Fireworks Lead to Increase in Lost Pets, Pet Anxiety Each Year

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — With the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, Woods Humane Society is reminding the community to prepare to protect their pets from the fireworks. 

“While fireworks are a fun display for humans, they’re often dreadful for pets,” says Woods Humane Society CEO Neil Trent, adding that some animal control officials report seeing as much as a 30 percent increase in lost pets over the holiday. 

“Cats and dogs have a much stronger sense of hearing than people do, so the explosive noises sound even louder to them, causing many pets to run away out of fear or to suffer from intense anxiety.” 


In order to help local pet owners proactively protect their pets in advance of the holiday, Woods has put together a list of Pet Fireworks Safety Tips, the first of which is to make sure pets have a collar with an ID tag on it as well as a microchip with up-to-date registration information.

Microchips are the size of a grain of rice and are implanted just under the skin of dogs and cats. Each microchip contains a unique code that can be easily scanned by a vet or an animal shelter employee and matched against an identification database online. 

“If a lost pet doesn’t have an identification tag, the microchip helps us to quickly reunite it with its family. At just $20, microchips are among the cheapest, easiest and best ways to safeguard our pets against the risk of homelessness and suffering as a stray,” says Trent, noting that pet owners can make an appointment to get their dogs or cats microchipped at both of Woods’ locations.

In addition to microchips and ID tags, Woods recommends following these Pet Fireworks Safety Tips:

  • Stay at home with pets and keep them indoors, in a safe, familiar environment
  • Secure all doors and windows 
  • Drown out external noises and lights by playing the TV or radio and closing curtains
  • Make sure pets cannot harm themselves by chewing on unsafe household objects
  • Intermittently toss them treats to reinforce a more positive association with the noise
  • Consider using anxiety-reducing tools such as the Tellington Touch method or a Thundershirt
  • If your pets suffer from severe fireworks-induced anxiety, contact your vet in advance for recommendations regarding anti-anxiety medication

To make a microchip appointment, call Woods SLO at (805) 543-9316 or Woods North County at (805) 466-5403. Please note: Woods Humane Society is closed on the Fourth of July. 

For more information about what to do if you find or lose a pet, visit

For more information about Woods, visit or call (805) 543-9316. Woods Humane Society is located at 875 Oklahoma Ave., San Luis Obispo and at 2300 Ramona Rd., Atascadero.