While Halloween can be a fun night for humans, it can often be a stressful time for our pets. Ringing doorbells, spooky masks, and strange decorations can mean sensory overload for our four-legged friends. When it comes to planning a safe and stress-free Halloween, it helps to plan ahead.
Here are five tips to reduce pet anxiety and keep Fido safe this Halloween:
Designate a Safe Space. Whether it’s a crate, a bed, or even a specific room in your home, make sure that your pet has a safe space where they can retreat if things get too scary. With trick or treaters coming and going, it’s important to make sure that your pet is secure and can’t bolt through the door once the night gets underway.
Opt For Pet-Friendly Costumes. If you plan on dressing up your pet, it’s important to make sure that their costume fits well and doesn’t pose any choking hazards, visibility issues or mobility restrictions. Costumes that make noises or have noisy components such as bells can be scary, so try to avoid them. Just like people, not all pets are excited to wear a costume. You know your pet best and should always check in to make sure that they’re having fun too.
Keep Decorations Out of Reach. Jack-o’-lanterns and candles can set a spooky scene, but can become fire hazards if knocked over by a curious cat. Pets can get tangled in decorations like cobwebs and lights, so it’s best to ensure they are kept out of reach and secured in place. Lastly, motion-activated decorations can scare skittish pets, so it’s best to turn them off when pets are around.
Hide The Loot Bags. Be sure to keep Halloween candy far out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs, and can lead to seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea, and depending on the type and how much was consumed can even be fatal. Xylitol, a common ingredient found in hard candies, can also be fatal to dogs. Opt for treats from your local pet store or make your own at home using pet-safe ingredients.
Leave Trick Or Treating to the Kids. Taking your dog trick or treating might seem like a good idea in theory, but strange noises, costumes, and darkness can cause stress and anxiety, so it’s actually best to leave them at home. If you do decide to take them with you, it’s important to make sure they are wearing an ID tag and that their information is up to date and easy to read.
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About the Author
Dr. Sarah Machell
Dr. Sarah Machell, medical director at Vetster, is a licensed, practicing veterinarian and graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She brings 18 years of experience in the establishment and growth of two successful small businesses in Oakville, Ontario; a small animal veterinary practice with 20 employees and an adjunct retail pet store. She is a foremost expert in advice and care for pet owners.