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Surefire tips to keep your pets safe this Halloween

I've been a pet lover my entire life, but made my passion a profession in 2006. I closely follow pet lifestyle trends, industry news and assist companies with product development.

Halloween can cause extreme anxiety in our dogs and cats leading to destructive behaviors, damage or, worst of all, a lost pet.

Don't frighten Fido this year, and keep these scare-proof tips in mind.

1. Keep control of the leash

    If you're planning on trick or treating with your dog, don't let your kids take the lead. Your pooch could become spooked and quickly bolt, making it difficult for a young one to properly keep control.

    2. Be safe in the dark

    I can't stress this enough; it's always important to stay safe during evening walks with your dog, but especially on Halloween. Not to mention, it's good to add light and protection for your little ones as well. One of my favorite new products for fall is the NEON by flexi. Offering complete reflective components, and handmade in Germany by the inventors of the retractable leash, this product's quality cannot be matched. It will last you a lifetime of safe evening walks with your dog and is perfect for trick or treating this Halloween. The flexi NEON can be purchased at PetSmart and pet specialty shops nationwide.

    3. Keep Halloween candy out of reach

    Keep Halloween candy out of your pet's reach. Candy and chocolate consumption can be harmful to pets when ingested. But, by all means, they deserve a festive treat too. Here's a fun recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network for peanut butter dog bone treats. I'm sure they'll be a hit.

    4. Be wary of costumes

    Be wary of costumes. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but uncomfortable fabrics or constrictive outfits can cause pets unnecessary anxiety and stress or make it hard for them to move, breathe, bark or meow. PetPaint is a colored hairspray that's completely safe, easy to apply and will wash right out when Halloween's over. It's available in a variety of colors, and stencils are offered to help in the design process. Paint on.

    5. Check your cords

    Make sure all cords and wires from lights and decorations are safely away from your pets. If chewed, pets can suffer cuts, burns or shocks.

    6. Keep an eye on the door

    When opening the door for trick or treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.

    7. Create a stress-free spot

    To keep a scaredy pet calm and comfortable at home, consider creating a safe spot in a quiet room of your house. Leave a favorite toy or blanket, play mellow music (the lull of a washing machine/dryer has been said to help create a calming environment for pets) and consider a ThunderShirt. Similar to the idea of swaddling an infant, the ThunderShirt applies a gentle, constant pressure that offers proven calming benefits.

    Photo credit: crisserbug/Getty Images
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