Halloween is a spooky, scary and fun time for us humans however, many pets and wildlife will find this time of year terrifying. We’ve put together some tips to help you keep your animals safe at Halloween:
Dogs and Cats
Ideally, you should bring your animals inside at this time of the year to reduce the noise they are exposed to. If you need to leave your animal outside, make sure they are in a secure and safe location they can’t escape from. They must have a secure place to hide indoors if they are frightened by the noises of fireworks and trick-or-treaters calling to the door.
Leaving the lights low and playing the radio or television can help drown out some of the sounds as it can be a stressful time for them. Pet owners can help train their dogs and cats to become accustomed to the sounds of Halloween fireworks by playing similar sounds at low volumes. It is also important our pets are kept safe in a secure room where they cannot dart out an open door.
Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag and is microchipped. If they escape it will make it easier for you to be reunited. Microchipping is a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies.
Walk your dogs during the day and earlier evening, when fireworks are less likely.
As difficult as it may be, try not to react to your pet showing signs of fear. Reacting can reinforce your pets fear. Licking objects such as toys filled with treats can help ease your pet’s stress. Playing with your pet is a great way to distract them, if they are not too frightened.
Keep sweets and Halloween decorations out of reach of your pets. Chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to pets, as are any sweets containing the sugar substitute xylitol. Ingesting foil or plastic wrappers can also lead to digestive problems and may require surgery. If your pet does ingest something toxic, contact your vet immediately.
Not all pets will tolerate wearing costumes and it may cause them undue stress. Only dress up your pet for Halloween if you know they enjoy it. If you do choose to put your pet in a costume, make sure it does not limit your pets movement, vision, ability to breathe or behave normally. Remember that costumes can be very warm, and can prevent your pet from regulating their body temperature. Don’t use costumes with any small, chewable pieces or toxic paints or dyes and don’t leave your pet unsupervised while wearing a costume.
Small Animals and Birds
Bring your outdoor pets, including small mammals or birds, indoors into a secure garage or shed where they are protected from any loud noise or fireworks. You can also cover hutches or cages with blankets to act as soundproofing.
Hedgehogs go into hibernation this time of year and often sleep in woodpiles or heavy scrub and leaves. Be sure to check under all woodpiles before lighting any bonfires to ensure there is no wildlife hibernating. Some outdoor decorations such a fake spider webs or string lights can trap wild animals. Be careful about where you hang them and remove them quickly after the festivities.
Horses, ponies and donkeys should also be microchipped. You should stable your animals if you live in an area with a lot of Halloween related noises or fireworks. Securely stabled horses are less likely to escape or injure themselves when spooked.
Unfortunately, stray animals can fall victim to abuse or cruel Halloween pranks. If you witness animal cruelty:
Contact your local Garda station immediately
Monday-Friday 9:00 – 17:00
Telephone: 056 777 1635
For emergencies: 086 817 2167