8 Tips for Minimizing Your Pet’s Firework Anxiety
Firework season is here, and your pets are probably not excited. The booming noises and unpredictable flashes of light might be enthralling for some humans, but can be frightening and mentally taxing for many pets. If your pet suffers from firework-induced anxiety, they’re not alone. Use these eight tips to help your pet get through firework season with comfort, ease, and safety.
1. Do your research
a. Find out when and where firework displays will take place in your area. Ask your neighbors if they have plans to set off fireworks. If possible, avoid those areas or leave your pet at home. If attending firework displays with your pet, plan ahead and be mindful of large crowds.
2. Take your dog for a long, early walk
a. Exercise releases endorphins that help calm anxiety and stabilize the nervous system, as well as it releases mood-lifting hormones. Outdoor exercise prior to the noise starting is essential because you might not know when it will be safe to venture out again. It’s a good idea to get your dog to a relaxed, happy, empty-bladder state before fireworks begin.
3. Keep your pets indoors
a. If you’re going to a fireworks display, leave your pet at home. Make sure they have easy access to a place in your home where they’ll feel safe and comforted. If you must take your pet with you, keep them leashed and under your direct control at all times.
4. Play calming sounds
a. Mitigate the alarming noises of fireworks with more soothing sounds like soft music or the television. If you’re with your pet during fireworks, talking to them in a comforting voice and moving them to a room with no windows can also be helpful.
5. Watch for signs of stress
a. In dogs, barking, whimpering, and pacing are clear signs of stress. Other, less obvious signs include excessive yawning or licking, panting, and shedding. Cats signify stress by trembling, trying to escape, hissing, and failing to use the litter box. If your pet is showing any of these stress indicators, do your best to comfort them; ensure they have a place to hide but not means to escape; and remember these are not punishable behaviors – they are anxiety-triggered behaviors.
6. Use natural anxiety-reducers
a. Anxiety vests, such as a ThunderShirt, can help reduce stress in some pets. If you do not have an anxiety vest, try a tight-fitting shirt. You can also try pheromone-releasing products, which send comforting sensory messages to animals in stressful situations. Consider an Adaptil collar for dogs or a calming collar for cats. Or, try pheromone-releasing sprays. For dogs, spray Apadtil on a bandana and wrap it around them. For cats, spray Feliway on their bed or favorite safe hiding space.
7. Talk to your vet
a. In some cases, anti-anxiety medications are what’s best for your pet. Remember to give a practice dose of the new medication before the day of fireworks to test your pet’s response. Your veterinarian may also be able to offer tailored suggestions for managing your pet’s particular anxieties and fears.
8. Safeguard your pet
a. Sometimes, anxiety and fear can lead to pets taking drastic measures to escape the noise, such as breaking through door or window screens. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and ID tags, and that their microchip is properly registered with your current contact information. If your pet does become lost or if you find a lost pet, submit our online Lost and Found form and contact your local police department.
York County SPCA COVID-19 Operation Protocol During Green Phase
Since York County moved into the green phase, the York County SPCA is excited to watch its neighboring businesses reopen and community members return to their pre-COVID-19 activities. As the community settles into a new normal, so has the YCSPCA. The staff and volunteers are following numerous safety protocols to prevent transmitting the virus that causes Coronavirus 2019 within the shelter and to the public. Those safety protocols include the following:
• The YCSPCA asks all visitors to notify us ahead of time if they are planning an in-person visit to the shelter. This includes appointments for adoptions and surrenders. Call 717-764-6109 to schedule your visit. Currently, we are not open for the public to browse adoptable animals. You can view all our available animals by visiting our Petfinder or Facebook page. Once you fall for one of our pets, we encourage you to submit an adoption application, and then give us a call to schedule an in-person meet-and-greet.
• During our operating hours, we will have a large bin placed outside of the shelter for donations. Appointments are not needed to drop off donations.
• Customers are required to wear masks or face coverings.
• Business with the public will continue by appointment only. This includes adoptions and surrenders.
• Whenever possible, public transactions should continue outside.
• The shelter’s modified business hours will remain in place. (Monday – Sunday, 8am-4pm)
• Employees and volunteers must always wear masks, with four restrictive exceptions based on circumstances that could cause a possible safety risk to staff or volunteers.
• Employees, customers, and volunteers must maintain a social distance of 6 feet whenever possible.
• Employees will continue to self-monitor for COVID-19.
• For in-person meetings and events, the YCSPCA will limit the number of people to allows all attendees to maintain a social distance of six feet. The YCSPCA will continue to prevent large groups from entering or leaving the building by staggering start and stop times. Employees will wash their hands at least every hour.
• Assigned employees will clean and disinfect the building frequently, especially high-touch areas.
• All employees or volunteers will notify their supervisor if they are sick and stay home.
