Pets can be frightened by the noise of fireworks. Keep them indoors if possible on Halloween night, the SPCA warns. (Submitted)

Keep pets away from fireworks, SPCA warns

Dogs and cats are often frightened by the sound of fireworks and may run away.

“Nov. 1 is probably our busiest day of the year as we take in stray animals that ran away the night before.”

Sandi Trent of the Cowichan branch of the BC SPCA is warning folks that pets don’t like fireworks, a problem that comes to a head on Halloween.

“Unfortunately, some of it can be accidental. They’ll just bolt through a door when the kids are out trick-or-treating. Other than that, some people just don’t think and leave them outside and they jump fences, and dig out, and when they’re really terrified they can go for miles.

“It’s our absolute busiest time of the year for stray or missing dogs coming in.”

To avoid unconsciously giving your much-loved pets a night of terror, “ideally, you should keep them inside. If it’s a situation where the dog or cat is just really terrified of the noise, sometimes it helps if you just put them in a room and elevate the noise level in the room with a radio or a TV or something that will take their minds off it.

“There are also what are called ‘thundershirts’ that you can get for your dog or cat to calm them down. They’re like an undershirt, but they fit a little bit tighter, and it’s a calming device for dogs anyway. I don’t think I’d try one on my cat,” she said.

“I think the shirts work on the same principle as those heavy blankets for people with PTSD but they’re for dogs who are under stress.”

Putting pets in a room works for some pets, but, Trent said, “sadly not with mine. I’ve got a little girl [dog] and when she hears them go off, it’s reminiscent of gun shots. She had been shot, so for her, she’s petrified. I can have the radio on full blast and she is drooling copious amounts of saliva and she just doesn’t do well.”

So, Nov. 1 could be another busy day at the SPCA “unless everyone abides by the bylaws. If they do, then it’ll be a quiet time for us.”

Several agencies, such as Cowichan Secondary School are posting messages reminding everyone that fireworks are banned in the school, the City of Duncan, the Municipality of North Cowichan, the Cowichan Valley School District, and on Cowichan Tribes land.

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