Hedgehog - Photo by Mark Fletcher @ Flickr

Halloween is a fun celebration, full of fancy dress, fireworks, bonfires and plenty of treats. For many animals unfortunately it can be the complete opposite. Pet Insurance Ireland has compiled a list of tips for keeping your pets and other animals safe this Halloween.

  • If your pet becomes ill or is injured please seek veterinary advice straight away.
  • Many people celebrate Halloween at home with a bonfire and fireworks. Make sure if you do, that there are no animals nearby, and watch out for any fireworks, sparks or stray rockets, as they could start a fire.
  • Always check under the bonfire before lighting, as hedgehogs may be hibernating. Even if you have checked the day before, they could have crawled in overnight.
  • Take dogs for a walk whilst it’s still light, as less likely to encounter fireworks, bonfires and people trick & treating.
  • Keep your pets indoors once the bonfire & fireworks start, as fire and loud bangs frighten animals. Making sure doors and windows are closed, so that should they become scared, they are then unable to escape.
  • Lock the cat flap & place litter trays down for cats, whilst they are locked in doors.
  • Make sure all pets are microchiped. If they do manage to escape, animals are often disorientated and scared due to the load bangs, fire & increased amount of strangers. If your pet does become lost, microchiping helps increase the chances of you and your pet being reunited.
  • Create a calm and safe environment for your pet. Close the curtains to reduce the flashing bright lights from outside, play some music or put the TV on to drown out the noise of the trick and treaters and the load bangs of the fireworks.
  • Keep sweets & fancy dress toys out of your pets reach, as they may ingest them and suffer blockages and or poisoning.
  • Place candles and Jack O Lanterns safely away from animals as they can easily be knocked over, especially when an animal is frightened.
  • Leave dogs at home when visiting firework/bonfire displays or when trick or treating. It may be fun for us, but it’s actually terrifying for most animals.
  • Bring rabbits and guinea pigs indoors or into a disused garage (car fumes are dangerous to animals in a used garage).
  • If you are unable to bring your rabbits and guinea pigs indoors, make sure they have an area within their hutch to hide. Adding extra bedding material and covering the enclosure will also help them feel safer and reduce the noise levels.
  • Remember birds are scared by loud noises and fire too. Keeping them in a safe place away from any danger and noise and covering their cage and or aviary to dampen the noise, and shut out the light, helps them too.

If you have any concerns regarding keeping your pet safe over the Halloween period, please contact a vet for advice. This list although researched thoroughly, is not exhaustive and is not intended to take the place of expert advice.

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