The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be a dangerous time for our pets. Poisonous plants, rich foods and seemingly harmless decorations can pose a threat to both cats and dogs, and there’s nothing like an emergency trip to the vet to spoil the holiday cheer. While protecting the furry tenants at the Albany Lofts is a year-round commitment, we like to remind those living in our pet-friendly Albany apartments to take a few extra precautions around the holidays.
Say No to Mistletoe. Holly, amaryllis, lilies and poinsettias are among the many holiday plants that are toxic if ingested by your cat or dog. Even pine and balsam needles can cause stomach upset and irritate or puncture your pet’s intestines. If you plan to decorate with flowers and greenery, consider going the artificial route for your pet’s safety.
Pet-Proof Your Tree. Even well-trained pets may be tempted to play with dangling ornaments and lights, so secure your tree to the ceiling or doorframe with fishing line to prevent toppling. Hanging lemon-scented air fresheners in your tree may also prevent cats from climbing. Stay away from tinsel, which can cause intestinal blockages when swallowed, and keep small ornaments, as well as those made of edible ingredients, out of reach to avoid a choking hazard.
Beware of Tree Preservatives. You pet’s water dish may be full, and the tree skirt tightly secured, but a determined cat or dog will still find a way to drink water from the tree stand. If you have pets in your apartment, avoid using tree preservatives, aspirin or sugar in the water, and check the water level frequently to ensure the tree doesn’t dry out, causing a potential fire hazard.
Unplug Your Lights. Cats and dogs are often tempted to chew electrical cords, so skip the lights on the low branches of your tree. If there are exposed wires leading to the outlet, tape them to the floor and wall, or cover them in hard plastic to prevent chewing, and always unplug your lights when you are not home to avoid accidental electrocution.
Opt for Flameless Candles. Wagging tails and curious cats do not mix well with an open flame. Aside from the obvious fire hazard, the hot wax from a tipped over candle can burn the pads of your pets paws. If you can’t resist the warm glow and fragrance of a candle this time of year, opt for battery-operated LED candles, and plug-in air fresheners.
Keep People Food Out of Reach. Table scraps are never a good idea, but they can be especially harmful to pets during the holidays, when our diets tend to be full of rich and fatty foods. Turkey and its skin can cause pancreatitis, a life-threatening condition in pets, and many people foods, including chocolate, raisins, grapes and onions are actually poisonous pets. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in baked goods, candy and gum, has also been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
Watch the Exits. Entertaining is a big part of the holidays, but with all the coming and going of guests it’s easy for your cat or dog to escape. Even if your pets are comfortable around crowds, the holidays bring a new level of excitement, so watch pets closely when people are entering or leaving your apartment. In the event your dog or cat does slip out unnoticed, you’ll want to ensure their safe return, so remember to include your name and phone number on your pet’s tag or collar.