Halloween is a really exciting time for most families. Kids are picking out their favorite costumes, carving pumpkins and waiting anxiously to go trick-or-treating for all that candy! In all of this excitement, it’s easy to forget to take care of your furry family members too. Here are a few ways to make sure your pets also enjoy this spooky holiday!

Keep Dogs Secluded

Unless your dog is extremely social, consider keeping him in a closed room, in his crate in another room, or in some other place he feels safe. You should keep dogs and cats both inside, refraining from letting them in the backyard especially without supervision. Kids might be inclined to give treats to your pets than can harm them. Pets, particularly cats, are also sometimes subjected to cruelty on Halloween.

Hide the Sweets

Keep treats well out of reach and/or covered so your pets can’t get into them. Chocolate is dangerous to dogs; and it’s not good for cats, either. Xylltol, an artificial sweetener, can be toxic to both cats and dogs. Raisins are toxic to dogs. All that sugar isn’t good for either cats or dogs. The wrappers around the candy can cause obstructions in the intestinal tracts of both dogs and cats. Make sure your children know that they cannot give any treats to the pets until or unless you say it is okay.

Mind the Candles and Decorations

Keep jack-o-lanterns out of reach of your pets, especially if you have a candle in them. A wag of a tail or a swipe of a paw can result in a burn to your pet. It could even start a fire.

If you have any lighted decorations with electric wires, keep the wires out of reach of your pets as well. Biting the wire can cause burns to your pet’s mouth, or an electric shock that could seriously injure, or even kill, your furry friend.

Use Caution when Costuming Pets

Don’t decide to dress your pet in a costume unless you’re sure the pet enjoys it. Start a week or more before Halloween getting your pet used to her new clothes by gradually introducing her to the costume. Let her sniff the costume first, then put part of the costume on for a short while. Slowly add more pieces to the costume and leave it on for longer periods of time. You should only put her in the costume if she’s totally comfortable in it. Make sure there are no loose parts your pet can chew on.

Trick-or-Treating Safety

If you take your dog trick-or-treating with you, make sure she’s wearing a reflective leash and collar, costume, and/or that she has a light on her collar. If she’s small, consider carrying her. Keep her well under control at all times. Also, do not allow anyone to give your dog a treat directly or let her pick something off the ground.

Chocolate and Dogs

Despite your best efforts, your pet may get into chocolate. If you know or suspect your dog has eaten some chocolate, call your veterinarian, an emergency vet clinic, or an animal or pet poison hotline. You should provide the weight of your pet, an approximate idea of how much chocolate your pet ingested, and whether the chocolate was dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, etc. The less your dog weighs and the more pure the chocolate is, the more severely your dog will react.

Some of the signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, rigid muscles, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Advanced stages include cardiac failure, weakness, and coma. Treatments can range from just watching your dog to inducing vomiting to more extensive veterinary treatment. It’s vital that you get expert information on how to treat your dog.

Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pets. By following a few simple, common sense steps, you and your pets can enjoy many more Halloweens together.