Act Fast To Find A Lost Dog After 4th of July

On Fourth of July more pets get lost than on almost any other holiday.  Like most holidays it's busy and chaotic with potentially dangerous food, decorations, guests coming and going, and travel, especially camping.  It's also a time when the "F" word rears it's ugly head.  The "F" word being Fireworks.   While fireworks are beautiful to us, for pets they are booming loud noise, bright lights, and the lingering smell of small explosive material in the air.  It's no wonder 4th of July weekend is one of the busiest intake months for animals shelters.  If your pet has been lost this 4th of July, here's what you should do.

How to find a Lost Dog or Cat. 4th of July
Many pets, especially dogs, get lost on 4th of July.

If your dog is micro-chipped you are in luck.  The chances of recovering your pet are greatly increased!  If  you spent the $10 - $50 to microchip your pet, congratulate yourself and contact the recovery service immediately to alert them that she is missing.  They can help not only by receiving a call from a good citizen, shelter, or Veterinarian who has found your pet, but in the interim they can assist in recovery by sending alerts out to shelters and Veterinarians in your area.

> Whether your pet is microchipped or not, after a few hours you need to take action.  Start by going online and posting quality photos and details about your lost pet.  You can post on Fiderfinder.com ,  WherePetsAreFound.com , Craigs List, your local newspapers' web sites.  You may search "Lost Pets In [your town], or do a “lost and found dogs in [your city]” search for other sites you can post photos and details on.  


Many fabulous shelter staff comb through Lost Pet sites in an attempt to find an owner if there are no updated tags or microchip on the pet upon arrival.  This only works well if your pet has a unique look or is an uncommon breed. 

> Enlist the kids!  Get the kids to round up all their friends to each go online to their Facebook pages, text messaging accounts, etc. and post photos and details about your lost dog.  Have them ask their friends to share the post and ask others in their network to do the same.  Kids can be a great little online army in the effort to find your lost pet!

> Enlist family and friends!  Do the same thing with family and friends.  Send them a good photo of your dog and the details of when/where/how your dog got lost and ask them to SHARE it.


Start visiting local area animal shelters to search for your dog - go to ALL of them not just the one closest to you!  Animal shelters often move animals around in an effort to house all the animals that have come in, especially when it's very busy like the days following July 4th.


The shelter you assume your dog would have been taken to may not be the one he's at.  It depends on who picked up your dog and where they took him; whether it was an Animal Control Officer, a good Samaritan or someone else.  It also depends on how much space was available in each local animal shelter at the time. 

> Visit shelters often, once every day if you can and inform shelter staff of your lost dog.  Shelters typically only hold pets for 3 to 4 days before placing them up for adoption, in accordance with local laws for pet holding periods.  If a shelter calls you and says they have your dog, DROP EVERYTHING  and get over there!  I'm serious, it's happened many times where a dog was found and the owner located, only for the dog to be "mistakenly" euthanized by a staff member who didn't realize the dog's owner was on their way.  Don't wait all day, get over there!


> Get the best quality recent color photos of your pet you can find.  Photos should clearly show the dog’s face and body.   Make a flyer with a color photo of your pet, don't make the photo on your flyer black and white, it's not very effective.  The first thing people notice is color so spend the money to have flyers with color photos made.  Put details on the flyer with the dog's gender, any unusual markings, his name and other identifying attributes.  Include your cell phone number in your contact information, you don't want to miss a call!  Cast a wide net - a lost dog can travel far and fast.  I'd pinpoint a 5 mile radius for my search.

> Pass flyers out to all the neighbors within several blocks.  Post them in nearby grocery stores, the library, veterinary offices, and other central places near where your dog went missing.  Bring flyers to area animals shelters to post up on their LOST DOG bulletin boards.

> Make signs and post them throughout the area, especially near major roadway stop signs and traffic lights.  Don't use white 8.5" by 11" paper, most of us can't see them from a car!   Buy larger pieces of oak tag in bright or neon colors, post a color photo of your dog, and write details and contact information in large black lettering.  Don't cheap out, spend the money to have color photos printed!



This is a good example of a lost pet sign; bright color w/ large black lettering.  It was placed at a busy stop sign. Half the neighborhood knew about this missing turtle and was on the lookout!
UPDATE!! I have to give an update on that lost turtle.  A couple of months after this sign was posted, Oscar the turtle was FOUND!!  I really had my doubts, a turtle is hard to spot!  The family posted this lovely, sweet sign after Oscar returned home. How great is that?!



