May 14, 2004, VANCOUVER – May 24 is Victoria Day and while this day is exciting for many people, it is a terrifying, often dangerous, time for many pets warns The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).


“Pets who are frightened by loud noises and brilliant flashes of light are often terrified of fireworks displays,” says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director.


“Some animals literally become panic stricken and will try to hide or, if given the chance, to run off. Others will become nervous or anxious. Animals who suffer from these displays need to be protected and kept as comfortable as possible,” suggests Hickey.

According to HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan, it is important to plan ahead to ensure your pets’ safety and comfort during these upsetting exhibitions. Two of his own rescue dogs are terrified of fireworks and thunder.

“Select a safe place in your home where your animal companions will be shielded from the bright explosions and where they will feel secure,” advises O’Sullivan. “If possible, be on hand to ensure that your pets don’t injure themselves during the fireworks displays and so that you can keep them as comfortable as possible. Keeping your animals in a room where they won’t easily see or hear the fireworks and where you can keep them distracted by playing with them is one way to help your ‘best friends’ overcome this trying time,” recommends O’Sullivan.

The following are ways that you can protect your pets from fireworks displays that occur throughout the summer.

Simple Ways to Help Pets Deal With Fireworks Displays

  1. Prepare a safe, comfortable place in your home for your pets. Inner rooms sheltered from the sounds and bright lights of the fireworks are often good places. Pets used to being in a crate or pet carrier may feel secure in these during the commotion.
  2. Keep pets indoors well before, during and well after the fireworks displays are over.
  3. Pets allowed outside with their human guardians during these displays should be on a leash or in a carrier and they should be equipped with good identification.
  4. Take your dog for a walk, on a leash, prior to the fireworks so that he/she has a chance to relieve herself.
  5. Try to keep your pet’s mind off of the fireworks by playing with him/her. Reward appropriate behaviour but do not praise your pet for inappropriate or stress-related behaviours. You don’t want to reinforce fearful behaviour. Be sympathetic to your pet’s situation and act normal – even upbeat.
  6. Protect pets from fireworks.
  7. If your pet’s fear is serious enough, discuss it with your veterinarian.

Michael O’Sullivan wants to remind people that many pets are also terrified of thunderstorms and that they’ll need help, comfort and protecting during these times too.

“Thunderstorms and lightning can occur at a moment’s notice. Please take the time to have a plan of action that can be quickly put in place to ensure that your animal companions are safe during these storms,” states O’Sullivan.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

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