Top tips to avoid a ‘Howl-o-ween’ ….
Halloween is here; pumpkins, ghouls and ghosties are already adorning many a garden, in preparation for tonight’s parties and trick or treaters. Although many of us may love Halloween, the same can’t be said for our dogs.
Loud noises from parties, humans dressed-up in odd-looking costumes, bands of children shrieking and wearing funny looking costumes and masks, constant interruptions from doorbells being run, bowls of sweets and food – all within temptation’s reach… All these things can be too much for many dogs to deal with, so we’ve come up with some our top 5 tips to help you and your dog have a ‘howl-free’ Halloween.
Just walking the dog…
The dark nights are here and, even without Halloween, evening dog walks can seem a little spooky. Everyday objects that can be seen in the daylight can look a lot more sinister at night, sounds carry more, things smell different (fires are lit, nocturnal animals come out), and on Halloween itself, groups of trick or treaters are going from door-to-door – all which can make an evening walk scary for some dogs.
The simple answer is to take your dog out for a walk before it gets dark and the trick or treaters hit the streets. Even better, take your dog for a long lunchtime/early afternoon walk or run as this may help them settle more in the evening.
Trick or treat?
Constant knocks at the DOOR or recurrent doorbell ringing can set your dog off barking and disturb your evening (especially if you’re settling down to watch ‘Strictly’ and ‘Dr Who’). Rather than turning out all the lights and spending the evening sitting in the dark, you can leave a poster on your door or on your garden gate, asking trick or treaters NOT to ring the door bell, but to help themselves to a few sweets from the tub on the step.
We’ve done this at Happy Hounds HQ for the last few years and it’s worked a treat! We’ve even saved you the hard work of designing a sign and have a FREE downloadable poster that you can download here or by clicking on the picture at the top of the page.
Create a devilish den for your dog
If you can’t stop trick or treaters from coming to your door, or if you’re throwing a Halloween party make sure you provide your dog with a ‘devilish den’ that they can escape to, away from the hubbub. A room – that’s off-limits to guests (or upstairs away from the sound of the doorbell) – with a radio on, some soft bedding, a few toys, some tasty chews or chew toys and a water bowl is ideal. If your dog is crate-trained, move their crate to a room that’s off-limits to guests.
Spooktacular Sweeties, ‘Beastly’ Beverages & ‘Frightful’ Food
Remember to keep any sweets, alcoholic beverages and food delights out of reach from hungry hounds. Dogs don’t always know what food is off limits and the temptation can prove to be too much for many dogs and s could lead to a visit to the vet:
- Choc-o-holics beware! Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which can be lethal to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the higher the levels of deadly theobromine. So keep chocolate well beyond reach
- Banish the Booze! Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than we are. Even consuming a small amount can cause significant intoxication and at Christmas time, drinks like egg nog, or milk based drinks such as a White Russian can be particularly appealing. So make sure drinks are out of reach.
- Xylitol. This rather exotic sounding foodstuff is an artificial sweetener that’s found in lots of sweets and sugary snacks. Unfortunately, if eaten by our dogs it can cause insulin release, which in turn can lead to liver failure – so please don’t leave your dog unattended in a room where sweets and candy are within easy reach.
If you’ve embraced the Halloween spirit and have a house that’s bedecked with fake spider webs, pumpkins, skeletons and more, make sure that your dog doesn’t eat them. Your dog won’t necessarily know that they’re not toys, and if any decorations are ingested it could result in a visit to the vet.
As they say on a well-known TV show – ‘Don’t have nightmares’ – with a little preparation both you and your dog can have a fright-free Halloween!