Every year around Independence Day, animal shelters fill up with pets that have strayed from home after being spooked by the loud bangs of fireworks. Terrified animals can run for miles, trying to escape the noise.

For the third year running RASKC will help Missing Pet Partnership locate stray pets after the holiday through the Mission Reunite: Help and Hope for Lost Pets program.

Pets don't understand what the noise is all about, and they can get frightened very easily, said Dr. Gene Mueller, RASKC Manager. In addition, their hearing is far more sensitive than ours, so loud noises have an even bigger impact on our pets.

The program has come up with a helpful checklist for pet owners to reduce the chances of their pets running away during the loud festivities. Check out the tips below:

  • Keep your pet secured indoors in the quietest room of your home while fireworks are being set off. You can also use soothing music or television as a distraction. Some pets will stay calmer when placed in a secure crate in a darkened, quiet room.
  • If your pet is normally kept outside, bring them inside or put them in a garage or basement while fireworks are going off.
  • Make sure your pet has at least two forms of identification. This can be a pet license and personalized tag, a license and a microchip, or all three (license, tag, and microchip). Pets with ID have a much greater chance of being returned to their owners.
  • Don't assume that your pet won't react just because you haven't had problems in the past. Sometimes pets become sensitive to loud noises later in life.
  • If your pet is lost, check in person at all local shelters, and check back often. It may take some time before spooked pets are brought to shelters.

If your pet does escape RASKC will be ready to help. Starting Wednesday, July 3 through Monday, July 8, volunteers in the Mission Reunite program will be deployed at the King County Pet Adoption Center to help people looking for lost animals. A Lost Pets booth will be open during regular business hours at the center, 21615 64th Ave. S. in Kent.

Many lost animals can be found, but it takes time. Too many families give up too soon, and eventually their pets end up in an animal shelter and then get adopted out, said Sarah Luthens, RASKC Volunteer Program Manager.

Owners of stray pets can visit the Missing Pet Partnership website, or call RASKC at 206-296-3936 for help.

Found a stray animal?

Regional Animal Services of King County accepts stray pets over the counter at the King County Pet Adoption Center. For questions, call 206-296-PETS (7387). If the pet is wearing a pet license or an ID tag and if you feel comfortable enough with the animal to check the information, contact the owner directly. If you found a licensed pet after business hours, call the number on the license to get contact information for the owner through the automated fetch your pet program.

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