Halloween is just around the corner and everyone is gearing up for a fun-filled evening. We look forward to seeing kids at the door in costumes, ringing the bell and asking for treats. Although Halloween is exciting time for most of us, it can be a confusing and stressful experience for pets. Follow these tips to ensure your pets – and trick-or-treaters – stay happy and healthy this Halloween:
When at home:
Create a pet-safe zone -
With the door opening and closing all evening, you’ll need to make sure your pets don’t have the opportunity to sneak out when you’re not looking. Try keeping your cat or dog in a closed room or one that’s been blocked off with a baby gate. If your dog is crate-trained, now is a good time to use it.
Give reassurance -
Show your pets that being confined doesn’t mean being in trouble. Give them lots of attention in between trick-or-treaters.
Keep them occupied -
Give your pets a selection of toys to play with. If other family members are home, encourage them to spend time with your pet in a separate part of your home. A TV with the volume turned up a bit higher than normal can help keep them distracted too.
Remove costumes -
While it’s fun to dress up your cat or dog, remember to remove the costume when you’re not there to supervise. While alone, your pet could get tangled in the fabric or ingest some of the material.
Reassure visitors -
If your dog is barking in the background when trick-or-treaters come to the door, let them know your dog is just excited and that there is no cause for concern. Be sure to add that the dog is secured in another room and won’t be coming to the door.
Indoor time only -
Your pets should be inside the house, not out in the yard or on the street. The constant bustle of children can be intimidating and overwhelming for them. If they need to go outside, make sure you supervise them. If you need to take a walk, be sure to use a leash.
Choose pet-safe treats -
If you plan to give your dog or cat something special for the holiday, make sure it’s a pet-safe choice. Chocolate and other human goodies can seriously harm your animals.
Pick your battles -
Halloween may be too much for some pets. If you think the excitement will make your pet too anxious, consider turning out your lights for the evening.
Out for a walk:
An evening stroll with your dog might be part of your regular schedule, but you may want to avoid this Halloween night. If you do take your dog out, keep these tips in mind:
Use a short leash -
Even if your dog has a lot of freedom on most walks, keep your pet close while ensuring there is still some slack in the leash. Too much tension, could lead to agression. Even a well-known friend can seem intimidating with a costume on. In addition, not everyone is comfortable with dogs, especially young children.
Watch for dropped “snacks” -
Tonight, more than any other time, there may be lots of things on the ground that aren’t meant for your pet. Small parts from damaged costumes, wrappers or dropped chocolate treats can be dangerous to your dog if swallowed.
Know the signs -
You know your dog better than anyone. If it seems like the walk is too overwhelming, it’s time to head for home.
Use the walk to teach -
Bring lots of treats with you and use the walk as a training opportunity. As you go past someone, keep your dog away from the person and reward your pet’s good behaviour. That way, what could have been a stressful outing becomes a chance to learn new skills and bond with your dog.
Most importantly, remember to have a good time – but don’t forget to keep safety in mind too!