Home » Beware of the sun: how warm weather turns dogs into biters

Beware of the sun: how warm weather turns dogs into biters

Alarming increase in canine aggression during days

As temperatures rise and the sun shines brightly, dog owners are being urged to remain vigilant for changes in their pet’s behavior.

A groundbreaking study has uncovered a startling link between warm weather and an increase in dog bites.

The research reveals that dogs are 11% more likely to bite when the sun is out and temperatures are high. Furthermore, the study highlights that dogs are 4% more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior on hot days and a staggering 11% more likely to snap when the UV index is high.

This article explores the study’s findings, sheds light on the increase in animal aggression during sunny weather, and provides valuable insights for dog owners to ensure their safety.

Alarming findings

In addition to dogs, other animals such as monkeys, rats, and mice also display heightened aggression in stifling temperatures.

The study, led by Clas Linnman, an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues, examined a dataset of 69,525 dog attacks in eight US cities from 2009 to 2018. By analyzing the relationship between temperature, UV rays, sunshine, and dog bite rates, the researchers concluded that both dogs and human-dog interactions become more hostile on hot, sunny, and smoggy days.

This discovery highlights the societal burden of extreme heat and air pollution, which includes the costs associated with animal aggression.

The study uncovered significant correlations between weather conditions and dog bites. On days with higher UV levels, dog bite incidents increased by 11%.

Likewise, when temperatures soared, dog bite rates rose by 4%. These findings emphasize the importance of being aware of weather conditions and their potential impact on a dog’s behavior.

Recognizing canine stress

Some key signals that indicate canine stress include lip-licking when no food is present, yawning outside of bedtime, and shaking off their body when not wet. Prolonged scratching without a clear health issue or displaying “puppy eyes” with visible whites may also precede an aggressive response.

Dogs employ various communication methods to express their discomfort, including excessive licking or “kissing” when humans move too close or pick them up.

This behavior aims to redirect attention or create distance effectively. Debby Lucken stresses the importance of recognizing these initial signals, as ignoring them may prompt dogs to escalate their communication strategies.

When initial signals are ignored, dogs may resort to more apparent signs of discomfort.

These include pinning their ears back, lowering their body to the floor, crouching down, and tensing their bodies with closed mouths. These behaviors indicate escalating tension and discomfort, often mistaken for a smile by dog owners.

Growling and baring teeth are the last attempts to convey their discomfort before resorting to biting.

It is crucial for dog owners not to scold their pets when warning signs, such as growling, occur.

These signals serve as polite warnings, urging humans to go away or cease certain activities. Failure to heed these warnings may force dogs to intensify their communication, potentially leading to biting incidents.

Protect yourself and your pup

With the arrival of warm weather, dog owners must remain attentive to their pet’s behavior and the impact of sunny days on their canine companions.

The recent study sheds light on the alarming increase in dog bites during periods of high temperatures and UV index.

Understanding a dog’s body language and recognizing signs of stress or discomfort can significantly reduce the risk of aggressive incidents. By creating a safe and harmonious environment for both children and dogs, responsible dog ownership can be maintained, ensuring a summer filled with joy and security for all.

Please share this article to raise awareness.

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Agnes Miller
Written by, Agnes Miller
Agnes is a major cat lover with six cats of her own. For several years she has been uncovering interesting news snippets on the animal kingdom and blogging about them. She has an English degree and has been using her skills to write and research on animals of all shapes and sizes. Agnes is passionate about animal welfare and loves to share her knowledge with others. Agnes is also an active member of her local animal rescue group and volunteers her time to help out.