Halloween Tricks for Your Anxious Pet
Halloween is just around the corner. It’s that time of the year again when scary costumes, trick-or-treating, spooky movies, and Halloween decorations start rolling. And while you get busy and excited about the celebration, your furry companions may feel the exact opposite.
Like the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve, a Halloween holiday can be very stressful for your dog. There’s the noise barrage from parties, the constant knocking and ringing of the doorbell, and children yelling, “Trick-or-treat!” These may be too overwhelming for your pet, especially if they are prone to noise anxiety or get nervous seeing strange people in spooky costumes.
Make the holiday as stress-free as possible with these Halloween safety tips for dogs.
How do I know if my dog is anxious?
Before we delve into how to manage your dog’s Halloween-induced anxiety, let’s first discuss how to tell if your dog suffers from anxiety. Here are the signs to watch out for to know if your dog is anxious or stressed:
1. Potty Accidents
Is your dog suddenly having potty accidents, although they’ve been potty-trained? This unusual behavior may indicate that your dog is anxious or scared.
2. Pacing and Trembling
Like humans, dogs often pace around or tremble when stressed. This behavior can mean they’re panicking or uneasy about something.
Anxious dogs tend to hide or find a safe place for them when scared. If you notice your dog is doing this when they’re typically friendly, you may need to attend to their worries to calm them.
4. Excessive Yawning and Licking
Some people may bite their fingernails or scratch their skin when nervous. Dogs also manifest similar habits, such as excessive yawning and licking. It can be their way of relieving the anxiety they may be feeling during a stressful situation.
5. Destructive Behavior
When dogs are scared, they may exhibit aggressive or destructive behaviors since they feel in danger.
6. Loss of Appetite
Does your dog suddenly lose their appetite when normally they’ve been eating well? Sometimes, their fave treats won’t even help. This can happen for anxious dogs, so be on the lookout.
You know your pup better than anyone. Any sudden change from their usual behavior can signify stress or anxiety. If your dog is not used to seeing other people, you should know how they would likely behave when strangers are around. Make sure you can handle the situation and control their behavior if that happens.
10 Halloween Tips for Anxious Dogs
If your dog is not a fan of celebrations, these Halloween dog tips might help reduce their anxiety.
Prepare Your Dog for Halloween
Teach your dog basic commands. This would be handy during trick-or-treating since you’ll constantly open your door. Start your training with the sit command and then with the stay. Once your dog gets the hang of it, practice getting them to sit and stay as you open the door. Your dog should remain still even if the door is open. Of course, your dog won’t learn this after a single attempt, but constant practice helps. Remember to reward good behavior with praise and treats.
Mimic a Halloween Scenario
One effective way to deal with your dog’s noise anxiety is by mimicking a Halloween situation and conditioning them to respond positively. Expose your dog to the knocking and ringing of the doorbell days before Halloween. If your dog goes bonkers due to the sounds, make sure you don’t join in by shouting at them. Try to use a clicker and give them treats to mark good behavior once they settle down. Always make your training lesson as short and positive as you can. Eventually, your dog will learn to associate the knocking and doorbell ringing with something positive through practice.
Take Your Dog for an Exercise
Take your dog for a run or long walk a few hours before Halloween. This will drain their energy and help them rest better in the evening. They might even sleep through the Halloween festivities. Also, exercise causes the production of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that helps eliminate nervous energy in your dog.
Let Them Stay in a Secure Place
Your dog should have a place inside the house where they feel safe and comfortable. If they find their crate or kennel as a secure place, keep them there as much as possible. You can also put them in a room away from the front door and your guests. This can help them relax as the room muffles the noise from trick-or-treaters and doorbell rings. It can also prevent them from running outside if they get scared. Make sure to check on them from time to time for potty breaks.
Put On Some Classical Music
A study from Colorado State University revealed that classical music soothes dogs in animal shelters. Dogs were found to sleep better while playing classical music than heavy metal. The soothing music will also drown out the noise from the outside, keeping your dog calm and comfy in a secure place. You can play some Beethoven or Mozart music amid the Halloween fun.
