The Loudoun County Animal Shelter advises the following to ensure a safe Halloween for pets:

* Pets, especially cats, can be vulnerable targets for pranksters on Halloween night. Keep them indoors to avoid possible trouble.

* Keep pets away from candy bowls to avoid accidental ingestion of chocolate, which is harmful to dogs and cats. Also beware of candy wrappers, which can be hazardous if swallowed.

* Beware of jack-o'-lanterns lighted with candles -- a dog's wagging tail or a curious kitty can easily knock one over and create a fire hazard.

* Keep your pet in a separate room during trick-or-treat time. A quick dog or cat can dart out a door that is opening and closing often. Also, the sight of strangely dressed people at the door can be stressful for pets.

* Don't forget your pet's identification tag. Shelters always are busy around holidays with pets that have wandered off. An ID tag or microchip helps identify your pet so he can be returned home.

* Only dress up your pet if he is receptive to it. Make sure the costume fits your pet properly, and if he doesn't seem happy, take the costume off. Masks are never a good idea for pets.