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Nancie Capozzi

The epitome of summer comes just after the summer solstice, on July 4. This holiday weekend is often full of patriotism, barbecues, pool parties, and fireworks. Though the celebrations are jam-packed with entertainment, it can be an anxious weekend for your pet. In fact, more pets go missing during the July 4th weekend than any other time of the year.

However, with the right preparation and knowledge, you can keep your dog safe. AKC Reunite, an organization that has more than five million pet owners registered and has helped reunite over 500,000 pets with their owners, will be available night and day to help you find your pet if he does go missing. But the best thing you can do is prepare in advance. Learn why pets go missing this specific weekend, how to prepare ahead of time, and what to do if your pet gets lost.

Why Pets Go Missing July 4th Weekend

It isn’t just the patriotic holiday — the entire season of summer is the most common time for dogs to go missing. “There are many factors that influence this,” says Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AKC Reunite, Dallas Harsa. “Barbecues, many people coming in and out of the house, and even the noise of the fireworks, which may cause pets to panic and they will try to flee somewhere. They don’t know where the noise is coming from and they try to escape because they don’t understand,”

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AKC Reunite has helpful tips that include ways to keep your companion safe. Even isolating your pet in a room centralized in your home with soothing music (similar to an escape area) can calm their nerves. “Keep toys in your pet’s safe area to make the area more fun and to provide distractions from loud noises and flashes,”AKC Reunite recommends.

English toy spaniel July 4th
Jessica Freni

Preparing Ahead of Time For The Holiday

The most important thing that pet owners can do is make sure they (and their pets) are prepared. AKC Reunite allows owners to buy or register their pet’s microchip online. Microchipping allows owners to reunite with their pet if they were to go missing. When you enroll online, you can enter emergency contacts and personal information, but the key is to make sure this is updated frequently. “If you don’t know your pet’s microchip information, you can go to a pet microchip lookup where you can enter the information and it will let you know which recovery service to contact and it can give you an idea of who likely sold the microchip,” Harsa says.

While many think that the microchip is a GPS, “It’s not a locator device, it’s a permanent identification for your pet,” Harsa says. “It’s very important the information is up-to-date because it makes it easier and faster to reunite the pet.” In addition to making sure microchip information is updated, owners can also exercise their pet the days of big events to exhaust pent-up energy before the celebration.

What To Do If Your Pet Gets Lost

Being prepared is extremely helpful, but what happens if your pet goes missing? “The very first thing owners need to do is get a search party out and have their cellphone with them,” Harsa says. “You should scatter because you don’t know where the pet went.” She also explains that it’s important to always have a picture of your pet on-hand. If your pet is enrolled in a microchip program, owners can contact their designated recovery service. The AKC Reunite program has live agents that are available 24/7 and expect their busiest day to be July 5th and 8th.

When a pet is found, AKC Reunite will call, text, and email you. They will contact all of the emergency contacts in your profile. Again, this is a huge reason to make sure all of the information in your profile is updated. If any points of communication are outdated, they will also send a letter. “Make sure that your pet is enrolled, don’t give up hope, contact local animal control, and ask if they were to pick up a pet where they would go. Follow up daily, and be patient because you’ll most likely work with volunteers where you will have to repeat information,” Harsa adds. Most shelters aren’t open on holiday weekends, so it’s important to note that AKC Reunite has live agents to aid in searching, reporting a lost pet, or reporting a found pet.

Enjoy your holiday celebration with family and friends — just be sure to follow precautions so that your companion can enjoy the holiday as well. Learn more and enroll your pet.

Related article: How to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks
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