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Spend this Halloween carving pumpkins, dressing up in costumes, eating a mountain of candy, and most importantly, protecting your pet from holiday stress. Here’s how to keep your furry friends safe on Howl-O-Ween:

Hide the candy

Chocolate is the candy of choice for children and adults, but make sure Fido has his own treats. Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, rapid breathing, seizures, and diarrhea. Pets are also sensitive to xylitol, a popular sweetener for candy. Keep bags sealed and away from inquisitive noses. Look online for recipes describing safe, nontoxic treats to bake for your dogs and cats.

Bring pets inside (especially cats)

Screaming children, ringing doorbells, and loud noises: is your home under attack, or is it Halloween night? Your pet doesn’t know the difference. To protect your furbabies from all of the commotion, bring them inside and keep them confined in a room away from the door. Never leave cats outside a few days before or during Halloween– cruel pranksters may steal or hurt your pet. Black cats are especially at risk.

Keep decorations out of reach

Fall staples such as corn, and squash can cause gastrointestinal problems if they are ingested, so keep them away from your pets. Pumpkins are safe for your dogs, but only in small amounts. If you want to put a candle in your jack-o-lantern, place the pumpkin out of reach to avoid a fire hazard. Careful with your lighting: wires and electrical cords can cause a serious shock to your pet. Cats love destruction, and a festive Halloween banner may get yanked down– make sure nothing fragile is taken with it.

Be cautious with costumes

Although dressing up your dog or cat in an adorable costume is hard to resist, your pets may not appreciate it as much as you do. If you decide to dress them up, choose a costume that doesn’t restrict movement or breathing. It’s also a good idea to introduce your pet to the costume the night before to help them feel comfortable (and show you if they don’t!). If your pet seems stressed or anxious because of the outfit, choose an unobtrusive bandana or a fancy collar instead.  

Put on ID tags

Should your pet escape into the night, an ID tag will greatly increase the chance that he will be returned. A collar also alerts a potential rescuer that your pet is part of a family and isn’t a stray wandering the streets. Information should be kept up-to-date, and consider using a traditional tag even if your pet has a microchip.

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