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Web of fear Fake Halloween cobwebs pose risks to pets and wildlife, top vet warns

They are the stuff of nightmares, not just for birds, but any small animals not strong enough to break free from their grasp.

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One of the country’s top vets is warning the public to keep dogs and cats away from fake cobwebs over the Halloween period.

The spooky strands have become a popular decoration on garden hedges and inside homes over the past number of years.

However they are the stuff of nightmares, not just for birds, but any small animals not strong enough to break free from their grasp.

Celebrity vet Pete Wedderburn said: “It’s possible and it’s common sense to keep cats and dogs away from the fake webs.

“Keep them out of the reach of clambering cats and chew-mad dogs!”

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) is also calling on the public to be aware of the dangers to wildlife around Halloween.

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They say that for small birds any kind of netting can be “as sticky as concrete and can act like fly traps where they become entangled in them."

Carmel Murray, an ISPCA spokesperson, said: “Fireworks can also cause harm to wild animal through loud noises, toxins and direct obstructions.

“Fireworks can cause birds to become disorientated. The birds fly at lower heights to avoid the fireworks and collided into homes and trees, resulting in their death.

“People who want to enjoy their holidays do not need to forgo all decorations. For Halloween, people can hang fake cobwebs up from inside their windows or use other decorations such as fake candles. This way the only ones who are spooked are the trick-or-treaters.”

The ISPCA recommends that pets are kept indoors during Halloween, nor should animals be dressed-up in costumes as many pets find this uncomfortable and stressful.

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Pets should not be brought trick-or-treating. Dogs can become distressed and confused by all the noise and activity with strange smells and loud bangs from fireworks.

“Don’t let animals near bonfires candles or other dangerous items as they could easily get burned or choke.

“It must also be ensured that they have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren't frightened by all of the noise and excitement and where they cannot escape through the constantly open door due to children trick-or-treating, “ explained Ms Murray.

“A quiet, inner room where they can't hear much of the noise from fireworks and loud bangs can help. Putting a radio or television on in the room can also be effective.

“When children are coming to the door to trick and treat, cats can quickly slip out the front door, and dogs sometimes try to bite unsuspecting kids, thinking that they're intruders.

“For everyone's safety, it's best to keep animals inside a bedroom or family room, away from all the commotion. Try and make sure that the dog isn’t left alone if it’s distressed.”

She added that animal owners should ensure that their pets have identification attached to their collars.

With regards to other animals such as rabbits and other caged animals are safely secured in a garage or outbuilding, away from the sight and sound of fireworks.

As an alternative, the cage can be covered with thick fabric to muffle the sound, making sure there is sufficient ventilation. Horses should be securely stabled or moved to a different location during fireworks displays in the area.

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