Bixby Animal Clinic offers free pet microchipping ahead of Fourth of July

The Bixby Animal Clinic is partnering with Friends of Long Beach Animals to offer free microchipping for cats and dogs ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

Pet owners can make an appointment or drop by the clinic for free microchipping until July 3.

This is the first year that the clinic has partnered with the nonprofit, but clinic spokesperson Sidney Ramos said that they “hope to do this annually to ensure that pet owners have their pets microchipped, especially for holidays like Fourth of July and New Year.”

The Independence Day holiday can be hard on pets, especially those that get spooked by booming fireworks. This year, the City of Long Beach will host two fireworks shows—one in Naples on Sunday, July 3 and one at Queensway Bay on Monday, July 4.

In 2019, the Long Beach Animal Care Services Department had a total of 131 pet intakes from July 1 to July 10. During that same period in 2020, they had a total of 85 intakes, a decrease that came in conjunction with reduced holiday festivities during the pandemic. Of those, a little more than half were cats.

Last year, Long Beach Animal Care Services Director Stacey Dains told the Signal Tribune that the increase in found pets was more pronounced before and after the Fourth of July, with a “steady increase” beginning at the end of June and lasting a few days after July 4.

“More pets go missing during the Fourth of July than any other time of the year,” Ramos said. “The noises, flashes and burning smell of pyrotechnics are not something cats and dogs appreciate, and can induce panic.”

When pets panic, they’re more likely to run away. Microchips can increase the likelihood of owners being reunited with their pets, as the devices carry information on the pet owner’s name, their home address, their telephone number and email, in addition to other information about the pet.

Both cats and dogs can be microchipped during the event and there is no age or weight requirement for the pets, according to Ramos. Pet owners are encouraged to bring in proof of an updated rabies vaccine. Appointments are preferred but not required.

An exterior view of the Bixby Animal Clinic on Atlantic Avenue on June 28, 2022. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

As of July 29, the Bixby Animal Clinic had microchipped about 95 pets for free, but expects to microchip many more in the days leading up to the Fourth of July, Ramos said.

Each microchip is about the size of a large grain of rice. The nonsurgical procedure does not require anesthesia and takes only seconds, but pet owners should expect the entire process to take about 15 minutes to account for time to check in their pets, Ramos said.

During the procedure, veterinarians will insert the microchip by gently pulling the loose skin between the pet’s shoulder blades. A needle will be inserted into the skin to inject the microchip. After it’s inserted, staff will scan the microchipped area to ensure that the chip is reading properly, Ramos said.

As Fourth of July approaches, Ramos encouraged residents to:

  • Keep pets inside and exercise them before the festivals begin.
  • Create a safe and comfortable space for pets to rest, such as a crate with blankets and toys.
  • Make sure pets are wearing up-to-date, visible identification tags.
  • Keep food and alcohol out of reach of pets
  • Turn on a television, radio or stereo to drown out noise from fireworks.
  • Use calming aids.

The Bixby Animal Clinic is located at 3938 Atlantic Ave. and is open weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm and weekends from 8 am to 4 pm To set up an appointment, call 562-426-4066.

Friends of Long Beach Animals is a non-profit organization dedicated to responsible pet stewardship, education and human treatment of all animals.

Emma DiMaggio and Willow Sando-McCall contributed to this report.

By hadem