by Photo courtesy of the San Diego Humane Society

As the July Fourth holiday approaches, many people think of summertime fun with lots of food and fireworks to color the night sky. 

The San Diego Humane Society asks pet owners to plan for the safety of their pets, as noise-sensitive animals are more likely to run. The nonprofit took in 270 stray dogs, cats, and other animals between July 4 through July 7, 2021. Officials reported that pet owners reclaimed only 28 percent of those pets. 

The nonprofit said the July Fourth holiday can be terrifying for pets due to the loud noises associated with fireworks and revelry. The nonprofit said spooked pets are known to jump fences out of fear and confusion, leading to high numbers of stays entering the shelter. 

“Pets tend to get very frightened by 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.”

One out of every three pets gets lost during their lifetime. Only one in ten pets are reunited with their owners. The nonprofit recently launched a new national database, Petco Love Lost, which uses pet facial recognition technology to help reunite missing pets with their families. The database has more than 10,000 dogs and cats and creates digital lost pets alerts on Nextdoor, Facebook, and via email. 

The SDHS provided the following steps to help pet parents reduce the risk of their pets getting lost: 

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped and the information connected to the chip is up to date. Microchipping is permanent pet identification. The process is safe, simple, and designed to identify lost pets and reunite them with their owners. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice (12mm) that is injected beneath the surface of the pet's skin between the shoulder blades. According to the SDHS, the process is similar to a routine vaccinaiton. San Diego Humane Society is offering $15 microchipping clinics at its campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego, June 14 – June 30, 2022; Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more, visit<>.
  • Ensure 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. 
  • Consult a veterinarian for pets with anxiety. If your pet is particularly scared during the July Fourth 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.
  • Create a home sanctuary. 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.
  • Make plans early for a pet sitter! If you won’t be home during the July Fourth celebrations, consider finding someone to watch your pet. Having company can help them stay calm and ensure they don’t become lost. 

The San Diego Humane Society will be closed on July 4 and asks people who find stray animals over the holiday to keep them safe overnight. Stray animals may be turned into the SDHS shelters from July 5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Officials advise people who find strays to keep them separate from household pets. 

Those who cannot take care of a lost pet overnight can contact the Humane Law Enforcement Dispatch at 619-299-7012, and press 1.

 If you lose a pet over the holiday, please check our Found Pets<> page at<> on July 5.

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