We’re in one of the most fun times of year for kids and adults alike. One of the most exciting parts of the holiday season is decorating your home and yard. Following are a few tips to keep small children and pets safe:

Keep common poisons out of reach. 

Many of us enjoy putting food out for guests, but we don’t think about how it can affect our pets. Even a little bit of chocolate can be too much for dogs and cats due to theobromine, a nervous system and cardiovascular stimulant that can cause illness and death. Yeast dough, grapes, and raisins are also toxic for your furry friends.

Be careful while cooking that nobody has access to anything he or she shouldn’t eat.

Be careful with decorations.

Pets and small children can easily knock over or be caught in decorations such as incense holders and candles, and some pets will try to eat or chew them. Poinsettia, ivy, holly, and mistletoe aren’t good for anyone to chew on. If you wouldn’t let a toddler near a decoration, don’t let your dogs near them.

Dogs often drink the water from Christmas trees, and males might use the trunk as a porta-potty, so keep an eye on your pups. If you dress up your small children or pets, make sure nothing can choke or suffocate them.

Keep important or sentimental items out of reach.

This seems obvious, but in the excitement of the season, it’s easy to forget to kid- and pet-proof ornaments. Decorations and breakable tree ornaments should be placed out of reach. Tinsel and metal ornament hooks can cause digestive problems if swallowed. Curious children and dogs can pull breakable items off tables and walls. Cats and dogs may knock over candles and other holiday items. Keep electrical cords off the floor.

You may wish to kennel or confine pets while decorating, and you can always decorate while your children are napping or sleeping.

Pick up everything as you use it.

Many decorations have small or sharp pieces that children, dogs, and cats can easily pick up and choke or hurt themselves. Items such as broken decorations, wire hangers, and loose pine needles can be harmful to the little people and critters in your home. If you need to, keep a vacuum cleaner handy to pick up small pieces of decorations.

If the holiday excitement stresses out your pets or children, consider taking dogs and cats to a kennel. Perhaps family members would like to take care of children for the day.

How do you decorate safely?