While Halloween is one of the most fun nights of the year for children, it can be difficult for dogs. After all, your canine companion has protective and territorial instincts. Suddenly on this one night of the year, all these strangers are stopping by. It's understandable that dogs could get a little confused, and that confusion and disruption of schedules can spell disaster if a dog overreacts or runs away in fear. Take these steps to keep your canine companions safe and as stress-free as possible.
Take Your Dog for a Long Walk or Run
On the afternoon of Halloween, take your dog for a long walk or run. You may even opt to play in the park. If your dog is used to regular exercise, push it a bit further than usual. A canine companion who has had plenty of exercise is more likely to be calm, and that can help him stay relaxed during the unusual shenanigans of Halloween night.
Watch What You Say…And How You Say It
According to The New York Times, new research suggests that different areas of a dog's brain will respond to a word's meaning and how that word is stated. Your intonation communicates a message to your dog, and if your canine companion is spooked on Halloween, staying calm can be especially important. If your pet becomes distressed, use words that typically calm your dog and state them in as soothing a way as possible.
Consider Medicating a Nervous Dog
If you know that your dog is likely to be stressed by the celebrations around Halloween, you may want to see your veterinarian earlier that week and get a prescribed drug to keep your dog calm. Noise anxiety can upset a dog, and the FDA has approved a drug that can treat noise anxiety. With all the cheers of "Trick or Treat" that could unnerve any pet, this can go a long way to helping your dog simply chill.
Set Up a Table Outside Your Front Door
If you know that knocking, shouts of trick-or-treating, and ringing doorbells will cause a great deal of stress for your canine companion, you may want to set up a little table outside on your porch or patio. That way, you can greet trick-or-treaters before they ring the doorbell or knock. Keeping the noise away from where your dog can hear it inside can prevent anxiety. It's also a great way that you can sit outside, enjoy the fall weather, and signal to your neighbors that you are offering treats.
Finally, keep in mind that a little disruption of your dog's serenity is inevitable on Halloween. However, when you prepare to keep your canine companion as calm as possible, you will see positive results. There's no reason that Halloween can't be a fun holiday for every member of your family, even the four-legged kind.