Halloween: Keep pets inside and ensure farm animals are in a secure field or shed

Halloween can be a frightening time for animals, as sudden loud noises and flashing lights from fireworks and bangers can be very disturbing for them, Minister of State Pippa Hackett has warned.

The senator has urged people to keep their pets inside on Halloween night and to make sure farm animals are secure.

She says that while Covid-19 restrictions this year will no doubt put a damper on many Halloween celebrations, pet and animal owners should still remain vigilant.

“Every year pets go missing, which is not only distressing for their owners, but puts huge pressure on veterinary clinics and animal rescue centres at this time of year, so it’s important for owners to take care of their animals,” the senator said.

“During Halloween, it’s best to keep animals sheltered from the noise and the light. Bring cats and dogs indoors, or somewhere secure.

Even larger animals can become anxious, so animals such as horses and donkeys, and even cattle and sheep, should be in a secure field or shed.

“As animal owners, we are duty-bound to keep animals in an environment that does not threaten their welfare, in accordance with the Animal Health and Welfare Act of 2013.”

Minister Hackett added that it is a busy time of year for animal welfare volunteers and staff, so the public should “try to ease their workload” by being responsible for their animals.

‘Halloween can be a scary time for our furry friends’

The Irish Society Preventing Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) is reminding the public to be aware of the dangers Halloween poses to the wellbeing of all animals.

ISPCA public relations manager Carmel Murray issued AgriLand advice for taking care of pets and livestock this spooky season.

Fireworks, costumes and sweets all pose dangers to animals.

Murray says that some pets “can be terrified by the sound of fireworks” and so it is important to ensure they are kept safe in a secure area where they cannot “dart out an open door from the noise”.

The ISPCA advises that dogs are walked in the early morning and before dark to keep them away from fireworks.

“When there are fireworks being set off, try keeping the lights low and play a radio or television in the background to help drown out some of the noise outside,” Murray says.

When it comes to Halloween costumes, some pets may find wearing them stressful, according to Murray. She recommends considering a “festive-themed bandana” instead of a costume that is more 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.

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

The ISPCA also warns to 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,” Murray continued.