The behavior of dogs is also affected by the heat: they can be more aggressive than usual

László Enikő

2024. June 21 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

It can be observed not only in humans but also in dogs that they behave more aggressively on hotter days.


It is evident from crime statistics that there are significantly more violent crimes on hot summer days. This change can also be observed when comparing countries with warmer and colder climates. In recent years, there has been increasing recognition that weather likely affects the behavior of dogs as well.

Observable in both humans and dogs

Stanley Coren, a university professor and one of the leading experts on dogs, wrote about this a few years ago on the Psychology Today website. He also shared his own experience: once, he visited a colleague who had previously worked as a police officer. When the man invited Coren inside, his usually friendly German Shepherd reacted strangely to his arrival. The dog flattened its ears and began wrinkling its nose. Coren’s colleague explained that his pet, named Sergeant, had a hard time coping with hot weather and behaved oddly during such times.

He also added that when he was still working as a police officer and the weather forecast predicted scorching heat, they anticipated receiving far more calls that day. These crimes typically manifested as violent acts, but the number of burglaries also increased. The latter likely occurred because doors and windows were left open due to the heat. A clear explanation for the violent incidents is that we become more frustrated in the heat, and social drinking occasions, where many people become more aggressive under the influence of alcohol, are more frequent.

Researchers have also studied this

Chinese researchers were the first to use scientific methods to highlight that hot weather may be related to more aggressive behavior in dogs. They measured the number of people hospitalized due to dog bites. China is an ideal place for this study, as it has one of the largest stray dog populations in the world. Consequently, the number of dog attacks resulting in bites is also higher. For the study, they collected information from a hospital in Beijing between 2012 and 2014, totaling 42,481 cases.

Beijing belongs to the temperate climate zone, where four seasons alternate. July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. According to the researchers, aggressive behavior is more common around 32 degrees Celsius. The study clearly shows that the number of dog bites increased on hotter days. From this, it can be concluded that the heat negatively affects dogs’ behavior.

What can you do about this?

Your pet likely won’t become aggressive just because it’s hot. However, they might become more frustrated and desire more space, while being less tolerant of strangers. Nevertheless, you can take steps to ensure their comfort. Always provide them with a shaded, sun-protected area and fresh drinking water. Change the water several times a day and use a bowl they can’t easily tip over. You can also add a few ice cubes, but never make the water too cold as it could harm them. Cooling mats or vests available at pet stores can also be helpful during sweltering heat. When walking them, do so only in the early morning or evening, ensuring the asphalt isn’t too hot for their paws.

Click here for a few more cooling solutions for hot weather.

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