Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration No Party for Pets

Fireworks exploding in the night sky.

Fourth of July can be one big, day-long celebration of our nation’s birthday with picnics, barbecues, backyard get-togethers and much more all capped off with a booming display of fireworks. Fido might have a great time at these celebrations, but come the fireworks, Fido can get terrified and escape.

And that’s the end of the party as far as Fido and other dogs are concerned.

“Dogs can panic and they’ll do anything to escape the noise,” County Animal Services Director Daniel DeSousa said. “That includes digging under, climbing over or even breaking through gates, screens, fences, windows and doors.”

As dogs run headlong away from fireworks’ screaming whistles, thunderous booms and bright colors lighting up the night sky, they risk being hit by a car, getting hurt by other animals or becoming lost. Dozens of dogs end up at the County shelters every year.

Some are quickly reunited with their owners because the dogs were licensed and microchipped. Residents in the unincorporated areas can get their dogs microchipped from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3 at the County’s two shelters in Carlsbad and Bonita. The cost is $10.

County Animal Services no longer serves residents in the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach because contracts with those cities ended June 30. Residents in those cities with animal-related issues can contact the San Diego Humane Society.

Animal Services also recommends that you register your dog with Finding Rover before the fireworks. The free facial recognition app matches dogs’ faces with those that have been lost or found. One time, the app found a dog within five minutes!

Here are some additional tips on how to protect your pet this Fourth of July:

  • Stay home with your dogs.
  • Avoid taking your pet to fireworks displays. Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened so remove dangerous objects your pet may chew. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you’re away.
  • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and get lost.
  • If you know your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult your veterinarian to see if anxiety-relieving medication is appropriate.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car.With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, within minutes.
  • If you are walking your dog near fireworks displays, be sure your pet is secured on a leash in case it tries to bolt.

If you find a lost pet in the unincorporated area of the County after the fireworks, call County Animal Services’ 24-hour emergency dispatch number at (619) 236-2341 so the animal can be cared for at the shelter. If you lose your pet, check the department’s lost and found page online and Finding Rover.

If you see your dog is at County Animal Services, you can pick up your pet starting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 5.






Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact