VANCOUVER, May 16, 2003 - The arrival of warmer weather brings with it two things that are terrifying for some dogs, cats and other pets - thunderstorms and fireworks displays.


"The Victoria Day Weekend celebrations include many fireworks displays across the country," says Al Hickey, Humane Society of Canada (HSC) Western Regional Director. "These displays will terrify some pets; and summer also heralds the arrival of thunderstorms."


"For animals who are frightened of loud noises and brilliant flashes of light the Victoria Day weekend is definitely a long weekend," says Michael O’Sullivan, HSC Executive Director. "Animals are affected in a variety of ways; some animals become anxious and nervous until the storm or fireworks displays are over while others can injure themselves in their panic stricken state. Others pets run off and some of these animals may become lost or injured."

"It is important to plan ahead for your pets’ safety and comfort during these times," advises O’Sullivan.

Since there are several weekends during the summer when fireworks displays take place and thunderstorms can occur anytime during the spring, summer and fall, The Humane Society of Canada is asking people with pets to plan ahead for their "best friends" safety and comfort.

Some suggestions for protecting pets from thunderstorms and fireworks displays include the following:

  • 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 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 behaviours. 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 your concerns 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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