Keeping your pets safe over the holidays

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BRENTWOOD, Mo. - The Christmas tree is up, there are leftovers to eat, and schedules are busy. This can be hard on the pets, but don't let holiday distractions pose a danger to your pets.

As you whip up your Thanksgiving leftovers, keep the food on the table.

Mandy Pratt, development manager with the Animal Protective Association, says it’s best to stick to the treats even when your pets are whining for the stuffing.

"It's just best to leave your pet's favorite treat in stock," Pratt said. "So when they start asking for it or table scraps, you can just give them their favorite treat instead."

If they are not eating from the table, check the ground. Things like Christmas lights, poinsettias, and candles can be dangerous.

Poinsettias are a mildly toxic plant. Eating them will not be fatal but your animal may show signs of vomiting or upset stomach. Keep in mind the even bigger plant in your house this time of year – the Christmas tree.

"You want to make sure that they can't get to the water in the Christmas tree if your Christmas tree is a live one," Pratt said. "You want to watch for things like tinsel. Tinsel, while it’s sparkly and fun to play with, tinsel and ribbon, both can be dangerous. They can cause an obstruction in the digestive tract of your pet."

When the family is ready to come over, make sure the pet has a normal routine—a quiet room to go to—and watch for the exit as people come and go.

And if you don't have a pet yet, the holidays may seem like the best time for the newest addition to the family; but think before you purchase.

"We think it's great to bring a new family member into your home if you're ready. You want to make sure your family is all on the same page,” Pratt said. “Animals do require a lot of care and attention so a surprise, while it might be okay for the kids to be surprised, maybe mom and dad should be on the same page.”

If a new pet is on the wish list and everyone is on the same page, the APA has elves that will deliver your new pet straight to your door on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Adoptions completed on December 22 and December 23 are available for a $100 delivery.

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