Another idea I heard about is to make very large signs and have someone stand on the corner of a well traveled roadway holding the sign.  Do you ever drive around and see someone standing by the road holding up a really large sign, moving it around a little to get your attention?  It's usually to advertise a store opening, a big sale, or for a local school fundraiser like a car wash.  Use this concept to help find your lost dog.  A giant sign like this being held up by someone on the side of the road will get noticed!  Of course, be safe about it, you want to attract attention but not create a dangerous distraction to drivers or put the sign holder in harm's way.

Follow these steps and hopefully your precious pooch will return home and be back in her bed before long.  When she does, be ready to give her lots of hugs, belly rubs, and treats! 


Have you ever lost a pet and had him returned home safely?  What was the thing that helped bring your pet home?  Please leave us a comment and share your experience, we love hearing from you!!


THIS IS THE PET PARADE BLOG HOP!!

41 comments:

  1. EXCELLENT post! Will be adding this over on my resource page for Lost & Found Huskies/Pets on our FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews Facebook page!

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  2. Humans will never learn
    Lily & Edward

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  3. what a great post - we have only ever one incident when the lawn people left the gate open and Mr Reilly decided to go visit his buddy Franklin across the way. Thankfully he didn't have to cross any roads but gosh it scared the heck out of us and did those lawn people ever get a tongue lashing.

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  4. Hi Y'all!

    Great information about finding a lost companion.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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  5. Hailey went missing for an hour once. I nearly had a heart attack. I had just gone back in the house to check the phone messages and regroup when the doorbell rang. The neighbour spotted her and came over to say she was outside. We were lucky.

    Hope everyone had a safe 4th.

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  6. Great post! Being lost is no fun for humans or dogs.

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  7. These are fantastic tips for helping people get their lost dogs back. Thank goodness I have not ever lost my dog as I would go nuts!

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  8. Thanks for sharing such important information. We have been very fortunate not to have lost our dogs. I'd be beside myself with worry.

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  9. I hear so many horror stories with people losing their dogs like this. So scary! This is great info Cathy!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  10. I have not lost our dogs but Isabelle was found on the street and I found a beautiful black lab on our street very late one night clearly lost. She followed my kids inside when they came back from a movie. Her tag had a Florida number which I called. I left a message. I kept her inside with water etc She got up with our dogs early and we got a distraught call from her owner at around 7.30am. They had just moved up from Florida and taken her out for a late night walk and pee. She had bolted off into the ravine chasing something. They had searched for hours. When they came to the door half an hour later, it turned out it was my husband's best friend's Dad- such a small world. He was so grateful. Lucky they had a tag (and microchip) but better to update the phone number.

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  11. Every pet owner's worse nightmare especially during the 4th. Mom was even afraid to walk me to the park in case a firework went off. People need to think about others once in awhile. But we are all chipped. Love Dolly

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  12. It is terrifying to think about a pet getting lost. I always try to read these posts carefully so I'll know what to do if it happens to me.

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  13. It would be really scary to have a pet go missing! I would be going crazy if one of my kitties disappeared. You have a very interesting idea with making a large sign and holding it in a high traffic area. That could be very helpful.
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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  14. Great post! It's stressful when our pets go missing that's for sure. I had a cat who went missing once, it took 3 months of extensive searching but we were finally reunited. It could have been a very different outcome though.

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  15. Super helpful post! There are an amazing number of resources to help find lost pets; something we have found helps brilliantly is a Facebook page called, "Lost Pets of the Hudson Valley". It is a great network and brings all local rescues, together, to advocate for the safe return of lost pets. They were super busy during the 4th, but I hear they did a great deal to help and almost all animals mentioned were returned to their owners.

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  16. Great post! Excellent, thorough information, and so important.

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  17. Nice, thorough list! I have lost a dog before (many years ago; she got out on Hallloween; two weeks after I adopted her from a rescue :( ) and we did many of these things. She was a fearful dog, so would not approach anyone. Thankfully, she never left the general area behind our home, but it took several days of baiting traps, and waiting for her in the woods, before she finally came close enough for me to attach her leash and get her home. SO scary when our pets get lost.

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  18. Ty for getting the word out - we are forever looking for lost pets. Even Dex found a last cat 2 summers ago. I am sharing this.

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  19. Please let us know if any pets you know are not home quickly and we'd be happy to campaign for you/their families across all social media.
    Annette @PetsAreFound
    www.WherePetsAreFound.com

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  20. Great info! I would be so so heartbroken if one of my pets ever went missing. My older dog never used to mind fireworks, but he seems to be becoming more effected by them as he gets older. This year he was so nervous I feel like he would have bolted if I had him outdoors unsupervised. I kept him inside and only took him out on a leash. I especially loved your update on the tortoise! I have two tortoises myself and know how sad I would be if either of them went missing. How awesome that the one you mentioned was found!

