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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 15 April 2021

Your pets hate Halloween - here's how to make them feel better

It can be a very stressful and potentially dangerous time for your pets.

Source: Dave Chidley/PA

THE ISPCA has asked pet owners to ensure they protect their pets this Halloween.

Even the most placid pets can be terrified by the noise of fireworks and the charity has recommended that owners always have identification in the event of pet escapes.

“Pets can become terrified during the Halloween festivities but steps can be taken by pet owners to minimise any stress caused,” said ISPCA inspector Michael Keane.

Source: Malingering via Flickr

“When children are calling to your door, ensure your cat or dog will not wander out to the street by keeping them in a secure place in the house. You can leave the TV or radio on to reduce the noise of fireworks. Equine owners should keep their animals securely stabled.”

The ISPCA has these tips for you to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween:

Cats and dogs

  • In anxious pets, stress can be minimised with the use of dog-appeasing pheromones which you can get advice on from your vet. 
  • If children will be calling at the door, make sure your pets are securely confined so they can’t get out or react negatively to scary costumes (it happens).
  • Pets should have somewhere to hide where they feel secure if scared by loud noses so a quiet room in the house with curtains and music is an idea.
  • Keep pets away from anything dangerous or flammable, from decorations and especially from sweets and chocolate.
  • 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.
  • Anxiety in the animal can be reduced by altering feeding regimes. Feeding later in the evening will encourage the animal to eat during what are anxiety creating periods.
  • Licking objects such as Kongs filled with peanut butter will help reduce stress.
  • Playing with your pets can be effective in reducing stress if they are up for a game. If not, do not try to force them.

Source: Shizuo Kambayashi/PA

Smaller animals

  • 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.
  • Provide increased amounts of bedding for extra security.

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Source: Five Furlongs via Flickr


  • Horse, ponies and donkeys that live in areas where there is a considerable amount of Halloween related noise should be securely stabled to prevent them doing damage to themselves.

Unfortunately, stray animals also tend to bear the brunt of Halloween pranks and are often subjected to cruel treatment at this time. If you witness this, notify your local gardaí immediately and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515.

Read: ‘The house is so empty without him’: Derry family fear the worst after violent abduction of beloved dog>

Read: Guidelines banning cruelty to horses by traders introduced>

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