Halloween has become such a widely celebrated event that even pets get all glammed up for the occasion. With costume parties here and there, dog owners also look for ways on how they can get their pets to join in on the fun. Dogs dressed as angels, vampires, or even pumpkins may look endearing, but when you tag him along for trick or treating, do you even think about his safety or even the risks involved considering that the streets will be packed with people in various costumes?

If your dog is not comfortable when around new people, it may be best not to let him join the festivities outside your home. Expect to see many highly energetic kids with elaborate or even weird costumes on the streets, so if your dog is not very sociable, it may be safer for everyone if he just stays indoors. More importantly, never take your dog with you while trick or treating if he does not have current vaccinations.  It’s also crucial that you keep your dog’s leash short so that he wouldn’t bother the people or even animals that you get to bump into while trick or treating. You could never tell when he’ll become agitated, so keep the leash short.

But if you think that your dog is already ready for the fun of trick or treating, make sure that he is wearing his collar with identification tags just in case he gets lost. With all the Halloween frenzy, there is always a possibility of pets going astray. And if you want to get your dog a costume, think about safety and comfort. Don’t let your dog wear costumes that are accessorized with beads or with other materials that your dog can possibly choke on. Look for the ones that are made specifically for your dog’s breed to ensure that it’s the right size. It may also help if you do a “trial run” before the big night by getting him to wear the costume for a while.

If you opt to leave your dog behind while you accompany the kids for trick or treating, do him a favor by leaving him inside the house. Never leave your dog outdoors because he could become an easy target for pranksters. It would also cause him undue stress if he gets to see a lot of rowdy kids with costumes on the streets.

When trick or treaters come to your house, keep your dog in an area that won’t give him direct access to the main door. The sight of strangers can frighten or agitate your dog, so spare him the trauma and keep him in a secured place away from the sight of strangers. By doing so, you are also making sure that you are not giving your pet a chance to run outdoors each time you open the door for trick or treaters.

With the abundance of treats during Halloween, it’s important to keep in mind that sharing treats may cost your pet his life. Unlike humans, dogs cannot break down and excrete Theobromine, or a component found in chocolates and with very high levels, it can lead to toxicity. Signs of chocolate toxicity can be observed 12 hours after ingestion, and symptoms to look out for are diarrhea, trembling, seizures, coma, and in rare cases, death. So when you decorate your home for Halloween, be very careful with plants because some varieties are poisonous. If your pet is showing signs of toxicity, call your veterinarian right away. You may also call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.