How To Keep Your Pets Safe This Hallowe'en
Hallowe'en can be a really terrifying time for animals; the house is busier than normal with trick or treaters, the sound of bangers is relentless and, if like our house, your toddlers are dressed up like monsters and superheros, there can be a lot of 'Rarrrrr!!-ing' going on.
We have a small West Highland Terrier, Pearl, who has a very loud bark but is essentially afraid of her own shadow. She hasn't been too bad in terms of anxiety or stress for the last few Hallowe'ens, but I always do try to make it a bit easier for her.
First things first, I get her out for a big walk during the day to tire her out a bit. Later on, when the local kiddies are calling to the door, I let Pearl hang out upstairs in my room with the door closed and the clock radio on. This is as much for the kid's benefit as Pearl's, really, because a barking dog raging down the hallway to the front door is scary for them too (mind you, she'd get to them and then lick them - but they don't know that!)
After the callers are done, and it's BANG after BANG after BANG for a few hours while all the fireworks and bangers go off, I usually get her down onto the couch for a cuddle with me. If she needs to go outside to wee, I leave the back door open and stay with her until she's finished and comes back in. And finally - and I know my Ass Monkey Al will hate me even mentioning this but - I totally let her sleep in our room for the night. You know, just in case she has a bad dream... ahem.
That won't work for every family, and particularly if your family pet happens to be, say, a donkey, but it's what I do for Pearl. The ISPCA have great tips for keeping all pets safe at Hallowe'en, and a phone number to report any cruelty to animals that you might witness. I've picked up a new tip for Pearl this year from their site - I'm going to fill a Kong with peanut butter to keep her occupied while I'm dishing out sweets at the front door.
Now - how exactly will I keep my son calm after he eats all his Hallowe'en loot in one go?!