How to create a fear free, happy Halloween for your pets

by | General Pet Care |

Halloween night is filled with many unfamiliar sights and sounds which can be quite scary for your pet! Luckily, some small changes can make it enjoyable and fear free for you and your furry friends.

Content adapted from Fear Free® Pets! The overall health, behaviour, and wellness of the animals in our care is our top priority, and Fear Free® helps keep them happy, healthy and ready to find loving homes. By reducing fear, anxiety and stress, you and your furry friend will have a much more pleasant experience.

Prepare in advance

Give your pet a chance to experience these new sights and smells before Halloween night. Expose them to your costume and Halloween décor, especially ones that move and make noise. Remember to have treats handy to make the experience positive for your pet.

Use caution with costumes

Dressing up your pet in a costume can be fun, but it’s not for every animal. When having them try on costumes, be sure to watch for changes in your furry friend’s body language.  Signs they are uncomfortable may include having their head and tail down or attempting to remove the costume by pawing at it.

Don’t try on their costume for the first time Halloween night! You want to give yourself the time to see if your furry friend enjoys them. This gives them a chance to get used to the costume and you can ensure it fits correctly.

Avoid the doorbell

Most animals are not used to hearing the doorbell frequently and it may make them uneasy or protective. If you’re choosing to give out candy this year in a socially distanced way, try a motion sensor decoration or sit outside instead of having trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell. If you are answering the door it is a good idea to use a leash or crate so your dog is safe while you hand out candy. Or, provide your pet with a comfortable space in another room.

Create a safe space

Creating a spot for your pet to go when they are stressed can be very helpful. Make sure they are comfortable in the space before Halloween night. Fill it with their favourite toys and treats, then send them to their safe space an hour or so before trick or treating starts. Most importantly, make sure all toys and treats are appropriate, especially if your dog is a heavy chewer.

Halloween should be fun for the whole family, including your pets. For more great tips like these visit

Content adapted from Fear Free Pets.

Watch for the accompanying video on Facebook Live at 12pm where our Ontario SPCA Midland & District Animal Centre RVT, Jocelyn, will talk more about Halloween safety and your companion animals!

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