In approximately 3 months on October 31st to be exact, millions of people in America and around the world will celebrate Halloween with friends, family and for the really lucky ones with their pets!
Yes, each and every year more and more people are using Halloween and Pets in the same sentence as they want their pets to enjoy this favorite holiday just as much as they do.
Did you realize that the National Retail Federation estimates that in 2021 Americans alone will spend close to $500 million on Halloween costumes for their dogs and that close to 30 million have said they will dress their dogs in costume for Halloween!
Having a SPOOK-TACULAR Halloween in 2021 with our 4-legged fur babies can be a lot of fun, however, there are some things you need to do to avoid your pets from being scared and stressed out this trick and treat as not all dogs like Halloween.
Halloween And Pets – Things That Stress Them Out.
Whenever I think of Halloween I think of the spooky beginnings, however as time has gone on (And I have grown up) Halloween has become more fun than frightening!
That being said there are certain Halloween rituals and festivities that can still bring on anxiety and fear in your dogs.
In this article, we are going to check out some things associated with Halloween and pets that could cause your pets to freak out!
Spooky Halloween Decorations!
My favorite and something I put up every year to scare the bejeezus out of all the trick and treaters are the pop-up scary monsters, and these things while scary to kids are even more terrifying to our dogs.
Two of my favorite props I have are a full-size skeleton with flashing eyes sockets and a wicked witch.
While we understand that these are simply props to make Halloween even scarier and enjoyable our dogs don’t think the same way.
To them, these are real-life people and have been known to trigger fearful and aggressive behavior in our dogs.
On every other day of the year, the road you walk your dog down is a place they enjoy, however on Halloween this all changes.
Your next-door neighbor’s yard that is normally a familiar and usually happy site to your dog all of a sudden may have a scary witch standing out the front and this becomes a very unwelcome surprise.
My kids get a great laugh out of the huge blow-up pumpkin we put on our roof every year, but our next-door neighbor’s dog goes into fits of barking every time he sees it.
Halloween And Pets – The Halloween Costumes.
The thing I love the most about Halloween (Besides all the candy) is it allows me and my family to become someone completely different from our normal everyday selves. And that is exactly what freaks our dogs out!
Every year I dress as Freddy Krueger from “A Nightmare On Elm Street” and every year my dogs seem to forget the fact that it is actually their Dad standing there in front of them.
Not all dogs want to get into the whole dress-up thing that’s associated with celebrating Halloween especially if they have never been used to wearing a costume.
I have 3 dogs, two of which love getting dressed up, however my third dog still becomes a little fearful whenever she sees her brothers dressed up, as in her mind they just don’t look the same.
As much as we have tried she has never been comfortable wearing a costume herself.
Trick Or Treaters.
Who knows what October will bring in this crazy covid year, and we may be limited to our trick or treating and Halloween parties (Which a lot of our dogs will LOVE!)
A lot of dogs stress out at the constant ringing of the doorbell or knocking at the door which is then opened to strangely dressed people, many of which on any other day of the year they may recognize and actually be happy to see.
Some dogs may simply just bark at this strange-looking person outside, but I have known some dogs that have shot out the door and been lost for hours due to being so scared.
Some Tips For Dealing With Halloween And Pets.
While I have my favorite Halloween costume and it is something I wear every year religiously the rest of my family go with a different costume every year.
My wife and kids already have their new costumes for this year and this is really great for two reasons.
Firstly, I don’t have to listen to them asking over and over what do you think I should wear this Halloween?
And secondly, because they now have the costumes it gives our dogs plenty of time for them to get used to what Mum and their siblings will look like come Halloween.
Start To Understand The Signs Of Stress.
If your dog has already been part of past Halloween festivities then you would have already seen certain signs that will let you known that they are really not great about this whole Halloween and Pets thing!
Some of those signs could be that they are hiding in fear, a crouched posture, their tail tucked between their legs, or their ears pinned back.
They may also stop eating or enjoy going out for a walk.
If they are acting this way around the house try to find out exactly what it is that has them acting this way and possibly remove that from your Halloween set up.
Start Early And Slowly With Halloween And Your Pets.
Every year we start planning our Halloween early and we start decorating around this time of the year and gradually add things over time until the big day arrives.
This way it isn’t all put in front of your dog in one big hit, instead they are gradually being introduced to all the unfamiliar things and it gives them plenty of time to get used to them.
Try To make Halloween A Positive Thing For Your Pets.
The call cry of the world on Halloween is “Trick or TREAT” with a real emphasis on TREAT.
So what better way to get your dog into the costume-wearing spirit by rewarding them with treats every time they wear it.
Being brave should also guarantee a treat or some praise. So when your dogs see’s that giant pumpkin out on the front lawn and simply sniffs it and moves on, reward them.
That walk you take them on daily now looks like the set of a horror movie. The same thing, take treats with you, and every time they walk past a house with scary things blowing in the wind and ignore them, reward them.
Practice Makes Your Pet Perfect On Halloween.
If door-to-door trick or treating is allowed this year get your dog used to hearing the knock on the door or the doorbell ringing.
We get on really well with our neighbors and every year about a month or so before Halloween I have them ring our doorbell every few minutes for about 5 – 10 minutes and every time they do I call my dogs to me, tell them to stay and give them a treat.
Also my dogs love visitors and are very well-trained, so if your dogs fall into this category you could try what I do.
I bring my dogs to the door with me, give them the command to sit and stay, and then I pretend to greet Mike (Our ever-willing neighbor).
Whenever I do any of this I will always reward my dogs with a treat.
Have A Safe Space For Your Pet On Halloween.
Something some friends of ours have done as their dog hates trick or treaters and would run off out the door given a chance is to install a baby gate in the hall leading to the front door.
You could also look at putting them in a quite comfortable part of the house that you can close off.
If you do choose a room and your dog is not used to being separated from you it would be a good idea to spend some time before Halloween arrives getting them used to being confined in this room.
Start by putting their favorite toys, a long-lasting tasty chew, and their bed in this room and begin with a few minutes at a time then gradually increasing that time.
They will soon associate this as a safe and quiet place during the festivities.
Celebrate At A Distance.
Celebrate with trick or treaters outside the front of your door and keep your dog inside.
Another option in these uncertain times to ensure we all have a safe and socially distant Halloween is to leave a basket of individually wrapped candies outside so you don’t have to give them out by hand.
And if your dog is OK with being dressed up but just can’t handle all the other stuff, there is always social media where you can post those spooky shots of you and your best friend!
Look At A Anti-Anxiety Product For Your Pet This Halloween.
Halloween should be fun and scary at the same time, but should never be stressful for our 4-legged companions.
If your dog is showing any signs of fear or stress in the weeks leading up to Halloween it may be worthwhile speaking with your vet.
They may recommend an anti-anxiety product to give your dog stress relief so as you can all enjoy the magic that comes with celebrating Halloween.
Halloween And Pets In 2021.
Halloween in 2021 will be like no others before but we can still celebrate a HOWL-O-WEEN great time with our 4-legged friends by following these guides and taking the steps to prepare.
Talking about being prepared, if you haven’t already picked out your fur bubs costume check out my picks for this year.
- DC Heroes and Villians
- My Pet Spider
- My Dog Pumpkin
- Ride Em Cowboy
- Bat Wings – I’m A Vampire Dog
- Ghosts & Ghouls Hoodie
I hope this Halloween is no different from years before and we all get to celebrate this great time with our loved ones and our 4-legged pals.
As always I leave you with my favorite saying, “May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair”
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Founder of Our Dogs World 101