Dogs Trust, Ireland's largest dog welfare charity, has highlighted the potential dangers that Halloween poses for our canine companions. The charity has seen an alarming spike in the number of dog owners seeking advice on how to help their dogs cope with fireworks.
As many have reported, fireworks began much earlier this year, causing increased stress and worry for dogs. As fireworks tend to be sudden, unpredictable and bright, this combination can have a profoundly negative impact on some dogs, especially to those who may already be nervous.
The charity is urging the public to contact their local Garda station to report any instances of illegal fireworks being set off in their area.
Head of operations at Dogs Trust Ireland, Karla Dunne, said Halloween can be terrifying for some dogs. The charity recommends that your dog is well exercised before dark and is fed and given a toilet break before the fireworks begin.
"Most importantly, dogs should be indoors with lots of dog friendly activities to keep them occupied," she said. "Some dogs like to hide, so please allow them to stay where they feel safest and make it as cosy as possible for them, even if it’s something as simple as draping a duvet over the area.
"Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to interact calmly with your dog if they come to you for reassurance, especially if you can remain as relaxed as possible as this will in itself provide some comfort."
The charity has also put together several tips and tricks that dog owners can follow, to help ease the worry or fear that some dogs may be experiencing:
Try to settle your dog before the fireworks start – if your dog is in familiar, safe surroundings it will help them cope with the noise.
Provide a safe hiding place – at noisy times around Halloween, make sure your dog has somewhere safe to go in their favourite room, perhaps under the table. Close the curtains, turn the lights on, and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises. Try throwing a blanket over the table to make them feel more secure.
Make sure your house and garden are secure during the fireworks as fear may make your dog try to escape. Make sure your dog's microchip details are up to date too, just in case they do manage to get out.
Be extra careful when opening the door as your dog may try to escape; if possible, try to ensure there is another closed door between your dog and your front door and get in the habit of clipping on your dog’s lead before opening the front door.
Dogs Trust Ireland is also reminding dog owners to keep treats and sweets away from their furry friends. Chocolate, raisins, grapes and the sweetener xylitol are toxic to dogs.
If you suspect your dog has eaten anything they shouldn’t have, please call your local veterinary practice immediately and always store the out of hours emergency number on your phone. However, this doesn’t mean dogs have to miss out on all the fun. To give you dog a happy Halloween, let them enjoy a long-lasting chew or a feeding toy packed with tasty goodies, which will help keep them busy and calm.
For more tips and tricks on how to keep your dog safe and happy this Halloween, see www.DogsTrust.ie/Halloween2020