Everything seems to happen at once at this time of year what with Halloween and Guy Fawkes (fireworks night for the non British readers among us) Everyone you meet with or without a dog will tell you that the one your dog will be most worried about is Guy Fawkes because of the bangs of the fireworks, but pets can still get spooked and nervous on Halloween. Luckily my 2 love Halloween and love getting their costumes on and helping me answer the door to the trick or treaters , unfortunately that is not the case for all dogs so I compiled this post to help with those nervy dogs.
If you have owned a nervous dog for a while now you will know how the best way to deal with your individual dog and will be able to spot the signals that it is giving. If you have owned dogs before but never a nervy one, then it can be quiet a change to adjust/adapt to.
There are a few things that can unnerve your canine chum on Halloween and I will will explore each and explain why. Firstly costumes, not all pets will appreciate being dressed up whatever time of year it is, they prefer their birthday suit! So just because it is Halloween and you have seen other pets dressed up all cute in their outfits, PLEASE do not force your dog into one, especially if it is a nervy dog as it will lose a bit of trust in you, and it could turn the animal scatty either because its ears are covered so things sound different or running in circles trying to remove the outfit-which may be funny but could result in them knocking over candles etc. If your dog is really nervy, it may get anxious about its humans costume, so rather than ommitting your own costume, allow the dog to sniff each item of your outfit before putting it on and let them see you putting on any facial enhancements like false noses.
Secondly take your dog a walk earlier before the main haul of trick and treaters start their rounds and ALWAYS ensure that your dog has an id tag on its collar and/or harness, and your dog should be microchipped anyway (if your dog isn’t already microchipped, many places like the Dog’s Trust/SPCA/RSPCA regularly offer free microchipping, just google it to find your nearest) Microchipping means if your pet gets lost or stolen that when it is found it can be returned to you. Also if your pet is microchipped you can join Petlog or the many apps available so if your pet does go missing then these allow you to notify everyone available immediately with a click of a button so that your pet can be found quicker. Dogs can get spooked outside especially Halloween/ Fireworks night as they can sense the change in the atmosphere, so it is worth taking these precautions in case the worst happens and they run off. If your dog is nervy I would advise keeping it on lead on these nights.
Next, if you know your dog doesn’t like change and would rather be a ‘party pooper’ then allow it to be so by building a makeshift den for it in a quiet room. If you have a crate use this and cover with a blanket or if you don’t have a crate you can use anything that you can place a cover over and that they can hide under like a coffee table, pulling the sofa forward from wall and put a blanket over the gap or a few kitchen chairs placed next to each other then put your dogs bed under it with some treats then close the door over until things calm down.
Keep your pets away from pumpkins with lit candles by either keeping the pumpkins outside or high up on a window ledge, so they can’t be knocked over, this is especially important if your pet is wearing a costume that is loosely fitting as they may not be skittish but all they need to do is turn too close to the pumpkin candle and its costume could set on fire. Feeding your dog the pumpkin flesh that has been scraped out of the pumpkin is really good for them and has cancer fighting properties and helps stop diarrhoea.
Depending on how many trick or treaters you get, the constant knocks and doorbells going can upset even the friendliest pet so if you notice this happening put them away in a quiet room until they settle again as an upset dog could snap at a child especially if the child has no dog etiquette and pulls their ears or tail. Typical signs of stress in your dog are – barking,trembling/shaking/shivering, drooling, hiding, excessive licking and/or scratching or biting themselves.
Lastly no sweets for your dogs, particularly chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to dogs as it contains theobromine which is a cardiac stimulant and diuretic. The darker the chocolate the worse the effects and could be fatal. Symptoms include thirstiness, hyperactivity, vomitting,excessive toiling and increased heart rate, worsened if then exercised. Candy is high in sugar and therefore not suitable for your dog. So keep trick or treat bags up out the way of your dog. At the end of the night when the kids are sharing out their candy hauls, I have a trick or treat bag for the dogs with their own homemade treats in it so they have something to eat too. You can find some of my homemade treats in either the Canine Chef dog cookery book I wrote that can be purchased here – http://www.staffordshirerescuescotland.org.uk I wrote this book for the charity I volunteered with to help raise much needed cash to look after the dogs in their care, all proceeds from the book go towards the dogs and you can also find some of my other recipes in my other blog – http://vickyscookingfordogs.wordpress.com
As you can see my dogs enjoy dressing up – they just love getting a fuss made of them! Wait till you see their Christmas costumes! lol
Hope you all have a Happy Halloween Woooo…….