Does Weather Affect Dog Behavior? 5 Key Points

Yes. The change in the weather could significantly impact the way your furry friends behave. It is just like how weather changes your energy and mood. During spring or sunny days, you are livelier.

On the other hand, when the cold and rainy days come, you feel more interested in cuddling with your pets or doing a movie marathon.

Dogs are extremely smart. They may be monitoring inbound climate change if you’ve ever seen your dog sniffing the air static ahead of a storm or any abnormal signs.

This post will talk about more details about how weather changes can affect your dog’s behavior and what things to do if you notice some of these changes in your pet.

Key Points To Prevent An Impact In Dog Behavior

Does Weather Affect Dog Behavior

  • You can train your dogs to adjust and keep themselves calm and comfortable no matter what the season.
  • It is not recommended to let others touch your furry friends, especially when they are too hot.
  • During the summer season, some breeds, especially the brachycephalic, may experience difficulty in breathing.
  • Try to prevent changes in barometric pressure and shifts in the static electric field.
  • As dog parents, it’s essential to prepare them for thunder and lightning and other loud noises. This will prevent a rapid increase of cortisol which is the stress hormone.

As a dog owner, you might have noticed the changes in your dog’s mood in different weather. As mentioned, cold, heat, storms, and other changes in the season could also significantly affect our furry friends, just like how they affect us.

In most cases, a lot of double-coated breeds could feel if there were changes in the weather. To prepare them for the future weather forecast, the first thing you need to do is to understand how your canine is being affected by the season changes.

Changing Seasons (Cold Weather vs. Hot Weather)

When the summer season started, most pets became livelier and more active. On the other hand, some pups tend to look for a place where they will feel cool. Although a lot of dogs are prone to hazards caused by hot weather, there are some dog breeds with a low heat tolerance level.

One of these breeds is brachycephalic, including Boston Terriers, Pus, Lilac French Bulldogs, and Bulldogs. These canine breeds love to stay in a cool place during hot weather. This is because they find it hard to breathe properly, especially during extreme heat.

Aside from that, large breeds are also prone to heat, especially the long-haired ones, including the Alaskan Malamute, Afghan Hound, and Komondor. So, if you have either one of the mentioned breeds, you may notice that your dog is less active or decline to play with other dogs during hot climates.

Other breeds become bad-tempered during the hot season and are more likely to seek more space with lesser petting. According to research experts in China, most hospitals receive patients because of dog bites during a high-temperature level. This implies that you need to minimize your interaction with your pups, especially when the climate is at its highest.

On the other hand, Northern dog breeds, including Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, and American Eskimo Dogs, thrive during winter weather. Beyond that, other breeds that enjoy and become more active during colder climates include Newfoundlands, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, German Shepherd, and other double-coated or long-haired breeds.

The aforementioned breeds are more playful than other breeds during the winter season. Dogs with low tolerance to cold include Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, toy breeds, hairless breeds, and senior dogs. If your canine has arthritis, Cushing’s disease, or hypothyroidism, it is important to keep them warm when the winter months start.

How to Keep Your Dogs Safe During Hot Months

As we mentioned, most dogs are not tolerant of extreme heat and are prone to heat-related illnesses. During an increased air pressure and temperature, there are various things you need to do. First, make sure that your pet has free access to cool areas or places with air conditioning.

It is also important that you know the early signs of heat strokes in pets and how to treat them. Aside from that, you also need to provide your pet with a constant supply of fresh cold water. Also, make sure not to leave your dog inside a car during a hot day because of the temperature inside a confined area increases in just a matter of minutes.

Now, let’s go to the ways to protect your pets in extremely hot conditions when outdoors. There is no doubt that most dogs enjoy being outside when the sun is out. But, you should also consider the outside temperature before taking your dog for a walk. So, how does it become too hot for your dog? You need to consider the walking surface, muzzle length, and coat type of your dog.

Brachycephalic breeds with a single and short coat are less sensitive to humidity and heat compared to breeds with double and thick coats. During the summer months, practice brushing your double-coated dogs regularly.

This will remove their excess undercoat. Once the undercoat has been removed, it will increase the air circulation through their coat. Removing undercoats does not mean you need to shave or cut their hair, as it could make them more susceptible to possible diseases related to heat.

Pugs and Merle French Bulldogs have short muzzles. Thus, they may experience difficulty in keeping their bodies cool than those breeds with long snouts. When you have this kind of dog, it would be better to give them slight exercises during the summer months. Aside from that, we highly recommend you to stop using the collar but rather a harness in double-coated breeds like these.

What to do during severe weather conditions? 

Scared french bulldog of thunder and loud noises

We are lucky because we have shoes to protect our feet during the hot seasons while walking on tracks, streets, and sidewalks. You can place your foot or hand on the street or surface where your dog will walk for at least ten seconds. This will help you determine how your dog’s feet will feel when they step on that surface. If you feel uncomfortable, well, it is more uncomfortable for your pet.

It would be great to walk your dog on the grass. But if your pup has no choice but to walk on pavement, make sure that you will protect the dog’s paws. One way is to use dog booties or let them walk in shady places.

The following are the essential tips you need to remember when taking your dog for a walk in a warm environment.

