Knock Knock….. Who’s there?
👻 Halloween 2023 👻
While Halloween can be a hectic night for humans, for our furry friends it can feel even crazier with an endless parade of kids trick or treating and coming to the front door, scary costumes, and lots of off-limit treats (especially chocolate).
Keep your pets safe by making the big night less frightful so you can focus on having Halloween fun, not finding a lost dog. Below are my best Halloween safety tips to prepare your dog for the holiday...
tips for before halloween night
Have your dog get used to people dressed up in their Halloween costume. Give your dog a job to do (like go into their kennel go into a mat go to a particular position) to help them deal with Halloween night.
Desensitizing your pup to knocking and doorbell sounds can help your dog relax. One option is to have a family member knock on the door or ring the bell... then reward your dog so they will associate the noise with getting a tasty treat instead of scary strangers.
This practice will certainly help your dog but my biggest tip... find a safe space for them... more on that below.
on the night - halloween safety tips
walk or run your dog
Prepare your dog by burning off excess energy before trick or treaters arrive. Take a long walk, run them in the park, get out that frisbee and wear them out!
Remember to make sure you walk your dog early in the day and avoid times in the afternoon when kids will be getting out of school dressed in costumes. You’ll also want to avoid trying to walk your dog at night, as most nervous dogs are doubly frightened when the sun goes down.
find a pet safe space
Unless your dog is very calm and able to deal with mayhem, it's probably a good idea to set up space before the costumed kids start to arrive. You'll know if your pets do best in a crate or a separate room, but try to keep your dog behind a closed door as this will keep the noise down.
Chew toys and fave blankets can help pets feel safe and channel their energy in right place, but remember to check on your pet frequently for signs they are stressed.
be mindful of your door (and doorbell)
Halloween night can mean a lot of loud noises at your door with plenty of knocking, ringing doorbells, and hyper children in their spookiest Halloween costume. If you can, keep your dog in a room away from the front door. If they can’t visually see the hordes of costumed children, they will be less likely to bark and become anxious with all the visitors arriving.
If your dog tends to react loudly to the arrival of guests, have someone in the house waiting by the front door to greet the trick-or-treaters before they knock or ring the bell. Without the noises that your pup normally associates with visitors, they will be better able to stay calm throughout the evening.
fight or flight….it can happen
A dog's fight-or-flight mechanism kicks into high gear when there are new sights/sounds/smells etc. Their heart rate increases and hormones are released into the bloodstream which provides them with the burst of energy they need to flee. Once a dog has that trigger, it's pretty much impossible to switch it off.
So, while it may seem like a good plan, leaving your dog out in the yard on Halloween night is not a great option. Your dog’s territorial nature will kick in and they may growl or bark at every hooded goblin, masked ghost, and dressed-up ghoul that passes or even try to escape. Avoid a lost pet and keep your dog safe by putting them inside and out of sight for the night.
Additionally, if you decide to take your pet out during the festivities you'll need to be extra careful to not spook them. Most social dogs will be curious about people in costume and all their candy, so best to keep the leash short and always make sure your pet has proper identification such as an ID tag, and has a microchip.
Halloween is prime time for runaways as startled pets bolt for safer territory with all of the terrifying noises, costumes, and unsettling commotion.
calm your pet with CBD
I assume that if you're reading this, you'll agree that many dogs show a remarkable change in demeanor after having CBD. If you want to learn more, our Hemp 101 guide is a great place to start learning about how hemp interacts with your pet's endocannabinoid system. The long and short is that cannabinoids can soothe the nerves of your four-legged friend and help worried dogs have a calm and safe Halloween.
Try giving your dogs CBD an hour or so before peak trick-or-treating starts, and make sure they have a dog safe spot to escape if they needs to (like a cozy kennel with a crate cover or a room separate from all the Halloween action).
feed the beasts (not candy!)
Most dogs (certainly mine!) are happier when they've had something to eat. Do this early before too many strangers start knocking, and ensure your pets have water (but note they might need a few more pee breaks).
Remember to give your dog some attention with a few fun, safe treats to help them get through the night.
keep the candy out of reach
If you have kids, ensure they keep their candy bowl out of your dog's reach though you're free to reach in and grab one for you...Butterfinger's are my fave treat btw.
As we all know, chocolate is toxic to dogs. Unlike cats, dogs will also try to eat everything including plastic wrappers, which can cause an intestinal blockage and require a Halloween call to your friendly veterinarian so keep things up high and avoid them having the temptation.
the day after...!
Remember, your morning walk may be extra dangerous for your dogs. Be on the lookout for discarded candy, wrappers, and parts of costumes around the neighborhood.
Pay attention to your dog as their nose will find Halloween candy before you...large quantities of sweet treats aren't good and remember that chocolate is quite dangerous for them. If you suspect they've ingested a lot of chocolate, then contact your veterinarian.
i hope you've found these tips helpful in preparing your pup...
Halloween is a fun time of year, but it can be really stressful for your dog. If you need help with any of these tips or want more advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team would love to chat with you about more Halloween safety tips and other ideas on how CBD can help. Have fun out there! 🎃