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What You Need to Know about Halloween and PetsBy: Alyssa Little
Trick-or-treating may be a fun-filled seasonal event for humans, but the combination of 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 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, if you factor in nighttime, random loud noises, and costumes, it could cause even the most laid-back pet a little anxiety. Wilde states:
“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.”
As with any major holiday—especially one where there may be new people or pets—take into consideration your pet’s tolerance for loud noises and new environments. Consider if your plans are suited for the entire family.
How to help your pet with stress and anxiety during Halloween
Naturally, you want to know that your pets are going to be okay this season. 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, including:
- Keep your pet in a quiet place away from people or commotion
- Consider music or white noise in the background, so they are less likely to react
- Keep your dog away from people in costume
- Avoid 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
It is also 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 needs 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 feel better in no time at all!
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Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.
This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.