Halloween is a time of great fun for children and adults but can be dangerous for animals.
Sunbeam Vets in Blackpool and the Kinsale Road have warned particularly about the risk sweet treats pose to household pets.
“Halloween is full of sweets but they can be extremely harmful and dangerous to our pets,” the clinic advised.
“Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs, the darker the chocolate the more toxic. When ingested by your pet it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, racing pulse, and seizures.
“Goodies containing xylitol are also very dangerous. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is showing up in all kinds of products, including sugar-free candy, gum, mints, and baked goods. A small amount of xylitol can cause a rapid and dangerous blood sugar drop in dogs, as well as acute liver failure.”
The extra activity and noise at this time of year, including fireworks and bonfires, can also be highly stressful for animals.
“The ISPCA would recommend walking your dog earlier than usual and keep on a lead at all times to avoid evening festivities if possible,” ISPCA Public Relations Manager Carmel Murray said.
"We also strongly recommend that you have all your pet(s) microchipped. It gives you the best chance of being reunited with your beloved pet in the event that they escape or get loose."
To reduce the risk of your pet escaping when people call to the door, ensure that they are in a secure room of the house where they can’t slip out an open door. You can leave a TV or radio on to drown out some of the noise of fireworks and children calling to the door.
If your pet is truly terrified of fireworks and you are concerned about them, you may want to consult with your vet in advance and ask them about training or medication to help with your pets’ stress.
Small animals and birds normally housed outside should ideally be moved into a garage or shed. If this is not possible cover hutches or cages with blankets or carpet to act as sound-proofing. You can also provide increased amounts of bedding to give small animals an extra sense of security.
Halloween is a dangerous time for Irish wildlife as well, so do your part to keep hedgehogs and other animals safe. Hedgehogs are beginning to hibernate at this time of year and frequently do so in wood piles or heavy brush. If you are lighting a bonfire, please check all wood, scrub and leaves for hibernating hedgehogs.
Horses, ponies and donkeys that live in areas where there is a considerable amount of Halloween related noise should be securely stabled to prevent them from escaping or doing damage to themselves.
Unfortunately, stray animals can sometimes bear the brunt of Halloween pranks.
If you witness an animal being subjected to cruel treatment, please notify your local Gardaí immediately and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515.