All pets have their own, unique personalities, and while some may find the Halloween festivities fun and exciting, others may find it quite stressful. It’s important, therefore, to consider this holiday like any other, and take into account how your pet may respond to the festivities and what is safe for them.
A steady stream of Trick-or-treaters knocking at the door can be unsettling for pets, especially those that are timid in nature. But, even the most well-socialized pets can find the hectic pace draining, as their protective alertness can be exhausting when hour after hour, more new people are at your door.
Here are some points to consider when keeping your pets happy and safe during this spooky season!
1. Avoidable stress when it comes to Halloween and pets
It can help to minimize their stress by putting your pets in a safe, quiet room away from all the hustle and bustle of the Trick-or-treaters and any other Halloween activities. If your pet is cratetrained and feels calm in one, place them in their crate with a variety of toys and treats, and play some soothing background music, too.
You can also lessen their startle response by staying close to the door and even keeping it open to greet the Trick-or-treaters to avoid the constant door-knocking or bell-ringing.
These measures are important to take when it comes to hosting parties too. Parties are very noisy and busy and can cause pets a lot of stress, and Halloween parties can be particularly confronting with all of the costumes and masks people wear. Make sure all guests know not to enter your pet’s safe room by placing a sign on the door and letting them know when they arrive.
If you are going out Trick-or-treating, leave your dog at home in a comforting, quiet room away from the entrance to your house. The added excitement of being out on Halloween can be too much for some dogs and cause them to feel overstimulated, anxious, or reactive.
If you do decide to venture out with your dog, keep them on a leash and remain vigilant when it comes to their stress and temperament. It can be very confusing for them to be surrounded by people who don’t look human on account of their costumes, and this can elicit some unexpected reactions in an otherwise placid pet.
2. Candy and treats
Generally speaking, human treats are not healthy or safe to give to our pets. Artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, gum, and chocolate can be poisonous or otherwise hazardous to their health.
So, not only ensure that all Halloween candy is stored away out of their reach, but make sure your children know how important it is not to share their Halloween treats with your pets. You can always buy special holiday treats made for pets, but make sure your children know the difference. If you ever suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic for them, contact your veterinarian immediately and call the Poison Control Center on 888-426-4435.
Your Jack O’Lanterns are typically made from pumpkins, which is a safe food for cats and dogs, but not in large quantities, so keep them as decorations only and out of reach of your four-legged friends.
3. Pet costumes
Dressing up our pets can be fun, and while there’s nothing wrong with it in theory, it is essential to consider the comfort of your pet first and foremost. So, when choosing a Halloween costume for your pet, take into account their unique personality and whether they will tolerate the design you have in mind. Hats, masks, and hoods, for example, may be tolerated long enough to get a great picture, but aren’t comfortable or entirely safe for your pet to wear for long periods of time.
Once your pet is costumed up, keep a close eye on them to ensure that they remain happy and comfortable, and remove them as soon as they show signs of discomfort. Also, make sure that there aren’t any easily chewable parts that your pet could choke on.
If you are going to leave your pet in a safe, quiet room away from all the Halloween festivities, it may be prudent to do so before decorating the house. Lots of bold, colorful changes to the house can leave them feeling confused and nervous. They may also see decorations like large spiders as real and try to attack them!
Also, consider how else some decorations could pose a threat to your furry friends. Eyeballs are a choking hazard, fake blood, and other novelty items could be poisonous when ingested, and your pet could get entangled in string lights or cobwebs and panic or be choked.
One particular hazard often overlooked during holiday or party seasons is glow sticks. These fun, glow-in-the-dark sticks are often discarded on the floor during parties, especially once they stop glowing. Even though the contents are labeled as non-toxic, they are very bitter in taste and can cause hyperactivity and drooling in pets.
The busyness of Halloween coupled with the constantly opening door can create ample motive and opportunity for your pet to flee and get themselves lost.
It is ideal to ensure that your pet wears a trackable device in any case, and this is particularly handy when they go wandering. At the very least, make sure that your pet has been microchipped and that the relevant information is kept up-to-date, and that they wear tags with ID information inscribed.
Halloween is a fun and exciting holiday and it’s natural to want to include your beloved pet in the festivities, it must just be done mindfully.
If they are simply too anxious or reactive, sadly it is best for everyone concerned to put them away in a room or crate that feels safe and secure to them, away from any undue stress. If they tolerate the chaos well, then simply ensure that you are mindful when it comes to managing their comfort and tolerance, as well as keeping them safe from human treats and hazardous decorations.
With a little thought and preparation, the Halloween holiday can be a fun, safe one for every member of the family, including the four-legged ones!