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Trick Or Treat! How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Halloween

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By Katherine Major

October is here! We’re loving the fall foliage, crisp air and all of that pumpkin decor! Of course, the onset of October means that spooky season is just around the corner, and that means jack-o-lanterns, lighting your favorite autumnal candles, cozy evenings inside and best of all — Halloween. 

While it might be a treat for you and your family, Halloween is a bit of a trick for some of our canine pals. Let’s discuss a few ways to keep your dog calm so that the experience is enjoyable for everyone!

Why Halloween can be triggering for your dog

Halloween can trigger anxiety and other behavioral issues for many reasons:

  • Frequent doorbell ringing and knocking on the door

  • Strangers repeatedly showing up, especially for a longer visit

  • Loud noises like shouting and laughter

  • Costumes, especially masks and heavy makeup

  • Household members leaving and returning frequently

These triggers can manifest in a few different ways. Your dog might bark excessively, have a bowel movement or urinate indoors, pace through the house, hide or become destructive. 

Halloween anxiety solutions:

While some obvious fixes might be to not celebrate Halloween at all by keeping the porch lights off and the doorbell disabled or taped over, why sacrifice a fun evening? Especially if you enjoy the time of year!

Here are a few practical techniques you can use to ease your dog’s anxiety and still enjoy the Halloween fun.

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Place pup in a separate room

If your pup is crate trained and this is not a source of anxiety for them, plan to put them in the crate before the festivities ramp up, especially if you know you’ll be having visitors stay longer than a few minutes. 

No crate? No problem. If your dog isn’t the destructive sort, prepare a quiet room for them with their favorite stuffed animal or toys, some fresh water and a bit of food. 

Whether you’re putting your dog in their crate or setting aside a room for them, be sure to turn on a fan, a white noise machine, or put a movie or show on the television to distract them and to drown out unwanted noise. 

Finally, dim the lights and your pup is in for a relaxing evening! 

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Whether you’re putting your dog in their crate or setting aside a room for them, be sure to turn on a fan, a white noise machine, or put a movie or show on the television to distract them and to drown out unwanted noise.

Get a dogsitter

If option one isn’t an ideal scenario, try and arrange for a family member or friend to take your dog for the night. Be sure it’s a trusted individual that your dog has spent some time with and who will be well-equipped to take care of them for the night. Need to find a reliable sitter? Here’s how.

Alternatively, many cities have professional dog sitting services or short-term boarding facilities. 

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Take them for a stroll or drive

Most dogs love a nice drive or long walk!

Walks in particular will help with anxiety and will also help get some pent-up energy out before the evening festivities, which may help with reactive behaviors. 

Once party time and/or trick-or-treating ramps up, be sure to keep your dog inside aside from bathroom breaks. Costumes, strangers and people walking around the street are almost certain to trigger an anxious dog. 

Stay outdoors

Many puppy parents will keep the Halloween action outdoors. This option has great potential; your dog will likely be unaware of any trick-or-treaters and you get to dress up for the occasion.

Set a treat station up at the end of your driveway or on the front porch. Make it fun by dressing up as a scarecrow or other spooky creature! Set the tone even further by playing some creepy crawly music and getting serious with the decor. Not only will you be helping your dog have a peaceful evening indoors, but you may also earn yourself a reputation as the fun neighborhood Halloween house! 

When you’re done, simply turn your porch lights off to indicate you’re no longer entertaining trick-or-treaters. Your dog will be none the wiser.

Final thoughts

If you’re a parent to an anxious pup, it’s normal to be concerned about how Halloween activities will impact them! Our dogs are family, and ensuring their comfort and well-being should be our top priority.

Be mindful of your dog’s emotional state. If anxiety, stress and the resulting side effects are regular occurrences that affect everyone’s quality of life, consider speaking to your veterinarian about other anxiety-reducing techniques or a safe medication regime. 

Halloween is a fun and silly time of year, and if you enjoy celebrating, these tips may help reduce anxiety and stress responses in your dog.


Katherine Major is a full-time content writer based in New Brunswick, Canada. Katherine enjoys writing about dogs, plant life, lifestyle and more! Want to connect? You can find her on Upwork or LinkedIn. Her hobbies include being scolded by her pug, Pogo, recording her podcast and living life to the fullest on the East Coast of Canada.

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