The holiday season is underway and families across the country are prepping to make this season one to remember. To ensure the holidays are fun and festive for both your family and your furry friends, the Humane Society of Missouri and the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America offer the following advice to keep your pets merry this month.

Keep pets safely away from all holiday plants. Many plants used as decoration, including mistletoe and poinsettias, are poisonous to pets. They can cause vomiting and diarrhea while others can lead to organ failure or possible death.

Make sure your holiday tree is safely secured and anchored to avoid it from falling onto your pet. This will also keep tree water, which may contain fertilizers harmful to your pet, from spilling. One possible solution is to secure the tree to the wall or ceiling.

Avoid decorating the tree with food as pets could attempt to eat the decorations and accidentally knock down the tree. These decorations may also cause stomach pain or obstruct the digestive tract.

Keep festive wires and ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire from hanging holiday lights can deliver a harmful and possibly lethal shock to your pet. Shards of broken ornaments can damage a pet’s mouth or paws.

Make sure all sweets are away from your pet. Chocolate is especially dangerous as it contains toxins that can cause harmful complications when ingested, ranging from mild stomach aches to seizures and death.

Be sure not to feed your pet those delicious leftovers they might be begging for. Fatty and spicy foods, as well as bones, can be extremely harmful. Just one nibble may be all it takes to cause a trip to the veterinarian, making your holiday a little less jolly.

In case of emergency, keep your veterinarian’s contact information handy.

For more holiday safety tips visit the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America, www.amcma.org.