Halloween poses special risks for pets, which should be kept safe while their owners enjoy the holiday, county officials said Tuesday.

“Pets react to the decorations and some of the festivities can be hazardous, which may trigger the fight or flight instinct,” said Department of Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda. “The fight instinct could cause a friendly pet to bite out of fear and the flight instinct would cause them to run from the noise and excitement.”

Dogs may run away from home and end up on busy streets or freeways, Mayeda warned, though anxious cats are likely to find a dark place to hide at home.

She offered tips to keep pets safe:

— make sure your pet’s license is current and tags are securely attached;

— microchip your pet;

— if possible, keep pets indoors, away from the front door, in a secure spot with the radio or television playing as a distraction;

— check that your yard, including fences, gates and other openings, is secure;

— keep pets away from all candy and know that chocolate can be poisonous to pets;

— dispose of candy wrappers that can choke animals;

— keep pets away from jack-o-lanterns to avoid burns;

— make sure pet costumes do not restrict movement, vision, hearing, breathing or barking and do not include small or dangling accessories that can be swallowed; and

— if you take a pet to a community event, keep a close eye on them at all times.

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