphia, tells Yahoo Health. 
4. They hit the hay. People don’t get enough sleep: According to a
2014 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans said that
a lack of sleep had impaired their activities at least once in the previous
week. Learn from your cat or dog, who knows just how important it is to get
enough shut-eye, says Jeff Werber, VVM, president and chief veterinarian of
Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles. “Whether it’s a lazy dog day
afternoon, or a quick cat nap, you won’t find them burning the candles at both
5. They stretch! There’s a reason one of the most common yoga moves is
named downward dog. Dogs (and cats) stretch constantly — and we should do the
same, notes certified dog behavior consultant Russell Hartstein. Why?
Stretching can improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injury. 
6. They’re open to new things. Animals are naturally curious.
“Open a box or empty a bag and before you know it, your cat will have climbed
in to investigate. Walk your dog past a gardener planting flowers and chances
are she will check it out before moving on,” Werber says. “And they’re always
up for some fun. A game of catch, a walk, a visit — bring it on.” Since
research has found that seeking out new experiences can keep people feeling
young and healthy, we’d do well to follow suit.
7. They’re comfortable getting zen. Numerous studies have found a
correlation between mindful meditation and reduced stress, decreased heart
disease, and a stronger immune response — and that’s something your cat already
knows how to do instinctively. “Each morning I sit on the sofa with my cat,
Turtle, while I drink my first cup of coffee,” says Kristen Levine, a pet
living expert. “We spend about 10 minutes together, her getting neck and head
rubs, me enjoying her purring and having a few meditative moments at the start
of the day.It sounds simple, and it can be, but depending on the activity, it
can have a powerfully relaxing or invigorating effect for both human and

Top Ten Winter Skin & Paw Care Tips

to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped
paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can
suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from
ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws.
Says Dr.
Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA
Animal Hospital,
“During the winter, products used as de-icers on sidewalks and other areas can
lead to trouble for our animal companions, potentially causing problems ranging
from sore feet to internal toxicity. Pet parents should take precautions to
minimize their furry friends’ exposure to such agents.” To help prevent cold
weather dangers from affecting your pet’s paws and skin, please heed the
following advice from our experts: 
Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking
skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes
inside, paying special attention to his feet and in between the toes. · Trim
long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals and
de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. (Don’t neglect the hair between
the toes!) 
· Bring a
towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk,
wash and dry your pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for
cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. 
· Bathe
your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can
remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If
your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo
and/or rinse. 
Dressing your pet in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and
prevent skin from getting dry. · Booties help minimize contact with painful
salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can
also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes,
causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible. · Massaging
petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from salt
and chemical agents. And moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal
chapped paws. 
Brushing your pet regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates
blood circulation, improving the skin’s overall condition. 
· Pets
burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing
dehydration. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather and
making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help to keep her well-hydrated,
and her skin less dry. 
Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your
pet. Animal companions should remain indoors as much as possible during the
winter months and never be left alone in vehicles when the mercury drops. 

Why Dogs Bark and Growl

Does your dog growl or bark when a stranger approaches your house
or when something goes bump in the night? If so, you’re not alone.

Most dogs will vocalize
when they are exposed to new or different situations, including strange people
or animals entering their territory; being separated from their pack, mother or
even your family members; or new or alarming sounds. Dogs may also bark or
growl when they see prey, such as squirrels, and they may bark for attention,
food or if they are anxious. Dogs often growl when they are fearful or
trying to assert themselves in a situation. If the dog’s fear or assertiveness
is alleviated by growling or barking, the dog will learn that his behavior is
acceptable and the behavior may become more frequent or severe. Some
medical problems may cause growling or barking and older pets experiencing
senile changes may have barking problems. Intense and continuous barking may be
considered compulsive. Check with your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s
barking or growling problem. Behavior training and drug therapy may be helpful
in reducing barking for pets with medical, geriatric and compulsive
Socializing your puppy can help
Acclimate your puppy to
a variety of different people, environments, situations and noises to help
lessen anxiety as your puppy grows. Make sure your puppy spends time alone so
that he doesn’t develop separation anxiety while you are away from him. Proper training
is essential to preventing behavior problems, such as growling and barking. Ask
you veterinarian for more information about puppy training. 
Correcting a barking or growling problem
Correcting a barking or
growling problem first requires that you have effective management of your dog.
Once you have achieved this, you can begin to train your dog to lessen his
barking or growling behavior by using rewards for quiet behavior. The reward
should be something that the dog really likes such as a favorite treat, tummy
rubs, or a favorite toy. Punishment is generally ineffective in correcting
barking problems. Too much punishment may even exacerbate the behavior and
cause the dog to be fearful or aggressive.
Begin your training with
situations that you can easily control (such as a family member making a noise
that causes the dog to bark) before moving on to difficult situations (such as
a strange animal in your yard). When your dog barks at the stimuli (for
instance, a doorbell ring), immediately interrupt the barking. When the dog is
quiet offer the dog a reward for their behavior. Without the reward there
is no incentive to remain quiet.Reward your dog when, at your request, he has
stopped barking. Only reward the dog when he is quiet and gradually increase
the amount of time that the dog needs to be quiet for him to receive a
As the barking or
growling problem decreases, make sure to direct your dog to more appropriate
behavior, such as play, and the problem should lessen over time. Don’t forget to
discuss training options with your veterinarian to find the one that will work
best for your pet.

Christmas Pet Safety

“My pet would
never eat food off the table!”
“My pet would
never knock over the Christmas tree!”
“My pet would
never bite someone!”
We all know our
pets pretty well, but what we don’t always realize is that stress can make
anybody do crazy things! When you have holiday guests or flashing Christmas lights
or loud holiday music—or all of the above—at your house all at once, your pet
may get stressed and frustrated, causing them to act out in unexpected ways.
Most pet accidents are met with the statement, “He’s never done anything like
that before!”

We recommend
always making sure that your pet has a safe place to sit and relax during your
holidays parties. Just like some people, pets need to get away from the action
and de-stress, but most of the time they don’t know how to ask for their space.
If your pet is comfortable in their crate, we recommend moving it into a quiet
room and letting them spend some time resting during your holiday
get-togethers. Your pet will be happier, and by extension, you and your guests
will be happier! And holiday disasters will be prevented.