The evenings are getting darker, the air is colder and frost has even started making an appearance in the mornings. Halloween has crept up on us again this year.
It may seem like a fun time of year for us humans, but for our canine friends, it can be daunting as its full of unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. If your dog is particularly nervous, they can really struggle with the situations they may face this time of year between Halloween and Bonfire Night.
Whilst you enjoy watching horror films, eating toffee apples and dressing up in spooky outfits, take some time to follow the below tips to make sure your dog feels safe this Halloween.
Walk your dog before it goes dark
As the evenings draw shorter, it can be difficult to fit in the time to walk your dog before it goes dark. However, if you can, we would really recommend walking them before the sun goes down completely. Walking in the dark can make you feel slightly nervous and on edge, especially when there could be fireworks going off making you jump. Dogs are empathic and will be able to pick up your nervousness, making them feel on edge too. If you do have to walk your dog in the dark, invest in some reflective wear for both of you. You can also purchase light up collars which help to make you and your dog more noticeable to car drivers.
Provide a safe space
Some dogs feel safer when they are able to spend time on their own away from all of the chaos that can occur in a family home during this time of year. Making sure your dog has a quiet safe space available is a great way of reducing their stress and anxiety. Whether it’s their bed, crate, or even their favourite room of the house, making sure they can access it when they need is really important.
Drown out the outside noise
Halloween can be a noisy time of year. Dogs have much more sensitivity than us when it comes to hearing, and noises can really affect them. There may be external noises happening around your home that your dog can hear, that you don’t even notice. A great way to drown out external noises is to keep your TV or radio on. This is also a familiar sound for your dog, and will help them feel reassured that they are in a safe environment.
Secure your garden
This is something you should be doing regularly anyway, but make sure you check that your garden is secure this Halloween. If you are letting your dog out in the garden, fence panels need to be sturdy with no gaps or holes that your dog could fit through. Check that they haven’t started to dig under any panels. If they are spooked whilst outside on their own, they may try to escape – something no dog owner wants to happen.
Don’t force your dog to wear a costume
Halloween costumes for dogs are becoming very popular. They are readily available to buy in pet shops, and even discount stores such as Home Bargains and B&M Stores. Costumes for dogs may be cute and funny, but does your dog really enjoy wearing them? Forcing them to wear a costume can make them feel very uncomfortable and stressed out. They can also overheat if the costume is made from a thick material. Is it worth stressing your dog out just for your enjoyment?
Watch what they eat
At Halloween, there are sweets and chocolate around the house much more than usual. These high sugar treats may be enjoyable for us humans, but they are toxic for dogs. Keep them out of reach of your pets to protect their health. The last thing you want to do on Halloween is have to take your dog to the vets for an emergency appointment. Pumpkin flesh, however, can be a tasty nutritious treat for your dog. It is really good for aiding your dog’s digestive system and can help with an upset stomach. Mix a few tablespoons of cooked pumpkin into their usual food.