By adhering to these protocols, the YCSPCA staff and volunteers have been able to continue our work while keeping the employees, volunteers, and community safe. We continue to rescue animals from harmful situations; provide them with daily care, enrichment, and medical treatment; and place them into loving homes. YCSPCA staff and volunteers are performing lifesaving work that is crucial to animal welfare in York County, and it is just as crucial to do our part in keeping our communities safe and healthy. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Managed Shelter Admission and Views on Community Cats
The York County SPCA is currently asking residents of York County to schedule an appointment if they wish to surrender a pet. Stray dogs are accepted during our open hours, from 8am-4pm. Stray cats showing signs of ownership (collar, tags, spayed or neutered without an ear tip, etc.), or that appear ill or injured can be surrendered as well.
Healthy free-roaming community cats should not be brought to the shelter for surrender, as this is not in their best interest. Simply removing cats from the area without addressing their ability to reproduce is not effective – the food and shelter that were available to removed cats remain in place. Before long, new cats arrive to take advantage of these resources. Instead, we ask that residents care for community cats by utilizing our clinic’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. If a community cat is already ear tipped, there is no reason to trap the cat and bring him into the shelter. He has already been neutered and is thriving in his outdoor home.
These spayed and neutered cats are unable to reproduce, continue to fill a niche in their environment, and prevent new cats (who are not spayed/neutered) from coming in and taking over. Once they are spayed or neutered, the cats roam less, make less noise, and do not create a foul odor when marking territory. They also continue to provide rodent control. There are also many humane deterrents available to keep free roaming cats off your property if they are causing a nuisance. If enough of the cats in a neighborhood are spayed or neutered, their numbers will drop over time. This policy of managing outdoor cats through spay/neuter is endorsed by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, and many other leading national animal welfare organizations.
When someone finds a tiny kitten meowing under their porch or even a whole litter of kittens huddled under a bush outdoors, they may want to help immediately but not know what to do. Compassion is a good impulse, but our actions must always be guided by what is in a cat’s best interest. That means allowing kittens and moms who are already thriving outdoors to stay right where they are. The truth is, in nearly all cases, kittens outdoors don’t need to be “rescued.” In fact, removing kittens from their mothers and bringing them indoors can be detrimental to their wellbeing. If you see kittens alone, their mother is likely close by—and her instincts make her their best possible caregiver. If you find kittens or healthy outdoor cats, we ask that unless trapping them for TNR, please leave them be.
Each cat brought to our spay/neuter clinic for TNR is spayed or neutered, vaccinated for Rabies, examined for wounds or illness, and ear tipped for a $15 fee. Please call the spay/neuter clinic at 717-764-6109 ext. 125 for more information. The clinic reopened on 5/26/2020 under modified safety protocols to maintain social distancing and ensure the safety of both our staff and community.
We recommend the following excellent resources, for more information about community cats, finding cats outdoors, and TNR:
The York County SPCA Adjusts to a New Normal
The nearly 300 shelter animals will continue to receive quality care; shelter officials affirm there is no evidence pets can contract or spread COVID-19.
The York County SPCA has taken steps to care for its employees’ health while still placing pets in loving, permanent homes. Scheduled adoptions and surrenders, a closed spay/neuter clinic, reduced staffing, and postponed fundraising and community events are just some examples.
“These are unprecedented times, and my team and I are having to make very difficult decisions,” says Steven Martinez, Executive Director of the York County SPCA. “Top of the list of difficult decisions is having to keep our high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic closed.”
Last year, the York County SPCA completed over 9,000 spay/neuter surgeries which significantly controlled the growth of York County’s dog and cat population. The clinic is complying with COVID-19 legislative guidelines to limit non-elective surgeries, which includes spay/neuter surgeries. “Recently,” Martinez said, “the U.S. Surgeon General put out a request to all veterinary medicine practitioners asking that we use our limited Personal Protective Equipment, or PPEs, for emergency situations only. And, unfortunately, we would have to close the clinic anyway.” For example, the York County SPCA only has enough surgical gloves for three days’ worth of normal high-volume clinic operation. “PPEs are all on backorder so we cannot get more supplies,” said Martinez. “We need to conserve our medical supplies for the animals currently under our care in case a life-threatening situation occurs.”
Although the clinic is temporarily closed, the rest of the shelter is open for business by appointment. For adoptions, they are asking the community to visit the York County SPCA Facebook page and view their videos of adoptable dogs and cats. Since the public can no longer visit the shelter and browse, their videos give viewers a sense of each animal’s personality and behavior traits. When people see an animal that piques their interest, they should complete the online adoption application: www.ycspca.org/adoption-application. After potential adopters complete the online application, a shelter staff member will call the potential adopter and schedule an in-person meet and greet with the pet.
