GUELPH, ON (May 3, 2021) – With Victoria Day just three weeks away, the Guelph Humane Society (GHS) wants to remind everyone of the stress fireworks can cause pets and other animals. The Victoria Day long weekend, often referred to as the “unofficial start of summer”, is one of the busiest holidays of the year for firework displays.
“Firework noise can cause a lot of stress for nearby animals, whether it’s pets or wildlife,” says Melissa Stolz, Intake & Behaviour Coordinator at GHS. “An animal’s hearing is so much stronger than humans. Fireworks are already very loud for us, so imagine how loud that is to a dog or cat.”
Stolz adds that when some animals get stressed, they run and hide, which can lead to pets getting lost or injured.
“If you’re going out to see fireworks, keep your pets at home,” says Stolz. “Do not take your dog with you as they may get scared and become frantic, which could lead to them getting away from you. Similarly, if you have a cat that goes outside, make sure they are in for the evening and all windows and doors are securely closed.”
Hiding can provide stressed pets comfort, so don’t force them to come out if they want to hide. On the other hand, if they come to you for attention, a soothing touch can be beneficial to reducing stress.
“Give your pet something to keep them distracted while fireworks are going off,” Stolz suggests. “For dogs, give them a treat puzzle or Kong with frozen food. For cats, try scattering their favourite treats around a room and let them hunt around for them.”
For small animals, like rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, cover their cage with a blanket to muffle the noise of the fireworks. You can also make sure they have a thick layer of bedding, as burrowing species may want to burrow deep during fireworks.
Wildlife can also become disoriented and confused by the loud noises fireworks produce. Often, wild animals will flee the area and cross roads in order to distance themselves from the noise. Drivers should be extra vigilant when traveling while fireworks are going on around them, as animals may be darting across the street trying to escape from the commotion.
“And don’t forget about farm animals,” Stolz adds. “Make sure everyone is secure in the barn before the fireworks start. Where that is not an option, ensure all fencing is secure and there are no sharp edges or objects they could get caught or hurt on if they get startled and try to flee.”
Another option is to encourage neighbours, friends and event organizers to use quiet or silent fireworks. Silent fireworks, which are significantly quieter, even tend to display more stunning colours compared to those with big explosions.
While COVID-19 restrictions will mean smaller Victoria Day celebrations than in previous years, it’s important to keep animals in mind whenever fireworks are being considered.
About the Guelph Humane Society
The Guelph Humane Society advocates for all animals, and in particular those animals whose lives it can influence, through care, education, community support, protection, and leadership. Founded in 1893, the Guelph Humane Society provides care and shelter for approximately 3,000 homeless, stray, injured and abused animals each year in Guelph and Wellington County. GHS is a registered charitable, non-profit organization that does not receive government funding. Visit www.guelphhumane.ca to discover more.
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