Fourth of July Fireworks No Celebration for Dogs

Fireworks exploding in the night sky.

Dogs at Fourth of July picnics? From Fido’s perspective, yes! Someone might drop a hotdog or even play fetch.

Dogs at Fourth of July fireworks shows? From Fido’s perspective? No.

He doesn’t know what’s going on when the fireworks go off with their booms, screaming whistles and flashes of light across the night sky. Whatever it is, he may feel a need to escape and as soon as possible.

“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.”

At the very least, Fido may run off and get lost. He may run headlong into traffic or risk getting attacked by other animals.

He may, as dozens of dogs do after every Independence Day, end up at a shelter. 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. Tuesday through Sunday at the County’s two shelters in Carlsbad and Bonita. If you bring in your pet by July 3, the cost will be $10. On July 5, the fee increases to $20.

In addition to microchipping your dog before the fireworks, County Animal Services also recommends that you register your dog with Finding Rover. The free facial recognition app matches dogs’ faces with those that have been lost or found.

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 Friday, July 5.

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