Unfortunately Hallowe’en and the days and weeks preceding it can be a very distressing time for animals. The Louth SPCA would like to remind owners to be especially vigilant about their pets at this time of year. Many dogs and cats are either harmed or run away in fright over the next week, quite often ending up dead on the busy and dark roads!
Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe.
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day. Once it starts getting dark, fireworks become more frequent.
- Keep your dogs INSIDE during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. Bringing your dogs out during fireworks is never a good idea. Do NOT leave your dog in the back yard this week at all!
- Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option. If you dog or cat likes scurrying in behind the sofa, put a blanket in there for them.
- If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed. Covering the crate with a blanker or lowering the blinds can also be helpful. Removing visual stimulation can also help calm dogs.
- Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. If you your dog is not microchipped, they really should be! In fact, it’s now the law in Ireland.
- Give your dog something fun and distracting to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats, or a big chewy pig’s ear that will keep him busy for a good while.
- If you MUST go out, leave the TV or radio on louder than usual to muffle the sound of fireworks outside.
As well as keeping them safe from fireworks, remember there are other hazards at this time of year for pets. Here are some do’s and dont’s:
- 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. It’s cute, but it’s also dangerous!
- 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.
- 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 Louth SPCA at 042 9335045 (even if no answer, please leave a message. It WILL be checked).