While we deck the halls for the holiday season and plan all the celebrations, keep the safety of your beloved pets in mind and be prepared for emergencies.

Jim Free Photo

The American Veterinary Medical Association is a good resource concerning holiday pet safety information whether you are staying home for the holidays or traveling over the river and through the woods.

Anytime you are traveling with your pet, you want to keep their records and your veterinarian's phone number handy. When we go to a frequent vacation spot with our pet where we spend a lot of time, it's not a bad idea to reach out to a veterinarian office in that location that can also keep your pet's records handy. There are a lot of pointers concerning air and land travel on the AVMA website.

Keep handy the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435 and know things that can be hazardous if eaten by your pet like chocolate, salt dough ornaments, and ornamental plants like mistletoe to keep them out of reach of curious noses. Even normal food like turkey skin can be too rich and upset your pet's tummy.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Before the holidays get into full swing, if you have a pup that puts everything in his or her mouth, make sure you have pure cotton balls on hand, not polyester, just in case poochie eats pieces of a broken glass ornament. Before you can get to a vet, you can protect your pet's digestive tract by soaking the cotton ball in milk, half-and-half or coat it with peanut butter to get the dog to eat it. The fibers in the cotton will wrap around the glass and prevent it from cutting your dog's insides as it passes through its digestive system.

What is Christmas without Fluffy climbing the tree? Safer, maybe?

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

You can always keep the tree in a separate room but if kitty has access, make sure the tree won't topple, which can also be a fire hazard.  The tree can be secured to a wall with an eye hook and strong fishing line.  Another idea to keep Puss's boots out of the conifer is to try to create a moat of foil around the bottom.  Cats don't like the feel of aluminum foil, bubble wrap or double-stick tape on their paws. Not super pretty but maybe crafters can come up ideas to incorporate the cat-deterrent into the holiday design.

Tinsel can be deadly if eaten by a pet (cats particularly are attracted to the sparkly temptation). Be suspicious of flocking on trees, which is typically a combination of adhesive and cellulose fiber. It could cause obstruction and stomach distress if eaten, although it's not clear how much a pet would have to ingest to cause a problem.

Also remember, you don't want pets drinking out of the tree stand. The stagnant water can contain bacteria and other toxins.

Obviously, electrical cords can be deadly. Several products like bitter apple are on the market as well as sprays to keep pets away from unwanted areas. I have found rubbing hot sauce on cords can work. A fresh application of pepper sauce is very unpleasant to sensitive wet noses and can possibly avert tragedy.

Of course, no technique is fool proof when it comes to preventing our clever companions from, at the very least, landing on Santa-Paw's naughty list to the unimaginable.

The very first defense against danger for our beloved companion animals is always the vigilance of their owners.