Trick-or-treating may be a fun-filled seasonal event for humans, but combining Halloween and pets might not be as sweet as it sounds. With pets that are sensitive to noise, or reactive to strangers, it’s a holiday that may cause more stress for your furry family members. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about the effects that Halloween may have on pets and how to help your furry friends.
Halloween and pets: the reality
about the spooky season
How a holiday like Halloween can
create stress and anxiety for pets
A new environment or unfamiliar face might make your furry friends feel uneasy. In addition, factor in nighttime, random loud noises, and costumes and it could cause even the most laid-back pet a little anxious. “Halloween can bring lots of doorbell ringing, and knocking at the door which can cause anxiety in our anxious pets. Dogs’ natural instincts tell them to protect their family and their house, and a reactive dog is likely going to be on high alert with constant stimulation. Also, costumes may be appreciated by people, but they can make a person look bigger and scarier. Further, this can cause a dog to have an adverse reaction to a person when normally, that person would not elicit a reaction,” states Wilde.
With any major holiday, especially where there may be new people or pets, take into consideration your pet’s tolerance to loud noises and a new environment. Consider if your plans are suited for the entire family.
How to help your pet with stress
and anxiety during Halloween
You want to know that your pets are going to be okay this season. Naturally, the unexpected can occur at any time, and you want to be prepared if your pet reacts unexpectedly to any situation.
Wilde points out some tips to help ease your pet’s stress and anxiety with the following:
Keep your pet in a quiet place away from people or commotion.
Keep your dog away from people in costume, to prevent any circumstance where your pet might have an adverse reaction.
Be pro active in avoiding situations that might cause stress and anxiety.
Consult with your veterinarian on the best course of action for your pet’s stress and anxiety.
Halloween and pets: the importance of notating behavior
Also, it is important to be mindful of your pet’s mental state. For example, “when a dog bites, it is less often due to aggression, and more often due to fear or anxiety. For a highly reactive dog, who will be in a high-traffic area with lots of activity, I recommend consulting with a veterinarian to determine whether they feel that your pet might benefit from anti-anxiety medication,” says Wilde.
Halloween and pets: achieving
wellness during the holidays
Your pet’s mental, physical, and emotional health is important to their overall wellness. Most of all, your pet wants to know that they’re in a safe space. Consider staying with your pets when they are overwhelmed and take the time to console them. Further, by monitoring your furry friend’s progress and taking the time to check in with your veterinarian, your pet will be better in no time at all.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided, among many others.