Consider a Pressure Wrap
Just like a swaddle blanket for infants, a pressure wrap can provide comfort and reduce anxiety in dogs. The gentle pressure from the wrap creates a feeling of calmness and security for your dog. It’s the same comforting feeling people experience when they hug others or their pets. It might not work for every dog, but it may be effective with your pet.
Forget the Costume
Don’t wear a costume on Halloween if your dog feels uneasy about strange attires and masks. They might not recognize you with your face covered. Alternatively, you can accustom your pet to the costume by wearing it in front of them. This way, they know it’s you behind the spooky outfit.
Inform Your Guests
If you’re going to hold a Halloween get-together, remind your guests to leave your dog in their safe place. Your pet may not have a welcoming attitude toward them. Your guests may be excited to see your dog, but their unfamiliar faces may trigger a negative response.
Seek Advice from Your Vet
If your dog easily gets startled or suffers from anxiety, ask your veterinarian for advice. They may recommend medications for your dog to reduce their stress. Keep your vet’s contact information in case the situation gets out of hand.
Use a Tracking Device
If all else fails and your dog loses their cool during Halloween or on any holiday, there’s a chance they’ll bolt. Make sure your dog wears an ID tag, is microchipped, or has a GPS dog collar on the night of October 31st. A tracking device will help you locate your dog if they run away.
For your peace of mind, let your pet wear a GPS tracking collar. Using ID tags or microchipping has drawbacks. Your only hope of finding your pet is when someone rescues them and reads your contact information on the ID tag. Likewise, the problem with a microchip is that it needs to be scanned to obtain your information.
With a GPS collar, you won’t have to leave it to any individual to find your pet. Using your smartphone or handheld remote, you can easily track your dog’s whereabouts in seconds or real time. GPS collars for dogs make tracking more straightforward and faster, ensuring reunion with your pet. That’s why GPS collars are the best tracking devices for dogs.
PetsTEK Picks for the Best GPS Dog Collars
If you think a GPS tracking collar is the best way to go, here are a few recommendations to help you:
The Pathfinder2 is one of very few Dogtra shock collars that offer GPS tracking functions. This remote trainer also has excellent dog training features with a range of up to 9 miles. It has a 2-second update rate, offline maps (to operate without cellular signal), and up-to-date navigation maps. It has a Geo-fence option that allows an e-fence boundary to be customized to contain dogs. The Dogtra Pathfinder 2 GPS collar comes with a real-time tracking and training app for FREE upon purchase with no additional monthly costs.
The Pathfinder 2 presents a unique tactile e-collar function button on its GPS remote, which provides access to the last-used e-collar setting for prompt correction. It has 100 stimulation levels available and offers vibration and tone options on top of static stimulation. It’s a recommended GPS tracking collar for dogs weighing 35 pounds and above. This fully waterproof collar is expandable to up to 21 dogs and hunters, making it a perfect device for hunting and tracking runaway dogs.
The Pathfinder2 features are available on a compact version, the Pathfinder2 MINI, which is best for dogs as small as 15 pounds. But if you want a tracking-only collar system, the Pathfinder2 TRX is the right choice.
The SportDOG® TEK Series V2L has advanced tracking features with better accuracy than the TEK Series V1.5L GPS collar. This GPS tracking collar system is preloaded with 1:100,000 full-color topographic maps for navigation. It also comes with a built-in electronic compass that enhances locating dogs easier and faster.
The TEK Series V2L allows real-time updates about your dog’s whereabouts through a Bluetooth-compatible earpiece. It’s the best GPS tracking tool for dogs as small as 8 pounds, with a range of up to 10 miles. It’s also fully waterproof with a collar submersible up to 25 feet utilizing DryTek® technology.
While the TEK Series V2L only provides GPS functionality, the SportDOG® TEK Series V2LT offers tracking and training features in one system. Basically, it’s a SportDOG® V2L collar, plus its training functions. This SportDog shock collar comes with 99 continuous, momentary, and rising static stimulation levels. Aside from static correction, it has alternative stimulation options, such as vibration and tone.
It’s a fully waterproof and submersible GPS collar system with a 10-mile range and allows the training of as many as 21 dogs. Whether for hunting dogs or family companions, the SportDOG® TEK Series V2LT covers everything for your peace of mind.