Keep animals in a safe place this Halloween, warns DSPCA

By Brendan Grehan

WITH HALLOWEEN on Saturday and the weeks preceding it, it can be a difficult time for pets and pet owners.

With bangers and fireworks going off near their homes and gardens they can become very distressed. We spoke to the DSPCA to see if they had any tips for pet owners. First, we asked them if they had come across any cases of cruelty to animals in this Halloween season.

A spokeswoman for the DSPCA told The Echo: “We haven’t had any cases of cruelty related to Halloween so far this year. It must be because of the success of our educational programme.

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What we are seeing is an increase in the number of stray and lost animals and especially ones that have been knocked down by cars.”

The DSPCA recommends that you don’t keep pets outdoors during Halloween 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.

For everyone’s safety, it’s best to keep animals inside a bedroom or family room, away from all the commotion. Try and make sure that the dog isn’t left alone if it’s distressed.

Pets should always have effective identification. The DSPCA recommends that you have your pet micro chipped and ensure that it is wearing a collar with identification in the event that it escapes from the house. Any vet practice can arrange this quickly and easily.

The DSPCA recommends that we should educate others about looking out for pets and other animals at Halloween. They ask that owners don’t dress animals up in costumes as many pets find this uncomfortable and stressful.

They recommend not to take pets trick-or-treating. Dogs can become very distressed and confused by all the noise and activity with strange smells and loud bangs from fireworks. Don’t let animals near bonfires candles or other dangerous items.

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.

Keep pets away from Halloween decorations and tell children not to share any sweets and chocolate with their pets.

Take a pet suspected of ingesting a harmful item or substance immediately to a veterinarian.

The DSPCA ask that people report animal abuse and neglect immediately to the Garda or contact the DSPCA at 01-4994700.

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