The busiest day for animal shelters in the U.S. is July 5. You can probably guess why — pets frightened by Fourth of July fireworks bolt from their homes, ending up in shelters. Many aren’t that lucky, and are struck and killed by cars as they frantically try to run away from the noise.
To help raise awareness of the fact that 10 million pets get lost annually, and to raise money for the American Humane Association (AHA), the #Lost4Dogs social media campaign has been launched by Whistle Labs Inc., which makes the GPS Pet Tracker for dogs.
“Pets are members of the family, so experiencing only a few moments of loss is traumatic,” Ben Jacobs, the company’s co-founder and CEO, told the Associated Press.
Here’s how #Lost4Dogs works: Pet parents take a selfie with their dog while wearing a sign saying, “If found, return to [dog’s name].” The dog also wears a sign that says, “I am [dog’s name].” Like this:
The photo is then posted on social media with the #Lost4Dogs hashtag, and the challenge for four other pet parents to participate and/or make a $4 donation to the AHA.
Dos and Don’ts for Keeping Your Dog Safe on the Fourth of July
- Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag, and is microchipped.
- Bring your dog inside the house on July 4.
- Play loud music, or turn up the volume on the TV or radio.
- Create a “safe area” in a bathroom or other quiet, escape-proof spot, filled with blankets and your dog’s favorite toys.
- Thundershirts are effective for relieving some dogs’ anxiety.
- If possible, have someone stay with your dog if you’re leaving to go to a party or fireworks display.
- Coddle your dog by saying something like, “It’s okay” or “Poor baby!” Just act naturally and go about your business as usual.
- Take your dog to fireworks displays.
- Drug your dog unless your veterinarian recommends it. Acepromazine, which is often prescribed for noise phobias, can actually make things worse, according to Dr. Marty Becker.