ENCINITAS–The storm that raged through San Diego and much of California this weekend has created a number of unseen dangers for pets and their owners. Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas is providing pet owners with some suggestions to check around their homes and make sure their animals are safe and secure in the wake of the storm. · Strong winds and heavy rains have weakened fences. Check your yard to make sure that fences are intact and not so weak that they can be knocked down by a larger dog. (Do the same at the dog park.) · Check under fences to see if there are gaps or if the ground is soft enough for a dog to dig under and escape. · Give a tug on gates and door to make sure humidity hasn’t caused them to swell. Doors and gates that would normally close might remain ajar, making it easy for pets to escape. · Windows and frames damaged by high winds and flying debris can result in escape routes for pets and broken glass. · Screens blown off by the heavy winds can also make easy escape routes. “It’s not just the physical dangers. Our pets need reassurance that they’re safe. Speak in a soothing voice and remember that pets can tell when you’re upset,” Rancho Coastal Humane Society spokesman John Van Zante said. “You might wrap frightened pets in blankets or Thunder Shirts for reassurance. If you need to leave them alone, leave them in a secure area with something that smells like you. Even a shirt or blanket that smells like you can help keep them calm. And leave on the TV or radio as ‘white noise’ to keep them calm.” Van Zante says to let frightened pets recover at their own paces. “Don’t force them to leave the places where they feel safe. Leave them under a bed, behind the couch, or in a closet. Coax them out with treats or affection. They will come out when they’re ready.” For cats, many veterinary professionals recommend using a synthetic pheromone spray such as Feliway. It imitates the pheromone that a mother cat releases to her kittens, helping to calm frightened cats. It’s available at most pet supply stores. For more information call, (760) 753-6413, or visit Rancho Coastal Humane Society at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, or visit www.SDpets.org. Kennels and cattery are open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Tuesday.