Halloween is a time of anarchic fun and high jinks for humans, but for household pets it can be a truly terrifying time of year.
It’s a sad fact that this year, as every year, dogs will run away from home due to the sheer terror created by fireworks.
And unfortunately it is not always a happy ending, as Fiona Squibb of the Louth SPCA told the paper.
“Sometimes dogs never return.”
Fiona is urging pet owners, especially dog owners, to be extra vigilant this Halloween season.
“It seems that bangers are getting louder and louder. And it’s not just fireworks, chidlren and are running up and down streets and knocking on doors. Dogs don’t understand that it is Halloween and it can really frighten them. A dog’s reaction is to get away from this perceived threat, and sometimes they just keeping running.”
Fiona has a number of tips for keeping pets safe over the season.
“The number one thing is the keep the animals indoors. After that it is about making them feel secure. while not rewarding anxious behaviour.
“Make sure they have a comfy bed and maybe give them a treat to occupy them. I’d also turn on a radio or television to help dilute the noise of fireworks and chidlren knocking at the door.
“It is especially terrifying for older dogs, while young dogs sometimes cope, older dogs can become extremely agitated.
“It’s important however for humans to behave as normal and not to overly comfort an animal and reward anxious behaviour.”
There are a number of treatments available, including DAP (dog appeasing pheramons), which diffuse calming scents throughout the home, as well as diffusers, collars and even tablets.
“We find that they useful in calming the animals.”
“Cats will generally go and find somewhere to hide and ride it out, but if you have outside cats try to get them in doors and makes sure they have a litter tray, and make sure they have access to food. ”
“I would just urge people to be prepared for Halloween, and that way they can avoid heartbreak. “