Something spooky comes this way
Halloween is a scary time for many people, for pets it can be a very stressful time. Fireworks and firecrackers can be mildly irritating to extremely annoying, depending on the frequency. But, spare a thought for your canine friend whose hearing is roughly four times better than yours. No surprise then that the spooky season can be a stressful time for pets.
Here are 10 easy steps you can take to help your dog feel safe and calm during this time.
- 1. If you come home and let the pooch out in the back garden while you’re cooking dinner, keep an ear out. If you hear things kicking off in the neighbourhood, let the dog in. Close the windows and play some music. It seems, classical music isn’t just good for humans, dogs reportedly appreciate it too.
- 2. Create a safe space. Find the quietest spot in the house where you can put their bedding and blankets. It’s also useful to include an old, unwashed item of clothing that has your scent on it, which will help comfort your dog.
- 3. Another option is lavender, which has a soothing effect on both humans and dogs. Holistic Hound Calm & Balmy is a herbal and hydrosol-based product that can be sprayed onto bedding, around dog or even directly administered by spraying into dog’s mouth, feed or water.
- 4. It’s important that you keep calm and act normal. Obviously, it’s hard not to react if they are upset, but being overly concerned can add to your pet’s distress. You can let them know everything is okay by going about your usual activities.
- 5. Distraction is a useful ploy. Toys or games that keep them busy will help distract from what’s going on outside. Chew toys or safely hiding treats (not too many) around the house can help keep them busy. Try the K9 Connectables or Kong Wobbler.
- 6. It’s also worth thinking about what happens indoors. Will you decorate? If so, be cautious hanging your decorations and be conscious of where you place them. Some can be dangerous or hazardous to pets. For example, rubber eyeballs present a choking risk, fake blood can be poisonous, and pets can get tangled in or choke on fake cobwebs.
- 7. Will you have treats out for guests or trick or treaters? If so, keep them out of reach of your pooch. Most of these are harmful to your pet and in a busy, party atmosphere they can get away with more than usual!
- 8. Does your dog go wild every time the doorbell rings? That could be a problem if you expect a lot of trick or treaters. Again, see if you can keep your dog in a quiet part of the house, away from the commotion with some soothing music playing. Alternatively, can you put up a sign to say the bell is out of order and have people knock? Close internal doors when you answer to your callers to help keep noise low inside.
- 9. To fancy dress or not to fancy dress? I’m not a big fan of fancy dress myself, and dogs tend to feel the same way. If you do want to dress your pooch up for the occasion, be sure to keep it to a minimum, ensure the dog can move easily and don’t cover their eyes or face. If they look uncomfortable (tail tucked, folded ears or hunching, among others) take the costume off.
- 10. Lastly, ensure your dog is microchipped in case it does get out, for Halloween or any other time of the year. The cold, dark nights will make losing a pet feel even more frantic; but knowing that they can be identified when found is a wise move. For the winter season, it might also be worth lighting your dogs in the dark with a high visibility halo or a soft blinker light.