Every year around Independence Day, animal shelters fill up with pets that have strayed from home after being spooked by the loud bangs of fireworks. Terrified animals can run for miles, trying to escape the noise.
"Pets don't understand what the noise is all about, and they can get frightened very easily," said Dr. Gene Mueller, RASKC Manager. "In addition, their hearing is far more sensitive than ours, so loud noises have an even bigger impact on our pets."
Here's a helpful checklist for pet owners to reduce the chances of their pets running away during the loud festivities. Check out the tips below:
- Keep your pet secured indoors in the quietest room of your home while fireworks are being set off. You can also use soothing music or television as a distraction. Some pets will stay calmer when placed in a secure crate in a darkened, quiet room.
- If your pet is normally kept outside, bring them inside or put them in a garage or basement while fireworks are going off.
- Make sure your pet has at least two forms of identification. This can be a pet license and personalized tag, a license and a microchip, or all three (license, tag, and microchip). Pets with ID have a much greater chance of being returned to their owners.
- Don't assume that your pet won't react just because you haven't had problems in the past. Sometimes pets become sensitive to loud noises later in life.
- If your pet is lost, check in person at all local shelters, and check back often. It may take some time before spooked pets are brought to shelters.
"Many lost animals can be found, but it takes time. Too many families give up too soon, and eventually their pets end up in an animal shelter and then get adopted out," said Sarah Luthens, RASKC Volunteer Program Manager.
Found a stray animal?
If the pet is wearing a pet license or an ID tag and if you feel comfortable enough with the animal to check the information, contact the owner directly. If you found a licensed pet after business hours, call the number on the license to get contact information for the owner.