As the spookiest night of the year commences, pet owners should take some common sense precautions to ensure not only the safety of their trick-or-treaters, but also their pets!  Although these steps typically apply to Halloween, you should follow them every day to keep your furry friends in top notch shape!

1)    Leave the candy for the kids. 
When in doubt, don’t feed it to your pets—and you should always be in doubt about candy.  Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—is dangerous for dogs and cats.  Candies with artificial sweeteners can also cause problems.  Don’t give in to the begging to avoid making your pet sick.  If you suspect that your pet has ingested something he wasn’t supposed to, call your veterinarian immediately. 

2)    Keep the plants out of reach. 
Although this isn’t as much of a concern as candy, popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn can cause stomach upset in pets that nibble on them.  Put them in an area that is not accessible by your pets.

3)    Be aware or wires and cords. 
This is a common problem because of all the electric lights and other decorations.  Pets have a tendency to chew on wires and cords which could cause cuts, burns, or even a life-threatening electrical shock.

4)    Costume safety. 
Even though most pet costumes are really cute and hilarious, your pets usually don’t agree.  Only put your pet in a costume unless you know he/she doesn’t mind it.  Otherwise, she could end up becoming stressed and destroying it, chewing pieces off, and possibly choking.  Costumes that don’t fit correctly can also cause injury.

5)    Keep stress to a minimum. 
During trick-or-treating hours, you may want to keep your pets in a room away from the front door.  Occurrence of strangers can be scary and stressful for animals.  Also, when opening the door for trick-or-treaters, be sure that your pets do not escape.

If you follow all of these steps, your pet should weather the Halloween holiday well; better yet, follow these steps every day and your pet will have optimal health and safety.  Be a good pet owner, take precautions, and keep your pet’s safety a priority on a daily basis.  Happy Halloween!