Can the Weather Affect Your Dog’s Behavior (Part II)?

The weather can affect your dog’s behavior and mood just like it can yours.

Hot Weather

Extreme and stormy weather isn’t all that can affect your dog’s behavior. Hot days can affect your furry companion’s attitude. For instance, some dogs eat less and get less active when it’s really hot. They prefer to lie down on cool tile or close to a source of airflow. Some dogs, just like humans, get grumpy and unwilling to go for walks or to do any exercise when the temp is high.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

At times called the “Winter Blues,” Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs in the wintertime when sunshine is infrequent, and daytime light levels are low. In humans, SAD symptoms may be depression, listlessness, lack of interest in social activities, and tiredness. But, do dogs suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder? Some studies support the idea that they do. 

The PDSA (The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) discovered that over 40% of dog parents see a significant change in their pet’s moods during dark winter months. Also, the dogs were said to have slept longer and their general activity levels were lower than in warmer months. Researchers believe that the reason for these changes lies in the effect that light has on melatonin, a hormone that aids in regulating sleep cycles. 

Melatonin has several effects and the major ones include helping a person to relax, becoming sleepy, and lethargic. The pineal gland makes and secretes melatonin in darkness. It halts when light hits the retina. During the wintertime, more melatonin is made which possibly causes the classic SAD symptoms in both dogs and humans.

Relocating to a New Climate and Your Dog’s Behavior

Seasons change slowly, giving your furry friend time to adjust. Relocating to a whole new climate, though, can create unexpected changes in your dog’s behavior. Based on your dog’s breed, you might notice that he gets more or less active. Some dogs even show signs of anger if the weather makes them too uncomfortable.

 

Can the Weather Affect Your Dog’s Behavior (Part I)?

There are several aspects of the weather that contribute to the change in your dog’s behavior.

Thunder, wind, heat, gray skies are all components of weather that affect your dog’s behavior and mood. Though, like humans, dogs can possess their own distinct quirks when it comes to responding to weather. Some dogs are afraid of thunder, while others pay no attention to it. Where does your dog fit in? 

Some dogs can deal with the dark winter months while others can be unenergized and depressed. The same is true of other weather phenomena. It depends on the doggie and how sensitive he or she is.

Thunder and Lighting

If you have a dog who’s afraid of thunder, you already know how weather can affect a dog’s behavior. Signs of phobia are barking, panting, whimpering, and hiding. According to a recent study, some dogs experience a swift increase of cortisol, the stress hormone, during thunderstorms. 

In fact, when researchers tested the saliva of thunder-phobic dogs, they discovered their production of cortisol to be over 200% higher than that of dogs who aren’t scared of thunder. According to the same researchers, 15% to 30% of dogs are highly scared of thunder.

If you observe your doggie sniffing the air as a storm approaches, he may be watching incoming weather change. As the pressure in the air reduces, the way odors move changes. Your dog might notice these changes even if you don’t.

Sensing Bad Weather

Dogs are more perceptive to changes in the weather than humans. They feel changes in the static electric field that happen in the air, particularly as a strong storm approach. That’s why dogs may be able to tell that a big storm or tornado is coming. Some dogs even get into a bathtub when they sense a change in air static. Though professionals are not sure why dogs do it, it could be a hunt for safety or comfort.