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Seasonal Changes & Pets

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What Your Pets Experience As The Seasons Change

As the days, weeks, and months roll on, so do the different seasons of the year. And every passing season is unique and different in its own way for both us and our pets. Between the various holidays and seasonal events, it’s easy to overlook how these changing seasons directly affect your pets. This article will explore how our pets adapt and deal with the various changes in weather, temperature, and overall lifestyles.

Weather

One of the most obvious changes from season to season is the weather. The overall weather can have a huge impact on our moods and energy, but this also applies to our pets. Typically, the bright and sunny weather of spring and summer rejuvenates our pets and encourages them to be more active and playful. Your dog might be more willing to go for a walk and your cat might be more encouraged to come out from hiding under the bed and bask in the sunlight of your windowsill. Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D for both you and your pets which is important for keeping healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. Overall, clear skies and sunshine will usually keep both you and your pets in a good mood. 

Inclement Weather 

On the contrary, dark, cold, and rainy weather tends to make us and our pets more lethargic, unpleasant, and less enthusiastic to go outside. Even with raincoats, rain boots, and umbrellas, few people are very excited to go out in the pouring rain, even our dogs too! Taking your dog outside to go potty is an essential daily activity, but can quickly become an unpleasant experience for your dog during heavy rainstorms. However, with rainstorms may also come thunder and lightning. This is especially troublesome for dogs as they have exceptionally good hearing and the sound of thunder will often frighten them causing severe anxiety. Many dogs will lash out as a result of this by chewing up furniture, barking and howling, or even urinating and defecating uncontrollably. 

Thunderstorms 

Although not as fear inducing as thunderstorms, heavy snowstorms can also have a major impact on your pets lifestyle. Although cats are typically not as affected by this, dogs must undergo a dramatic lifestyle change during the snowy winter months. Although most dogs love to be outside, the amount of snow on the ground can really limit how much time and/or space a dog has outside. Similar to humans, they’re forced to be cooped up inside for months on end, rarely getting the opportunity to release all their energy and desire to play. Keeping your dog active during the winter weather isn’t always an easy endeavor, but an important one nonetheless. For more information regarding how temperature affects your pets, check out the ASPCA website. 

Hot Temperatures

The second most notable difference between the changing seasons is the temperature. The temperature has a huge impact on our pets behavior and overall mood. For example; a study done by researchers in Beijing, China discovered a direct correlation between the frequency of major city emergency room visits resulting from dog bites with the hottest days of the year. This study shows that dogs are typically more aggressive and/or moody in extreme heat which can lead to them biting and/or being provoked to attack more readily. While temperament varies from dog to dog, it’s wise to limit your dogs interactions with strangers on extremely hot days. When walking or playing with your dog outside on hot days, be sure to provide them with fresh water and shade/air conditioning to prevent heat-related illnesses. This is especially important for certain breeds of dogs that have double coats such as Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, and Newfoundlands. A pro tip for managing these breeds of dogs in extremely hot weather is to regularly brush them as removing excess undercoat will allow more air circulation through their fur coat. 

Cold Temperatures

However, having a double coat of fur can be a good thing during the colder Fall and Winter seasons. Most of the previously mentioned breeds of dogs tend to thrive in colder temperatures as they are more physically capable of dealing with these temperatures. Shorthair breeds of dogs are not as fortunate and will usually avoid being outside for very long during the colder seasons. It’s important to take your dog’s breed, age, and personality into account when taking them for walks or potty breaks outside during both the hotter and the colder seasons of the year. 

Hot Weather Adjustments

During the hotter spring and summer seasons, it’s important to keep your dog or cat well hydrated. Always keep fresh water accessible, preferably in a cool shaded area. When taking your dog for a walk, go during the early morning or later in the evening. These are the cooler parts of the day when the sun is less intense. Provide some form of air conditioning or fan to maintain a cool breeze for your pet throughout the day. Be cautious of the surfaces your dog is walking on during your midday walks. Many surfaces tend to retain heat from the sun and can potentially burn your dogs paw pads. Sidewalks, paved streets, and beach sand can become extremely hot when exposed to the sun for long durations. Before walking your dog on one of these surfaces, check the heat level by placing your bare hand on them. If it’s too hot for your hands to touch, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws to touch too. This one may seem obvious, but never leave your dog or cat unattended in an enclosed vehicle or similar hot environment. Without proper circulation, these kinds of situations can lead to heat strokes and oftentimes death. 

Cold Weather Adjustments

As for Winter, be sure to limit how much outdoor time you allow your dog or cat to have. Even though some breeds of dog tend to thrive in colder weather, be wary of long periods of exposure to the cold to avoid illness and injuries. When walking your dog during the winter seasons, it’s not only the snow and ice you should be worried about. Chemical burns are a common occurrence in dogs paws when exposed to rock salt and ice melt, so try to avoid it where you can. When returning from a winter walk with your dog, be sure to wipe down their paws with a warm wet washcloth to remove any of that excess salt or ice melt. Both cats and dogs also tend to experience dry skin during the Fall and Winter seasons as a result of the dry weather, indoor heaters, and fireplaces. This dry skin can make your pet uncomfortable and lead to excessive itching and dandruff. A good way to prevent/treat this is by adding some olive oil or fish oil to your dogs food which will help naturally keep their skin and coat moisturized. Although it is advised to contact your local veterinarian first before putting any additives in your dog’s diet as some dogs may have allergies or not respond well to certain oils. 

Staying Comfortable And Happy

We are all affected by the changing seasons in more ways than one. The same goes for our pets as they are also constantly adapting and adjusting to the world around them to the best of their ability. But, as responsible pet owners, it’s up to us to help our pets make this seasonal transition as smooth as possible. Taking simple measures like checking the weather forecast regularly so you can plan out your dog walks more accordingly, or investing in rain and/or winter doggy coats so your short haired dog will be more comfortable outside, will improve both the quality of life for both you and your pets. Try to be empathetic and put yourself in your pets paws to better understand what they see and feel as the seasons change. For more articles similar to this, check out our website at nepapetsitting.com

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