Soon we'll be watching fireworks light up the sky in honor of our nation's birthday, but our four-legged friends may not be enjoying the show as much as we do.
The loud noises that accompany the 4th of July celebrations can send a normally well-behaved pet into a frenzy and may cause it to run away from home.
It's no coincidence that animal control agencies say the largest number of dogs go missing on New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July. That's because those holidays both have fireworks in common, and with the big day coming tomorrow, now is the time to make sure you won't have to post fliers around your neighborhood. Experts say certain animals will do anything they can to get away from the noises that scare them and it's not limited to fireworks.
"Even including thunderstorms like we've been seeing in the last couple of days, with loud noises and lightning, can and will scare the pets in your home," said the director of Animal Ark Rescue, Sabine Stull.
A Phenix City woman discovered the hard way that one of her dogs had a problem with fireworks. Becky Morgan lost a lamp in her living room when the terrified, Bella, heard fireworks for the first time. Since then, she's gotten her dog something called a thunder shirt, and it's made a big difference.
"I love it, I would recommend it to everybody," said Morgan.
To the dog, wearing the shirt recreates the feeling of being cradled in a person's arms.
"What we were doing before is just holding her. And trying to hold a 60 pound dog, you can't do that on Fourth of July and New Years, and a thunder storm, so that just holds them and makes them feel safe," said Morgan.
If your dog has never experienced fireworks, experts suggest you keep it inside tomorrow night, preferably in a crate.
"If you have to take your dog outside, even if it's a fenced in yard, put him on a leash. So that way, if a noise comes out of nowhere, he doesn't jump the fence and chances are you might not see him again," said Stull.
Several years ago, a Columbus couple paid for billboard to find their Australian Shepherd, Max, when it ran away during fireworks. To this day, that dog is still missing.
Animal Control in Columbus will be closed on both July 4 and 5, so it's even more important that you keep your dogs and cats secure during this time. Pet owners are advised to get their animals microchipped so that in the event of a firework induced breakaway, the dogs may be returned if they are found. These services are offered at the volunteer shelters listed below: