As the dark nights creep in and the leaves start to turn from green to brown, we can start to get excited for our favourite autumn holiday – Halloween! When the final day of October comes around, it can be a stressful time for your four-legged friend, so it is important to consider their best interests when preparing for a potentially eerie evening
Why do dogs hate Halloween?
There is not a night quite like Halloween, with the loud noises, creepy masks and excessive amounts of treats! But all of the things we love about Halloween could be upsetting for your puppy or dog, and here are some of the reasons why…
Dressing up in unfamiliar costumes – Buying dog Halloween costumes is becoming more and more popular – and we get it, they can look great! But it is important to ensure your pet is comfortable in their costume, on what can already be an uneasy night. Check their body language: are they trying to take their outfit off? Is their head down? Do they look sad or miserable? These are all things to consider when dressing your dog up for the night.
Pumpkin Carving – Pumpkin carving is a key part of most households’ Halloween ritual. However, once your pumpkin has been carved, the candles have been lit and put inside, it is important that they are kept out of reach from your four-legged friend! Place it on a surface unable to be knocked or wobbled by your pup, stopping any unwanted burns for your pet or housefires.
Costumes, masks and props – Just like children – dogs get creeped out by any unnatural things. They will not grasp that it is you behind some of the masks or costumes you choose to wear and could be quite freaked out by it! It definitely will not help if you tease them with props or masks!
Walkies? – For many dogs, a walk is the highlight of their day – their chance to see the big wide world! But when they look out the window on October 31st, they are likely to see you walking around the neighbourhood without them – how distressing!
Is that the front door? – When your pup hears a knock at the door, they may be expecting a friend or family member, who they would usually get fuss and love from. Instead they will see a stranger in a scary costume - likely to confuse and disturb them.
‘Trick or TREAT’ – The word ‘treat’ is music to a dog’s ears! Therefore, Halloween can just be one big disappointment for your four-legged friend, when they are constantly hearing visitors at the front door asking, ‘trick or treat?
Beware of the poison! – What is the main reason we go trick or treating? For the chocolate and sweets of course! Make sure you keep your goodies well away from your pets, after all chocolate is poisonous for dogs.
What to do with dogs on Halloween
Each dog will react differently to the big changes we see for Halloween, so it is important you do what is best for your individual pet. Your dog may be more than comfortable with the excitement that Halloween brings, however they may be stressed or upset by it.
Treating your dog on Halloween
Treating your dog can be a great way to take their mind off any other stresses or excitements, such as Halloween. Here at L&L we have a range of treats as well as Halloween themed toys to distract your dog from the excitement or stress of Halloween…
Where to take your dog on Halloween?
If your dog is likely to be frightened by the Halloween horrors, then we recommend taking them for a long walk prior to the trick or treating beginning, a tired dog is likely to be more relaxed. If possible, leave your dog in a back room of your home, to avoid the trick or treaters and constant knocks or rings of the door. Background noise from a radio or TV would also be recommended.
Can I take my dog trick or treating?
Your dog may react well to the Halloween holiday – and love the costumes and excitement that it can bring. If your dog seems comfortable dress them up and take them trick or treating! However, try to avoid any animated props or other unnatural things that may spook your pup. If you are just going round the local neighbourhood that your dog is familiar with, then by all means take them with you.
What if your dog has eaten chocolate or sweets?
It is important that you consult your local veterinary practice as soon as you can if your dog has eaten a substantial amount of Halloween treats! Where possible you need to inform them of what your canine has eaten, at what time and roughly how much to ensure your vet has the information to make an informed decision of whether your pup needs any form of assessment or treatment. Make sure you do not try to make them vomit, this can cause other complications and make them more unwell.
10 Tips to Help Keep Your Pet Safe and Calm Halloween
- Create a Cosy Den - Create a cosy den for your pet in the lead up to the events. A safe space is essential for your pet to retreat to where they will feel most safe. A hooded bed for cats and maybe a crate with a cover for dogs will help them feel cocooned and protected when the noise levels rise.
- Stay Calm - Your pet will notice the way you behave in unusual situations. If you remain calm it will have a calming influence on them and help reassure them that there is nothing to worry about.
- Shut all windows and doors - Keep all windows and doors shut, including cat flaps. You don’t want your pet fleeing in fright, so best keep them secured in the house. This will also help keep noise levels from outside to a minimum.
- Keep your cats and dogs busy - Keep your cat or dog entertained with plenty of dog toys and cat scratchers. It’s best to keep even your outdoor cats indoors during this period, so keep them entertained with a series of catnip toys to keep them occupied.
- Walkies time - Always walk your dog well before the fireworks are likely to begin.
- Keep the TV and Radio volume high - Music with a distinctive beat can mask the sound of loud noises outside.
- Keep treats out of paws reach - On Halloween make sure human treats are kept well away from pets. This includes any edibles, but also lit pumpkins.
- No crazy costumes - If your dog or cat don’t like being dressed up, then please don’t force them to wear a costume. You could try to introduce costumes well in advance to help get them used to them. You don’t want to add any extra stress to an already noisy evening.
- Careful with trick-or-treaters - Be cautious when answering the door to trick-or-treaters as you don't want your pets to escape through the open door.
- Give them space - Don’t handle cats if they’re scared. Cats prefer to be in full control when they are in stressful situations.
Your dog may find the evening of October 31st a stressful time. At L&L we understand that your dog may be stressed or anxious in certain situations, such as Halloween. We have a range of calming products available, including anti-anxiety coats and calming spray kits, to help your pup through the frights of Halloween…