Halloween can be fun for the whole family, but can also be stressful and dangerous for your dog. Your dog may be exposed to many unfamiliar sights and sounds, especially with so many scary costumes about.
Here are our top tips to help keep your dog safe and help manage any anxiety they may have on the night:
- Walk your dog before it gets dark to avoid fireworks and flashing lights.
- Provide a safe hiding place for your dog indoors – this could be as simple as a large cardboard box, dog crate or a curtain or blanket draped over your kitchen table (if you don’t have a dog crate).
- Close the curtains on your windows as many dogs can be afraid of the flashing lights from fireworks, not just the noise they make. If your curtains don’t black out light, you can tape black bags to your windows.
- Turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out scary noises (dogs may find rhythmic music such as reggae music relaxing).
- Keep your dog busy with games, their favourite toys, chews and puzzles. Kongs or K9Connectables filled with food or treats are also great to keep your dog occupied (freezing can make them last longer).
- If your garden is not fully secure, please keep your dog on a lead when bringing them out for toilet breaks to avoid the risk of them getting spooked and escaping.
- Keep lit pumpkins out of your dog’s reach as they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking them over and causing a fire.
- Please, do not leave your dog alone outdoors during the Halloween period! Scared dogs will make desperate attempts to escape and there is also the danger of him being injured by a stray firework.
- Never force your dog to wear a dog costume – loosely tied festive doggie bandanas are usually more acceptable to dogs.
- Don’t leave sweets and treats in places where your dog can reach. Chocolate, raisins, grapes and the sweetener xylitol are poisonous to dogs. If you suspect your dog has eaten anything he shouldn’t, please call your local veterinary practice immediately.
- Do not force your dog to receive any unwanted attention even from family members, as he may not recognise people in costumes.
- Please think twice about taking your dog on a trick or treat outing. The extra excitement around the event and meeting strangers may cause him distress.
- Be extra careful when opening your front door as your dog may escape; if possible, try to ensure there is another closed door between your dog and your front door.
- Please make sure that your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag and that his microchip details are up to date via www.fido.ie in case he escapes (microchipping and the possession of a microchipping certificate are legal requirements).
- Remember to store your local veterinary practice out of hour’s emergency number on your phone.
- Keep a close watch on your dog this Halloween to reduce any chance of distress, so that he and the rest of the family can enjoy the celebrations without any mishaps.
- If your dog seeks comfort, please give it to him and offer him reassurance as he will look to you to help him feel safe.
If your dog is terrified by fireworks, please speak to your vet as there are a number of anti-anxiety medications available that may help your dog get through this difficult period. Although now too late for this year, once the Halloween period is over, the Sounds Scary tracks here will help your dog prepare for Halloween Fireworks next year or New Year’s Eve.
Although Dogs Trust recommends not taking your dog Trick or Treating, that does not mean your dog needs to be left out of the fun, as some of the long-term dogs in Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre demonstrate!! Clever canines Guy, Oscar, Belinda, Charlie and Pluto will do anything for a tasty treat and show off their impressive repertoire of tricks in a cute video created we have called ‘Tricks for Treats’.
We hope you and your dogs have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!