Halloween is almost upon us, and kids (and some adults)  are looking forward to being scared  to death (not literally) and dressing up in silly and frightening costumes. Dogs however, beg to differ. The mischief and pranks  which accompany the holiday  present a plethora of potential safety challenges that can take dogs and their parents by surprise. If you want your dog to share in your Halloween festivities, make it an event that is safe and enjoyable for both of you. Here are some tips from Pawnation:

1. People love Halloween candy and so do dogs, but while candy is a great treat for us, dog owners need to make sure that it's not accessible to their animals. Most owners know that chocolate is poisonous for dogs, but so is almost everything else that you'd find in a trick-or-treat bag. Artificial sweeteners, raisins and other candy items can mean serious health hazards or even death for dogs. The wrappers can be ingested and cause choking. Keep healthy, natural-ingredient dog treats on hand for your dog and other dogs that might show up at your door.

2. Your dog could be hit by eggs or other thrown objects if left out in the yard alone. It's better to be safe than sorry. Keep your dog safe from Halloween tricks by keeping her in the house and not alone in the backyard.

3. If you're having a party, make sure your dog is either at your side or in another room. The latter is  better. Dogs are curious about strangers in the home, and even familiar people can cause confusion and stress when dressed strangely. Dogs may be frightened by unusual costumes, especially those with flashing lights or odd sounds such as a monster voice or high-pitched witch's screech.  Make sure the human treats are not accessible to your dog.

4. Decorations and dogs are usually a bad pairing. New objects in the house are likely to arouse your dog's curiosity, and he could get tangled on light cords or accidentally knock over candles. 

5. If your dog  doesn't mind wearing a costume make sure it is comfortable  and doesn't have any parts that could be chewed, swallowed or tripped on. Have your dog try on the costume a few times before the big night . A Halloween bandana or an orange collar and leash are good alternatives for dogs who don't like elaborate costumes.

Loud noises can be upsetting. Most dogs react to the doorbell anytime it rings, so the constant ringing of trick-or-treaters can get on their nerves. Dogs tend to be suspicious of any strangers at the door, and they won't make an exceptions for Halloween. Keep your dog in a different part of the house during trick-or-treat hours. Otherwise it can become aggressive or run out the door when it's opened.

Have fun and be safe.  Woof!