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Vet Clinic, Keeping Your Pets Safe Through Halloween

Friday, 16 October 2009

Halloween is only two weeks away and now is the time to get pets prepared for it.

Liam Moriarty, Our Vet!
Liam Moriarty originally from Celbridge qualified from UCD Veterinary College 2001. He has worked in a number of veterinary practices in the UK and Ireland prior to establishing Hermitage Veterinary Clinic in 2005.

He has an interest in all pets and has two dogs "Robin" a golden retriever and "Bobo" a border collie. Liam (and the two dogs) can be found most days at Hermitage Veterinary Clinic in Lucan and is available for consultation by appointment!

Sophie the dog, Hates Halloween!

Halloween is great fun for adults and children alike as we dress up and celebrate it. However it's a nightmare for our pets who are left distressed and anxious as a result of the levels of noise Halloween creates. Today Liam will be telling us how to keep our pets safe and sound through Halloween.

Would some pets be more affected than others?
All pets are affected by Halloween. About 20% of pets show severe anxiety related to fireworks at Halloween. Pets may show fear by trembling, hiding, barking or meowing. Dogs and cats can run blindly and sometimes can be destructive or aggressive when frightened.

Any advice for how to help pets cope with the Halloween night?
Make sure they have somewhere to hide
One important thing to do is to make sure that distressed animals have a place to hide where they feel secure. Use blankets / old duvets in a cubby hole for dogs and try to provide someplace high up for cats.

Keep noise levels up in the house
Also keep the television and radio on, keep the volume quite high and try to keep the room quite dark.

Watch your own reactions
It's important to note that how you act yourself when fireworks go off can affect your pet's anxiety levels. It is best to appear unconcerned by noise. It is ok to quietly reassure an anxious pet but try not to overdo it as this can make them more anxious.

Is there anything we can give to pets that are very fearful?
There are a few options;
There is a food supplement called "Kalm-Aid" which you can buy at your vets and give for the run up to Halloween. It helps calm anxious pets, its not very expensive and is not a sedative.

There is also something called DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) and Feliway. These are plug in vaporizers that release a pheromone into the room. These pheromones help calm anxious animals.

What if my pet is terrified?
Sometimes when pets are extremely fearful they may need to be given anti-anxiety medication or sedatives by your vet. If this is the case the best thing to do is to bring your pet to the vet to make sure he/she is healthy and safe to have sedation.

Can getting your pet into a routine before Halloween help?
Yes it can. Try to get them out early in the day and exercised. Feed them in the afternoon. This means that they will be relaxed and sleepy in the evening.

Is there anything else we should make sure of as Halloween approaches?
Make sure your pet is in a safe secure area. A lot of pets get lost at Halloween because they are frightened, panic and run blindly when fireworks go off. Make sure that they have identification on their collars and have a microchip.

The DSPCA have also asked us to remember large animals and to please be vigilant about horses and other large animals that may be near bonfire locations.

Featured Aids
Kalm Aid

For more information on Liam, please visit