DERRY HALLOWEEN: Fireworks- tips for dog owners from USPCA, Dogs Trust & Council

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Here’s some advice for pet owners this weekend:

Make sure that your dog is well exercised and has had a toilet break, as well as feeding them beforehand in case they become unsettled and refuse food while the fireworks are taking place.

*Dogs can try to escape when they are scared, so make sure their house and garden are secure.

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*Close the curtains, turn the lights on and turn the volume up on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises.

People have been urged to keep their pets safe this Hallowe'en.People have been urged to keep their pets safe this Hallowe'en.
People have been urged to keep their pets safe this Hallowe'en.

*Don’t punish your dog for cowering or reacting as it will only intensify their fear.

*Owners should remain at home with their pet to prevent them from panicking and potentially sustaining an injury.

*Distract them by playing games or enjoying some reward-based training to keep their mind off the noises, however, if they just want to hide away then don’t force them.

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The advice comes from Derry City & Strabane District Council and the Dogs Trust.

Northern Ireland animal welfare charity, the USPCA, has also shared its advice for pet owners in a bid to help keep their companion animals safe during this time.

The vharity has highlighted that whilst Hallowe’en is often a very fun time for the entire family, the festivities involved can be distressing for pets – fireworks in particular. Signs of distress in your pet include panting, barking, whining, pacing around and shivering.

USPCA Development Manager, Colleen Tinnelly, said, “Halloween can be a really enjoyable time of the year however as pet owners, there are a few things to keep in mind to see your pet safely through the celebrations. Fireworks can often spook our pets so we would recommend keeping them indoors to help reduce anxiety and the chance of them escaping due to fright. It’s vital to ensure that their microchip details are accurate and up to date. Microchips are a legal requirement for dogs and an important part of responsible pet ownership – they also increase your chances of reuniting with your beloved pet should you be separated.

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“We would also recommend walking your dog earlier in the day, prior to any firework celebrations. During displays it’s important to provide your pet with a safe and comfortable space to help reduce fear and anxiety. Draw curtains, keep the television or radio on and a little louder than normal, and provide a suitable hiding spot for them to retreat to if needed. If your pet is severely affected by fireworks, our veterinary team can provide great advice and treatments to help,” added Colleen.

The USPCA also has also highlighted other areas to consider this Halloween:

* Sweets and Chocolate – These are toxic to our pets and must be kept out of their reach. It’s also important to ensure all wrappers etc. are disposed of as they are choking hazards. If your pet has ingested something harmful, please seek veterinary advice immediately.

* Pet Costumes – You may want to include your pet in the spooky celebrations however you must ensure your pet is comfortable and safe. It is best to avoid costumes that use elastic bands and head accessories as these can obscure your pet’s vision. If they appear to be showing any signs of distress or discomfort, please remove immediately.

*Decorations – these could be potential choking hazards for your pet

Should you require further advice, please contact the USPCA on 028 3025 1000.