Avoid a Halloween nightmare--Secure your dog.

It's a much anticipated autumnal holiday. Who among us does not have memories of our favorite costume and Halloween school parade? Whether you were a princess or a Power Ranger, Halloween was the day you got to be your beloved alter-ego. But is there a down side to the holiday?

Dog bites lawsuits are probably the most frequent cases brought under homeowner's insurance. They are also the most easily avoided. Take these tips to heart, and even Fido will have the best Halloween ever:

For humans only: As much as you enjoy dressing Spot as a cowboy, most dogs do not enjoy being dressed up--they become irritated and frustrated and even dogs with the mildest of temperaments can nip someone when they are feeling stressed. Save the costumes for humans only.

Keep Dogs Indoors: There is a lot of activity on Halloween. Ghost and goblins are wandering about and not necessarily sticking to sidewalks. It's easy to lose sight of a kid, and if a small child wanders into your backyard dressed like a Minion, your dog may not realize it's all in fun. It's a good recipe for a bite: dogs naturally want to protect you and their home. Keep your dog inside in a quiet room.

Keep the dog inside in a quiet room: Yep, it bears repeating. The hustle and bustle of your door opening and closing, high pitchy squeals from toddlers and preschoolers and a doorbell that is non-stop means a frenetic energy in the house. Dogs interpret that as danger. Find a quiet room, give Scrappy the largest chew-toy you can find and accompany that with some soothing tunes straight out of your classical music collection (or public radio!) Your dog will thank you.

Dogs really are man's best friend, but dogs are, well, dogs. They rely on us humans to guide and to help them. A good owner is like a good parent: You know your dog's best and weakest attributes and you set them up to succeed. Follow these guidelines and you will be sure to have a bite-less holiday. At least from dogs. We can't help with vampires.

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