The 4th of July is Not a Celebration for Pets

By Kimberly Wade

*If you are missing your pet in Washoe County, please contact Animal Services at 775-353-8900. They had nearly 50 dogs arrive at their shelter on July 5. If you are missing a pet in Carson City, please contact Nevada Humane Society at 775-887-2171.

The 4th of July is upon us and like many, you’re probably planning a festive weekend with a mix of people and pets, because if you’re like me, pets are family too. The trouble is, that on the 4th of July, every year animal welfare groups stress that pets do not like fireworks. Despite this, people still celebrate with their pet—when in reality, this is the time to leave your pet at home, where they are comfortable and safe from everything that can go wrong. I’m here to preach the same thing.

Normally your pets may love camping, swimming and family gatherings. But on July 4th, it’s too risky if you are in the vicinity of a fireworks show. Pets don’t associate noise and flashes of light or strange things whizzing by with celebrations. Instead, they are terrified and they often panic and run away—even the most well-behaved or trained pet.

According to the American Humane Association, July 5th is the busiest day at animal shelters nationwide because more pets run away during firework celebrations and find themselves lost on the street, injured, or worse. Those that are lucky enough to be picked up by animal control or brought to a shelter by a kind person are still stressed, because now they don’t know where they are, nor is their person guaranteed to come by the shelter to look for them.

Prior to the 4th of July, prepare for your pet possibly escaping with these simple tips:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and registered with current information. Registration is easy with the Found Animals Registry, a free service, and Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers free microchipping to local residents.
  • Make sure pet collars are secure and that tags are up to date.
  • Register your dog with Finding Rover, a website that uses photos as facial recognition to help find your dog.
  • Have recent photos of your pet in your phone or on your computer so you can easily make lost pet flyers.

During the 4th of July celebration, if you are near a big fireworks show, keep your pets safe!

  • At dusk, bring your pets inside your home. Even if they are usually fine outside, there is a reason so many pets end up running away on the 4th of July.
  • Don’t take your pet to parties. If you are hosting your own party, keep your pet in a crate or other small space that is secure (keep windows closed too). Startled pets have been known to break through screens and push doors open, so locked doors and windows are best. This also prevents people from opening doors and letting your pet out.
  • Turn on the TV or calming music. It helps relieve stress and lets them focus on something other than the fireworks.
  • Engage them with a special toy or long-lasting chew treat. This works well for food motivated dogs even in stressful times!

Washoe County Regional Animal Services and Nevada Humane Society Carson City will be working hard this weekend, reminding people to keep pets safe and working round the clock as pets arrive at the shelter. But in the case your pet isn’t safe, remember to check all nearby shelters for many days after the 4th so that if your pet ends up there, you can bring him or her home. Lost and found pets may be posted and viewed online at but please do your best at keeping your pet safe. We promise they will be much happier being left at home during this big holiday weekend.

For more services for Washoe County Animal Services, please call their dispatch at 775-322-3647 (DOGS) or for services in Carson City please call Nevada Humane Society at 775-887-2171.

Happy 4th of July and please, keep your pets safe!

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