Halloween is a fun night for everyone, but it can be dangerous for Fido! Take these important steps for pet safety this year.

No one wants Halloween night to end with an emergency trip to the veterinarian, or worse. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure this Halloween is as safe and comfortable as possible for your four-legged companions.

Candy is Not for Pets

pet safety All forms of chocolate - particularly dark chocolate - can be dangerous or even lethal for pets. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures. Halloween candies containing an artificial sweetener called xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even a small amount of xylitol can cause a sudden and serious drop in blood sugar, which can lead loss of coordination and seizures. Xylitol toxicity in cats has not yet been established, but it's better to be safe than sorry!

Keep Animals Inside

pet safety Unfortunately, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, or even kill pets on Halloween night. This behavior is completely inexcusable, but it is also avoidable. Keep your animals inside all night on Halloween, and go out with them and a flashlight if/when they have to go.

Keep Them Away From the Door

pet safety Your door will be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, and there will be strangers on the other side loudly yelling for candy and wearing strange and possibly frightening costumes. Obviously, this can be stressful and scary for our furry friends. Dogs particularly can be territorial, and may get anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Keeping your dogs and/or cats in a secure room away from the front door will help keep them calm and prevent them from darting outside and getting lost.

Keep Your Outdoor Cats Inside Several Days Before and After

pet safety This is particularly important if you have a black cat. While it isn't as common anymore, pets are at high risk for pranks and other cruel activities during the weeks surrounding Halloween. In fact, many shelters don't even adopt black cats out during October as a precaution.

Keep Decorative Plants Out of Reach

pet safety While they're relatively non-toxic, things like decorative pumpkins and corn can cause intestinal upset when ingested in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can also occur when large pieces are swallowed.

Don't Keep Lit Pumpkins Near Pets

pet safety In general if there are animals (or kids, for that matter) running around, you shouldn't have lit pumpkins within reach or somewhere easy to knock down. You run the risk of your pets burning themselves or knocking something over and causing a fire.

Don't Force Your Pet Into a Costume

pet safety If you want to try putting your pet in a costume, make sure it isn't annoying or unsafe. Good pet costumes should not restrict moving, hearing, or the ability to breathe and vocalize. Additionally, try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, don't force them into a costume no matter how cute you think it would be. Consider a festive bandana instead!

Pet IDs Please!

pet safety ID tags are crucial to pet safety. Proper identification will make a huge difference if your pet does manage to escape and get lost. Make sure the info on their ID tag is up to date and that the tag is securely fastened to their collar. If you don't normally keep a collar and ID tag on your pet, consider getting one, even if you only use it on Halloween. And yes, you should still have a collar and ID tag on your pet even if they're microchipped. Making pet safety a priority around the holidays doesn't have to be a chore! These simple tips will keep your furry friends safe to enjoy the rest of the holiday season with you.

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