Holidays are a time for travel, decorations and sweet foods: things that can be a more complicated when you have pets.
In order to make sure your favorite four-legged friends stay safe through the winter season, organizations like the ASPCA and Trips with Pets have released safety tips to make Christmastime more manageable for pet owners.
Traveling with pets
• Book a ground floor hotel room. This makes taking pets outside for walks and bathroom breaks much easier.
• It is recommended that pets be deloused of ticks and fleas a few days before going on a trip. Many hotels require pet deposits, and any pests found in the room after a stay may prevent that deposit from being returned.
• Place cat litter boxes in hotel bathrooms. This makes cleanup much easier.
• Make sure to cover furniture you don’t want the pets on while you’re gone. However, leaving pets alone in hotel rooms is never recommended if avoidable.
Tips for at home
• If you have cats, try not to use tinsel to decorate. Cats are notorious for climbing Christmas trees and tipping them over, but tinsel especially catches their attention, and can get stuck in their throats if swallowed.
• The ASPCA recommends hanging lemon-scented air fresheners on trees to dissuade cats.
• Unplug electric decorations when you leave if you have pets that like chewing on wires.
• Supervise small children at Christmas parties around animals. Children often share their food with pets, but many holiday staples, like chocolate, are toxic to many animals.
• Put mistletoe and holly in places pets can’t reach. Both plants are toxic if pets eat them.
• New Year’s comes with fireworks, and most pets don’t react well to the loud noise. Make sure pets have a place they feel safe to hide. Be very careful with pets around fireworks, especially dogs, who have been known to cause serious accidents by attacking or knocking over lit fireworks.
Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.