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Weather Effects on Dogs and What You Can Do About It

Dogs can get affected by the weather as much as it affects us. The way the temperature fluctuates, the seasonal changes, barometric pressure changes, and everyday weather can have a visible effect on their behavior, energy, and health. Today, we will discuss the different weather effects on dogs so that you can have an understanding as to why they behave that way on certain days. 

Bulldog wrapped in a blanket

Weather does not only affect your dog’s mood, it can also lead to changes in their physical health. Seasons change and so does our mood (and our dog’s). While some dogs are cheerful during summer, some dogs get irritated with the heat so they tend to find cool and shady spots to rest. Weather effects on dogs are not a one size fits all formula. It’s actually similar to how each person reacts to weather differently. Meaning,  how dog’s react to the ever-changing seasons and weather is usually based on their breed, age, and personality. So now, let’s take a look at some of the most common weather effects on dogs, as well as the precautions you should take on their behalf.

Understanding the Weather Effects on Dogs

1.  How most dogs behave under hot weather:

Each dog reacts differently with heat, depending on how thick their coat is. Many dogs tend to slow down and lose their appetite during summer and hot weather, especially those with thicker coats and if they’re used to a cool environment. In order for them to cool down, they usually pant, wade in water, or find cool spots in order to avoid overheating. Be sure to check your dog’s temperature when they’re feeling under the weather during times like this. Overheating can lead to heatstroke, particularly if their cooling system is slow. Flat-faced breeds like french bulldogs, King Charles Spaniels, and shih tzus find it difficult to cool their bodies off.Therefore, take extra precautions when your dog has short snouts.

Simple ways to cool down dogs in hot weather:

  • Always make sure that their water bowl is full.
  • Allow them to rest on a cool surface.
  • Use a lightweight dog towel, run it in cold water until soaked, and place the towel beneath them.
  • When going outside, make sure that the grounds aren’t too scorched for them to talk as this may hurt their paws.
  • NEVER leave them inside a car.
  • Keep them hydrated even outside, so bring a portable dog bottle.

 


2. Understanding most dog’s behavior during winter:

Have you noticed any changes in your dog’s mood during the winter season? Have they been gloomy and uninterested during such seasons? Well, research shows that most dogs are likely affected by “winter blues” or  seasonal affective disorder (SAD) due to the gloomy weather. Moreover, the PDSA (The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) revealed that 40% of dog parents in their survey have said that they noticed changes in their dog’s mood and behavior during winter. Accordingly, the shortened period of daytime and the lack of sunshine cause most dogs to experience depression, fatigue, listlessness, and lack of interest in different activities. 

Things you can do as an owner to minimize the winter weather effects on dogs:

  • Be sure to attend to their needs.
  • Comfort your dog, especially during thunderstorms (almost all dogs are afraid of thunderstorms).
  • Purchase an anxiety vest or shirt and put them on if you notice that they’re uncomfortable.

 

Dog in snow


3. The effects of lightning and thunder on your dog’s behavior:

Lightning and thunder are two of the most common phobias of dogs. According to research, dogs who are afraid of thunder and lightning produce 200% higher cortisol amounts than those dogs who aren’t. Moreover, about 15 to 30% of dogs are afraid of thunderstorms. During a thunderstorm, you might notice significant changes in your dog’s behavior as well as signs of anxiety including hiding, barking, whimpering, uncontrollable pacing, and panting. 

Taking care of your dog in times of thunderstorms:

  • Anxiety shirts can be helpful as they provide a gentle hug and warmth in times of fear and anxiety.
  • If possible, be sure to have them accompanied to ease their fear.
  • Provide them a safe space.
  • Play with them using toys and puzzles to distract them from their overwhelming anxiety.

 

 

Conclusion

Being a dog owner is not easy all the time, but you just have to understand your dog’s feelings and mood in order to ease the challenge on your part. Though weather effects on dogs vary from one dog to another, it would be appropriate as an owner to assess your dog’s personality and take notes on their behavior and mood during different weather situations and seasons so you’ll have a formula. Lastly, it is also worth it to track the weather in order to be ready at all times when handling your dog’s seasonal attitude.

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