Halloween… it’s all about ghosts, goblins and ghouls! And while it’s fun for us to be scared at Halloween, it’s not so fun for our pets. While in the USA, our Halloween celebrations tend to be focused upon scary costumes and trick or treating, over in the UK and Ireland, Halloween is also a time of great bonfires and exciting fireworks displays. As a result, there are many dangers lurking out there for our furry friends. Follow our top tips to help make sure that your pets are safe and comfortable this Halloween, so you can get out and enjoy some spooktacular fun.
1. Keep them secure
Pets should be kept inside during the Halloween festivities, as fireworks, bonfires and scary costumes can easily cause them to bolt and run away in fright. To avoid your pet escaping, ensure that your dog or cat is kept in a secure place in the house where they will not be able to slip out if the door is open. You can leave a TV or radio on to drown out some of the noise of fireworks and children calling to the door trick-or-treating.
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 and 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 help prevent them from panicking and injuring themselves.
While we hope you manage to keep your pets securely inside over the Halloween period, should the worst happen and your dog, cat or horse escape, it’s crucial that they are microchipped as a permanent form of identification, to enable identification and their safe return. Additionally, ensure that your details are always up to date and an ID tag on your dog or cats collar will make it much more likely you will be reunited with your beloved pet in the event they escape.
3. Keep hazardous things out of harms way
We should always be vigilant about keeping hazardous items away from infants and children (even adults should be careful around fireworks) but the same should also apply to our animals. Keep pets away from any dangerous or flammable items including candles, bonfires and fireworks. Dogs can have lethal tails, wagging all over the place! We love this about them, but do 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. Candles and decorations can also be hazardous for your pets if they try to chew them, while chocolate is highly toxic for pets. Other sweets can make them ill, so sweets and chocolate should always be kept safely out of your pet’s reach. If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate, sweets, or any other harmful substances contact your local vet immediately.
4. Help to keep them calm
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 if they are going off in your area. 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. Many dogs suffer from noise phobia, so if you know that your pet will likely be very scared, steps can be taken to minimise their stress by training them in the run up to the Halloween festivities. We’ve had huge success over the years with our natural HomeoPet Fireworks remedy – specifically formulated by vets to provide relief from stress and anxiety caused by thunder, fireworks and loud noises such as gunshots. This non-sedating liquid offers fast acting relief from restlessness, anxiety and unwanted behavior.
5. Protect your local wildlife and keep an eye out for stray animals
Halloween can also be a dangerous time for wildlife as well. For example, hedgehogs are beginning to hibernate at this time of year, and frequently do so in wood piles or heavy brush. If you are lighting a bonfire, please check all wood, scrub and leaves for hibernating hedgehogs as they will not wake up, even when moved. Unfortunately, stray animals sometimes bear the brunt of Halloween pranks. If you witness an animal being subjected to cruel treatment, please notify your local law enforcement representative immediately. Once you’re happy that your pets are safe, secure and comfortable, all that’s left to do is to get out there, creep it real and trick or treat yo’self!!