July 4: Your dog's least favorite holiday; find out how to keep him safe

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Who doesn't love Fourth of July fireworks? Your pets are raising their paws. Your dogs and cats don’t like fireworks at all. Not one bit. Loud explosions. Bright flashes of light. Fireworks are scary for the four-legged set.

The proof is in the numbers. More pets run away on July 4 than any other day of the year, according to the Arizona Humane Society.

There are some simple things you can do to keep your pet from becoming a statistic this Fourth of July.

Keep your pets inside. Not only are pets spooked by the loud cracks and pops of the fireworks we human love, they can get scared if they are not accustomed to your party atmosphere. Once they're out, they're at the mercy of the environment, including extreme heat and busy streets.

Don't take y our dogs to public event. Again, fireworks are scary. Large crowds can be daunting. A spooked dog is very fast and can vanish in a moment. Don't risk it.

Pay attention to your pets. Even the best-behaved, mildest-mannered of dogs do unexpected things when they're scared -- dig under fences, jump walls. Cats, too, are prone to running for a safe space when scared.

Keeping your pets in an escape-proof room isn't punishment. It keeps them safe and protected. You might consider turning on the TV or radio for some normal background noise.

Make sure your pet has plenty of water and that it's easily accessible. Scared animals pant and can become dehydrated quickly, even if they're safe and sound inside.

Make sure your pet's ID is up to date. If your pet does get away, current ID information will go a long way in helping you find him. While some people don't favor microchips, they can be a good option if your pet is related to Houdini often slips out of his collar. Just like with traditional tags, the information on a microchip has to be kept up to date to do any good.

If Fido (or Fluffy) does manage to get away from you, there are some things you'll want to do as soon as possible.

First, search your home thoroughly. Animals can squirm into some pretty tight spaces. You'd be surprised at where they can end up. Place items that carry the strong scent of home outside your house. Your dog's sense of smell is way better than yours. Those scents can act as a beacon to help him find his way back to you. Post flyers with a good photo of your pet within a one-mile radius of your home. Include contact information, but not your name or address.

Post an ad in the lost-and-found section of Craigslist. It's quick and easy to do and more effective than you might think. According to Bretta Nelson at the Arizona Humane Society, Craigslist posts helped reunite more than 1,000 lost pets with their owners last year.

Also, file a report with Missing Mutts (and Cats) by calling 480-898-8914.

Check with the local vet offices and animals shelters, including the Arizona Human Society and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, as soon as possible. Be patient. July 5 is a very busy day for shelters as they work to reunite lost dogs with their families. But also be aware that the clock is ticking.

The law only requires shelters to hold animals for 72 hours before putting them up for adoption. What's more, pets suffering irreparable injuries or failing health and temperament exams may be euthanized after that 72-hour period.

For more information about lost pets, visit AZHumane.org.

Arizona Humane Society

602- 997-7585

Campus for Compassion 1521 W. Dobbins Road

Sunnyslope facility 9226 N. 13th Ave.

Animal Care & Control

602-506-PETS (7387)

West Valley Center 2323 S. 35th Ave.

East Valley Center 2630 W. Eighth St.