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Halloween is a fun-filled holiday that everyone can enjoy. Who doesn’t love dressing up as their favorite imaginary character and parading around the neighborhood demanding treats? We wish that it could be Halloween every day – although our stomachs may beg to differ. While this fun season can be filled with a lot of enjoyment, we mustn’t lose sight of our four-legged Halloween-ers amid all the celebrations. A pet-safe Halloween is a good Halloween!

After spending so many hours planning out the most perfectly coordinated costumes for you and your pet – you certainly don’t want anything to spoil your night together! Because really, what good is an Oompa Loompa without his Willy Wonka? Halloween is meant to be scary, but it should not include any real-life scares involving your pet!

To make sure you have a fun Halloween for both you and your furry companions, check out these 8 tips for a pet-safe Halloween.

1. NO CANDY for pets!

It is widely known that chocolate and pets simply do not mix. Keep a mindful watch over your pooch and make sure they can’t get their paws on any stray candy bars or find their way into the dish for trick-or-treaters – cats are less likely to go after chocolate but that does not mean you don’t have to be mindful of them as well. Dark chocolate is especially harmful to dogs, but other varieties are not better. If you suspect your dog or cat has eaten chocolate, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 as soon as possible! Also, remember that non-chocolate candy is also not good for dogs. According to the ASPCA, candy containing the preservative xylitol can also cause problems for your pup and you should call your vet or Poison Control for instructions.

If you are worried that your pup is missing out on the fun, why not whip up a batch of these dog treats to keep them happy instead?

2. Pet-proof Halloween decorations

Dogs and cats love to chew on stray wires they might mistake for a toy. Make sure all your electrical wires for Halloween lights are taped to the wall out of reach of playful paws and mouths. Also be mindful of pets around fake spiderwebs, if it gets in between them and a toy you could have a sticky situation on your hands. Keep jack-o-lanterns with candles inside of them up on a table or out of range of your pet who could unknowingly knock it over and start a fire.

3. Costume check

While dressing up your pet can be fun, be sure that the costume is comfortable for them to wear. Try on the outfit the day before and see how your pet reacts. If they don’t seem happy when they are in your home, they certainly won’t enjoy it in the middle of a costume parade. You should also never use paint of any kind on your pet as it can irritate their skin and be harmful if ingested. If your pet is okay with being dressed up, make sure there are no stray buttons or decorations that they could easily bite off and potentially choke on.

4. Keep outdoor cats indoors for a few days leading up to Halloween

In some areas, the tradition of Mischief night (the night before Halloween) can lead to some dangerous encounters for cats. The night before Halloween, pranksters like to go out and, well, cause mischief. PETA advises that you keep a careful watch over your cat throughout the entire month of October – especially if you care for a black cat who could be an easy target for Halloween pranksters. While it might not be common, it is always to be safe rather than sorry and keep your outdoor cats inside to make sure they are safe from any pranks or taunting.

5. Leave Fido at home when trick-or-treating

Even the friendliest dog can become stressed or scared when surrounded by a group of sugar-filled little kids. The scary noises and sudden screams of trick-or-treating might prove to be too much for your pup, so it is best to spare them the anxiety and leave them on their favorite dog bed at home. Be sure that you keep your pets somewhere in your house that doesn’t have easy access to the front door either. This way you won’t have to worry about Spot running out to greet any trick-or-treaters or chasing any Cat Women!

6. Make sure pets have up-to-date IDs

In all the chaos of people coming to the door and kids running in and out of the house to go trick-or-treating, your pets must have IDs. The likelihood of them slipping out of the house unnoticed is higher when you’re occupied with Halloween fun, so if anything were to happen, having an ID is the easiest way to identify and locate your lost companion.

7. Keep glow sticks away from pets

Glow sticks are great safety accessories for little kids out trick-or-treating at nighttime, but you want to be sure that your pet doesn’t get a hold of one. While the glowing fluid is most likely non-toxic, it does not taste good and will cause your pet to salivate excessively and get a bit stressed.

8. Keep pets on leashes

This might seem like a no-brainer, but the importance of keeping your pet on a leash cannot be overstressed! If you and your furry best friend dress up for the day and attend a daytime costume parade, be sure to keep them on a leash. No matter how loyal or reliable they might be, keeping them on a leash will keep them safe and away from any potential danger. You can even make it fun and pick a colorful leash that compliments their costume!

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