Thousands of people in Collin County celebrated Independence Day during the three-day weekend by attending fireworks shows. But the loud, colorful festivities have an unintended side effect: lost pets. 

As quoted by Star Local Media, Jamey Cantrell, the Animal Services Director for the city of Plano explained, “The days around July 4th are some of the busiest we see all year with regards to lost pets.” And it’s no mystery as to why: According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for many animals, the loud sounds and bright colors of fireworks trigger a fight-or-flight response. This adrenaline rush causes our pets to run from familiar environments and people, many times reacting aggressively.

As reported by Star Local Media, Plano Animal Shelter received at least 12 reports and dozens of calls from residents whose pets went missing. On a normal non-holiday weekend, the shelter would receive less than three missing pet reports. “Every year we try to educate people about how to keep their pets happy and safe during the holiday but unfortunately not everyone heeds our advice,” said Cantrell.

This was not the case with Allen Animal Shelter. Allen’s staple Fourth of July celebration took place on June 25, and the city advised residents to keep pets at home for the event’s duration. But in addition to this precaution, Allen has a restriction on the use of fireworks which can be launched within city limits only with a special permit. Maybe that’s the reason why Allen Animal Services only had to process two missing dog reports and one dog that was brought in as a stray. 

If you are missing your pet, check your local shelter and next time you plan on fireworks, follow the ASPCA’s tips on how to make it less scary for our four-legged friends.