10/25/2011 AT 5:00 PM ET
But while the holiday can be a fun time for the family, it can also prove dangerous for the animals in your home.
“Sometimes the pets get kind of lost in the mix between the activities and the children and the adults running around,” says Dr. Tina Wismer, the medical director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.
To better prepare your household and your pet for the big day, Dr. Wismer shares with PEOPLE her key tips for keeping pets safe this time of year:
Separate your pet from the festivities.
With the noise and commotion that comes from repeatedly answering the door for trick-or-treaters or throwing a Halloween party, “animals can get frightened or over-stimulated. It’s not uncommon that we get a lot of animals that slip out the door and get lost,” she says. “Make sure your animal is confined in an area where it’s going to be protected and can’t get itself into trouble. Whether crated or in a bathroom or bedroom, keep it away from the activity.”
Avoid decorations that use candles.
Speaking to the dangers of items like jack-o-lanterns, Dr. Wismer says, “Dogs, but especially cats, with those big fluffy tails, can catch on fire. Make sure there are no open flames around.”