Tips to keep your pets safe and calm this Halloween

ISPCA reminds pet owners to keep animals indoors on Monday night

Tips to keep your pets safe and calm this Halloween

File photo: PA Images

Pet owners have been warned to keep their animals in a secure part of their house during Halloween.

The ISPCA has stressed the importance of ensuring pets don’t slip out an open front door on Monday night.

While Halloween is a fun time for trick-or-treaters, owners should remember chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and ensure treats are kept well out of their reach, it said.

The animal welfare organisation also warned that candles and Halloween decorations that can be chewed or swallowed ought to be kept away from pets.

It recommended that dogs be walked  earlier than usual to avoid the fireworks and bonfires that often cause stress for animals.

This has the added benefit of ensuring dogs are be ready to rest in the evening, meaning they may not be as reactive to ringing doorbells and commotion, the ISPCA pointed out.

The group suggested that pet owners leave a TV or radio on to drown out some of the noise from the night’s festivities.

Those with serious concerns about their animals may want to consult with a vet in advance about possible training or medication to help deal with stress.

The ISCPA also recommended that all pets be microchipped as a permanent form of identification.

This is a legal requirement for all dogs and equines, but it should also be considered for cats, it said.

Halloween can a dangerous time for our wildlife as well, and bonfire makers have been advised to check all wood, scrub and leaves for hibernating hedgehogs.

Anyone who witnesses animal cruelty has been urged to contact local gardaí, or the  ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515.

More tips, via the ISPCA:

Dogs and cats

  • Pets should have somewhere to hide where they feel secure if frightened by the noise of bangers or fireworks. 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 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

  • 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.

Equines

  • 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.