"More dogs are lost during July 4th weekend than any other time of the year"--CITE?

I brought this question up here:


The logic is loud fireworks scares the pooches, who then escape and run away from home.

Makes sense, except, my search so far has not uncovered one single study or hard data to back this statement up. All I’ve read so far is stuff like “Shelters report to us they get more calls July 4” or “My friend works at the ASPCA and she says she takes in more dogs the day after July 4 than any other day” blah blah blah anecdotal stuff like that.

Is there a study/data out there to back up this claim? Or could this possibly be an “urban legend” spread by dog lovers to keep people from using firecrackers?

And lets say it IS true: could it be something other than fireworks? ie lot of people travelling with their pets; drunk dog owners not watching their mutts; etc etc

I doubt it. A dog’s not likely to run AWAY from you unless you’re aiming a Roman candle at it.

Think about it. The dog is terrified for its life and/or the safety of its home that it instinctively protects. Is it going to run out into the dark night as a response?

Every dog I’ve ever seen will react by either hiding or barking, or both. If anything they’re less likely to go away from their home on Independence Day.

You’re assuming the dog is already inside the house.

I suppose some day of the year has to be the one with the most runaway pets. However, that doesn’t mean the difference is very large. You can have a statistically significant effect without it being very meaningful either. If your sample size is large enough, a difference of only a percentage point or two can be statistically significant but the effect size is still very small. I know that many dogs are afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms but they usually cower in place in response to them in my experience. I have never heard or observed that fireworks noticeably increase the risk of them fleeing never to return and I have had many dogs in my life. The ones that are truly afraid of those types of noises usually stay as close to people as possible wanting to be reassured that everything is OK until it is over.

Or in the yard, somewhere at home. Now if you took Rex out to see a fireworks display at the park and didn’t have him on a leash that’s more plausible. But then why would you be complaining about fireworks scaring your dog?

I had my dog out in the yard yesterday afternoon when someone shot off a firecracker or something. She panicked and made a break for it and did not run toward the house. If she wasn’t secured and being watched, I have no idea where she would have ended up.

I can believe it. my folks have a dog who is terrified of loud noises like fireworks and thunder. a couple of years ago, they let him out in the yard, and shortly after a thunderstorm was approaching. as the thunder became louder, he was digging at the fence to try to get out of the yard.

First page of Google gets you these quotes from folks who ought to know:

The Humane Society reports that


There is also this from the American Humane Association:


A little more digging will get you details from individual shelters about numbers at those shelters that seem corroborate these statements, and a lot of news stories. A few samples:

Shelter takes in dozens of lost pets after fireworks

Albuquerque shelters pick up 126 animals

Dayton, 81 animals over holiday

Macon shelter expects triple the usual number of lost dog calls after the holiday

However, as a counter to a very large flood of voices raising alarm about lost pets due to fireworks, I found this blog that theorized that fireworks may be flushing out previously lost pets. She believes that July has a high incidence of weather events that are leading to pet loss. Fireworks drive the missing pets out to locations where they are caught. Candidly, this seems like a stretch to me, but at least she’s trying a data-driven approach.


My dog tried to chew her way through a pretty solid wooden fence a couple years ago when we left her home on the 4th. My wife used to have a dog who DID chew his way through a gate on the fourth. I can’t speak to the “busiest week of the year” claim, but I also sort of doubt that the only two dogs with the flight response to fireworks were ours.

My previous dog lost her ever loving mind during storms and fireworks. There was no “instinctively protecting her home” going on, just sheer terror.

Years ago a friend of mine got talked into going out to dinner on the 4th of July and leaving her dog in her van. The dog freaked out when fireworks went off and threw itself through the passenger window, which had been left slightly open. Friend goes out to check on dog and finds shattered window and no dog.

Frantic search ensues, no dog to be found. Finally, she decides to go home, so she can be reached by phone. Years ago, remember, no cell phones. About an hour later, gets call, dog is found in neighborhood of restaurant.

Upon retrieval, good Samaritan says he opened his door, dog trotted right in, went up to his bedroom and hid in his bed!

Only injury to dog is a tiny scratch on his nose. Cheap lesson, one busted window, one scratched nose, one missed dinner.

I’ve already gotten 15-odd alerts today on my personal Facebook feed about “dog bolted yesterday, please help” versus the usual once-every-three-months “gate left open, dog missing” sort of thing.
Many animal owners-not just dogs-spend the holiday huddled at home trying to keep their terrified beasts alive.

It depend on the dog ,some dogs do run when frighten and dogs don’t think like people do. People do travel with their dogs on holidays and dogs get lost . Some people came to my city for a holiday from New York and had the window open in their car and when they stopped for red light their dog freaked out about something and jumped out the window . It took 3 days to find the poor dog with the help of people .

It varies with each dog. Check out this dog’s reaction: http://imgur.com/a/RXcyz

My dog doesn’t seem to care about fireworks or thunder and lightning. I always take him with me to the top of a nearby mountain to watch the show.

My daughter and I have been volunteering at our local animal shelter. They normally take in around 20 dogs per week. They were trying to get as many fostered out to people as possible before the 4th so they’d have room for the expected influx. I got an email earlier saying they took in 70 this weekend and Monday.

If I’m out with my dog and he hears a loud boom from thunder or fireworks, he starts pulling hard on his leash to get somewhere, anywhere, that he can hide. If he wasn’t leashed, he’d be gone.

Once in a thunderstorm my dog (which normally loves to come inside and normally does so during fireworks and other loud noises) refused to come inside and freaked out when I tried to drag him in to prevent him from getting wet and being scared by the noise. Instead he hid directly underneath my parked car in my garage (I have an open-air garage for one of my cars) despite it being in the open and completely wet. What did he know that I didn’t?

It wasn’t even the 4th. There was a loud noise, a thunderclap or gunshot, and one of my dogs jumped a 4+ foot fence, landed running and kept on running. Took 2 days to find her and get her back. My other noise-sensitive dog I needed to tranquilize, else she’d pace and pant and shake for as long as the noise continued. If she could have gotten loose, she’d have been gone, too.

A friend of my sister had a couple of dogs who bolted during a heavy ice storm that lasted several days. The loud creaking and cracking noises caused by stressed and breaking tree limbs and the loud cracks when a heavy one broke in two (especially at night) freaked them out and they ran off sometime during the second night. One apparently panicked and darted in front of a car just up the street and was killed. The other one was found a few blocks away the next morning, safe but still frightened.

Neither article its any statistics to back the claims up, just hearsay, sorry. A bunch of lonely fat old ladies who man animal shelters aren’t necessarily professionals who “ought to know”.

I appreciate these cites and your efforts. Sad to say the Albuquerque one was a dead link.

The Dayton article only compares this July 4th weekend to the PREVIOUS one, not to other weekends, so I cant accept that.

Finally, the Macon newscast says that there is EXPECTED to be a 3x increase in lost dogs. Id love to see a followup to see if that actually happened, or if this was just sensationalistic journalism.

That blog link doesn’t work on my computer maybe because I have an iMac, I will effort it it seems maybe it might have some insight on this issue.

I hope you don’t think Im picking on you. But in the OP I said Im looking for QUANTIFIABLE, statistical proof that this phenomena actually happens, So far, Ive only received one link for the ASPCA that this might be an urban legend . . . .