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Keep your pet safe with these Halloween safety tips

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Involving your pet in your Halloween activities can be a lot of fun. However, there are several situations to be aware of like preventing your pet from eating chocolate and keeping him safe when trick-or-treaters coming calling. Provide a safe, yet spook-tacular Halloween for your pets with these safety tips:

1. Cancel the candy!
For pets, chocolate can be a very dangerous toxin. It contains a compound called theobromine, which, like caffeine, is dangerous to dogs and cats when eaten in large quantities. Baking chocolate, with nearly nine times more theobromine than milk chocolate, is particularly dangerous, but either kind can cause problems, she warns. A toxic dose of theobromine for a 20-pound dog is about 1,000 milligrams -- the amount found in 28 ounces of baking chocolate. To be safe, keep all chocolate away from your dog or cat. If you're not sure how much he ate, call your vet immediately for advice.

2. The importance of identification
One of the most important things to consider if you are taking your pet trick-or-treating is to make sure they are licensed or have an ID tag with your name and phone number on it. Some states issue fines for having an unlicensed dog, but the consequences may be much worse if your dog is lost with no identification.

3. Use a leash
If your dog or cat is going to be accompanying you and your kids around the neighborhood, make sure you use a leash. Nothing's more frightening than losing a pet in a strange place, or having her dart into traffic. To be absolutely safe, always attach the leash before you open the door.

4. Make sure meal time comes before trick-or-treat time
To avoid having your pet be tempted by the abundance of candy on Halloween, feed your pet before the trick-or-treating begins. If your dog or cat is full, they won't be as tempted to ask for more food.

5. Offer dog- and kitty-friendly treats
If your kids want your dog and cat to share the fun of Halloween treats, try offering them treats made specifically for them instead of candy as a Halloween special. Remember, treats are for special occasions and should not be a part of your pet's regular diet.

6. Be on the lookout for choking hazards
With all the extra candy in the house, your pet may happen upon a wrapper which can pose a choking hazard. When a cat gets into something that's supposed to be off-limits, she's likely to swallow it whole. This, of course, presents other problems, but it's unlikely to lead to choking. By contrast, a dog can get into serious trouble when trying to chew or swallow a foreign object. If your dog starts to choke, try to open the animal's jaws and look for the object that's blocking the airway. If possible, pull the object out of the dog's mouth. (Be careful to avoid being bitten.) If you can't remove the object, call the vet immediately; this is an emergency.

7. Establish pet-only areas in your home
If you are expecting trick-or-treaters to enter your home, establish a "dogs only" area where your dog can find respite from the action. Not only will this help prevent any nips, but it will also prevent your dog from getting out the front door.

8. Boos and barking
If your pooch is inclined to bark at the sound of the doorbell, Halloween night will be a nightmare for you! Some dogs seem to think that the doorbell or a knock on the door is their signal to start barking, so condition your dog to look forward to the ringing of the bell or knocking of the door without the vocal hysterics. A common reason that a dog barks is he sees something that frightens or intimidates him, so be sure to expect your dog to be extra vocal on Halloween night if he sees any masked trick-or-treaters.

9. Protect your pet from loud noise
A dog's hearing is extremely sensitive, and noise anxiety can be a resounding problem. Create some comfortable quarters for your dog for your dog to escape to if you anticipate any loud noises.

10. Keep Kitty Inside
To keep your cat safe from injury, make sure he is safe inside your house.

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