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Halloween - A Real Nightmare For Animals

17 October 2019

Halloween. It’s that time of year where we get sucked into the pretence of nightmares – the spooky stories, the scary movies and the excitement of watching fireworks explode in the sky. Who doesn’t enjoy Halloween? Unfortunately, for animals it can mean living a real nightmare.

Many animals find fireworks particularly scary but with their acute hearing, loud blasts of noise in the sky may also cause them pain in their ears. Here a few simple things you can do to help animals deal with fireworks:

Small Pets 

Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds all need to be treated with special care as they are easily frightened. The Blue Cross advise that pet owners should follow these precautions: 

  • Hutches/cages should be brought indoors or placed in a garage or shed. 
  • Give your pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe.
  • Cover any hutches with thick blankets or duvets to block out sounds but make sure there is enough air getting in.

Dogs and Cats 

The RSPCA suggest:

  • Walking your dog earlier in the day before fireworks go off. 
  • Keeping cats and dogs inside, don’t tie them up outside.
  • Close all windows and doors to muffle sounds.
  • Ensure pets are wearing a form of ID in case they do get frightened and run away.
  • Try not to comfort distressed pets as this may make the problem worse.
  • Avoid taking them to a fireworks display. Even if your pet doesn’t bark or whine at the noise, it still doesn’t mean they’re happy. 

Livestock and Horses

All livestock are liable to be frightened by fireworks however horses and ponies are more at risk. They can get panicked by the screeches and flashes of light and there is a real risk of serious injury if they blunder into fences or through gates. 

The Blue Cross advise to:

  • Look at local newspapers and listen to the local radio to find out where displays will be held in your area.
  • Keep horses in their familiar environment, in a normal routine. If they’re usually put in a pen, then keep them there. If they are normally out in the field, keep them there as long as they are secure and away from a fireworks display.
  • If you know your horse reacts badly to loud noises speak to your vet or consider moving your horse for the night.
  • Don’t take the risk of riding when you think fireworks might be set off.
  • Playing music on a radio positioned outside the stable can often mask sudden noise, distract attention and be soothing. It is a good idea to get your horse used to the radio before the firework display.
  • Make sure that you have public liability in place as part of your farm insurance. If your horse is frightened and escapes, causing an accident, then you could be held liable.