Columbus-based Pet FBI (PetFBI.org) Executive Director Leslie Poole predicts that July 5 will, once again, be the busiest day of the year for the 20-year-old free web-based pet lost and found service.
According to Poole, shelters typically see a 30 percent increase in lost pets between July 4 and July 6.
Fortunately, there are things that pet guardians can do both before and during the holiday to protect furry family members.
Things to do BEFORE the 4th:
- Get pets microchipped. This is a simple, affordable and safe procedure that can be done by a veterinarian. Some communities also offer free or low-cost clinics. Check with vets or a local humane society for details.
- If a pet is microchipped, check the registration to be sure the information is current. Those who don’t remember the brand or manufacturer of a pet’s microchip can find information at www.petmicrochiplookup.org
- Make sure pets are wearing an ID tag with current contact information.
- Have a current, good quality pet photograph available, showing any distinctive characteristics. In case a pet is ever lost, this photograph could be invaluable.
- Check backyards to be sure fences are in good repair and gates are secure. Patch any holes or places where a frightened pet could escape.
- Remember, celebrations including fireworks start well before the 4th of July. Be prepared!
On July 4th:
- If going to fireworks displays, a parade, a cookout, or anywhere there might be firecrackers, sparklers, or fireworks,leave pets at home. Even dogs that are used to crowds and noise can become terrified and run away when they hear fireworks. At home, inside the house, is the safest place for pets.
- If pets will be home alone during the fireworks, consider leaving the TV on or some soft music playing. If a dog is crate trained, (s)he may feel more secure in their crate.
- Keep pets indoors as much as possible on the 4th of July. The best-behaved pets can become spooked when they hear fireworks. Just because they’ve never slipped their collar or jumped the fence before is no guarantee they won’t do it once the booming begins.
- It’s hot in July and animals can suffer heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn if left in the heat too long. Make sure they have plenty of shade and fresh water. Keep them inside as much as possible. Never leave an animal in a hot car, not even for a minute.
- Keep pets away from lighter fluid, matches, citronella-based insect repellents and alcoholic beverages. All can be harmful to pets.
- If entertaining, be sure guests are careful when opening and closing doors so pets don’t escape.
- Exercise pets early in the day so they will be more inclined to rest during the festivities.
- If a pet does become lost, check local shelters in person. Post a report on Pet FBI.org and follow additional recovery tips found on the site for the best chance of a happy reunion. It is always free of charge to post and search for lost or found companion animals through the Pet FBI database. Pet FBI is a free information center for lost and found pets.