10/30/2014 03:09 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2014

Halloween Can Be Dangerous -- For Your Pet

Doxieone Photography via Getty Images

By Laura Caruso for

When it comes to Halloween, we're careful to protect our little witches and goblins. Yes, we teach our kids that there may be tricks amongst the treats and that we must check all goodies before our little ones can tear in.

We don't always think about taking extra precautions with our pets, but it's important.

Playing With Fire

Halloween decorations like jack-o-lanterns and candles present problems as well as holiday charm. Inquisitive felines may set themselves afire by poking around these decorations or knock them off of a high perch while leaping about.

Dogs' tails are able to quickly clear coffee tables in a flash. Causing a fire in your home could be disastrous and your pet could burn itself, your children or yourself. Try using battery powered "candles." They may not glow as bright, but are a safe alternative.

Candy = Trouble for Your Pet

Candy is definitely a treat for us, but no matter how they beg for it, candy, chocolate in particular, can be toxic to our furry friends. Even the wrappings can be a danger; properly dispose of the foil and plastic wrappings, it can easily become lodged in our pets' throats or intestines and form a blockage.

If you feel the need to give your pets treats, buy special biscuits or snacks to give your pet when you are having your snack. Keep some handy by the door. When the door bell rings, give one to Fido. That will teach him/her that the door bell means a treat, rather than a trick from the costumed little one on the other side.

Whether you dress up yourself, your children or your pets, costumes can make a hazard all their own. Costumes have strange accessories that your dog or cat may think of as a toy and try to nibble on or consume all together. Be cautious where you leave them hanging, it could be a costly expense to replace the gear or an even more costly trip to the vet for surgical removal.

Costumes Are Scary to Canines (And Felines)

As humans, we are able to choose the costume that is most comfortable for us or decide not to wear one at all. Often times, owners subject their pets to costumes that may be restrictive or even scary.

If your pet is receptive to your costume advances, be sure that you get a costume that fits properly and does not restrict their vision. If it does either, it can cause discomfort and/or stress. If you are attending a parade or trick or treating with your pet, it is already stressful on your pet and adding to that is a cause for problems. Parades are noisy and crowded, not a place for most pets to enjoy. Think about whether your pet will truly enjoy the festivities before you have them tag along.

Pranks Can Turn Dangerous

Allowing your pet outside alone during the season can be dangerous as well. Pranksters can think it is funny to release a pet, take it or leave it a dangerous snack. Use caution when leaving your pet outside unattended, always, but particularly during the Halloween season. If you have a black cat, it is a necessity. The superstition of them being unlucky may be false, but the danger of pranksters is multiplied exponentially if your cats are "unlucky" enough to be black. Keep them safe, keep them in.

If you are having a holiday party, the easiest way to keep your pets safe from costumes, candles and hazardous treats, is to make part of your home a sanctuary for them. Keep them out of the way nestled in a separate room. Don't think of it as a punishment, think of it as safe keeping.

Children racing around dropping all sorts of candy and treats, stomping around in costumes and making wicked noises is not a fun time for any pet (or even some humans!).

If you want to include your pets in your holiday fun, that is great. Just be sure that things are pet friendly and have fun!

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