Halloween's Not So Dog-Gone Scary

Halloween is right around the corner, which means masses of trick-or-treaters and ghouls and goblins lining the streets trying to scare unsuspecting passers-by. While all of this mayhem can be fun and exciting, our pets can become anxious and scared, which can lead to unwanted behavior like barking, chewing, aggressiveness, or whimpering — among others.

If your pet becomes anxious around others, check out these simple tricks and remedies for a calmer, happier pooch this Halloween.

Reducing mild anxiety symptoms Halloween night

When trick-or-treaters come to the door, you may find your pet exerting mild anxiety symptoms like barking, whimpering or chewing. Luckily, you can help to reduce those symptoms a number of ways. Many pet parents find giving their pet a natural oral supplement like Composure Bite-Sized Chews and NaturVet Quiet Moments before guests arrive helpful in calming mild anxious behaviors.

Another way to help your pet's anxiety is to use the Thundershirt. The Thundershirt is a revolutionary, natural way to help reduce anxiety in pets. The Thundershirt wraps around your pet's torso and creates a sensation like a constant hug. Many pet parents like Thundershirt because it's a drug-free solution to their pet's anxiety problem. Just wrap the Thundershirt around your four-legged friend before tricksters arrive for a less anxious pet. The great part is, it can be your pet's costume for the night!

Keeping your pet away from the problem

The main problem on Halloween night may be the many trick-or-treaters that show up at your door. If your pet gets anxious when new people enter your home, then it's most likely he or she will become anxious when children arrive dressed up like scary monsters and super heroes. The best thing you can do for your pet is to make sure he or she is away from your front door.

If you choose, you can keep your pet in another room, like a guest room or den. Just be sure to keep the door closed at all times. Also, if you have small children, remind them that the door to your pet's secret "hideaway" should be kept closed. It's important to keep your pet entertained while he or she is away from the family to reduce the risk of destructive behavior like chewing on furniture. Keep a chew toy, and a fun interactive toy that takes a little while to figure out for your pet. If your pet wants to relax, be sure to include a cozy bed for him or her to rest. Reward your pet for good behavior when you go to check on him or her with treats.

If you have a curious pet, or one that has a hard time with separation, try just using a gate between rooms. This will show your pet that you are still around, but he or she will feel safe from strangers.

Treating anxiety with medication

If your pet suffers from anxiety symptoms daily or monthly, it's time to take him or her to see the vet before Halloween night arrives. If your pet's anxiety symptoms are severe like excessive vocalization, trying to escape, and major distress, medication may be needed. Your veterinarian may prescribe for your pet a medication like Clomicalm or Fluoxetine, which are both antidepressants and help to stop symptoms of panic. Even though your pet may be on medication or feeling better, you may still want to keep him or her away from other people.

Other ways to help your pet's anxiety is to use the Adaptil Collar for Dogs that releases a calming pheromone or the Sentry Calming Collar for Dogs that contains chamomile and lavender and helps calm anxiety wherever your pet goes. These solutions can be used along with your pet's medication to help keep your pet calm and relaxed.

Tips for a calm dog

No matter which route you choose, taking care of your pet's anxiety is key for a happy Halloween. Here are some more tips to keep your dog calm this Halloween:

  1. Keep your door greeter outside so no one feels the need to ring your doorbell or knock.
  2. Keep your pet in another room with a radio or TV on.
  3. If your pet needs to use the bathroom, don't take him or her out on crowded streets.
  4. Don't put costumes on already anxious pets.
  5. Tell your children to leave your pet alone while he or she is anxious.
  6. Keep an I.D. tag on your pet in case he or she decides to escape.
Max's Tip

Even though you may think it's a good idea, do not leave your pet outside on Halloween night. Many pranksters love to mess with pets!