-- Nearly one in five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises, according to a recent survey by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, making the Fourth of July a high-risk holiday for animal owners.
In an effort to lower the number of lost pets this year, the ASPCA has just released its first app designed to help pet parents locate Fido as quickly as possible.
"What’s so unique about the app -- and how it will help pet owners -- is that instead of simply adding photos of their lost pets to a database where it might easily get lost in a sea of other lost pet photos, the ASPCA app gives pet owners an individual search plan with customized action steps based on their pet’s unique personality and the circumstances of how they were lost," an ASPCA spokeswoman told ABC News. "In an emergency where every second counts, the ability to search more quickly and efficiently is crucial."
The app offers users a personalized recovery kit with step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal under various scenarios, as well as offering preventative safety tips for before and during natural disasters.
Other features of note: Medical records and photos can be uploaded onto the app to create a digital "lost pet" flyer that can be shared across social media networks in the event of an emergency.
"We don’t have any individual case studies yet, but our survey found that most lost pets (58 percent) were recovered through some action taken by owners or others, including using ID tags and microchips, searching the neighborhood, checking with local shelters or animal control, and distributing flyers or posters," said the ASPCA spokeswoman. "We hope to collect data -- and happy tales of reunions -- through the app."
To decrease the likelihood of a pet bolting during a fireworks display, the ASPCA encourages owners to keep their animals in a quiet, secured area indoors for the duration of the event.