Appointments are also required for anyone who wants to surrender an animal, volunteer, or become a foster. “We are still offering our usual community services like reuniting people with their lost pets and administering pet licensing; but to keep the staff and public healthy, we are asking that people call ahead and speak with a customer service representative to schedule an appointment or report an issue,” said Martinez. The number to call is 717-764-6109.
To ensure their shelter residents stay happy and active during this time, the York County SPCA has given extra focus to its animal enrichment program. Recently, staff and volunteers gave dogs homemade dog-friendly ice cream cups, threw a toy party for them, treated them with Busy Bones, and have been providing them with extra playtime outside of the kennel. All of this is in addition to the dogs’ usual daily walks with volunteers and even runs for healthy pets.
Recent policies aimed at slowing the spread of the virus are having a large financial impact on local nonprofits like the York County SPCA. When asked how the community can support the shelter, Martinez said, “To limit public exposure, we set a bin outside our front door where people can drop off donated items. Better yet, to maintain social distancing, we are asking that if you’re able, please consider making a financial contribution or utilize our Amazon Wish List.” You can find both at www.ycspca.org.
While domesticated animals are not impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, this is a good opportunity to review your pets’ role in your disaster preparedness plan. Both York County SPCA veterinary staff and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pet owners keep on hand the following: a two-week supply of food and water for each pet in your care; a two-week supply of each pet’s medications; and a ﬁle that contains each pet’s care plan, vaccination and ownership records, microchip information, and a preferred contact in case of emergency. People should also identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill.
As this is a ﬂuid situation, the shelter asks that the public monitor its social media channels for regular updates. Martinez gives one final thought. “We are an animal shelter. We already know how to prepare for and deal with viral outbreaks. We will continue to adhere to our normal cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection protocols which have always exceeded extensive industry guidelines. I couldn’t be prouder of the staff and volunteers who have really stepped up in support of our mission. Our dedication stems from the love of animals. Given these uncertain times, we feel that companion animals are needed now more than ever. We will continue to show up and care for all the animals.”
About the York County SPCA
The York County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to providing long-term human and animal services to residents of York County through programs that find permanent, loving homes for displaced and stray animals, help control animal population growth, investigate and prosecute cruelty offenders and educate the general public about animal wellness and safety. We do not receive funding from the national ASPCA. We are a community resource supporting all York County residents and their animals. More at www.ycspca.org. View our Amazon Wish List.
Love at First Lick: Reducing Adoption Fees for Valentine’s Day
Have you been crushing on someone at our shelter? Or dreaming of meeting your furever love? It’s time to make your move.
This Valentine’s Day, we are reducing the adoption fees on all of our animals to half of the original cost. The goal is to give every animal at the YCSPCA the chance to experience true love. When you adopt on Friday, February 14th or Saturday, February 15th, you can snag a picture with your new boo in our kissing photo booth, too. We are open from 10am-4pm on both Friday and Saturday.
Please submit your adoption application prior to the event. It takes time to evaluate an adoption application, so if your application is already approved by Valentine’s Day, your adoption will happen much more quickly. Apply at the shelter or online: https://www.ycspca.org/adoption-application/. We are open 10am-7pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and 10am-4pm on Friday and Saturday.
We will also be honoring half-priced adoptions at out Satellite locations, which house cats and rabbits. Satellite locations include:
Petco, East York: 2420 Eastern Blvd, York, PA 17402 (cats and rabbits)
PetSmart, West York: 351 Loucks Rd, York, PA 17404 (cats and rabbits)
PetSmart, Hanover: 181 Wilson Ave, Hanover, PA 17331 (cats)
PetValu, Etters: 172 Newberry Parkway, Newberry Point SC, Etters, PA 17319 (cats)
Contact Kaila Young at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Our shelter is located at 3159 Susquehanna Trail North, York, PA 17406.
Check out some of our adoptable animals! https://www.petfinder.com/search/pets-for-adoption/?shelter_id%5B0%5D=PA142&sort%5B0%5D=recently_added
(This is only a small selection of the animals at out shelter.)
Announcing: YCSPCA Wags to Riches Gala 2020
***The Wags to Riches Gala has been postponed due to COVID-19 guidelines. We are working on rescheduling the gala for 2021.
The York County SPCA will hold our “Wags to Riches” Benefit at the Country Club of York on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Our theme will be “Enriching the Lives of People and Pets in our Community”.
This gala affair will include a welcome reception, silent and live auctions, and a gourmet dining experience.
We invite you to join us and become a part of this exciting and rewarding evening by committing to “Wags to Riches” as a corporate sponsor, auction donor, and/or attending with your family and friends. Your support of “Wags to Riches” will provide much needed funds to help sustain the programs and services offered to York County residents and animals. For complete event information, visit e.givesmart.com/events/dAl/
Thank you to our generous sponsors for contributing to this event and for their support of the York County SPCA:
Presenting Sponsor: East York Veterinary Center
Royal Riches Sponsors: Vicki Glatfelter; Shumaker Williams, PC.
