Along with warm summer nights come barbecues, campfires and fireworks. While the sonic-boom of pyrotechnics may be thrilling for us, it is not an enjoyable time for our furry friends. With summer now underway, the BC SPCA strongly recommends that pet guardians plan for the safety of their household animals during these fireworks festivities.
All those weird, loud explosions and bright lights can be upsetting to your pet and can even lead to harm. “The roaring thunder of fireworks can cause animals to panic, putting both pets and people in danger,” says Lorie Chortyk, BC SPCA general manager of community relations.
When dogs and cats are frightened they are more likely to run away from their homes, jump out of open windows or dart into traffic. Stressed pets can also behave out of character — even scratching or biting people, says Chortyk.
The BC SPCA offers these summer fireworks safety tips:
Keep pets inside
An indoor pet is a happy pet on fireworks night. To help muffle the noise and prevent animals from escaping, remember to close the windows of your home and draw the curtains. Some pets do well left in a separate room with the radio or television on to mask the sound of fireworks. Be sure to leave plenty of toys in the room for your pet so that he doesn’t think he’s being isolated as a punishment.
Make sure your pet is wearing identification. Dogs and cats may try to run away if they feel threatened. Clear, current identification is your best chance to have them returned to you.
Don’t console your anxious pet
While it is natural to want to comfort your pet, it is better to use a bright, cheerful voice to send a message that things are fine. Avoid saying things like, “it’s OK” or “don’t be scared” in a soft or sympathetic voice. This only reinforces your pet’s fearful behaviour. You can also try desensitization techniques to help reduce your dog’s response to strange sounds.
Leave home without them
If you think it would be fun to bring your dog to the festivities, he may not share your view. The strange sights, sounds, and crowds can cause a normally friendly dog to bite if it feels scared or threatened.
Visit spca.bc.ca for more information on summer pet safety.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.