Whether by transforming their houses with spooky decorations or dressing up as scary characters, humans love confronting their fears on Halloween. Cats and dogs? Not so much. Any changes to their routine can become a source of stress, but some aspects of Halloween celebrations can cause even deeper anxiety in our furry friends. Here are a few tips to help your pets have a pleasant, safe evening.
Halloween: What causes anxiety?
As humans, we have been impatiently waiting for Halloween for the past few weeks, but nobody told cats and dogs. They can get confused when, all of a sudden, tons of strangers are knocking at the door throughout the evening. They see things walking around that smell like humans, but are wearing masks or strange clothing. And if they go outside, the large number of people in the usually calm streets can be intimidating.
Keep your pet in a closed room
To spare your cat or dog this stress, the simplest solution is to keep your pet in a closed room. This prevents the risk of your pet slipping out the open door and getting lost. Place food and water (as well as a litter box for cats) in the room. A family member who is less interested in the festivities can keep your furry friend company, pet it and play with it, acting as a reassuring presence.
Music as a distraction
If no one can stay with your pet during the evening, tuning the radio to a talk station can imitate the presence of humans. Music also has a soothing effect, especially genres with a slow beat such as classical, reggae or country. Finally, make sure you close the windows in the room to drown out noises and shouts coming from outside. These types of auditory distractions help you cat or dog forget all the commotion at your front door.
Treats for cats and dogs
Toys that distribute pet treats are another way to control anxiety by providing a distraction. While your cat or dog is entirely focused on pushing the ball, it is less attentive to the continuous cacophony of costumed visitors.
Specialised products to calm anxiety
Even if you follow all these tips, it is possible that some older or more nervous pets will still feel anxious. Your veterinarian can also recommend the use of calming natural products such as chews for dogs, sprays or pheromone diffusers (for cats and dogs). For best results, the pheromone diffuser should be placed in the room where your pet will be kept a few days before Halloween night.