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Dogs and their unique relationship with weather

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Owning a dog is a big responsibility, but one that also provides a companion whose love is unconditional. Dog owners quickly learn their four-legged friends respond differently than humans to certain situations, including the changing weather.
 
Many dog owners may notice that their pets seem particularly attuned to the weather. Changing weather can affect canines much like it does people, but dogs may also be affected in ways their owners are not. 
According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dogs can feel changes in barometric pressure and even in the static electric field that occurs in the air. The American Animal Hospital Association says dogs' behavioral changes may be attributable to changes in the weather. Dogs may become agitated or overexcited by dips in barometric pressure. As electrical storms approach, some dogs may get very anxious, even running and hiding if their anxiety is especially high.
 
Many dogs are afraid of thunder and lightning and can sense approaching storms even when they are still miles away. According to researchers at Penn State University, between 15 and 30 percent of all dogs are extremely scared of thunder and may experience a rapid increase of cortisol, a stress hormone.
 
Dogs also can sniff out storms, detecting concentrations of chemicals common during some storms. Dogs can smell ozone in the air associated with lightning as well.
 
Dogs may be physically affected by weather just like their owners are. Although there is little scientific work specifically on the affects of cold or damp weather on dogs that occurs during autumn and early winter, it does seem that canines feel the effects of these changes. Owners often notice more stiffness and lameness in pets during adverse weather conditions. Pain resulting from arthritis may increase and muscles may stiffen when the climate becomes cooler.
 
Many animals are known to have an innate sense of changing weather or oncoming storms. Dogs can learn to anticipate meaning behind atmospheric changes that can alert others to upcoming weather.