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Summer Is Coming: How to Prepare Your Animal Shelter for July 4th

July 4th

July 4th for animal welfare organizations is kind of like Black Friday for retail stores. It is always a time of intense chaos. However, there are steps you can take beforehand to help minimize the chaos! Here is our guide on preparing for Independence Day.

Why Is July 4th a Crazy Time for Shelters?

More than any other time of year, animal shelters are filled to the brim with lost dogs and cats. Not only is it Kitten Season (the months when the most kitten litters are born), but July 4th is something of a nightmare for many pets. Independence Day is kind of a perfect storm of reasons why a dog or cat could go missing.

Large get-togethers involve increased foot traffic in and out of one’s house, making it easy for a pet to escape. Also, pet owners frequently bring their dogs to barbecues or fireworks shows where they can slip out of their collar. Lastly, fireworks cause a great deal of distress in pets. Even usually calm and obedient pets may panic and make a run for it.

How to Help Pets Stay With Their Owners

Educate your community, starting in June. There are several precautions that pet owners can take that may not have already occurred to them:

  • All pets need a collar and ID tags — even indoor pets. Tags must be labeled with a phone number.
  • Keep all windows and doors closed and alert houseguests that they need to keep these exits shut.
  • If you can’t trust your pet not to dash out a door or window, keep them in a closed room, on a leash, or in a crate.
  • Microchip your pet! This is a great way to reunite with your four-legged family member if they slip out of their collar.
  • All microchips must be registered. A microchip only works if it is tied to a registry account with up-to-date contact information. If you haven’t done so already, pet owners register pets for free at
  • Pets that freak out during thunderstorms or fireworks can be outfitted with Thundershirts.
  • Pet owners can speak to their vet about giving their animals holistic calming remedies or medication.
  • Families can try turning up music or their television to mask the sound of fireworks.
  • Provide pets with a safe sanctuary where they can hide. Give them plenty of cozy blankets, a bed and their favorite toys.

How to Make Sure Your Shelter Is Ready

  1. Call all hands on deck. Start alerting your staff, volunteers, and foster parents that you’ll need as much help as possible starting the week of July 4th. And start requesting this extra help as early in June as possible.
  2. Advertise the need for help in your community. Encourage plenty of signups for your volunteer and fostering programs.
  3. Offer special discounts on microchipping, ID tags and adoptions.
  4. Michelson Found Animals offers products that will help you streamline several processes at your location. You can read more about them here.

What does your organization do to prepare for July 4th? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment on Facebook!

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