There's no question that the Fourth of July is one of the most festive days of the year in the United States, filled with beaches, barbecues, friends, family, and who could forget the awe-inspiring fireworks displays. But did you know that more pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year?
There is a 30% increase in the number of lost pets between the 4th of July and the 6th of July (can you imagine how busy shelters must be on July 5th?), bringing the total to over 7.6 million pets lost annually. Of those 7.6 million pets, only 26% of them will be returned to their owners and of the remaining lost pets that find their way into shelters, 35% will be euthanized to make more room for incoming animals.
To help you keep your pets safe this Independence Day, we've put together a small list of 'musts' for the big day.
1. Get your pet microchipped.
Unfortunately, microchips aren't actually tiny GPS devices that give the exact location of your pet at any given moment, but they do contain data that links pets back to their owners. Generally, when a lost or stray animal is brought into a shelter, an employee will wave what looks like a magic wand over the animal's body. No, they're not casting a spell - they're searching for a microchip: something that tells them "Hey, I belong to someone!" Of course, microchipping your pet is only good if you...
2. Make sure your pet's microchip and ID tags are updated with your most recent information.
Microchipping your pet is only good if you keep your information up to date. Most rescued animals are already microchipped, but the microchip often contains the rescue's information. Less than 50% of microchips are actually registered to someone.
Have you moved (maybe even a couple of times) or changed your phone number since you got your pet? Maybe you got married and your name changed. Whatever it may be, having the most up-to-date information listed on the microchip will ensure that your pet finds it's way back to you if it ends up in a shelter. More often than not, if your pet has a collar ID tag, the nice person that found them will return them to your home. Make sure both the microchip and the collar ID tags are updated with your most recent info!
3. Leave them at home.
Even though you'd like to bring your pup with you, it's best just to let your pet relax at home on the Fourth of July. Traveling situations, large crowds, and meeting a bunch of new people on top of the inevitable fireworks creates a lot stress for you dog (which in turn, creates for an even greater chance of your pup getting spooked and running off).
Keep them inside if you are lighting off fireworks in the cul-de-sac. It's much less stressful on them and you won't have to worry about where they are either.
4. Give them a place to hide if they need it.
Many animals, when stressed or scared, will seek refuge in a cozy, familiar place. That place may be under your bed, in your closet, or in their crate. Make sure your pet has a place to go if the holiday activities become too much. If you have a crate, make sure its door is open and some of their favorite toys are inside to greet them!
5. Act normal!
Dogs and cats feed on our energy. If we're nervous, they're nervous. Go about your day as you normally would and be confident that the day will go according to plan. Your pets are more likely to be confident in themselves if they can follow your cues.
6. Have a natural calming aid on hand, just in case.
If your pet shows severe anxious behavior during the Fourth of July, make sure you have a natural calming aid on hand, (such as our new product, July Third). We had been asked for years for a more immediate calming product than Calm Shen, that would help dogs who have more situational anxiousness as opposed to long-term anxiousness.
July Third is formulated to help dogs maintain a normal, content, and relaxed disposition in times of environmental stress and in situations that may cause anxiousness, such as changes in your pet’s daily routine, separation, noise from fireworks and thunderstorms, trips to the groomer, meeting strangers, traveling, or boarding. With valerian, chamomile, thiamine, L-Tryptophan, and passion flower, July Third helps keep your pet calm by promoting a sense of relaxation and supporting a normal emotional balance, so he can maintain a normal and relaxed disposition while coping with external stresses.