The ISPCA is highlighting the importance of keeping your pets safe this Halloween. Each year, animal rescue centres and veterinary practices around the country are inundated with animals needing attention following Halloween celebrations.
Animals become terrified from the noise of bangers and fireworks going off near their homes that they are driven to extreme behaviour. The ISPCA recommend you should always have effective pet identification such as an ID tag on your pets collar and a micro-chip in the event your pet escapes.
Tips on keeping your pets safe this Halloween
Dogs and Cats
§ Steps can be taken to minimise the stress caused to pets by training them in the run up to the Halloween festivities. The use of dog appeasing pheromones can also be effective. Consult your vet or animal behaviourist for advice.
§ If children will be calling to your door trick-or-treating make sure your pets are securely confined so they cannot stray through an open door or react negatively to scary costumes.
§ Pets should have somewhere to hide where they feel secure if frightened by the noise of bangers or fireworks so a quiet room in the house will help with closed curtains and music playing to mask the noise of fireworks.
§ Keep pets away from any dangerous or flammable items including candles, bonfires and fireworks.
§ Keep pets away from decorations and sweets that could be harmful if ingested. Remember that chocolate is very bad for your pets.
§ 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.
§ Anxiety in the animal can be reduced by altering feeding regimes. Feeding later in the evening will encourage the animal to eat during what are anxiety creating periods.
§ Licking objects such as Kongs filled with peanut butter 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.
§ Small animals and birds normally housed outside should ideally 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.
§ 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 doing damage to themselves.
§ Bonfires around the Halloween period can be a dangerous time for wildlife too - anyone holding bonfires should check them before lighting, as hedgehogs love to nest amongst the wood and material.
Unfortunately stray animals sometimes bear the brunt of Halloween pranks. If you witness an animal being subjected to cruel treatment, please notify your local Gardai and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.
The burning of waste particularly in bonfires is illegal under the waste management acts 1996 and 2011 and also releases toxic pollutants in the air which can be damaging to public health and the environment.
People also need to be aware of the fire safety hazards when burning highly combustible material which can often lead to serious injuries to both people and animals. Also the use of illegal fireworks may have little or no safety standards which can cause serious injuries and damage and often children and animals end up tragically injured or often scarred for life.
Please take precautions this year to ensure your pets stay safe, calm and remain indoors this Halloween so the festivities can be a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.