The ISPCA is reminding pet owners not to turn Halloween activities into horror stories for their pets.
As celebrations take place tonight and over the coming weekend, people are being asked to take extra care to safeguard not only domestic pets but wildlife too.
The frightening effects of fireworks, bonfires and the hazards of chocolates and Halloween decorations are just some of the things to watch out for this week.
ISPCA Public Relations Manager Carmel Murray said: “While we all enjoy the festivities of Halloween, many pets and wildlife will find this time of year terrifying.
“It is important that they have a secure place to hide indoors if they are frightened by the noises of fireworks and trick-or-treaters calling to the door. Leaving the lights low, and playing the radio or television can help drown out some of the sounds as it can be a stressful time for them.
“It is also important our pets are kept safe in a secure room where they cannot dart out an open door. If your pet manages to escape, it is important they are wearing an ID tag plus they should be microchipped, which is a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies once they are 12 weeks old.
“Pets that have been found will be scanned for a microchip which holds the pet owners contact details so it is important this information is kept up to date”.
Carmel added: “Halloween can also be a dangerous time for our wildlife so it is important to check under wood, scrub and leaves for hibernating hedgehogs before lighting any bonfires. Sadly stray animals can fall victim to abuse or cruel Halloween pranks so if you witness any animal cruelty, contact your local Garda station immediately and report it to the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515”.
Other safety tips for pet owners include:
- Dogs and cats should be kept away from sweets and Halloween decorations. Chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to pets, as are any sweets containing the sugar substitute xylitol. 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.
- Outdoor pets including small mammals or birds should also be brought indoors into a secure garage or shed where they can be secure from any loud noise or fireworks. You can also cover hutches or cages with blankets to act as sound-proofing.
- Horses, ponies and donkeys should also be microchipped, and those that live in areas with a considerable amount of Halloween-related noise should be securely stabled to prevent them from escaping or hurting themselves.
- Costumes: Not all pets will tolerate wearing costumes and it may cause them undue stress. Only dress up your pet for Halloween if you know they enjoy it.