“Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. Just because my nose glows ... why don't I fit in?” — Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Dashing through the snow there’s a stray dog on the run. Through the yards it goes, looking for some fun. Cats with bobtails meow, making our hearts warm. Oh what fun it is to watch our pets on Christmas morn. Safety first, safety first, think of safety first. Oh what fun it is to watch our kids and pets play, hey. Safety first, safety first, think of safety first. Oh what fun it is to watch our family on Christmas Day.

There are many things to look out for during the holiday season that could be harmful for our pets. Whether it is decorations or food, a little preparation can be the difference between a jolly old time and a "Nightmare before Christmas."

When setting up decorations you need to consider how to "Deck the Halls" of your house. If you use a real tree you need to set it up so it is secure. Cats sometimes like to climb into your trees, which could make them fall over, damaging your home and potentially injuring the cat and others. With live trees you need to put it in water that contains fertilizers that can make your pet sick if ingested. You don’t want this to be your "Christmas Story."

"It’s a Wonderful Life" to have your tree lit up, but those cords could be tempting for your pet to chew on. This could cause a lethal electrical shock to your pets. Also, if they chew on the lights themselves they could shatter, causing massive damage with the broken glass. The tinsel in the trees could also entice your pets to chew on. The tinsel can obstruct the digestive system, which could lead to surgical removal. On the plus side, if it does make it through your pet’s body it could make picking up the waste easier.

Some holiday plants can make our pets "Die Hard" if they eat them. Holly and mistletoe can end up causing your pet kidney failure if ingested. You might want to opt out of the real stuff for fake ones to be on the safe side. Poinsettias can also be poisonous to our pets. The milky sap can irritate them if eaten. Contrary to popular belief, it is not poisonous to your pets, but still try to keep them away from it. Many people would like to be "Trading Places" with their sick pet in these situations, but you need to be safe.

The second-best part of the holiday season next to gifts would be food. When you have pets it is like having little, needy "Gremlins" in your home wanting to eat everything up. Sweets are never a good thing for our pets as the sugars or sugar substitutes can be dangerous. Human food can also be dangerous with fatty, spicy and bones being among the worst. Be careful with cocktails, as well. Alcoholic drinks can possibly kill your pet if it drinks too much. They cannot process it as we can.

Many of these should be considered when you leave your pets "Home Alone" at any time during "Christmas Vacation." Let your pets be the "Elf" for your "Bad Santa" and make your own "Christmas Carol" with a happy ending.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Columbus Animal Control Lead Officer Shawn Flowers can be reached at sflowers@columbusne.us or 402-564-8839.