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Halloween Safety Tips For Your Pets

While Halloween can be a fun time for people, it can be a traumatic and even dangerous time for your pets. The ghoulish Halloween holiday is always a favorite with kids, but the sight of hordes of costumed children can be a positively frightening experience for your family pet.

The Fear Factor Many pets are uneasy with new situations and people. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and are liable to become confused, frightened or agitated by the unaccustomed sights and sounds of trick-or-treaters. This could translate into pets running out of open doors and becoming disoriented and lost, or even biting an unsuspecting trick-or-treater. The kindest and safest thing you can do for everyone is to allow your dogs to remain in the comfort of a quiet part of your house, away from the Halloween activities. This will insure that your pets won't panic and escape when bell-ringing trick-or-treaters arrive, nor will they feel threatened or aggressive at the sight of costumed little people. Even if you know that your pet will be confined, his or her tags or other identification are essential Halloween wear.

Keep Your Pets Safely Inside Sadly, during Halloween, pets are often the victims of pranksters' cruel tricks. Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween. There are plenty of stories of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen, even killed pets on this night. If your dog must stay outside, lock your gates. Never leave the dog chained. A frightened dog can become entangled in a chain, and if you are gone or don't notice quickly enough, your dog could choke. Some humane organizations fear that certain pets, primarily black cats and kittens, are at risk of becoming unwilling participants in the darker side of Halloween activities, and elect to halt adoptions of these animals in the last half of October until after the holiday. Keep an especially close eye on all your pets. Don't allow your dog to go trick-or-treating with your children, even if your plan to let the dog stay in the car. Imagine sitting in a dark car with witches, goblins and the like passing by, and you have no idea what Halloween is.

Candles Any decorations using candles such as jack-o-lanterns can be a hazard to curious pets. Don't depend on being able to supervise your pup around an open flame. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, leaving your pet with a singed nose, burned tail or even more serious burns. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned. An overturned candle may even spark a larger conflagration in your home. Play it safe. If you can't keep all flames out of your pets' reach, avoid using them.

Candy Your children's holiday booty can be deadly to your pets. Not only is chocolate toxic to dogs, but other holiday treats can cause choking or dangerous digestive tract blockages. Make sure your little ghosts and ghouls understand that all candy bags must be put away in an inaccessible place, and wrappers need to be thrown away in a trash can with a secure cover. Sticks on candy apples or lollipops may be swallowed and cause an obstruction or perforation of your pet's stomach or bowels.

Decorations Dogs have a tendency to chew on just about anything and can become ill from eating holiday decorations. Cats can become entangled in streamers. Keep streamers, silly string and other party favors out of reach of your family pets. Chewing on electrical cords often looks like fun to a rambunctious dog or puppy, but it can literally be a shocking experience. Ensure that all cords are inaccessible to your pooch.

Doggie Costumes Don't dress your dog in costume unless you know he loves it. Otherwise, it puts a lot of stress on the animal. If your dog does not mind being dressed up, be sure the costume does not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe, bark or see. Ties and elastics can cause strangulation. Dogs are also very apt to view elastic straps as a tasty treat. Masks and hats are frustrating for many dogs, especially those who are not exposed to them during the rest of the year. Be aware of the elements. If it is hot, dress your dog in a lightweight costume. If it is cold, dress your dog accordingly.

Halloween can be fun for all members of your family -- both two-legged and four-legged members. Remember that your pets depend on you to keep them safe. By incorporating these simple tips into your Halloween plans, all members of the family, even the furry ones, can have a safe and happy Halloween.

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