Dogs and fireworks: How to keep anxious pets safe, out of animal shelters on busiest day of year

Posted at 6:34 AM, Jul 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 21:30:01-04

While most of us enjoy a good fireworks show on Independence Day, it's highly likely that celebrations will seriously stress out your pets.

Zoetis, an animal health company, commissioned a study that found that 44 percent of pet owners reported their pets showing signs of noise aversion, a medical condition with behavioral, clinical and emotional symptoms.

Pets may start pacing, panting, whining, shaking, hiding, getting clingy or trying to run away from loud noises -- like fireworks -- meaning that they, too, are showing signs of noise aversion.

Because so many pets are trying to get away from the explosions, July 5th is the busiest time of year for animal shelters that take in strays and pets that have gotten away.

In fact, many shelters report taking in 40 percent more animals on July 5th than on a normal day. 

How to keep your pets safe

Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA offers the following tips to keep your pet safe and anxiety-free:

  • Leave them at home: Don't take pets to July 4th festivities and fireworks shows.
  • Leave them inside: Keep your pets in a cool, safe, escape-free space. Leaving your pets outside, in a fenced yard or on a chain can result in them getting loose, tangled in their chain or seriously injured when they show escape behavior.
  • Try to distract them: If you aren't home, leave a radio or TV on as background noise. Offer them safe toys or snacks that can't be destroyed if your pet becomes scared and stressed.
  • Make sure they have identification: Microchips and collars are some of the most effective and simplest ways to make sure your pet is safe. If anyone finds your pet, they will be able to contact you from the information on their collar or take them to a veterinary office, shelter or some pet stores to get their microchip scanned.

What to do if you lose a pet

Accidents happen, so if your pet gets loose, there are steps you can take to locate them, according to AAWL & SPCA and Lost Dogs of America:

  • Put out food, water, your clothes and anything else that smells like you or your pet that could help them sniff their way home.
  • Go door-to-door where your pet went missing or where they were last seen.
  • Post flyers, ads online, in your local paper and on social media sites that help lost-and-found animals.
  • Contact animal shelters, veterinary offices, police departments and other local agencies.
  • If your pet has a microchip, contact the company to let them know your pet is lost.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control says that once your pet is picked up by animal control or brought to one of their shelters, the clock is ticking. The shelter is only required to hold your animal for 72 hours. Be sure to stay active in your search.

What to do if you find a pet

If you see a cat or dog wandering near you, here's how to help, according to AAWL & SPCA and Lost Dogs of America:

  • Post flyers, ads online, in your local paper and on social media sites that help lost-and-found animals.
  • Leave a few unique details or features out of your description of the animal. Owners should be able to correctly ID their pets by their markings, coloring, quirks, etc.
  • Register the animal on and other Arizona pet hotlines found on the AAWL & SPCA site.
  • Take the animal to a vet, pet store or shelter to check for a microchip with contact information.
  • Contact local authorities like non-emergency police lines, animal control agencies, etc.