Haze: Birds wake later, dogs stay indoors

File Photo: A pet owner putting a mask on her pet Yorkshire Terrier.

PETALING JAYA - The birds are waking up much later to forage for food the past few days. The cats and dogs are also not too keen on going out.

It seems that humans are not the only ones affected by the haze.

Over the last week, consultant avian, exotic, wildlife and zoo veterinarian Dr S. Vellayan observed that the birds, especially the free-flying painted stock, are getting up about an hour later than usual to look for food.

"This could indicate interference in their vision due to the haze," said Dr Vellayan who lives next to Zoo Negara in Ampang.

Dr Vellayan, who has worked in the national zoo for 28 years, added that birds had a good filtration system for their nostrils.

Kucing Terbiar Anjing Jalanan (KTAJ) volunteer Rina Zahid noticed that fewer birds were eating food that she puts out for them.

Bukit Beruntong, Selangor, where she lives has been badly hit by the haze in the last three days.

"I hear less birds chirping in the morning," she lamented.

She, however, added that her cats did not seem to be affected as they stay indoors but she has seen a marked difference in her dog, which seemed to be more lethargic.

She added that lots of strays were missing from the neighbourhood, although she was unsure of the exact reason.

Veterinarian Dr M.Vijayndra believed there is a slight increase in respiratory problems and eye irritations in pets over the past few days.

"I believe there are cases due to the haze but most would be due to pre-existing conditions," he said.

He suggested that pet owners continue to walk their pets, although the time could be shortened, especially those prone to problems.

Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB) founder Wani Muthiah noticed that her dogs are refusing to go out of the house now.

"Usually, they love to be out in the porch but now they are just staying in the bedroom," said Wani who lives in Port Klang where the Air Pollutant Index reading breached the hazardous level on Monday.

Zoo Negara deputy director Dr Muhammad Danial Felix, meanwhile, said the zoo's animals were not much affected now although there could be problems if the haze persisted.

"Pollutants can affect animals in the long run," he said.

He said the zoo took precautionary measures such as giving more Vitamin C and water to the animals. He added that animals would be less active in bad weather conditions.

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