Pet Safety Tips for Fourth of July Holiday

July 1, 2019, Hilton Head Island, S.C. – Beaufort County encourages pet owners to plan ahead for the well-being of their pets on Independence 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,” said McGee. “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 or 843-255-5010. The public is also welcome to post a photo of lost or found animals on the department’s Facebook page. For more Fourth of July pet safety tips, click here.

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