Pete discusses how best to protect our pets this Halloween

This week on Ireland AM, Pete discusses how best to protect our pets this Halloween.

How to help pets deal with fireworks

Dogs, in particular, are often stressed by the explosive sounds of bangers and rockets. Tips for helping include:

  • A cosy out-of-the-way den for the dog to hide in
  • Plug-in pheromones close to the dog’s bed (“Adaptil”)
  • Strategic use of calming medication.

For cats, there is a greater physical risk of harm because they are out and about on their own.

Every year at Halloween, there are reports of incidents where cats are deliberately harmed. They are shot, beaten, thrown on bonfires, they have fireworks tied to their tails, and they suffer many other forms of cruelty. See this news report from last weekend.

The best answer is to keep cats indoors during the hours of darkness at this time of year

Why do people pick on cats?

In the Middle Ages, cats were seen as spooky creatures, and even nowadays, many people are frightened of cats. I suspect that the ratio of cat lovers to cat non-likers is around 50:50. But cats are becoming more popular.

Cats can make exceptionally pleasant companions, They are more independent than dogs and for people living busy working lives, a cat can fit more easily into a household. “Cat only” vet clinics are one of the latest innovations in the veterinary world

My plea to cat-dislikers is to try to tone down their dislike: by being disparaging about cats, they may inadvertently encourage real cat-haters to carry out horrific acts of cruelty. This is one of the reasons why the “cat being shot” episode on Love/Hate was so upsetting: there was the worry that it might encourage others to carry out similar violence to cats.

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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