Why Isn't Joliet Paying Attention to its Residents? Diminishing Halloween Anxiety for Pets


It’s International Cat Day, and I suggest that cats are the Rodney Dangerfield of pets on WGN Radio. Listen HERE to this Steve Dale’s Pet World.

So, should you dress up your pet for Halloween? Should you go trick or treating with your pet? Well, maybe…but maybe not; it depends on the pet. Also, I offer some basic advice about what to do when pets are stressed with all the extra commotion and frenzied doorbell ringing.

By opening the door for trick or treaters, there’s always a risk a pet will get away. Prevention is best, so keeping the pet behind a closed door of a second bedroom, den, or basement will not only prevent the possibility of escape but will also allow you an opportunity to minimize or prevent fear, anxiety, or stress by controlling the environment.

Close the shades, shut the windows, and turn on calming classical music or your favorite talk radio station. Offer a water bowl in this room, and remember to relocate at least one litter box (depending on how many cats you have).

The real secret to lowering anxiety and/or preventing it from ramping up in the first place is to plug in Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) diffusers. These products are copies of naturally occurring pheromones that pets sense and make them feel more comfortable in their own environments. 

Once stress is reduced, get their minds of all those trick or treaters by giving your pets something to occupy their time, such as a rawhide to chomp on or thinking games, like food puzzles, which require dogs and cats to maneuver objects to receive treats.

Encourage a family member to periodically interact with the pets using an interactive cat toy or tossing a squeaky toy for dogs. If their minds are thinking about having fun, the persistent doorbell ringing isn’t quite so worrisome.

If the doorbell prompts anxiety, place a sign on your front door asking trick or treaters to knock instead of ringing the bell.


Peggy Grandall of Safe Pets for Joliet has been advocating for a companion animal consumer protection law, like nearly 300 communities of all sizes have done in the U.S. and Canada. Even the entire state of California recently passed a similar law. This means that dogs and cats (and, in some places, rabbits) cannot be sold at pet stores. Peggy explains the problem is that no responsible breeder ever sells to a pet store. Instead, we’re talking about puppy mills thriving as a result. And puppy mills, if you don’t believe it, are as horrible as you’ve seen on TV or have read about.

Peggy says only two individuals have testified against the bill, a pet store owner and lobbyist (a hired gun who is not local). Meanwhile local residents overwhelmingly want this to happen. Why aren’t the public officials there listening to their constituents?

Peggy explains what the local process in Joliet may be, and describes how Joliet residents may help.

One texter suggests that we’re wrong about pet stores, that there are checks and balances in place. Really? I sure hope that person has the courage to call into the show next week. I sincerely want to hear that perspective (unless the texter is that lobbyist).

I also talk about the big benefit for Assisi Animal Foundation on November 11 to salute veterans (I am serving as the keynote speaker). I will talk about how to lower fear and anxiety in pets at home and at the veterinary practice—Fear Free Happy Homes is the initiative. Dinner is included, $70. The event is at Crystal Lake Country Club, 721 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake.