Pet Safety on July 4th

in Community/News

You and your friends may have a blast on July 4, but odds are your pets aren’t so keen on Independence Day.

Beaufort County encourages pet owners to plan ahead for the well-being of their pets on July 4 holiday Day. Every year at this time, the County’s Animal Services Department receives an influx of 30 to 60 lost dogs and cats.

According to Animal Services Director Tallulah McGee, it may seem obvious, but the sound triggered by fireworks or other loud noises may cause even those pets accustomed to being outside to break their restraint or jump a fence in an attempt to find safety and feel protected. 

Consequently, pets should always be properly identified with a microchip or tag. McGee also suggests that owners keep current photographs of pets in case a pet goes missing.

“Loud fireworks and large crowds can distress animals, so avoid taking them to Fourth of July activities,” McGee said. “Instead, keep your pets safe and comfortable in a quiet, sheltered, and escape-proof area at home.”

Further, exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in death, severe burns, or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets. Even unused fireworks can pose a danger, since many varieties contain potentially toxic substances, such as arsenic.

McGee added that pets should not be left confined in hot cars, as this not only jeopardizes the well-being of pets by putting them at risk to brain damage and heat stroke but also exposes the owner to monetary fines.

Another danger to pets is alcohol poisoning. Pet owners should take care not to leave alcoholic beverages accessible to pets. Pets drinking alcohol, including beer, can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.

Individuals whose pets go missing should notify the Animal Services Department at shelter@bcgov.net or 843-255-5010. The public is also welcome to post a photo of lost or found animals on the department’s Facebook page. 

Here’s a list of tips to keep your pets safe from the website of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

– Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.

– Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.

– Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.

– If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.

– Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.

– Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.

– Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.

– Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic.

– Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.

Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.

– If you’re travelling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.

– Follow safe food handling and hygiene practices to protect your family and guests.

– After the celebrations, check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.

– After the celebrations, check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock.

– After the celebrations, if you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.

For more information, visit https://www.avma.org.