How Severe Weather Affects Your Dog’s Behavior

When it’s extremely hot, cold, rainy, or windy outside, you might not realize that your pet is also affected by the sudden shift in temperature.

Dogs are just as sensitive to drastic climate conditions as you; a change in weather patterns without protection from the elements can even lead to a vet visit if you’re not careful.

To keep your dog safe, we’ve outlined the top 4 conditions that may negatively impact your dog. Here’s how you can keep your dog safe and calm during a storm.

1. High Winds and Stress

Sudden gusts of wind and pressure drops are known to agitate dogs. Your pet might show restlessness and an inability to sit still when they are affected by wind chill. The high winds can also send unfamiliar smells to your dog, which will either make them curious to explore or stressed.

It is best to take your dog inside as soon as possible. Do not attempt to hold your dog while they’re frightened or stressed – this will put them on alert instead of calming them. Instead, provide them with a quiet, safe, and warm place that they can hide until the wind dies down.

If they don’t appear to be afraid, you can keep your dog warm outside with some accessories. Dog winter coats and other specialty items are a great way to protect your dog from chilly weather.

2. Heatwaves

The sudden rise in temperature can lead to a very tired dog. Often, extreme heat will lead to exhaustion and a loss of appetite. Some dogs may change where they usually rest in an attempt to cool off.

With a rise in temperature or humidity, it is best to help your pet and cool off with them by providing them with a cool space to relax. Give them cold water inside or in a shaded area, so they’re not feeling the harsh sunlight.

3. Hurricanes & Severe Storms

Severe changes in weather may lead to your dog seeking comfort in safe hiding places. This is because a dog can sense hazards like hurricanes, tornadoes, and major storms. Due to the static electricity field in the air, these weather conditions will cause erratic behavior in dogs.

The best thing you can do if your dog appears anxious is to be present but don’t overwhelm your dog. Don’t tightly hug them or overstimulate them. Instead, create a calming environment with soothing music, their favorite toys and blankets, and even relaxing smells.

If you live in a place prone to storms and your dog always acts adversely to them, visit your vet to discuss further desensitization methods.

4. Thunderstorms

For new dog owners, it’s essential to prepare your pet for a thunderstorm. You don’t know how they will react to thunder and lightning before their first storm.

While not all dogs are affected by thunder and lightning, most have a natural phobia to these loud noises. While this can affect dogs differently, the most common symptoms of stress are:

  • Whimpering
  • Barking
  • Panting breaths

The best solution is to reduce your dog’s stress through games. Playing tug or fetch with an inside ball will reduce stress levels and allow your dog to relax.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the most common conditions that cause dogs, panic, or behavior problems, but that does not mean there are no other things that can stress out your pet.

The best thing you can do in these situations is to learn your dog’s habits and make them comfortable. If you notice something is off or different in how your pet is behaving, then invest time in figuring out what is wrong and how you can help.

Working together, you and your dog can each remain happy and safe during these severe weather conditions.

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