Help California wildfire victims

Free microchips for dogs ahead of fireworks

SAN DIEGO — Dog owners can get their pet microchipped at no cost before the loud, high-pitched whistles and booms of fireworks send Fido running for the hills.

“Dogs can panic and they’ll do anything to escape from the noise,” said County Department of Animal Services Director Daniel DeSousa. “That includes digging under, climbing over or even breaking through gates, screens, fences, windows and doors.”

Last year, nearly 60 dogs ended up at County Animal Services on the Fourth of July and the first few days after the holiday. The year before, 67 dogs came in.

Some were quickly reunited with their owners because the dogs were licensed and microchipped.

Animal Services also recommends that you register your dog with Finding Rover. The free facial recognition app matches dogs’ faces with those that have been lost or found. One time, the app found a dog within five minutes!

Here are some additional tips on how to protect your pet this Fourth of July:

  • Avoid taking your pet to fireworks displays. Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened so remove dangerous objects your pet may chew. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you’re away.
  • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and get lost.
  • If you know your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult your veterinarian to see if anxiety-relieving medication is appropriate.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, within minutes.
  • If you are walking your dog near fireworks displays, be sure your pet is secured on a leash in case it tries to bolt.
  • If you find a lost pet after the fireworks, call County Animal Services’ 24-hour emergency dispatch number at (619) 236-2341 so the animal can be cared for at the shelter. If you lose your pet, check the department’s lost and found page online and Finding Rover.

If you’d like to get your dog microchipped, you can get one for free from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at any one of the three county shelters starting Tuesday, June 27 through Sunday, July 2. Normally, the cost is $10.