Why 4th of July is hard on animals

I’m updating the post I wrote last year about the 4th of July with some new numbers and tweaks! 

Want to know a strange fact about Independence Day? It’s one of the busiest days of the year for shelters. Well, technically the 5th of July is, but it’s due to the 4th. Between the parties, travel, and fireworks, animals run away and get lost this weekend more than any other weekend.

Chicago has cancelled its 4th of July fireworks celebration due to COVID-19, but the fireworks haven’t slowed down. In fact, fireworks sellers have see a 200-300% increase in fireworks sales. Not good news for dogs. 

It’s estimated that 1 out of 5 dogs that go missing is due to fireworks. According to a study by Michelson Found Animals Foundation, 61% of pets are scared of fireworks. When animals are afraid, especially dogs, their natural instinct is to run. Because so many animals bolt, more “strays” come into our city shelters. It’s reported that animal control officers see as much as a 30%-60% increase in lost pets between July 4th and 6th. Even worse, a lot of these animals aren’t chipped or wearing ID, so returning them to their owners becomes even more difficult.

Not only are the animals lost, they overcrowd the shelters that are already trying to reduce the number of pets in their care. Psst: to adopt a pup or foster one, click here!

Whether your pup is afraid of noises or not, be sure to pass along these tips to a friend and together, let’s help reduce the number of lost pets. 



1. Plan Ahead – Take your dog on plenty of walks and playdates before the 4th of July. Make sure to tire them out so that they aren’t as hyped up on the day of the fireworks. 

2. Check ID – Accidents do happen, but making sure your dog is properly ID’d can save a lot of heartache (and lives!) Also, please microchip your pets and double check it’s registered to the correct address. You can do this by calling your vet. You can also register your microchip with Michelson Found Animals Foundation!

3. Stay home with them – While it may sound obvious, and given everything, the only choice, stay home! Create a safe, escape-proof space in your home. Lower the blinds, close the windows, provide a bed or crate where they feel comfortable, offer a special chew or toy to distract them and turn on the TV or radio to help mask the noises outside.

4. Wrap them up – Confining movement in dogs and cats actually has a calming effect on them, which is why you might want to consider an anti-anxiety wrap or coat.  In a pinch, you can even create one from a scarf.

5. Lock it up –  Make sure your doors, windows, and gates are all locked. This will help quiet the noise and keep pets from escaping.

6. Calming aids – I’m certainly not a veterinarian so talk to yours for any medications that may work. I’ve had success with CBD oil as well as Melatonin during stressful times for my pets. 



Does your pet suffer from extreme anxiety? What other tips do you have? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a very happy and SAFE 4th of July everyone!

THE RESCUES: All these boys and girls are currently available for foster or adoption at Chicago Animal Care & Control. 

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