I can’t imagine what dogs and cats think about Halloween. The majority of cats hide with the first doorbell and strange noise, but if you have a dog-like cat keep reading.
Halloween is supposed to be fun, so why are our pets so stressed and what can we do?
It may be fun to dress up our pooch for the Great Pumpkin Day, but if you notice them tense up or ‘freeze’, stare or glance around quickly, have giant eyes and giant pupils, or if they are panting on a cool, fall evening, then you are stressing them out! Lip licking, yawning, and hiding are also signs of stress that should be a warning for you to take off the outfit or costume.
Dogs are attracted to candy and sweets, but they are absolutely not good for them and some are toxic and life-threatening. Sugar-free candies and gum that contain xylitol are immediately toxic and require intensive, emergency veterinary care for severe drops in blood sugar that could cause seizures and sudden death or the potential for liver failure. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous, so pure cocoa products, baker’s chocolate or dark chocolate are much more toxic than milk chocolate or white chocolate. In other words, a small square of baker’s chocolate could be very dangerous, but the same dog might eat a regular sized bar of milk chocolate and show no signs of toxicity. Keep the candy out of reach and remember they will make extra efforts to grab the sugary stuff, so be smarter than your dog!
Dogs and cats operate on instinct, so if the doorbell rings and a super creepy goblin is at the door wanting something from their house or their mom or dad, they are going to want to either protect their people from “harm” or run for the hills. Your dog or cat biting trick or treaters is not festive nor is it safe for them to bolt out the front door into the dark Halloween night. Let them take the night off – set up an interior room with their stuff (bed, bowls, toys, appropriate treats, music to disguise the other noise,…), turn off the doorbell or set up on your front porch, and keep them safe inside from any unwanted tricks. If your pets panic or are normally prone to anxiety, perhaps you need to turn your porch light off to avoid stressors altogether.
Have a safe and fun Howl-o-ween!