During this busy time, you can help keep your pet safe with these tips:

Keep your pet safely closed up in a room.

The ringing doorbell, shouting children, the noise and the constant activity can take its toll on your pet - especially timid or shy pets. In the excitement, pets may nip or bite someone or may run out the door.

There's also the unfortunate fact of life that there are people who do not respect life - particularly if it's 'just' a pet. Black cats in particular are prone to malicious acts on Hallowe'en.

Instead, provide your pet with a room of his or her own for the few hours that the trick-or-treaters are out. Put down a nice warm bed, water, maybe even a toy or two.

I know it can be tough to lock up your beloved pet when they always have the run of the house. But it's only for a few hours ... and it will keep them safe and prevent possible problems.

Likewise, don't take your dog trick-or-treating.

Hallowe'en is full of excited kids running about - and even a normally friendly and calm pet may nip someone. Better to keep pooch at home where he can spend the time snoozing on his favorite blanket or playing with a toy.

If you do take your dog out, be sure to keep him on a very short leash. This will allow you to retain maximum control; it will help you to prevent your dog from possibly fighting with other dogs, chasing children, or biting strangers.

Beware of feeding your pets Halloween treats.

Candy is not suitable for your pet - and chocolate, in particular, is toxic. Chocolate can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances, and even death.

Keep candy out of your pet's reach and tell children not to share with the pet. If you suspect your pet may have consumed candy, contact your vet immediately.

Check your pet's cute little costume.

If you like to dress up your pet for Hallowe'en, be sure to carefully remove all elastics and other fasteners when removing his costume. These little objects can injure your pet by lodging in his skin, piercing a paw, sticking in a curious pet's throat (if he attempts to swallow the object), etc.

Hallowe'en is a great time for families to get out and enjoy themselves. Pets, however, enjoy routine and can get stressed when faced with changes. A few precautions now can save you heartache later.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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