Weather sensitivity in dogs – does it exist? Many dog owners perceive that their dog is worse in wet and cold weather. Lameness is more severe, movements are more difficult. At least that’s how it seems. But is that really the case, or do overconcerned dog owners just imagine it? I have been asked many times if our dogs can also be weather sensitive with joint conditions such as osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia.
Excursus – what exactly is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that is very common in dogs. About 80% of dogs develop osteoarthritis in the course of their lives. In osteoarthritis, cartilage particles become detached due to various causes. The cartilage wears away and the detached particles then float around freely in the joint fluid, disrupting movement. The cartilage surface is no longer smooth and the insulating function of the cartilage also diminishes. As it progresses, damage to the bone occurs and the synovial fluid becomes thinner and lubricates less well. If osteoarthritis is advanced, joint lips may form as the body tries to create stability in the joint. For the dog, joint arthrosis means restricted movement and, at a certain stage, pain.
What is the influence of the weather on the joints?
In fact, weather has a significant impact on joint disease. Joint pain occurs in cold wet weather, low temperatures and also in wind and weather changes with sharp temperature fluctuations.
What diseases lead to weather sensitivity?
Basically, it can be said that most joint diseases can lead to increased discomfort in adverse weather conditions. These include elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, spondylosis, toe joint osteoarthritis, etc…. But dogs can also show weather sensitivity in conditions such as herniated discs and cauda equina compression syndrome.
How does weather sensitivity show up in dogs?
When dogs suffer from cold wet weather and low temperatures in the fall or winter, it can show up as follows:
- Lameness – persistent, intermittent or start-up lameness.
- limited mobility
- Pain during joint movement
- Avoidance of everyday movements
- less joy of movement
- increased need for rest
- spindly or stiff gait
- Difficulty getting up, lying down, or changing positions after rest breaks
- fast lying down or leaning
- Nibbling on the affected joints
- increased muscle tension
- Touch sensitivity
- Pain face – strained facial expression and rims under the eyes
Important: Your dog’s social behavior and mood may also be altered if his joints are hurting due to the weather.
What to do with weather-sensitive dogs?
However, the weather is one of those things that we cannot influence. That said, there are a number of things you can do to give your dog relief and relief from weather sensitivity. These include, for example:
- Warmth through red light, warm compresses & cherry pit pillows
- Cold compresses like curd
- Dog coat for walks
- A warm place to sleep
- Maintaining mobility through exercise training
By the way, you can find detailed tips on this in the blog article on the subject of joint pain in autumn. All measures are of course only recommendations and dogs always respond individually. What helps one dog very well, offers the other ggfs. less support. The only thing that helps here is to try different measures and find the right one for your dog, with which you can help him well. You can also find many helpful tips to actively support your dog in the blog article on arthritis management.
Is your dog sensitive to the weather? If so, how do you support him in this? Feel free to share your tips with us in the comments!
All the best, your Tina weather sensitivity in dogs