Fourth of July and pets: Dogs, cats go missing on the holiday more than any other day

More pets reportedly go missing around the Fourth of July than any other time of the year.

That’s what a public service announcement from the Wichita Police Department told Kansas residents earlier this year, and it appears that warning has also been given by Pet Amber Alert, a pet finder service in the U.S.

"July 4 is coming, and we want to remind you how to care for your furry friends," the Wichita Police Department wrote in a Twitter post on Friday, June 24.

"The booming sounds of fireworks elicit a fear or anxiety response in pets," the department continued in a series of tweets. 

The Wichita Police Department noted that dogs "are most at risk for noise aversion" due to their sensitive hearing; cats experience noise-related anxiety as well.

"For example, your pet may react by hiding, and many pets may become confused about the direction of the sounds and react by looking for an escape route," the department wrote. "Their fight-or-flight response puts them at risk of becoming lost."

Exact numbers on how many pets go missing around the holiday are hard to pin down, but a 2015 report from Pet Amber Alert said Animal Control Services throughout the country see a 30% increase in lost pets from July 4 to July 6.

In an infographic, the pet finder noted that dogs, cats and birds were the three pet types that most often went missing. 

The dog breeds that were "most common" runaways were Labrador retrievers, Chihuahuas, and pit bulls. Cat breeds included Persians, Siamese, and domestic short hairs. For birds, the common breeds most likely to fly off were parrots, parakeets, and cockatoos.


While updated numbers on Fourth of July pet runaways are difficult to find, the American Kennel Club — the nation’s leading dog registry and association — published a report this month that confirms holiday festivities are still spooking pets.

How to prevent your pet from fleeing on the 4th of July

Catherine Dennig, co-founder and CEO of Fursure, a San Francisco-based pet insurance marketplace, has four tips she offers pet owners on the Fourth of July.

1. Invest in and double-check pet tags

Pet owners who plan on watching fireworks as a way to celebrate Independence Day should make their beloved pet has up-to-date tags, Dennig told Fox News Digital.

"Whether you are watching in a public space or in a fenced-in backyard, [it’s] better safe than sorry," Dennig said.

Equipping your family pet with updated tags will increase your chances of finding your pet if panic-induced separation occurs.

2. Ask a vet about medication

Before the holiday arrives, pet owners might want to consider a quick visit or call to a local veterinarian.

"Ask your pet’s vet to recommend anti-anxiety medication or calming treats," Dennig said.

She added, "There are lots of pet insurance options that will cover medication fees."

3. Have distractions ready

If loud noises from Fourth of July festivities can’t be avoided, Dennig said pet owners should "keep toys nearby as a distraction."

4. Don’t take your pet to gatherings

Pets have less chance of getting lost if they’re kept inside a secured home or environment.

Dennig said pet owners should consider leaving their pets at home instead of taking them to an outdoor Fourth of July gathering.

If leaving a pet at home is an option, Dennig recommends pet owners make a "safe space" for animal companions, which could be a bed or a crate.

"[Surrounding your pet with] familiar things may be more calming [for the animal] than [being] by your side among the chaos," Dennig said.

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