Keep Your Pet Safe and Happy this Labor Day!

We hope you’re as excited as us for Labor Day weekend!  Labor Day is a fantastic long weekend to spend time outside with your friends, family, and of course — pets!  As we are all off to our destinations today, let’s not forget to take the necessary precautions to make sure that our pets are safe and comfortable during all Labor Day festivities.

The number one thing to be concerned with for any summer holiday and your pets is the heat.

When you’re outside with your pets, make sure that they ALWAYS have access to shade and fresh water. Never leave your pets unattended for long periods of time in the heat, and be sure to keep the air conditioning on throughout those extra hot days.  Also, always watch out for signs of heat stroke.  They include but are not limited to vomiting, tremors, or inability to walk.  If you notice any of these symptoms, do not wait.  Contact an emergency vet immediately.

We urge you to never leave your animal loose in your car.

Many of us will be getting into our cars for a road trip this morning.  We urge you to never leave your animal loose in your car.  The safest way to travel with your pet is with a kennel that is securely fastened with a seatbelt or seat saver.  Also, Never leave your pet alone in a hot care — even if you are parked in the shade or have your windows open.  Your car creates an oven-like effect that will make it hotter than the outside environment.

If you are attending a cookout, be weary of what you furry friend may get into.

Many of our favorites can be extremely harmful for our pets.  Alcohol, grapes, chocolate, onions, certain nuts or even dairy items can be extremely toxic to our pets (just to name a few).  Also, watch out for corn on the cob or cooked bones of any kind! Dogs are known to choke on large pieces of corn cob, and cooked bones can do severe damage to a pet that may ingest them.

Be ready for fireworks.

If you are ending your night with a display of fireworks, do your best to secure your pets somewhere quiet and safe.  It is best to be with them until the loud noises are over. Fireworks are known to cause pets to take off and run away — even if your animal may never otherwise do so.

Have fun this weekend, and keep these tips in mind! Our pets are members of our family, and it is very important to always consider their needs and best practices for these kinds of scenarios. 

Would you like to donate to help save animals? HEALS is one of the best, most effective animal charities to donate to. Your gift provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help paying for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email us at

Support HEALS at the Second Annual 50/50 Charity Auction July 26th

Support HEALS at the Second Annual 50/50 Charity Auction. HEALS will earn a 25% profit with your participation.

JUL 26th 2023
12:00 PM – JUL 30 AT 9:00 PM EDT
Online Event

More About The Auction!

Welcome to the Second Annual 50/50 Charity Auction!!
“What EXACTLY is a 50/50 auction?” Well, I’m happy you asked.
A small group of people got together and thought it would be great to auction off items that they either owned; purchased or made themselves in an effort to raise a little money for themselves and for the rescue of their choice, Items will get added to the auction and the public will bid on them. Once the auction closes, 50% of the proceeds will go to the Charity of each person’s choice and the remaining 50% they get to keep. 
******We will adjust the shipping cost for winners of multiple items.******
As people sign up to participate, I’ll add their names and the name of the Charity they are supporting below.
Keep watching as we add to the album and share with your friends! 

Carol, Kerry, Nancy, Theresa & Shawni 
Carol Price:  
25%: Guardian Heals
25%: LIBR
Kerry Parkes
25% Vintage Pet Rescue
25% LIBR
Laurie Costa
100% Costa House Rescue
Jen Dolenic:
100% Bully For You
Nancy Penn:
50%: Rescue Ridge
Theresa Palazzolo-Mazzella:
50%: Popcorn Park Animal Refuge
Shawni Jernigan:
25%: French Bulldog Rescue Network (FBRN)
25%: Wings of Rescue

Hazy, Hot, and Humid? Hot Dog? Beware of Heatstroke.

The joys of summer are not without some serious caveats: Beware of the deadly risks of
heatstroke in your pets. It's been widely publicized in the last few years: Don't leave your
pets in a parked car–not even for just a few minutes–as temperatures rapidly rise. This life-
saving message bears repeating now: A parked car can heat up like an oven in a short
period of time in the very hot weather–putting pets at risk of deadly heatstroke.

