Preparing for July 4th: The day the greatest number of pets go missing


Love Lost, Petco Love’s national database for lost and found pets can help reunite families with their animal companions

Photo: NE97/Adobe Stock

Photo: NE97/Adobe Stock

With the start of July and the 4th of July quickly approaching, National Lost Pet Prevention Month is in full swing. According to a news release by Petco Love, a national nonprofit organization committed to animal welfare, more pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year.1 In preparation for the upcoming day, and as part of its MY RUFF DAY campaign aimed to help reunite pets with their owners, Petco Love is strongly encouraging individuals to register their cats and dogs on Love Lost, Petco Love’s national database for lost and found pets.

Love Lost employs image recognition technology to assist families in reuniting with their lost pets using one photograph, according to Petco Love. Fireworks during events like July 4th are among several reasons why pets may become frightened and go missing during the summer months.1 To help reunite these animals with their families, the organization is urging people who lose or find a pet to utilize Love Lost.

From July 4th to July 6th, there is a 30% to 60% increase in lost pets at shelters and animal control facilities.2 “Shelter overcrowding is a crisis,” said Adam Claar, a behavior a training manager at Heritage Humane Society, an organization that cares for homeless pets transitioning from stray or surrender to forever homes, in a news article.2 According to pet statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 3.2 million cats and 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters in the United States each year, with only 810,000 who enter as strays getting returned to their owners. Of those 810,000, 100,000 are cats and 710,000 are dogs.3

"July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month because of how many pets go missing this time of year, many of them ending up in shelters that are already at capacity," said Susanne Kogut, president of Petco Love. "Our mission is to reunite all lost pets…with the families that love them as quickly as possible. We know if people who lose or find a pet use one central national database to post those pets, they have a better chance of reuniting with their loved ones. Together, we can Unite to Reunite and help pets, pet families, and shelters all over the country."

Love Lost has reunited 50,000 pet owners across the United States with their lost animal companions.1 Moreover, Love Lost offers assistance in many languages and ensures privacy for its users, according to the organization. Additionally, animal shelters throughout the nation like Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) in Tucson, Arizona are using the platform to help get lost pets to their owners.1

"Reuniting pets in our community not only honors the human-animal bond and maintains public health, but it also allows shelters like ours to prioritize resources to those pets who truly need us – sick and injured, behavioral challenged, and those whose pet parents are experiencing crisis," said Monica Dangler, director at PACC. "We view keeping pets with their families as an important piece of providing a safe and healthy community."

In congruence with its mission to help animal companions, Petco Love also released its second animated short series about lost pets’ journey back to their homes, told from the point of a view of a cat or a dog. Their second episode is titled “Fireworks Fiasco” and follows 2 dogs who escape their yard after being frightened by fireworks.


  1. Petco Love Urges Pet Parents to Register Their Cats and Dogs on Love Lost Ahead of July 4th Holiday. News release. Petco Love. June 28, 2024. Accessed July 1, 2024.
  2. Ryan E. ‘The day of missing pets’. Next Avenue. July 1, 2024. Accessed July 1, 2024.
  3. Pet statistics. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Accessed July 1, 2024.
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