Preparing your dog for the Fourth of July: What you need to know

Preparing your dog for the Fourth of July: What you need to know

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - While fireworks may be the sound celebration and excitement for you -- it could be terrifying for your pet. Whether you're setting off fireworks - or going to a show for the upcoming holiday week, it's important to consider our furry friends so they don't run off and get lost.

Melissa Knicely with CMPD Animal Care and Control says July is their busiest month of the year.

“And I believe it has a lot to do with all the fireworks shows going on, people in neighborhoods are having parties and shooting off firecrackers as well as the thunderstorms that we mentioned,” she said.

She points out that it's not just a problem on July 4th but also for days and even weeks after the holiday. She says pet owners need to really be aware of their dog's personality and if they can handle the noisy celebrations that we humans love so much this time of year.

“Really think long and hard,” Knicely cautioned. “Is it something that your dog really wants to go do? Do they get enjoyment out of that? Or do they get fear - and in taking them - are you actually creating a possibility that your dog’s going to be frightened and it's going to get away from you. the best recommendation is to let the dog stay home. Provided - especially if you know that loud noises scare your dog, there's a potential that your dog is going to just take off and you're going to lose the leash and possibly lose your dog.”

That’s first piece of advice -- know your dog. And, if they're skittish, have a plan ahead of time.

“If you’re having a party and your dog is not fond of that - especially older dogs - a walk-in bedroom closet is a really nice hideaway for a dog,” she said. “Or just a bedroom, you know somewhere off to the side. Always make sure you give your dog a place to escape. When you’re having a party. Also, children can leave doors open and open gates - we hear that lot - that’s how dogs get out of the house.”

If you know your dog really struggles with fireworks and loud noises - take them to the vet. There are safe sedatives you can get to help your dog through the next several weeks. It’s also why it’s so important to that your dog has I-D.

Fireworks warning for pet owners

“It can be as easy as a tag that’s on the collar with its name and your phone number and address or it can be the microchip and we talk about that a lot here," said Knicely. “Because we want to get the word out that the microchip and the registration linked to that chip is so vital for us to get lost pets home. I’ve seen so many great reunion stories thanks to microchipping so I would encourage everyone to get it done.”

It's painless for dogs and inexpensive. Just $10 for Mecklenburg County residents at one of their monthly microchipping clinics. Microchipping is also a way to guarantee your pet won't be taken to the shelter - but returned right back to you as long as the registration information is current.

“If one of our officers is called to someone's house, they go there, they scan it, they find a microchip and we call that owner,” she explained. “We are going to take that dog back home right then versus bringing them into the shelter.”

That saves taxpayers, literally hundreds of dollars.

“It actually cost several hundred dollars to process lost dogs into the shelter,” said Knicely. “Just to send an officer out and transport the dog cost a couple hundred dollars. Then county ordinance requires microchipping and full health workup.”

So, if they can return a dog without bringing them to shelter, we can all benefit.

Finally, Knicely wants to dispel the myth that microchipping your dog tracks its movements.

“A lot of people think that it is big brother, that they can track they’re movements -- it’s not that,” she said. “It doesn’t have GPS. It’s actually just a series of numbers almost like you would scan at a grocery store. An item you would scan and it’s gonna pop up a price at the grocery store. It’s very similar. We take that number and we plug it into computers and then we see the microchip information. So you’re address, phone numbers. that sort of thing even emails.”

For more information on how to get your dog microchipped, go to and click on the microchip tab.

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