Why 4th of July is the worst holiday for animal lovers

I think(?) summer is here, but in Chicago, one can never be too sure. While the upcoming holiday means vacations, picnics, and parties, it’s one of the worst weeks for those in animal rescue. So here I am to be a buzzkill (not uncommon) and beg you to share this to keep your pets safe!

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 and more specifically, fireworks. It’s estimated that 1 out of 5 dogs that go missing is due to fireworks. When dogs are afraid, their natural instinct is to run and hide (unlike my cats that need to investigate everything…) so if a dog is scared of loud noises, it’ll often make a run for it. 

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 dogs in their care. Chicago Animal Care and Control is way over capacity. They are already euthanizing for space, so we need to keep dogs out of our city shelter! 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. 

3. Stay home with them – While it may sound obvious, many people think it’s fun to take their dog to go see fireworks. Don’t be that person. They’ll be much happier inside and in their space. 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. 


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!


Both of these Ripley and Jeb have been adopted(!!), but we have more than 200 other dogs waiting for you to adopt them from CACC. Here are a few of my favorites:

Joey – Holy cuteness. Does well in playgroups with other dogs and on her leash tests. Walks nicely on leash and wants all the pets.

Crosby – This gentle dude knows sit and won’t chomp off your fingers when giving him all the treats. He’s a longterm dog who would love his own home!

Furreal – This dog is basically perfect. Easy to walk, likes other dogs, and is ridiculously cute. Someone please come adopt him. 


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