Many people wonder ‘does the weather effect dog behaviour’. Whether it’s a change of temperature or a change of season, the answer is simple, yes.
Does the weather effect dog behaviour as well as their mood?
Much like humans, a dog’s mood and energy levels can fluctuate as the weather changes. The same way humans can become short tempered when the weather is hot so can your dog! Research from New York showed that the number of dog bite incidents had risen with the temperature.
This not only applies in the Summer months. In the Winter months your dog’s behaviour can change too. Research has shown that a third of dog owners notice their pet feeling down as the cold weather rolls in. In some unfortunate cases this could lead to doggy depression in your furry friend. This is because in the winter dogs get less physical exercise and they have their daily routines disrupted. This could also be a sign of seasonally aided depression, something common to humans as well as dogs.
How the weather affects your pup performance
There are a few signs that your dog may be being affected by the weather. The obvious ones during the warmer months are reduced energy and slowing down on walks. When the weather is cold it can lead to depression, and symptoms can include a loss of appetite, anxiety, restlessness and hiding in ‘safe spaces’. Associated with the colder weather is storms, and fireworks so your dog may also be preempting that something scary is coming when the nights draw darker.
In the Winter your dog can have a great time playing in the snow, but it is also necessary to know when they have had enough. There are a range of behaviours that can indicate that your pup has had enough and they are ready to go home. More noticeable is barking and whining whilst making eye contact. This is your dog trying to tell you that they want to go home. Another factor that can lead to barking or whining is a build up of anxiety or fearfulness in your dog. In this situation your pup pal may even jump up your leg to get attention or try to head home.
Another set of clear signs that your dog is getting too cold is if they start shivering or stop moving. This could be because they are just cold, too wet, or because they have ice or snow stuck between the pads in their paws.
Relocating to a location with different weather
When the seasons change and the weather with them, it is a gradual process. This gives your dog time to adjust to the new climate slowly and to be psychologically prepared. If you relocate your dog to a new location with a different climate, this can have a considerable effect. This could even lead to a sudden shift in their mood and behaviour. This could take the form of becoming more or less active, or even discomfort if the new environment doesn’t suit them.
It is vitally important for you as an owner to keep track of your dogs behaviour and mood changes. This is because it is the only way to tell if the changes are circumstantial due to change of environment or potentially medical. If your dog is being lethargic it could be nothing to worry about, but if it is twinned with other symptoms you should seek veterinarian support.
Different breeds manage climates differently
This fact you are likely to know, if not from experience then from common sense. Some dogs are built for certain environments. This means that when they are in an unusual environment it can have considerable effects on them. This though is not always the case. Some dogs which have thick fur may have become accustomed to warmer temperatures because of it when they have grown up with it. This means that when they are taken to a cold environment, even though their coat should protect them, they may feel discomfort.
There are a variety of dogs that fare less well in cold climates than others. Generally the types of dog that find it more difficult to bear the cold are those with a short coat and no undercoat. If your dog is of this type you should take special care when taking them out in the winter months. You should also take care if your dog is short legged. This is because they will most likely have to wade or jump through snow. This can tire a dog out, especially if they are a puppy, elderly or have health conditions. This is because these types of dogs feel the cold much more quickly. One breed that is particularly vulnerable due to its short legs are Sausage dogs.
What weather does your dog thrive in?
Let us know in the comments below.