Did your pet run away during fireworks? Here's what you should do

July 5 is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters, according to the ASPCA. Many pets are frightened by fireworks and may run off on July 4 or after any fireworks displays in your neighborhood.

If your pet ran away during Fourth of July celebrations, here's what you should do:

  • Don't panic. (Easier said than done, right?)
  • Refrain from calling the SPCA or local humane society. As mentioned before, today will be one of the busiest days of the year for most animal shelters, so volunteers may not be able to help you immediately. The SPCA said your pet may return home on its own, too.
  • Make a poster for social media and "old fashioned" distribution on paper -- put a clear, recent photo of your pet onto a poster with your pet's name and a phone number to call if your pet is found.

Here's an example poster for your missing pet

  • On that poster, don't use language that would only make sense to people who know pet breeds. For example, don't say "grey classic tabby"; say "striped grey and black short-haired cat."
  • Pass out fliers to neighbors; put up a poster at nearby grocery stores or gas stations, if permitted.
  • The SPCA said the best time to call for your pet is during the evening and at dawn. Enlist family, friends and neighbors to help you look, if possible.
  • In rare cases, you may need to get a humane live trap, the SPCA said. Some local shelters will let you rent or loan these. 
  • To prevent this from happening in the future, don't bring your pets around fireworks, especially any displays away from home.
  • If you haven't already done so, be sure to microchip your pet.
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