By: Brent Honcharenko
Holidays and celebrations can often be stressful on pets. Not only do their routines get derailed, but so do their environments with all sorts of unfamiliar decorations. Add to that the rush people coming and going, and all of the extra noise and chaos.
We all know July 4th , with its fireworks celebrations, can be stressful for sensitive dogs, but Halloween is a very close second with the doorbell constantly ringing and strangers dressed in colorful, and sometimes scary, costumes shouting loudly at the front door.
The flurry of activity and noise on Halloween evening can be very unsettling for your pet(s) and it can also be a frightening experience for them.
Here are some things you can do to help ease your pet’s stress on Halloween:
- Keep your pet away from the door. Dogs, and even cats, should be kept in a safe, comfortable,
familiar, and secure place in your home other than where all the activity is happening.
- Distract them in a separate room with a radio or TV to help mask some of the noise from the
- If you don’t have another room or area where they can be, use a baby gate or some sort of
barrier to keep them away from the front door.
- Prior to Halloween, do trial runs by ringing the doorbell and giving your dog a treat and praise
when they stay calm and don’t bark.
Doing your best to keep your pet calm is important:
- Before all the Halloween activity begins, be sure to take your dog(s) for a nice long walk or run.
- Try to avoid leaving your pet at home alone on Halloween.
- Don’t surprise or scare your pet with your own costume. If you’re going to dress up for Halloween, let them know it’s you in your costume.
Regarding costumes, some dogs and cats won’t care if you dress them up for the occasion, but others may act negatively to wearing a costume. If you want to dress your pet for Halloween but they are resisting, don’t force it. Watch your pet’s body language. If they’re fighting or resisting as you try to dress them, simply forego it. A social media photo isn’t worth the stress on your pet or on you.
If your pet is carefree about wearing a costume, then go ahead and have fun with it. But there are still some precautions to consider:
- The costume should never be ill-fitting or uncomfortable for them.
- Avoid using colored hairspray or hair dye on your pet. These items can be extremely toxic and could cause serious skin and/or coat issues.
Overall safety is a key component for a successful and fun Halloween. Dogs and cats love things that smell good, shiny objects, and investigating new items in their environment.
Here are some safety considerations:
- Keep your pet(s) away from the candy and treat bowls. Many varieties of human candy can be
critically harmful, even lethal, to your pet(s).
- Keep lit candles, jack-o-lanterns and other Halloween decorations out of reach of pets.
- Keep all human costume pieces away from pets. This includes glow sticks, batteries, costume accessories, etc.
- Ensure your pet is wearing their ID collar and a GPS tracker in case they do get scared and see an opportunity to rush the open door and run off.
If you do want to give your pet Halloween treats, ensure those treats are safe for them:
- Visit a local pet treat bakery in your area. They’re popping up everywhere and they are certain to have a variety of holiday themed and healthy treat options.
- Visit the pet food section at your local grocery store. Some brand name pet food manufacturers, such as Purina, Blue Buffalo, Milk-Bone, and Greenies, offer Halloween themed treats right on the store shelf.
- Visit your local pet supply store. They’re sure to have what the grocery stores carry and maybe more. They may even offer homemade pet treats from reputable hobby bakers in your area.
- Search online for safe Halloween pet treats.
If you and your dog(s) are up for a pet-friendly Halloween party, please join Ruff Start Rescue at Forgotten Star Brewing in Fridley from 1:00 – 4:00 PM on Saturday, Oct. 28, for a Halloween Paw-ty and Dog Costume Contest. You can find more details and pre register at: ruffstartrescue.org/events Have a Happy and Pet-Safe Halloween!
Article sources: American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), WAG!, Tractive.