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It's not uncommon for humans to act strangely during full moons. Just visit any hospital emergency room or jailhouse to see for yourself. But did you know that pets also can be affected by the full moon? According to one study, animal hospitals see increases in visits (23% in cats, 28% in dogs) over the course of the three nights of full moons.
If you believe your pet's behavior changes during the full moon and you want to know why, here is everything you need to know about pet behavior and how the cycles of the moon can affect it.
The moon affects the Earth every day because there is a very strong magnetic pull between the Earth, the moon, and the Sun. This force affects the planet's large bodies of water, causing the direction of ocean currents and its resulting tides. When the moon is in its full stage, the tides are at their highest.
Many pet owners will tell you that the full moon affects their pets' behavior. Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are known to howl at the moon when it's full. Cats, on the other hand, tend to hide. Birds become agitated and sometimes even disoriented. As a result, veterinary offices and pet hospitals can become congested with visits.
However, none of these behaviors has ever been proven scientifically to be directly caused by the cycles of the moon.
Although science hasn't officially confirmed or debunked the full moon's effect on pet behavior, there are some theories as to why pet injuries might increase during this phase of the moon.
The most-common theory is that pet owners spend more time outside with their pets during these times when the moon's light is at its peak. However, despite the moon's light, it is still nighttime, and this alone will increase your pet's risk of injury if you choose to spend more time with her outside at night.
If your pet's behavior does change with the full moon, there really isn't much need for concern. If signs are severe, your veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety medication. You should always take extra care whenever you spend time with your pets outside in the evening hours.
You should outfit your dog with a reflective collar or a collar flasher to help make it easier for drivers to see him. You always should have the phone number and address of the nearest pet hospital handy in the event an accident does occur.
Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of expertise include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.
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