MANILA, Philippines - Pets, like human beings, need to be prepared for natural disasters.
Dogs, for one, are usually afraid of thunder -- the sharp and loud sound made by lightning. If they are left behind during a storm, dogs may leave their home, destroy furniture, or soil their dens out of panic.
Here are some tips shared by animal behavior consultant Ilana Reisner on how to help dogs deal with this fear, as featured here:
- Establish a comfortable "safe haven" on the first-floor interior of the house, where storm noise is less intense and where he has spent calm time in the past.
- Don't lock him in a crate or in a tiny room, which can increase panic.
- Turn up a radio to help camouflage storm noise.
- If you are present, it helps if you sing, dance or give him a great chew treat, anything you can think of to make it clear that you're not worried or tense.
Ready for the storm
As much as possible, pets should not be left at home in times of natural disasters such as typhoons, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
This, the group said, will only put them in even more danger as they may become malnourished and dehydrated, or even escape in fear and get lost.
Below are some of PETA's animal safety tips during disasters:
- All animals should have collars with identification tags. Make sure you have a current photo of your companion for identification purposes.
- Hotels often lift "no pets" policies during emergencies, but keep a list of hotels that accept companion animals just in case. Include the Philippine Animal Welfare Society's (PAWS) phone number, (02) 475-1688, in your list of emergency numbers. It might be able to provide information during a disaster.
- Keep copies of your pet's records in your emergency kit -- most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters require medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
- Have a ready pack containing a carrier, leash, extra animal food, and other supplies that you will need so you can grab them easily if you need to evacuate in a hurry.
But if you really must leave your pets behind, PETA has these tips:
- Never turn animals loose. Do not tie animals outside or keep them in a vehicle unattended. Leave them in a secure area outside your home.
- Leave out at least 10 days' supply of water. Fill every sink, bowl, pan and container with water, then set them on the floor. Do not leave just one container -- it may spill. If your toilet bowl is free of chemical disinfectants, leave the toilet seat up to provide animals with one more source of water, but do not let that be the only source.
- Leave out at least 10 days' supply of dry food. Canned food will go rancid quickly.
- If you can't get to your home, contact a reliable neighbor or friend to check on the animals and get them out, if possible. Provide specific instructions on care.