So today is the day, it’s nearly time to get the fake teeth and blood out and don’t forget the treats! Halloween can be a really fun time for kids and adults alike but unfortunately it’s too easy to forget the other members of our families at this time of year. Halloween can be scary for our pets. People not looking like they normally do, lots of people knocking on the door and in many places fireworks too!
Here’s a quick guide into how to make it a Happy Hound-Halloween for ALL members of the family this year!
Keep them safe
- This is an important consideration every day as a pet guardian. Some of us like to be scared, especially on Halloween. But if dog’s are scared then making people move away is a normal behavioural response but can be seen as “aggression” and can be dangerous. Keep your dog safe from situations where they might be scared. Don’t take them to the door with you, keep them safely shut behind a shut door or gate.
- With all the treats around it would be easy not to notice some sweets or chocolate going missing. These could be dangerous and even fatal to your dog! Make sure even the kids know they aren’t a treat to dogs and that you monitor where those sacks of goodies are kept!
- Keep dog’s and cat’s inside on the evening as we don’t want them outside when people are up to mischief! Also a good reminder to ensure all pets are microchipped (it’s the law for dogs). Keep details are up to date in case anyone gets spooked and runs off.
- On the same note try to walk dogs earlier in the day on Halloween so they aren’t around when people are trick or treating. This can be scary for dogs and is another reason not to take them out with you if you’re going out around the streets this evening.
- Keep the pumpkin flames out of reach – but after the night think about cooking the pumpkin to make some treats for your dog
Getting dressed up?
- If you are then great! But remember you could be scary for your dog so give them more space. Think about waiting until you’re out of the house to put on that terrifying werewolf mask!
- If your dog reacts to you in your outfit, try talking to them in a calm voice and remove masks which may be hiding your face. Never force them to approach you and never go towards them in an attempt to make them feel better as it is more likely that they will feel threatened.
Let them join in!
- It’s always fun to let our pets join in celebrations with us but it’s so important to make sure it’s fun for them too. There are lots of very cute fancy dress outfits available to buy for our dogs and cats but for most animals this whole process would be extremely stressful. Some dogs can cope with this and do enjoy wearing clothes if they have been trained and desensitised to handling. Our Min Pin Cornelius loves his clothes (for warmth, not fashion!). So this would be an option for him, whereas our Labrador Barnaby has much less need for clothes!
- Everyone else is getting treats so why not try a fun Halloween based game with your pet instead. (Slices of) apple bobbing or hunting out the monster (treat) hidden in the house for dogs. Or spider and bat (easy toys to make out of wool) catching for cats!
Don’t be afraid to avoid if necessary
- If you know your dog struggles with people coming to the door then think about limiting this impact for them. Try putting a sign up on the door asking people not to knock. Maybe supply a bowl of treats for children to help themselves so that people can still enjoy the night!
- Fireworks are a big part of some people’s Halloween and many pet guardians dread this time of year. If your dog or cat is reactive to noises for now the best you can do is limit the impact. Read our Fireworks blog for some tips! You can contact your vet for some memory blocking medication to prevent them from getting worse at each exposure. Give them a nice quite area to hide away if they wish. Keep the curtains shut and put on some background noise they are used to e.g. the TV or radio. Contact us on 07785 800008 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with a sound sensitive pet.
After all that we hope you all enjoy tonight and have a spoooookily good time!