Even if you’re not a big Halloween fan, there is plenty about the day that can confuse and unsettle your pets. Whether you’re having a spooky party, getting ready for trick or treaters, or are planning on a quiet night at home, it’s important to make sure your pets are safe and comfortable.
As well as people in costumes and the doorbell ringing more than usual, there is a good chance that there will be fireworks and other disturbances in your area. So even if you’re not celebrating Halloween, there is plenty that could distress your pet.
With this in mind, here are some great ways to prepare for Halloween and make sure your pets are happy and calm on Halloween.
If you usually walk your dog in the evening, it’s a good idea to change things up a bit and take them out a bit earlier. This will help you avoid lots of people in costumes, which could confuse and upset them, and also ensure you’re not out walking when fireworks might be set off.
Walking your dog before the trick or treaters come out in force will also help you avoid any groups that might distress your dog so they can simply enjoy having a nice walk.
There is also a good chance that fitting in a nice walk and plenty of exercise before the festivities begin will help your dog stay more relaxed throughout the evening.
Get them comfortable with costumes
If you’re dressing up or are having a party with people in fancy dress, it’s a good idea to make sure your pets are familiar with your costume. Masks, face paints and other aspects of dressing up can make your pet nervous and confuse them.
To help your pet get familiar with the costumes you’re wearing, allow them to smell and explore them. If you’re wearing a mask on Halloween, put it on in front of them and make it a positive experience by giving them some treats.
If you’re having people over to your house, ensure they are aware that they shouldn’t stand ver your pet or approach them suddenly, as this can be quite stressful, especially if your guest is hard to recognise or hasn’t met your pet before.
Distract them from the door
Trick or treating can be great fun for all involved, but it does mean that more people than usual will be knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell. This can be quite upsetting for pets, meaning they are unable to settle or make more noise than they normally do.
This is why it’s a good idea to distract them from the door so they can focus on other things. You can do this by:
- Putting the TV on or playing the radio so there is less outside noise
- Practice ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door, rewarding your pet every time they are calm
- Give them treats and toys to distract them
- Use a baby gate to keep your dog away from the front door
Create a safe space
If you’re having people over for Halloween or are expecting fireworks, you should create a safe space that your pet can go to feel secure and get away. This should include a bed and some toys, and should also be out of the way of people and noise.
Setting this up a few days before Halloween will allow them to get used to it, so they know that when they are in their space they are safe and won’t be bothered. On the night, you’ll want to check on them but ensure your guests know to leave them to it if they go to their space.
If you’re carving pumpkins or creating a creepy display around your house, it’s a good idea to avoid candles. Your pet can easily knock any candles over, especially if they are nervous, which can risk injury to them and damage to your home.
Instead of real candles, use battery-powered alternatives or LED lights, as these will help to create the same effect in a much safer way.
Secure your treats
Halloween is time for a lot of tasty treats, but many of them can be dangerous for pets. Chocolate, sweets containing xylitol, lolly sticks and sweet wrappers can all pose health risks for your pets so they need to be kept out of reach.
Make sure that any sweets for trick or treaters are kept where your pet can’t reach them and that if you’re having a party, your pet can’t get to the food. It’s also a good idea to remind guests not to feed your pet anything.
Keep pets inside
If you have pets that are usually kept outside, you might want to consider bringing them inside temporarily to ensure they are safe. For example, a rabbit or guinea pig hutch could be moved to your shed, garage or somewhere out of the way for the night so your pets are happy and can still enjoy the quiet.
Those with cats should consider bringing them inside a bit earlier than usual and ensuring that they can’t get out of the catflap and that their microchip details are up to date, just in case they get out and get nervous or confused.
If you need to let your dog out in the garden, avoid doing so when fireworks are going off and stay with them while they are outside. You should also leave the door open so they can come back inside as soon as they want to.