Climate Change And Dogs
There is no doubt about it, whatever the cause, the climate is changing. Every year the number of days of record temperatures is increasing. Maximum temperature records are continually being broken. The increased energy in the atmosphere caused by these higher temperatures is leading to higher rainfall, floods and even increased snowfall.
The daily temperature, the wind velocity and the level of precipitation are all elements of weather. Climate is the long-term pattern of the weather.
Climate change means a change to this pattern.
So, it is not a few hot days one summer and then back to normal the next year. It is a pattern which will continue into the foreseeable future.
Climate change will affect dogs. Here are some of the ways.
Many people have commented that the seasons for parasite infestation are getting longer each year. It’s not just that summers are getting warmer, they are getting longer.
Ticks, fleas and mosquito numbers are exploding.
Their breeding season is getting longer and they are spreading to more places.
This means that we need to make sure that our dogs are protected from these pests year-round.
We should act before our houses become infested with fleas or our dogs suffer from a tick-borne disease such as Lyme disease.
Related Article: How Do I Know If My Dog has Ticks?
Heartworm is a potentially life-threatening disease and is spread by mosquitoes. Prevention is the best way of dealing with this disease.
Dogs need daily physical and mental activity to keep them healthy. Stimulating your dog’s mind is as important as all other aspects of caring for your dog.
Related article; Mental Stimlulation For Dogs
Taking you dog for his daily walk is one of the times when your dog’s mind is active. The new sights, smells and sounds he experiences on the walk are essential for his well-being.
The wetter winters being experienced in the UK in recent years has meant that many dog owners have cut down on the frequency of walks.
According to Carolyn Monteith, one of the UK’s leading dog behavioralists, this has lead to an increase in dog boredom, causing depression.
In an article in the Independent Newspaper (link), she says that while dog owners are willing to brave frost and cold, they are not so keen when it is wet and muddy.
The change in British winters from cold crisp days to constant wet miserable days caused by climate change has led to an increase in the number of bored, depressed dogs. Of course, the owner’s health could be suffering too. In recent times, Britain has been suffering its wettest winters for 250 years and the trend is likely to continue.
Heatstroke In Dogs
Dogs do not have our ability to lower the body temperature by sweating - they shed heat by panting. On days of high temperatures, it is difficult for dogs to lower their temperature. Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with flat faces) are face additional difficulties.
Leaving dogs alone in cars on hot days is one of the main causes of heatstroke. Other contributing factors are obesity or over-exercising.
Heatstroke is a serious and potentially fatal condition. Once your dog’s body temperature reaches 106 degrees Fahrenheit he is in the danger zone.
As the earth heats up and there are more hot days, your dog is more exposed than ever to heatstroke.
There are some things you can do to help protect your dog from heatstroke.
Most importantly, never leave your dog alone in a locked car. Even if the windows are left slightly open, the internal temperature can rise rapidly.
Do not expose your dog to excess heat. Take him for a walk in the coolest part of the day.
If your dog is outside, make sure he has access to shade and there is plenty of drinking water.
Remember, your dog is at a higher risk of heatstroke than humans. It is our responsibility as owners to look out for them.
Related Article: Watch Out For Heatstroke In Dogs