Signs of heatstroke
Recognizing the signs and taking prompt action can help save your pet’s life:

 Body temperature of 104-110 degrees F
 Excessive panting
 Dark or bright red gums and tongue
 Bloody diarrhea or vomiting
 Staggering
 Stupor
 Seizures

Take quick action
These signs can progress to coma and death–so seek emergency veterinary medical
attention fast. If you are unable to do so, here are a few steps you can take in the meantime
to help your pet:

• Get out of the sun right away and get into the closest shaded area.

• Use cool–not cold–water to cool your pet down.

• Do not cool your pet down below 103 degrees as they can become too cool too quickly
and this causes more harm.

• You can offer ice to your animal, but don't force them to eat or drink if they aren’t

Seek veterinary assistance ASAP
However, after taking those steps, if your animal is cooled and appears to be fine, don’t
assume everything is fine–because it’s not! Internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, and
brain can be affected by the body temperature elevation your pet experienced. A veterinary
examination and blood work will be needed to make sure your pet is really okay.

Hot tips
 If you see an animal locked in a car in the heat, immediately call the local police or
animal control officer and/or the store manager (if it’s in a mall or retail parking lot).
 If you are traveling with your pet and need to stop, use drive-up windows and shop
at stores that will allow you to bring your pet inside.
 Walk your dog in the early morning and later evening hours when the temperatures
are not as high.
 Bring water and a portable pet bowl should your pet get thirsty while out in the hotter
 Remember, as the saying goes, “If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pets.”

HEALS hopes that the only hot dogs you’ll have this summer are on the grill and the only
strokes you’ll see are the swimming kind. Remember to keep the phone number of your
nearest veterinary emergency facility handy. Enjoy the coveted season and stay safe!

HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial
help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–
right here in your own community. If you need help to pay for dog or cat veterinary care,
contact us at 914-996-0001 or email

For the Love of Kitties, Leave the Lilies Alone

By Joan Eve Quinn, HEALS Program Director

Who’s not thrilled to see happy flowers popping up their cheerful heads after a long, cold winter?  In particular, lovely-looking lilies start appearing everywhere at this time of year, both indoors and out, especially as the spring holidays approach. The Easter lily, an alluring trumpet-shaped flower with waxy white petals and a distinctive scent, is a perennial favorite. 

Cats and lilies don’t mix!

But these pretty plants can be fatal to felines. These flowers don’t come with warning labels–but maybe they should!  Who knows what might pique the interest of our feline friends? Kitties that are bored, curious or attracted to a different texture or unusual scent may be tempted to taste the new lily plant addition to the home.

Beauty can be dangerous

Easter lilies can cause acute kidney failure in cats, which is very serious! Some other lily culprits include:

  • Tiger Lily
  • Rubrum Lily
  • Stargazer Lily
  • Red or Wood Lily
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Japanese Show Lily
  • Day Lilies

Any Lilium or Hemerocallis species should be considered potentially poisonous to cats. Calla Lilies and Peace Lilies, which are common houseplants, can cause mouth and GI tract irritation. Lilies of the Valley, omnipresent outdoors in springtime, can cause heart arrhythmias.

A few other popular spring flowers that are dangerous to cats include daffodils, hyacinths, azaleas, and tulips.

Dog owners should be wary as well. “Dogs can have some gastrointestinal upset from ingesting lilies as well as some other flowers, but it won’t result in any fatal complications,” advises Dr. Jason Berg, board-certified veterinary neurologist/internist and HEALS Chairman of the Board.

Signs of lily toxicity in cats

Signs of poisoning develop quickly. Initial signs can appear within two hours of ingestion and include vomiting, refusal to eat, and lethargy.    

Initial symptoms may subside, but don’t be fooled. Cats will become symptomatic again within 24-96 hours as kidney failure develops. These later signs can include:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Oral ulcers and uremic breath
  • Hypothermia
  • Increased respiration rate
  • Slowed heart rate

Life-saving veterinary treatment

The onset of kidney failure can be prevented with aggressive veterinary treatment within six hours of ingestion. Treatment includes inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal products. This therapy is followed up with intravenous fluids for at least two days. If medical treatment is delayed for longer than 18 hours, kidney failure will develop. If not treated, death will occur in as little as three to seven days. Lily toxicity is to be taken very seriously!

