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Act now to keep pets safe this Fourth of July

Fireworks may cause pets to panic and escape from their enclosures or to bolt away from their owners. Take steps now to protect your pets.
Media release

Washington County Animal Services staff are asking pet owners to take proactive measures now to keep their animals safe during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Fireworks may cause pets to panic and escape from their enclosures or to bolt away from their owners. Even pets that have never seemed bothered by loud noises before can develop new fears. Pet owners should keep in mind that in many neighborhoods, fireworks happen at any time day or night, and not just on the actual holiday.

Things pet owners can do now:

  • Verify that pets' tags and microchips have current and updated information, and that your dog is licensed.
  • Check fences to make sure there are no loose boards, holes or other places where a frightened dog could escape. Double check that all gates are securely latched.
  • Keep dogs on a leash while outside during and near the Fourth of July holiday, even in your own backyard.
  • Call your veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss medication or other options for reducing your pet’s fear if you think your pet might be afraid of loud noises.
  • Choose a room in your home that can provide a safe space for your pet during the festivities and fireworks. Help your pet become comfortable and create a positive association with the room before the fireworks start. This space can also become a safe refuge for your pet if they get overwhelmed by houseguests or daytime celebrations. Turn on a TV or radio to help dampen noises from outside.

The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro will be open on Thursday, July 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for limited services, including stray dog intake and reunions between lost animals and their owners. The shelter will be open for full walk-in services on Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Washington County Animal Services and the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter are located at 1901 SE 24th Avenue in Hillsboro, just off Tualatin Valley Highway by Lowe’s and Home Depot.

For additional information on what to do if you lose or find a pet, visit and click on “Lost and Found Pets.”


Pictured above: Lisbeth Garcia and her 13-year-old dog Kimmy were reunited at the shelter on July 4, 2023.

Media Contact:
Stacy Beckley
Animal Behavior & Outreach Coordinator, Washington County Animal Services
[email protected]
Available on Thursday, July 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.