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Runaway pets a huge problem on the 4th of July

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Updated: 7/04/2013 11:48 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The blasts and booms we love to hear on the 4th of July can be a nightmare for our pets.

Fireworks can put your dog or cat in a panic, and that fear could send them darting into the unknown. Runaway pets are a huge problem on Independence Day, and oftentimes, they end up at a local shelter.

Action News has learned, many shelters are already dealing with overcrowding, so the influx is not only bad for them but for your pet too.

Celebrating our nation's independence is an exciting experience for the entire family, except for your pets. Taking them to see the fireworks can be a nightmare.

"The Fourth of July, just like New Year's Eve, is one of the times that a lot of animals do go missing so it's very important to make sure that your pet is home somewhere safe," said Michelle Gillam with the Jacksonville Humane Society.

Gillam says this is the one time your canine gets comfort from its crate.

"You can put on some light music, something just to calm them down," she said.

What really does the trick? The Thunder Shirt which reportedly makes the dog feel nurtured in a stressful situation.

"You put them on rather tight and some dogs will just go and lay down and seem perfectly comfortable once that Thunder Shirt is on properly," said Dorie Sparkman, owner of Emerson Kennels. 

What we witnessed with Honey Badger, a hyper Akita, was instant results.

"It calmed her down immediately," she said.

However, the most important thing is to keep your dog's collar on at all times, even if it is inside the house. A frantic escape is possible. Some shelters have a seven-day limit to care for your lost pet. If the owner doesn't claim the pet in that time frame, your family member could then be added to the shelter's adoption list.

Experts tell Action News having your dog microchipped can help this problem. An animal shelter can locate the dog’s owner just by tracking that chip.
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