The Fourth of July is supposed to be a time of celebration, but it can quickly become a stressful experience if your pet goes missing. July 4th and 5th are the two busiest days of the year for shelters across the country. Not all dogs find their way back to their owners again. Don’t let your dog become a statistic:

  1. Play it safe and be smart. Now is not the time to work on your dog’s fear of loud noises or fireworks.
  2. Keep your dog in the house and when you take them out to potty, take them on leash and attach the leash to a properly-fitted collar or training collar. The majority of dogs out there wearing flat collars can easily twist out of them if they want to, because most flat collars are too loose!
  3. In the house, don’t leave windows or doors open. Don’t give your dog an opportunity to flee.
  4. Put your dog in the crate during the day, at night and when you’re gone. Cover the crate with a lightweight blanket or sheet and turn on a fan for white noise. If your dog isn’t crate trained, put your dog in a secure room without a window.
  5. Exercise your dogs in the house (e.g., treadmill training).
  6. Leave your dogs at home. Do not take them downtown with you into crowded, stressful areas. Don’t take them to a friend’s house and put them in their yard. Don’t leave them in your backyard even if that’s where you usually leave them. Leave them at home in the house.
  7. Thundershirts are okay, but they aren’t the solution to your dog’s fear issues.
  8. Lastly, make sure your dog’s ID tags and microchip information are up-to-date.

There are dogs who aren’t bothered by fireworks. All four of my dogs, for example, have been properly exposed to loud noises, gun shots, thunderstorms and fireworks and couldn’t care less about them. But if you aren’t sure if your dog is nervous around fireworks, now is not the time to find out. More dogs go missing during the Fourth of July than any other time of year. And remember, people will be setting off fireworks all week long not just on the Fourth. So play it safe and play it smart all week long. Your dog’s life may depend on it!