By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–San Diego Humane Society is asking pet parents to plan ahead to keep their furry family members safe on the 4th of July.
In 2021, the nonprofit organization took in 270 stray dogs, cats, and other small animals that became lost between July 4 to 7, and only 28% of those pets were reclaimed by their owners (42% for dogs, 5% for cats, 0% for other small pets).
Sadly, one out of every three pets gets lost during their lifetime, and only one in 10 lost pets is found. The holiday can be especially terrifying for pets due to the loud noises associated with fireworks and revelry. Pets spooked by the noise have been known to jump fences out of fear and confusion, resulting in an especially high number of stray animals entering the shelter after the 4th of July celebrations.
“Pets tend to get very frightened by July Fourth fireworks, whether it’s big firework displays or community members setting off unscheduled fireworks in their local neighborhoods. It’s so important that pet parents have a solid plan to keep their animals calm and safe since we see a significant increase in stray pets after the holiday,” said San Diego Humane Society Chief Operating Officer Jessica Des Lauriers. “We urge pet families to have that plan in place early, which includes keeping pets home and indoors, in a secure location.”
Families can reduce the risk of their pets getting lost by microchipping them with updated information. The process is safe, simple, and designed to quickly identify lost pets and reunite them with their owners. The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected beneath the surface of the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot, takes only a few seconds and your pet will not react any more than she would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.
Make sure your pets have collars with contact information tags and that your dogs are licensed. If you aren’t able to secure tags, simply write your phone number on your dog’s collar with a sharpie. If your pet runs away and you have your phone number on their collar, the person who finds your pet can quickly give you a call and start the reunification process, skipping a trip to the shelter.
If your pet is particularly scared during the celebrations, medication may help them stay calm. Make an appointment early with your veterinarian to seek out remedies to lower your pet’s stress level if this is a known issue.
When scared, some animals may become destructive, so be sure to remove anything from reach that can become damaged or may harm your pet if chewed or eaten. Leave your pet in an area of your home where they are safe, comfortable, and sheltered from any outside noise and lights.
If you won’t be home during the event, consider finding someone to watch your pet. Having company can help them stay calm and ensure they don’t become lost.
San Diego Humane Society is offering $15 microchipping clinics at its campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego, through June 30, Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more, visit sdhumane.org/microchip.
All San Diego Humane Society shelters will be closed on July 4. If you find a stray pet over the holiday, please keep them separate from your own pets, keep them safe overnight and bring them to us on July 5, during normal business hours from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. If you are unable to care for a lost pet overnight, contact our Humane Law Enforcement dispatch at (619) 299-7012 (press 1). If you lose a pet over the holiday, check the Found Pets page at sdhumane.org/lostandfound on July 5.