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Soothing music and safe hiding places - Tips to help keep pets happy during fireworks

Halloween can be a frightening time for pets.

Image: Shutterstock/Lindsay Helms

HALLOWEEN IS ALMOST upon us and the fireworks have already started in many areas across the country.

Animal welfare organisations have urged members of the public not to use fireworks – which are illegal in Ireland – as they are not only dangerous to those using them, but also frightening for pets. 

Dogs Trust said dogs can hear much higher frequency sounds so the “whizz, pop and bang of fireworks can be terrifyingly overwhelming for many dogs”.

The charity said research has revealed that while almost three-quarters of fearful dogs recover by the next morning following firework exposure, recovery can take up to one day in 10% and up to one week in 12%. In a minority of cases it can take months for the dog to recover.

Dogs Trust has put together their top tips to help keep your dog happy this Halloween:

  • Make sure dogs are wearing collar and ID tags and their microchip details are up to date in case of escape;
  • Prepare tasty dog friendly Halloween treats, such as food filled interactive toys in advance and consider freezing them to make them longer lasting;
  • Create a cosy den or area your dog can hide safely and comfortably;
  • Walk and feed your dog before the fireworks begin
  • Close the curtains, turn the lights on and put on some soothing music to drown out the firework noises and flashes – you’ll find some dedicated dog playlists on Spotify, like this one;
  • Before answering the front door to trick or treaters, make sure your dog is behind a firmly closed door inside to prevent any escape attempts;
  • Dogs may not recognise people in costumes, so don’t force them to receive any unwanted attention, even from family members as they may react in fear;
  • Contact your vet if your dog is really struggling with fireworks. 

The ISPCA also asked the public to be mindful of the wellbeing of animals, stating that farm animals and wildlife, as well as pets, can be frightened or harmed by fireworks. 

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“We would ask those considering acquiring or using illegal fireworks to think about the impact it has on others – on the elderly and infirm, on our vital emergency services, and on our pets. And to ask themselves, is it really worth it,” ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said.

The charity also asked petowners to consider that pets may find wearing Halloween costumes uncomfortable and stressful. Festive-themed bandanas should be used instead as they are less restrictive. 

And of course, don’t feed them any sweets – chocolate is highly toxic to pets as are any sweets containing the sugar substitute xylitol. 

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