One of the biggest nightmares for every dog owner is to have their pet run away. And while many people will read this and think “my dog would never run away,” the fact is you truly never know. Even the most well-behaved dog could get scared and run away and while this could happen anytime, according to the ASPCA, the most common time of year is on the Fourth of July.
According to a National Council of Pet Population Study and Policy, a family pet is lost every two seconds, amounting to more than 10 million pets lost each year. Although precise numbers are not available, shelters across the nation report that July 5 is historically their busiest day of the year for taking in strays.
Why Do Dogs Run Away on the Fourth of July?
Dogs run away from home for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common reasons a dog leaves home alone is fear. And let’s be honest, if you didn’t know what Fourth of July was and things were suddenly exploding out of the sky while people cheered and music blasted, you might run away from home too.
Because dogs can hear noises much better than humans, fireworks could sound like any number of things to your dog including:
1. The end of the world
2. An alien-cat invasion
3. Thousands of tennis balls – popping
4. A parade of vacuums
5. Explosion of all dog food factories (see end of the world)
But in all seriousness, the noise alone is enough to send any dog packing. Add to that the fact that people may have parties with guests that leave doors or gates open and you have a recipe for disaster.
How to Prepare
Even if you plan on keeping your dog inside for the Fourth, it’s better to be ready. Once out of the safety of your home, you dog doesn’t know where he is going and there is no telling where he could end up.
Here are the 5 things every family should do to prepare your dog for the fourth of July:
1. ID Tags. Make sure your dog’s ID tags are up-to-date with your most recent information. Securely fasten your dog ID tags to his collar and make sure you have a sturdy collar that will not easily slip off your dog’s neck.
2. Microchip Your Dog. Microchipping your dog gives an added level of protection and will help you reunite with your dog if they are lost. Microchipping takes only a moment of time and can be done at your vet or many low-cost clinics.
3. Update Photos. If your dog gets lost, you will want to have updated photos to share with the neighborhood and shelters. Many dogs look alike to strangers, when they are running down the street or when dirty and in a shelter. Take a clear photo that shows off any unique, identifying traits your dog has with accurate photos of your dog’s hair length and color.
4. Secure the Perimeter. Check your yard and fences to make sure there are no holes, loose boards or swinging gates. Take extra precaution, you’d be surprised what a frightened dog can squeeze through.
5. Make a Flier. If your dog does get lost an important tool to have is a flier with your dog’s photo and your contact information. While it might seem unnecessary before the fact, the last thing you want to do is waste time trying to create one while you are panicked and worried about your dog.
6. Phone Numbers. Have an updated list of your local animal shelters and veterinarians who can help locate your dog.
What to Do if Your Dog Get’s Lost
Start your search immediately. Your chances of finding your pet increase the sooner you start looking. Start by canvassing the neighborhood and nearby areas, it’s possible your dog did not get very far.
Spread the word. Call local shelters and veterinarians and post/handout fliers in your neighborhood as well as local businesses. Contact your friends and family to have them join the search and use social media to increase the awareness of your missing pet.
Don’t give up. You never know when and where your pet will turn up.
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