This Halloween the ISPCA are reminding owners to consider their pets’ safety and wellbeing both inside and outside the home.
With fireworks, trick-or-treaters and all the sweet treats around Halloween, your pet(s) could find themselves in a sticky situation. Chocolate and raisins is highly toxic to dogs and other sweets can be harmful as well, so please keep all treats out of reach for their safety. The same goes for candles and Halloween decorations that could be chewed or swallowed, so when you are enjoying the festivities, keep everything away from your pet(s). Here is some tips and advice to keep them safe this Halloween.
With unfamiliar noises such as fireworks, the ISPCA recommends walking you dog earlier than usual if possible. This will not only prevent stressful situations on your walk, but it will also mean that your dog will be ready for a rest in the evening and may not be as reactive to the doorbell and commotion later.
The unusual noise and activity of Halloween can drive pets to extreme behaviour, and the ISPCA strongly recommend that your pets have ID tags and are also microchipped as a permanent form of identification. This is a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies once 12 weeks old and also equines. While it is not a legal requirement for cats, it still gives you the best chance of being reunited with your pet in the event they escape.
To reduce the risk of your pet escaping when people call to the door, ensure that they are in a secure room of the house where they can’t slip out an open door. You can leave a TV or radio on to drown out some of the noise of fireworks and children calling to the door. If you pet is truly terrified of fireworks and you are concerned about them, you may want to consult with your vet in advance, and ask them about training or medication to help with your pets’ stress.
Halloween is also a dangerous time for our wonderful wildlife as well, so do your part to keep hedgehogs and other animals safe. Hedgehogs are beginning to hibernate at this time of year, and frequently do so in wood piles or heavy brush. If you are lighting a bonfire, please check all wood, scrub and leaves for hibernating hedgehogs.
Unfortunately stray animals can sometimes bear the brunt of Halloween pranks. If you witness an animal being subjected to cruel treatment, please notify your local Gardaí immediately and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515.
Dogs and Cats
Pets should have somewhere to hide where they feel secure if frightened by the noise of fireworks so a quiet room in the house will help with closed curtains and music playing to mask the noise of fireworks.
If your pet is showing signs of fear do not react or make a fuss as this will make matters worse. As difficult as it may be, try to ignore fearful behaviour.
Steps can be taken to minimise the stress caused to pets by training them in the run up to the Halloween festivities. This can involve training like playing sounds of fireworks at lower volumes and rewarding your pet for calm behaviour, slowly increasing the volume leading up to Halloween. Consult your vet or animal behaviourist for advice.
Anxiety in your animals can be reduced by altering feeding regimes. Feeding later in the evening will encourage the animal to eat during anxiety triggering periods.
Licking objects such as Kongs filled with a little peanut butter or specific pet treats will help reduce stress.
Playing with your pets can be effective in reducing stress if they are up for a game. If not, do not try to force them. Please remember to keep pets confined in a safe area, away from the front door, sweets and treats, candles, and other hazards.
Small animals normally housed outside should be moved into a garage or shed. If this is not possible cover hutches or cages with blankets or carpet to act as sound-proofing and provide increased amounts of bedding for extra security.
Horses, ponies and donkeys that live in areas where there is a considerable amount of Halloween related noise should be securely stabled to prevent them from escaping or doing damage to themselves.
Unfortunately stray animals can sometimes bear the brunt of Halloween pranks. If you witness an animal being subjected to cruel treatment, please notify your local Gardai immediately and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515 or report cruelty online here http://www.ispca.ie/cruelty_complaint. Please help us stop the mistreatment of innocent animals.
Taking a little precaution will ensure your pets stay safe and calm during Halloween ensuring it is an enjoyable time for everyone.