COOS BAY — Keeping pets safe and comfortable is important during the Fourth of July.
Animals are often scared by the noise of fireworks and will run or be aggressive, said Jill Hanson, veterinarian and co-owner of Hanson-Meekins Animal Hospital in Coos Bay.
Owners should be in tune to their pets’ feelings and take measures to help.
“People can keep animals in the basement where it’s quiet,” Hanson said. “They can also get tranquilizers from their vet.”
Hanson said she wouldn’t advise taking pets to the Coos Bay Boardwalk during the annual celebration.
“Nothing really overpowers that sound,” she said. “You can put your arms around them and talk to them and feed them treats. Anything to make them feel more secure.”
Checking what neighbors’ plans are during the holiday also may help. Hanson said owners could take pets on a road trip if their neighbors planned an explosive holiday.
Another option is giving animals drugs to calm them.
Karen Jernstead of Morgan Veterinary Clinic said owners shouldn’t give pets human medicine, however.
“People shouldn’t think, ‘Oh, I take a Valium, so I’m going to give my dog one,” Jernstead said. Medication should always be prescribed for the animal, she added.
The anxiety animals suffer during noisy Fourth of July celebrations can lead to consequences for owners as well.
Jernstead recalled a dog that once chewed up drywall in a garage when it was alone and scared by fireworks.
“Don’t leave them unattended,” she said.
Some retailers sell products specifically designed to calm pets during loud events. Hanson said the “storm” or “thunder” jackets snugly wrap around a pet’s torso like a life vest and have a calming effect by helping the animal feel secure. But, those vests can be difficult to find locally and it may be too late to order one online before the holiday.
Owners also should take precautions for finding pets in case they run away, Jernstead said.
“I’d definitely make sure they’re ID’d and microchipped to ensure they can be reunited.”
Reporter Emily Thornton can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 249 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @EmilyK_Thornton.