  • During hot climates, most fur parents want to take their furry friends to go swimming. Well, swimming is a good exercise and activity to spend more time with your dog. Despite that, make sure not to leave your dog in a pool alone, despite how much they adore swimming.
  • When trying to take your dog for a walk, make sure to let them wear a pair of booties to protect their pads from the heat of any surfaces, such as sand, streets, or sidewalks.
  • If you live in a country with a very humid or hot climate, it is a good idea to install a good air conditioning system. In case you can’t afford one, we recommend you invest in a good fan and adjust it to the place where your furry friend can access it anytime.
  • Compared to traditional beds, a raised canvas platform gives your dog a cooling system. This keeps them cool during a hot day. If a raised canvas platform isn’t available, you may consider investing in kiddie pools or cooling mats if you own a dog breed with a very low tolerance to heat.
  • Ensure that he has easy access to available shade and freshwater.
  • ·Do not take your four-legged friends for a park walk, especially from 10 am to 3 pm, as these are the hottest hours of the day.
  • Keep an eye on how your dog reacts to thunder and lightning. This may affect their sleep cycles due to the changes in barometric pressure.
  • Check the weather and air pressure during the walk, and monitor their behavior to determine how hot it is for them.

There are also ways you can help your dogs adjust to the cooler weather. One way is to limit their outdoor time. Also, make sure that their paws are clean and sanitized before entering your room. Another way is to cover them with warm clothing that suits their coat type. You see, there are numerous ways you can do to keep your dog safe, healthy, and active no matter what the season is.

Relocating to a New Climate 

Fortunately, the changes in the climate are gradual. Thus, it allows your pup to adjust to a new temperature. However, relocating them to a place with a new climate could cause a sudden change in the dog’s mood or dog’s behavior.

A low-pressure environment or drastic changes in barometric pressure, as determined by the American Animal Hospital Association, has a detrimental influence on a dog’s behavior. Depending on what dog breed you own, relocating to a new climate could cause them to become less or more active. Also, other canines might feel irritated, especially when the new weather conditions make them feel uncomfortable.

Dogs that are not comfortable in chilly environments might be frightened or shocked when moved to places with cold temperatures. They tend to look for places that will make them warm, such as heating vents on your bed or even your blankets. That is why your furry friend loves cuddling with you during cold climates.

When moving to a new place with a new climate, you should always consider its effects on your four-legged friends. Whether it is cold or hot, you need to understand the possible cause behind the sudden inactivity or increased energy level of your dog. This will help you determine if the sudden changes require immediate medical attention.

One of the common symptoms of illness caused by hot weather in dogs is lethargy. When you notice early signs of lethargy in your dogs, you should take him/her to the veterinarian immediately to receive immediate treatment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is also called Winter Blues or seasonal depression. It is a kind of depression that happens in humans during the winter season when the temperature level is at its very low.

The common symptoms of SAD include fatigue, inactivity, lack of interest to socialize, depression, and even listlessness. In that case, you might be wondering if this disorder might also happen to dogs.

Various studies are claiming that Seasonal Affective Disorder might also occur in dogs. According to the data presented by the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals), approximately 40 percent of dog parents noticed or spotted a significant change in the behavior or mood of their fur babies, especially during the dark winter months or colder months.

Aside from that, they also observed that most dogs have a low level of general activities and prefer to sleep more or have slept longer compared to sunny weather. SAD is usually caused by low melatonin levels in dogs and humans. Low melatonin can cause a person to feel lethargic, sleep, and relax.

The pineal gland of a person works as the producer of melatonin during dark hours. When light hits the retina, the production will be stopped. Thus, more melatonin is being produced and secreted by the pineal gland during the winter months, and that is usually the main reason behind the classic symptoms of SAD to dogs and humans.

Dog’s Mood In High Winds and Stress

During sudden pressure drops and wind gusts, dogs might feel ruffled. This can cause your furry friend to feel restless. Beyond that, high winds also cause the inability of your pets to stay still. Beyond that, sudden temperature changes could also send unfamiliar smells to your pets, causing them stress or curiosity to explore.

During this scenario, it is best to take your pooch inside your home and turn on your furnace. This will help your dog to feel warm. Also, when they are showing signs of stress and fright, do not hold them. Petting them while they are stressed will cause them to feel alert rather than being calm.

If your dog does not seem to be frightened by the chilly bad weather, you can keep them outside and use some accessories to keep them warm. Dog winter coats are effective in protecting your furry friends against chilly temperatures.

Conclusion

Sudden changes in the climates could significantly affect the overall pup’s mood of your furry friend. If you notice that they are showing behavioral problems, one of the first things you should check is the weather. Is it sunny or chilly? Sometimes you may notice your pet lying on a cool surface just to dissipate their body heat.

If this is the first time that your dog shows mood changes, the best thing you can do is to talk with their veterinarian. They are knowledgeable enough to determine the possible cause behind the changes in moods of your dog.

Apart from that, you can also take time to learn and understand the habits of your dogs and what makes them comfortable during different seasons. Some older dogs experience signs of classic SAD symptoms produced by a lack of sunlight.

Keeping your dog warm or helping a dog adjust to new environments is an important role for dog parents. Whenever dog owners are prepared for this particular topic, their furry best friend will maintain a safe and happy life and bond even during extreme weather changes.