Are pets sensitive to changes in the weather?

If your hamster no longer wants to leave his little nest, and your dog can only be coaxed outside reluctantly, the weather could be to blame. It’s not just people who notice seasonal changes – animals do too.

Headaches, circulation problems, and trouble sleeping: One in two Germans attribute these kinds of symptoms to weather sensitivity. Weather also plays an important role in our pets’ well-being, at least, many pet owners seem to think so. If the cat only wants to sleep all day, the guinea pigs only leave their nest to eat, and even the dog has no desire to go outside, many owners assume that their pets are just as sensitive to changes in the weather as they are. Definite scientific findings as to whether these shifts actually physically affect our pets do not exist as yet. The fact is, however, that in the animal kingdom, a finely tuned weather radar is a basic instinct, necessary for surviving in the wild. These animals sense an approaching thunderstorm and seek shelter from an impending threat earlier than we do. Our pets also heed this instinct.

Animals react extra sensitively
This is why small animals like pet rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents are just as likely to hole up before a thunderstorm as those that live in the wild. Cats prefer to come back inside before it starts to storm, and some dogs refuse to go for a long walk when it’s raining. A reaction to weather fluctuations is especially common in older pets or those in poor health. Therefore, it is quite possible that a shift in the electric fields makes sensitive animals physically uncomfortable. If you suspect that your pet is affected, then help him to cope better with changes in the weather. The first rule is, if your pet retreats when the weather changes, then please leave him alone. Small animals in particular are agitated by any disturbance when they are holed up in their nests seeking protection. Children especially have to learn to accept their pet’s need for quiet, and not just in cases of weather sensitivity.

More cosy places

Provide your pet with suitable places to retreat. Winter is a time when they long for warm and cosy places even more. Wind and drafts must be avoided. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they could also seriously jeopardise your pet’s health. You may need to cover part of your rodent’s cage with a cotton towel. A cosy blanket or a new “cave” for your dog to crawl into could also help him to feel better. If your dog absolutely refuses to go outside when it’s raining or gets cold easily, provide him with appropriate protective clothing. It is also better to plan several short walks rather than one long one.

If your pet appears sluggish and glum, or retreats for a longer period of time, however, do not just blame the weather. This suspicious behaviour could also be caused by a serious condition, thus requiring quick medical attention. If changes in your pet’s behaviour are particularly intense or last longer than one day, then you should take him to the vet just to be on the safe side. Here you can determine if your pet is actually sick or only sensitive to the weather.


Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts