This is how your dog is becoming a victim of climate change – here’s how to help

Hangai Lilla

2024. April 27 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Global warming affects everyone. We have just passed the Easter heat record, which got us thinking again. Every living thing on Earth is under pressure from this change, and pets are no exception.


Let’s see what science has come up with in connection to global warming and dogs.

Global warming is affecting all aspects of dogs’ lives

A study in 2023 looked at how climate change affects the quality of life of animals, including pets. Edward Narayan and his colleagues used a scientifically based structure to measure animal welfare. In English this is called Five Domains, It explores the mental state of the animal and recognises that for every physical aspect involved, there may be an accompanying emotion or subjective experience that can also affect well-being.

This is useful because it reinforces the message that mental experiences are just as important as physical fitness for an animal to thrive. It can therefore be used to assess nutrition, environment, physical health, behaviour and state of mind. To put it simply, the model assesses the animals’ overall physiological and behavioural responses to environmental stressors.

While the effects of climate change on animals have been studied before, this is the first time to apply the model specifically to animal welfare. The study found that all five of these areas are affected by global warming. Fortunately, however, our hands are not completely tied, and researchers have also found ways to mitigate these factors.

Special attention should also be paid to emerging parasites

The most important things to look out for!

All dogs suffer from the increasingly warm weather. Those that are overweight, elderly, with long and thick coats, and those with short and pressed noses suffer much more. Heat stress can cause a four-legged animal’s body temperature to rise, which can lead to heat stroke in the long term and even death in later life. The first signs include excessive wheezing and irregular movements.

More than 80% of dog owners reported that they exercise their dog less vigorously or for shorter periods in hot weather. This is a very good tactic, as it can help prevent the dog from overheating. However, it should still be kept in mind that too little activity can lead to other health problems. To avoid this risk, we recommend that you go for exercise either in the early morning or in the evening. Of course, also taking the necessary protective measures! These include the use of a leash, a visibility vest or, where appropriate, a lighted collar.

If you absolutely have to go out during the day, always have fresh water for your dog! You may also want to apply sunscreen for dogs.

It cannot be said enough that you should not leave your pet in the car when it is hot, i.e. above 20 ̊C, because the car’s passenger compartment behaves like a greenhouse.

Always have fresh water with you when you go out!

And last but not least, global warming means that we also have to face previously unknown parasites attacking dogs, or a greater proportion of the known ones! Please take care to protect your pet from pests regularly and carefully! If your dog is part of the family, he deserves to live a healthy, quality life.

What else you can do

Global warming affects not only owned dogs, but stray dogs as well and those living in shelters. If you have the means to do so, make sure you think about how you can support shelters.

Click here to find out which breeds need extra attention in hot weather.

climate change dog is hot global warming responsible animal owner warm weather

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