Fourth of July fireworks may be fun for people, but for dogs? Not so much.
Not only are these festive explosions loud — which can be scary for dogs — but the associated activity around July 4 celebrations also contributes to an influx of missing dogs.
"More pets go missing during the July 4th weekend than any other time of the year," according to the American Kennel Club.
Reasons range from pets panicking and escaping when they hear fireworks go off to friends and family leaving the door or gate open during parties or barbecues.
We chatted with Ray Anderson, media and communications manager of Cincinnati Animal CARE, Hamilton County's humane society, for the top tips on keeping your dog safe this Independence Day.
Here are Cincinnati Animal CARE's recommendations:
- Keep your pets inside during fireworks: "(Give) them a safe space such as a crate, along with something to help keep them distracted — a Kong stuffed with peanut butter, a lick mat, something to keep the mind occupied."
- Don't let your pets off-leash: "Even if your dog is the best dog in the world and always stays right by your side, you never know what the sudden sound of a firecracker could do. Failure to contain your pets is also illegal."
- Check your fence for any holes or easy spots to dig under: "If you think your dog could jump a fence if they really tried, don't leave them outside unattended when fireworks are likely to go off."
- Remember, fireworks don't just happen on July 4: "Expect fireworks to be going off the entire week before and after."
"If your pet is not microchipped, we will do that at Cincinnati Animal CARE for $15," he says, adding, "Microchips are not GPS trackers! It works like a barcode, so making sure your information on the chip is correct is a huge part of getting a lost animal home. We can help update chip info, too."
Cincinnati Animal CARE says July 5 is the busiest day on record for animal shelters nationwide. And Anderson says if you happen to find a lost dog this Fourth of July weekend, don't just bring it to their Northside shelter right away.
"One big thing we want people to know is that when a lost dog is removed from the neighborhood where it was found, its chances of being reunited with its family go from 70% to 17%. The further an animal gets from home, the less likely they are of being reunited," he says. "So a lot of what we're trying to communicate to the public is don't just immediately bring a lost dog to the shelter in Northside. Hamilton County is huge, if a dog gets lost in Loveland and gets brought immediately to Northside, that's going to dramatically reduce its chances of getting home."
Cincinnati Animal CARE says to look for a pet's owner by knocking on five doors in either direction from where it was found. If that doesn't work, they created a flyer with next steps:
Cincinnati Animal CARE is located at 3949 Colerain Ave., Northside. More info: cincinnatianimalcare.org.