The safest bet

It’s best not to purchase lilies of any type indoors or outdoors if you own a cat. But even if you don’t purchase lilies, keep all flower arrangements out of the reach of curious kitties. If your me-ew likes to chew, try some fresh cat grass or catnip plants, which are available at most pet stores.   

If you think your cat may have gotten into a lily plant, seek emergency veterinary medical attention immediately!  Know where your nearest 24/7 veterinary clinic is located and keep the phone number handy. For further information on this subject, you can contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Would you like to donate to help save animals? HEALS is one of the best, most effective animal charities to donate to. Your gift provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help paying for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email us at

Gift Your Pet Some Love – But Not Chocolate on Valentine’s Day!

By Joan Eve Quinn, Program Director

Valentine’s Day delivers a joyfully warm respite from the cold winter chill. It’s also a good excuse to binge on sweet treats–chocolate being among our favorites.

From tiny tasty truffles to tall table-top sculptures, who doesn’t wish they had some chocolate right now? But it has a dark side for our pets: Chocolate and many other candies can cause stomach discomfort at the very least and serious illness–and even death–at the very worst. Even some familiar flowers pose a risk.

To help keep pets safe this Valentine’s Day, HEALS issues this all-four-paws alert for some common products that may be harmful:

  • Chocolate: Yes, it’s delicious, but the problem is your pets may think so too. You’ve seen how persistent pets can be when they’re trying to raid the yummy stuff: Sneaking into closed rooms, knocking packages off counters, and ripping wrappings open. The amount and type of chocolate–in relation to your pet’s weight and general health condition–will determine if chocolate toxicity will develop. Chocolate can cause gastrointestinal upset as well as life-threatening heart arrhythmias.
  • Xylitol: A naturally occurring sugar alcohol, xylitol is found in many popular candies. For pets, ingestion of this ingredient can lead to life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and in the worst cases, liver failure. Dr. Jason Berg, board-certified veterinary neurologist/internist and HEALS Chairman of the Board, warns “Xylitol is a deadly product found in candy and common snacks that are often given to pets, such as peanut butter. Make sure you read all ingredients in snacks and food before you give it to your pets.”
  • Calorie-laden dinner: Fatty and rich foods are simply not good for pets. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to vomiting and diarrhea and, in some cases, very severe illness.
  • Flowers: Many types of flowers and other greenery are highly toxic to pets if ingested. Some of the most toxic examples include:
  • Lilies can cause kidney failure
  • Amaryllis can cause vomiting and depression
  • Tulip and narcissus bulbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation
  • Oleander can cause heart arrhythmias
  • Cyclamen can cause vomiting and death
  • Autumn crocus can cause multi-organ damage and death
  • Foreign bodies: You never know what’s going to look like a tempting toy or treat to your pet. Even Valentine’s Day detritus left lying around, like wrapping paper and ribbon, can potentially cause a problem. Foreign material can sometimes lodge in the gastrointestinal tract, causing life-threatening obstructions or perforations.

HEALS urges you to seek immediate veterinary attention if you suspect that your pet has eaten something that may be harmful. Know where your nearest 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital is located. Keep the phone number handy and call ahead.

Valentine’s Day should be like a walk in the dog park. So take this to heart: Keep the sugary treats well out of your pet’s reach. Let there be lots of head butts, tail wagging, kisses, love, and pet-safe goodies instead!

For more information, you can call ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 and research a comprehensive list of toxic plants at

HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help paying for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email

Take a Bite Out of Scary Frostbite

By Andrew Tonra, HEALS Social Media Expert

Winter’s in full swing! Although it’s been warmer than usual until now, a fierce cold snap is approaching and we’re still looking at a few months of possibly subfreezing temperatures. In the coldest months of the year, frostbite is a real possibility for many of our furry friends–and it can be very serious. 

Here are some helpful tips on what to look out for, how to address frostbite, and how to just plain avoid it in the first place.

The symptoms

Frostbite occurs when temperatures are below freezing. Paws, tails, and ears are the highest risk areas for cats and dogs. Any dampness in these areas can compound the risk. Frostbite is clinically identified by discoloration of the skin (looking gray or blue), coldness and rigidness of affected areas, pain, swelling, blisters, or even dead/blackened skin. 

