Keeping pets safe at Halloween: video with Pete the Vet on TV3’s Ireland AM

Read my latest online piece in the Telegraph or watch the video below from TV3’s Ireland AM vet spot to learn about the two big problems for pets around Halloween.

1) Pets being injured or running away

The basic rule is that all pets should be kept indoors at night in the fireworks season – if a dog or a cat gets a bad fright from a firework, they can be injured, or they may bolt in fear, running off for miles.
Message 1: keep pets indoors even if you think your garden is secure. The incidence of lost pets reaches a peak around Halloween.
Message 2: even if you keep your pet indoors, make sure that they (dogs and cats) are microchipped, registered on a database, and wearing an ID tag, in case they escape

2) Dogs being terrified of fireworks noises

There’s an additional problem that many dogs have a phobia about the sound of fireworks, becoming almost hysterical when they hear them,
pacing the rooms, howling, barking etc
What to do?

  • Sedatives: old fashioned answer, do not work very well but in an emergency, they can help. Talk to your vet about a prescription.
  • Get pets used to noises using specially designed soundtracks of fireworks – but this needs to be done many months in advance so too late this year
  • Set up a cosy den with a diffuser (herbal or pheromone) plugged into the wall with calming vapours

And there is a new product that may help a lot: the Thundershirt 

Other basic tips for getting pets through fireworks season:

  • Keep pets indoors and make sure you provide as calm an environment as possible
  • Avoid comforting pets because they will are rewarding them for acting scared, which will make them worse. Instead, praise and reward your pet if they are being calm.
  • Ensure pets are wearing ID tags and are microchipped in case they escape.
  • Draw the curtains and if pets are used to sounds from the TV or radio switch them on (not too loudly).
  • Set up a cosy den in an out of the way place, with a comfy bed,
  • Rabbits or small animals kept outside should be brought indoors or make sure their hutch is turned to face the wall.
  • Try not to leave your pet alone if they are stressed at fireworks time. Try not to be cross with them if they get agitated. Telling off a scared animal will just make them much worse.

Watch the video below for more tips

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