Minimizing Pet Fears on Halloween


Of course, seeing this at the door can be frightening to pets (or people)

For many pets the parade of Avengers and Zombies showing up at the front door is scary, not to mention that doorbell ringing non-stop.

For pets bothered by the doorbell, put up a sign that says, “Please knock.” And place tape over that doorbell.

A bigger issue, in general, is that the front door opens and closes so often. And with that happening, especially if the pets are fearful, they can bolt out the door. Indeed, far too many pets are lost on Halloween. And even if that doesn’t occur, many pets are anxious about all the uproar. Here’s a secret weapon: Closed doors. Keep pets behind one of those closed doors in a second bedroom, a den, ofice or whatever sanctuary room makes sense in your home.


Nutraceuticals are part pharmaceutical and part nutritional supplement, a sort of hybrid between the two. Dozens of these stress-busting products are on the market but which ones are truly effective? Only a pawful of products are supported by real science. Here are two:

Zylkene: A capsuled hydrolyzed milk protein product (for dogs or cats). It’s best to begin using Zylkene several days before Halloween.

Anxitane: Chewable tablets help pets keep calm and relaxed with L-Theanine, an amino acid naturally found in green tea leaves,

 Sanctuary Room Plan:

If there are lots of raucous trick or treaters where you happen to live, then – even if the weather is nice – close the windows and shades so pets don’t see or hear the goblins.

Music can be calming for anxious pets and at least to some extent drown out noisy Halloween door knocking or children giggling. But what kind of music? Could it be that dogs are a little rock ‘n roll, and cats may be a little country?  Actually, it’s the classical music genre that seems to be the most relaxing for dogs and cats.

There’s even soothing music that’s specially produced for pets. The leader in the industry is  ICalm which includes various packages and types tunes designed to calm dogs or cats. Victoria Stilwell offers calming music on her site, and A Sound Beginning also has calming music created for dogs.

Stuff treats or kibble or moist food into a Kong toy or any of the myriad of food dispensing toys now on the market. If your dog or cat (yes cats too) are working on figuring out how to get to the yummies, they won’t be simultaneously anxious about those scary trick or treaters. (Warning: This method isn’t recommended when multiple pets may be aggressive in a confined space about sharing food and/or toys).

When a family member is available, distract with a favorite game – that’s often an effective diversion, such as playing with a dog with a squeaky toy or using an interactive toy (fishing pole-type toy with feathers) to engage a cat.

More Stuff     

  • Pheromones can help take off the ede.
  • Wearing a Thundershirt can also help many dog to feel less worried about the persistent doorbell. 
  • Calming Care is a probiotic from Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets; simply sprinkle on the dog’s or cat’s food. The stomach and the brain are indeed connected. A six-week supply of supplements contains a strain of beneficial bacteria and begin before Halloween.
  • CBD: Anecdotal reports are that CBD for pets may help to relieve anxiety. Maybe. There’s no science to prove or disprove – at least not yet. Also, beware, as not all CBD products are the same. See your veterinarian for the right choice.

No More Spooky

If you describe your pet as generally afraid or anxious, talk with your veterinarian or contact a certified animal behavior consultant or a veterinary behaviorist. Never punish or holler your pet for being afraid, that will only have the opposite of the desired effect and create more fear, anxiety or stress.

No one wants their pets spooked on Halloween.