Try These Strategies for Keeping Your Dog Calm This Halloween
Last updated October 15, 2021
(Because monster masks and dogs don’t always mix!)
Between trick-or-treaters and elaborate costumes masking the identity of their favorite people, Halloween can be a tough time for dogs who just aren’t equipped for this type of excitement. Before setting out bowls full of off-limits treats and opening the door to a parade of little goblins and ghouls, it’s important to proactively manage your pet in order to keep everyone safe and happy. Here are some beast-approved tips to keep dogs from being spooked on Halloween this year.
Relieve their energy before the big day
Getting your pup good and tired before the barrage of costumed kids is a smart plan. The secret? Don’t do this just the day of— take your dog for an extra-long workout up to two days before any big events. This will help keep them tired and happy.
Next, set up a safe space in advance for your dog to escape if and when anxiety hits. This can mean their crate or even a dark, quiet room; it just needs to be a space where your dog can get away from the sensory overload. For example, a secure backyard or basement sanctuary may be the better place for your dog to hang out while the party is underway.
If your pup is a repeat Halloween-hater, consider a Rover sitter for the night or ask a family friend who has no trick-or-treaters if they’d be willing to watch your pooch. If a slumber party for your pup isn’t possible, ask your vet about your pet’s anxiety. Lots of pet parents have had success with CBD oil treats, and vets concur that it is usually safe and can help a lot.
Repeated doorbell ringing and knocking will drive a person mad, so imagine how your dog feels. If these noises are a trigger, especially for those pups who are over-protective or territorial, try sitting outside to greet trick-or-treaters or pass out candy from the entryway – or you could even get into the spirit by creating a spooky setup in the driveway.
If you know you’ll have a minimal amount of visitors, put candy out every hour for kids to help themselves. If your pup is well-behaved around kids but lets the freak flag fly with the doorbell, you could have him or her join you on the porch. Bonus: it’s a great way for dogs and neighborhood kids to meet each other in a low-pressure scenario.
Drive ‘Em to Distraction
If the above has failed, try distraction techniques like puzzle toys, one-on-one play, and time zappers like bully rings, Busy Bones, and frozen Kong treat toys. This type of play will also reinforce to your dog that this time may be stressful but it comes with rewards. Over time, they may just begin to associate Halloween with extra treats for them.
Dogs can express their distaste for your human ways through a variety of behaviors that range from anxiety to aggression, and it’s important to set them up for a win instead of expecting them to automatically adapt to whatever your family is up to. Dogs need stability and routines and can react poorly to disruptions, especially if they come with the startling sights, sounds, and smells that are quintessential to Halloween.
Be patient and try to remember that dogs have no idea what we’re doing most of the time. A little bit of kindness, a quiet room, and maybe some (xylitol free!) peanut butter could be just the ticket to getting your dog through this very people-oriented holiday.
Being mindful of the hazards during this time of year can save you a lot of heartache! However, should an accident occur, you’ll be glad knowing that you’re covered by the Healthy Paws Pet Insurance plan. If you’re not already part of the pack, start by getting a quote today.