The Fourth of July dilemma

It’s almost July Fourth, which for most of us means family, food, fireworks and fun. Chances are, whether you’re hitting the road or staying home, this weekend will be filled with great cookouts with great weather as we celebrate America’s independence from British rule.

However, for those of us in animal rescue, the weekend is known for another reason — the highest intake of pets to shelters in the entire year. The reason for that is fairly obvious. Fireworks and pets simply don’t mix. The loud booms that carry on for hours can scare even the most relaxed animals. Unfortunately, paired with the fact that many people leave their pets behind when they travel for July Fourth, the holiday results in far too many pets ending up as victims of the shelter system and being killed long before their owners even discover their pet is missing.

Of course, there are some common-sense tips that can keep your pets safe. Here are a few:


  • Bring all pets indoors whenever neighborhood fireworks displays are likely. Secure dogs in a room and play music or turn on the television to drown out the frightening sounds.
  • Keep pets away from lit fireworks at all times, including those in your own backyard because some will chase after the bright moving objects and be at risk to be burned or blinded.
  • Ensure that pets are wearing current identification tags.
  • For the ultimate identification protection, all pets should be microchipped so that if they are lost they can be scanned at an animal shelter or veterinary office. If your animal is already chipped, ensure the information is up-to-date.
  • If your pet does go missing over the holiday, check with local animal shelters immediately. Go to the shelter in person to identify your pet, rather than calling or emailing the shelter because staff may not be able to respond in a timely enough fashion to ensure your pet’s safety.
  • If your pet gets especially stressed by loud noises, you might want to ask your vet if he or she can prescribe something that will help your friend get through the holiday.

Given the influx of animals during the next month, we’re going to be holding an adoption campaign to try to alleviate the burden on shelters. Our Celebrate Freedom adoption campaign will be held at our two facilities in Los Angeles and our adoption center in Salt Lake City. Many of our more than 1,100 Network partner groups will also be participating.

For the month, adoption fees will start at just $25. Our adoption centers will also be offering extended hours and reduced fees over the July Fourth weekend. For more information, visit our website.

Whatever your plans are for this weekend, we hope you not only have a wonderful time but that you and your pets stay safe.


Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society