What can I do if my dog is scared this Halloween?

Dog owners are being reminded to take extra care of their pets this Halloween, as new research reveals more than half of pooches get scared at this time of year.

Dogs can feel stressed out by events like Halloween - here's how to reassure them (Photo: Shutterstock)

by Debbie Clarke

According to data from petsitting service Rover.com, over half of dogs become anxious on 31 October, thanks to surprise visitors and loud noises.

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Here’s some advice from the experts on how to help your pets feel better.

Can I give my dog sweets?

Keep your dog far away from human treats. Not only is chocolate poisonous for dogs, but if they get their paws on sweets they could choke or get an upset stomach.

This means making sure that nothing is left lying out that they can reach, and ensuring your children don't feed the dog. Give your pooch a chew toy or a dog biscuit - they’ll enjoy this and it will distract them from everything that is going on.

How can I reassure my dog?

Scary costumes, fireworks and spooky decorations can all frighten your dog - but you can make them feel more relaxed. Buy them a new toy to play with, stroke them and stay close by, so they know someone familiar that they love is there to take care of them.

Should I leave my dog alone?

Some dogs hate being left alone, whilst others relish it. If your family are all heading out for Halloween, you might want to bring your dog along as it might make them feel less frightened.

However, if your dog is easily scared by loud noises and visitors it might be an idea to put them in a room well away from the front door and leaving the TV or radio on to distract them.

Should I prepare my dog for scary costumes?

Make sure you give your dog the chance to familiarise themselves by taking it slowly and not overwhelming them. Instead of having a large group all coming in wearing masks and other scary items at once, bring each person in one by one and have them stroke your dog, allowing them to recognise their smell and feel safe.

Can I still decorate for Halloween?

Make sure your dog can’t get near a lit pumpkin or candles. Also look out for electrical wires from decorations and make sure they are hidden away so your dog can’t get hurt.

What if my dog escapes?

In the event that your pet does get scared and manage to flee the house, make sure they are microchipped so you can get them back safely.

But to help prevent this from happening, make sure your home is secure and you don’t leave the front door open.