Planning a spook-free Halloween for your pet

Halloween can be a scary time for pets – we give you some tips to make it less freaky for your furry friend
Every Halloween, welfare groups and vets around Ireland see lost pets who have run away from noise; and pets injured by fireworks, or worse still, by intentional pranks. Keep them safe this Halloween by following a few common sense steps.

Keep your pet indoors this Halloween

Make sure you keep your pet indoors during peak trick and treating hours. All the noise and costume-clad kids can be very scary for them. If your pet happens to be a black cat you should probably keep it indoors for the run up to Halloween until it’s all over, as they can be especially at risk from cruel pranks. In fact, some shelters don’t adopt out black cats during the month of October as a precautionary measure.

Keep them snug and serene in a secure room

Keep your pet safe is a secure room. It’s best to use a room that’s as far away as possible from the constant ding dong of the front door, squealing trick or treating children, flashing lights and scary noise of fireworks (and this is supposed to be fun!). Make up a warm, cosy bed; leave the light on; draw curtains; leave food and water and a litter tray; play familiar sound of TV, radio or other music. Keep a close eye on them while they’re in their safe Halloween haven.

Pet calming tricks

For most pets, being somewhere secure, quiet, warm and comfortable is enough to keep them calm at Halloween; but for those who really get terrified, you should talk to your vet about using a spray or other treatment. These work best if you start them a week or two in advance of Halloween (and other noisy events). If you don’t want to use medication, you could try the Thundershirt — it works by exerting constant, gentle pressure on the dog or cat, causing relaxation. Check it out here
You can also buy cd’s to help your pet get used to loud noises like fireworks, but you’ll need to start using these a few weeks before Halloween to de-sensitise them.

No pet trick or treat

When the kids come home with the loot, make sure your pet doesn’t get its paws (or more like jaws) on it. Chocolate can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Sweets with the artificial sweetener, xylitol, can also cause problems.

Identification is a must

If you are unlucky enough to have a Halloween run-away; it’s vital they have identification so they can be returned to you. A collar with a name tag is a good start, but that can easily get lost, so microchipping is advisable (and the law from 2015). See last week’s blog for more on this (

Happy Halloween!