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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Are you a dog owner? Here's some advice on keeping them safe this Halloween

With lots of loud noises going off, many people will be keeping a closer eye on their dogs and other pets.

SONY DSC Dogs Trust Dogs Trust

HALLOWEEN CAN BE a fun time for people, but a scary one for pets.

With loud noises such as bangers and fireworks going off in the next couple of weeks, many people will be keeping a closer eye on their dogs and other pets.

Dogs Trust has put together some advice for dog owners to consider as we approach 31 October.

The organisation notes that if a dog hasn’t been “safely exposed to many different experiences, including loud noises, during their essential socialisation period, they can find it difficult to cope with novel sounds like fireworks”.

Certain breeds of dogs can be more sensitive to noise than others, and dogs that are generally anxious or nervous might also find it harder to cope.

Halloween leaflet Dogs Trust Dogs Trust

Here are some tips:

  • At very noisy times around Halloween provide your dog with a safe hiding place (a suitably-sized cardboard box will do) in their favourite room of the house and close the curtains;
  • If it’s not possible to black-out your windows, consider taping black bags to them;
  • Turn up the volume of your television or radio to drown out the firework noises;
  • Don’t shut any internal doors, as your dog may feel trapped;
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in the house, as they may panic and injure themselves;
  • A stodgy high-carbohydrate meal (for example, with well-cooked rice or pasta) in the late afternoon may help make your dog feel more sleepy and calm during the evening;
  • Make sure they go out for a walk and go to the toilet before it gets dark and the fireworks start;
  • Keep your dog busy with interactive toys such as those that can be stuffed with treats or make your own by plaiting old towels and adding treats as you plait;
  • Alternatively, consider asking a friend or relative who lives in a rural area that will have little or no fireworks on Halloween night if your dog can sleep over;

Dogs Trust has more advice on its website.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has also put together some tips for pet owners, including:

  • 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;
  • Steps can be taken to minimise the stress caused to pets by training them in the run up to Halloween. This can involve playing sounds of fireworks at lower volumes and rewarding your pet for calm behaviour, slowly increasing the volume leading up to Halloween. Consult your vet for advice;
  • Anxiety in your animals can be reduced by altering feeding regimes. Feeding later in the evening will encourage the animal to eat when anxious;
  • Playing with your pets can be effective in reducing stress if they are up for a game. If not, don’t try to force them.

Read: Illegal dog breeding on an industrial scale is turning Ireland into the “puppy farm capital”

Read: Dog owners in Clare and Limerick warned about poisoned meat left along canal

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