As crowded, cramped and cluttered as many New Yorker’s find their apartments, we are a city of animal lovers and pet owners. According to one recent analysis, there are over a million pets in the Big Apple, including 600,000 dogs and 500,000 cats. (Just thinking about all that fur makes us want to get out the vacuum cleaner!)

Here at Manhattan Mini Storage, we’re huge animal lovers, and we especially support the adoption of shelter animals. If you’re thinking of adding an animal to your home, please consider Animal Haven or one of the City’s other wonderful no-kill shelters.

It’s also important to remember that just as the holidays can be a stressful and even dangerous time for humans, they pose special risks to our beloved animal companions. A leading veterinary organization recently posted a list of top holiday hazards for pets, and we thought it would be in everyone’s interest to list them here.

So here are a few things to keep your furry friends safe from during Chanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s:

Bad Bones:

Bones from turkey, ham, lamb and other meats pose a choking hazard; large or sharp bones can damage the intestinal tract and require surgery.

No-So-Sweets:

Artificial sweeteners and chocolate—particularly dark or baking chocolate—can be dangerous for dogs.

Beware of Booze:

Alcoholic beverages: According to Pet Poison Hotline, even small amounts of alcohol, especially in small dogs and cats, can cause life-threatening toxicity with neurological depression, hypothermia (low body temperature), hypotension (low blood pressure), seizures and respiratory failure.

Poison Plants:

Toxic holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe, poinsettia and lilies can be life-threatening to animals. Ingestion of pine needles can lead to intestinal irritation, or even an intestinal obstruction.

Dangerous Décor:

Tinsel, garland, and packing Styrofoam can be dangerous if ingested. Broken glass or fiberglass fragments from ingested ornaments can damage the stomach and intestines. Lights can be dangerous due to electrocution (if the cords chewed). Ribbons are dangerous if ingested by both dogs and cats. They can cause an intestinal obstruction, and even severe damage to the intestines, which can become life threatening.

Frightful Weather:

Ice melts and anti-freeze: Ice melts can damage pets’ footpads. Anti-freeze can be toxic at low levels and can become life threatening very quickly. Both are available in pet friendly formulas.

Fire Hazards:

Liquid potpourri and burning candles: In addition to the risk of fire or injury from hot liquid, ingested liquid potpourri can cause severe ulceration of the mouth and esophagus.

Toys for Tots (Not for Pets):

Toys with small parts or decorations with small objects can cause intestinal obstruction, which can require surgery.

One final note: If you do decide to adopt a pet, make sure you and your home are ready for one. Experts report that people tend to give animals as holiday presents without considering the long-term consequences. Remember that when you bring an animal home, you’re adding a family member that will be around for many years and will require constant love and attention. It’s more than worth it… but be sure you’re prepared.

We wish you and your pets safe and wonderful holidays!