July 4 Party Preparations For Your Pooch

Fireworks exploding in the night sky.

A nice, relaxing Fourth of July suddenly turns into chaos when night falls, with thundering booms, high-pitched whistles and multi-colored lights flashing across the sky. We’re just celebrating, but Rover has no idea what is going on and he is terrified.

“Fireworks and other noisemakers on the Fourth of July can trigger an escape or ‘flight’ response in pets putting them at risk of injury or even death,” said County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson. “Panicked pets may dig under, climb over, or break through gates, screens, fences, windows or doors and hurt themselves or get lost in attempts to escape the cacophony. Any time pets are loose, they face even greater dangers from vehicles or other animals.” 

Owners are encouraged to register their dog with Finding Rover. The free facial recognition app matches your lost dog’s face with those that have been found helping the public and shelters reunite you with your missing dog. Finding Rover has helped several owners find their missing pets in San Diego County. The app even found one dog within five minutes!   

Besides microchipping and registering with Finding Rover, County Animal Services offers these tips on how you can protect your dog this Fourth of July:

  • 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 find a lost pet after the fireworks, call the Department’s 24- hour emergency dispatch number at (619) 236-2641.

The department’s three shelters will have limited staff on Sunday, July 5 to allow owners to claim their lost dogs. If you’ve lost your pet, visit the shelter closest to you or check the department’s website at For other department news, visit Animal Services’ Facebook page.

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