October marks the beginning of National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. In honor of our four-legged friends, we’re sharing how specific weather conditions impact dogs.
Heat, thunderstorms, dark skies, wind, and allergens can all affect your dog’s behavior, mood, and overall health. We’ll go through five different weather instances that may impact your dog and how you can track it to better care for your pet.
Thunder and Lightning
Thunder and lightning — one of the most common phobias in dogs. Signs of anxiety during a thunderstorm include panting, whimpering, barking, and hiding. Researchers at Penn State University found that some dogs experience a rapid increase of cortisol (the stress hormone) during thunderstorms. Additionally, researchers found that dogs afraid of thunder produce 200% higher cortisol amounts than dogs not scared of thunder.
While thunder and lightning might have been a more obvious trigger, barometric pressure changes also impact dog behavior. Simply put, barometric pressure is the measurement of air pressure in the atmosphere. It’s more technically the measurement of the weight the air exerted by air molecules at a given point on Earth.
Dogs can sense changes in barometric pressure, giving them the ability to sense adverse weather. They may become agitated; things that don’t usually phase them may get under their skin when there’s a change in barometric pressure. If your dog is growling, alert, barking, guarding, cowering, panting, or howling, changes in barometric pressure might be the culprit.
If you notice these changes in behavior and want to know for sure if the barometric pressure is the cause, you can check the current air pressure in your Tomorrow.io app, under “Forecast.”
Itchy eyes, runny nose, and a slight headache —all the allergy symptoms we feel as humans are not uncommon in dogs. The most common symptom associated with allergies is the itching of the skin. Some dogs also experience respiratory side effects, such as coughing and sneezing.
Some common allergy-causing substances to look out for:
- Dust mites
- Flea saliva
- Proteins of insects, plants, or animal origin
You can track various pollens in the Tomorrow.io app, detailing when the airborne concentration is highest, so you can take necessary preventative measures to ensure your dog is comfortable.
As much as we humans may enjoy basking in the sunlight, the heat can make dogs extra tired. Heightened exhaustion and a loss of appetite are common during warmer months. When it’s extremely hot or humid, ensure your dog has a cool place to relax and plenty of cold water.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Do you know the “winter blues” everyone seems to talk about during the colder months? Dogs feel that, too. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Dogs (PDSA) found that 40% of dog parents noticed a significant change in their pet’s mood during dark winter months. Dogs were also reported to have slept longer.
These changes are because of the effect light has on melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. The lack of sunlight produces more melatonin in dogs, bringing on classic SAD symptoms.
Stay On Top Of Your Dog’s Health By Tracking The Weather
When adopting a dog, not many people think about how the weather may shape their dog’s behavior and health. Tracking a thunderstorm before it hits allows you to take action to prevent an anxiety attack in your dog. Or, knowing when pollen counts are highest will allow you to adjust your walking schedule to prevent allergy attacks.
In conclusion, knowing how the weather impacts your dog is one part of the equation. The final part is tracking these weather conditions so you can make your pet as comfortable as possible.
Stay on top of your dog’s behavior and health by tracking inclement weather, heat, sunlight, allergens, and barometric pressure in your Tomorrow.io app. You can also add “Dog Walking” to your activities to learn the best time of day to walk your four-legged friend.