Take fast action

This scary condition is extremely serious. If left untreated, frostbite can result in permanent damage to the affected areas, infection, and even death. If you suspect your companion animal is suffering from frostbite, contact your veterinarian immediately. If it’s after hours, bring your pet to the nearest 24-hour emergency facility as soon as possible.

Takeaway tips

In the meantime–or if you’re unable to bring your pet to the hospital–here are a few tips for home care:

  • Quickly move your pet inside to a warm, dry environment.
  • Check your pet for hypothermia. A core temperature of less than 95 F is indicative of hypothermia. Violent shivering, lethargy, and a weak pulse are also signs of hypothermia.
  • If you believe your pet may be suffering from hypothermia, always treat those symptoms first by covering your pet in warm blankets or towels. You can even use warm water bottles placed on the outside of the blankets to speed up the process.
  • Never massage or try to rub the affected area.
  • Begin to warm the affected areas with warm water. You want the water to be comfortably warm to the touch, but not hot. Don’t use heating pads or hair dryers.  After the affected areas have been warmed with water, gently pat your animal dry and wrap them with warm clothes or blankets.
  • Again, the best thing to do is to take your pet to the animal hospital right away. Always keep your veterinarian’s phone number handy along with contact information for your nearest 24-hour practice.

An ounce of prevention…

Avoidance is the best strategy:

  • If it’s below freezing, keep your outings brief.
  • If you have a pet that’s especially susceptible to frostbite, try providing some clothing—a pet jacket, sweater or even booties can help.
  • Products are available that can be used on the bottom of paws to help insulate the vulnerable spots in between the hard paw pads. Not all pets will respond well to these options, so try different ones to find out which methods work best for you.

Part of HEALS’ mission is to educate the public about best practices for caring for pets. We’ve all heard the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Surely, it’s wise to avoid expensive veterinary procedures in the first place! 

Bite back against frostbite

Looking out for frostbite on your own animals and other pets you see or come into contact with is a great way to help ensure their safety while spreading knowledge about animal welfare.

Would you like to donate to help save animals? HEALS is one of the best, most effective animal charities to donate to. Your gift provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help paying for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email us at

Collaboration is Key for Saving Lives

We have had the honor or working with many dedicated animal lovers and their pets, but this case in particular was very special. Timothy and Cooper first came to our good friends at HEAL-Humanity Empathy Animal Love – Foundation with a very serious situation. Cooper was dealing with a burst tumor on his leg, and Timothy, a dedicated and loving dog dad, was running out of options.

HEAL agreed to help Timothy financially, but they were having trouble finding an animal hospital that would see Cooper soon enough. Time was running out, and Cooper’s condition was deteriorating. Our friends at HEAL decided to reach out to us to see if we could help them find a hospital to perform the surgery and cover the remaining costs. Luckily, we were able to find a great hospital with a surgeon willing to act quickly, and we chipped in what was needed to get Cooper the treatment to save his life

The stars aligned, and Cooper’s surgery was a success. He’s bouncing back much quicker than anticipated, and he is expected to make a full recovery. We’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Timothy quite a bit since the surgery and his positivity and gratitude are infectious. We are so happy for the the two of them. We actually just received word today that Cooper is headed home and has the last of his sutchers out! He’s even been “running around the backyard,” according to Timothy.

We are also feeling very encouraged having worked on this case together with HEAL. We have found that collaboration is not so common between non-profits like ourselves and HEAL, but that is a trend that we are happy to go against. With the rising cost of veterinary care, sometimes the only option to save a pet’s life may be to work together. After all, we all have the same goal at the end of the day: Keep families together.

We urge you to please donate to us today. Cases keep coming in, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to find hospitals that can take in the cases that we are trying to help. We are only able to save lives because of donations from people like you. Thank you.

Winter Weather Warning: Antifreeze Dangers

By Joan Eve Quinn, Program Director

Old man winter packs a punch of frigid weather risks for pets and antifreeze poisoning is among the worst of them. HEALS wants everyone to know that when a pet ingests antifreeze (ethylene glycol or EG) it’s a medical emergency that can result in acute kidney failure and death.

“Time is of the essence! Antifreeze is rapidly absorbed in the pet’s body and causes irreversible damage in hours,” warns Dr. Jason Berg, HEALS Chairman of the Board.

