Top Tips for A Pet friendly Halloween and Bonfire Night
Halloween and Bonfire Night are terrific fun for most people but can be extremely upsetting for pets. Animals will be disconcerted by unexpected visitors to the house, loud noises and any changes to the household routine. It is important to make sure that your pets are not unnecessarily stressed by the occasions. Here’s what you can do to keep them happy.
Pets and Halloween
Strangers knocking at your door dressed in scary costumes may seem completely normal to you! Your pets will have a rather different take on trick-or-treaters. To animal’s, trick-or-treaters are potentially threatening both when encountered in the street and when they visit your home. On Halloween it is best to walk dogs early so that they do not encounter excited and noisy children in the street. When you are safely indoors, keep your pet in a quiet room with their favourite bed and toys.
Try to avoid the temptation to dress up your pet for Halloween unless you are sure that they are comfortable wearing a costume. Animals simply will not understand what you are doing! If you do dress them up, then ensure that costume gives them the freedom of movement that they need.
If your animal is especially prone to being stressed or excessively excited by visitors to the house, then watch out for trick-or-treaters and greet them outside the house and before they can knock on the door.
Some neighbourhoods remain reasonably quiet on Bonfire Night whilst others deliver an unrelenting cacophony of noise which can be very upsetting for animals. My own cat is terrified of fireworks and always hides behind the sofa as if he believes that war is about to break out!
It is best to feed your pets early as they may be too scared to eat when the noise starts. Keep your animals indoors if at all possible as stray fireworks can be a hazard. If your dog is likely to be in the garden, secure all gates as they may be so terrified that they act out of character and try to escape.
When indoors, close the curtains and turn up the volume of the TV or your music to drown out the sound of the fireworks. Keep calm yourself to show your pet that there is nothing to be concerned about and distract your animals by playing with them. A few treats might come in handy too!
If your pets remain stressed and wish to hide away, then let them. Forcing them to do anything will just increase their stress levels and could result in them lashing out at you.
If you are letting off fireworks yourself then it is best to leave your pets with friends or family. They certainly must never be allowed outside whilst the display is in progress. Pick up all debris as soon as possible and don’t let your pets come into contact with glow sticks. These are generally not toxic but can cause excessive salivation and behavioural issues if chewed.
Your Pet’s Point of View
Your pet’s reaction to Halloween and Bonfire Night might seem excessive but you have to look at these occasions from your pet’s point of view. They do not understand what is going on and are subjected to frightening loud noises without warning. They do not know what fireworks are or what they are for and a stream of noisy visitors banging on the door can seem like a home invasion.