Ringing doorbells and people in costume can be scary for pets, so we have a few tips to help keep them safe this Halloween.

I love this time of year. It appeals to the more dramatic side of my personality, with the costumes and makeup. Of course the candy is always welcome! And, let's face it, Halloween is a pretty great deal for kids. It's the one day each year when their parents are encouraging them to eat sweets, instead of taking them away.

But, for dogs and cats, it can be a pretty frightening time. They don't understand what's going on. So having a bunch of people in weird outfits ringing the doorbell or dancing around the house must be terrifying! We want to thank our friends at the Green Acres Kennel Shop for providing some tips to help make it a good night for the pets, as well!

  • adogslifephoto, ThinkStock
    adogslifephoto, ThinkStock

    Pet Halloween Costumes

    I've never been a fan of this, personally, but I know that a lot of people get a kick out of dressing their pets up in costume for Halloween. If you plan to turn your dachshund into a hot dog or your golden doodle into a pumpkin, be sure to watch for signs of stress. If your pet freezes in place, tries to tear off the costume, or does things like yawning or tong flicking, they're probably not enjoying the experience.

  • Pixland, Getty Images
    Pixland, Getty Images

    Halloween Parties

    Imagine yourself waking up to a house full of monsters, zombies, ghosts, and witches. Not costumes, but actual monsters. Pretty scary, huh? Well that's what your pets feel like at a Halloween party. They don't know why these people look so weird or are making strange noises. All they know is that it looks threatening! Do your pets a favor during the party and put them in a quiet room with a TV or soft music going. Maybe load a kong or give them their favorite toy. They'll be much happier. And your guests will be safe from a possibly panicked animal.

  • Ryan McVay, ThinkStock
    Ryan McVay, ThinkStock

    Open Doors & Doorbells

    We all love seeing those cute little kids in their costumes on Halloween night. But, again, your pets don't understand what's going on. Especially if they're like mine, who get overly excited every time the doorbell rings! So, it's a good idea to disable the doorbell or block it from being pushed, so trick-or-treaters have to knock. And again, put the pets in that quiet room, behind a closed door, or they might bolt into the yard while you're passing out the candy.

  • matt_benoit, ThinkStock
    matt_benoit, ThinkStock

    Keep Dog Treats On-Hand

    It's so tempting, when the kids are going through their candy, to offer a piece to your furry family member, who's caught up in the excitement. But the fact is, most of that stuff is toxic to your pets, including chocolate and anything with the sweetener Xylitol. So pick up some dog-friendly treats for the pets, as well, and let them join in the fun. Trust me, the dog doesn't care if they get M&M's or Milk Bones, as long as they're getting something yummy!

  • Purestock, ThinkStock
    Purestock, ThinkStock

    Dogs and Trick-or-Treating

    Although the trip around the block with your little trick-or-treaters may seem like the perfect time to also walk the dog, it really isn't. Again, dogs don't know what's going on, so all the costumes and running kids is going to either scare them or get them overly excited. If you see someone with a dog, it's also not a good idea to go over and pet them, even if the dog knows you. They're overly-stimulated and may not recognize you if you're in a costume. All in all, your pets will be much happier in that quiet room with a favorite toy than taking part in the Halloween fun. Except, of course, for those treats at the end of the night!

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