EG is a toxic chemical most commonly used in car radiators. However, it can also be found in some household items, including snow globes, eye masks, inks, and certain paints. Unfortunately, EG has a pleasantly sweet taste and may even create a warm feeling when it’s swallowed. Pets may be attracted to its flavor, because they’re curious, or if their water bowls are frozen over.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the first signs of antifreeze poisoning occur within 30 minutes to 12 hours and include:

  • “Walking drunk”
  • Drooling
  • Hyper-salivating
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive thirst and urination

Twelve to 24 hours after a dog or cat has gotten into antifreeze, the initial signs appear to resolve, but underlying internal damage continues. Elevated heart rate, increase breathing effort, and dehydration may start to develop.

In cats, the following stage occurs 12-24 hours after getting into antifreeze. In dogs, this stage occurs 36-72 hours after severe kidney failure secondary to calcium crystals forming in the kidneys. Severe lethargy, coma, depression, vomiting, seizures, drooling, and lack of appetite may occur, states the Pet Poison Helpline.

Even a very small amount of antifreeze can be deadly. Because the first signs of toxicity appear to resolve after a while, this serious illness can initially be misdiagnosed or not taken seriously enough.

According to MSPCA-Angell, cats are more susceptible than dogs. The minimum dose that’s lethal in cats is roughly 3 milliliters (mls) per pound body weight. For dogs, 9-14 mls per pound body weight may cause death. Fatality rates for EG intoxication reported by top veterinary schools range from 44–70% for dogs and 78-96% for cats, states MSPCA-Angell.

Fortunately, you can protect your pets by taking the following steps: 

  • Close all antifreeze containers tightly and keep them out of sight.
  • Be aware of any spills, big or small, and clean them up promptly and completely.
  • Purchase pet-safe antifreeze, which is somewhat safer, but it’s still best to keep pets away from any and all chemicals.
  • Keep cats safely indoors!
  • Keep dogs on a leash or in a safely fenced-in area.
  • Be aware that pets can easily find antifreeze leaks in parking lots, driveways, and garages, on streets and curbs where cars are parked, and on farms and near garbage dumps.
  • Make sure outdoor pets always have non-frozen water available.

HEALS advises you to learn where your nearest 24/7 veterinary emergency facility is located and keep the phone number handy. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, seek veterinary medical attention immediately. For more information, you can call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community.

Stay Safe on St. Patrick’s Day: Keep Alcohol Away from Animals!

By Joan Eve Quinn
HEALS Program Director

Four-leaf clovers, luck, and leprechauns lurk on the horizon as we march towards St. Patrick’s Day. A bright kelly-green break from the winter doldrums, parades, and parties are heading our way. For many, the cheerful celebrations historically include the alcoholic beverage of your choice. Party in style and with good sense!

While you’re looking for that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow, be sure to keep your pets away from all alcoholic beverages. They can become seriously intoxicated and get very sick very fast from drinking even a small amount! This is called alcohol toxicity.

Alcohol toxicity can result from consuming many substances, including:

  • Ethanol (found in alcoholic beverages)
  • Cough syrup
  • Raw bread dough
  • Isopropanol (found in rubbing alcohol)
  • Methanol (found in windshield wiper fluid)

These alcohols are quickly absorbed in the pet’s body within 20-30 minutes. Such ingredients can even be absorbed through the skin of small pets when alcohol-based sprays are used.

Signs of illness caused by alcohol intoxication generally occur within just 30-60 minutes of intake and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Ataxia (manifesting as a “drunken” gait)
  • Disorientation
  • Dull mental status
  • Difficulty breathing

In severe cases, the following serious conditions can occur:

  • Coma
  • Hypothermia
  • Seizures
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Death

Veterinary care must be sought immediately as a medical treatment for decontamination is usually only effective in the first 20-40 minutes after the alcohol is consumed. The good news is that prognosis can be very good with aggressive treatment, depending on the amount swallowed.

If you believe your pet has ingested alcohol, please seek veterinary emergency help right away. Know where your nearest 24/7 veterinary emergency clinic is located and keep the phone number handy. You may also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

This St. Patrick’s Day, kissing the Blarney Stone may not be practical for everyone. But kissing your pet is! HEALS wishes you a safe and happy celebration and may the luck of the Irish rise up to meet you.

HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help paying for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email