Baltimore County Now
Avoid Common Pet Safety Pitfalls over the Holidays
The same foods, decorations and lighting that make the holidays come alive for people can turn deadly when it comes to your pet. Especially vulnerable to the season’s delights are dogs, cats and birds.
Food and Candy
Foods that you enjoy this time of year aren’t necessarily appropriate for your pet. Avoid giving your pet scraps from the table—especially bones since they can splinter and cause serious health problems. Other tasty treats that your pet should not eat are onions, grapes, raisins and chocolate. Beware of individually wrapped candies since your pet doesn’t know that the wrapper isn’t for eating, and as a result, it might easily ingest both the candy and the wrapper.
If serving alcoholic beverages, make sure unattended drinks are out of your pet’s reach. Alcohol can cause animals to become weak, ill or even go into a deadly coma. If having a party, your best bet is to ensure that your animal is in a quiet room of his or her own complete with a bed, food, water, toys and wearing his or her identification information.
Other seasonal items that can cause problems for your pet are plants. Amaryllis, hibiscus, holly, lilies, mistletoe, poinsettias and certain types of ivy should be placed in a spot that your pet cannot access. Among other things, if ingested, these items can cause kidney failure, fatal heart problems and just plain old upset stomachs.
Christmas trees should be anchored securely as climbing cats and dogs with tails can easily knock them over. Hang breakable, glass ornaments, lights and tinsel high on the tree to prevent your pet from ingesting tinsel, which can block the intestines and from getting tangled in a string of lights. Also, avoid using edible tree decorations such as cranberry or popcorn strings since your pet will be tempted to sniff and taste these items.
Be sure to keep your pet safe from the dangers lurking beneath and around your Christmas tree as well. Fallen pine needles should be cleaned up frequently since they can be toxic when eaten by your pet, and always ensure that your tree’s water supply is covered.
Electrical Outlets and Wires
And finally, just as you would do for a toddler—kitten or puppy proof your home. Cover electrical outlets and cords. Or, consider using pet proof extension cords or animal anti-chew sprays of which there are several varieties. Prevent accidental electrocutions by taping exposed outdoor or indoor wires to the sides of the house or the wall.
I hope that these helpful tips will keep you and your furry or feathered friends safe and happy this holiday season.
Adopt a Pet
If you are looking to add a pet to your family, consider adopting one from the Baltimore County Animal Shelter. View the wonderful cats and dogs awaiting loving, permanent homes on our website.
Melissa Jones, V.M.D., Director
Baltimore County Animal Services
Owings Mills and Towson Development, Responsible Pet Ownership, Lead Paint Hazards and Resources
The November edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” highlights the following topics:
Update on Owings Mills and Towson – County Executive Kevin Kamenetz shares the latest on major development and upgrades underway in Towson and Owings Mills.
Responsible Pet Ownership – County veterinarian Dr. Melissa Jones shares resources for pet owners and adoption opportunities for all (with a special Pets for Vets promotion all month for veterans). Spoiler alert – adorable kittens co-star in this segment!
Lead Paint Poisoning – Did you know that any pre-1978 home could have dangerous lead paint? Get the facts and learn about resources to protect your family.
View streaming video of the Hello Baltimore County shows.
In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:
- Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
- Tuesdays: Noon, 9 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.
- Thursdays: 1 p.m., 8 p.m.
- Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
- Sundays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
Vaccines are Only $8 Each for Dogs, Cats and Ferrets
Keep your pet and your family safe this fall by taking advantage of Baltimore County Department of Health’s low-cost rabies vaccination clinics. The outdoor clinics are scheduled from now through October 31 at seven sites. Vaccinations protect domestic animals and humans from rabies, which is a potentially fatal disease.
Vaccinations are $8 and available to cats, dogs and ferrets. The clinics will be held rain or shine. Animals receiving rabies shots must be at least 12 weeks old. All animals must be on leashes or in carriers. Due to time constraints, safety and escape risk, uncontrollable animals will not be vaccinated during the clinics. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled. All cats must be contained in a properly sized, escape-proof carrier. Exact change is appreciated, as cash and checks will be the only forms of payment accepted.
Baltimore County law requires pets to be licensed and for rabies vaccinations to be kept up-to-date. Other precautions against rabies include obeying leash laws and avoiding contact with wild animals or unknown domestic animals. If your pet has had contact with a wild animal, notify your veterinarian. Additionally, if you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, seek medical attention.
Bite and scratch exposures from any animal to a human or pet exposure to wildlife are also reportable to the local Health Department, Police Department or Animal Control authority. For additional information on how to protect your pet against rabies, contact Baltimore County Animal Services at 410-887-PAWS (7297).