Halloween is just a couple of days away, so soon the door bells will be ringing, trick or treaters showing up in strange looking costumes and in the background noisy fireworks… This time of human fun can be a very scary time for your dog, so please keep him safe.
If your dog is not used to “heavy traffic” at your door, you can already today start getting him desensitized to the door bell ringing or knocks at the door, to make it easier for him on the night. Even if your dog is well mannered and a great greeter it is safer to keep him away from the door during the time you have trick and treaters visiting. Halloween costumes are not everyday occurrence and the strange looks of these can scare your dog. And also take to account that not all these visitors are used to dogs and could also be equally scared. Also make sure that the candy you are giving to the trick or treaters is out of reach of your dog!
Fireworks are also connected to Halloween, and if your dog was worried about them last year, chances are he will be even more so this year. During the night (and even before if fireworks start early in your neighbourhood) close the curtains as soon as it gets dark to keep the lights out. A good idea is to cover the windows with blankets which dampens the sounds as well as the lights. Inside the house leave internal doors open not to trap your dog. Make a den where your dog can feel secure and go hiding when the going gets too tough. A crate, big cardboard box or a blanket over a table can make great safe places. Distracting the noise from outside by putting on the TV or playing calming music (check out Canine Lullabies and Trough a Dog’s Ear) can have a good effect on nervous behaviour.
A brilliant help for noise sensitivity in dogs is TTouch. What a lot of TTouch practitioners have noticed is that tension in the back end goes together with noise sensitivity. So doing gentle TTouches on these areas can help before – as well as – during the night. Thundershirts are also a great tool to use on the night. Thundershirt applies gentle pressure on the dogs body, making them feel more secure and therefore more calm when loud noises are around. To find out more about Thundershirts check out their website.
Other things to try is for example Adaptil that can be helpful for reassuring dogs during new experiences and fearful situations. The special scent (odourless to people and other animals) that Adaptil utilises is a replication of the pheromone that mother dogs naturally emit to their puppies just after birth, to comfort them and reinforce the attachment between the mother and her offspring. These products come in forms of plug in diffuser, spray and collar.
Halloween is also a time when a good few pets go missing, so make sure your dogs microchip is up to date. Don’t leave your dog unattended in the garden (or anywhere else for that matter), as a sudden firework or strange looking trick or treater might scare them and as a result they could run away. So please keep your dog safely indoors during this time. A good idea is also to exercise your dog before it gets dark and fireworks as well as trick or treaters are around. This is especially important if you have a dog that is noise sensitive!
Wishing you and your dog a safe Halloween!