Halloween and Bonfire night are fast approaching. With the current Covid-19 restrictions, things are going to be looking a bit different this year. However, one thing that won’t change is that it can be an unsettling time of year for dogs. From unknown people knocking on the door and lots of loud, unfamiliar and unpredictable noises, which is why it’s important that we do our best to keep them as calm as possible. Read our top tips on how you can help your four-legged friend over the upcoming weeks.
Trick or treat?
Whilst it’s likely that there will be far less trick or treaters out this year, you may still get the odd knock at the door. For many dogs, this can be quite unnerving; especially when it’s people that they might not know.
It’s also important to remember some foods may be laying around the house which might not be suitable for your dog to consume.
“At this time of year, there will be lots of sweet treats around the house, including chocolate. This can be problematic for our dogs as chocolate can be extremely toxic to them if eaten and can cause severe health issues including vomiting, diarrhoea, problems with the heart and in extreme cases, even death. Therefore, it’s important to keep your trick or treat sweets well away from hungry dogs!”Zoe Russell, Skinner’s Nutrition Officer
Most public firework displays have been cancelled this year; however, many are concerned that this will result in more fireworks being let off in people’s gardens and local neighbourhoods. Fireworks are loud and can be extremely unsettling for dogs, so make sure you put in the correct steps to keep them safe.
Keeping them calm
There are many things that dog owners can do to ensure that their dog remains as calm as possible during these unsettling times.
- Ensure your dog is microchipped and wearing their ID tag. We have discussed in a previous blog how having your dog microchipped is a legal requirement, but it also helps to keep them as safe as you can. Nervous dogs can be unpredictable, so it’s important that do your part in making sure you keep track of their whereabouts.
- Make sure your dog has been out for a walk and to the toilet before Trick or Treating or fireworks begin. Being outside when either of these are going on can be very scary, with lots of unusual sights and loud noises. It’s important that you they remain indoors where possible when either are taking place. If you do have to go outside with them, make sure that you keep them on a lead.
- Create a safe space. If your dog uses a crate, then make sure this is accessible throughout the evening. If you don’t use a crate, then ensure they have somewhere that they can go and feel safe in. It’s important that this is a quiet spot, that they won’t be disturbed in.
- Some owners find it helpful to have the tv, radio or music playing throughout the evening. This may help to block out some the background noises, hopefully acting as a distraction and take away from the noises coming from outside of the house.
- Close windows, blinds and curtains. This will help the house to feel like more of a safe place and reduce the impact of loud noises and bright lights outside.
- Make sure water is readily available. Anxious dogs tend to pant more, often making them thirstier. Be sure to check their bowl throughout the evening, to make sure it doesn’t get too low.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Have an enjoyable Halloween and Bonfire night, but remember to keep your dogs safe!