Platinum Sponsors: CBD Outlet Online, Tighe and Kathy King, Glatfelter Insurance Group, PeoplesBank, AquaPhoenix Scientific
Silver Sponsors: First Capital Federal Credit Union, Bunzl Distribution, The Zielinski Investment Group–RBC Wealth Management, Jack Giambalvo Family of Dealerships
Bronze Sponsors: CGA Law Firm, Spring Garden Dental, Lisa Pate State Farm, Stambaugh Ness, Brad and Debbie Levin, Todd and Sandra Bush
Support Sponsors: Amber Urey Photography, Shining Star Entertainment, SPOT Media Group, Wise Printing, Blooms by Vickrey, ABC27 WHTM, WARM103.3, Susquehanna Style
Patron of the Pets: IDEXX Laboratories, RKL, Jeff and Cindy Lobach
Cabin Creek Tree Farm Gives Back
2020 Dog Walking Classes
Dog Walker Training 2020
Volunteers are needed to walk all of the dogs in our kennel every day. This is a huge task, and requires many volunteers, including perhaps you! Dog walkers must be minimum 18 years old. Currently we are experiencing a shortage of walkers for the big dogs in the main kennel so there are classes scheduled for the “BIG”dogs only. If you have the confidence, fitness, and willingness, we can train you for the large dogs in our kennel. Some of these dogs will pull and are not accustomed yet to walk politely on a leash.
A $25 registration donation provides the four training classes, a t-shirt, name badge, and your leash. Please plan to attend all four classes in a session. Though, instructors will be able to accommodate you if have a schedule conflict and make-up classes can be coordinated. If you are unable to attend one of the training sessions, independent training can possibly be arranged, including during the winter. Please inquire for options.
Our experience is that volunteers who become successful walkers are those who are fit and can easily walk several miles. Dog walking is very satisfying and you are enriching the lives of these dogs and you are making them more adoptable. And you will get some great exercise! This is the schedule for our upcoming classes:
Mondays 12 – 3 pm, 9/14, 9/21, 9/28, and 10/5
Saturdays 2 – 4 pm, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, and 10/31
To register for any of these sessions, please complete an application www.ycspca.org/volunteer-application/
If you have any questions about the dog walker training, please email Sara Hunt at email@example.com
Trapping Cats in Winter Months
Please check out our write up here about how to trap cats in the cold weather and a related wish list. If you are interested in supporting with our TNR efforts, please view our Amazon wish list which has been update to include TNR supplies. Thank you for your support through donations and caring for outdoor cats in York County!
Pit Bull Awareness Apparel
October is Pit Bull Awareness month! Aside from spreading all things wiggle butts, big smiles, and zoomies, we have created an apparel line so you can sport pitties all year-round. Total Identity Solutions has crafted the design and agreed to donate 50% of sales to the York County SPCA! How awesome!? Sweatshirts, t-shirts, terry hoodies, and more. Shop our custom Pit Bull Awareness apparel HERE! All orders are placed online and shipped directly to you. Thank you for your support!
Out of County Feline news
Everyone who works at the York County SPCA wants to care for all animals; however, we must operate in a responsible and sustainable way – and we must prioritize York County residents. Lately, the York County SPCA has been receiving an unusually high volume of people and animals from OUTSIDE of York County. This is overwhelming our facility, staff and resource capabilities. Due to those reasons we are unable to house out of county animals at this time. Please refer to the list of resources below for guidance in how to handle a stray or surrendered animal if outside of York County:
If you have the means to help support us during this unusual seasonal demand, you can make a contribution by clicking on the following link: https://www.ycspca.org/donate/
* Heavenly Paws (York)
* Loving Care Cat Rescue (York)
* All About The Kitties (Spring Grove, PA)
* Animal Rescue, Inc (New Freedom)
* Columbia Animal Shelter (Columbia, PA)
* Pet Pantry (Lancaster)
* Kitty Colony (Lancaster)
* Centerville Pet Rescue (Lancaster)
* PAWS of PA (Harrisburg Area)
* Castaway Critters (Harrisburg)
* Furry Friends Network (Carlisle)
email link: https://furryfriendsnetwork.com/contact-us/
Fur-Ever Loved (Carlisle)
* Humane Society of Harrisburg Area (Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, and Northern York Counties)
* Forever Love Rescue (Gettysburg, PA)
* The Grannie Project (Southeastern, PA)
* Wanna Be Pet Rescue (Mount Carmel, PA)
* Better Days Animal League (Shippensburg, PA)
* Feline Rescue Association (Baltimore)