Keep Your Pet From Freaking Out This Halloween
The repeatedly ringing doorbells, copious caches of candies, and masked trick-or-treaters that come with Halloween can make even well-behaved pets act out. But there’s a lot you can do to reduce the fright factor. These tricks will help keep your dog or cat from jumping out its fur:
Decorate With Restraint
Jack-o’-lanterns here, fake spider webs there. People love Halloween decorations. But the change in scenery can affect your pet emotionally and raise some safety risks. “To prevent your pet from accidentally ingesting hazardous items, keep decorations out of reach,” cautions Kenny Lamberti, spokesperson for The Humane Society of the United States. “And remember that some decorations, especially those that light up or make noise, could make your pet anxious.” If a new decoration makes your pet uneasy, place it out of sight.
Be Costume Conscientious
As a precautionary measure, let your pet see and sniff family members’ costumes before you all put them on. “This helps reduce your pet’s anxious feelings,” Lamberti explains. Throwing a Halloween party? Avoid letting people wearing costumes or masks greet your pet. Have a talk with guests beforehand so they know the boundaries. Or, keep your dog in another room during the festivities.
Keep Candy Concealed
Cats may view shiny wrappers as toys and accidentally swallow them. Chocolate, coffee, caffeine, nuts, and the sweetener xylitol can be deadly to dogs, ASPCA reports. Also, dogs generally can’t tolerate dairy products. To be safe, Lamberti says to simply keep the candy dish out of reach. For pet owners who are also parents, Lamberti stresses the importance of having a talk with the kids. It can go something like this: “We love (insert pet’s name here), so let’s protect him this Halloween by keeping him away from the candy.” And while your kids sort through their sugary loot, make sure your pet is occupied with a toy in another room.
About Those Trick-or-Treaters
Some pets could care less about a doorbell. Others consider it a war cry, which can be a problem on the one day the bell just keeps ringing. A dog’s sense of hearing is at least four times more acute than humans, so you may not be able to adequately muffle the sound. “Place a very obvious sign on your door or over your doorbell asking trick-or-treaters to knock, instead of ringing,” Lamberti suggests. Let’s hope they follow directions.