4th of July and pets: Dogs and cats go missing more often during the holidays than any other day

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More pets are reported missing around July 4 than at any other time of year.

That’s what a public service announcement from the Wichita Police Department told Kansas residents earlier this year, and it appears a warning was also issued by Pet Amber Alert, a search service from animals in the United States.

“The 4th of July is coming, and we want to remind you how to take care of your furry friends,” the Wichita Police Department wrote in a Twitter post on Friday, June 24.

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“The loud sounds of fireworks elicit a fear or anxiety response in pets,” the department continued in a series of tweets.

The Wichita Police Department noted that dogs “are most at risk for noise aversion” due to their sensitive hearing; cats also suffer from noise anxiety.

“For example, your pet may react by hiding, and many pets may become confused about the direction of sounds and react by seeking an escape route,” the department wrote. “Their fight-or-flight response puts them at risk of getting lost.”

Exact figures on the number of pets missing during the holidays are hard to pin down, but a 2015 report from Pet Amber Alert indicates that animal control departments nationwide are seeing a 30% increase in pets lost from the 4 to July 6.

Pet Amber Alert released an “Afraid on the 4th – Keeps Pets Safe” report and infographic in 2015, which detailed the number of pets lost around the 4th of July, according to animal control data.
(Amber Pet Alert)

In an infographic, the pet researcher noted that dogs, cats, and birds were the three most commonly missed types of pets.

The dog breeds that leaked “most often” were Labrador retrievers, Chihuahuas and pit bulls. Cat breeds included Persian, Siamese, and Domestic Shorthair. For birds, the breeds most likely to fly were parrots, parakeets and cockatoos.

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While it’s hard to find up-to-date numbers on 4th of July pet runaways, the American Kennel Club — the nation’s leading dog registry and association — released a report this month that confirms that holiday festivities always scare pets away.

How to stop your pet from running away on the 4th of July

Catherine Dennig, co-founder and CEO of Fursure, a San Francisco-based pet insurance marketplace, has four tips she offers pet owners on the 4th of July.

1. Invest and double downcheck pet tags

Pet owners who plan to watch fireworks to celebrate Independence Day should ensure their beloved pet has up-to-date tags, Dennig told Fox News Digital.

“Whether you’re looking in a public space or in a fenced-in yard, [it’s] prevention is better than cure,” Dennig said.

Dogs tend to be afraid of fireworks because animals have very sensitive hearing.

Dogs tend to be afraid of fireworks because animals have very sensitive hearing.
(Stock)

Equipping your pet with updated tags will increase your chances of finding your pet in the event of a panic-induced separation.

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2. Ask a vet for medication

Before the holidays arrive, pet owners may want to consider a quick visit or call a local veterinarian.

“Ask your pet’s veterinarian to recommend anti-anxiety medications or calming treats,” Dennig says.

She added: “There are many pet insurance options that will cover medication costs.”

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3. Prepare distractions

If the loud noises of July 4 festivities can’t be avoided, Dennig said pet owners should “keep toys nearby as a distraction.”

Cats can also experience anxiety from loud noises.  This includes the 4th of July fireworks.

Cats can also experience anxiety from loud noises. This includes the 4th of July fireworks.
(Stock)

4. Don’t take your pet to gatherings

Pets are less likely to get lost if they are kept in a secure home or environment.

Dennig said pet owners should consider leaving their pets at home instead of taking them to an outdoor 4th of July gathering.

If leaving a pet at home is an option, Dennig recommends pet owners make a “safe space” for animal companions, which could be a bed or a crate.

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“[Surrounding your pet with] familiar things can be more soothing [for the animal] that [being] at your side in the chaos,” Dennig said.

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