Unfortunately Halloween and the weeks preceding it can be a very distressing time for animals. The DSPCA would like to remind owners to be especially vigilant about their pets at this time.
DO ensure that pets always have effective identification. The DSPCA recommends that you have your pet microchipped and ensure that it is wearing a collar with identification in the event that it escapes from the house. Every year we get calls and visits from upset owners with lost pet information as their pets have run off after being scared by fireworks. The DSPCA will Microchip your pet for you or any vet practice can arrange this quickly and easily. You can read more on what to do if your pet goes missing here.
DON'T keep pets outdoors during Halloween and the weeks running up to it as people start letting off fireworks earlier than Halloween night and ensure that they have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren't frightened by all of 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.
DO to keep animals inside a bedroom or family room, away from all the commotion for everyone's safety. Try and make sure that the pet isn’t left alone if its distressed but if your pet looks for reassurance due to being scared of loud noises, please don’t do this! I know it goes against our humane nature, but it’s best to carry on in a matter of fact manner, as if nothing is out of the ordinary, as your pet may feed off your anxiety, making the situation worse.
DO talk to your vet if your pet gets very scared from fireworks as there is a variety of treatments and medications that can help. Don't wait until the fireworks are going off to talk to your vet as some products need time to work, ie they take a week for the pet to feel the effects. A new product on the market for anxiety and sound phobias is the Thundershirt. These shirts exert constant, gentle pressure on the dog, causing relaxation. You can also buy cd's to help your pet get used to loud noises like fireworks but these need to be used prior to any fireworks going off.
DON’T leave animals in a room with lit candles or pumpkins. Dogs can have lethal tails, wagging all over the place. Make sure that lighted candles are kept where they cannot be knocked over by a wagging tail or by a curious cat. Not only could your pet start a fire, but they could severely burn themselves in the process.
DON'T dress animals up in costumes as many pets find this uncomfortable and stressful.
DON'T take pets trick-or-treating. Dogs can become very distressed and confused by all the noise and activity with strange smells, costumes and loud bangs from fireworks.
DON'T let animals near bonfires, candles or other dangerous items.
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. Chocolate is very bad for pets, read more..
DO take a pet suspected of ingesting a harmful item or substance immediately to a veterinarian.
DON'T ignore animals in need. Report animal abuse and neglect immediately to An Gardai Siochana or contact the DSPCA at 01-499 4700.