Fireworks can send your pets running; take precautions

By: Jacques Von Lunen

It's the busiest time of the year for animal shelters. No, not Christmas. The Fourth of July.

The fireworks extravaganzas that delight humans scare many animals --so much that they blindly run away from the noise and end up in shelters or emergency rooms.

"Traditionally, it's our biggest week," says John Rowton, spokesman for Multnomah County Animal Services. "We see a lot of frightened dogs."

While all animals fear loud noises, dogs have the most freedom to run around and are often taken to fireworks displays. They are the pets most likely to end up in trouble.

The number of lost dogs dropped off at the Multnomah County shelter in Troutdale jumps by about 50 percent that weekend. The increase is even more dramatic in Washington County.

"Our shelter count doubles around the Fourth," says Deborah Wood, manager of the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro. "It's our busiest time of the year."

Running from explosions only to end up spending the weekend in a shelter cage is frightening and confusing for a dog. But that's not the worst fate.

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Jacques Von Lunen also blogs about pets at To reach him, e-mail

Posted By: Jennifer Mount