Halloween is one of our favorite holidays–costumes, candy, friends, what’s not to love? To make sure your fun night isn’t derailed and everyone stays happy and healthy, we’re sharing a few tips we always follow to ensure the night goes smoothly.

Keep them clear of candy, especially chocolate.  All forms of chocolate contain methylxanthines. Have no idea what that is? We didn’t either, but after some research (thank you National Center for Biotechnology Information), we found a methylxanthine you’re probably familiar with: caffeine.  Dogs are far more sensitive to these than humans and don’t have the same ability to break the them down as we do. Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of these methylxanthines, with darker chocolates (like bakers chocolate) being the most lethal. To get a better idea of the toxicity levels and how they might affect your  dog specifically, check out the toxicity meter that petmd.com has provided. If you think your dog has ingested chocolate or is exhibiting concerning symptoms, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is open 24×7, 365 (a fee may apply)(888) 426-4435

Keep them indoors and away from the front door.  Even the most friendly and relaxed pups can get spooked on Halloween.  Strangers showing up in odd costumes at the entry of your home can be seen as a threat and bring on unprovoked aggression, or an opportunity to flee the stressful situation. As a safety, keep your dog away from the front door.  You might also want to spend a little time in advance getting your pups comfortable with your costume before the big night.  As always, make sure your dog’s collar and tags are on, just in case.

Keep them clear of potentially dangerous decorations.  From open flame candles and electric powered items to moldy pumpkins and glow sticks, there are a whole host of items you might have around that your pup could show interest in.  Make sure these items are out of reach.

Don’t force the costume.  Everyone should be in good spirits on Halloween, and that includes your pup. If you’ve decided to dress him/her up and you see they are absolutely hating it, don’t force it.  A costume that inhibits their natural movement or field of vision could cause undue stress.  If your pup is cool with getting in the costume spirit, make sure he/she is supervised while in costume, that way you can help them out if something goes awry.