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Protecting your pets: Halloween reminders for pet owners

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - Halloween is just around the corner, but experts warn that you should take steps now to protect your pet from hidden dangers that might be in plain sight.

While Halloween is a fun event for families, it could be dangerous for your pet.

Officials say that you should always keep your Halloween candy away from pets. Many pet owners know that chocolate can be lethal to dogs and cats, but experts warn that sugar-free candy is also poisonous to dogs.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is safe for humans but can be deadly to dogs. It is most commonly found in sugar-free gum and mints but is also an ingredient in many other products listed as “sugar-free."

Just one stick of sugar-free gum made with xylitol can cause a 20-pound dog to become ill.

“Ingested in even the smallest amounts, xylitol can be extremely dangerous to dogs, leading to liver failure or worse, and the veterinary care required is also costly for owners,” said Jenna Mahan, the director of claims at Embrace Pet Insurance.

In addition to the candy, experts say you should keep a close eye on your decorations. They warn that cardboard decorations, glow sticks, and plastic spiders can cause damage to an animal's digestive tract.

Also, keep candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach since pets can either burn themselves or tip them over, causing a fire.

If you are planning to include your pet in the festivities, officials stress that you should let your pet wear their costume in advance in order to get used to it.

Pet costumes should allow your pet to move freely, breathe, hear and see easily. Experts stress you should avoid costumes with pieces that can be easily chewed off and make sure it fits properly.

Dog in squirrel costume on Halloween.

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