Looking After Your Pet This Halloween
Halloween can be an incredibly fun time for the entire family, which for animal lovers, of course extends to their companion animals. As an important part of the family, you want to ensure that your pet can enjoy the festivities too.
One of the key aspects to consider is how your pet handles fireworks. Whilst they are a staple to many Halloween celebrations and help create that festive atmosphere, these can be very stress-inducing for animals. Animals kept outdoors during firework season can be injured by fireworks or may become so frightened that they cause themselves injury. The best place for your pet to be during firework season (or in thundery conditions) is indoors at home with you.
Take a look at some of our tips to help your pet handle fireworks and see them safely through the Halloween period:
- Make sure your animal is microchipped and has an ID tag – we recommend that dogs, cats and rabbits are microchipped when welcomed into your family. Microchipping dogs is a legal requirement and important part of responsible pet ownership. Microchips are especially important around this time of the year as it will help identify your pet if they flee your home due to fear of fireworks and other noises.
- If you are a dog owner, make sure your four-legged friend gets his or hers daily dose of exercise during daylight hours before any firework displays begin.
- Pull the curtains after dusk and keep a television or radio switched on. In addition to possible fireworks outside, the noise of doorbells, scary costumes and screaming children can be very distressing for pets.
- Provide a suitable hiding spot for your pet if they need to resort to it such as under or behind furniture. Sometimes it is recommended to put your dog in a crate as containment is the best way to reduce the amount of stress your dog experiences. Give your dog a cosy blanket and some of its favourite toys to comfort it.
- Try to make sure that your pet isn’t left alone if distressed however, if it looks to you for reassurance, we recommend carrying on as if nothing is out of the ordinary as this will help normalise the situation for your pet. Pets are incredibly intuitive and if you react adversely to the situation, they may feed off your anxiety.
- If you are planning a firework display in your garden, it is best to make your neighbours aware in case they may have pets.
- If your pet is very afraid of fireworks, we recommend chatting to the USPCA veterinary team as there are a variety of medications and treatments that can help with this. Sometimes these medications can take up to a week for the pet to feel the effects, so it is best to be well prepared and speak to the vets in advance of Halloween night. In helping pet owners prepare for Halloween, the USPCA Veterinary team are offering Halloween advice clinics from the 18th-22nd of October. Booking is essential so please call 028 3025 1000 to secure a slot. The USPCA Pet Supplies Shop also stocks a range of products to help such as ‘Thundershirts’ which hug the dog tightly to help make them feel more secure and less anxious. The Shop also stocks ‘Calming Spot on’ and Pet Remedy wipes, sprays and diffusers, all of which are clinically proven to reduce anxiety during stressful situations.
- It may also be possible to desensitise your pet to the effects of noisy environments, although this takes some time and commitment. Recording of fireworks are available - play these initially at a low volume while reassuring your dog and rewarding them for calm behaviour, and then gradually increase the volume, while ensuring that they do not become stressed.
Signs of stress in dogs includes panting, barking, whining, pacing around and shivering.
In addition to the fear of fireworks, there are also some other important hazards to keep in mind for your pet’s health this Halloween:
Sweets and Chocolate
With lots of trick-or-treating to be done, it’s safe to say that there is usually an abundance of sweets and chocolate around the house at Halloween. Unfortunately, these can be poisonous to our furry friends so it’s extremely important to ensure they are out of our pet’s way. Raisins can also be toxic for some dogs. It’s important to make sure your children are aware of the dangers of sharing their treats with the family pets and know to dispose of all sweetie wrappers as they are choking hazards. If your pet has ingested something harmful, please seek veterinary advice immediately.
Costumes may seem like a fun idea however it is really important to ensure that your pet is comfortable and safe. It is best to avoid costumes that use elastic bands and head accessories as these can obscure your pet’s vision - if they appear to be showing any signs of distress or discomfort, please remove the costume immediately. Some costumes may also contain choking hazards for pets.
Be mindful of some of your smaller spook-tacular decorations as these could be potential chewing or choking hazards for your pet.
Candles are a key component to creating that spooky Halloween atmosphere but just make sure you don’t leave any candles or lanterns within your pet’s reach as they may see them as a fun new toy to play with.
Whether you enjoying fireworks, dunking for apples, eating lots of sweets, or binging on the latest horror movies, we wish you and your entire family (pets included), a very happy and safe Halloween!Back