Johnson County animal shelters expect influx of lost pets on Fourth of July weekend — here’s why

Mission: Dog Park

Great Plains ASPCA in Merriam says the the loud, booming sounds of fireworks often prompt pets to run away from their owners' homes. Experts say Independence Day is the number one day pets go missing in the U.S. File photo.

You could already start to hear fireworks in some areas of Johnson County on Thursday evening, ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. And so could your pets.

For humans, Independence Day may be a blast, but local animal shelters urge pet owners to keep their pets in mind when fireworks are going off Sunday (or on Friday and Saturday, too.)

While firework displays can be impressive they can also be stressful for our furry friends.

Like loud thunderstorms, fireworks — and the booming and thudding they create — often cause anxiety and can spook pets, causing them in some cases to run away.

In fact, this holiday weekend, animal shelters are expecting to see an influx of lost pets and strays.

“The Fourth of July is actually the number one day that pets go missing in the United States,” said Keegan Prentice with ASPCA Great Plains in Merriam. “So, we don’t want anyone’s pets to be lost but, shelters get really overwhelmed this time of year by pets that get out and get lost.

Here are some tips for preparing your bets for the Fourth of July weekend.

  • For starters, make sure your pets are wearing ID tags and they are fastened securely with accurate and up-to-date pet information. Microchipping also insures pets can be tracked should they get lost.
  • Keep pets indoors in a safe, familiar place. This will help them deal with any fear or anxiety they might experience as fireworks are going off.
  • If your pet takes any medication for anxiety, make sure its refilled and on hand should they show symptoms of fear or anxiousness.
  • Consider using calming products, such as Thundershirts or calming collars, which can help quell any nervousness when the firework begin.
  • Take your dog for a walk, or otherwise make sure they get some exercise before the fireworks. This will help the get deeper sleep and make it less likely they’ll be be disturbed by the noise.
  • If you’re grilling out or plan to start a bonfire, make sure your pets are secured and away from open flames.
  • After the firework celebration has ended, check your yard for firework debris that may have fallen. Your pets might mistake it for a toy or snack.

If you suspect your pet is suffering from anxiety or stress it is recommended to visit your personal veterinarian to learn about medications that can help.