As Halloween approaches, the ISPCA is reminding the public to be aware of the dangers Halloween poses to the wellbeing of all animals and to take extra measures to safeguard the safety of not only domestic pets but farm animals and wildlife too.

Halloween can be a scary time for our furry friends so it is important that they are kept securely indoors if they are afraid by the noise of fireworks. It’s important your pet is microchipped and is also wearing a collar with an identification tag, so if they do escape, you can be easily reunited.

We have put together some safety tips and advice to help pet owners in the run up to Halloween:

Fireworks
Some pets can be terrified by the sound of fireworks so ensure they are kept safe in a secure area where they cannot dart out an open door from the noise.  It’s a good idea to walk your dog early morning and before dark, keeping them away from any fireworks in the area.  Pet owners can help train their dogs and cats to become accustomed to the sound of fireworks by playing similar sounds.  Try keeping the lights low, and playing a radio or television in the background to help drown out some of the noise outside. As difficult as it may be, try not to react to your pet showing signs of fear as it may be the best way you can help them. Licking objects such as kong toys filled with treats may help ease your pet’s stress. It is important that they have a safe, secure place to hide indoors if they are scared. If you are concerned that your pet is unmanageably terrified of the noise of fireworks, you should consult your vet to discuss ways for managing your pet’s stress.

Halloween Costumes
Some pets may find wearing Halloween costumes stressful. Consider a festive themed bandanas instead which will be less restrictive. If you do choose to put your pet in a costume, make sure it does not limit the animal’s movement, vision, ability to breathe or behave normally.

Sweets and Wrappers
Chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to pets, as are any sweets containing the sugar substitute xylitol and should always be kept out of reach from curious paws and noses.

Indoor Hazards
Keep dogs and cats away from wires, decorations and candles.  Ingesting foil or plastic wrappers can also lead to digestive problems and may require surgery. If your pet does ingest something toxic, contact your vet immediately.

Microchipping – it’s the law!
The ISPCA strongly recommend that all dog owners have their pet’s microchipped. It is a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies once they are 12 weeks old and failure to do so, is an offence under the Animal Health & Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013. Dog owners need to be in possession of a microchipping certificate also so it is important that your contact details are kept up-to-date on the microchipping database. It is the pet owner’s responsibility to inform the database operator of any change so once your dog has been microchipped, check it to ensure your details are correct. If your pet becomes lost, having them microchipped is the best way to ensure they will be reunited with you. Lost pets puts extra pressure on animal rescue centres, dog pounds and veterinary practices but it also causes more upset for pets and pet owners so don’t delay and get your dog microchipped today – it’s the law!  While microchipping is recommended for cats, there are no current plans to make cat microchipping compulsory.

Outdoor Pets
Horses, ponies and donkeys should be securely stabled to prevent them from escaping or hurting themselves if they live in areas with a considerable amount of Halloween-related noise. Small mammals or birds should be kept indoors such as a garage or a shed, covering over hutches or cages with blankets to act as sound-proofing.

Look out for wildlife
Hedgehogs go into hibernation this time of year, and will sleep in wood piles or heavy scrub and leaves. It is important you check under all wood piles before lighting any bonfires to ensure there is no wildlife hibernating. Some outdoor plastic decorations such a fake spider webs or string lights can snare wild animals, so be careful if hanging them and ensure they are removed after the festivities.

hedgehog

Black Cats
For centuries black cats have been steeped in superstition and depending on where you live, it was either good luck or bad luck to have a black cat walk either toward you or away from you. As Halloween traditions go, black cats and witches go hand-in-paw on a broom. In some countries the idea of witches transforming themselves into black cats was widely believed back in the time of Salem. However, black cats have since regained their status and in many places today, it's considered good luck for a black cat to cross your path. We are appealing to members of the public to consider adopting one of our super friendly black cats or kittens from the ISPCA after the commotion of Halloween. More information can be found here.

Report Animal Cruelty
Unfortunately stray animals can fall victim to abuse or cruel Halloween pranks. If you witness any animal cruelty, please contact your local Garda station immediately and report it to the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report in confidence online here.

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