How to help your pet through Halloween

Halloween can be a scary time for our four-legged family members; scary costumes, many different people and smells, doors left open, and chocolate set out can all lead to an unsafe environment for your pet.

Here’s what you can do to keep them safe!

1. Keep them away from all the action

Your dog or cat may not mind when people come by, but Hallowe’en is a whole other level.  For pets that may be fearful of people coming to the door, or dogs that may bark and charge, this is even more important.

There are many things involved in trick-or-treat-ers coming to your door.  There is the sounds, including children laughing, doorbells or knocking, or possibly squeals if you have some scary decorations out.

Along with the noises, there are many people coming to your door. This includes people of different sizes, and in costumes that could be very scary for your pet.  There are also scary accessories, such as broomsticks, swords and others that could frighten animals.

In addition to the noise and people, there are a couple dangers associated with people coming to your door trick-or-treating.  This includes having the door opening many times and staying open for a period of time, leaving the opportunity for your pet to escape, especially if they’re scared.  There’s also all of the treats, which could include dangers such as chocolate, bags, choking hazards, and possibly lit candles in pumpkins.

Halloween pets


2. Help drown out all the noise

Whether or not you’re playing spooky noises, there are many noises that accompany Hallowe’en night. In general, there will be more noise from adults and children outside your home, plus the sounds of knocking or doorbells ringing.  

Even if you pet isn’t typically bothered by these noises, they’ll be occuring much more than normal.  

If at all possible, confine your pet to a room furthest away from the door where people will be coming in and any noises from the road. You can play music, have a TV on, or even white noise to help drown out much of the noise.  If you can have noise playing that your pet is familiar with, even better.

One other note about noises - if your pet happens to be scared of the people coming into your home with costumes on, they could easily learn to associate the sound of your doorbell or knocking with that happening, and this could cause a fear reaction that would go long past the single night.



3. Keep them busy

Keeping your pet distracted will also help them pay little attention to the Halloween craziness.

Some ideas to keep your cat or dog busy:

  • Hide their food around the room so they have to spend time finding it

  • Have a frozen stuffed Kong available (these aren’t just for dogs!!)

  • Provide toys they love but don’t get frequently

If possible, try to get your dog outside for a good long walk or play before children start going around in costumes.


4. Get them used to costumes

Dressing your pet up in a costume

Are you thinking about dressing your pet up for Halloween?  If you have kids in your home, this may be nothing new for your pet.  However, if this only happens once a year, it could bother them and there are a few things you can do to make sure they’re more comfortable.

  • If your pet really hates wearing anything, Halloween night isn’t the best night to try to change their opinion, you may want to reconsider making them wear a costume and gradually work up to that throughout the year if it’s something you really want.

  • If at all possible, gradually expose your pet to parts of the costume, and give treats for calm behaviour while wearing it for short periods of time.

  • Don’t leave your pet unattended when wearing a costume.

Your costumes

You definitely don’t want to scare your pet with your own costume!  Some pets in your home likely won’t care at all if you’re wearing something unusual, but many of our pets might be worried or confused by our costumes.

You can do a few things to help them get prepared for you, or your children, in costume.

  • If there are any accessories that could be frightening, such as a funny hat or something large they’ll be holding, have it out for a few days where your pet can see it and approach

  • If your pet is likely to be fearful, put on part of your costume and allow them to approach you at their own pace, reward for coming close to you.  Make sure you continue talking to them. You can gradually add more pieces of the costume.

Most importantly, have a happy and safe Halloween!

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