If you got a pet last year, remember that this year is their first proper Halloween. With fireworks, trick or treating and bonfires in full swing this year, we must think of our little furry friends who struggle during spooky season.
Don't keep pets outdoors during Halloween and ensure that they have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren't frightened by all the noise and excitement and where they cannot escape through the constantly open door. A quiet, inner room where they can't hear much of the noise from fireworks and loud bangs can help. Putting a radio or television on in the room can also be effective. When children are coming to the door to trick and treat, cats can quickly slip out the front door, and dogs sometimes try to bite unsuspecting kids, thinking that they're intruders. For everyone's safety, it's best to keep animals inside a bedroom or family room, away from all the commotion. Try and make sure that the dog isn’t left alone if it’s distressed.
- Do ensure that pets always have effective identification. The DSPCA recommends that you have your pet micro chipped and ensure that it is wearing a collar with identity tag if it escapes from the house. Any vet practice can arrange microchipping quickly and easily. If your pet is already microchipped check which database your pets’ details are registered on by visiting www.europetnet.com. You can check with the registered database to make sure that the animal is registered to you and that they are up to date. If you don’t have the microchip number on your vaccination card you can ask any vet to scan them.
- Do educate others about looking out for pets and other animals at Halloween.
- Do make sure that Rabbits and other caged animals are safely secured in a garage or outbuilding, away from the sight and sound of fireworks. As an alternative, the cage can be covered with thick fabric to muffle the sound, making sure there is sufficient ventilation. Horses should be securely stabled or moved to a different location during fireworks displays in the area.
- Do keep pets away from Halloween decorations and tell children not to share any sweets and chocolate with their pets.
- Do take a pet suspected of ingesting a harmful item or substance immediately to a veterinarian.
- If you are worried about your pets talk to your Vet, they will be able to advise.
- Do not dress animals up in costumes as many pets find this uncomfortable and stressful.
- Do not take pets trick-or-treating. Dogs can become very distressed and confused by all the noise and activity with strange smells and loud bangs from fireworks.
- Do not remove wooden pallets or large pieces of wood from hedges and gaps in fences – this is often put in the gaps to stop horses escaping onto roads.
- Do not light bonfires or piles of wood that have been left to site for more than 24 hours as small animals such as hedgehogs may have set up home.
- Do not let animals near bonfires candles or other flammable items.
- Do not ignore animals in need. Report animal abuse and neglect immediately to the Garda or contact the DSPCA at 01-4994700.