Hard to believe, but Halloween is almost here. While it’s definitely the weirdest one we’ve ever had, some things always stay the same–dogs and Halloween don’t always mix.
My, what big anxiety you have
Sure, it’s cute to dress as Little Red Riding Hood, and your doggo gets to be the wolf, but the fact of the matter is that many dogs get stressed during Halloween and even in the time leading up to it. Maybe they get jumpy about the costumes people are wearing.
Most likely, as adorable as they are in them, the costumes you put on THEM may also make them uncomfortable and anxious. Though the doorbell may not ring quite as much as it has in years past this year, the extra noises and neighborhood goings-on may still be something they sense as different and that can make them anxious.
What does anxiety look like in dogs?
Dogs suffer from anxiety, much as humans do. They tend to pace, tuck their tails and even become destructive with furniture or other items if they’re anxious. Sometimes, they’ll stop eating or hide out in a safe place because the anxiety is overwhelming. Often, when your dog is anxious, his tummy may bother him and lead him to have potty accidents as a result. If that happens, your poor dog is probably embarrassed and worried about disappointing you, which can also bring on more anxiety. These behaviors and symptoms come when your dog is anxious, and Halloween is traditionally a holiday that dogs really fret over.
How to help your dog’s anxiety at Halloween
If your dog is anxious, you’ll know it. So, during Halloween, there are several things you can do to help ease your doggo’s mind.
Most importantly, do what you can to minimize the ‘noise’ of trick-or-treaters. Even if they’re minimal this year due to COVID-19, think about how your dog goes nuts when the delivery people come ringing at your door. Now, multiply that by even a handful of adorable trick-or-treaters and imagine your dog’s nerves being ripped to shreds.
If possible, try minimizing noise by being at the door waiting for the trick-or-treaters–that can help minimize use of the doorbell and some of the noise before they even get there. If you’re doing physically distanced Halloween events and it’s loud outside anyway, consider using a sound machine or music or television to help drown out the sounds.
Cut the costumes
Next, though it’s fun, we know…consider minimizing costumes. That’s for your dog and for you.
Believe it or not, costumes *can* fool dogs and it unsettles them because their humans are not as they expect them to be. You may smell like and sound like yourself but to your dog? A Halloween costume doesn’t make sense and may really set their anxiety off.
The same goes for putting THEM in a costume. They may go along with you because : LOYAL. But, it may make them uneasy and you don’t want to do that just for a cute Insta picture. Okay, maybe you do…but try not to.
Help keep them safe
Sometimes, if you’re opening and closing the door or even if you’re out and about in your yard handing candy out to trick-or-treaters, your dog may get anxious and may run to the door (or incoming Halloweeners) every time they can. This isn’t safe. A leash, even if indoors to help keep them close to you, may make them feel less nervous about all the comings and goings.
Dogs who are crate trained will probably want to be in their crates during Halloween. You probably already know how they love them anyway–and on Halloween when their anxiety is running high? You can expect they might prefer to be there. Crating them on Halloween night is a good way to protect them from additional stress. Check out our Halloween safety tips for your dog.
Halloween is an incredibly nerve-wracking time in a dog’s life, and though they try to be tough for you, it can cause them unnecessary pain and make them feel uncomfortable. This often takes its toll on their tummy, and Bernie’s Perfect Poop can help. Your dog’s brain and gut are connected amazingly, and Bernie’s combines pre and probiotics, as well as enzymes and fiber, to help give dogs healthy guts. Good gut health is the key to good brain health and can battle anxiety in dogs. Find out more about anxiety and how Bernie’s helps.
Looking for a healthy Halloween treat for your doggo? Try this pumpkin recipe!