Have you ever noticed a sudden change in your dog's behavior? One minute, it’s lying by your side, and the next, cowering in your bathroom. At first, there appears to be no apparent reason for this change in your pup's mood. Then, suddenly, a violent thunderstorm rolls in over your home.
How did your pup know that a storm was heading your way? Veterinarians and other dog experts believe canines are better than humans at detecting changes in the barometric pressure. Dogs also have superior hearing. It's possible that your pup heard the low-frequency rumbling of thunder while the storm was still many miles away.
Does weather affect dog behavior in other ways? Yes. The following are just four examples of how Mother Nature can affect your pup's mood.
Dogs and Hot Weather
When temperatures rise, you might notice your dog's activity level and appetite decrease. One of the reasons is that dogs can quickly overheat if they exercise too much on a hot day. To cool themselves, dogs will pant, wade in the water or lie on a cool surface to dissipate their body heat. Unfortunately, when a dog overheats, its cooling system will have a difficult time keeping up, and it could end up with heatstroke.
Brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs — such as French bulldogs, shih tzus or King Charles spaniels — have an especially hard time cooling their bodies. Make sure to take extra precautions to keep dogs with short snouts from overheating. You can, for example, use a lightweight dog towel, such as The Absorber, to cool your pup. Simply run The Absorber under cold running water for a minute or two and then drape it over your dog.
When walking dogs in hot weather, it's also important to be mindful of your pup's paws. Scorching sidewalks, sand, and streets are another reason why your furry best friend may be reluctant to exercise when temperatures rise.
According to research, approximately 15 to 30 percent of dogs have a fear of thunderstorms. These pups will become extremely anxious — panting, pacing uncontrollably or whining in fear — when they sense an approaching storm. Some especially fearful dogs will even begin to associate hot, sultry nights with thunderstorms or Fourth of July fireworks. Unfortunately, these canines may resist going outside to do their business if they sense a storm approaching or if they hear a loud noise.
Some owners have found that anxiety vests or shirts can help their pups deal with their fear of thunderstorms. Anxiety shirts are designed to apply a constant, gentle hug to a dog and is believed to calm the pet's nervous system. Other owners have used medications or even tried CBD oils to reduce their pet's storm anxieties.
Most dogs seem delighted by snow. They'll romp and play and even go sledding with their owners. If you have a dog with a heavy, thick coat, you'll probably notice that it will have an extra pep in its step when you take it for a walk in the snow. On the other hand, some short-haired dogs will balk at having to go outside if the ground is covered in snow. You might be able to help these pups adjust by having them wear a warm coat as well as booties to protect their paws. Also, once your dog is back in the house, make sure to give it a good rubdown with a towel to remove all snow from its fur.
The Gloom of Winter
Just like humans, research has shown that some dogs are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can be brought on by winter's shortened days and gloomy weather. Owners of dogs who have puppy mood swings caused by SAD report their canines are less active and sleep more during the darker winter months.
While you can't eliminate all of the dog mood swings caused by the weather, you can help minimize them. For example, if your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, have an anxiety vest or shirt on hand. Also, make sure to keep The Absorber by your door so that you can towel off your pup after it has played in the snow or gone for a walk in the rain. Learn more about this super-absorbent towel, here.