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Published: Oct 05, 2012

Halloween is just around the corner, and while you may be busy picking out costume items, setting up decorations, and looking for good deals on candy, if you're a pet owner, you should be thinking about your animal's safety as well. October 31 can be a very fun day, but for pets, it can also be stressful and dangerous. Here are some tips to make sure you and your animal companions have an excellent Halloween.

Food safety for your pets
Most pet parents know that chocolate is harmful for dogs, but there are other themed treats that could be dangerous. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, while pumpkins are typically nontoxic, they can cause an upset stomach for animals who may curiously take a bite. To keep your canine or feline safe, put pumpkins up high and out of the way, where they can still delight trick-or-treaters without endangering pets.

One fun Halloween game is to fill up bowls with foods like spaghetti, grapes, or gummy worms, and hand them out to blindfolded party guests, telling them they're icky body parts. But dog owners beware - grapes are poisonous for dogs. In the same vein, raisin toxicity in dogs is also a serious problem, reports VCA Animal Hospitals, so if you're planning on baking any fall treats with this ingredient, make sure your pet is not in the kitchen. Be sure you know the symptoms of grape poisoning in case your pet ingests a grape or raisin when you're not looking.

Easing trick-or-treat anxiety
One of the best parts of Halloween is seeing the adorable costumed kids at your doorstep. But for pets, a constant stream of visitors can be very stressful. If your dog grows anxious when people are at the door, it may be best to keep her in a bedroom or other closed off area. You can also bring her outside onto your porch and greet trick-or-treaters to avoid the stressful sound of the doorbell or knocking.

Cat and dog owners must be vigilant when opening the door for trick-or-treaters, as some pets will try and dart outside at any opportunity. If this sounds like your pet, once again, it may be best to confine her to a closed off space until the festivities ended.

Decorate safely for animals
Halloween decorations can also pose a problem for pets. If you hang up lights for the holiday, keep in mind that some pets may be tempted to chew on cords, which can be very dangerous. Keep all cords up and away from where pets will be able to get to them, or else forgo the lights altogether. Just as we mentioned in a previous article, no costumes or decorations should have small parts that can be chewed. Also, keep an eye out for decorations that could get stuck or tangled on your pet, such as streamers or fake cobwebs.