Keep Pets Safe On Independence Day

The noise of 4th of July celebrations can cause your pet to panic. 

Whether it’s a large firework display or neighbors using sparklers and poppers in their driveway, your pets don’t know it's part of a celebration.

On July 5, animal shelters across the country will face the daunting task of caring for the many lost dogs and cats who bolted from their homes because they were terrified of fireworks. Sadly, some lost pets are never reunited with their owners.

Laura Klink, Public Information Manager with the Oregon Humane Society, says they urge you to keep your pet indoors. Klink says even if you think your pet will be okay, don't take the chance. A panicked pet can escape a fenced yard or run off.  

Here are some additional suggestions to keep pets safe:

1. Dogs and cats who are distressed should be placed inside a room with closed windows and a secure door. A screen door will not stop a frightened dog. Don’t take a dog to watch a large commercial firework display, as this increases the likelihood of your pet becoming lost in an unfamiliar area.

2. Make sure all pets, even indoor-only cats, wear a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. An identification microchip is even better, as it is embedded in your pet and cannot be lost. These simple precautions will go a long way towards ensuring a rapid reunion with a lost pet.

3. At home, a ThunderShirt, flower essences, pheromones or gentle touch can also help ease a pet’s anxiety.

4. Walk dogs in the afternoon, well before nightfall, to prevent undue stress from noisy fireworks.5. For dogs with extreme reactions to fireworks, talk with your veterinarian about medication.

If your pet does get lost during the holiday:

1. Check with your local animal control agency. Many agencies have lost-and-found listings on their website (OHS, by law, cannot accept stray animals).

2. Post on Nextdoor, Craigslist, and other lost pet websites.

3. Put up flyers with a photo and description of the missing pet.

4. Search your neighborhood and your own property thoroughly. Lost cats, for example, are often found hiding under a bush in front of their owner’s home. 

5. More resources regarding Fourth of July pet safety, plus help for reuniting lost and found dogs with their owners, can be found on the OHS website at oregonhumane.org.

If you find a stray animal, please keep them with you until your local animal shelter is open and ready to receive them. Below is contact information for shelters in the Portland metro and Southwest Washington areas:

Clackamas County Dog Services

13141 SE Highway 212 Clackamas, OR

503-655-8628

clackamas.us/dogs.


Humane Society for Southwest Washington

1100 NE 192nd Ave. Vancouver, WA 

360-693-4746

southwesthumane.org.


Multnomah County Animal Services

1700 W. Historic Columbia River Highway, Troutdale, OR

503-988-7387

multcopets.org.


Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter/Washington County Animal Services

1901 SE 24th Avenue, Hillsboro, OR

503-846-7041

co.washington.or.us/pets.


Clark County Animal Protection and Control

1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver, WA

360-397-2488

clark.wa.gov/community-development/animals-and-pets.

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