Fireworks frenzy: Area Animal Shelters swamped with missing pets after July 4th

Fireworks frenzy: Area Animal Shelters swamped with missing pets after July 4th

NORTH CHARLESTON - (WCSC) - A day after the celebration, the search is on.

Across the country, local animal shelters are experiencing one of its busiest days of the year.

The number one reason: fireworks.

"For dogs, they can hear about 40 times better," said Kay Hyman, Director of Community Engagement at the Charleston Animal Society. "Also, those bright lights are extremely frightening to them.  They don't have a clue where they're coming from."

Early Saturday, Hyman was sorting through reports and fielding walk-ins from people either looking for or reporting a lost pet.

"The most important thing you can do is be your pet's guardian," she said. "Help them with their fears."

According to, the number of missing pets spikes by 30% between July 4-6, compared to any other time of year.

Below, are tips from the Charleston Animal Society on making the fireworks experience enjoyable for both you and your pet.

1. Keep your Pet Indoors at All Times

It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety.

2. Going to a Fireworks Display? Leave Your Pet at Home

The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer brain damage and heat stroke.

3. Have Your Pet Properly Identified

If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to get them back. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.

4. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets

While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.

5. Lighter Fluid and Matches Are Harmful to Pets.

The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.

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