May 20, 2005, VANCOUVER – This weekend is the Victoria Day Weekend and The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is concerned that many pets will be frightened and even lost and injured as a result of the fireworks displays.

"The Victoria Day Weekend is synonymous with fireworks displays that are held across Canada," says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. "And while the displays can be enjoyable for humans, they terrify many pets and other animals."

"Animal companions who are frightened of loud noises and bright flashes react in any of a number of ways," says Michael O'Sullivan, HSC Executive Director. "Some pets become anxious or nervous while other are terrified and try to escape – running the risk of becoming lost or injuring themselves," suggests O'Sullivan. "These animals need comforting and to be protected from potential harm."

The Humane Society of Canada has listed several ways that people can help their animal companions deal with fireworks displays and wants to remind everyone that fireworks displays are common on long weekends from Victoria Day to Labour Day and that thunderstorms often have similar effects on pets that fireworks displays have.

Ways to Comfort and Protect Pets from Thunderstorms & Fireworks Displays

  • Prepare a safe place in your house where your pets will be comfortable and safe. This might include an inner room in the house that is sheltered from the sights and sounds. Animals used to being in a crate or pet carrier might feel secure here.
  • Pets who are outside when fireworks displays or thunderstorms occur should be on a leash or in a carrier. They should also be equipped with effective identification such as a personalized ID tag such as the HSC Pet Recovery Team tags or microchip – preferably both.
  • Keep dogs and cats indoors well before, during and after (for a while) fireworks displays and storms.
  • Take your dog for a walk, on a leash, prior to fireworks displays or storms that are forecast so that he/she has a chance to relieve him/herself.
  • Protect your pets from fireworks.
  • Try helping your pets deal with the fireworks and storms by taking their mind off these frightening displays. Try playing with them. Reward appropriate behaviour, but don’t praise your pets for any inappropriate or stress-related behaviour. You don’t want to reinforce fearful behaviour. Be sympathetic to your pets’ situation. Act normal, even upbeat, about the situation.
  • If your pet’s phobia is serious enough discuss it with your veterinarian.

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.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

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