With typhoon season on the way I'm releasing a number of blog posts which will have information to help you prepare. This information is based on my past experiences going through typhoon seasons and I hope that you can find elements of these posts helpful.
Typhoon season brings a lot of concerns but one that many people have contacted me in the past about, and that I have already received a question about for this upcoming season, is how to prepare dogs for typhoon season. Of course unlike cats and pocket pets dogs are taken outside to relieve themselves so how does on go about doing that when it's raining and heavy wind is blowing outside? In this post I am going to discuss some of the things I have done throughout the years to prepare my dogs for typhoon season.
If you chose to have dogs during your time here in Okinawa one of the things that is most important is to ensure that they have proper training not only to be an obedient dog but also so that they can handle any situation which is thrown at them. In fact these elements of training your dog to handle these situations is why I chose to make this the first post in the series because it is likely to take some time. Regarding typhoon preparation the type of training that we will be focusing on today is the dog's ability to "hold it" until you can bring it outside. This will prevent accidents from happening in the house. This training usually starts very young but can be done by slowly increasing the intervals between the time that you take your dog outside. Maybe today you take him outside at 7am but tomorrow you take him out at 7:30am. This is not only helpful during the typhoon season but if for whatever reason you leave the house and don't get back home in time you can be confident that your dog is not going to relieve himself or herself in the house.
Another thing I like to do which helps me with this is training your dog not to "go" unless you're ready for it. This is a very simple concept and also will make your life a lot easier. Contrary to popular belief dogs do not need to go for a walk to relieve themselves. In fact there are a lot of people who think that this is necessary but mistake their dog's habit for marking as their need to urinate. Take your dog to the same spot every time you take them outside and allow them to establish that when we are here it's time to do your business. Also do not allow your dog to mark when on walks by preventing them from excessively sniffing. This will not only prevent your dog from pulling you and frequent stops but it will also teach your dog that marking . . . doesn't need to be saved up for (let's say). They will then relieve themselves all at once rather than feel the necessity to be out for long periods of time. We'll talk more about why this is necessary in the "During The Storm" section below.
Food and Water:
Naturally the amount of food and water that you give your dog is going to determine the frequency of trips outside which is why if there is a storm in progress I limit my dogs' access to food and water. According to various dog experts dogs can go for about 2 or 3 days comfortably without food and with limited water. This is reflected in various sources regarding preparing your dog for a long flight. Of course being that I am with my dogs unlike if they are in transport via jet or what have you I can still give my dogs food, I just limit the amount. The way I decide how much to give is based on the severity of the storm and when it is hitting. (I suppose it might also be determined by your location as well). If the storm is going to hit during the time that I usually feed my dogs but will be over by the next morning I may only give them a few bites each whereas if the storm is not very severe I might not have a problem giving them about half a serving each. Another technique I use especially if a storm is going to last for quite a long time is to treat dog food like treats and give a few kibbles throughout the course of the day. This keeps the dogs active, playing and still with something in their stomach.
When it comes to water I have a slightly more structured but similar approach. There are two methods that I have tried and seem to work well. The first is that I leave the water bowl down but only put enough water to cover the bottom of the bowl. This gives the dogs just enough water to wet their whistle but doesn't promote nonstop drinking throughout the day. The second method is to pick the bowl up completely and only put it down about 3 or 4 times a day for about a minute at a time. This gives the dogs the chance to gulp up some water but not get too much where they need to immediately after head outside. Although this would not be an acceptable practice for long term use it is just fine for a few days while a storm passes.
During The Storm:
Much like children dogs need to be entertained so I usually make dog treats/bones an item to pick up when I am doing my typhoon shopping. I try to pick up something that I do not give them regularly which keeps their mind off the noises from the storm and distracts them from the regular schedule that they might have. They chomp away at the bones or whatever and have something to concentrate on which is very helpful.
I also find myself paying close attention to the radar to see when bands are sweeping through. This will give me a good indication as to when there will be a break in the storm and we can run the dogs out briefly before the wind and rain picks back up. This is why it is important to ensure that your dogs are trained to use a particular area as a spot to relieve themselves. Bands and breaks in the storm come as quickly as they go so it's best to know that you can run out very fast and be back before conditions pick back up again.
It may take a little prep and hard work on your behalf but preparing your dog(s) for the typhoon season is worth every second of hard work. What are some methods that you've used in the past? Did you find anything effective or ineffective? Let us know in the comments below!