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Anxious pets on Halloween

Anxious pets on Halloween

This year Halloween may be easier on anxious pets than previous years have been if we participate in the CDC’s recommended low risk (of the spread of COVID-19) Halloween activities.
For pets who become anxious when the doorbell rings and trick or treaters arrive, alternative CDC recommended activities like decorating and displaying pumpkins, having a scavenger hunt at home or having an at home movie night with members of your household will provide a more relaxing evening for your pet than having scary looking people coming to your door.
If you decide to join neighbours in socially-distanced pumpkin decorating or viewing neighbourhood Halloween decorations, leaving your pets safely inside your home reduces the risk of your pet being frightened and perhaps bolting if fireworks are set off. Many dogs enjoy a chew toy to keep them occupied. If you choose to bring your dog, he or she should be a relaxed dog who is leashed, wearing current identification (even a tracking device) and be very visible to traffic (with a flashing collar and reflective vest available at pet supply places).
You might want your dog to wear a costume. If you do that, please make sure that it is comfortable, that the dog can see, hear and smell properly and that it does not affect his or her mobility. Please also be sure the dog is conditioned to wearing the costume and has associated it with rewards!
Whatever way you choose to celebrate Halloween, candy is often a large part of it but chocolate and products containing the sweetener xylitol are poisonous to dogs. A very small amount of xylitol (a stick of gum for example) can kill a large dog quickly and it is in a lot of products. Keep candy away from dogs and be cautious with scavenger hunts and or bowls of candy that might be left at the end of a driveway this year. Novel pieces of costumes can also be hazardous to dogs if ingested. Keeping these items out of reach of dogs will help avoid an emergency trip to the vet.
For pets that find Halloween very stressful, there are products to help. For example, plug-in dispensers of calming species-specific imitation pheromones are available at most vets and calming supplements are available at local stores and on-line. Enlist the help of your vet who can recommend supplements or prescribe pharmaceutical products if a pet needs them.
Have a fun and safe Halloween, everyone!

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