The Fourth of July is the worst time of the year for dogs as they are very sensitive to the noise of fireworks. Pictured is Cocoa Bean, who belongs to Wanda Chapman, of Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Nick Graham
Photo: Nick Graham

Keep your dogs inside; Fourth of July leads to more lost pets

Some of the stories about a pet’s reaction to the noise of Fourth of July fireworks are troubling.

For some, their pets have busted through windows, and others have escaped a car or a leash to find some respite away from the multiple booms and bangs as the country celebrates its independence. 

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Also, more pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year, according to Liberty Veterinary Hospital. And firework shows are not a great place for pets to be, especially if they are more scared by loud noises than other dogs. 

Fireworks are legal to buy in Ohio, but illegal to possess and set off. Pictured is a previous fireworks display at the Broad Street Blast at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/FILE
Photo: Staff Writer

Most pet owners don’t even know how skittish their dogs are until they are in panic mode, Tara Bowser, executive director of Animal Friends Human Society, said. 

“They will bust through fences, they will scale fences like nothing you’ve ever seen,” she said of dogs that scare easily. 

Kurt Merbs, Butler County Dog Warden supervisor, said because the holiday is in the middle of the week, even more dogs go missing because of celebrations lasting through both weekends.

Since Friday, his employees have responded to seven emergency calls for lost dogs acting aggressively or being hit by cars. 

“You go to watch fireworks and it amazes me how many people have their dogs,” Kurt Merbs, supervisor of the Butler County Dog Warden, said. “Just keep them away from fireworks in general.” 

Animal rescue experts say July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters because many pets runaway in fear of fireworks on the 4th.

In his 11 years working for the Dog Warden, Merbs has seen a rush of Facebook messages and calls come through around the holiday from owners looking for their lost dogs. Because of increased traffic, more stray dogs are also hit by cars and killed. 

When Merbs and his team bring in a dog that is seriously injured, they are given the authority to put it down, especially if it is without a collar. Otherwise, some are taken to a veterinarian or Animal Friends Human Society, but never found by owners. 

Bowser urges pet owners to make sure their furry friends are licensed every year, especially around the 4th of July. There are a large number of dogs found following the holiday without collars, which can severely harm their chances of being kept in a shelter for more than three days. If a dog is found injured but has identification, it will be taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment. If not, they can be euthanized. 

“Always keep a collar on your dog,” Bowser said. 

Liberty Veterinary Hospital suggests leaving pets at home during firework shows, and taking them on a long walk beforehand to tire them out.

You can also leave a favorite toy to play with and keep them distracted. 

Merbs, as well as Bowser, suggest keeping dogs in their crate during firework shows.

When it’s the Fourth of July, there’s nothing you want more than to watch explosions in the sky. Keep these things in mind to stay safe:

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