Costumes only if it’s fun for your pet

Don’t put your pets in costume, unless you know they enjoy it. If your pet loves being dressed up, be sure the costume you choose isn’t constricting, unsafe or annoying, since this can add stress to your pet. Be wary of costumes that use rubber bands to keep them in place, because your pet could chew them off and swallow them, potentially creating a choking hazard or causing an intestinal injury. The bands can also accidently become tangled around a leg or the tail, cutting off blood supply.  Be careful not to obstruct your pet’s vision, as even gentle pets may react in fear when they can’t see what’s going on.

Keep your dog inside

Pet escapes seem to rise during this time of year when pets become frightened by changes in routine and activity, and overwhelmed by friends and family stopping by the house for holiday visits. Remember to keep an eye on the entrances and exits of your home in order to keep your pets from escaping. Get your best friend an early holiday gift — a new properly fitting collar with ID tags.  You may also want to look into getting your pet micro-chipped — an easy procedure that would protect your pet if they are lost or stolen this time of year.

Keep your dog away from the front door

During trick-or-treat hours, keep your pet in a separate room away from the front door. Dogs may feel the need to protect their home and humans, and may act aggressively or bite visitors in strange costumes. Your pet may also become frightened, dart through an open door and become injured or lost.

Careful with candles and lit pumpkins

Pets are attracted to bright lights in a darkened room.  Candles can be knocked over easily, spilling hot wax on furniture and carpet, and potentially causing a fire. Curious puppies especially run the risk of getting badly burned by trying to play with open flames. If a pet gets burned, he or she should be seen immediately by a veterinarian.

Avoid Taking Your Dog in the Car trick or treating

Don’t take your cat or dog with you in the car while the kids go trick-or-treating. Pets may find it very frightening to sit in a dark car, while scary creatures of every size and shape walk by. Furthermore, your normally friendly pet can become aggressive and protective and lash out at a friendly ghost or witch. For the safety of your dogs, leave them at home, inside where they are familiar, comfortable and safe.

Do not give your dog candy

Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that can be poisonous to your pet. Dark, semi-sweet and Baker’s chocolate can be lethal if ingested. Caramel apple sticks can be swallowed and cause choking or an intestinal blockage as can candy wrappers and packaging. Candy can upset the stomach, resulting in diarrhea or vomiting.