Scaredy cats | 

Animal experts share tips on how to avoid spooking pets this Halloween night

Halloween is a stressful time for cats and dogs

8 week old puppies Casper and Spike at Dogs Trust Ireland. This Halloween the charity is appealing to owners not to take their dog Ôtrick or treatingÕ on what can be the worst night of the year for many dogs. © © Fran Veale

Halloween fireworks

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Spooky season is fine for humans to have a scare but owners have been reminded that Halloween is a stressful time for cats and dogs.

With fireworks and trick-or-treaters knocking on the door, Dogs Trust has given some Halloween advice to follow.

“Dogs’ hearing is approximately four times more sensitive than us humans and they can hear much higher frequency sounds than people, so you can imagine how loud the whizz, pop and bang of fireworks can be for dogs!” the charity says.

"With lots of different sounds, sights and smells around that only appear once a year, it can be very unsettling, so it’s important we watch out for them during spooky season.”

Dogs Trust tells owners to keep costumes off their pooch: “It could make them uncomfortable, overheat or feel worried.”

The trick-or-treat haul should be kept away from dogs too, the charity says.

"Chocolate, raisins, grapes and the sweetener xylitol are some of the foods that are toxic to dogs.

"If you suspect your dog has eaten anything they shouldn’t, please call your local veterinary practice immediately and always store their out of hours emergency number on your phone.”

The house should be secure as dogs may bolt if they get scared, Dogs Trust says.

"Be sure your dog’s microchip details are up to date and they are wearing a collar and ID tag, so you can be reunited quickly, should your dog get out.”

Pet owners should also take a look at hemp to calm animals down this Halloween, a CBD business owner says.

Halloween fireworks

"With fireworks going off, a lot of pets can get extremely anxious,” David Hartigan, CEO of Hemp Heros told Newstalk yesterday.

“In addition to having a calming effect on animals, CBD is extremely safe for pets as it is non-toxic, non-addictive and non-intoxicating," he said.

The CEO said Hemp Heros’ products include CBD capsules, CBD drops and CBD infused ‘Pooch Butter’ that "are specially formulated for pets of all sizes".

Fireworks have a “devastating impact” on guide and assistance dogs, says Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

"Every Halloween our teams support a number of our Clients whose dogs have been adversely impacted by fireworks”, CEO Tim O’Mahoney recently told Newstalk.

"Not only is the impact on the dog heart-breaking but it’s devastating for the owner who must wait to be matched with another dog which can take many months."

Ulla Quayle also appeared on the radio show to share how her guide dog was forced to retire from the stress caused by fireworks two years ago.

Yesterday, Dublin Fire Brigade warned of people receiving potentially “catastrophic” injuries as a result of using fireworks this Halloween.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer John Guilfoyle told

"Halloween is traditionally our busiest night of the year, the biggest concentration of activity on Halloween evening concentrates from 6pm to just shortly after midnight.

“I do have to stress that the call volume on Halloween is far in excess of our normal call volumes and places a huge workload on our service.”

Mr Guilfoyle added that local authorities and Gardaí have been dismantling a number of firework stockpiles in the run up to Halloween.

"“We want to stress to people not to be using fireworks, we want to communicate the danger of fireworks, and this puts additional pressure on busy accident and emergency departments. Fireworks are illegal which means you can’t be certain of any particular standard,” he said.

"They can detonate unexpectedly and cause anything from minor to severe burns to loss of limbs or sight, so they can be catastrophic injuries that don’t have to happen.”

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