Celebrating July 4 is fun for adults, not so much for pet friends, scared of booming fireworks


4th of July Dogs

The 4th of July is a time of celebration, but we must not forget our furry friends during the festivities. The noise from fireworks can frighten pets or even cause them to flee. For a list of pet safety tips, visit pasadenahumane.org.

Have I mentioned that my dog Sueshi is almost perfect in every way? For example, she will happily snuggle with me on the couch to watch the rare thunderstorm. And, she loves fireworks. I know what you’re thinking…she’s amazing, right?

If you or someone you know has a pet who trembles in fear at the first firecracker of the season, you know just how lucky I am. Pets frightened by fireworks are more likely to run away. In fact, the 4th of July holiday is one of the busiest times of the year for animal shelters around the country.

Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe this 4th of July.

  • Identification: Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with a current ID tag and license. Get your pet microchipped and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.
  • Sanctuary space: Set up a quiet room in your home with your pet’s favorite toys, blankies and pet-friendly essential oils. Make sure the doors and windows are securely closed. Play calming music to help block out the sound.
  • Indoors only: The best place for your pet to be on the 4th of July is indoors. Walk your dog well before the evening fireworks begin. Avoid taking your pet to a fireworks display, even if your dog does not appear to be frightened.
  • Calming aids: Try over-the-counter calming solutions like treats, collars, diffusers or ThunderShirts (all available in the Pasadena Humane Shelter Shop). Consult with your veterinarian if your pet has more severe anxiety that might be treated with medication.

As much as we try to be careful and plan for success, accidents happen. If your pet goes missing, remember that most lost pets are found close to home. As soon as you realize your pet has escaped:

  • Call or text your neighbors to get everyone on the lookout.
  • Search for your missing pet on Nextdoor (nextdoor.com), local Facebook groups, and websites like PawBoost (www.pawboost.com) and Petco Love Lost (lost.petcolove.org). If your pet isn’t listed among the lost and found, create a post with their photo.
  • Check the lost pets feed on your local shelter’s website. Ours is pasadenahumane.org/lostpets, and it’s updated hourly.
  • Post flyers in your neighborhood.
  • Don’t give up! If you don’t find your pet immediately, continue to check social media and shelters in your area.

If you find a lost pet, chances are that it’s your neighbor’s pet and they are actively looking for it. Use some of the strategies listed above to try to reunite lost pets with owners. If you cannot temporarily care for the pet until the owner is located, or if the animal is injured or ill, contact your local shelter for help.

At Pasadena Humane, we will be working regular business hours on the 4th of July. Please check our website for hours and access to services. Our animal control officers will be available to assist with lost pets throughout the holiday weekend.

If you need help with a lost or found pet, please call 626-792-7151, Ext. 997 or email hello@pasadenahumane.org. For after-hours assistance, call 626-792-7151, Ext. 970.

Wishing you and your best friends a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!

Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on July 1, 2022.