Halloween is around the corner and we are cautioning pet owners to be aware of the stresses and dangers that come with the tricks and treats.
Halloween in Australia is not as popular as in the United States, but we are seeing an increase in trick-or-treating and often kids appear at the door not dressed as they normally are. You don’t have to look scary (to be frightening to animals) – you just have to look different. Up to 20 per cent of pets already have an anxiety disorder and any change in routine can be upsetting to them.
When pets get scared, they can run away, become aggressive or become anxious.
Even if your dog or cat is the most placid animal, on Halloween people look different and behave differently, and this can cause your pet to react unexpectedly.
Tips for a safe and stress-free Halloween for pets
If you know your pet will be worried, talk to us about anti-anxiety medication (not sedatives, which do not decrease anxiety or fear). There are also pheromone collars and diffusers to help pets with mild anxiety which we can prescribe.
Keep your pets indoors and stay with them if you can. Black cats have been the target of malicious acts and are best kept inside during this time.
If you’re going out and nobody is home, put your pet away from the front door. If people come knocking on the door, make sure your dog or cat cannot run out when you greet them.
Make sure your pet is microchipped and carries an identification tag on the collar – with all contact details up-to-date, in case your animal goes missing,
Keep lolly wrappers, decorations and lighted pumpkins out of your pet’s reach. No chocolate! And if you decide to dress up your pet, ensure the costume doesn’t restrict movement, vision, hearing or ability to breath.
Wearing a costume can be stressful for some pets so don’t dress your pet unless you know they enjoy it.
Also, best not to take dogs trick-or-treating as they may become excited and uncontrollable. You don’t want a frightened vampire dog on the loose!