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    1. I'd be totally heartbroken if either of my dogs went missing, it must be the absolute worst feeling. One of my dogs is getting more noise sensitive as she ages. I used calming treats for her on the 4th, which helps a lot. I loved the turtle story too - it was right in my neighborhood, isn't that a great story!? I was overjoyed to see the last sign saying he was found, I didn't think it was possible!

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  21. Great tips - my feed today is FILLED with lost dogs and it breaks my heart.

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    1. It was always the most heartbreaking thing to see parents in tears walking up & down the aisles of the shelter searching & hoping to find their lost pet. I always asked if the dog was chipped and when they said no, which was almost always, it broke my heart. It has to be the worst feeling.

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  22. I've been so fortunate that I've not had a dog go missing - it's such a scary thought! This is the first year that fireworks have been an issue and it was with my puppy - she didn't understand what was happening but knew she didn't like it! Now I anticipate fireworks night and take her outside to do her business before they begin.I wish they would ban them for personal use

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  23. Fantastic information and it kills me to see how many are lost on the 4th of July. Another great place to post is on Nextdoor.com which helped a friend of mine find her dog. Layla is microchipped but she also wears a tag from PetHub.com that has an online profile of her with all details and can be scanned with a cellphone.

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  24. I lost my cat decades ago and still have not gotten over it. I can't imagine losing one of my boys. Pierre ran out of our new house not long after we moved in but luckily, our neighbor grabbed his bad self. Bahaha!

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  25. Fabulous post Cathy, and so sad to think of how many frightened pets got loose out of fear of fireworks, and the horror of thinking you may never find them. You've mentioned some great tips, and I think it's important to have a plan in place, long before you ever need it. Have a list of shelters and vet offices, a poster you can copy, anything that can help you hit the ground running immediately. One thing I hadn't thought of is having someone holding up a giant sign - that is a great idea. Let's hope anyone who has lost a pet on the 4th will be reunited shortly.

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  26. What a scary thing to think about! But great information on what to do. This year I shut off access to our catio for a couple days so our cats wouldn't be outside for the fireworks. Although it's completely enclosed, you just never know! We found two dogs on the 4th one year. We put up flyers and thankfully the owners called.

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  27. People need to take action fast and this post is packed with great ideas do people can get ‘doing’ stuff!

    Well done! Now make it a printable with cute pictures :-)

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  28. My heart breaks for the dogs who are terrified of loud noises. Fortunately, Cookie is cool with that.

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  29. Thanks for sharing all these tips! I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed at the end seeing that the tortoise was found!(pregnancy hormones! lol) What a happy ending. :)

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  30. This is a great post ... very thorough and lots of helpful tips. I always feel like such a curmudgeon when I say I hate the Fourth of July, but those fireworks scare my cats so bad. Thankfully they are indoor kitties so the chances of them getting out and getting lost are slim.

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  31. I would be devastated if my Bella or any of my cats go missing. I have them all microchipped so that is helpful. You have really good tips for recovery thanks for this.

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  32. What a great helpful post! So glad the turtle was found. You are right about that, they are not so easy to see. Will have to share and pin this to save for later come the next Independence day.

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  33. It's so scary to think of your pets going missing! I often see posters for lost pets in my neighborhood when I go for a walk. My cats are microshipped, and even though they don't go outside, it gives me peace of mind.

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  34. Great advice. One other point is to keep checking where you last saw her. She may be hiding in the shrubs if scared. Once at a local forest preserve a dog jumped out of his owners arms and ran off dragging his leash. Although many people looked, it wasn't until two days later that the dog was found in good health with his leash wrapped around a log

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  35. These seem like great tips to help recover a lost pet. One of my dogs was lost many years ago. It broke my heart to lose him, but I always had a corner in my heart where I believed we'd find each other again. After 20 years, I realized that it wasn't going to happen.

    Maybe if I had known some of these tips, we could have found him.


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  36. We had a stray dog in a neighborhood for 2 days. We were able to find his owner by posting on Facebook and finally getting a zoom camera lens on his dog tags since he growled at everyone that went near him. The shelter found the owner through the tag number. The dog lived 2 miles away. Happy ending.

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  37. Great post! I hope I never need to worry about a lost pet! I find myself paying more attention to the area when I see a sign for a lost pet now.

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  38. Mr. N is microchipped. We have a very active neighborhood group and I'd probably post there after contacting the shelter.

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