There’s no place like home for the holidays. But if you’re not careful, your house can become a danger zone for cats and dogs. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to make sure your home is safe for your furry friends.
Houseplants that are toxic to dogs or cats (including palms, lilies, azaleas and tulips) should be kept out of animals’ reach at all times. During the holiday season, be careful about seasonal flowers and greenery that pose a danger to furry friends when ingested.
According to the ASPCA, the consumption of any plant material can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal problems for dogs and cats. Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe can cause severe cardiovascular problems, and many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested.
When it comes to the Christmas tree, skip the tinsel. Cats are drawn to its glimmer, and ingesting it can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.
Keep all lights, wires, batteries and ornaments out of paws’ reach. Also make sure your tree is securely anchored so it doesn’t tip and fall, injuring your pet. Depending on the size of your tree, this may or may not be an easy DIY job. If you’re unsure about your tree anchoring abilities, you can always hire a handyman for the job.
Keep Food and Drinks Out of Reach
You should always keep chocolate, grapes and anything sweetened with xylitol away from your pets. Eating spicy and fatty treats, bones and countless other meant-for-human foods can also lead to costly veterinary bills. Keep plates out of reach and trash cans secured.
Be careful with the cocktails, too. If you’re serving or consuming any kind of alcohol, make sure the drinks are not easily accessible. According to the ASPCA, if your pet ingests alcohol, they could become weak, ill and even go into a coma, which could result in death from respiratory failure.
Put Up a Pet Gate
Keeping food, drinks and decorations away from your pets is often easier said than done. Sometimes the better option is keeping your dog or cat out of problematic areas by putting up a pet gate. Many homeowners find that one or two well-placed pet gates do an efficient job of protecting furniture, carpet and other household items from the family pets.
Fence in Your Yard
When weather conditions are favorable, many pets enjoy spending time outdoors. Installing a fence can help ensure your pets don’t wander off or get in the path of oncoming cars.
Chain link fencing is an affordable option that’s popular with pet owners. It’s also an efficient way to contain animals, though it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing choice.
Electric fencing is also a popular alternative. It’s more discrete and less expensive than a physical structure, but it isn’t one hundred percent effective for keeping pets contained.
Call the Cleaners
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but let’s face it — pets are unpredictable. Despite your best efforts, a dog may end up making a muddy mess of your carpet and a cat could very well shed all over your brand new couch. If (and when) this happens, don’t lose your cool: Call a cleaner!
Housekeeping services in your area are equipped to handle all sorts of pet-related messes. Some cleaning companies may even offer New Year’s specials or incentives to draw in first-time customers.