Fall means raking leaves, back-to-school shopping, and breaking out the festive decorations. But the most important item on your to-do list should be keeping a closer eye on your pets.

Dr. James Mrkvicka, a veterinarian at Animal Tales Veterinary Clinic, has a few helpful tips for pet owners during this time of year. First of all, the Animal Poison Control Center is available to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-426-4435 if your animal consumes something toxic.

An ingredient called xylitol, found in sugarless gum, chocolate and many peanut or nut butters, can be fatal to your canine companion. Be sure to keep items like these out of reach. If you have guests over for fall festivities, be sure purses filled with gum or candies are not left out.

Extra batteries, exposed wires, lit candles and glass ornaments can be a threat to cats and dogs as well. Keep alcoholic drinks and cigarettes out of their reach.

When preparing meals and appetizers, make sure fatty, spicy human foods are kept away from eager paws. Kindly deter guests and their children from throwing pieces of food to your pets. Even tiny pieces of grapes can be a threat.

Just like with your toddlers, keep medicines and pill bottles out of sight and reach of your furry friends.

“We’ve seen a number of toxicities (with these),” Dr. Mrkvicka warned.